BACK FROM FRANKFURT: "If you only go to one trade fair this season, make it Frankfurt." I often find that when I am not looking forward to an event or social function of some kind but go anyway that I am pleasantly surprised at the result. So it was with the massive Frankfurt Book Fair. I just saw something this morning on tv about a quadrennial telecoms fair (I forget where) that is a shadow of its overblown self from 1999. By contrast, don't let anybody ever tell you that the publishing industry is on the wane - the poor old book is doing just fine. The Frankfurt exhibition center is hard by downtown, but so enormous you can't take it in. There are ten exhibition halls, each a good deal larger than the Veletrzni palac here in Prague. Each has three or four levels, and they were all full to bursting with exhibitors from every country showing their goods in every language. Tremendous. Here you have all the cultures and zeitgeists of the planet in pleasantly tactile, visually beautiful form that you can pick up and hold in your hands. I was there on business, and it was killing me. I just wanted to stroll from end to end soaking it all in. The only nasty moment came when I rounded a corner and found myself face to face with an enormous poster showing an ugly mug that seemed to have been genetically crossed with an orangutan, allowed to die, buried and then dug up again after several months. Horrible.

Steve | 11:53 |