Saturday, 28 January 2012

The People's Olympics

This is a piece I wrote for the 2012 issue of the fantastic Pea Soup magazine. If you don't already, follow Pea Soup on Twitter and Like them on Facebook. 


Yep, it’s the Olympics this year. You know that. The media has only been going on about it for, like, seven years. But what does it actually mean to us as Londoners? Considering most of us aren’t actually able to compete in the games, and that it’s only relatively few of us who have even managed to get tickets to see anything, perhaps the answer is: not a lot, really.

With that in mind, we’ve put together our own set of more relevant games, which we can all participate in together this year. This is the Peasoup Peaple’s Olympics, designed around the influx of visitors both the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will bring, as well as some of our favourite everyday London habits.

Perhaps if any of you put in a good performance in one of the below games and are able to send us YouTube evidence, then we’ll dig out a medal or two. And if you have any more Games suggestions, why not let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

On your marks. Get set. Go!

The Up Down Sprint

Venue: Angel tube station

Try this if you think you’re up to it...


The Photo Dash

Venue: Westminster Bridge

Your aim here is to see how many tourist snaps you can ruin by walking in front of cameras as you cross the bridge. The Olympics should help ensure Big Ben’s in high demand, so aim for at least 10 or so ruined shots. This can also be repeated in other tourist areas, preferably with a high density of Japanese sightseers.


The Left Hand Sigh

Venue: Tube station escalators

This is simply a challenge of volume. Compete to have the loudest possible sigh when stuck behind a pesky visitor who decides it’s OK to stand on the left hand side of the escalator. Saying excuse me will result in disqualification. Only sighing is allowed.


The Wait

Venue: Waterloo Station

A true test of stamina, the medal winner here will be the person who can last longest at a ticket hall queue. Self-serve machines are not allowed. As the UK’s busiest train station and one that will play a key part in shipping people over to Stratford, we’ve picked Waterloo station as the venue. Any of these stations listed in TfL’s depressing ‘to avoid’ list could make good substitutes.


The Bus of Endurance

Venue: Night bus of your choosing

The game here is one we’ve all had some practice at, with varying levels of success. Stage one is to go out drinking somewhere not particularly close to where you live, the West End perhaps. Stage two is where the fun begins – pick up your night bus home and try not to fall asleep. Longest waking journey wins. Ending up in a bus garage makes you automatically disqualified.


Borough Market Sweep

Venue: Borough Market

There’s no Dale Winton, but this London version of Supermarket Sweep comes with camera-wielding touristy obstacles of the kind you won’t find in Tesco. Go with a group, sort out your shopping list and then race to the finish. For the most fun, go on a Saturday afternoon in the summer. Anyone who runs out of money before completing the task is sadly disqualified.

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