London’s grumbling citizens go for the gold medal — in being bloody brassed off

By Adam Sherwin


Hyde Park

Mayfair residents are up in arms over news that Hyde Park will host a series of concerts. Most of the criticism has been directed at the selection of Duran Duran as the headline act for the opening ceremony gig.

The Mall

At least the Queen will enjoy peace and quiet during a three-month closing of the Mall, when all pedestrians and motorists will be banned. The prolonged closure is essentially a vise on the aorta of London.

Victoria Station

Bus drivers plan to add to the chaos by striking over pay, despite $12.9 million made available for bonuses. Passengers were advised to walk or bike after a citywide strike last month.

Park Lane

A boom in hotel reservations has failed to materialize. Online booking operator said there were 4,500 rooms still on sale for Aug. 4, the busiest night of the Olympics’ 17-day schedule.

The Tube

Tube operators will pocket $1,500 bonuses for “additional pressures,” as traffic analysts INRIX predict rush hour will begin two hours early. In worse news, Mayor Boris Johnson lent his voice to announcements.

The West End

Andrew Lloyd Webber expects a long, quiet summer at theater box offices. Several playhouses will be forced to go dark, the composer says, because of a drop-off in the regular West End tourist audience.

Victoria Embankment

As London fumes in traffic jams, Olympic participants will speed down 30 miles of “Zil lanes,” carving up the Embankment and Park Lane. A $200 fine awaits any driver who breaches the Olympic cordon.


The heart of London’s government district will be closed to traffic to allow spectators to watch beach volleyball. That’s good news for David Cameron, who can view the specially constructed court from Downing Street.


Businesses and residents in the media hub fear broadband will be reduced to a crawl. The U.K. Internet Services Providers’ Association fears a “massive hit on infrastructure” if workers watch the Games online.


Businesses can make and receive nighttime deliveries if they’ve been given special permission by the city (and agreed to keep the noise down). The Noise Abatement Society must approve vehicle codes.

Blackwall Tunnel

Traffic in “hot spots” such as this, which links Olympic Village to the O2 Arena, face constant congestion. The average delay across Greater London will be at least 12 minutes.

Bow, East London

Residents have protested plans for surface-to-air missiles on a residential block. (They’re intended to protect Olympic Park from terrorist attack.) Many initially thought the proposal was a joke.

Olympic Park, Stratford

ATMs inside the new $750 million stadium will be rebranded exclusively for Visa. The battle over which football club will take over the stadium post-Games has already resulted in ugly legal action.

Royal Docks

A new $68 million cable car provides aerial escape from the gridlock. The car will carry 2,500 people an hour between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula. But at $5 per ride it’s been derided as a rip-off.


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