ABOVE… A road sign greeting visitors (as they leave and enter the city’s commercial centre) to a run-down street of Afro hair-stylists, cheque-cashers, graffiti-sprayed boarded-up shop fronts, one punk pub, one heavily armoured 24-hour store, early Banksy works and one neon-emblazoned ‘massage parlour’. To the east lies a much-maligned black neighbourhood; to the west an insufficiently maligned white one. Bohemians have a hankering to gentrify the place and, to this end, have established a museum and declared a people’s republic – and installed this imaginative and very official-looking sign. The local authorities, unaware of the significance of the alleged twinning with Wanchai (or probably of the sign generally), have specifically banned outdoor consumption of alcohol on this stretch of road.
BELOW… The list of ingredients of a British Airways pudding. With only nine hours of the flight left, I didn’t have time to count them. At Heathrow security, a young woman rubbed my bag with a moist tissue and put the swab into a spectrometer, which promptly set off an alarm about traces of explosives. They let me go, though not without a ‘nude’ body scan (administered by a female), after I gave the correct answer to the question “Do you work with chemicals?” (I should keep it to myself, but the correct answer is “No”. Rather cunning, I think.) Yet this white chocolate mousse gets straight from the mad professor’s laboratory onto the aircraft with ease.
RIGHT… Not obesity, not religion, not population, not political affiliation and not Tiger Woods. Nor does the map show states where the proportion of the population believing that Barack Obama may be the Antichrist is above or below 14% (the national average), though it’s probably close. The truth: red/blue equals corporal punishment legal/banned in schools.