Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Oxford Street. It's rubbish isn't it? From the 'posh' end at Marble Arch to the scratty end, terminating at the exclamation mark of Centrepoint above Tottenham Court Road Station. The TCR bit is the most interesting of the whole stretch, especially at the junction of Charing Cross road, with its seedy shops and hustlers that make me think of Taxi Driver's New York. Naturally, it's all getting pulled down in a redevelopment. Farewell, Astoria. The World's Premier Shopping Street is a long row of boring multiples you can find in any city. Primark. Zavvi. Accessorize. Monsoon. Starbucks. Borders. TopShop. TopMan. Barratts. On and on. There were two C&A's until the company realised that Brits don't like lime green acrylic cardigans and fled back to Holland. Shoe Express. HMV. Tesco Express. Footlocker. Marks And Spencer. Boots. McDonalds. Carphone Warehouse, Clarks, Sunglass Hut. The only shops with any charm are John Lewis and Selfridges. Of course, the best way to navigate this canyon of consumerism is to walk the parallel streets and avoid the crowds. Here, you'll have the pavements to yourself and you might even spot a gem like this place, the Linen Cupboard in Great Castle Street. I always forget about this little shop, and i'm always delighted to find it still open. The last time I passed I noticed that the faded, handwritten price tickets in the window were gradually being replaced by computer prints. Looks like the place is modernising, but it must surely be one of the last places you can still buy a candlewick bedspread.