Alice Jones: So who did get tickets for the Olympics?


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The Olympians didn't get any. The face of London's winning bid didn't get any. Not even Boris got any. Did anybody get Olympics tickets?

This week a strange, counter-intuitive fever took hold as 1.8 million people checked their bank balances, hoping that vast, mysterious sums would have been spirited away overnight. In the event, many who had put in for thousands of pounds' worth of events found themselves disappointingly in the black, without a single ticket to their name.

There's now much muttering about how random the random ballot actually was but that ignores the real ticketing scandal. Take the showpiece event – the Men's 100m final. Even with top-price seats for the race costing £725 – or about £76 per second – a million applied for the 20,000 tickets available. The Olympic Stadium, though, holds four times as many people. The rest of those 80,000 seats will be filled by committee big-wigs, sponsors, big-business types and VIPs (and, yes, a few media organisations). Not to mention a cohort of MPs who have extended their summer recess to a luxurious eight weeks especially and snapped up 9,000 tickets for the Games to divvy up between themselves.

Meanwhile, potential medal-winners Tom Daley and Bradley Wiggins can't even bring their families to watch. And so another sports event is added to the summer circuit of corporate, champagne-swilling jollies. With crowds like that, you're better off watching it at home, with your friends.

This week Sarah Palin met Donald Trump to discuss backcombing, sorry, politics. The New York pizza summit between the Republican and the magnate was the latest stop on Palin's half-term coach trip around resonant American sites. Her family are also in tow, presumably carrying the vacuum flask and cagoules. Meanwhile, as the publicity onslaught reaches its clambaking climax, it's still not clear whether Palin is about to declare that she's running for President or that she's replacing Cheryl on The X Factor. It's neither. The news that the politician has commissioned a feature film about herself has explained the baffling spectacle once and for all: Palin is doing a Joaquin Phoenix.

Two years ago, the actor befuddled Hollywood by growing his hair and launching a bizarrely inappropriate, gaffe-strewn career as a hip-hop artist before revealing that it was just another role. As the resulting film, I'm Still Here, spoofed celebrity, so too will Palin's biopic, The Undefeated, parody politics. And any minute now, we're going to find out that Sarah Palin – beehive, baby mama, blood libel and all – has been a gigantic, glorious hoax.

On Tuesday, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition opens to the public. Often praised as cultural democracy in action – where Tracy from next door could find her work hanging next to that of Tracey from Margate – I prefer to think of it as the art world's annual revenge.

Every year, the critics sneer at the hotch-potch of professional and amateur submissions, thus proving they can sift "good" art from "bad". And this year the committee have joined in, too. Chief hanger Christopher Le Brun admitted that Academicians are "embarrassed" by the quality of work while another on his team branded the public's art "psychotic". Of course, they're not "embarrassed" at all - they're glad of the opportunity to trumpet their superiority.

For the rest of the year, Turner Prize artists are hung out to dry in the press and catcalls of "call that art?" ring in the ears of gallerists and critics. This is their moment to snitch back at the public – and to remind us how terribly talented they really are.

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