Friday, 14 December 2012


Ah, Hong Kong. What a strange and mysterious place. Like the city of the future 50 years ago that's already lived through the future and is now a bit saggy and patchy. There's clearly money everywhere, but wandering around the shopping haven that is Central I kept wondering about who actually buys this stuff? Who lives here? Who, indeed, can afford to live here?

I ate wonton soup, Michelin-starred restaurant lunches, street-food buns filled with red bean paste and cream, Hong-Kong style comfort food (which, incidentally, is absolutely delicious). I had cocktails in bars with incredible views of the famous, and deservedly so, skyline. I walked everywhere, got lost a lot. Discovered the only remaining shop in the city dedicated to Chinese scroll painting and bought ink sticks and brushes to practice my calligraphy. I went to the outskirts of the city to check out Hackney-Wick style (though commercial) art galleries, and then had a meeting with the director and curator of soon-to-be the biggest museum of visual culture in the region: M+. 

In some ways, there's not really a lot going on in Hong Kong apart from the usual métro-boulot-dodo, which seems strange since the soft-power of cultural consumption is what's so often sold as the psychological carrot for urban dwellers. If there aren't theatres and cinemas and art museums, no one will live happily in the squashed conditions necessitated by urban density, but I suppose in Hong Kong, that's what the high-end shopping and eating establishements are for. Who cares about Turandot when you've got Otto e Mezzo? Personally, I need both, which is why I'm in London and not Hong Kong, but the city certainly makes for a fascinating visit and I'm looking forward to going back to see how M+ develops.


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