Monday, August 01, 2011
RIP TJ Hughes
I think I loved it because it's a battered relic of the 70s ("As are you" the Affection Unit muttered as I dragged him on a farewell tour of their lavender hand creams). The shop was orange and formica, resolutely unmodernised, but also weird. Sometimes the lobby display would be vacuum cleaners, sometimes trampolines. The rest of the ground floor was taken up by celebrity perfumes by non-celebrities (Helloooo Samanda! the twins from Big Brother.
The "fashion" department was the creepiest. At the top of the stairs you'd be met by a picture of two children. A yellowed and creased picture of two children. Who by now must be approaching pensionable age. The only customers would be old ladies whose leopard print skirts swished against their crutches.
The basement was where TJ Hughes swept everything that didn't even belong in TJ Hughes - electric fires with fake logs, teapots and industrial concrete steamers. I loved going down there, mostly because the escalator squeaked in exactly the same tune as the incidental music to Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy.
On our farewell tour, the Affection Unit and I went up to the top floor where pleated curtains hid. We were met at the top of the stair by a Scottish Ginger Prince. "Are you twose looking for duvets? We're down to singles and kings and it's a miracle if you'll find a valance." He wandered away, leaving us surrounded by mercilessly floral scatter cushions.
"I think we've pulled," muttered the Affection Unit, pointing to where the Ginger Prince lurked among sprays of fake dried flowers. I nodded, not really listening. I'd spotted a sale on tea towels. Everything must go.