Attack of the Cloned City Centres

We went to Bristol today, to shop. Yeah, ok, I hear some gasps out there.
It’s well known that my Christmas shopping is done annually online. That’s what the web’s there for, as far as I’m concerned. It’s there so you don’t have to interact with real people, if you know what I mean. Hey, if I wanted to talk to people I’d have become a doctor, rather than a scientist. That’s one of the best things about being a scientist: you get to sit in your ivory tower and avoid all the idiots in the world. Well, most of them. I suppose we do have students, but we try and limit our contact with them 😉
Anyway, back to the point in hand. I avoid town on weekends (unless drinking in the evening, but that rarely happens when you become a dad). I avoid the Christmas masses in particular. Real life shopping in December is madness; insanity incarnate. You can feel it, taste it. I feel the need for a chainsaw and a hockey mask most times. Tie in shopping for shoes with the missus into that and I’m the thickness of a thought away from going postal. So the internet is the solution. You can buy anything online, it’s quicker than actually going to a shop and buying it (for me, anyway), and it’s cheaper. So visiting Bristol today was a novelty for Kim.
My reason for shopping outside of Cardiff was that I quite like Bristol, and I thought that different surroundings would make shopping for festive gifts more “interesting”. Bollocks. Every town in the UK is exactly the same. The shopping arcades are alike. The coffee shops within them sell the same crap coffee and food at the same crap prices. The plastic animatronic (my arse) snowmen all share parentage. And, most pointedly, the shops are absolutely bloody identical. They all have the same W.H. Smiths, Boots, T.K. Maxxes, Games, Gadget Shops, Piers, Argoses, etc. And they all change the architecture at eye level to match all their stores. So all city centres look identical. It sucks. Where’s the character? Where’s the culture? Where’s the individuality? Where’s the interest? Gone.
We did walk around the centre, to the Imax area and Clifton(ish). Bristol is a pleasant city with a history, but you wouldn’t know it.
I did get some good gifts, but I could have got them from any city, and saved the bridge fare. I’m going back to the ‘net to get the rest.