Excel just wasn’t up to it

Just come back from the three days of London Book Fair. This year it was moved to the Excel Centre in Docklands. What a nightmare! It was clear very early on the Sunday (usually the quiet day) that the facility just wasn’t up to it.

People queuing to buy a ticket and then having to separately queue to actually register sent a few people over the edge. But then when they just wanted a cup of coffee having to queue for 45 minutes finished them off. And forget it if you were a woman and wanted to use the loos – you really should have booked more time off work.

And in the middle of all this half of the centre was being used for the professional beauty show. Really I kid you not.

I know the limitations of the old site Olympia but at the end of the day you can walk out the door go a few hundred yards and you can go eat on Notting Hill or Kensington High Street. Can’t get to eat at the Excel centre or need to take a client to somewhere other than the (very slightly!) poshed up Wetherspoons type thing on site (Fox@Excel) you would have more luck in the desert as there is nothing. You can see in the images below firstly the heaving Fox bar at the end of Sunday. Secondly, the hundred yard queue to simply purchase tube ticket to get out of the place on the Sunday. Sorry, photos aren’t a little clearer but you get the idea.

Tube queue

Tube station Excel

Bar at Excel

The only alternative appearing to be the Victoria pub opposite the DLR station. A pub incidentally which we had to wait in for couple of hours just to be able to get on the tube and get back to our hotel.

Oh, and to cap it all off nobody could find anything because of the ridiculous grid system which if not being able to eat, go to the loo or get out anywhere finally lead to meltdown for many.

In short they just didn’t know how to deal with the numbers. I am sure that when the Reed people were wandering round the Excel centre when it was all empty with its Starbucks and so on everywhere it must have seemed like the best idea they ever had. But please come on guys think again. All joking aside hard pressed publishers have to pay a fortune to exhibit and visit the London Book Fair give them the Bookfair they deserve.


Filed under: Absurdity, Publishing

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