Sunday, 13 June 2010

On smoothness

The thing I have been trying to get my head around is about how London (particularly its cultural scene) has a certain smoothness and slickness which Moscow doesn't have. This could be called a type of professionalism which makes coherence and consistency central to its understanding of itself; and/or it could be capitalist society, which exploits every aspect of consumption to generate lots of different goods and services for us to buy.

A typical street cleaners' kit, shown here, is a good example. Brushes are invariably made of twigs; cleaners carts of old prams or trolleys with plastic buckets or boxes tied on with string. Why buy a plastic broom, or a pre-designed dustbin cart? Well why indeed, except of course in London that is what the street cleaners have (whether contracted publicly or privately).

Another example is luncheon vouchers (I have also had post-it notes as cloakroom tickets). We used to get these at work; and each month someone would make photocopies and cut them out individually with scissors. But I can't really explain why I find this odd.

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