The tickets have arrived!

“Hope the weather’s going to be better than it is today!”

What’s that I was hearing? Could it be? Yes, it could, and to be honest it was no surprise. Grumpy was engaging in weather-banter with the representative of the Royal Mail who was attempting to wring from him a signature to confirm delivery of our Olympic tickets.

The Olympic ticket delivery system is a marvel of modern organisation. I have never been so updated with progress before. Yesterday an email that I nearly discarded as spam – “Royal Mail has received your item…” It sounded a bit like “You have won EuroMillions despite having never entered”. Then a text with the same warning to be in for the delivery. Then the delivery itself. Then a text telling me what had happened. And another email. The tickets had definitely arrived.

So, with the prize in our grasp we hurriedly opened the envelope proudly emblazoned with “Tracked by Royal Mail”. Inside we found a purple wallet with our souvenir tickets. If they are souvenirs does that mean we can keep them forever? No-one’s going to take them from us or cancel them out by tearing off a corner or running a biro over them in that official way they do on the trains?

Grumpy seemed more interested in the added extras, “What’s that? A travel card? You get a free travel card?” Like he’d never seen one before. Well, fair enough, really – a bit old skool now we have the magic of Oystercards. A souvenir travel card, perhaps?

Once I had distracted him from the price (I had completely forgotten how much I ended up paying in that second round panic for tickets nobody could imagine wanting two months previously) we took a look through the contents of the envelope. There were the tickets and a guide to being a spectator, which pretty much involves getting there two hours ahead of time and submitting oneself to intensive security inspection.

You also seem to get a GB official supporter sticker, sponsored by Lloyds TSB and a sheet of “pop out tags” that seem to offer the holder a strange photograph in the Olympic Park. You have to sign up on the BP website for them to “offset” the carbon emissions caused by your journey to the games. There is a video presented by Adam Hart-Davis to explain how carbon offsetting works if you think this seems to be like a magic solution to something that doesn’t seem that easy to solve. At the end of the video Adam observes that some people are sceptical about carbon offsetting, suggesting that it is about “lazy” people trying to throw money at a problem, but he doesn’t believe that. Well, you can watch the video and decide. Living in London, I would have used public transport to get to the games with or without a free travelcard. I am sure many people in the UK would do the same were efficient and affordable public transport available. Investing in public transport and making owning a car less desirable is surely a better way to go than trying to balance out the pollution they cause.

So am I excited? Medium. My trip is just to Wembley and I have been there before. But it will be for an Olympic final, and I haven’t ever had that experience. Only when the Paralympics arrive will I get inside the Olympic Stadium. Interestingly, the day my tickets arrive, London 2012 have announced the availability of more tickets. There’s not much for £20 left now, though. Although, the preliminary rounds of men’s beach volleyball are still a possibility. Strangely the men don’t seem as popular as the women in that sport…

Olympic Oil

With BP and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill back in the news as the trial opens in New Orleans to judge who was responsible for the worst offshore oil spill in US history, it appears that it is not only me that has been wondering about the legitimisation of all these, frankly dubious, companies by the Olympics. There have been protests, says The Guardian, over the suitability of the oil company to be a major sponsor of London 2012:

Olympics organisers have come under attack from environmentalists, artists, indigenous people’s leaders and development groups over the position of BP as an official partner in the games.

There has been subvertising and everything!

Every time I see one of those adverts, I think “that is so wrong”. Jessica Ennis running through the sands – fuelled not by BP but by her breakfast. But what’s that scary green bubble following her like the white ball in The Prisoner? Just BP reminding us that there’s nothing like an oil company to mess up a good beach.

And if that’s not bad enough, in this ad the hurdler doesn’t just need a BP powered Olympic car – he actually is the car! He has an engine for a heart and BP oil in his veins. Fantastic.