100 Days Until The Olympics – A Look At London 2012 By The Numbers

With 100 days to go, it's no secret that opinions about the Olympics are heavily divided in the UK. According to a BBC poll, 64% of people think we've spent too much on the games. However, 51% of people in London think the games will be good for the city according to a separate YouGov poll for the London Evening Standard. Yet, no matter what your opinion is on the games, there is no argument that they are going to have a big impact on London. Here's a look at some of the numbers:

Browse more data visualizations.

Some key highlights for me are:

  • The fact that London will host the world's largest McDonalds.
  • There are more than twice as many reporters as athletes.
  • 29.4 million tourists will supposedly visit the UK for the Games and surrounding events. (This number seems absurdly unrealistic considering the UK recorded 29.8 million visitors in the whole of 2010, according to Visit Britain.)

So what do you think of the London 2012 Olympic Games? Love them? Hate them? Meh? Leave your comment below:

Cute, Sleepy Ducklings In Wapping Woods A Sure Sign Of Spring

Who doesn't love ducklings? According to the Youtube video description: "Since filming the ducklings seem to have gone, probably moved by the RSPCA to a safer location as they do tend to sunbathe wherever they want and are oblivious to the joggers."

The video was shot in Wapping Woods, E1 - less than 1 mile from the Tower of London. I'm always amazed you can find so many animals essentially in central London. I expect I'll end up seeing far more ducklings in the near future around London's various public parks. Have any of you had you first duckling sighting yet?

Iconic London Landmarks As Presented By Randomly London

Big Ben, London

I've decided that one of the regular features of this blog will be to look at iconic London landmarks in a variety of different ways. There are dozens of famous sites that tourists flock to each year. Very broadly speaking, most people take relatively similar pictures of a given building, attraction, monument, etc.

I honestly don't think this is a bad thing, but I do find it interesting. For me, the interesting thing is when someone can take a famous landmark and present it in a way I've never seen before. This can be as simple as taking a photo from a new angle to as complex as finding out what a site used to look like; either from historic photos, videos or paintings. For most major London landmarks there are potentially dozens if not hundreds of ways they could be presented.

To that end, I will pick a given London landmark and then over several days present it in a variety of different ways. Most photos and other work will not be my own, but I will always attempt to add my own (generally inferior) work to any series. It is very easy for anyone who has lived in London, for any period of time, to forget how wonderful and amazing this city can be.

My ultimate goal is nothing more than to show London's famous landmarks in a new light. It's not going to suddenly make any of us love the flocks of tourists these sites attract, but I hope it will at least make you stop and pause when you pass one. Life in London can often be a pain, but there are some real privileges to living here. I for one would not choose to live anywhere else.

First In The Series

The first landmark in the series will be the Battersea Power Station. While by no means the most iconic or famous landmark in London, it remains popular with photographers in particular. It's redevelopment has a long history of failures, and at the moment doesn't look like it's going anywhere fast.

Still it's hard to image that such prime real estate in central London won't eventually get developed. But until that happens, you can be sure people will keep snapping photos of the site.

You can view all photos from this series from the London Landmarks category page.

Crazy Parkour/Freerunning Video Shot in Croydon

I don't think this video can be described as anything other than crazy. I'm constantly amazed that people can do Parkour/Freerunning and not end up seriously injured or dead. The video was created by Concrete Circus, which is apparently a Channel4 show. It's the first time, I've ever heard of them, but I'll keep on eye out for future videos.

Grosvenor Waterside Boat

Grosvenor Waterside Boat, SW1

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What: Boat in the Grosvenor Waterside development.

By:

When: December 5th, 2011.

Where: City of Westminster, SW1 in the Grosvenor Waterside development (Between Pimlico and Chelsea).

Why: I like this photo because it was unexpected. The Grosvenor Waterside development has space for narrow boats to dock, yet I have never actually seen one docked there. My guess is because the mooring fees are too high (The development's moto is 'reflecting Chelsea'), but there may be another reason.

The boat above is in fact the only boat I have ever seen docked anywhere in the development. So for me it just seemed really out of place, hence why I like it.

One Way Of Beating London’s Traffic

This video shows how you can get from Ealing to Angel in 3 minutes flat using nothing more than a Vespa. Well OK, the actual travel time was 35 minutes, so the video has been sped up 10X. This makes the whole trip seem incredibly hair raising. I'm sure if I watched it at normal speed it would be far more tame, but at the current speed I did wonder a bit about the driver's sanity.

I originally found this video via Reddit where the driver and video creator responds to many people's concerns with his driving. If you like the video or are interested to learn more about it you should go give the comments a look.

London: A Guide for the Naive

London: A Guide for the Naive from SamGould on Vimeo.

I came across this spoof documentary or mockumentary about London from the Londonist blog. Essentially, it tells you everything you ever wanted to know about London's history, if you don't care about things like facts or accuracy. As a spoof it works fairly well and is certainly worth a watch.

Some highlights include the secret order of the black cab which controls London, the fact that the Thames was a gift from Egypt and that the rich don't bother with regular Oyster cards, but instead have their own special payment system. There are plenty of other amusing bits as well, that will get you sounding like a true Londoner in no time.

While not the fumiest thing I've ever seen, it will make you chuckle, especially if you know a thing or two about London's history and landmarks.

Maple Leaf By The Thames

Maple Leaf Thames SW11

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What: A maple leaf in the muddy banks of the Thames.

By:

When: December 2nd, 2011.

Where: Wandsworth, SW11 on the bank of the Thames near the Battersea Bridge at an especially low tide.

Why: It may seem weird to start a blog about London with a picture that really could have been taken anywhere. Certainly it is not your standard picture of Big Ben (that is to say the Clock Tower), Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, etc. that you might expect to find. However, this picture is one of my favourites. I like it because it is simple, it was fun to take, and perhaps most of all because it reminds a little of home.

I am and always will be Canadian, even though I would like to make London my permanent home. This website is going to reflect that fact, both in the pictures I take and the content I write. Seeing a maple leaf by the Thames seemed a perfect confluence of my life in London. The symbol of my native country next to the river I have spent countless hours walking along.

Most of my future posts will focus more on things you can only see in London, but I thought I should start out with something personal to get the ball rolling.