Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The impulse to trade

The Faith Focus Group last week encouraged me to go ahead with producing an inter-faith leaflet describing in an introductory way the various festive seasonal events celebrated by different faiths in the last couple of months of the year. I've been promised some funding support from the Saint David's Partnership to publish a good number of these, and the City Centre Management has helped out with a short initial print run, to permit me to get the leaflet out into the wild (well, into the Tourist information bureau, and the public libraries circulation network) before tomorrow's Christmas lights switch on.

There's a dearth of local interfaith information in Cardiff, so in addition to the faith trail website which I put together last month, I've now created another for this pupose, as yet un-named, but viewable here. I still have the task of recording some festive seasonal greetings from churches and other faith community members for broadcast on the BBC big screen outside St David's Hall. I sent off some video clips of last month's Diwali celebrations, plus some fine photographs for th e BBC team to use. However, I had a phone call to say that they couldn't at the moment get the feed channel to the big screen to work alongside the input from the main BBC news site. Will it happen at all? I have to presume it does and work to that end. Has the BBC promised more than it can deliver? We'll see.

I had an email of apology today from the outside broadcast team manager about Saturday morning's fiasco, despite my saying that no apology was required, only greater effort at consistency and better management when I wrote in to moan at them. The apology even promised to send me an interview fee which I neither expected nor asked for. Strange behaviour. If only they listened!

Only half a dozen people were present at the Retail Partnership Board meeting this morning. I guess everyone else is busy busting a gut with efforts to stave off the impact of the economic downturn. The meeting was full of gloomy impressions and scary rumours, which I refuse to propagate. I'd rather celebrate the defiant courage of those who just keep on keeping on, who refuse to cut and run now that thing are tough. I guess anyone at the interface between retailing and the public knows how things are unpredictable in times of boom and of bust. They are trained to be ready for anything. Success may come eventually simply from turning up for as long as you can. Paul Williams took us through the pre Christmas publicity campaign material, another superbly conceived job. 'Cardiff capital of shopping' is the strapline. Capital of optimism is how I see it. Why not dare the dark?

Just saying that made me think of the streets of Sarajevo, when I visited there twelve years ago now. Ruined buildings were either being repaired or their sites cleared, and where they had been cleared, people stood along the edge of the road, lined up selling whatever they had to passers by - mostly cigarettes, vegetables and a few small electrical goods as I recall, for whatever currency they could get. The impulse to trade is one of life's most vital signs.

We paused the meeting at eleven for the two minutes silence and Act of Remembrance. Ex-para Mark Knott, manager of Queen's Arcade, led us. It's one bit of the darkness that must never be disregarded.

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