A bunch of us sat around in a loosely self-organised way in a tinder-dry corner of Hyde Park to start talking about what might happen in London (and the rest of Britain) in 2012 from a cultural perspective other than sport.
I had to leave just as the conversation was really warming up but what I am interested in is what intangible things would we like to be left after the games are over (as opposed to the tangible stuff of stadiums, improved travel etc.) and the way I suggested going into that was to think about what we would do today if it were 2011 and we’d just had an “oh shit!” moment that we’d forgotten to do anything in preparation.
We’d started talking about how we were going to welcome all these guests into our country – which was an interesting tack in itself, what do you do to get ready when you have guests coming? Friendly jolly internationalist stuff.
But then as I walked across to Marble Arch I couldn’t help thinking that the park was already full of guests from all over the world today – how welcome do they feel? What do we do to help them out? Do we talk to them? Do we even recognise that they’re there? And I started to feel a little more uneasy about the preparedness we have to share our culture with visitors. I think it’s going to be fun trying to turn that around.