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London 2012: We’ve Crossed The Finishing Line – 9 September 2012

EYES OF THE WORLD: Matthew, my brother, looks down at the track of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. (IMG_2596)

SHUTTING UP SHOP: The Olympic Stadium will be closed indefinitely after the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. (IMG_2687)We’ve won the fight, scored the goal, and hit our target. And other such clichéd phrases under the strained semantic field of success in sport, to show our satisfaction at being able to claim we staged this “greatest of games”. No one can honestly say that they ‘knew it would be alright all along’… but it turned out to be. The long-prophesied ‘London traffic meltdown’ never really materialised. Most of the empty seats in the venues eventually found warm bottoms to comfort. The hugely controversial surface-to-air missiles on that block of flats thankfully never needed to be deployed. But, on the subject of hitting a target, our Great British teams thrashed the ones they’d been set: TeamGB finished with 65 medals (25 of them Gold) compared to their target of 48, while ParalympicsGB (who beat their target of 103 medals on Thursday) leave the Athletes’ Village in third place on the table, with 120 medals in their bags (actually eighteen more than second-place Russia), including 34 Golds.

Now, as the circus packs up and heads for Rio, and the world’s athletes and journalists head back to their own respective countries, I’m sad that the thing we’ve all been following for weeks, months, and years – with both excitement and anticipation, and yet (until it actually began) a strange, irrepressible sense of doubt – is now over.

OLYMPIC RINGS: The Olympic rings stand atop a hill at the park. (IMG_9976-edited)

PARALYMPIC AGITOS: The Olympic rings by the Velodrome were replaced with the three agitos. (IMG_2748)

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School’s Out for Summer: End of 2011/12 Term – 20 July 2012

Last year I wrote a post on the last day of the school summer term, with photos from that final day alongside the best pictures taken throughout the year. The thing is that this year, although today is the last day of term, I’ve already finished. Our official last day was in late-May, although many of us still had exams well into June. But since then, we’ve been ‘free’ to enjoy a great long summer (not that the weather’s been particularly summery), and we’re not the only ones missing the closing assembly of the year: Year 10 finish their work experience placements this afternoon, while Year 13 have left school forever.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d compile a gallery of a selection of photos from September to June.
Click here to see the best pictures of the year.

Alice Bows Out – 17 February 2011

END OF THE SHOW_The set partially removed to allow access to cabling.

Well that brings an end to Alice – Furze Platt’s 2011 upper school musical. For months, the cast have been rehearsing hard and tonight their toils paid off, culminating in an almost-excellent performance.

LAUGHS ALONG THE WAY_Myself, my brilliant assistant Bill, and ace photographer Adam.

Of course, no show is ever perfect, but those mistakes that were made tonight were concealed well. Except one. Alice’s microphone wasn’t turned on at the start of the show, so Lorna was left to use her well-trained lungs for the first couple of songs, until a stagehand beckoned her and flicked the switch. Whilst that wasn’t my fault, I hasten to add that I was no Perfect Peter and advanced the lighting too soon.

But, despite the few inevitable arguments and bickering, it’s been just the most tremendous fun. I’ve loved the fact that – without months of giving up lunchtimes and hours after-school – I’ve experienced yet another aspect of theatre. Back in September, I worked on stage management for Stage One Youth’s production of Les Misérables where I learnt just how hard (for so little reward) people secretly worked for the much-praised ‘stars’ of the show. That was a real eye-opening experience, as for the first time I was not on-stage but with my back pressed against a cramped wing wall, waiting to run on and clear a set of gates ahead of the next scene. Consequently, it made me appreciate those who I have naively batted a blind eye to during performances I’ve been in.

Back to Alice, and it does not seem just a week and a half ago since we turned up for the Sunday rig. Tonight, we were removing the very dimmers that we’d put in just twelve days ago, coiling cables laid less than a fortnight ago, and ripping up gaffer tape from the stage that we tore off the roll last Sunday. DE-RIG_Bill Howells removes patches for the stage lights.

It was great to get help from a few of my friends who’d come to see the show this evening, and they helped return the costumes to the drama studios “for next time”.

MAKE WAY FOR THE CLOTHES_Zeki Forster and Zac Brooke lend a helping hand.

We were extremely grateful to the Lane End Players, who once again lent us a car-load of equipment and cable. After helping loading up the aforementioned car, we called it a day and headed off home.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself, and am now left with the rather difficult decision: namely choosing how I should be involved next time. But rehearsals for that are months away, and so – for now – I’m off to bed for (forgive me) a well-deserved rest!

“I once painted the sky. That’s why it’s so horrible and grey at the moment.”

– Bill Howells, heard on the talkback system, 17 February 2011