It has just fallen to me to visit some shops and purchase goods as part of the commercial festival of Christmas. If left to me, I’d hold Christmas far from the madding crowd – perhaps in February (when there’s not much happening) – but as this point of view has yet to gain wide currency (and would go down especially poorly with the under 10s), I had to bite the bullet and “join in”.
As I meandered into the city, I passed a nightclub which had displayed on its exterior a number of posters promoting what I presume to be its wares. This poster, as so many of its ilk which I see around the city, was printed in large black text on a day-glo coloured sheet of A4 (probably – I didn’t actually check) paper. The text comprised a list of words, almost words and random agglomerations of letters along with a few, smaller pictograms. Having perused this poster I do not have the slightest idea what it was offering – though I do know the date the “something” will occur, just not the time or location. I suspect some of the collections of letters my have been proper nouns, perhaps even names – but I really can’t be sure and I do wonder if even the “yoof” have any idea what might be in store (so to speak). Now, I realise that I am well-stricken in years and was not really nightclub-fodder even in my pomp (which was around 15:37 last Wednesday, if memory serves) but the totally opacity of this advertisement left me feeling slightly depressed. I might have enjoyed what was on offer, if only I could work it what (and when and where) it was. There is much hand-wringing in the broadsheets (and elsewhere) about the failure of opera, the theatre or the National Trust to appeal to a broad enough demographic – but one sees little mention of the young-at-heart (and soft-in-the-head) being effectively excluded from a life of middle-aged clubbing (or I assume this is what I was being excluded from). Cinemas now offer special screenings for the elderly and those with babies, it’s about time that the nightclubs of this land caught up. At the very least, they could offer some sort of York Notes or “…for Dummies” guide – a Rosetta Stone, if you will – to allow us to translate their posters into a more familiar tongue. I might discover that I’m a gringle – which sounds much more festive than is the case (it being a fan of grimecore, not so keen on djent) – let’s face it, I’m already hench!
A little later I found myself in John Lewis – much more familiar territory – and whilst hunting for Customer Collections wandered through kitchenware. My eyes alighted on a plaque describing a nearby device and the plaque said “Swan grinder”. I will admit that I laughed out loud (you will be pleased to know that I refrained from rolling on the floor), though I still cannot be sure if this is some sort of tool to process (or torture) your swan (does the Queen like a nice cup of freshly-ground swan coffee, perhaps?) or a dating tool to enable the gayer members of Genus Cygnus to find like-minded companions for two-in-a-nest romps? In either case, it seems like quite a niche market as I have yet to sight royalty or have my arm broken in the Southampton branch of John Lewis.
I do wonder if these sorts of idle, speculative musings were occurring to my fellow, merrie (you see, I can do festive!) shoppers – or do I once again find myself in a minority of one?