不奇怪的書展 The not so strange Hong Kong Book Fair


一年一度的書展已過。現在才談書展,可能有一點OUT,但就是過了一些時間才可讓某些東西沉殿,才可作客觀的分析。

很多所謂文化人經常貶斥書展,指它只是一個特賣場,作用就是散貨,對提高本地人的閱讀風氣和文化修養毫無貢獻。

但事實又是否如此糟糕?

書展本來就是一個攝時間的FAIR,因為暑假是商業FAIR的淡季,貿發局會展要揾錢,攪個書展等嗰啲暑假無所事事又無錢去旅行的人有個地方去吓都錯唔得哂。但當時間久了,而主要出版 商又開始DOMINATE書展,看不過眼的人自然要投訴一下。

我不是要幫貿發局講說話,但如果你有細讀近年書展的PROGRAMME,而不只是隨便看看報章那寥寥數百字的只是有關入場人數及靚模的報導,你應該會發現其實大會的確有安排大量講座,研討會等的文化活動。就算你有留意,那天忙著在數百萬平方公尺的書展會場血拼,睇都未睇得哂,點會有時間精力再去出席那些文化活動,除非你有兩、三日時間,好好安排每天的節目,才可買到心頭好,又吸收到一點文化氣息。

其中一場有參與的就是由鄧永鏘爵士搞的座談會。有四位著名英國作家 - 皇室歷史學家 David Starkey, 食評人AA Gill 和 Tom Parker Bowles,及Conde Nast International VP 作家 Nicholas Coleridge 鮮有同場雄辯說笑,實是美事一宗,也應當要讚許鄧永鏘爵士肯運用個人網絡邀請到這些名人到香港看看,跟在場觀眾交流。雖然座談會討論流於鬆散,尤如在酒吧聽到鄰座酒後吹水差不多,觀眾又大多是居港外籍人仕,唔係睇到台上的BANNER,以為自己身處於倫敦書展。如果明年討論可以多一點點香港的RELEVANCE,多一點本地華人觀眾,那就更好,我期待明年的座談會。

如果你要批評貿發局不懂攪文化,那就錯了。貿發局不懂攪文化是應份的,它們的責任是攪貿發,賣書散貨是貿發的一部份,不賣去積壓在貨倉的舊貨,那來有資金周轉擴充業務,騰出空位置新貨?要批評,應批評點解推動閱讀文化會是貿發局的責任,而不是文化局?呀!香港是沒有文化局的,負責攪文化的民政局要推動愛國洗腦教育及超資又好大喜功的運動會。

其實散貨都不錯,至少可以買平書。作為一個喜歡閱讀的消費者,我都會選擇於書展買書,明知書店沒有折扣,為何不在書展買?反正我又不是等不了。書店買書很多時是IMPULSIVE PURCHASE,但書展買書是有計劃及有BUDGET的。

現在剩下的問題就是要想想如何可盡快於明年書展前看完本年書展買的書。

To complain is in the DNA of Hong Kong people, and one of the things they love to complain about is the annual Hong Kong Book Fair.

It ended over a week ago. It was packed as usual, attracting nearly 1 million visitors. I was one of them. I did everything that many visitors did: shopped for discounted books, attended a couple of seminars, and had a great time.

But people still complain, that the Book Fair is not about promoting the reading culture but just an annual opportunity to clear old stock; that the major publishers bullied the smaller ones; that the event had nothing to do with culture, etc.

If you were bothered to take a good look at the programme of the Book Fair, you will be surprised to find that hundreds of "cultural events" were in fact staged during the fair period. But most of the time, none of these could get into the column inches in newspapers and magazines, which mostly only talked about the number of visitors, number of exhibitors and which pseudo-model releasing photo albums this year has had a boob job.

And among these events, Sir David Tang's talk featuring four of his highly respected friends from the literary world - historian David Starkey, food critics AA Gill and Tom Parker Bowles, as well as Conde Nast International's VP and novelist Nicholas Coleridge - was certainly one of the highlights. These authors never made any public appearances in Hong Kong, and Sir David deserves some credits for convincing them to join the Book Fair to meet the audience. Although the discussion was a little over the place, which sounded like a conversation at a pub after downing a few pints, and most of the audience was in fact expats, such kind of events should be encouraged. If the discussion can be made more relevant to Hong Kong, and if there will be more Hong Kong Chinese joining, it will be a fabulous event, and I look forward to next year's talk.

The Book Fair is organised by the Trade Development Council - Trade Development, NOT Culture Council. So those who criticised the Book Fair for its lack of culture are firing their bullets at the wrong target. Trade Development Council is to promote trade development, and stock clearance is good for publishers to improve their cash flow and clear up space for new stock, so the Book Fair is for sure promoting the trading of books. Promoting culture is not in Trade Development Council's job description. It should be the responsibility of Culture Council or Culture Bureau. But wait, we don't have Culture Bureau in Hong Kong, and the Home Affairs Bureau, which is supposed to handle cultural development in the city, has been too busy with over spending taxpayers' money on sports events and promoting brain washing patriotic education etc.

And there's nothing wrong with shopping for discounted books. As a book lover as well as a consumer, I'd rather wait till the Book Fair to buy discounted books. Why would I want to buy a book at regular price if I can wait?

Now the only problem left is how to finish these books before next year's Book Fair.



Comments

  1. Most interesting. Now, where do I find that best-seller on pseudo-model boob jobs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. There was one photo album claiming that it could offer readers the "feeling of watching AV" lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you could get free hugs from Japanese porn stars somewhere in the building. Perhaps we could combine that with the high-brow events next time to get a more mixed audience.

    ReplyDelete

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