How to save the High Street.

Posted: September 22, 2013 in life
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The British high street is bare. It echoes with ringtones and the crackle of flying Twix wrappers. It is negative space. It is the inside of a crisp packet, greasy, empty and smelling of vinegar. It is a museum of yesterdays, of tantrums in Spud-U-Like and shoplifting Carmex. It is also awash with potential – all that space, all those walls. The things we could do in those vacant shops. The things we could do.


With a good tube of sealant, we could absolutely make the old Our Price watertight. And then, think of the possibilities. All you’d need is a hosepipe and a massive shark, and you’ve got an attraction!


A bank of desks and two leather sofas – that’s the stuff of true creativity. Has anybody ever had an idea anywhere else? No, but a good one? Exactly. This would be the perfect stage for those interested in developing TV shows about, say, the “great British high street”. A Vitamin Water honesty bar. A framed “Keep Calm and Gangnam Style” poster. An intern.


In this civil war between the bendy and the stiff-necked, yoga devotees have enough allocated spaces – spaces with mirrored walls, damp mats and a half-empty water cooler which cultivates gossip and bacteria. But whither the naysayers? The people who maintain that yoga classes are hellmouths, rooms of slow farts and neuroses. Don’t these people deserve a home? A room to fill with whatever the opposite of vibes is. A distinct lack of juices. A room in which they can develop puns on the word Namaste and complain about their backs.


Those poor pop-up shops, now popped off, yearn for someone to love them the way they did in 2010. This is a refuge for the concept stores, the MDF dividing walls, the performance platforms and A1 photos of laughing girls in lipstick. A pop-in for ex-pop-ups, with on-site counselling and a promise of permanence. Like children of divorcees, these shops crave the security of their own space, a sock drawer to call their own.


A hundred loudspeakers on fine chains, padlocked to a decommissioned Yo! Sushi conveyor belt, and 100 people with one opinion each, shouting over each other between the hours of nine and quarter to drunk.


A cloud of good smell, the edges of which bleed out into the street. A series of tiny pumps and the sweetest air in Britain, and modesty curtains for one to spin around behind with one’s top off like an online advert. Customers will be invited to bring malodorous acquaintances inside under the guise that it’s a closing-down Pret A Manger and all the Love Bars are 20p.


TV is the new cinema. But today the only thing lacking from the telly experience is the opportunity to watch it among a load of strangers with a pint of Sprite balanced in your lap. A flock of velvet seats, a box set ofOrange is the New Black, and the high street is thriving once again, bosh.


The end of the world has never been chic-er. That catastrophic sense of eternal damnation, the frantic sex-having. The dark eyes and sunken cheeks, and furious gathering winds, and the way every news story points at a certain death. A newsagent of damnation would be amazing. The papers filleted for doom. The radio tuned to Radio 4 Extra. Eight sizes of gas mask, and somewhere sheltered to park your bike.


Literally save Africa by purchasing some handmade Christmas cards. Details TBC.


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