I emerge, blinking, at Dalston Kingsland Station following my long journey down from Scotland. I'm here to find out just how 'cool' London really is in this Olympic year. The first things I see are banners erected by Hackney Council on the lampposts up and down the main drag. They read: "London 2012: Letz all f***in' smile!" and "London 2012: innit".
Skimpy outfits, made-up faces, smoothly waxed bodies. These are some of the images that come into my head when I think of the Olympics. I'm certainly not sporty in any way myself. So perhaps I'm going about it all wrong when I look at athletes, especially female ones, and wonder why their bodies are so hairless and why their leotards and sports bras seem to barely cover their flesh.
Perhaps the difficulty is in shifting people's perceptions of these regions. Away from the stereotypes of poverty, corruption and violence, there is an alternative picture materialising in Africa. Anyone who does business there will tell you of the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that goes hand in hand with a growing economic power.