Yesterday, thinking it would be a good idea to involve ourselves with the post-Christmas sales, Mrs H and I set out for an unforgettable trip to Ocean Terminal. For those who are yet to frequent the OT, it is a veritable shopping Mecca for those in the North East of Edinburgh, as well as to the handful of keen beans willing to travel a little further.
During our expedition, we happened across a number of establishments that form the basis of today’s monologue. And so it is that we turn our attention to the ubiquitous surfwear shop.
In one such shop, once Mrs H retired to the changing room with a fistful of garments, I had the opportunity have a little pace around the rustic, splintery interior. Amongst all the earth-coloured chunky-knits and the skimpy pastels (all of which are sold ready-tatty to save you the time) were clutches of pallid shoppers, none of whom appeared to be on the way to the beach. I’d be interested to find out the proportion of clothing sold in such an outlet that will ever be involved in water- or skateboard-related activity, although I’m not sure how one would gather the data.
Another thing: the posters in these shops always fall into one of two categories. A poster in the first category will depict an ethnically diverse group of twenty-somethings laughing heartily in the vicinity of a clapped-out Volkswagen. The second will portray a lithe individual in the throes of an extreme sport, and will be emblazoned with a bit of philosophy such as ‘don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams’, or (my personal favourite) ‘a bad day on the water is better than a good day in the office’.
It appears that clothing is not the only thing for sale here. You are subscribing to an imagined lifestyle in which you can drop out of the rat race and sit on a beach all day long, pausing only to back-comb your boisterous locks and undergo rigorous cosmetic dentistry.
I am left with one nagging question: if we eschew our offices altogether, how on earth will we afford all these over-priced clothes?