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Tell me again, why do I need one of these things?

I hope my password works. In the bizarre beyond belief column today,…

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hugh house
I hope my password works.

In the bizarre beyond belief column today, Dosk (age Buzzy minus four) getting a senior ticket at the pictures, my buying a shirt with a tasteful potted-cacti print and, elsewhere, a pair of cropped jeans for £8.40. And that, grammar fiends, is not a sentence since it lacks a verb. The previous sentence is not a sentence since it begins with a conjunction and is plain sloppy. The jeans are somehow just the right length for me without taking them up!

If you can't tell, yesterday was a huge shopping-festival at Lakeside (We packed the men off to the cinema where they both got senior discounts for Jurassic World, of which they approve) and spent too much time entirely in Debenhams looking for a Mantaray* shirt they didn't have. *suck* Then we got very lost in the Sales Rail. We did go other places, honest. Mummyfrog found M&S a disappointment with a bewildering layout and none of the things she was looking for. They did, however, have my lovely new poly-cotton shirt with the fifties catcus print (*whisper* there were succulents too). Lakeside has now been open 25 years. As I said to mum, as we went down in the glass elevator, "I remember when this was amazing" and it was. They used to be illuminated with blue neon and the store was the biggest imaginable store in the world. I think there was also a green plant/water-feature centre-piece below the circular balcony on the upper floor. It's all just clothes and carpets now.

To be fair, the new owners at Lakeside have really turned the place around. A couple of years back, Christmas shopping with my mother, the place had gone seriously downhill with only the anchor stores and the high-street chains really hanging on in there and the rest either empty or occupied by the dubious gadget/novelty stores with "decorative" paraphernalia*. Ineffect, it was a Dead Mall*** or very close to one It has got some of its swish back and everything has got shined up.

Uhm, I better get on with the epic footnotes to this thing:

*Mantaray is a "label" at Debenhams (the department store chain) and I can be seen in their dresses etc all summer. They specialise in eclectic prints, which I love. This is why the pocket lining on my new red jeans features a vintage camper-vans and motorcycles print

**as they call it on most reality/documentary police shows when they can't find the actual drugs. I love reality/documentary police shows, normally Interceptors, Road Wars and America's Wildest Police Videos (which is really pushing the category to the limits, but I needed a tricolon). How can you not like AWPV? the commentary is hilarious. Plus, they genuinely believe in its educational value.

***A great American term. Although *enunciates clearly* "They are not Malls, they are Shopping Centres". American Shopping Malls fascinate me, probably because I have never been in one and the sheer surreal nature of the things. This is probably partially attributable to the writings of Bill Bryson****, car chase movies (Blues Brothers in particular) and the research for "Episodic Romance" my incredibly strange fan-fiction novel thing.
A Dead Mall is exactly what it sounds like but could be better called a Zombie Mall, a sort of living-dead retail space. Most of the stores have shut down, the place is running into disrepair and the only businesses left are the ones that can't afford anywhere else. It's just about making the rent payments to keep it financially above water... but it's dead weight to the owners. Due to the financially perversity that is American tax law,some companies have "gifted" them to the local school boards in lieu of taxes. I am not kidding. Kids really benefit from asbestos-ridden crumbling, unmaintainable buildings which just suck out educational budgets. That is what happened to the mall in the Blues Brothers. Horrible but true.

****Bill Bryson has an important space in my heart. Read him. If you need more of this kind of Nostalgia, read Thunderbolt Kid. If you want his views on Malls try "Tales from a Big Country" and/or "Made in America"
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