Monday, 13 August 2012

At the risk of saying something nice.....

Last summer we saw the worst of our youth in the looting and rioting events.  This year there has been a surprisingly touching and noble contradiction; look, they are healthy, they are sporting, they are doing something which involves aspiration and applied effort rather than blaming society.

The reservations about the Olympics  have to be assessed in context:  yes, it's hideously expensive but at least we have something to show for the money, unlike the billions we've shoveled in to the pockets of foreign dictators, pretending that it will help their wretched citizens, or the money we chuck every day down the hole of the EU.

For a start, the Kings Cross concourse is a marvel of engineering.  I look forward to the day they finally undo the bodge which was made of the original frontage but so far the job has been good.

Mayor Boris Johnson  has done well - a Pericles of our age, just like he always wanted to be - in wrangling the city in to a half-way decent condition.  It is a mammoth job as London has been bedeviled by corruption and incompetence since the day the Luftwaffe went home and left the rest of the destruction of communities to the brown-envelope and and system-build brigade.

Socialist utopia, my foot; those estates were clearly built by people who were devoid of talent or taste; it's probably a compliment to think they were bribed - they were probably so dim that they honestly thought they were building something pretty.  As it is, the average Victorian prison or workhouse compares favourably to the Pembury Estate.

There's still a long way to go but at least a start has been made.  The more those tower blocks come down, the better things will be.

Just how much better things are getting might not show to the average Londoner who is there every day but on my last visit there was one  small thing which made me think "Wow" and it won't be apparent to every visitor to this blog.

The toilets under Piccadilly Circus are finally working as they should be in a civilised city.  

Frankly, it was a surprise to find them open, but to find them with an attendant, spotlessly clean and not like unto the devil's arsehole was such a shock that I went back for a second visit in case I'd dreamt it.  There has to be an attendant; that prevents them becoming drugs-exchanges and doss-houses.  Chuck out the lesbian out-reach 5-a-day coordinators and hire lavatory attendants and watch your civic culture improve.

My wish is that in addition to good toilets, Boris considers re-introducing that civilising thing, the drinking fountain, where any passer by, no matter how rich or poor, can get a drink of safe, clean water to keep them from fainting.  It would also to cut down on all the manky plastic bottles floating about.

It can be done;  I give you Bergamo, which has the most wonderful water, like liquid light, freely dispensed from drinking fountains all across the city. Let MacDonald's sponsor the fountains; they can put their logo on it if they like; they can still sell their burgers, orange juice and hot coffee but a sip of water and a safe place to wash your hands should be freely available everyone in the city and ultimately to everyone on the planet.


JuliaM said...

"Chuck out the lesbian out-reach 5-a-day coordinators and hire lavatory attendants and watch your civic culture improve."

Spot. ON!

Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

As a cynical Brit/Scot I am amazed that, on the whole the Olympics went so well!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Woar

Hope all is well in sunniest daaarn sarf. I accidently did one of them economics degrees back in the day and wrote a decent enough essay on Black Wednesday and how £7bn squiddlies had been punted on bravado, braggadaccio (sp) and bullshit from an upstairs tenement whilst some Hungarian communist trousered a cool £1 billion and called the Tory party leadership stupid cunts from the rafters. Scroll on 20 years and the Guv'nor of the Bank of England prints £350 billion and all to keep the bust banks solvent and no-one knows where the money's going?

I'm beyond furious, I cannot conceive that amount of cash and yet it's now common currency. We talk of debts in the trillions as though it's a monitoring faculty, a simple extension of numbers by their gravity to use algorythms only to identify their construct. It's a fake journey and the Olympics showed that in spades.

I knew I liked the Olmpics, watched it since I was a kid. Didn't know I liked it that much. Colonel Fawkes has got figures up at £13 billion of your squiddly pounds but the army are whinging about opportunity cost or some such wibble so probably bullshit bureauocratized version in 5 years time come out as 2 for a £10. But fair fucking play, the place turned into Blighty.

The Danny Boyle waffle is fine as it at least emphasized the length of history that Blighty has got. It must be said that the security services seem to have done an awfully good job when the major incident is a fucking lad from South Milford in Chavtown Leeds lobbing a plastic bottle at Usain Bolt and a Belgian Judo Lass Iponing his drunken ass - knob. But £20 - £30 billion on a remarkable sports day seems decent enough when the entertainment is that top quality.

The Olympics has really cheered me & mine up and with the crap that usually goes on, that's priceless.

All the best to you & yours


Woman on a Raft said...

JuliamM - the family always laugh at me because I go and inspect the public toilets in any place we visit. But you really can tell a lot about the management of a hospital, school, venue or town by just that indicator.

Woman on a Raft said...

Hello Hospitable Scots Bachelor, yes, it appears that aside from the issue of budget, it is possible to complete a major civic engineering project on time.

I imagine the contractors sitting round a table with Seb Coe and seeing him chuck a raw burger in to the piranha pool, and being made aware that this time, they will not be just 'nipping out' to do another job.

I'm thinking of adopting similar negotiating tactics.

Woman on a Raft said...

Hello DtP, well said. The good news for you, I believe, is that they are considering golf to become an Olympic event.

I was disappointed this morning to hear that they are already arguing about the funding of the talent, which is about £400m, for Rio.

This seems like a respectable amount of money to fund a world-class squad, which can't be done overnight and has to be a continuous process of identifying and then developing young talent.

The good news is that there seem to be more career opportunities based around sport and associated industries so supporting a young sports person is only like paying for their specialist education or apprenticeship. If it helps them be economically independent adults I'm generally in favour of it.

Anonymous said...

Popular sports should be barred from it. McElroy got brought up with a stick.

Not exactly matins but a pleasant ditty. Natasha Khan is the gals name


Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

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Anonymous said...

Excellent post - I've also enjoyed watching the Olympics from start to finish.

We went to Bergamo last year for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. A beautiful place.

However, if you find yourself in the vicinity of Monza, I really can't recommend a visit to the loos they have for spectators...