Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hong Kong Book Fair

From the train station, the route to the Fair is clearly marked in bright orange signs. The tourist ticket counter is green; I of course just passed on by as I live here. My superpass also means I go in via the VIP entrance. Just like when I travel, dahlings, I prefer to avoid the hoi polloi. As I neared the entrance, uniformed stewards sheperded the economy class crowds to the correct doorway and there was a tangible excitement amongst the throngs heading inwards. The exit routes are also clearly marked and separated from the entry lines by crowd control barriers; exceptional crowd management strategies and very, very necessary. All this and we are only two days in! If weekdays are as busy as that, I'll be avoiding the weekend. The Fair continues until Tuesday which is great, as I discovered yesterday that there is a whole floor upstairs I haven't even been to!
Wendy Cope was very funny and thanked me for raising the copyright issue in my question at the open floor session. She got right up onto that hobby horse and even questioned the film camera man as to the purpose of his filming, reminding him that he didn't have her permission to upload any of her readings to the internet. The Fair is wonderful and my superpass will pay for itself by tonight's visit. I've never seen so many people enthuse over books. There were students staggering under armfuls of set texts, waving reading lists; mums and toddlers sitting on the floor sorting through shopping baskets loaded with picture books; teenagers grabbing graphic novels, expats like me picking through the bargain bins ( I found 2 at $10 each, that's less than £1 each). At some stalls, the stallholders had microphones and were extolling the merits of their wares, gathering massive crowds who blocked the aisles. The were like the guys at homes and garden exhibitions with the magic knives or stain removers, except they were talking about books! Yes, those things I've spent my life encouraging reluctant teens to pick up. Yet here they were, practically trampling each other in their eagerness to get their hands on ...well, anything, really, or so it seemed to me. Some people came with trolley suitcases to haul away their booty of books and you can even buy a special book fair trolley for that very purpose.
I took pictures on my new phone and I will post them just as soon as I figure out how to send them to myself!

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