The best venues I've seen are down alleys; and some Raptors news
So I’m doing a little hit on the BBC radio’s 5Live show this morning (I know, la-ti-da indeed!) and the presenter (British for ‘host’) asks me what I think of the facilities.
And you know what? They are fine in a rather understated way, as you’ll see when this little bash full gets going tomorrow night.
Nothing too fancy or over the top at all, which is perfectly fine.
The stadium isn’t “pretty” by any means, it’s certainly not like the Bird’s Nest in Beijing but no one’s painting dirt around it green to pretend it’s grass like they were doing a day or so before the Athens Games began.
It looks nice but not overwhelming and since this little show costs way too much money to put on anyway, it’s fine that they didn’t go over the top.
Olympic Park -- the East End acreage that has the stadium, the velodrome, the pool, the arena and something else I can’t exactly remember at the moment – is, in a word, functional.
Lots of open space for the people to wander, the requisite super store of souvenirs, allegedly the world’s largest McDonalds (no, haven’t been; won’t go) and places where people can just hang out.
It seems to work and that’s what matters.
But what really matters are the historic venues, where they have married British history and sports tradition with the Games. We saw the beach volleyball at the Horse Guards Parade, they’re using Lords Cricket Grounds, Wimbledon, places like that.
The venues here are going to be less breathtaking for their newness and design but they might be more picturesque and more familiar than any ever and that’s quite all right with me.
Guess the goal is to see as many as possible, just to say I did it and if I can convince Tall Foreheads that I can get good stories out of shooting or archery or the beach volleyball, it’ll be possible to accomplish.
Getting to see the places is maybe the best part of the gig. The stadiums in Beijing were incredible (it’s amazing what a kazillion dollars will get you) and the ones in Sydney back in the day were just as lovely.
The best ever, though?
Barcelona. Hands down.
Not sure the view from Montjuic will ever be duplicated.
Another night, another alley, another great pub.
I tell ya, I know how to pick ‘em. Or at least find ‘em.
This time is was The Ship Tavern, first built in 1549, rebuilt in 1923 after fire destroyed it and it’s outstanding.
Comely lasses, too.
Best part of this whole pub thing?
You walk up, order at the bar, pay and then can wander hither and yon, even outside, if you want to. Grabbing a pint, chatting with a local or two and then standing the gathering dusk in an alley is some way to spend a few hours.
What's it say when the first souvenir of the trip is a t-shirt from a pub?
I (heart) this city so far.
(An aside to the Irregulars with other suggestions: You know the Ship Tavern is at Holcomb tube stop, will head the other way from the hotel next time we venture out)
TOD got edged 16-0 and the catcher broke his hand?
Some things never change.
Any Raptors fans still here?
Not sure how much of this is out there this week – don’t really care since it’s old news anyway – but James Johnson is a Sacramento King and John Lucas III will be a Raptor, likely this afternoon.
The Johnson-for-a-second-round-pick deal has officially gone through and that leaves enough money lying around for Toronto to sign Lucas as a third point guard.
He’s supposed to get his physical today, sign his contract after and he could very well be “introduced” to the media tomorrow.
Oh, and we are coming to Halifax.
Think the big buntoss is down East today sometime to announce it. Not sure how long we’ll be there for but it’ll be a gas, am entirely looking forward to it.
Oh, one more: Schedule’s out tonight at 7 o’clock your time. Have fun with that, not sure what I’ll be doing at midnight and whether I can break away from it to look closely.
We now return you to other matters.
Sure, London Calling was first (and I wonder how many headlines or ledes to stories will use that stale phrase during these Games) and you had some others but …
Yep, nothing says Old Blighty better than Roger Miller.
Why not, could be some free time during the day tomorrow but I think we’ll do just one on the weekend, Saturday looks stupid busy for all of us.
Kind of caught off guard when we were riding in a bus from the press centre back to the hotel last night and we passed a petrol station.
Gas is only 1.28 here and I thought that was kind of cheap.
Oops. It’s pounds, guess maybe I was wrong.
There is a guy right this minute across the desk from me obviously having a Skype conversation with his family somewhere and I’m quite glad that his young son is wearing his Thomas The Tank Engine pajamas.
All right, rather slow day ahead, some more women’s basketball to write, think I might get a chance to get over to the arena again to find out what’s happening and there’s a COC cocktail reception tonight at Canada Olympic House in Trafalgar Square, I believe.
Last quiet day before things really get going; wonder if there’s an alley close by.