The Dark Side of the London Olympics (Part 1/4)

Uploaded by vice on Jul 26, 2012

MALE SPEAKER 1: The games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are
awarded to the city of London.

MALE SPEAKER 2: I'm pretty excited about the Olympics
FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Really excited.
MALE SPEAKER 3: A moment in history which
will never be repeated.
FEMALE SPEAKER 2: There's nowhere else in the world that
could do it justice.
MALE SPEAKER 4: The whole of Great Britain will celebrate.
FEMALE SPEAKER 3: I'm not sure the people who are angry about
the Olympics are being very patriotic.
And for me, the Olympics is not about politics.
JOE ALEXANDER: The mayor is trying to introduce us as
being anti--Olympics.
But really all we're trying to do is save our community.
DOLORES JOHN-PHILLIP: We weren't included.
It's almost like we're the forgotten people.
IAIN SINCLAIR: It's going to be completely deranged and
crazy for a period of time.
MALE SPEAKER 5: It's important because it's the one event
that unites the world.
LEAH BORROMEO: Hang on a minute.
Who's paying for this?
MALE SPEAKER 6: I don't think our generation's really fussed
about the Olympics.
MALE SPEAKER 7: I'm really excited for the
Olympics to be in London.
MALE SPEAKER 8: It's just Olympics.
It's nothing that special.

EDWIN DENIS CLAYTON: My name is Edwin Denis Clayton.
I'm 83 years old.
And I think since 1960 I've seen 13 Olympic Games.
My first Games was in 1960, and what gave me the great
passion to go again was the end of the Olympic Games, at
the closing ceremony in Rome.
There was a big sign and a big announcement that said
arrivederci, and we would meet again in Tokyo
in four years time.
And that brought tears to my eyes, and I said
yes, I shall be there.
The games came first always.
I wanted to see the one more and the one
more and the one more.
But no, as I can't get tickets this time, I can't
actually see it.
Eight years ago, we knew that the games were
going to be in London.
And I thought well, in eight years' time, I could well be
in a wheelchair.
And so I thought, well, even in a wheelchair I could still
get to the London Games.
So that is a big disappointment.
Although I'm never depressed and I'm never down hearted, it
just appears to have knocked off the enthusiasm.
IAIN SINCLAIR: We're standing now not really more than a
couple of hundred yards from the main Olympic site.
And yet you're already dropping into another world.
A strange mix of decaying industrial grunge with
elements of the country, with the wilderness-- the real
wilderness that was untouched.

This was a zone that was dangerously dirty.
It was where there were two landfill dumps.
There was a factory making luminous watch dials.
There was a small nuclear reactor that belonged to Queen
Mary College.
The tarmac that we're standing on now is actually being
re-branded as the Olympic Greenway.
And in reality what it is is Joseph
Bazalgette's sewage outfall.
So it was a thing that was functional.
It was carrying the sewage out of London and therefore
helping to alleviate cholera and all the diseases that were
making London intolerable with stinks and smells, and
creating something viable and useful.
And that is being cosmetically doctored with tarmac that's
turned it into an airport runway, or a motorway.
And so in a sense you have the entire panorama of cultural
and social history visible and available as a post-industrial
theme park.

MIKE WELLS: One of the things we discovered at Games Monitor
was that radioactive waste had been buried in the cesspit of
a house that had previously stood on our site.
We were living on the estate.
These clowns, the Olympic Delivery Authority-- the ODA--
came on to the landfill site and started excavating, taking
no precautions for the existence
of radioactive waste.
They were excavating for months before finally, we
don't know why, they called in radiation protection advisers.
The first day they were on site, they
started finding stuff.
They had to trace back where it had been excavated from,
and they actually traced it back to the
bowl of the main stadium.
And I'm not claiming this site is so hot that you're gonna
get your testicles fried or something like that, but there
is a problem.
IAIN SINCLAIR: The interesting thing about the Lower Lea
Valley was that it was a borderline.
It was an area for people who lived in the density of East
London to come into and escape and explore.
All of it was lost.
All of it was not supported.
All of it drained away in the promise of creating this brave
new world, which is actually an extension of an enormous
Australian shopping mall.
Instead of a park for the people, we've actually created
a toxic wilderness.

BORIS JOHNSON: I have every confidence that when people
come to London in 2012, they're going to find a city
that is very different.
It is a city that is changing, and changing the whole time.

Virtually every single one of our international sports were
either invented or codified by the British.
And ping pong was invented on the dining tables of England,
ladies and gentlemen, in the 19th century.
It was, and it was called whiff-waff.
I'm Boris Johnson.
Come on through to our whiff-waff party.
MALE SPEAKER 9: Here we are in central London for the big
pre- Olympics whiff-waff tournament.

FEMALE SPEAKER 4: I think it's nice to have
it on our home turf.
It's great to get everyone here.
But I think that everything is going to collapse.
The infrastructure, the transports, I think it's going
to be an utter nightmare.
But I am going to the whiff-waff event, so I'll have
to stick it out.
MALE SPEAKER 9: I think humor--
I hope-- and a really, really shit opening ceremony.
That's my expectation.

FEMALE SPEAKER 4: I think people that may disagree with
his policies or principles still, I think, like him for
his sort of hearty guffaw and his charisma and his color,
his wayward hair, his ridiculous cycling, and that
he's a little bit different.
BORIS JOHNSON: Our Olympics will give that East End of
London the huge regenerative boost that it needs.

LEAH BORROMEO: The kind of trouble making I've been
involved in with regards to the Olympic Games has been
getting the truth out, and has been trying to bust the myths
that LOCOG-- the London Organizing Committee of the
Olympic Games and the ODA-- the Olympic Development
have been trying to put out.
One of the biggest myths that LOCOG has been trying to sell
about the Olympic games is that it's going to bring
regeneration to London and to the rest of Britain.
Regeneration is when preexisting community remains
in an area.
And you bring in more schools, you bring better hospitals,
you bring in better public services.
And you generally make life smiley.
It's not--
as what's happening in the London borough of Newham, and
lots of parts of Hackney and parts of East London which are
most affected--
directly affected by the games, where people are being
taken from their neighborhood and then being told to leave
that community, so that you can then build new
condominiums, built a smacking new shopping center and bring
in a completely different economic class to
up the area a bit.
But what happens to all those families?
They get sent as far as places like Stoke, or they get sent
to Essex, or they get sent elsewhere.
But they're--
just basically means that they're no
longer Newham's problem.
And they're no longer the problem or the issue.

JOE ALEXANDER: We're very close to the Olympics.
We've been pretty much in the building site when it was
being constructed.
And some people have been complaining of dust-related
illnesses and stuff like that.
Of course the council ignored that.
DOLORES JOHN-PHILLIP: We've put up with all the noise, all
the dirt, all the grime.
And nobody has ever said to us, hey, you can have
subsidized tickets, or it would be nice for you to come
and visit, seeing as it's right on your doorstep.
Absolutely nothing, no mention of us.
It's almost like we just don't exist.
And it's sad, really, because it's right on your doorstep,
and you should be able to enjoy it and be part of it,
but we're not.
JOE ALEXANDER: We're up in Denison Point--
I think it's floor 17 or 18--
and the council have leased the top five
floors to the BBC.
Initially they said that the blocks had asbestos in, so
they're not fit for purpose.
It's not safe.
But it's safe enough to build media suites.
Community's been dispersed, you know?
And this is why they did it.
They wanted the BBC, wanted to have these lovely views and
sing praise to the Olympics.
Which is probably not a bad thing except when you have to
factor in that just down here you see all these houses and
all these people are going to be kicked out of their homes.
And many of them have lived there for 40 plus years.
This community's nearly half a century old.
Lately gentrification--
especially when it comes to regeneration--
is about wholesale land grab.
About moving communities away from where their homes and
where they're used to, and effectively just dismantling.
It's like social cleansing.

I think what the Olympics does is it speeds the process up.
I think it was already happening, but the Olympics
has given it an extra boost.
And it's helped it to kind of like a move lot quicker.
DOLORES JOHN-PHILLIP: Because it's like now, oh, because of
the Olympics we're regenerating, you know, we're
doing up East London.
Always been a very poor borough, and so forth, and
they're throwing money into it as if to say, oh look what
we're doing for you.
No, they're not doing it for us, the people like me.
It's not for us, because they don't want us here.