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

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
With an eye for strategy: Stephen Fry’s General Melchett and Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund Blackadder  

What Cameron really needs is to turn this into a khaki election

Matthew Norman
An Italian policeman stands guard as migrants eat while waiting at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily. Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa struggled to cope with a huge influx of newly-arrived migrants as aid organisations warned the Libya crisis means thousands more could be on their way  

Migrant boat disaster: EU must commit funds to stop many more dying

Alistair Dawber
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own