Monday, March 13, 2006

Update [Part 94] - Jobs & Games

Well, I was due to start work tomorrow [Tuesday] after the Public Holiday today, but it's now been delayed for another two weeks as the staff member whose shoes I'm stepping into doesn't start their community job till then...

I may get a bit of work on the "Bank" [i.e. reserve staff to cover for sickness, illnesses etc.] but I'm not holding my breath. Still not signed my contract, but it's coming, I'm told.

Ah well, it does at least give me the chance to catch some of the Commonwealth Games. Although it would have been useful to know I wouldn't be working at an earlier stage, as all the good days of athletics have sold out, other than the expensive seats. Bum.

I've already snaffled cheap tickets for the Rugby Sevens qualifying rounds and quarter finals, though the semis/final is sold out. I'm not really a rugger bugger as I prefer my balls to be round, but it's an exciting experience, by all accounts. That's at the piddly* 53,000-seater Telstra Dome, formerly known as the Colonial Stadium. Don't you just hate it when a venue is named after a sponsor? Like the MEN Arena (formerly Nylex), Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium etc. etc.

Also seeing the athletics a week on Monday - no finals, just qualifying stuff, but Claud and I really enjoyed the experience when we saw a couple of sessions in Manchester 2002. Might take in some hockey too, and then there is the marathon, the cycling time trials, triathlon etc. And it'll be in the newly-refurbished MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground], which seats 100,000 [*piddly is relative, isn't it?].

In fact, they're updating their ticketing in half an hour, which may mean that more tix will be released for other events... here's hoping [update 45 mins later: Nope, I didn't get any!]

There are still allegedly around 400,000 tickets available, although they seem to be mainly for the top-priced seats at the weekday morning sessions, so it's not really the flop that some people seem to be making out, althoughthe number of overseas visitors expected is being constantly challenged in the media.The statistics remain pretty impressive:

Nearly 400,000 more tickets to the Games have been sold than for Turin's Winter Olympics.

More than 1.3 million tickets have been sold so far.

More tickets have been sold here than at any other Commonwealth Games, and in fact nearly double the amount sold at any previous Games.

Interestingly, I recently read that Manchester is now the third most-visited UK city [after London & Edinburgh], a fact that local tourism/council people attribute in no small part to the increased profile Manchester attained following the 2002 Games. They reckon that Manchester is now getting an extra 300,000 visitors per annum. I'm not sure how many of those are international visitors, rather than Brits on day/weekend trips, but that's still an impressive figure.

It's also believed to have contributed to London getting the Olympics, having proved that the UK can hold a successful international event, and do it really well. Dunno if that's a proveable fact, but those in the know seem to think so, which is pretty amazing.

Melbourne is actually currently talking Manchester up, saying that they're looking to build upon the revitalisation job that Manchester did on what had of late become the struggling Commonwealth Games "brand". I feel strangely special, and inordinately proud of my home town.

Now, just make sure you watch the Games on the BBC, and check out Melbourne. You'll be impressed by both the venues and the city, I promise you. O, and do look out for some bloke in a red-and-black hooped QPR shirt, sitting way up in the cheap seats, dreaming of Manchester. Well, maybe.

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