On Friday, the best place to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is probably in the Bird's Nest Stadium.
If you've mislaid your £373 ticket down the back of the sofa, there are still heaps of other options beside vegging at home and picking at a warmed-up chinese ready meal in front of the telly. The ceremony kicks off weeks of Olympic and Paralympic sport, with the BBC promising to broadcast 2,750 hours of the stuff - including the 'handover moment' when Boris waves a flag six times and London becomes the next summer Games host city.
Across the country, big screens - 'Live Sites' - are springing up all over the shop, making it easy to pop along with friends and soak up some of the olympic atmosphere. Lots of organisations have worked to bring this about as the next step toward hosting our own Games - not least the BBC itself, but also the National Lottery, the London 2012 Organising Committee, local authorities, the Mayor's Office, Lloyds TSB and BT.
Every screen seems to be doing something slightly different in terms of the length of time they will be up and what they will cover - and some have performance spaces around them to show local sport and culture in action with arrangements for food and drink. (This bit we like.)
It all kicks off on Friday (08.08.08) and time-wise it's a good idea to plan on a nice summer afternoon involving a few drinks. The opening ceremony takes a whopping four hours, and starts at 8pm Beijing time, which is 1pm lunchtime here in London. If you work and can't get out of the afternoon, may we humbly suggest a lunch of the liquid variety?
Here's what we know so far in terms of what screens will be up where. Check local press and council websites to see when it will be switched on:
Trafalgar Square - big screen for the festival which focuses on china (Westminster - WC2)
Canary Wharf Summer Screen - we'll be there as we know for a fact there's a bar (Tower Hamlets - E14)
Walthamstow Town Centre (Waltham Forest - E17)
The O2 - part of their Summer of Sport (Greenwich - SE10)
Notting Hill - at the carnival itself, for the handover moment only - more details later
Hackney handover - as part of the Shoreditch Festival (Hoxton street/Shoreditch Park - N1)
The Visa London 2012 Party on the Mall (handover moment only - with big screens outside in a spillover area if you didn't get one of the 40,000 tickets to see Will Young, the Feeling and Scouting for Girls)
Visit London suggests a fair few bars and pubs who will also be wrapped up in olympic fever throughout the Games
And if all else fails, there's always that option of picking up a No.14 with boiled rice and listening to the handover moment on Radio 2. Hmmm. Not the same though, is it?
Image of the previous summer Olympics from theSAiL0r's Flickrstream