During an evening run, I saw a helicopter parked in the Wembley Stadium car park. It could be heard for the remainder of the night flying quite low (very loud), back and forth, over and over.
Well it turns out, that it was a film crew shooting for the American hit television series “24”.
The scene was for a new season of “24: Live Another Day”. The lead actor Kiefer Sutherland who plays Jack Bauer was hanging out in Wembley, flying a helicopter with the famous arch due to feature in the show.
Kiefer tweeted “Shooting at Wembley Stadium with William Devane. Pretty Awesome. #24LAD “, sharing a pic of him and Devane who plays President of the United States, James Heller :
Not so long ago, Blog on the Block revealed that Electric Run was coming to London, so here are my thoughts on how it all went.
As the evening rolled in, pockets of Wembley Park were lit up by spot lights which were dotted around Olympic Way. Market Square’s trees were made fluorescent and in the misty distance, leading towards Wembley Stadium, strange structured lands could be made out.
Electric Run volunteers waved glow sticks directing participants pulsating with glowing beacons of sorts and brightly coloured 70’s disco wear. Event goers arriving to see Jeff Dunham at the Arena were evidently confused and kept their distance.
With an estimated 15,000 people expected to attend the event, I collected my race pack beforehand from an Electric Run pop-up store conveniently located at the London Designer Outlet. This was the best way to avoid queuing for too long just to collect your stuff.
Crowds snaked off from the Civic Centre car park densely filling Olympic Way which was lit by neon pillars and arches. Watching the huge screens and taking selfies were the thing to do whilst waiting for each chunk of the crowd to be counted down and sent off from the start line.
A DJ at the start of the course supplied the music, playing dance and disco anthems. Above the DJ and crowd stood a tower, housing the host and his assistants. They worked up the crowd and made it rain with glow sticks resulting in people diving for the fluorescent tubes as if it were money. The effect glowing things can have on human behaviour is quite astounding!
Adorned in flashing Kanye-esque shutter shades and finger torch rings, I was ready. Arriving fluorescently late, I joined the last wave at about 9:45, counted down in unison and we were off. If you can call it that? Hardly off to a flying start as most people appeared to be walk-dancing, taking selfies or running towards me.
So, I attempted to treat this as a 5k regardless, I started running reaching upper tiers of the Stadium, I then found myself compelled to stop and take selfless, just like everybody else.
The neon effects were at their brightest during the last race, it was impossible to not stop and capture it all. Running the 5k was like weaving through crowds of tourists on Regent St.
At some points it was difficult not to go off-piste as the route was unclear due to bottlenecks of participants taking group pictures or standing around. More volunteers with glow sticks to usher participants along would have helped with any of the disorganised moments.
Overall, I found the course was varied and well laid out with a clever use of the Stadium’s space. The atmospheric tunnels were popular causing near gridlock and after the finish line, food trucks and stage of music followed.
Did anyone else in Wembley attend Electric Run? If so, how was it for you?
Shop-fitters were preparing Vodafone’s first shop in Wembley at 1am in the early hours this morning. Recently, complaints were made by residents about noise at night but I’m happy to say the shop-fitters were silent and stealth in their approach.
Opening at the London Designer Outlet, Vodafone plan to create 1400 new jobs this year with Wembley as one of the first locations. Vodafone said they will open 150 new stores, soon to appear in the likes of Notting Hill, Fulham, Illford & Walthamstow.
The telecom giant’s confidence in brick and mortar is fueled by consumer trends such as click and collect, where you buy online and can pick up in a conveniently located shop.
In the past, residents have blogged often about their mobile phone coverage, seeking advice on the best network. The general consensus was that residents on Vodafone and O2 experienced poor reception but anyone using T-Mobile (now known as EE) were generally happy.
Are you a Vodafone customer in Wembley? What’s your coverage like around here?
Yesterday an alarm was left to sound-off for many hours, once again disturbing Wembley Park residents in the middle of the night.
The harmful high-pitch alarm signal came from the golden public toilet located on Empire Way.
The alarm belonging to the £250,000 toilet was left to wreak havoc on our eardrums for over 72 hrs, with no-sign of stopping.
The lauded loo which was recently featured in The World’s 10 Best Public Toilets, is located opposite York House, where the outlet’s control centre is based. So I phoned them but was told that they’re not responsible for the alarm and don’t know who is.
The abject thing about my discussion with the outlet was that even though they were aware of the alarm they did nothing about it. Although the public-toilet isn’t their concern, the fact an unpleasant alarm can be heard by all the families shopping nearby is reason for urgency.
Earlier this week another alarm disturbed residents yet again in the early hours, this time from Tesco Express Quadrant.
If these recent disturbances have also kept you awake at night do get in contact with Brent Council to raise awareness and implement a 20 minute cut off on these alarms:
Wait for it, from June the 1st 2014, Wembley Arena will change its name to the SSE Arena, Wembley. This won’t be the first time the venue has changed its name as it was originally called the Empire Pool when it first opened in 1934.
As the new name will surely evoke tears of sadness amongst event goers and localists alike, it’s seemingly good to know that the Arena will receive a revamp from the £15m deal.
The Twitter firehose spewed out discontent over the name change, including comedy writer and radio personality, Danny Baker, reafirming the new moniker won’t be remembered:
Wembley Arena to be renamed the SSE Arena. Got it? Just like the Hammersmith Odeon is now called the…uh..whatever it is they think we say.
The Wembley Arena brand is well established, so it is ambitious to completely change its name. Wembley is embedded in the public consciousness with a hierarchy of established destinations that seamlessly work together.
There are other nearby destinations attracting huge crowds such as Wembley Ikea, Wembley Asda, Wembley Tesco and the new Wembley LDO. I think it should have been renamed Wembley Arena SSE, or something similar because the new name won’t catch on.
An artists impression (featured above) shows how SSE plan to change the exterior, other refurbishments include SSE customer lounges which form part of a reward scheme. The energy company which is one of the UK’s big 6, will now have the advantage to offer its enormous customer base early access to events at the iconic venue.
AEG who manage the 02 London Arena which was the UK’s most popular destination of 2013 also started managing Wembley Arena last year.
Residents of the mixed-use-development have found the noise caused after business hours unneighbourly. As a result of resident feedback about the disturbances from deliveries and escalators left to run 24 hours; the London Designer Outlet have confirmed the following changes:
Have been stopped between 10pm – 7 am.
Sun – Wed: On between 7/8am – until 11pm
Thur – Sat: On between 7/8am – until midnight.
Guests leaving outside of these times will be using the stairs.
The LDO’s welcomed response will help manage residents expectations and provide some consistency. Our feedback also stops the LDO wasting energy by turning off its escalators when not in use.
Are you happy with the delivery times? Are you surprised it took residents to raise awareness about the wasteful escalator usage, left to run 24 hours a day? Let us know.
Wembley market has moved from the shadows of the iconic Wembley Stadium to the derelict backdrop of the Unysis building.
The move is part of a wider initiative to regenerate the Stonebridge area, which includes redeveloping the Unisys building and Bridge Park Complex into housing, a hotel and a new leisure centre.
Wendyfairs and their customers waited for months for a decision on when and where they can start trading and consuming again. Brent have identified an opportunity to inject some community-spirit into the dilapidated space abandoned by Unisys over 17 years ago.
It wasn’t so long ago that local papers were disproportionately publishing negative crime-related stories about the Stonebridge area. So, I’m sure most people would agree that moving Wendyfairs operation from Wembley to Stonebridge is finally a positive story for this part of north west London.
Local campaigners say that when the development is finally complete, it should not give its address as Wembley, like Tesco Extra and IKEA have done. To truly benefit and support the area, new schemes should use the more accurate location name of Stonebridge rather than ride on the coattails of Wembley. This also applies to Wendyfairs who should now refer to this operation as Stonebridge market.
The LDO was initially designed and planned as a mixed-use-development, so it ought to cater not just for commercial but also for residential and student accommodation.
My immediate point, however, is judging by the noise pollution caused, the schemes mixed-use ambition is not very convincing. Sure, it would be acceptable if its proximity was further afield from residential. However, this is not the case, the outlet is embedded into a large residential and hotel complex.
On several occasions now, I have had to make complaints about the cherry pickers that make painfully loud beeping noises, the cleaners driving on carts and the torturous, piercing, brain cell destroying alarms left on loop for hours on-end.
While the LDO is gearing up its Mother’s Day campaigns, I sure do hope the retail-professionals have all the mothers and children in their thoughts who can’t get a decent night’s sleep due to the noise pollution.
I spoke with retail-professional Sue Shepard, the Centre Manager at the London Designer Outlet.
She confirmed that security (the men who drive up and down in the Wembley City branded off-road vehicles) are not meant to allow shop fitters on to the complex at unsociable hours. She also promised to look into and tackle the issues but a month has gone by and nothing’s changed.
Locals took to twitter:
@Brent_Council surely there are sound restrictions to stop @londonoutlet firing off their PA system consistently at 3am, people have work
Wembley is fast becoming the destination to host running events, with Colour Run and Electric Run both debuting in the heart of Brent. Well, the beat just keeps on going; Run to the Beat has announced it will be relocating from Greenwich to Wembley Park.
The relationship between the original host borough Greenwich and the half-marathon operator seems to have skipped a beat. The 10k beat fest will be ‘hello-ing’ Wembley Park this September.
With Wembley’s music legacy it comes as no surprise for a music themed running event to find the location appealing.
The event combines music with sport and uses scientific research to show that music can improve your running performance.
Run to the Beat is London’s biggest and most unique music running event and this year we’re hosting an epic 10k in Wembley.
After six years hosting London’s music half marathon and helping 96,000 runners to achieve their goal, we want to give 10k runners the chance to experience the unique music filled run.
With live DJ’s pumping out motivational tunes all around the route and a festival atmosphere with headline act to welcome runners across the finish line, the atmosphere on the day will be like nothing you have ever experienced at a running event before.
Taking place on the 14th September 2014, 15,000 runners will make their way around a brand new 10k course starting and finishing in the iconic venue of Wembley, one of Britain’s most iconic sporting venues.
Wembley Stadium and EE partner-up for a deal that is the first of its kind for the iconic landmark.
The UK’s most advanced digital communications provider will transform Wembley into the world’s most connected stadium, revealed the FA. This means two things, firstly, to offer a world-class “sofa to seat” experience and secondly, to smart-citiy the s*** out of Wembley.
EE have already launched a smart-phone app to accompany the partnership. Gradually the smart-phone app will offer mobile ticketing solutions and EE customers will get exclusive ticketing and marketing initiatives.
Enhanced mobile network access could see EE experiment with new technologies such as Apple’s iBeacon. EE could turn fans phones into beacons for receiving images of Kevin Bacon or notifications about deals depending on a fans location in the stadium.
Super-fast Wi-Fi will be available for all, is that for residents too? Can I cancel the contract with my broadband provider , with immediate effect?
The partnership is for 6 years but unlike other deals, Wembley won’t be changing its historical name. Stadium partnerships often end up with imposing nomenclature like Etihad or Emirates stadium.
This multi-million pound deal partnership doesn’t mean Kevin Bacon will be replacing Roy Hodgson anytime soon, although some might argue doing so would be a no-brainer.
A new identity for Wembley has emerged from the partnership, adapting the existing stadium ‘inspiring memories’ logo with EE’s particle inspired logo.
As reported by the FA, Melvin Benn, Wembley Chairman, said: “We have been looking for the right partner to help us make sure that Wembley maintains its reputation for being one of the best sport and entertainment venues on the planet.
“As stadia around the world become increasingly more technologically advanced, EE is the perfect partner to assist us in fulfilling that goal, giving event owners and their fans the best possible and unforgettable shared experiences.
“Wembley Stadium marked its 90th anniversary in 2013 and this partnership shows that we’re looking to the future and ensuring that we fulfil our ambition to offer inspiring memories, whilst bringing innovation to the stadium at a much faster rate and providing services that are at the forefront of consumer engagement and technology.”
Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, added: “We are extremely proud to announce our partnership with Wembley Stadium.
“At EE, we are always looking for new ways to enhance digital lives across the UK and this ground-breaking deal allows us to extend the same vision and passion to the country’s national stadium.
“Over the coming months, we will announce an exciting programme of upgrades and innovations to the existing infrastructure at Wembley that will ensure the stadium offers visitors a world-class spectator experience for many years to come.”