The great big fluorescent 'Golf Sale' sign could be a thing of the past. At least if Westminster Council get their way. There is a plan afoot to ban them from the West End, and fine offending companies up to £2500 for non-compliance. The Council argue that not only are they an eyesore, they also make life difficult for pedestrians.
Ok, so they're a bit shabby, but I'm not sure I agree with the latter. Cutting through Covent Garden, yes, there are a few advertising cheap theatre tickets that one might have to navigate around, but far more tricky are (i) tourists (ii) people pretending to be statues and (iii) the hoards of people who erroneously thing that outside Covent Garden tube station is a good place to meet (been there, done that). Heck, they even serve a purpose - one helped me find a DM stockist on Garrick Street when Covent Garden was without one for a while. And that's, like, totally crucial information. ;-)
Actually, if Westminster Council want to ban things that make one's transit from A to B on foot problematic, may I suggest targeting the following as a greater priority:
- People proffering The London Paper and London Lite
- The Scientologists on Tottenham Court Road who try to lure you in by offering a stress test (presumably to detect how stressed they've made you by getting in your way)
- People who stop at the top of escalators to plan their next move, oblivious to the pile-up behind them.
- Loved-up couples who think that meandering along, holding hands, is acceptable behaviour on Oxford Street/in mainline stations during rush hour.
- Users of those suitcases with extendable handles, who ignore the existence of everyone else, to leave a trail of chipped ankle bones in their wake.
- Groups of 50+ exchange students who manage to block off entire chunks of pavement at a time
- Stationary rickshaws
- Boris Johnson. (Oh alright, maybe this isn't his fault. But I've got to try...)
I mean, lets look at the positives: at least a great big placard is more environmentally friendly than a load of fliers. And if you were feeling desperate for a cut-price nine iron, then they could serve you very well.
All this does remind me of a question I have pondered before. What exactly is it about golf that prompts this kind of advertising, far more than the sale the any other product? Do people who play golf respond well to that kind of thing? Whatever the answer is, I hope that the people who were probably employed on a sub-minimum wage to do this manage to find other work. Or else there might be a protest. With neon placards.