Sunday, June 14, 2009

There are people on the roof!

Bogota, Colombia. Kidnappers, drug dealers. Cocaine cartels, right?


I featured the bohemian La Candalaria district in my third book, The Emerald Killers as a hotbed of villainy and violence. And it's there if you go looking for it, especially at night. But it's also a magnificent, living, historical monument of a place. La Candalaria is Bogota's oldest district. There are blue, orange, turquoise, green, magenta, ochre and yellow colonial buildings, adorned with balconies painted crimson, dark green and deep blue that line the cobbled streets.

The local Museo Botero has 85 important works including some by Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Renoir, Matisse and Monet. Plus all the gold the Conquistadores missed and some brilliant sculptures.

There are people on the roofs. Not real people, statues.

Colombian artist and sculptor Jorge Olave fashions full size works of art of local artisans and politicians at work. Your plumber sits on the roof line looking down on you in effigy as you go to the chocolateria. There's the mayor wagging a terracotta finger at you for dropping litter.

Imagine a full blown Boris Johnson watching over you on your way to the Tube. Gordon Brown holding hands with Alistair Darling on the roof of the Bank of England. Your local MP, squatting on your ridgeline, assessing your mortgage payments and wondering how to claim for them on his Commons expenses.

Of course not. We already have them looking down on us. Here they're called CCTV cameras.

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