With the Americanisation, or even Disneyfication of our towns and cities, apart from the obvious landmarks, pretty much everywhere looks the same, same uniform Mcdonalds, same Costa, same Frankie and Benny’s, same Clothes shops, same, same, same.
If you happened to wake up in a shopping mall, apart from the regional accents, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you were in Birmingham, Wrexham, Nottingham, Tottenham or cheese and ham. So Christmas in any given Town or City in the UK is pretty much the same scene. I suppose this is what people want, this uniformity, standardisation, this familiarity gives them reassurance, they know where to que, where to sit, what to order, how and when to pay, they have discovered a comfort zone, they have memorised the script, robots trapped in a perpetual, mundane existence.
Christmas in places like Borth, of course, are completely different, no sign of Frankie or Benny anywhere, instead is Uncle Alberts Emporium, Remember This, the nostalgia shop, where I wonder if anything is actually for sale or is it just a labour of love, a museum of weird and wonderful artefacts from recent history, the wedding dress shop, I’ve never seen it open, I’ve never seen anyone in there, but like the miracle of Christmas in Borth, the mannequins, like headless actors in a never ending play, seem to change into ever more garish and weird but wonderful wedding tackle. I noticed yesterday that the window is now framed with the most basic and sparse of xmas lights, an attempt to make the mad mannequins even more glamorous? Borth truly is unique.
If you don’t fancy battling through the throngs of xmas shoppers on Borth High Street, you can always take a walk on the beach, and WOW! What a beach it is! I walked it a few days ago, it was around 9am, the air was crisp, the sky cobalt blue, the sun hung lazily and low in the sky, Jack Frost had paid a visit, the sand was frozen and shining like a little girl had decorated it all with silver glitter just in time for Xmas. I was the only one there, alone with my thoughts in that vast expanse. I thought of you, and how you would so quickly swap your concrete and plastic, your standardised cities, your exhaust fumes, your alarm clock, your order and structure, for the beautiful chaos of Barmy Borth.
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When visiting somewhere for the first time, it is your right to look dazed and confused, we live with that look, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. You have so many questions going on in your head, things like, have I come to the right place? Are they friendly? What is there to do here? Do I look silly in these new shorts I got in the sale in Burtons? What time does the bar open? Do they serve food? Where is the swimming pool? Is my dog allowed on the beach? How far is the beach and how do I get there? Must I keep tripping over this suitcase? So many questions….
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