Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Week That Was

Another week of working and running around like a headless chicken. Such is the life of being self-employed I guess. Mind you, I wouldn't go back to working in an office for all the tea in China (although I thought that tea mostly comes from India?). And on the subject of work, I was in Brixton earlier this week and noticed this...

This photo shows...

1 Truck
2 Vans
5 "Workmen" (1 asleep in the Truck)
8 Road Cones
1 Small Red Barrier
1 Small Hole In The Road

It never ceases to amaze me how easily our Great British Workforce manages to make the simplest of tasks into a major conference. Now, unless "A hole in the road" has turned into a serious catastrophe, I'm fairly sure that there was no need for the person in the Truck, or at least 2 of the others (smoking and talking about Hotmail!) to be there. Being in the trade that I am, I often hear English people moaning about people from other countries "taking their jobs" or generally doing fuck all. But I don't see how they can moan when they're getting up to this sort of stuff themselves.

We've also had a fantastic track record of generally being arse at building anything. Take our national stadium, Wembley. Originally it was supposed to cost £458m and was intended to open in time to host the 2006 FA Cup final. In the end, due to a plethora of delays, Wembley finally opened in time (just) to host the 2007 FA Cup Final and at a final cost of around £798m.

The Millennium Dome was another costly screw up. Originally conceived under John Major's Conservative Government, revamped plans for a bigger and more expensive project were proposed by Tony Blair. He reckoned that it was going to be "a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity". Yeah, right. Whatever you say Smilie. Crap content and a serious fuck up over proposed visitor numbers meant that when the New Millennium Experience Company went into liquidation in 2002, the total cost of The Dome was around £789m. National Lottery grants (£628m) and ticket sales (£189m) meant that, over costs, the full Lottery grant wasn't needed. But the £603m still meant that it was £204m over the proposed £399m. The Dome was left mostly unused (aside from some weird projects), costing an estimated £1m a month to maintain until acquired by O2. 8 years after the millennium debacle, it's actually not a bad place and has successfully hosted a wide range of gigs and events. Including Paul Weller at the smaller venue inside, the IndigO2.

Ok, neither of these examples are exactly a hole in the road. However, it might go some way to explaining how petrified I am at the thought of us hosting the Olympics in 2012. Aside from the World Cup Final, it's probably the most watched sporting event in the world. It's a chance for the hosting country to show off, to let the world know what they're capable of. Sydney did an amazing job of hosting in 2000 although, as with most recent hosts, have suffered financially from having the Olympics. Even with great organisational skills and excellent planning, it appears that the Olympics is a costly venture. But when it comes to "Great Britain", things could be significantly worse. We couldn't organise our way out of a paper bag, and our control over the purse strings seems to be totally non existent.

World, forgive us. For we know not what we do.


Other news this laptop is very nearly dead. Old age has settled in, the hamsters inside have arthritis, and it's being read its last rights. I didn't want to get "caught short" and be without access to the world so I decided to go and buy a new one. It's a financial hit that I really didn't need, but needs must and all that. So much of the stuff that I do is based around email and other forms of online contact and being without a laptop is a serious pain in the arse. Off I went into Central London, cash at the ready.

I ended up buying a Samsung R60plus (don't ask, I've no idea what it is either). All I know is that it's got loads of RAM, a VERY large Hard drive, has wireless, a DVD rewriter, a HUGE screen and is faster than rat up a drainpipe with a firework up its arse. I'm not going to go into the story about buying it, because I'll only end up getting angry again and it's such a nice day that I don't want to spoil it. All I am going to say is that I'm very happy I'm not the sort of person to just roll over and accept things when I know that someone is trying to shaft me. The people in the shop are praying that nothing goes wrong with my new laptop, because I'm fairly sure that they'll run for cover if I ever step foot into the shop again.

Other even more exciting news, especially if you're me (which you aren't, I'm me. Which means it's not as exciting as I'm making out!) is that I've been kindly given a ticket for the iTunes festival on Wednesday next week and that I'll be off to see Paul Weller again! SUCH a result! And I'll be meeting up with the guys from Koko again which I'm very much looking forward to. See back here afterwards for the inevitable photos and videos!

We've also had a change over in the house. The Aussies have moved out and a new couple have moved in. They seem ok...but don't they all when they first arrive? Only time will tell!


Mandy said...

Montreal hosted the Olympics in 1976. They were still fixing the roof when I was there in 2004. And they finished paying for it in 2006.

2012 Cardiff Olympics, anyone?
We've got the Millennium Stadium. And the stuff Newport's building for the 2010 Ryder Cup might be ready by then...

Then again, knowing GB, some junior official will probably leave the whole Olympics on a train.

Princess Pointful said...

Oh yeah... the Olympics. I don't think anyone here is that tickled pink about it anymore, honestly. It has caused a lot of very controversial projects that have done very poorly... and redirected a lot of money that could have been better spent otherwise. And the rent has skyrocketed!!

Beth said...

At least they're repairing the hole!

(Still commenting...getting weary.. will never get so behind again...)

Beth said...

I did comment on this post!

And I thought you said there was something here about the London Eye?? (Eyesore...)

Oliver Jones said...

Fantastic web site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you for your sweat! sign in to gmail