Thursday, August 13, 2015

How do you make a hardware store pretentious? Adventures on "Bishy Road"

Bedeck it in twee bunting, stick an old-fashioned market cart out the front. Pretend you don't actually sell nails. That sort of thing.

Anyway, I'm sitting here writing this looking out on a cafe patio watching two tables. The first is obviously a family, elderly mum and dad, just back from her morning gym session older daughter and VIth Form / just started at University son. Foppishly Boris Johnson-ish hair, thick rimmed black glasses, white shirt, blue velvet jacket, purple trousers, brown shoes, no chin.

The other table appear to be eating granola. In a plastic pot. With yoghurt to add. Which, yes, they're taking photographs of.

Next to me are a couple with identical white dreads, nose rings, ear extenders, all the best eco-friendly clothes mummy and daddy's money can buy. And behind me, there's a couple of recently graduated women having a business meeting with a bearded hipster type about their pop up wine thing they want to try. Thing is, they patently have NO idea about anything business. They just know they like wine.

Selected quotes...

"none of that fruity, heady sort of label nonsense that even Wetherspoons are doing now"

"before he started his own winery he managed a Danish thrash metal band. How marvellous."

Oh, yes. Welcome to the wonder that is "Bishy Road" in York. That's the last time I'll use the twee term the locals insist on using, with all the self-satisfied air of entitlement they can muster. It's Bishopgate Road. And it's hideous. (But at least the coffee's good). I'm here after dropping Louise in work and having never been here before but having heard Louise tell me how ridiculous it was, I figured I'd give it a go.

It's a scene no doubt replicated in cities around the country. The pop up "village" that isn't, the clever but oh so irritating rebranding of what was merely a few shops on the outskirts of the city in a sort of suburb. I've seen in with Harbourne and Moseley in Birmingham, no doubt you can add your own. Full of the identi-kit coffee shops. Where they display the identi-kit cakes on slates, serve the same sorts of meals... Eggs Benedict, Avocado on toast, Salmon, you can guess the rest. Where the noticeboards are full of mother and baby courses in French, yoga and choral singing.

Trouble is, the principle behind Bishopgate Road and your identi-kit "village" around the country is absolutely something to support. Of the shops, the majority of them are independent. The money goes into the local economy, it's definitely a good thing. But god, the people who patronise these villages are so damnably annoying.

And no, I did not wake up in a bad mood this morning at all. Why do you ask?

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