Lady Gaga played The O2 Arena back in the day

Five reasons The O2 should be shut down

Or #Overpricedandpastit

The O2 was originally conceived as the Millennium Dome for, you guessed it, the millennium. It was good that they then managed to turn it into a music venue with restaurants and a cinema, instead of it just being left to rot at the side of the Thames.

But, after my first experience there since November 2019, here are five reasons why it should now be closed down.

An external shot of The O2
The O2 has been a London landmark since the very end of the 1990s (“The 02 Arena” by Reading Tom is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
Alan Partridge presented his Stratagem plan to the audience
Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge was the latest comedy character to not completely sell out The O2

1. The bag drop

Instead of letting you take a normal sized backpack into the arena (the kind of size you can carry a laptop in if you’ve come straight from work) they charge you £10 to put it in a cloakroom area outside.

Yes, not £1, not £2, not £5 but £10.

There is no reason for it to cost so much money apart from the fact they want to rake in as many pounds as they can from unsuspecting concert goers. 

And when someone questions the reasons why it is so much the unhelpful uncaring staff just shrug their shoulders.

A tweet from a disgruntled O2 customer
I’m not sure whether The O2 is listening to its customers (Picture is from Twitter)
A screenshot of a tweet from September 2018
Proof that The O2 has been getting away with its bag drop charade for quite some time (Picture is from Twitter)

2. Security policies

There is a bag scanner inside the entrance to The O2 where anyone deemed lucky enough to not have to put their bag in the bag drop has to have their bag scanned.

This is completely fine because security inside big venues is obviously important.

But if the bag drop exists for security reasons then why is there no scanner there to check what people are leaving there inside much bigger bags than are allowed in the venue?

A photograph from 2010 of the luggage X-ray scanner at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
I was too annoyed to take a sneaky picture of the bag scanner at The O2 so instead enjoy this photograph from 2010 of the luggage X-ray scanner at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi (“Luggage X-ray Scanner at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi” by Wayan Vota is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
The Alan Partridge show at The O2 Arena
It’s not clear how many audience members at the Alan Partridge show had the misfortune of paying a tenner for the bag drop

3. The Arena 

It is impossible to have a great time watching anything in the arena because it is just too big.

When I saw Lady Gaga there it was okay but that was because it was her and she did the best she could to put on a great show. But it would have been much better in a different venue.

When I saw Britney Spears there it was okay but that was because it was her and she did her best to put on an entertaining show. But it would have been much better in a different venue.

Comedians now also seem to think they have to play The O2 and don’t seem to realise their acts really don’t work on a big stage.

For example, the Alan Partridge show which was on in recent days was stretched over three nights so there were empty seats aplenty when I went. And, because it was an arena show, Steve Coogan seemed to feel the need to stretch out what could have been a good 45 minute or hour show into an interminably long time.

There needs to be a rule in comedy land that the biggest London venue they should play is the Hammersmith Apollo.

Britney Spears on stage during her Circus tour
Britney Spears brought her Circus tour to The O2 in June 2009 (“Britney Spears – Circus Tour” by SuperSamPhotography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
Alan Partridge at The O2
Quite a bit of the ‘plot’ of the Alan Partridge show needed a lot of rethinking

4. The bar prices

Drinks at gigs and concerts are of course always more expensive than in a pub because, like paying too much for a disappointing burger at a motorway service station, they have a captive audience who can’t just go down the road.

But with lager coming in at £7.50 a pint on Friday night, The O2 really is taking the piss.

Lady Gaga played The O2 Arena back in the day
Lady Gaga played The O2 Arena back in the day (“Lady Gaga @ The O2 Arena” by Something For Kate is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
The audience at Alan Partridge felt like they were burning money when confronted by the bar prices
The audience at Alan Partridge felt like they were burning money when confronted by the bar prices

5. The staff

In the land of London I knew the staff wouldn’t be as good as anyone I encountered in Saltash, but I was still expecting much better.

I had one encounter with a pleasant staff member who asked how good I thought the Alan Partridge show was, and seemed sad when I replied it was nowhere near as good as the comedy above a pub I’d been to on Wednesday. 

But the rest were rude jobsworths who didn’t smile and seemed to forget that they are a big part of people enjoying themselves on a night out.

My best advice to everyone is to message their favourite bands and also contact The O2 and ask them to justify their extortionate prices.

Fiskal Policy is in the process of obtaining a comment from The O2.

Stay safe for another week!

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