World of Chig   

London: Olympic City

1,434 days.

Or 204 weeks.

Or 3 years, 11 months and 4 days...and a mere £9.325 billion.

... until Friday 27 July 2012 - the start of the London Olympics and Paralympics.

You wouldn't want to be Lord Coe, would you?

London officially becomes the next Olympic city at the end of today's closing ceremony in Beijing. (BBC One coverage starts at 12:00 BST.) This is despite the fact that Beijing is still to host the Paralympics, which start in thirteen days' time. Bumbling Boris, who will hopefully be voted out of office two months before the London Olympics start, will be handed the Antwerp flag and then it's all ours!

At exactly 14:04 BST today, if it runs to time, London will be given eight minutes of the closing ceremony to give a flavour of what we can expect to see in 2012. (It's that Chinese lucky eight thing again.) This will apparently include:

  • A London bus being chased into the stadium by three of our cyclists; gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, triple gold medallist Chris Hoy and BMXer Shanaze Reade (who fell off in her final, thereby showing the full range, from British excellence to plucky, heroic British failure).
  • A soundtrack which includes the shipping forecast.
  • David Beckham.
  • The bus opening out like a flower.
  • Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page doing 'Whole Lotta Love'.

I'm still unsure whether to be horrified or excited by this prospect. It's clearly going to be a bit naffer than 5,000 years of Chinese history, which was done so effectively in Beijing's opening ceremony. It looks very much like it will be done with a cheeky, British sense of humour, which will basically be the UK saying, "Look, we can't afford the forty billion that China has spent on the games. We're going to do it our own way, on the cheap, if that's okay with the rest of the world."

While all of this is going on in Beijing, there's a party in The Mall in London, where the Olympic spirit will be celebrated, appropriately enough, outside the home of Phil The Greek. Apparently, he and his German wife Liz won't be at home.

London has thirty screens up today to watch the closing ceremony and the gig on The Mall, in which the acts taking part, including Will Young, James Morrison and The Feeling will be doing sport-related songs. (Spandau Ballet's 'Gold', by any chance?) There's also rumoured to be a link to Notting Hill Carnival, where Heather Small will perform something. Hmm, I wonder which song that will be...

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