I arrived an hour early for my conference at Birkbeck, so I popped around the corner to The British Museum. I didn’t wander far from the North Entrance, up that amazing staircase, into east Asia, and specifically Japan. I saw an embossed box that was five-hundred years old, and shone blue like a beetle’s back. Its simple beauty stunned me.
Downstairs, in room 91, an exhibition of pacific shields took my breath away. They’re bright, dazzling, designed to scare the enemy.
I was most touched by the modern shields. Made using car bodywork, and decorated with the logos of contemporary rugby league teams, they are designed to withstand shotgun fire. Shield and shotgun battles are going on today in the pacific.