London Delivered

What a summer it has been for London. In the months leading up to the Olympic Games there was much talk about whether London would be able to cope. Countless stories appeared in newspapers warning of transport delays which on the whole didn’t materialise.

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London has delivered one of the greatest ever Olympic Games and certainly the greatest Paralympic Games. Ever since the extraordinary spectacle of the Olympics Opening Ceremony we have been in awe of the performers, the volunteers and of course our Olympians.

Team GB and Paralympics GB have exceeded all expectations. The achievements of Greg Rutherford, David Weir, Jonnie Peacock, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Ellie Simmonds (to name but a few) have been truly inspirational. I for one will never forget this summer. The evening of “Super Saturday” when a group of around 30 people crowded a friend’s front room and cheered as Greg Rutherford, Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis delivered one of the greatest evenings ever in British athletics. I’ll remember my two trips to the Olympic Park and being in awe of its beauty and structural brilliance. We have seen three outstanding ceremonies (the fourth, the Paralympic Closing Ceremony still to come this evening). From dancing nurses and The Queen playing Bond girl, to The Spice Girls being reunited, an appearance by Stephen Hawking, and flying wheelchairs we have put on shows that will have the world talking for years to come.

London invited the world to come and see the best of what this wonderful city can offer and they came. The remarkable thing is that the transport network coped. It was stress less and if anything I witnessed most Londoners welcoming the Olympic visitors with a smile and a helping hand. This of course leads us to the volunteers who have helped made London 2012 so much fun. They have helped the crowds with a smile on their faces and their enthusiasm has been infectious.

It was hoped that these games would “Inspire a generation”. I believe we have achieved that and much, much more. We are a country in dire financial difficulty but our sense of pride couldn’t be higher than it is right now. You can’t put a price on that. London delivered and I believe the majority of people in this country will have been inspired in some way by these amazing events.

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Pup Aid 2012

Today Primrose Hill was the perfect setting for a great canine event with a very important message. Pup Aid 2012 was Europe’s biggest anti puppy farming event. The dog show, now in it’s fourth year has relocated to London from Brighton to create an even bigger event and raise more awareness. This is the first time The Royal Parks have agreed to such an event and I hope its not the last.

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Nicole Appleton, Liam Gallager, Sarah Harding and Meg Matthews pose with their four legged friends and vet Marc

Judged by some very famous faces, including Brian May, Sarah Harding, and Debbie Douglas from “The Only Way Is Essex”, the dog show included categories such as “Dog that looks most like a celebrity” and “Campest dog in London”. The event was hosted by eighties television presenter Annabel Giles.

20120908-171600.jpgBrian May and “Gavin and Stacey” star Joanna Page take their judging roles seriously

Of course a lot of fun was had but the message behind the whole event was to raise awareness of the horrendous puppy farming that happens in the UK. We were introduced to three chocolate labrador bitches that had been rescued from puppy farms. The treatment they had been through was heartbreaking. “Gavin and Stacey” star Joanna Page told us the story of one of the dogs who had been rescued. This dog was kept in a cage without readily available water, was used to have a litter, given a c-section then bred again. Multiple c-sections had left her with terrible scarring. She is now with a new owner and has had to be trained to live a normal dogs life.

On a puppy farm breeding dogs and puppies are often kept in dark conditions, riddled with infectious and inbred diseases. The pups are then sold on to pet shops, free online or newspaper ads. The new owners will be unaware of any diseases the puppy has and many die soon after reaching their new home.

The only way we can stop puppy farming is to stop the demand. For pedigree puppies make sure that you buy from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. When buying any puppy make sure you ALWAYS see it interacting with its mother. If you suspect something is not right then don’t buy. Don’t buy your puppy from a pet shop or garden centre – these have often come from puppy farms. Buying a puppy from a puppy farm is not rescuing it. You are simply creating space for the mother to be subjected to another litter of puppies who will be kept in the same conditions.

20120908-172030.jpgMeryl, the Boston Terrier stole
my heart

Today was a great, fun and very sunny day. One particular bitch called Meryl stole my heart! But the main thing I’ll take from today is a greater awareness of the puppy farming industry and what we can do to stop it. Find out more at www.pupaid.org or follow them on twitter @pupaid

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“Celebrate!” – Song for the Weekend is back!!

After a short break, “Song for the Weekend” is back and is returning in style.

Mika first burst on to the music scene back in 2007 with his debut single “Grace Kelly”. The quirky video and catchy chorus made the track an instant hit. The Beirut born singer/songwriter then went on to release a string of great pop songs from his debut album “Life in Cartoon Motion”.

He gained a strong fan base and became known for flamboyant live shows which would usually include a lot of audience members in fancy dress.

His second album, “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” was released in 2009 and peaked at number 4 in the UK album charts.

Mika is back! Sporting a new haircut and with new confidence Mika is set to release his brand new album, “The Origins of Love”. Mika has spent the summer performing at festivals, including London’s “Lovebox” and his new material sounded great live. The singer recently revealed that he’s gay after years of speculation about his sexuality and seems to be ready to have some fun with this new album.

The first single from the new album “Celebrate” is a great pop track and felt perfect for this week’s “Song for the Weekend”.

Pre-order his forthcoming album ‘The Origin Of Love’, featuring the new single ‘Celebrate’, here http://bit.ly/MSOUNDS.

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Lady Gaga – ARTPOP is not just an ALBUM its a PROJECT

Lady Gaga has announced that her new album “Artpop” will be a full multi-media project released on to smart phones and iPads. The controversial singer is planning a completely interactive experience for her fans when the project is released early next year.

My own interest in Lady Gaga has wavered since her last album, “Born This Way”. I am however intrigued by this project and excited to see how this project develops. Could this be a whole new way of artists releasing their music?

Here is the statement from Gaga on her website littlemonsters.com

“Im excited to tell you all that ARTPOP is going to be a multimedia experience that comes in different forms. The most major way to fully immerse yourself in ARTPOP is through the APP. ARTPOP will be released as an IPAD, iPhone, mobile and computer compatible application (WORLD) that is completely interactive with chats, films for every song, extra music, content, gaga inspired games, fashion updates, magazines, and more still in the works! I will also be able to upload new things to the APP all the time, the same way i upload to twitter and LM.com. You inspired me to create something that communicated with images, because YOU do, YOU communicate with me and each other with .gifs and pictures, and artwork, graphics ALL DAY 24/7/ YOU’RE an ARTPOP generation. Im hoping you will all continue to grow together and stay connected through your creativity. much love. love, gaga p.s (start asking for IPADS FOR XMAS!!) its gonna be so fun. but dont worry. it will also be released in the regular physical and digitals which will be unique and different to the app.”

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Kylie – The Abbey Road Sessions

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Kylie Minogue has announced the release of her new album “The Abbey Road Sessions”. The album recorded earlier this year as part of her K25 anniversary is set for release on October 29th.

The tracklist includes many fan favourites which have been re-recorded using a full orchestra. The pop princess is also set to perform some of the new arrangements of her hits at this weekend’s “Prom In The Park”.

The full track list for the album is:
ALL THE LOVERS
ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS
BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
HAND ON YOUR HEART
I BELIEVE IN YOU
COME INTO MY WORLD
FINER FEELINGS
CONFIDE IN ME
SLOW
THE LOCOMOTION
CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD
WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW
FLOWER
I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
NEVER TOO LATE

“The Abbey Road Sessions” will be available in the following formats:
CD
DIGITAL
LIMITED EDITION DELUXE CD
LIMITED 12” VINYL WITH CD

Pre-order at: WWW.KYLIE.COM

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Paralympic Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge has been re-branded again, this time to mark the beginning of the 2012 Paralympic Games which begin in London next week.

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Well Done Great Britain

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Wow! What an amazing couple of weeks it has been. We’ve seen legends created, dreams fulfilled and provided the world with what has been described as an “Absolutely fabulous” games. The most exciting thing about all this is that this magic has happened right on our doorstep.

Just over two weeks ago, in the hours leading up to the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 I posted a blog which described my excitement of what was to come. There were of course anxieties and some degree of nervousness – would we be able to deliver, would London cope. But the past two weeks have been a triumph that I could never have imagined.

The Opening Ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle was a visual and audio treat which amazed audiences around the globe. Funny, touching and quirky, Danny Boyle gave us an Opening Ceremony which was the epitome of everything that made this country of ours.

Of course the attention turned to the sport and the pressure on Team GB was immense. A few slow days of medals for our team soon gave way to which became a gold rush. I simply cannot name every triumph. To say that it has been Team GB’s most successful Olympics in over 100 years tells you everything you need to know. I have watched as many events as I could and have seen some things that will be imprinted on my memory forever.

The most amazing day for me was the middle Saturday – or “Super Saturday”. I watched the athletics in a friend’s house with over 25 others. The last discipline in the heptathlon saw Jessica Ennis go into the 800m as the front runner. We all cheered and screamed as she came across that line in 1st. We were astonished and elated when Greg Rutherford won gold for the long jump. The legend that is Mo Farah then completed the night by taking gold in the 10,000m. I have never experienced such emotion and pride as I witnessed that night.

That day was followed by another memorable moment as Andy Murray beat Roger Federer to take Olympic gold in the mens tennis singles.

The gold, silver and bronze medals have kept steadily coming in and we have completed the games on an amazing total of 65 medals – 29 of which are gold. We can not have asked of more from our athletes.

We now are counting down the minutes to the Closing Ceremony which will see the Olympic Flame being distinguished and the baton passed to Rio, who will host in 2016. The very best acts in British music are being lined up to give the games a finale to remember. Take That, The Who, George Michael, Spice Girls and One Direction are all thought to have been rehearsing for tonight’s epic show. I have no doubt that, like the Opening Ceremony, tonight’s extravaganza will showcase all that is great about Great Britain.

I have always been proud of my country and proud of London but these two weeks have made that pride shoot through the roof. Our athletes, our city, the venues, the volunteers, the press, the spectators and the people sitting at home cheering along have made these games spectacular. In these tough times we have delivered an Olympic Games which will be remembered for generations to come. I hope that the excitement and enthusiasm will continue into the Paralympics and far beyond. Well done Great Britain!

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