I was walking round a big department store in Sheffield yesterday, its an independent family run store, I really enjoy it because its not a chain, as far as I’m aware – maybe it is a chain, but no matter, its the only one I’m aware of, its called Aitkinsons, It has little pretty things like bras and knickers and jewellery when you first go in, then there’s the china and crockery on one side and the little ornaments on the other, they have little Betty Boop models, and hedgehogs and piglets and tiny fairies and stuff like that people might like to collect and put out on display, I thought you could use items like that as extras if you were making a film, you know, to populate a room and make it look lived in, little extras.
Upstairs there is menswear, while I tried on some shoes in that part of the shop, there was an indian woman at the counter gabbling on in her own language to her friends, the shop keeper was very polite, and kept reminding her today was discount day. Quite a few people from that part of the world shop here, its not the cheapest, but its friendlier than the posher shops, you can buy a meal in one of the restaurants, of which there are 3 – thats quite a lot for one shop!
A girl at another checkout was chatting to a male colleague about a visit to the dentist, she told him how she was stabbed by the needle – I didn’t tarry there, but I got enough of the story to figure its a long working day, and much will be made out of little, if anyones playing ball – she exclaimed about the sensitivity of the moment, the incongruence, and how this dentist had done the same to others, it sounded like the man is very careless – (but she didn’t mind too much) The other assistant didn’t seem too interested, perhaps he’d heard this story a few times already?
I got back to thinking its like being in a film when I noticed how many old men there were wandering about in the menswear area, you can buy manky anoraks and flannel trousers, there are cool leather jackets and surfer tops, but this isn’t really a trendy shop, its more of an old 1950’s relic, in terms of conception and layout, these people shopping have probably been going there for many years, now they are old, its official, when you started shopping there 35 yrs ago, you were probably a rebel, now your more of an ex-rebel, I noticed how their arses dropped in their trousers, and I thought maybe I’m not far behind in age now I’m older than I was – I felt like I was in some comedy sci-fi film, where a young man wakes up in an older mans body, so he still thinks like a young man, but he has to act like an older man, walking slower, and sizing up clothes on the peg which don’t suit him – old mens fashions aren’t really very appealing to me.
I’m only 52, 52 is the new 25 I believe, whereas these guys are probably like 74 or something, which is the new 47, hardly similar to my 25 now is it?
I found myself wondering if they feel the same way? Like they’d do a cartwheel and shout “Yahoo” if only they could? But they can’t, (neither can I) so they just potter around, looking at stuff in the shop, and it looks like I’m joining them – it feels very surreal, I’m thinking let me out of here, I don’t belong here, and they are thinking the same, except they all think they are the only one!
Meanwhile the ladies are pottering about in the nick knack area, one picked up an item, like a stuffed rabbit toy or something and said “ooh, its lovely that isn’t it? The other lady said yes, it is lovely – while looking the other way, and secretly thinking I wish she’s just shut the fuck up! Its like no one really wants to be there, but its quite pleasant, in a ridiculous way – I thought maybe I should take a recorder and record these conversations – what a lovely drag!