Grace Dent: Using ninja internet tactics, I finally enter Olympic Park

 

Share
Related Topics

After five days of Olympic red-button surfing, it was time to actually leave the house and enter the Olympic Park.

Snaffling tickets for Spain vs Croatia yesterday in the men's water polo – via ninja internet tactics – came at just the right time. I'd run out of clean cups and groceries. In fact, by the time Team GB had taken silver (downgraded to bronze) in the gymnastics on Monday night I was considering drinking banana Nesquik out of a shoe. I'll never see the jolly side of Japan sulking away our silver. My Olympics goodwill had also run thin with the beach volleyball DJ, the twonk who sounds like Pat Sharp warming up Tokyo Joe's in Magaluf 1988.

Somewhere in Britain a waltzer's control booth is missing its big gob. If you're reading this, sonny jim, I am one more "We Will Rock You" jumping to a "My Sharona" then back to a cheeky Mariachi trumpet before you get a visit.

Right now, the Olympic Park feels like a vast concrete Glastonbury with a complete dearth of places to buy merchandise, food or booze. How did this happen? I've spent six years being whined at about the IOC corporate tie-ins, then by 2pm yesterday I'd have motor-boated Seb Coe for a sip of a Robinsons Fruit Shoot.

Spain vs Croatia ended dramatically when Spain's goal in the last 10 seconds was disallowed, leading to a mob of Spaniards shouting the odds in tiny trunks. The Croatians had already donned their dressing gowns and flounced off.

Needing emotional rescue from the medal race

Medal-wise, I've accepted that the Chinese are – and I've run this past the sport desk, they assure me it's a term – annoyingly bloody good.

I've started treating our own Team GB athletes like the sexy characters in a straight-to-DVD horror movie. They look great in shorts, but don't get attached as they won't be around long. I kept a stiff emotional distance from Tom Daley. It worked out very well.

In contrast, I got my heartstrings all tangled up with the 18-year-old weightlifter Zoe Smith, which led to me spending Monday screaming: "But WHY would they ENTER her for that weight if she's not a good prospect in it?" I did this while frantically checking Twitter to see what type of cookies she ate for breakfast.

When it comes to medals, the surprises and freak occurrences are lovelier. Like 15-year-old Plymouth schoolgirl Ruta Meilutyte grabbing a gold in the 100m breaststroke. Ruta's from Lithuania but came to Plymouth to concentrate on her swimming.

Ruta's little face as she stood in the water, trying to make sense of events and then garble a message to her dad back home, was a special moment.

Anybody fancy a visit to Covent Garden?

Inside the Olympic Park and in Westfield Shopping Centre there's a constant stampede. In contrast, central London still feels like a ghost town.

After months of being warned by Boris that London would be a post-apocalyptic vision of nihilistic hell (OK, he said "jolly busy" while doing his bumptious Old English Sheepdog face, but we got the gist), London is actually TOO quiet.

There are no panicked tourists knocking each other under Tube trains or attacking each other with stuffed Wenlocks for the last orange Calippo within the M25.

In fact, Londoners, being a resourceful bunch, seem to have treated the Games in much the same manner as West Londoners have treated the Notting Hill Carnival for decades – by going on holiday or staying indoors with the blinds shut.

"Pleeeease come to Covent Garden!" a council official wibbled on the BBC London News, standing outside the Punch and Judy Pub in the centre of the market. In the background a juggler performed for tumbleweed and a bored crow.

This made me laugh. I always tell visitors to never look at London street theatre. It just bloody encourages them.

React Now

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

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions