Susie Rushton: Overblown, over-priced, over here. Count me in

Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Last week it was the letter through the door warning us that, next summer, several roads near us will be re-routed. On Saturday it was construction work on the Tube, and at Stratford station. I live on the opposite side of town to the sprouting Olympic park in the East, but the first signs of the Games' arrival are already felt almost every day, and not many are a cause for joy.

For months, though, the inconveniences that accompany a huge international sports event rolling into my home town have been tempered by excitement. Last year, in a moment of unexpected fervour, I even volunteered to work at the Games, at the fencing events, to be held in the ExCel centre (applicants don't find out until November whether they'll get to help out or not, so I may yet have to fulfil my ambition to help test athletic urine).

But this weekend was the big test of Londoners' enthusiasm for the event. Do we actually want to see the swimming, the cycling or the Greco-Roman wrestling? Will we actually reach into our pockets and pay (once again, it feels like) a little more towards the sporting fiesta that seems to be a non-stop PR party for Boris Johnson and Seb Coe?

And on the issue of tickets I find myself conflicted once again. There's a lot to be annoyed and pessimistic about, in the best possible British tradition. The first major gripe is the high price of seats. The cheapest, "category D" seat in the Olympic stadium is £20. The lowest-price seats for the day which culminates with the men's 100m final are £50; the most expensive, £725.

In other disciplines, the prices range from £20 to more than £3,000 with most more than £90 a head. The question is, of course, just how bad are the £20 seats? The ticket website gives you no handy map of the seating arrangements, as you would when booking in a cinema or theatre. So I assume the worst: if, by chance, one gets a ticket in the ballot for the bigger-ticket events, not only binoculars but perhaps also a live stream of the event on your phone will be essential if you want to see anything but tiny ants blurred on the other side of the athletics track. Oh, hang on, spectators may not be able to take mobile phones to the Games, either.

Other quibbles include the monopoly of Visa – pay with one of their cards or you're not coming in; the fact that 13,000 of (VIP) tickets are being allocated to politicians, with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport taking 9,000; that almost all of the A- and B-grade seats will inevitably end up underneath the bums of London's corporate classes as a sort of sporting bonus; the embarrassing manner in which Thomas Cook have cranked up package prices for foreign visitors.

Then again, I thought, as I stuffed as many cheap tickets into my online "basket" as possible yesterday morning, when the time comes, I'll kick myself if I didn't buy them when I could. For years I will have endured travel disruption, price hikes and Sebastian Coe's self-importance, all for nothing. So see you on the back row at the beach volleyball final.







A new take on the idea of the misery memoir

I've felt rather furtive about reading on the Tube over the last week: the paperback in my hands is the so-called "new Lolita", Margaux Fragoso's Tiger Tiger. The twist is that this story is told by from the point of view of the "nymphet" herself and, furthermore, that the rather grisly tale is true.

That the memoir of a relationship between a seven-year-old girl and a molester 44 years her senior has been published is surprising enough; Fragoso remembers each glance and grope of their decades-long affair, from their first meeting in a swimming pool to his eventual suicide, in detail, which has caused some to question its veracity. It also made lots of publicity for the book on its publication this month. The great art of Vladimir Nabokov's book was the moral slippage one experiences as Humbert Humbert is allowed to justify his abuse as the tale unfolds. But it is just that: art, a creation, a great literary fiction. The reader of Tiger Tiger is asked enjoy the true story of a paedophilic crime, told with tenderness and sympathy – yet also fully revealing the abuser's manipulative nature – from the viewpoint of the victim. It deserves to be told, but with this romance and in such a compelling style?







I thought that bunny was looking unusually sad

Does your box of Tetleys teabags run dry sooner than expected? Is your bag of Maltesers rather light, that Toblerone rather shorter than you remember? Your senses do not deceive you. Faced with the soaring price of cocoa, sugar and wheat, the giant food manufacturers have admitted they are downsizing the standard proportions of favourite brands rather than risk what they term "sticker shock", or what I call "Bloody hell, where's my change?"

Juice cartons, bottles of fizzy drinks, multi- packs of crisps are all targets for shrinkage as "soft commodities" soar – fuelled at least in part by speculation, so thanks once again to our wonderful financial services industries.

Perhaps I can manage with one less chunk in a Dairy Milk bar, but what of Easter eggs? The indication so far is that eggs will maintain their standard sizes, but will be super-priced: some big brands want us to shell out up to 140 per cent more this year – for instance, the Galaxy Minstrels egg that cost £2.50 last Easter is now £6. Cue parents across the land waffling about the Easter Bunny being rather malnourished and only having very small eggs in his basket this year...

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

There is far too much sexism in the UK - but a point scoring system against other countries won't help to tackle it

Victoria Richards
 

Upmarket and downmarket – why the modern consumer loves a bit of both

Sean O'Grady
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers