The day before the riots started in London which are now spreading to other English cities, I was in the East End of the capital. Hackney, where I was visiting, neighbours the site of the 2012 Olympics and is one of the trouble hot-spots.
Most people who live there would regard the borough as the "real" - albeit gritty - London, a world away from the glitz and glamour of the West End shops and swanky hotels.
For those that have only seen London on film, areas like Hackney and the East End boroughs are not the domain of Hugh Grant movies. Now many of those streets are burning at the hands of rioters and stores are being ransacked.
Images being beamed around the world make these "up and coming" areas look like war zones. Violence and pandemonium have hit the streets, with opportunist looters and disaffected youth running amok. The catalyst to this riot seemingly stems from police shooting an armed 27-year-old linked to gang activity. Peaceful protests turned violent on Saturday evening. As with other riots, many criminals have seized this opportunity to wreak havoc and profit.
Two months ago, like many Vancouverites, I escaped the rioting downtown and watched my TV with horror from my living room the rioting that escalated from the extreme disappointment at the Canucks' Stanley Cup loss. Those riots were terrible and soul-crushing to watch for many Canadians and real Canucks' fans. I had hoped that rioting wouldn't come knocking at my door again, but as I write, riots are spreading - even hitting Birmingham just 20 miles from my home.
Though it is merely coincidental that the gracious Winter Olympic host and the soon to be Summer Olympic host felt and are feeling the fiery fury of rioting, we can but hope this misfortune of Olympic proportion does not spread any further.
Richard Chilton North Vancouver