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London 2012 Olympics: A Timeline

August 4, 2011

The Olympic Stadium

The Summer 2012 Olympic Torch will light up in little less than a year, and news feeds have been buzzing with activity as new information continues to be unveiled. Here are some of the hits of the Olympic timeline, with many more to come as next summer looms closer and closer.

1. The Announcement

Rewind back to July 6, 2005: The International Olympics Committee announced that London would become home to the 2012 Summer Olympics, beating out Paris by a small margin. This is Britain’s first Olympics since 1948; Tony Blair dubs it a “momentous day.”

Read the full story here at BBC Sport.

2. The Disaster

July 7, 2005: Little time was taken to celebrate the Olympics announcement as the death toll of a series of terrorist attacks on London train stations reach around 40, with around 300 people wounded.

Read the full story at Sky News.

3. The Expenses

December 9, 2010: UK Sport will shell out £2.6m to “sports which are thought to have an extra shot at winning medals,” including rowing, gymnastics and hockey. Badminton and Paralympic Goalball saw their funding reduce.

Read the full story at Sky News.

4. The Routes

February 10, 2011: The route for the 2012 Olympic Road Races was announced by the London 2012 Organising Committee. Final moments of the race will be battled out in front of Buckingham Palace.

Read the full story at British Cycling.

5. The Chosen Words

March 4, 2011: “To strike, to seek, to find, and not to yield”—words by Alfred Tennyson chosen as inspirational words for the 2012 athletes. Poems by Robert Browning, Langston Hughes, and several other writers were also selected.

Read the full story at BBC.


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Graffiti as an artistic movement

August 4, 2011

I think graffiti is beautiful.

And London is full of it, from the works of Banksy, to Tox (well, if you call them “works”), to thousands of unnamed vandals who take to the streets every day.

Here’s a collection of pictures I’ve taken over the course of my stay in the city, edited and set to some pretty stellar music.

Rohan Daft, a man well suited for the job

August 4, 2011

Photo credit Rohan Daft, The Row Blog

Despite owning a bespoke suit at age 18, a young Rohan Daft never foresaw himself writing a blog for a tailor. He had never even considered becoming a journalist, let alone the head blogger for a renowned Savile Row suit shop.

Yet at 48 years old, Daft has become just that—and has never forgotten his first suit.

“That was 30-years ago,” he laughs, “And it’s still a good suit!”

Daft stands with a tall lean frame, dressed stylishly from a light blue button up tucked into a fashionable brown belt, down to classy leather shoes of a similar hue.

And with several years as a reporter, columnist and author under his belt, Rohan Daft is certainly well suited for his job at Richard James.

The company boasting two prime Savile Row locations—plus one more in Tokyo– prides itself on an innovative outlook, from brightly striped socks to a Spongebob Squarepants themed suit.

“What we did was introduce an element of fashion to the whole process,” Daft said.

The business already sets itself apart from its neighbors that still showcase colorless suits through aged, dusty windows, but Daft helps take it a step farther with his blog. Frequent, fashion-related posts provide a personal touch to an otherwise stuffy line of work.

But maintaining a professional blog is no easy task. Daft’s every word reflects positively—or negatively—on Richard James.

“You have to be careful what you say, because readers of this blog don’t want to know what I think personally,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the company, and what the company stands for.”

It’s a company that Daft speaks very highly of, on and off blogging duty.

“[Richard James is] the ultimate at tailoring,” he said. “It’s the best suit you can get.”

Blog updates often include fashion icons such as James Dean, Robert De Niro and Steve “King of Cool” McQueen. Daft steers away from too many professional photographs of Richard James clothing, opting to capture more spontaneous moments.

“If it looks too professional, it looks cynical,” he said. “Sometimes I just use my phone on the street [to take pictures.]”

A recent update shows the backside of a sale sign hanging in the window. Reduced prices are certainly something to announce, considering the shop’s sky-high retailing that Daft himself won’t even pay.

Just how expensive are these suits?

“We’re talking a minimum of getting one for 5 thousand pounds,” he said.

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Video Diary: Top Ten Favourite Things

August 3, 2011

It’s my last week in London, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Well, nearly every minute, anyway. I at least came up with ten lovely little things, and I collected them for you in a lovely little video diary!

RIP Amy Winehouse, Angel of Camden

August 1, 2011

Some pictures from Amy Winehouse’s memorial outside her apartment in Camden Square.



“Amy your [sic] in our hearts forever,” “Amy we love you,” etc.


“To Amy

R.I.P., May you get the peace in the after world that you never got in life.

Thanks for all your great songs, you will be greatly missed

Love from Tricia, Alicia, Alizabeth, Susan(?), + pepsi




“RIP Amy- Know Your Enemy”

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Sex, Drugs, and Musicals: “We Will Rock You” is a hit

August 1, 2011

We Will Rock You the musical, Photo credit

It’s 300 years from now, and rock-n-roll is dead. Both the creation of music and the possession of instruments have been outlawed, with thanks in part to Simon Cowell, Autotune, and an oppressive ruler named Killer Queen. In this dystopian ‘Brave New World’-esque Land of GaGa, all citizens look the same, sound the same, and think the same. Creativity is merely a whispered memory of the past.

This setting is the framework of hit musical ‘We Will Rock You.’ Written by comedian and author Ben Elton in collaboration with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, ‘…Rock You’ is a fun production that uses the music of Queen to tell a story of love, triumph, and most of all, rock.

Enter our misanthropic protagonist, Galileo Figaro – a lone rebel nicknamed ‘The Dreamer’ due to his night-time visions of rock-n-roll’s past. He and his fellow outcast slash eventual love interest– affectionately nicknamed Scaramuoche – embark on a journey to save music with their fellow Bohemians of the Heartbreak Hotel, but not without facing obstacles. The evil Killer Queen and her Ga Ga Cops are hot on their trail, eager to trample the rebellion and restore order.

Ricardo Afonso plays an edgy and inspiring Galileo, with a raspy tone resonating with passion and sex appeal; the beautifully talented Sarah French excels as the sarcastic and fearless Scaramouche – the Cher to Galileo’s Sonny; Brenda Edwards provides a hilarious and menacing rendition of antagonist Killer Queen, with exaggerated facial expressions only matched by her soaring vocals.

High notes are spot on. Characters are convincing. Dancing is magnetic. The band in the wings plays superbly, making the intricate runs of Queen seem effortless.

But aside from all the talent, the main reason ‘…Rock You’ succeeds is that the audience already knows and loves the music. A crowd full of Queen fans is obviously going to enjoy hearing the music of Queen, regardless of the context – therefore, when the adoption of a certain song is a bit of a stretch, the irrelevancy slides by almost unnoticed.

This does allow the storyline to suffer. The plot is nothing groundbreaking; it’s really quite predictable. But in terms of profitability, it doesn’t matter, because the production is just as much the story of Galileo as it is a tribute to the entire rock-n-roll era. Clever, pun-intended dialogue leaves any rock aficionado chuckling, and the anticipation of the Queen-essential “stomp, stomp, clap” matches that of any rock concert. Read more…

The ‘Taken’ Effect: How Hollywood is ruining international relations

August 1, 2011

I sat in a cold plastic seat in Philadelphia’s airport. My Smart Phone was in my hand, Facebook status about to be updated for the last time before I would board a plane bound straight towards London– sky-high international rates would leave my phone powered off for the next three weeks. I had just struck up conversation with two of my fellow passengers: an unmistakably gay couple around my age whose delighful personalities had me in stitches as we made small talk. Numbers were exchanged in hopes of meeting up in the city, and in my excitement, I announced to the cyber world that I had already begun making friends and couldn’t wait for my journey to get started.

Not three minutes later, I received one last text before boarding.

“Just read your status… Um, giving your phone number to strange men?!? That is ASKING for trouble, be careful!”

I dropped my phone to my lap and rolled my eyes. For God’s sake. If a girl can’t even strike up a friendly chat with two guys who are just about as straight as Liberace dressing in drag and doing the hula without worrying about getting raped, who can she safely talk to? I sat fuming in my seat, blaming my anger on one man:

Liam Neeson.

"Taken," photo credit

I call it The “Taken” Effect. The 2008 thriller directed by Pierre Morel chronicles the adventure of Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) who takes Europe by storm when his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped and sold into sex trafficking. Mills kicks ass without bothering to take names, saves his little girl, and subsequently sets the precedent that any young woman travelling to Europe better have Liam Neeson’s number on speed dial if she plans to come home alive.

Since I decided to study abroad in Europe, nearly every conversation struck up at home about my future travels had in some way referenced the movie. My friends honestly believe that the majority of Europeans set out to take advantage of young female travellers such as myself on a regular basis, and they were sure to remind me of it– repeatedly.

Well America, I have a piece of advice: Keep calm… and chill out.

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