We are now well into the Olympics, and there is a definite buzz around London. People are talking about it, watching it, or have tickets to go to see it in person. I prefer to watch it on TV and choose the sport from the 24 HD channels that the BBC are streaming, although my shows take me into London, and in fact right near the stadium… but I am getting ahead of myself.
Last week on the 24th July I was heading to Ealing to perform at two hospitals for the POD charity (which I will talk about more in a future post), which took me through Kingston Upon Thames, into Richmond and then on to Ealing.
I was due to arrive at Ealing Hospital for 9:45am and so set off at 8am… (I know, it’s early for a magician, especially when it’s the other side of London). When I got to Kingston Upon Thames, the traffic stopped, and people were abandoning their cars… it was like a scene from a disaster movie, I had no idea what was going on – until I heard cheers, and when I went to investigate I saw that at the end of the road I was stuck in, the Olympic Torch was just passing at that precise moment. It was all very exciting.
When the torch had passed, people returned to their cars and the traffic started to flow again. What I didn’t realise, and hadn’t even thought to check was that the torch route was the exact same route that I had started out on. The torch runners were being followed by a police van, and then behind the police was me…. for two and a half hours, and we were travelling at the speed of the runners !!!
Once I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to be late, I started to enjoy seeing the people who were lining the streets and cheering me thinking I was part of the procession (I phoned ahead and explained why I was going to be late and the hospital were fine about it).
To give you some idea of the crowds that turned out for the torch, I took some video footage – take a look…
I have had a couple of shows in London since then, during the Olympics, and I have left WAY more time than I would normally expect to, and so far it has all been very easy with hardly any traffic. My show yesterday took place in West Ham Park, which is only a few miles from the stadium, and on my way to The Magic Circle after my show, I went right past it – again with no traffic. All in all it’s an exciting time to live in England, and especially near London… being a creative performer type, I am now looking forward to the closing ceremony, although will be difficult to top the opening which I thought was stunning.