WH Smiths now appears to have a policy of hawking sweets at the counter. The assistant points to an array of untempting chocs and tries to force an impulse-buy out of you. What next, pushing fishing magazines door-to-door? Hustling for Panini football sticker trade on street corners? Smiths used to be respectable. Now, like Woolies, it has lost its identity and become a place that sells a bunch of things which, when you want them, you buy somewhere else. It will soon die.
It also has a book section called ‘Tragic Life Stories’. I was dimly aware of the existence of the ‘misery memoir’ genre – I understand that Irish nuns and fakery are heavily involved – but I had no idea it was so crowded. They all have similar cover art so that you won’t mistake them for real books.
It is, as Worm suggests, time for grunge. Come on, lads, we’re taking to the hills. Start all over again. Burn Brown and Balls on a bonfire of tragic life stories. The Malls are over, the cities are all up. It’s finished. Time for the countryside, time for the soil.