Postcards from Milan – Tat

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May 19, 2012Il viaggioNo comments

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There are three things that Hamley’s always seems to have on sale as you walk through the door.

Firstly there is the oil board that changes colour when you mark it with a plastic stylus. The other is a plane you throw and it comes back to you. The final thing is a small, spider like toy that you throw at a window and it slowly climbs down.

There is something similar in Milan, as there was earlier this year in Rome. It is a tomato with a face, that when you throw it on a hard surface it “squashes”, before quickly regaining its shape. It’s basically tat. The sort of tat that a small child would want, then get bored of once they realise – that’s all it does.

There’s clearly a king of tat in Italy – pushing his rubbish, through a network of immigrants, out on to the main tourist worn streets. One only imagines the meetings they have to determine what tat to sell. The fake bags, wallets and belts make sense – but squashed tomatoes must surely have a very small target audience?

There is another group of looky looky men who offer you a free bracelet, before their accomplices come up and try to charge you. The mark points out that his mate was given them away for free – before the two try to get a bit tetchy about language and that they now have to pay. I dread to think how many have been caught out this way. Thankfully the two I saw managed to get away, wallet intact.

That goes beyond selling tat – that’s downright theft

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