Monday 19th September
Westfield East or Westfield West; I will not rush to visit either I can assure you. I have never been enamoured with shopping malls. They are certainly impressive; our very own cathedrals built for the worship of consumerism, but to my mind they are all so shockingly similar, with their white gleaming walls, marble effect floors, curved stairways and transparent elevators, and the shops all look just the same too.
I much prefer a traditional high street, with its’ organic mix of old and new, a few independent traders along with the familiar names, but even this is fast disappearing nowadays, and most high streets now resemble a bad set of teeth, with boarded up and whitewashed windows and ‘to let’ signs popping up everywhere you look. A few years back there was a rash of estate agents and building societies springing up all over the place, then we had the invasion of the mobile phone outlets, and now we are left with a few well-known but boring chain-stores, (I mean, who actually shops in Peacocks?), plenty of charity shops and a few disconsolate traders hanging on for dear life and lots of empty shops.
I suppose that this is progress and of course more and more of us are buying things on the internet. Books and music I can understand; you don’t need to see the latest Julian Barnes to decide to buy it, the name is enough. But who in their right minds would buy clothes and shoes this way, without trying them on, or feeling the fabric or the cut, but apparently thousands do. I suppose that this is a modern day continuation of catalogue shopping, something my family never indulged in, thank goodness.
Have you seen the advertisements for Westfield, all those smart thirty-somethings in trendy clothes and looking so smug with their lifestyles, not a person over forty to be seen; women of my age, although we have plenty of disposable income are quite invisible to the advertisers, unless it is on daytime television, desperately trying to sell us stair-lifts or equity release. So no, I shall not be rushing out to Westfield East or Westfield West in a hurry. Maybe I will just wait for Westfield North by North-West to open.