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.

Huang Pu, wuh-hooo!

Posted by mrdemocracy on 09,09,2008

They’re off. Today I relaxed for the first time in two months! It was a stressful day though, completely Challenge Anneka.

Our deadline was 11am at the warehouse in Huang Pu, Gaungzhou’s main port. Despite everyone telling me it would be easy to find a truck and driver (man with a big van), we … had some trouble finding a man with a big van. Fearing that one wouldn’t be enough, we got two trucks (Jackson’s friend recommended them for us), and we met them at a metro station. From there we tried to get to the installation factory. I say tried to, we were again struck by the no-maps-no-directions-curse, loosing us valuable time. In the end someone came to meet us on a bike, after a few circles and many phone calls. Arriving at the installation factory I seemed to be in more of a rush than anyone, but Marco got the idea pretty quick. As the boxes started coming downstairs, I went upstairs to pay up. As this wasn’t Marco’s place, we settled using some plastic chairs to count the cash, I’ve never counted to much so fast!

The pressure only increased as we got back on the trucks to speed off to the port. I was concerned about traffic and getting lost, particularly not being able to find our warehouse. Jackson and I were on the phone all the time to each other and Laura from the shipping company. Arriving at Huang Pu, we were told we had to go to a counter to hand in a form, and get another one. I don’t know what people normally do, I can’t imagine many people do so much themselves. The queue at the counter was long and slow, and we noticed that the counter closed at 11:30 for lunch. Lunchtime in China seems to be as strict as France and Italy (used to be), and it also has nap time built-in, I approve. We made it! We were the last ones before the little counter window was slammed shut, that was lucky. We then went off to find our warehouse, 8c. We then discovered that it was closed for lunch, I don’t know why we weren’t told this by Laura beforehand. We unloaded onto pallets next to the warehouse, thankful that it didn’t rain, and paid the drivers. Lunchtime gave me a moment to start some filming – coming in with the goods had given me the opportunity to get right into the port, and it was the container base, cranes and all. I hadn’t known this before, I had thought we might have left our boxes at a warehouse owned by the shipping company, but they were not around.

After lunch the pallets were driven into the warehouse, boxes bouncing around, I don’t know how they are supposed to get to England. They had a piece of string to hold them together. And they were marked with chalk. We’ll see.

The filming opportunities got better still. A little wander round the corner and we were at the waterfront, with the cranes dropping the containers onto barges set for the short ride to Hong Kong, where they will be transferred to bigger cargo ships. Amazing. I still can’t believe we could get in and get so close, what happened to all the Olympic security? One guard told us we weren’t allowed to film, and asked us who we were. It did help that we were customers. We couldn’t really argue that we were lost (we were a long way from our warehouse), but maybe just curious customers. I tried to be discreet, and although he could still see we were there, he never come back. Jackson started to get a bit nervous with the huge cranes moving tonnes of container above our heads and rolling on their train tracks next to us, so we called it a day. Walking out of the container base in search of a bus or taxi, I really felt like I’d done it, the toys were on their way. Thanks Arts Council England, thanks for believing I could do it.


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