Simon Kelner: You need Olympian levels of dedication to get a ticket

Kelner's view

Share
Related Topics

It was very odd to wake up yesterday to a discussion about the inner-city riots which took place exactly a year ago. Was it really only a year since a country which, today, is swelled with communal pride was riven by urban disturbances?

We have become rather used to the sound of our National Anthem sung with feeling, to mark another gold medal for Britain, and to give another reason to be bound by collective achievement. We can't quite remember when the soundtrack to our lives was police sirens and the smashing of shop windows. Or maybe we have just blocked it out, which is why a discussion about the shockingly draconian sentences meted out to opportunist looters (for instance, 18 months for a first offence of taking some T-shirts from an already ransacked shop) or further examination of the police shooting of Mark Duggan seems so very jarring.

Today's landscape, populated with Olympic heroes and illuminated with a golden hue, is very different. Sporting success can make us feel as if we are all in it together, a feeling heightened by the fact that a mixed race woman and a Muslim immigrant are the British heroes of the hour. There is not so much focus at the moment about the haves and have-nots, unless, of course, you're talking about tickets to watch the Games.

In this narrow respect, Britain is largely a land of have-nots. Over last weekend, when public interest in events at the stadium peaked, traffic to the Locog site increased to 2.5 million visitors a day. So in households up and down the country, computers were on, and were refreshed every minute or so. People eager to be part of the Games were sitting in front of screens for hours, getting a message that their request will be processed in "15 minutes or more" only then to be told that their application is not successful. Others put their alarm on in the middle of the night in the hope that they will log on to Locog at precisely the time the Botswanan delegation's unused allocation is released. But to all those who are complaining that they can't get tickets, I would say this: the Olympic Games is a celebration of the elite, so it is only right that you need to show superhuman levels of dedication and application to get your reward.

And how about this for a true Olympian? A tech wizard called Adam Naisbitt has designed a computer program that checks the website every second and sends out alerts when tickets become available. Tens of thousands of Twitter followers are using the service and he asks for no reward, but simply suggests a donation to the British Olympic Foundation.

But even if you strike lucky, your problems may not be over. A friend told me he'd paid £725 for a ticket the other day. Blimey, I said, that's steep. How much was the cover price? No, he replied, that was the cover price.

The people's games? It seems that, a year on, we haven't learnt that much about social exclusion.

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: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss