Bye Bye Borders

Very disappointing to see that the giant Borders on Oxford Street is closing. Especially when it’s to make way for a shop like New Look. I guess it shows where peoples’ priorities are these days.

On the plus side, I took advantage of their 50% off of everything deal to buy Lonely Planet’s book One People which I’ve had my eye on for a while. And it was kind of fun digging through the complete mess the shop has become…

 Borders

(Even the book cart is “broken”…)

People Watching: Number 6 Bus

Oxford Street…A black-suited business woman with florescent M&S-bag-green hair, black roots. Toxic. I’d like to stick her under a black light and see if she glows.

A man with a straggly brown beard perched on a concrete bench, beer balancing precariously between his legs, unlit cigarette dangling between parted lips. On the same bench, a couple kissing.

A woman, late 20s, pulling a hard yellow Sponge Bob Square Pants suitcase down the pavement. No kids in sight.

A middle-aged man emerging from Selfridges lumbered with three sizable gold Gucci bags. No woman in sight.

A group of feathery-haired teenage girls with fringes sitting in a row along the windows of Primark, brown paper bags at their feet, smoking; most wearing sunglasses and playing with their phones. Probably texting each other.

A woman in a purple jacket frantically ridding herself of a pile of London Lite’s, thrusting them in front of people chasing after a bus.

Shortly after… 

Edgware Road is like a different city. A man smokes a water pipe outside the Lebanese restaurant Al Arez. There are Arabic shops and Arabic signs, Mediterranean food, halal butchers. Shop names like Shahi Sizzler, Roar! Betting, Take Cover (selling curtains) and the oddly-placed American Nails Design.

In Brent, the bus is teeming with people speaking different African and Asian languages, innit-English and random European languages. Passengers are every size, shape and colour with dreds, corn rows, afros, sleek, straight, curly hair.

In Brent, nearly 47% of people were born outside the UK. Only 30% are white British. Having been born and raised in a city that is 98.5% white and was once known as a “Sundown Town”, it’s an amazingly refreshing feeling to live some place so diverse as this.