These routes are made for walkin’


What is a life?

Some hold the definition of a straight line as the shortest distance between two points : seems both intuitively and rationally true. Yet it strikes me as intrinsically sad: unless you’re a Roman foot soldier whose feet have a vested stake, what’s beguiling about an unexplored path?

The pestilence, which appears to have acquired a tidal nature rolling in and out, has thrown up opportunities to rethink how we behave, replenish, ventilate, assume responsibility, acknowledge [mind ya prolix, Ed], aspire … you get the idea?

To which end, Town Centres: they iz a-changin’. A break-out group of a North London Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise [NLCCE] conference in February – remember February? Before Covid-19 had hinted itself into being – discussed the future of the High Street which seemed prescient then but now, the conclusions drawn appear self-evident.

The High Street evolves in ever-shortening waves. No-one’s left who remembers two sweet&paper shops, a baker, DelikatEssen, Blacksmith and a hairdresser with those terrifying, rigid dryers standing sentinel along a wall – and all of them privately owned.

Well, mebbie it lies in virtue that harmoginodge – a somberly vaccuous case of national brands engulfing individualism – has been found wanting.

Brits, it seems, want shops with variety and idiosyncrasy: in the absence of which they shop online. Thus, the function of a High Street evolves into a place for socializing rather than commerce. Java joints and Houka lounges smoulder where once a haberdasherery rubbed shoulders with the green grocer, where that essential hardware store jived with the mistress of vinyl.

Life, lived to its fullmost extent, requires mingling in social celebration. Live, thrive, strive and stride into a multi-coloured/ethnic/aroma’d/possibilitied future where the rules have been thrown in the air and are landing in different patterns.

If the root of all evil is money, then perhaps this is a time to divert one’s route along different corridors to see what exists beyond?