The London Olympics 2012 opening ceremony went down has being one of the most unique, spectacular and memorable opening Olympic ceremonies ever, even surpassing the Beijing 2008 Olympics opening event, which was tremendously dazzling and painstakingly well-rehearsed.
Although it has to be said, what gave our ceremony the ‘edge’ was the Queen’s cameo appearance of parachuting into the stadium with no other than James Bond himself.
The stunt caused a wave of admiration towards everyone involved to ripple across the world and given the popularity of the exploit, it is hardly surprising that the Queen’s James Bond helicopter cameo has been voted the best moment of her 61-year reign.
A survey to mark the Queen’s 87th birthday was conducted by the birthday card company, Hallmark, which created a huge birthday card for Her Majesty that comprised of many tributes taken from Twitter to her and was delivered to Buckingham Palace.
Within the card were tributes to what people consider to have been her best moments throughout her reign, with the 007 sketch at the opening ceremony being voted as number one.
It may be one of the busiest cities in the world but London certainly is intent on being one of the most pollution-free capitals. Its latest bid to reduce the number of carbon emissions produced in London and improve the quality of the air Londoners and its visitors are forced to breathe in, involves putting the Congestion Charge on all diesel cars entering the capital.
Prior to July 2013, low-emission diesel cars, such as the VW Polo 1.2 TDI, are exempt from the Congestion Charge. The controversial charge has been operating in Central London since 2003 and involves most vehicles operating within the zone between 7.00am and 18.00, Monday to Friday, being charged a standard fee of £10 a day.
Transport for London has announced that from July 1, 2013 all vehicles, including low-emission diesels and petrol-electric hybrids, are liable for the standard Congestion Charge.
Talking about how the changes are part of the bigger picture to improve the quality of air in London, Matthew Pencharz, Boris Johnson’s environmental official said in a press statement:
“These changes are in line with the Mayor’s aim to improve air quality in London by reducing emissions from private vehicles and promoting the further development of low emission vehicles.”
Let’s not beat around the bush, with so much to see, do, be involved in, shop, eat and drink, London is great city to be a student. Being so vibrant, fast-moving and exciting, it is hardly surprising that this monster of a city attracts thousands of students to its universities every year.
Although in recent times much has been made of how much foreign students need to earn in order to be allowed stay on and work in the UK, after attending university in London. The earnings threshold has been recently lowered and this takes a lot of pressure away from the foreign students who want to start work in the United Kingdom immediately after gaining their qualification at a London University.
Common sense seems to have prevailed and this new earning threshold should be good for companies wanting to hire newly qualified students at an affordable salary and is correspondingly as beneficial for the London university students who want their working life to begin in the UK.
The earning related threshold varies from job to job. In teaching for example, previously it was a necessary requirement to earn at least £30,000 for a foreign student to start teaching in higher education in the UK. A student now only needs to earn a much more realistic £23,800 in this profession to qualify to stay in the United Kingdom.
The Olympic Cauldron has won the Visual Arts prize at this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards ceremony hosted by Melvyn Bragg in London. What was certainly the centrepiece of last year’s Olympic Games, the Cauldron warded off stiff competition from the Olympic Velodrome.
The Olympic Cauldron was designed by the English designer Thomas Heatherwick, who is known for his inventive use of materials and engineering in public sculptures and monuments. The Cauldron was a ‘magnum opus’ of surprise theatre, and nothing of the like had been seen at any previous Olympic Games.
Each of the 204 nations delegated a team member to receive and look after a beautiful copper petal, which was laid out in a designated spot at the opening ceremony. These petals were then lifted skywards by a thin and almost invisible wire. One by one the petals took position besides the Olympic torch making one huge beautiful flaming flower.
At the closing ceremony the opposite occurred, and all the polished copper petals were returned to the nations to take back to their homeland with their names inscribed upon them, symbolising the great togetherness that is the Olympic spirit.
This was an absolute masterstroke by Heatherwick, and no one could deny that the designer earned the prestigious Visual Arts award.
Bizarre and unique to London, and when compared to local quirks in the other cities of Britain, you won’t find anything like Cockney rhyming slang anywhere else on the British Isles, or possibly the world for that matter!
Cockney rhyming slang is used often by many Londoners and a form of expression, replacing ordinary words by rhyming equivalents, such as “door” with that of the late great footballer, “Bobby Moore”. Plates of meat, for example are your feet. When Cockney rhyming sland advocators are really hungry they say, “I’m Hank Marvin,” which of course means “I’m starving!”
Londoners are not overly fussed about correct spelling and letters are often missed out or words shortened.
It is believed that the origins of rhyming slang go back to the mid 19th century and the East End of London was the place where it all began. Even today it is London’s East End where Cockney rhyming slang is most commonly used today.
There is some suggestion that market traders used it to talk amongst themselves, in a sort of code of collusion, so that customers were kept in the dark. Others suggest the slang’s origins point towards criminals using it to confuse the police.