east of east london
this week made the transformation of post-industrial rough and dirty East London into the showcase of a world spectacle complete: each day that i turned from our street on to Bow Road there were more special 2012 cards & 2012 coaches mixed with the gradually increasing traffic towards Stratford; there’s been constantly a helicopter hovering over our area all week, and since last night’s opening ceremony even 2, plus a lit space ship glowing and floating through the night sky like a jelly fish. 3 nights in a row i could hear the fireworks practice in the nearby stadium (it hadn’t even occurred to me until then that even a firework performance needs a practice run – and the one last night has definitely done the noisy practice runs a lot of justice! i could actually see it from a window in our house…), and last night i could actually watch the 007 parachuting out of the helicopter both on the TV screen and through our living room window. i am a bit puzzled by it all, especially the crowds of people covered in Union Jacks or waving their little hand-held British flags – i’ve always felt a bit uneasy about patriotism probably due to growing up in (West) Germany during the Cold War as it was still trying to come to terms with the destructiveness of Hitler’s nationalism.
there’s lots about the 2012 olympic games that i’m very challenged by. but i found it really exciting to see how the opening ceremony reflected and celebrated the richness & diversity of London without glamourising it, amazing to see the CND logo “alive” in the centre of the stadium, and moving to see Shami Chakrabti and Stephen Lawrence’ mother among the olympic flag bearers…
i managed to take a few photos during last weekend’s music festival at London Pleasure Gardens, East of East London – with exactly that same curious mix of old, rusty, dilapidated, alive, honest, celebrated, new, shiny, exciting and transforming – i was actually not even 100 meters away from ‘George’s Diner” (see previous post).