ONE of the nice ideas for the London Olympics is the ‘international house’ set-up, whereby fans of a certain nation can watch the sporting action together in one place. So, if you are Dutch and over in London for the Games but don’t have tickets for absolutely every time a Dutch competitor is on, you can watch them compete on screens at Alexandra Palace with other supporters from the Netherlands. If you are Czech or a fan of Czech things, head to the Business Design Centre in Islington. Brazilians are heading to Somerset House, the Danes have got St Katherine’s Docks and New Zealand have the new Granary Square in King’s Cross. The list goes on.
It is interesting to read about the negotiations to provide somewhere for Irish fans, however. They will set up camp in the Big Chill House bar in King’s Cross, where no doubt lots of fun is to be had over the next few weeks. There is of course nothing wrong with the BCH, but when you check back through the Irish newspapers you find the original plan was to have it at the slightly larger location of the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm. That would have been something, wouldn’t it? It can hold 4,000 people.
By all accounts there were a few rows about the failure to secure what, I think most of us would agree, is one of London’s most exquisite venues. Sponsors apparently couldn’t be found to cover the cost to set up at the Roundhouse (reported as 300,000 Euros) – and the craic moved south to King’s Cross.