Sunday, March 29, 2009

Location is everything

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here

The Excel Center in London is a massive convention and exposition complex in London's Docklands area, and I note this morning that it's the venue for the upcoming G20 meeting. I attended an event there a couple years ago, and I can't think of a place in London I'd rather not be. It's truly one of those places best seen in the rear-view mirror.

The complex is in the right half of the picture above. Don't be fooled by the snazzy yacht parked out front...the place is bleak. Not so much the complex itself, but the surroundings. One might think that a convention center of this size would be surrounded by great restaurants and bars, fine hotels, shopping and the like. One would be dead wrong. There's one pub nearby that catches a fair after-work crowd. But by nightfall the place is desolate.

When I was at the Excel Center (for three long, forlorn days), there were two hotels convenient to the center; the "Premier Travel Inn", which was anything but "premier" and another hotel - Novotel - which was a step or two up. I got stuck at the PTI, which my fellow travelers and I took to calling "pity".

The "pity": Bleak, forlorn, desolate...take your pick

I bring all this up because the sheer soul-crushing, energy-sapping desolation of the area might just be enough to diminish the impact of the demonstrations at the G20 meeting. When the average fun-loving anarchist finds out he has to go to the Excel Center to vent his anger he'll probably just say "fuck it, I'm not goin' there". Those who do show up are likely to take one look around, have their spirits crushed, and go home.

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