Sometime probably around 2010, a group of notable Russians put on their kokoshniks and formed a thinktank to decide where next to send the “Faberge: Legacy of Imperial Russia” collection, an exhibit containing incomparable jewellery, relics and – the glittering crown – four fabled Imperial Eggs.
Just when it looked like all hope was lost of reaching consensus, SUDDENLY:
Well, what ABOUT Shatin? Is this a world cultural centre? At first blush, no, nothing is more certain than that it is not. Flanking the Shing Mun River, for which the most that can be said is…it’s a river, its most prestigious building is the Regal Hotel. Its greatest cultural offerings are New Town Plaza and IKEA, famous for that one time a gweilo got locked in the disabled toilet.
At second blush – no, I still don’t get it.
I will never understand why whoever is in charge of these things made the inexplicable decision to send the Faberge collection to Shatin, but I offer them my most heartfelt Nasdarovie. I am passionately obsessed with royal history, especially in re the jewels of the ill-fated Romanovs, and it’s been my dream to see a Faberge Egg one day. Never did I imagine I’d get to see four of them in Hong Kong. Nasdarovie!
For a final touch of complete lack of culture, the exhibit was co-managed by Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the dickheads who “run” the beaches here. Visit a beach here and make a sandcastle – as soon as you leave, a yellow-shirted LCSD person will kick it down and immediately smooth the space with a tennis-court roller. There are LCSD people sweeping the sand. Every 15 minutes, a trilingual announcement is played: “Welcome to this Leisure and Cultural Services facility. Please don’t swim if you feel tired, have recently eaten, are hungry, if it’s too cold, or if you can’t swim.”
Naturally these were the guys best suited for taking charge of the Faberge exhibit. They fulfilled their role admirably, stuffing the hall with 60-year-old ladies wearing surgical masks who snoozed up against reliquaries of priceless artifacts until someone dared even considering taking a photo, at which point they leapt up, waggling their fingers reflexively. Nothing brings out the rage of the berserker in me like when an LCSD lady waggles her finger at me, but just this once, I could see through the red mist. Because I was looking at these.
Images straight-up directly nicked from the exhibition website.
Who’s making a finger gesture at who now, motherfuckers!
This was the most poignant one – the unfinished “Constellation” egg, with the signs of the zodiac engraved on. The stars were to be marked with diamonds, and there are empty holes cut for the purpose. The focus of the egg is Leo, because Alexei Nikolaevich, the last Tsarevich, was a Leo.
I cried when I saw the eggs and I cried all the way home in the car. This was a very special moment for me. Thank you, Vladimir. You are wonderful president.