Thursday, March 27, 2003

Dance of the mad

My dad said the sheer size of the British economy truly struck home when he saw an articulated truck full of Halls Mentholyptus. Imagine the number of packets that truck contained, consider how many people are required to eat those packets, and yet consider still the absolute inconsequence of cough sweets. Vast numbers consuming inconsequential produce = UK Plc.

You get similar awe (but, alas, no shock) hanging around the Olympia Exhibition Centre for a week.

My week has been spent at Olympia exhibiting at a rather dull show, it wasn’t an IT show, as the tarty yet strangely attractive girl in the tight top, short skirt and long boots claimed as she handed out leaflets to anyone who would stop and stare, but it wasn’t far off. As an aside, yes, the trick of using dolly birds to sell products still works an absolute charm. My exhibition contained people in suits, or if they were really modern, in polo shirts and slacks.

The other events going on were more interesting. Professional Beauty 2003 featured a host of satellite exhibitions including The Vitality Show, and my personal favourite, the Professional Spa Exhibition. Replacing that was the opening day of Stitch 2003, the national sewing show, and, incidentally the flagship event of National Stitching Week.

To appreciate the impact of these shows in terms of economic worth, you have to appreciate the role of the exhibition. Exhibitors buy stands for as much as £400 a square metre. This must be paid for through sales they wouldn’t have otherwise got, to a value over the cost of the stand. Put it this way, you don’t get much change from £5,000 for an exhibition stand. You have to sell an awful lot of string and needles to justify that.

The anthropological slant on exhibitions is also worth noting. The shows are honey pots around which cluster like-minded individuals. As I travelled in to set up my stand on Monday, the train was full of glamorous women. I would call them beautiful, but they were only beautiful in a caricatured way. The application of copious amounts of make-up was impressive, but the resulting look was, well, a bit plastic. My nostrils singed with the stench of perfume, and that peculiar smell of what I’ve always assumed, without foundation, to be foundation. If you were to score them for their looks against the classic beauty traits, they’d do well – red lips, glowing skin, long eyelashes. To look at them less objectively, you’d realise there were quite a lot of pigs amongst them.

More interesting still was the clientele of Stitch 2003. They were either over weight, or worryingly emaciated. Either way they all looked troubled and worn down by life. Perhaps entering Stitch 2003 relieved them from their troubles. Indeed looking over the shoulder of the doorman as I walked towards Kensington High Street for a sandwich, the hall was full to the rafters. It was like witnessing the movements of an Orc mine, only with ambient lighting and shopping trolleys.

At the end of each day these people spill back onto the streets and gradually dissipate throughout the city, and eventually the country. So rarely are they quorate, you hardly notice their contribution to the world that turns.


Newer Post Older Post Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds