Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Beijing Bulletin

More news from the front...

We went to Dashanzi, the art complex, again this weekend as we ahd heard that it was being slowly demolished. Having scoured the site, we couldn't see any damage to the principal areas - so unfounded rumours abound...

It was odd - seeing it a second time, it had lost much of its magic. Some of the work we had seen previously wasn't as special as I had once thought. There were lots of new exhibits though and they were interesting.

I've discovered a new form of pollution! :o Something we're not experiencing in Britain at least - and this is it:

Stair pollution? No, look closer! Many pavements, busstops, lamposts well basically anything that you can reach and is not private property, are oft covered in small advertising stickers. These stickers carry a telephone number and a few characters telling the viewer what they might get, e.g. rooms to let, cheap tickets, cheap tube pass etc. Obviously this isn't an eye-catcher, so they make up for lack of graphic design with sheer numbers!

Things are being done though - frequently you can see a couple of people scraping away at these tenacious little plastic stickers with a wallpaper scraper and some detergent. however, the numebr of sticker adherers outnumbers the sticker scrapers, so there's no real winning against them.

Another thing I've noticed recently are the paper cups in which we get our coffee (well something resembling coffee that has been reconstituted from powder). Each of them is blessed with a cute image and a (sometimes suspect) English motto; all of them reinforcing the fact that you should be doing your bit for the environment. How on earth did this get tied into paper cups though? Are these small, one-shot paper vessels really going to help us overcome carbon emissions and turn back the deserts? Or is the picture there to make us feel guilty about not having brought our own mug to the shop? I'll leave that one with you to decide...


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