Loads of Shite

Birds in the sky bring reassuring normality
to an alien countryside walk
The sound of a baby crying shatters
the peace of shopping
The echoes of normality beamed onto
your eardrums makes retail more satisfying
In this world of constant noise, you might contemplate the sound
of rainbow poo left in a rainbow mound by a rainbow horse
in the Middle of the Strand and wonder
What is life like in the Second City?

poem by Andrew M Watkins

Nantes Rue Francoise. Sorry, Birmingham!



Tablet carried… like a tablet before him and in the zone.Location known till we see it all back home. Our Christmas has begun as early as 1991! We’re having fun!

(Of a tablet-toting family I saw during Christmas Shopping earlier today)

The sound of music gives real cheer to the scene and although the homeless are sitting on the floor inside the multiplex they, at least, have Santa shirts to wear and antlers and are hidden behind a sign saying Feeding Birmingham Homeless. Its the bottom rung of capitalism on tiles that cost thousands they eat food worth pennies. There’s underfloor heating too I wouldn’t bet.

And not even my mother can quench my Christmas Cheer and she has shown me what can be got for under a tenner saying its only imagination and being in town that counts. She sticks up for the High Street like a party activist supports an outgoing politician – hoping for a miracle. Its touching and sad to see the town so empty. No-one can afford Christmas, but everyone’s going to have a go. The busiest shop we were in was Poundland.

We were on a mission in the sense that we had a purpose in where we went. It was the redeveloped Grand Central shopping mall that was our destination (just for a look) and I soon got the idea it was now a Poundland free zone that catered for the affluent except for the few bargain stores near the entrance sucking you in.  It was all boutique style clothing and eateries and specialist stores. It’s a shame that the Palisades has gone. Its sprawling avenues of middle-market shops were a firm favorite of mine for years.

One thing that was noticeable in the Marks and Spencers restaurant was the demographic. 50 plus the Sanatogen Market. They are the last bastion of the high street. Is this the last Christmas for the High Street?. I noticed that half the shops in the adjoining multiplex were empty and I can hardly state the lack of ‘normal’ Brummies I saw in the center. The majority I saw were workers or the middle and mainly  upper middle and retired classes who were around that area of High Street/ Bull Ring /New Street junction. And a few that looked determined to enjoy Christmas no matter what.

Well, I won’t recognise the place the next time I go into it probably. But will I miss it when it’s gone? Nothing remains the same it seems. Knock it down and build something new, at your leisure, seems the council’s motto. And judging from the slow demolition of the old Library and adjoining complex that is in no hurry to change.

Sorry if this lacks Christmas Cheer. Go on have yourself a beer! (or a soft drink) and enjoy the remaining 13 days till the big day!