Sunday, 19 September 2010

Why Asda is The Pilgrim's Progress for the 21st century

It rained today. I was not entirely surprised.

My life is now folded into a long, narrow room in a long, narrow building*. As far as I know, Manchester is not a long, narrow city, but if it were that could have been a very satisfying opening sentence. Not for the first time today, I curse geography.

I have been walking the city, you see. Not exactly flaneuring - just bemused, usually futile, attempts to find obvious places. I have now established where I should go to pick up my shiny new student card (cue 'do you do a student discount?' in every possible place I can spend money). It's right next to where I live. I discovered this after pottering about the city for most of an hour looking for it. There is probably a moral in this story. If you know what it is, please tell me. 

More usefully, I have found The Asda at the End of the World. It is the size of the Vatican, and just as inaccessible. Sadly, that appears to be where the similarities end, although I can't imagine Calvinists are huge fans of Asda, either.

There is a reason for the religious comparisons, by the way: John Bunyan. Using the giant hyper mega Asda is like setting out on a great and perilous journey in pursuit of a noble goal. It begins with the maze of windy estate streets, continues through the near-certain death of the million-lane motorway intersection and ends after the welcome-to-Communist-Russia queue. And if, like poor old Ignorant, you reach the gates of the Heavenly City (here represented by slightly cheaper food purchases) without your roll (wallet, this being secular capitalism), all your efforts will be for naught, and you'll be cast out to the car park of great woe. If they'd had car parks in those days, I bet there'd have been one in Pilgrim's Progress somewhere. 

Basically, I'm not going back there on a Sunday afternoon. I now intend to do all my shopping at obscure nameless hours of night and morn. I might try to train myself into some kind of somnambulant lucid-dream based automatic shopping system. 

Things happen tomorrow. This is exciting. 

* I live on the twelfth floor. By the end of this year, I'm either going to be a Commonwealth-standard stair-runner (does this sport exist? If not, why not? It could be a gritty, urban version of fell-running) or someone far more patient with lifts. 


  1. Stair-running does actually exist - one of the biggest races involves running up the Gherkin. Honestly. Maybe you should enter?

  2. Genius. I like the sound of that, although I suspect I'd be less enthusiastic if I were typing this from the base of the Gherkin.

  3. A work colleague used to train by running up the office stairs, (8 floors). We all shook our heads sadly. Then he got a extra part, running around in Monkey suit, in "Planet of the Apes" because of his athletic prowess....

  4. Ha! Brilliant. There you have it: run up stairs and become a film star. Or start to resemble a monkey. Both sound more fun than taking the lift, though...