Entry: End of Town Friday, April 25, 2008

The more I visit the town centre, the more depressed I get. It's not because I live up north, but because I moved into a shopping mall without realising.

Every time I walk down the main street, I see a new shop announcing a closing down sale, an empty carcass where another stood, and a new Costa. Things aren't going well for the town I've been visiting for the last five years, which I surmise from the four types of store that predominate:

  1. Pound shops. Everything in my town can be bought for a single pound, it would seem. The interiors are like Aladdin's Cave, with all kinds of cheap tat, from tea-towels to DVDs, to coffee, to toys, all for the price of a loaf of bread. There are a few super-pound shops, where items are more expensive, but the general thrust is that of cheapness.
  2. Coffee shops. It wasn't that long ago that there was one coffee house, and that was inside a bank. Now there are eight, and a new Costa Coffee opened last week (there's another Costa inside the Waterstones). Everyone is no doubt completely wired.
  3. Charity shops. Perhaps this is indicative of the disposable society we live in, but there is a cornucopia of charity shops brimming with second-hand clothes and book, with new ones opening all the time. There's a new YMCA shop across the road from my bank, and it was from here that I bought a comic book of Transformers: The Movie (1985) and The Crucible script for less than a pint of milk. Two of the stores are large enough to house furniture, and I bought an armchair from one of them.
  4. Bakers. It's nigh on impossible to stand anywhere in the town where a Greggs, Hampsons, or Greenhalghs can't be seen. The proximity to Wigan, home of the World Pie-Eating Championships, is palpable. I don't know what amazes me more, that they don't go out of business, or that everyone I see isn't morbidly obese.
I can see the future, and in it the human race has become totally sedentary, recognisable by old clothes, bloodshot eyes, and cheap DVDs.


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