Tuesday, July 05, 2005

lunchtime shopping

The slow decline of shops that I go to in Chichester has been an observable phenonemon. I work just outside the centre of town, so it's only five minutes walk up past the station and up towards The Cross, the central point of the centre (the Cathedral aside), where the four shopping streets of the city collide.

But 'Jonathan's Law' rules that only three shops of interest must be open at any one time. When I started my job, there was an MVC (which is a very mainstream, if inexpensive record shop), a little Our Price, a Dixons and a Waterstones. But that was four shops so one had to close. Our Price did have a brief swansong as the absurdly named 'V Shop', but it's future was mapped out. It shut, leaving only the distinctly lacking-in-variety MVC for music-mooching.

Before long, Oxfam moved from it's previous, out of the way position up on North Street to the appreciably nearer South Street, gaining space in the process and stocking a pretty impressive set of books. Shit, back to four.

So Dixons closed. A world of batteries, cables, CD-Rs and flat-screen monitors flicked bewilderingly into darkness. Granted, by this time, I'd pretty much got bored of shopping in the same old shops every day, and had rarely ventured further than the train station at lunchtime, so I didn't notice this, nor the closing of McDonalds, the nearest off-license, or Tesco.

I did notice, however, that two out of Chichester's three musical instrument shops closed, leaving me open and exposed to aggressive guitar-string pricing manouvres by the sole - and triumphant - surviver (although this hasn't happened. And frankly, I'm not a conscientious enough musician to change my strings more than, ooh, twice a year, so I could probably live with it anyway).


One shop I'd never ventured into, The Army and Navy Store, did unveil a recent surprise when – mortified at my old-fashioned swimming trunks, faced with a company trip away and unable to find any which did not highlight my humourously skinny legs – a desperate attempt to buy some shorts there uncovered a delightful, if small, branch of Paperchase cocooned within. I bought some blank badges there. (Although even a permanent pen on a blank badge will fade if people keep trying to rub the ink off, I discovered.)

So the one nearby newsagent in town had to close, obviously, meaning if I want to buy a newspaper in Chichester I now have to walk half a mile to do so. Ridiculous.

Anyway, yesterday I walked into town and went to the brand new, surprisingly large, and very welcome indeed, HMV. Excellent stuff. Although it does seem that HMV is now primarily a DVD store rather than a record shop! Nonetheless, there's a vinyl section and everything, so I'm happy and once more willing to trudge through the disgusting July rain (what’s that all about?) to gaze at the new The Juan Maclean 12", or flick through the Fall CD section trying to remember which albums I've got and which I haven't.

The only downside, as far as I can see, is that one of Waterstones, Oxfam, or the last remaining place in Chichester where I can buy guitar strings, will have to close, presumably. Damn it.


Powerful Pierre said...

I hope I don't discover a similar Pete's Law when I start working in Lewes. Just the one record shop there I believe, Octave? Anyone got any other highlights in Lewes that I should check out in my lunch hours? Andy..?

Mark Holland said...

There's an odd record shop in Chichester, past the end of West Street. It's on the left handside of Fishbourne Road just beyond the antiques and over the ring road. They only seem to do obscure dance and have strange opening hours.

Matthew said...

There is also a very good second hand record, CD and music DVD shop, Helter Skelter, in the Hornet (beyond the end of East Street), down a passage beside an antique shop. It's been there for years, though I only just discovered it.