Mr Democracy

A written constitution for the UK (made in China)

  • Welcome to Mr Democracy, the story of a British artist who set off to get a written constitution for the UK made.
    Understanding the changing balance of power in the world, and with a nod to Britain’s ‘democratic’ ventures across the world, he chose to get it written in China, and ship it back to the UK.
    Read more under 'about' and in the many blog entries.

Not Top Gun

Posted by mrdemocracy on 04,09,2008

I’m sitting on a bus bumping down the motorway to Shantou, about 250miles east of Guangzhou, in the dark (lights out at 8, reading lights don’t work), some Top Gun rip off on the TV, having just listened to the news quiz from back in October. The news quiz (link) is one of my home comforts. I’ve come across something called ‘superlito’ on my itunes now, fits the mood. I’ve also just spoken to my Dad, I asked him to call Nationwside to ask them to call me to explain why I can’t get any money from the cash machine. Despite having called to explicitly ask this, I now can’t get any money out of the wall. After saying they couldn’t comment because he isn’t the account holder, they explained, 2 or 3 times, that I should just pop into my local branch to sort it out. Eventually they seemed to understand this wouldn’t be possible, what with me being on a bus in China. ‘Service economy’ is a misnomer.

On Friday we called Mr Shao to ask about visiting on Saturday. He said it wouldn’t be worth it, we should come on Monday, then we can stay the night and the toys can come to Gaungzhou the next day. So we called on Monday morning, when he mentioned that in fact the factory is in Shantou, as I said about 250 miles east of Guangzhou – one of the reasons we’d chosen Mr Shaou was that the factory was ‘in Shenzhen’, just one hour down the road on a fast and frequent train journey. So we were pretty pissed off when he casually mentioned that it was in a city 6 fucking hours away. Why do people lie, do they have no scruples? No apolgy, no recognition, nothing. This time I wished he’d spoken English.

We visited the circuit board factory today, where the circuit boards are made, it was amazing. The whole process of anything being made involves an almost infinite number of factories and inductrial processes. Our flash memory is made in another factory (in Taiwan I think), then processed here in the office in Guangzhou. The micro controller is also made in another factory, and they are out on the board in yet other factories. You can also go further down the chain, and the parts and materials (paint, board etc) used in these components are made in other factories. I hope the video turns out well, it was certainly interesting, all the ‘tssst’s and ‘bmmpf’s.

Something has confused me. It seems Marco is more friendly and helpful since we’ve signed the contract, not less interested, as I’d always thought it would be. I thought before the contract they would be keen to secure our business, and after -especially in our case where it should be pretty obvious by now that we’re not big players – start with the excuses, delays and cock ups. But Marco has completely turned a corner, apologising for his English leading to misunderstandings, and quite sweetly checking by text to see if we got to Shantou ok in the evening, and then offering to look up a hotel if we couldn’t find one. It may be because we started chatting about more personal things over the internet, such as degrees and travel. I still can’t quite work if he knows I’m an artist and not a business man. We’ve talked about the ‘exhibition’.

Its 10 pm, so I guess we’re half way. We’re backing into a petrol station, lets see how long we stop.

It wasn’t long (enough to buy some food).


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