Monday, August 01, 2011

RIP TJ Hughes

I am very sad that TJ Hughes has gone into administration. I discovered a branch in Glasgow last year and I've been more times than to the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. Or the Polo Lounge.

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.


G Carter said...

I loved that shop too, you see every variety of Glaswegian in it there! From the utterly desperate semi-homeless to the women dressed for Marks and Spencers but on a budget =) I really enjoy your Glasgow stories since I only moved there 5 months ago.

Hugh said...

this description is so accurate, i could actually imagine myself in the place

however, all is not lost

Skip said...

Dear G, thank you. And Hugh - brilliant, brilliant news. You've made my day and put a smile on my face that I may have washed with nearly-but-not quite Molton & Brown TJ's soap.

christopher said...

The shop sounds wonderful. I feel the same about Bluston's Gowns in Kentish Town. They have a sign that says 'We stock Pakamacs for the larger lady!' You've got to love that.

Skip said...

By twinning "pakamacs" with "larger lady" Christopher may have won this blog.