Amelia’s Magazine | Westfield Stratford City: an Olympic Legacy to be proud of or ridiculous Temple to Consumerism?

Westfield Development by Sniff Chatfield
Westfield Stratford City by Sniff Chatfield.

So, story amidst great fanfare the brand new Westfield Stratford City megamall was finally opened today, with the help of plenty of sheeny shiny celebrities: Nicole Scherzinger, Kelly Brook and erm, Boris Johnson. Yes, a bunch of loons queued for hours to get in and grab the hyped up First Day bargains, but what will be the reality of this huge shopping centre a few years down the line? I don’t doubt that the 2012 London Olympics will bring big revenues as punters are forced through the Westfield shopping funnel in order to get to the games, but what then?

Westfield Stratford City by Sniff Chatfield
Westfield Stratford City by Sniff Chatfield.

All the talk is of a lasting legacy, but this part of east London is a notoriously deprived area where communities are fractured and desire to own the latest goods drives people into dire debt. Is Westfield Stratford City the best legacy the Olympics could possibly leave? Not new homes, or, god forbid, facilities to support healthy communities? Yes, apparently creating space for hundreds of chainstores and the UK’s largest casino is a legacy to be proud of, destined to enrich this community. Let’s hope those much trumpeted jobs last long after the Olympic torch is gone and the gleaming surfaces start to lose a bit of their sheen.

Categories ,2012, ,Boris Johnson, ,consumerism, ,Kelly Brook, ,Megamall, ,Nicole Scherzinger, ,Olympics, ,Shopping Mall, ,Sniff Chatfield, ,Westfield Stratford City

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Amelia’s Magazine | Two wheels good: London’s Borisbike cycle hire scheme proves its worth

Kotki Dwa gig
london borisbike by daria hlazatova
Illustration by Daria Hlazatova

To be honest, remedy I was skeptical of the idea of a bike rental scheme before the launch. If we are going to spend £140 million on cycling I’d rather see we build more bike lanes, cheap I thought. London needs to make roads safer for cyclists, and in my experience, this is the number one reason why people are put off getting bikes.

But in the weeks since 30 July’s launch, when 6000 solid, bright blue bikes where installed in 315 docking stations, my objections have been put to shame. Now, as I roll into London Bridge every morning on my trusty hybrid bike, I invariably find myself accompanied by city workers scurrying around on rental bikes. And I swear the number of ‘regular’ bikes have increased as well – the profile of cycling has shot up as everyone loves the ‘Borisbike’.

Borisbikes by Mina Bach
Mayor Boris Johnson by Mina Bach

While the need for more bike lanes prevails, there is safety in numbers as every extra bike on the road makes it safer to cycle. Over a million rides were made on the Borisbikes in the first three months, the Greater London Authority declared as it held the first appraisal of the scheme on 12 October. Once implementation costs are covered within three years, the scheme is expected to become profitable – in fact it will then be the only London transport system not to run at a loss. Only five bikes have so far been stolen, a fact the Police Cycle Task Force attributes to a sense of ‘community ownership’ among Londoners. And I think that’s true – having spoken to numerous people about this, there is a feeling that these are ‘our’ bikes. In a sometimes very anonymous city like London, where being spoken to on the tube by a stranger can actually feel intrusive, the bikes are becoming a symbol that after all, we are all Londoners.

london bike rental by genie espinosa
Illustration by Genie Espinosa

Mayor Boris Johnson‘s introduction of the bike scheme grants London a place in a worldwide club of bike rental cities. But the Borisbikes, and the the 12 cycle ‘superhighways’, were actually the suggestion of former mayor Ken Livingstone, following a visit to Paris to see the city’s ‘Vélib’ cycling scheme. This is the biggest in the world with 17,000 bikes, suggesting this is only the beginning for London’s 6000 bikes. Our numbers are soon to reach 8000, however, as the system expands beyond central London to cover all of Tower Hamlets and more of Hackney, in time for the 2012 Olympics. The bikes themselves are identical to Montreal’s ‘Bixi’ rental bikes; 23 kilos would be excessively heavy for a regular bike, but for a rental it makes it a very stable and durable ride, plus very unattractive to steal. Vandals are further deterred as most of the wires have been placed inside the frame, and the bikes also boast extra-strong tires and dynamo lights.

London bike scheme by Carla Bromhead
Cycle superhighway by Carla Bromhead

So as Londoners get on their bikes – here’s a quick guide to safe cycling in traffic:

* Claim your space. Make sure drivers can see you, and ride a good foot’s distance from the kerb. Signal clearly and look behind you before turning, and they will respect you for it.

* Watch out for cars turning left. If you see vehicles indicating to the left, stay behind, or, if there’s time, get far in front where they can see you.

* Overtake on the right if you can. Instinct will have you overtake queuing vehicles on their left – this places you in a blind spot so only do this if there’s plenty of space.

* Avoid lorries. Stay behind, or overtake on the right. But as statistics dictate that if you get injured while cycling it will be from a lorry, it’s best to just steer clear.

* Follow the traffic rules. Cyclists who plow into pedestrians to get ahead give us all a bad name. But every now and again, it might just be safer to get ahead of heavy traffic by jumping a light. But be extremely sure before you do this – and mind those pedestrians.

boris johnson by daria hlazatova
Mayor Boris Johnson by Daria Hlazatova

Sign up for the London bike hire scheme here. Read more about the scheme in Amelia Wells’ article about the launch, or have a look at our tips for getting ready for winter cycling here.

Categories ,bike rental, ,Bixi, ,Boris Johnson, ,Borisbike, ,Carla Bromhead, ,cycle superhighway, ,cycling, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Genie Espinosa, ,Greater London Authority, ,hackney, ,Ken Livingstone, ,london, ,Mina Bach., ,Montreal, ,Olympics, ,paris, ,Tower Hamlets, ,Vélib

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Amelia’s Magazine | London 2012 Paralympics Games Illustrated

Ellie Simmonds by Daniel Castrogiovanni
Ellie Simmonds by Daniel Castrogiovanni.

Much has been written of the Paralympics: with the press dwelling on life stories of ‘inspiring’ athletes and the athletes in turn pleading with fans to concentrate on their physical achievements in sport. Between my family and friends we simply expressed our utmost admiration: for, like Olympic athletes the Paralympics athletes, are in awesome physical condition. They can boast a level of fitness that most of us can only dream of (or work extremely extremely hard for) and their sporting feats outstripped what the ordinary person is capable of, despite any physical or mental shortcomings.

David Weir by Ruth Joyce
David Weir by Ruth Joyce.

Like many others I’ve never paid much attention to the Paralympics before, but then again I’ve never watched the Olympics either. I’m glad that despite sponsorship failings (protestors attacked the hypocrisy of Atos, a major sponsor who is also behind cuts in disability benefits) this Paralympics has raised the profile of what people with disabilities are capable of. Let’s just hope there’s a trickle down effect: firstly to those who don’t have such easy access to professional sports training (some countries won many events in the Olympics but were unable to afford equipment and training for Paralympics athletes) and secondly in the public perception of all people with disabilities, including those who are crap at sport (like me, I am sure there are many) but brilliant at other stuff that may go unrecognised or supported. We’re all human after all, and every individual, whether disabled or able-bodied, has something to offer. Here’s to a celebration of diversity within loving community, long may the effects be felt.

Paralympian by Tara Anne Bush
Paralympian by Tara Anne Bush.

Pistorius Victorious by claire jones art
Pistorius Victorious by Claire Jones Art.

Pallers by Caroline Coates
Pallers by Caroline Coates.

Oscar Pistorius by Daniel Castrogiovanni
Oscar Pistorius by Daniel Castrogiovanni.

You can see what illustrators made of the Olympics here, here and here.

Categories ,Atos, ,Caroline Coates, ,Claire Jones Art, ,Daniel Castrogiovanni, ,David Weir, ,Ellie Simmonds, ,Olympics, ,Oscar Pistorius, ,Pallers, ,Paralympics, ,Ruth Joyce, ,Tara Anne Bush

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Amelia’s Magazine | London 2012 Paralympics Games Illustrated

Ellie Simmonds by Daniel Castrogiovanni
Ellie Simmonds by Daniel Castrogiovanni.

Much has been written of the Paralympics: with the press dwelling on life stories of ‘inspiring’ athletes and the athletes in turn pleading with fans to concentrate on their physical achievements in sport. Between my family and friends we simply expressed our utmost admiration: for, like Olympic athletes the Paralympics athletes, are in awesome physical condition. They can boast a level of fitness that most of us can only dream of (or work extremely extremely hard for) and their sporting feats outstripped what the ordinary person is capable of, despite any physical or mental shortcomings.

David Weir by Ruth Joyce
David Weir by Ruth Joyce.

Like many others I’ve never paid much attention to the Paralympics before, but then again I’ve never watched the Olympics either. I’m glad that despite sponsorship failings (protestors attacked the hypocrisy of Atos, a major sponsor who is also behind cuts in disability benefits) this Paralympics has raised the profile of what people with disabilities are capable of. Let’s just hope there’s a trickle down effect: firstly to those who don’t have such easy access to professional sports training (some countries won many events in the Olympics but were unable to afford equipment and training for Paralympics athletes) and secondly in the public perception of all people with disabilities, including those who are crap at sport (like me, I am sure there are many) but brilliant at other stuff that may go unrecognised or supported. We’re all human after all, and every individual, whether disabled or able-bodied, has something to offer. Here’s to a celebration of diversity within loving community, long may the effects be felt.

Paralympian by Tara Anne Bush
Paralympian by Tara Anne Bush.

Pistorius Victorious by claire jones art
Pistorius Victorious by Claire Jones Art.

Pallers by Caroline Coates
Pallers by Caroline Coates.

Oscar Pistorius by Daniel Castrogiovanni
Oscar Pistorius by Daniel Castrogiovanni.

You can see what illustrators made of the Olympics here, here and here.

Categories ,Atos, ,Caroline Coates, ,Claire Jones Art, ,Daniel Castrogiovanni, ,David Weir, ,Ellie Simmonds, ,Olympics, ,Oscar Pistorius, ,Pallers, ,Paralympics, ,Ruth Joyce, ,Tara Anne Bush

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Canine Games 2012 Illustrated

thecaninegames-by-Nanae-Kawahara
The Canine Games by Nanae Kawahara.

Last Saturday east London hosted the very first Canine Games, a chaotic mishmash of dog parade, craft stalls and musical entertainment. Due to the recent heavy rain it was decided to host the doggy counterpart to the Olympics inside the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club – a decision that soon became rather difficult to manage. Just think dozens of slightly confused dogs in fancy dress and their owners all squashed into a tiny venue: the dog show just wasn’t going to work within these four walls.

the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Luckily the weather held for a bit and the decision was made to relocate temporarily to the patch of grass over the road. There the competitive element of the day was held, with awards going to various genres of dog: my favourite trophy went to a chihuahua dressed up as Lady Gaga in the celebrity look alike section, which included a number of arbitrary competitors, including an entrant who looked like Frank Sinatra ‘cos he’s got blue eyes’.

the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
The Hackney Secular Singers serenaded the ‘Best Punk Dog‘ section, and then the skies opened again so everyone retreated indoors once more and I trundled off to look at the graduate exhibitions. Despite the weather there was a magnificent turnout so let’s hope it becomes a regular affair. In the meantime: enjoy these illustrations of The Canine Games (I wonder what happened to the Olympics inspired events?!)

Canine Games by Polly Stopforth
Canine Games by Polly Stopforth.

gaga-chihuahua-by-jessica-knight
Gaga Chihuahua by Jessica Knight.

Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie.

The Canine Games by Nat Griffin
The Canine Games by Nat Griffin
The Canine Games by Nat Griffin
The Canine Games by Nat Griffin.

The Canine Games by Alice Hair
The Canine Games by Alice Hair.

The Canine Games by Sam Parr
The Canine Games by Sam Parr.

Rutabaga by Jo Chambers
Valentino by Jo Chambers
Rutabaga and Valentino by Jo Chambers.

Pixel by Jo Chambers
Pooch In Pucci by  Jo Chambers
Rob In Tie Dye by Jo Chambers
Pixel, Pooch In Pucci & Rob In Tie Dye by Jo Chambers.

Categories ,2012, ,Alice Hair, ,Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, ,Dog Parade, ,Dogs, ,East London, ,frank sinatra, ,Hackney Secular Singers, ,Jessica Knight, ,Jo Chambers, ,Lady Gaga, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Nanae Kawahara, ,Nat Griffin, ,Olympics, ,Polly Stopforth, ,Sam Parr, ,Studio Legohead, ,The Canine Games

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Canine Games 2012 Illustrated

thecaninegames-by-Nanae-Kawahara
The Canine Games by Nanae Kawahara.

Last Saturday east London hosted the very first Canine Games, a chaotic mishmash of dog parade, craft stalls and musical entertainment. Due to the recent heavy rain it was decided to host the doggy counterpart to the Olympics inside the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club – a decision that soon became rather difficult to manage. Just think dozens of slightly confused dogs in fancy dress and their owners all squashed into a tiny venue: the dog show just wasn’t going to work within these four walls.

the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Luckily the weather held for a bit and the decision was made to relocate temporarily to the patch of grass over the road. There the competitive element of the day was held, with awards going to various genres of dog: my favourite trophy went to a chihuahua dressed up as Lady Gaga in the celebrity look alike section, which included a number of arbitrary competitors, including an entrant who looked like Frank Sinatra ‘cos he’s got blue eyes’.

the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
the canine games july 2012
The Hackney Secular Singers serenaded the ‘Best Punk Dog‘ section, and then the skies opened again so everyone retreated indoors once more and I trundled off to look at the graduate exhibitions. Despite the weather there was a magnificent turnout so let’s hope it becomes a regular affair. In the meantime: enjoy these illustrations of The Canine Games (I wonder what happened to the Olympics inspired events?!)

Canine Games by Polly Stopforth
Canine Games by Polly Stopforth.

gaga-chihuahua-by-jessica-knight
Gaga Chihuahua by Jessica Knight.

Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie
Canine Games by Lorna Scobie.

The Canine Games by Nat Griffin
The Canine Games by Nat Griffin
The Canine Games by Nat Griffin
The Canine Games by Nat Griffin.

The Canine Games by Alice Hair
The Canine Games by Alice Hair.

The Canine Games by Sam Parr
The Canine Games by Sam Parr.

Rutabaga by Jo Chambers
Valentino by Jo Chambers
Rutabaga and Valentino by Jo Chambers.

Pixel by Jo Chambers
Pooch In Pucci by  Jo Chambers
Rob In Tie Dye by Jo Chambers
Pixel, Pooch In Pucci & Rob In Tie Dye by Jo Chambers.

Categories ,2012, ,Alice Hair, ,Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, ,Dog Parade, ,Dogs, ,East London, ,frank sinatra, ,Hackney Secular Singers, ,Jessica Knight, ,Jo Chambers, ,Lady Gaga, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Nanae Kawahara, ,Nat Griffin, ,Olympics, ,Polly Stopforth, ,Sam Parr, ,Studio Legohead, ,The Canine Games

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Amelia’s Magazine | London 2012 Olympic Games Team GB Illustrated

Kristian Thomas by Tim Parker
Kristian Thomas by Tim Parker.

The Olympics are in town in case you haven’t noticed, and I’ve been lucky enough to get along to a few events in person. It was at the weightlifting that I became a big fan of feisty young contender Zoe Smith (although she didn’t place she went on to break the British record) and decided to put together an illustrated tribute. I loved Zoe Smith’s dedication to glam: her triangular stud earrings a defiant statement of femininity in the face of twitter abuse directed against her choice of sport.

Zoe Smith by Rosemary Cunningham
Zoe Smith by Rosemary Cunningham. ‘It’s a bit epic, but I was going for a kind of vague superhero type vibe, whilst keeping a nice retro Olympic feel.’

Since then I’ve watched seven hours of live fencing (and still have no clue how it works) and a good dose of Greco-Roman Wrestling (not a British sport – it seems to be almost entirely dominated by Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the US and Cuba) and like many people around the world I’ve seen a fair amount on the telly. Gymnastics and synchronised diving? LOVE them. Particularly the men’s…

Louis_Smith_by_Claire_Corstorphine
Louis Smith by Claire Corstorphine.

Yes, the Olympics have screwed up parts of East London and there are some crazy ass sponsorship rules, not to mention some half-assed nods towards sustainability or a useful legacy that actually benefits the local area. A cyclist has sadly died even as we shine in the Velodrome, and yet… it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement, especially when you’re in a real audience, watching it all unfold in front of you.

Bradley_Wiggins_by_Gabriela_Larios
Bradley Wiggins by Gabriela Larios.

The Olympic medal tally for Great Britain is at present really quite amazing for such a comparatively small country. Let’s hope it inspires us to get a lot fitter because as a nation of biscuit troughing sofa surfers we really need to. Here, then are some illustrated responses to the inspiring talent of our very own Team GB.

Jessica Ennis - Warrior - by James Pitman
Jessica Ennis – Warrior – by James Pitman. ‘I wanted to create something that showed her (and athletes/competitors in general) warrior spirit, and I wanted to create thoughts of the comparison between society now and society thousands of years ago and what role athletes may have taken then even though now their expertise in physical activity is just for ‘fun’. But then I also want to still show her feminine beauty, particularly to contrast against the ‘warrior’ concept.’

Daniel Purvis by Adam Pryce
Daniel Purvis by Adam Pryce.

Bradley-Wiggins-By-Jake-Snellin
Bradley-Wiggins-By-Jake-Snellin
Bradley Wiggins by Jake Snellin.

Greg-Rutherford-by-Sam-Ailey
Greg Rutherford by Sam Ailey.

Olympics 2012 Mo Farah by Kristina Vasiljeva
Olympics 2012 Mo Farah by Kristina Vasiljeva.

Victoria Pendleton by Scarlett Tierney
Victoria Pendleton by Scarlett Tierney.

tom james by livi gosling
Tom James by Livi Gosling. ‘After winning a medal in Beijing he greeted his girlfriend with a kiss that mirrored that of the famous sailor/nurse kiss on V-Day. I added daffodils as he’s Welsh and the composition is meant to be reminiscent of a cote-de-arms.’

Helen Gorrill synchro image
Jenna & Olivia, Team GB Synchronised Swimmers, 2012 Olympics by Helen Gorrill. Currently on show with DegreeArt.

Kristian Thomas by Adam Pryce
Kristian Thomas by Adam Pryce.

Olympics 2012 Women Cycling by Kristina Vasiljeva
Olympics 2012 Women Cycling (Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell) by Kristina Vasiljeva.

Bradley-Wiggins-by-Victoria-Haynes
Bradley Wiggins by Victoria Haynes.

Zoe Smith by Emma Black
Zoe Smith by Emma Black. ‘I saw on twitter that Zoe celebrated after her weightlifting by going out for a Big Mac, which I thought was quite amusing! I referenced the food off a photo she posted on her twitter feed.’

Stott and Baillie by Scarlett Tierney
Stott and Baillie by Scarlett Tierney.

Jessica Ennis by EdieOP
Jessica Ennis by EdieOP

Whats leffe for Bradley Wiggins by neonflower
Whats leffe for Bradley Wiggins? by neonflower* ‘As well as asking the question where Bradley goes next, it’s essentially a nod to all the road cyclists out there partial to a spot of Belgian beer (there are plenty of them – including my bf and ALL his cycling chums!) – and we all know that Bradley hit the pop last night. Good on him!’

Andy Murray by Gareth A Hopkins
Andy Murray by Gareth A Hopkins. ‘I like the fact that andy Murray doesn’t really fit the mould of an Olympian… It’s not that he doesn’t do anything that others like Jessica Ennis or Tom Daly do, it’s just that there’s something about him which excludes him from being a Team GB poster boy. I think it’s that he’s not out there for the country, he’s out there for himself, despite enormous pressure to conform to an image of a national sports hero. He’s almost an anti-hero, and I can’t help admiring that.’

TeamGB Olympics by Isher Dhiman
TeamGB Olympic Gold Winners by Isher Dhiman. Cycling Track – Sir Chris Hoy, Rowing – Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, Athletics – Jessica Ennis, Cycling Road – Bradley Wiggins, Sailing – Ben Ainslie, Tennis – Andy Murray, Equestrian – Brash, Charles, Maher and Skelton, Shooting – Peter Wilson

Bradley Wiggins by Bish
Bradley Wiggins by Bish.

Helen Glover by Bish
Helen Glover by Bish.

Nick Skelton by Bish
Nick Skelton by Bish.

Olympic Park by Bish
Olympic Park by Bish. ‘Drawings were done on the 1st of August at the Olympic Park when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning got the first gold Bradley Wiggins got Gold at the time trial, and the 5th August at the Greenwich Park for the Showjumping the day before GB got Gold.’

YouTube Preview ImageOlympic animation by Rosemary Cunningham.

Adlington by May van Millingen
Adlington by May van Millingen.

Wiggins by May van Millingen
Wiggins by May van Millingen.

Divers by May van millingen
Divers by May van Millingen.

If you enjoyed this don’t forget to check in with Matt Bramford‘s pre-Olympics illustrated blog post too. Here’s to lots more wins before the week is out!

Categories ,Adam Pryce, ,Andy Murray, ,Bish, ,Bradley Wiggins, ,Claire Corstorphine, ,cycling, ,Dani King, ,Daniel Purvis, ,DegreeArt, ,EdieOP, ,Emma Black, ,Fencing, ,Gabriela Larios, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Greco-Roman Wrestling, ,Greg Rutherford, ,Gymnastics, ,Helen Glover, ,Helen Gorrill, ,illustration, ,Isher Dhiman, ,Jake Snellin, ,James Pitman, ,Jenna & Olivia, ,Jessica Ennis, ,Joanna Rowsell, ,Kristian Thomas, ,Kristina Vasiljeva, ,Laura Trott, ,Livi Gosling, ,Lizzie Campbell, ,London 2012, ,Louis Smith, ,May van Millingen, ,Mo Farah, ,neonflower, ,Nick Skelton, ,Olympics, ,Rosemary Cunningham, ,Sam Ailey, ,Scarlett Tierney, ,Synchronised Swimmers, ,Team GB, ,Tim Parker, ,Tom James, ,Velodrome, ,Victoria Haynes, ,Victoria Pendleton, ,Weightlifting, ,Wiggo, ,Zoe Smith

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Amelia’s Magazine | London 2012 Olympic Games Team Opening and Closing Ceremonies Illustrated

Jessie J By Laura Hickman
Jessie J by Laura Hickman.

Can it really be a week since the Olympics ended? Here’s my final blog post inspired by the visual drama of the ceremonies that opened and closed London 2012.

Antonia-Parker-London-2012-Olympic-Opening-Ceremony
Olympic Opening Ceremony London 2012 by Antonia Parker.

Opening Ceromony by Lizzie Mary Cullen
Opening Ceromony by Lizzie Mary Cullen.

I watched the Opening Ceremony from a small cottage in Wales, where we marvelled at Danny Boyle‘s very British spectacle and wondered what on earth other nations would think about the pastoral scenes, the ironic exploding industrial landscape, the skydiving Queen, the swing dancing NHS nurses, the children’s choirs, the awesome Dizzee Rascal, the brilliant volunteer disco dancers and, erm, Emeli Sandé (can anyone explain the fuss?) It was a fantastically oddball celebration of real everyday Britain, a two fingers up at the hugely expensive perfection of the Beijing Olympics.

London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Industrial Revolution by Helen Beeston
London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Industrial Revolution by Helen Beeston.

After two weeks of mind boggling physical feats it was a shame that the Closing Ceremony did not wow in quite the same way – instead it resembled a badly put together festival, including as it did mainstream bores such as Elbow, Muse, Kaiser Cheifs and Liam Gallagher (singing out of tune!) two appearances too many from the apparent reigning queen of British pop Emeli Sandé, Jessie J in a series of crystal encrusted flesh bodysuits and no shows from the legendarily (and shy) Kate Bush and David Bowie. Don’t even get me started on the truck bed catwalks – as one commentator pointed out, clothes horses suddenly look very untalented set against the athletic prowess of Olympic medalists. And Victoria Beckham mentioned in the same breath as Burberry and Alexander McQueen? The price paid for a reunited Spice Girls, perhaps? Mind you, call it a guilty pleasure but that was one performance I did enjoy.

Olympics Closing Ceremony Newspaper Cars by Olivia Cook
Olympics Closing Ceremony Newspaper Cars by Olivia Cook.

London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony The Spice Girls by Helen Beeston
London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony The Spice Girls by Helen Beeston.

And so now onto the Paralympics. Last night I watched the brilliant BBC drama The Best of Men, which follows it’s creation in the 1940s at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where the remarkable refugee Dr. Guttmann took a radical new approach to the rehabilitation of soldiers with spine injuries. It’s still available to view for a few more days and I highly recommend you do catch it before the Paralympics start. I for one am really looking forward to the ‘Lympics round two.

Russell Brand by Victoria Elizabeth James
Russell Brand by Victoria Elizabeth James.

Olympic Ceremony by Helen Dodsworth
Olympic Ceremony by Helen Dodsworth.

Don’t forget to check in with our previous illustrated Olympics blog posts here and here. And find out more about the true cost of the Games here, outlined in a series of thought provoking illustrated blogposts by designer and theoretician Jody Boehnert.

Categories ,2012, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Antonia Parker, ,beijing, ,Closing ceremony, ,Danny Boyle, ,David Bowie, ,dizzee rascal, ,Elbow, ,Emeli Sandé, ,Helen Beeston, ,Helen Dodsworth, ,illustration, ,Jessie J, ,Jody Boehnert, ,Kaiser Cheifs, ,Kate Bush, ,Laura Hickman, ,Liam Gallagher, ,Lizzie Mary Cullen, ,Muse, ,NHS, ,Olivia Cook, ,Olympics, ,Opening ceremony, ,Paralympics, ,review, ,The Best of Men, ,Victoria Beckham, ,Victoria Elizabeth James

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Amelia’s Magazine | London 2012: The XXX Olympic Games


Olympic Gymnastics by Lucy Palmer

Tonight’s the night. After what has quite possibly been the longest warm up for anything to happen ever, seven years in the making, the 30th Olympic Games launches tonight in spectacular style in East London with a lavish opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle. I’ve only just recovered from my Diamond Jubilee excitement, too.

Now this might come as a massive surprise to my friends, but I don’t care much for sport. I do, however, love the Olympics. There’s something pretty magical about it, don’t you think? The dramatic opening ceremony, the fastest, strongest people in the world coming together in one place and Russian weightlifters walking into walls. I’m still terribly upset that Disco Dancing hasn’t been recognised as an Olympic sport, but I’ll be writing to the IOC again re: this oversight.


Olympic Snacking by Helena Maratheftis

Here, in no particular order, are a few things that have got me going so far:

• I (sort of) love that florists in Stoke-on-Trent are threatened with legal action by the International Olympic Committee for making replica rings out of tissue paper and Bostik.

• I love *grits teeth* listening to berks on the tube moaning about how busy the city is, as if London is a sleepy little hamlet suddenly invaded by Charlton Heston and the cast of Ben Hur. You’ve had seven years to moan about it, pals.

• I know that we’ll never compare to China and their fastidious approach to drumming at the opening of the 2008 Beijing games. Our highlights include a farmyard of animals, the Coronation Street theme tune and Boris Johnson slobbering as he waves a flag (I know I’ll be eating my words come 9pm).


Boris and Bradley by Angela Lamb


London 2012 by Katie Laura Wood

• I love the mindboggling stories of the piggish sponsors; the ludicrousness that McDonald’s are the only vendor allowed to flog chips. Please.


The Olympic Park by Sam Parr

• I love that we’re hosting the XXX Olympic Games. Arf.

• I love that we haven’t even performed the opening ceremony and we’ve already offended everybody in North Korea and Welsh footballer Joe Allen, who’s listed as English in the Olympic programme.

• I love how brands fall over themselves to be the official provider – Official Cereal Bar had me proverbially ROFLing. I’m just hoping that the Official Ironing Board Provider comes forward soon.

Nevertheless, no doubt we’ll look back at how wonderful the next few weeks ill inevitably be. In celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on home turf, here’s a wonderful selection of illustrated images by some of our favourite contributors, and a few other surprises along the way!


Olympic Girl by Angela Keeler


Paralympian Aimee Mullins by Laura Hickman


Usian Bolt by Lucy Palmer


Olympic Hoola Hoopers by EdieOP


Olympic Hair by Isher Dhiman


Olympic Stadium by Sinead O Leary

You can rely on Maiden in Shoreditch to deliver something hilarious as an Olympics tie-in. Take your pic from unofficial Olympic bags and Great British tea towels…



Olympic tea-towels


Olympic Bags (unofficial…) by Toby Leigh. All products available at Maiden, Shoreditch

Good luck to all of the athletes involved. Enjoy the opening ceremony. Come on Team GB!


Olympic swimmers by Lucy Palmer

Categories ,Angela Lamb, ,beijing, ,Ben Hur, ,Bethan Wyn Williams, ,Boris Johnson, ,Bostik, ,Bradley Wiggins, ,Cereal Bars, ,China, ,Coronation Street, ,Danny Boyle, ,EdieOP, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,I’m renting my flat to a fat American family, ,IOC, ,Ironing Boards, ,Isher Dhiman, ,It only took me three hours to get to work this morning, ,Joe Allen, ,Katie Laura Wood, ,Laura Hickman, ,London 2012, ,Lucy Palmer, ,Maiden, ,Matt Bramford, ,Olympic Games, ,Olympics, ,Sam Parr, ,Sarah Bromley, ,shoreditch, ,Sinead O’Leary, ,Stoke-on-Trent, ,Tea Towels, ,Tess Redburn, ,Toby Leigh, ,Tote Bags, ,Veronica Rowlands, ,xxx

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Amelia’s Magazine | London 2012: The XXX Olympic Games


Olympic Gymnastics by Lucy Palmer

Tonight’s the night. After what has quite possibly been the longest warm up for anything to happen ever, seven years in the making, the 30th Olympic Games launches tonight in spectacular style in East London with a lavish opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle. I’ve only just recovered from my Diamond Jubilee excitement, too.

Now this might come as a massive surprise to my friends, but I don’t care much for sport. I do, however, love the Olympics. There’s something pretty magical about it, don’t you think? The dramatic opening ceremony, the fastest, strongest people in the world coming together in one place and Russian weightlifters walking into walls. I’m still terribly upset that Disco Dancing hasn’t been recognised as an Olympic sport, but I’ll be writing to the IOC again re: this oversight.


Olympic Snacking by Helena Maratheftis

Here, in no particular order, are a few things that have got me going so far:

• I (sort of) love that florists in Stoke-on-Trent are threatened with legal action by the International Olympic Committee for making replica rings out of tissue paper and Bostik.

• I love *grits teeth* listening to berks on the tube moaning about how busy the city is, as if London is a sleepy little hamlet suddenly invaded by Charlton Heston and the cast of Ben Hur. You’ve had seven years to moan about it, pals.

• I know that we’ll never compare to China and their fastidious approach to drumming at the opening of the 2008 Beijing games. Our highlights include a farmyard of animals, the Coronation Street theme tune and Boris Johnson slobbering as he waves a flag (I know I’ll be eating my words come 9pm).


Boris and Bradley by Angela Lamb


London 2012 by Katie Laura Wood

• I love the mindboggling stories of the piggish sponsors; the ludicrousness that McDonald’s are the only vendor allowed to flog chips. Please.


The Olympic Park by Sam Parr

• I love that we’re hosting the XXX Olympic Games. Arf.

• I love that we haven’t even performed the opening ceremony and we’ve already offended everybody in North Korea and Welsh footballer Joe Allen, who’s listed as English in the Olympic programme.

• I love how brands fall over themselves to be the official provider – Official Cereal Bar had me proverbially ROFLing. I’m just hoping that the Official Ironing Board Provider comes forward soon.

Nevertheless, no doubt we’ll look back at how wonderful the next few weeks ill inevitably be. In celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on home turf, here’s a wonderful selection of illustrated images by some of our favourite contributors, and a few other surprises along the way!


Olympic Girl by Angela Keeler


Paralympian Aimee Mullins by Laura Hickman


Usian Bolt by Lucy Palmer


Olympic Hoola Hoopers by EdieOP


Olympic Hair by Isher Dhiman


Olympic Stadium by Sinead O Leary

You can rely on Maiden in Shoreditch to deliver something hilarious as an Olympics tie-in. Take your pic from unofficial Olympic bags and Great British tea towels…



Olympic tea-towels


Olympic Bags (unofficial…) by Toby Leigh. All products available at Maiden, Shoreditch

Good luck to all of the athletes involved. Enjoy the opening ceremony. Come on Team GB!


Olympic swimmers by Lucy Palmer

Categories ,Angela Lamb, ,beijing, ,Ben Hur, ,Bethan Wyn Williams, ,Boris Johnson, ,Bostik, ,Bradley Wiggins, ,Cereal Bars, ,China, ,Coronation Street, ,Danny Boyle, ,EdieOP, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,I’m renting my flat to a fat American family, ,IOC, ,Ironing Boards, ,Isher Dhiman, ,It only took me three hours to get to work this morning, ,Joe Allen, ,Katie Laura Wood, ,Laura Hickman, ,London 2012, ,Lucy Palmer, ,Maiden, ,Matt Bramford, ,Olympic Games, ,Olympics, ,Sam Parr, ,Sarah Bromley, ,shoreditch, ,Sinead O’Leary, ,Stoke-on-Trent, ,Tea Towels, ,Tess Redburn, ,Toby Leigh, ,Tote Bags, ,Veronica Rowlands, ,xxx

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