It’s all over- the internet has won. Preston versus the recession and the internet.
Christ, this is depressing. The only lights on in the ‘mall’ are on the unrelenting flashing of the empty multitude of children’s rides. An Asian woman is setting up a stall of wooden motorbikes and smiley long limbed cats that nobody is going to buy. Her face is impassive. Her movements are slow.
There is yet another e-cig stall staffed by a man in a turban but no newsagent to buy an actual pack of real fags. The shops are all closed or about to be closed. I feel for the staff behind the Perfume Superstore, Schrodingers Cats waiting to die. Everything with a slight aura of desperation, futile hope and half price ‘Intimate’ by David Beckham.
The market is rammed, people rifle through piles of clothes that fashion and Lenor has ignored for a decade or more.Chelsea Girl clothing still exists here on a Tuesday morning for a pleasing price.
A sign reads ‘Gooch for Gold’. A woman in a niquab jokes about ‘sexual harrasment’. An outraged female voice retorts, ‘ I was just kissing my cousin!’ The cousin is female and laughs quietly as they all disappear down an aisle of sun bleached Early Learning Centre toys.
Like a sleep walker I stagger to a a favourite place or shop to find it gone, wander around like a zombie to find something familiar, safe, nice. Preston is interesting, unique and wonderful if you know where to go but someone has changed the map and I am dyspraxic and confused.
I can’t cope when the goal posts are changed, removed and covered in a ‘To Let’ sign.
I am happy enough wondering around, gawking at poverty and modern ruins in a JG Ballard style and The New Continental Pub still exists so I sit with a large glass of wine and think about how Preston will look next time I pop over on the train.