Two weekends in which I have been among the Christmas shoppers in Reading town centre have left me with the distinct impression there is very little worthwhile to buy anyone.
Little wonder the town centre seems far less frantic than ever before. It’s not just the recession but the general lack of wit and originality.
Increasingly arts and craft events are offering less run-of-the-mill presents but at the big shops it’s the same old same old.
Last week in WH Smith – very quiet upstairs for a pre Christmas Saturday – the books were so drab, it could have been last year’s shelves. Or 2009’s. Or 2008’s.
The same old cooks with the same old recipes were everywhere. The same stocking-filler mini books with titles as silly as they are unfunny. Then there is Top Gear, Harry Potter etc etc etc.
Soon the town centre will have so little new to offer the big shops will have to muscle in on the increasing number of clever craftsmen and women who are quietly making Christmas a bit more interesting.
In the meantime Jamie and co epitomise just what the town centre is offering. Nothing you couldn’t get online. And not much that’s really any good.