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Death Of The High Street

What has happened to shopping?

Looking back to my boyhood in the early 1980s, my grandma would drag me around Kingston upon Thames every weekend. She was always taking something back:

I spent a large proportion of my Saturdays standing in a line with her at customer services in M&S.

I guess shopping is a sentimental thing for me, but visually the brutalist shopping centres of the 1960s and 70s and the “modern” red-brick centres of the mid-1980s did not appeal to me until they were empty — as they now increasingly are, thanks to online retail and the demise of once-popular stores such as BHS and Toys R Us.

It was reported in November that more than 200 UK shopping centres are on the brink of administration.

To me, empty spaces you expect to be full of people are incredibly eerie. Even more so when they’ve been mothballed for a couple of years. An empty department centre in the dark is not something to see on your own.

I stopped queuing at customer services years ago, like most people. Now I just do it on the phone, so I’m not saying goodbye to shopping in general, I’m saying goodbye to the High Street as I knew it — and embracing the future and its gigantic distribution centres next to the M1 …