Unless you're hiding under a stone in deepest darkest Kent, you'll know about the astonishing 'invasion' of the Terracotta Army, with the British Museum opening their flagship exhibition a few weeks ago. We wrote about their arrival on these very pages for you, so you've really got no excuse. Such is the clamour to see the soldiers that they will stay for a full six months. Getting them here is clearly quite a coup, and critics are wowed.
But we recently heard some distinctly 'huffy' noises coming from the heart of SW1. After further investigation we discovered the grumbles were emanating from the Royal Horticultural Halls (RHH) in Westminster, who issued a press release entitled "Haven't I Seen That Somewhere Before?" to draw attention to the fact that this isn't the clay warriors' first appearance in Britain, this is their fourth time here. It's not even their first time to London - the very same figures were exhibited in London's RHH 20 years ago.
Ah. The RHH do at least graciously concede there are 'many additional items' this time around, which is nice of them. While it's right to correct a clearly naughty impression fostered in the media that this is the Terracotta Army's first visit, we think the RHH has been a bit naughty itself with their press statement. It's neither big nor clever just to tut loudly at someone else's work, no matter how miffed you might feel at them copying your idea. Shouldn't they take imitation as flattery?
For one thing, the fact the soldiers last arrived in December 1987 means that there is a whole generation that missed them*. Schoolkids and young adults in particular would have had no chance to be part of the 250,000 visitors that saw the exhibition over the six week exhibition. December 1987 was yonks ago - at the time our charts were ruled by T'pau's China In Your Hand (we can see a good PR tie-in with the Chinese warriors here), successfully fighting off Rick Astley, Shakin' Stevens and Mel & Kim.
Anyway, we'll pop to see the Terracotta Army over the next few days. We'll play Rick Astley on our iPod and frown at any schoolkids we see, on the basis they haven't got the faintest idea of the man's genius. Maybe he'll have his own exhibition in the British Museum one day?
If you'd rather, head to the RHH for their Harvest Market on 9/10 October to "enjoy fresh herbal teas, and discover ways to grow your own fresh fruit and veg."
image from sicoactiva's Flickrstream
*in some parts of deepest darkest Kent 20 years could be almost 2 generations...