Workmen paint the railings at the recently refurbished Greenwich Boat Pier. An extraordinary year for London is already underway, and its about to get just a little bit more exciting.
The Olympic Games is not an event I especially look forward to. I can’t remember ever having sat through an entire opening (or closing) ceremony and I certainly don’t recall making a date to watch any particular sporting event.
But with the Torch Relay now making its way across the way and the Games fast approaching, it’s difficult to not to get swept along by the most modest of observations. Even as simple as seeing railings being painted and I feel a sense of inclusion in an event on paper I’m not really that interested in.
But, London has been transformed. Buildings have sprung up over the past year, train stations refurbished, pathways cleaned up and surfaces reapplied. Where I live – Lewisham – new homes are almost complete. Previously dead and unloved areas of the capital have been rejuvenated, in a short amount of time. It is impossible to ignore such things and not to tie them in to a series of events we’ll probably none of us see in our lifetimes again.
This weekend, the Diamond Jubilee kicks off. Weeks later the Olympic Games. Weeks after that the Paralympic Games. Straddling all of that is a Cultural Festival and amid that is the BBC Proms.
From a writing perspective, that’s a dizzying array of multiple narrative arcs. Or if you want the musical equivalent, what real life might be if we were to transpose one of J.S Bach’s finest fugues.
I’m on Greenwich Pier this morning because for the first time in six months, I’ve been able to cycle into work. After the difficulties I suffered with my bike lock jamming, then getting the bike removed from London Bridge train station and then having to get a new bike lock, I wanted to indulge myself on the first day ‘back’.
My bike remains reliable. Admittedly, the frame is possibly the only element which hasn’t been replaced. Purchased five days after I started at the BBC, three days after the London bombs and four after the announcement that London had secured the Olmypic Games for 2012, it represents a period of time which has raced by. Now we’re on the brink of momentous times, that bike feels like it should be integral to my own experiences over the coming months.
It’s going on one massive journey. Just like the rest of us. And even the grumpiest, most cynical of individuals can’t fail but to be carried along.