Boredom, curiosity and an ovewhelming urge to spend money lead to me visiting Westfield, the new juggernaut of a shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush today.
And absolutely huge it is indeed -and inside so white and curved that it is near impossible to get your bearings, find a start/end point or work out where any specific shop might be. I had to make do with wandering around in a daze like Will Smith in that bit of Men in Black where the doors open to reveal an extraterrestrial society getting about its daily business (but without the ensuing comedic high jinx).
Obviously there were no aliens, but nor were there that many earthlings at Westfield - I was there at 11am on a Saturday morning and there was probably a Monday evening 5.30pm amount of shoppers. This only added to the sense of surrealism as I pootled about, lamely trying to find Topshop but not wanting to queue at a cuboid touchscreen map, as they all seemed to be commandeered by the scant few other shoppers, eyes agog, trying to work out where the deuce Boots is (somewhere near the floating Nandos I think) or where in this dazzling ark of consumerism one might find a ginger beer (okay, just me on that one. The answer is 'nowhere' btw)
Maybe it was the emptiness, maybe it was because I was reading Revolutionary Road on the tube journey there, but I found the whole desperate 'this is the future!' great white massiveness of the place really oppressive - it's like Logan's Run before the running bit or The Island before the 'oh shit we're clones' bit.... something in the milk ain't clean, in other words. At one point I even found myself idly eyeing up the height of the glass rails, and wondering what they would do if I - okay, well, someone else - threw themselves off and landed splat on the white marble of the lower floor in protest. Believe me, it takes a lot for me to think such insubordinent things, I'm the biggest most superficial capitalista I know, but Westfield made me want to go and join an ashram in India, wear tie die gypsy skirts and brush my teeth with a stick.
That said, I wasn't completely impervious to the many, many shops, and I'd be buggered if I went all that way and didn't get anything, so I got this:
Fitting in quite well with the whole 'pointlessly futuristic' flex of this post, it is Mood Swing lipgloss: Our supernatural formulation starts off crystal clear and blossoms into countless shades of pink, depending on your emotional state - Oh goodo, that sounds plausible. Maybe Too Faced have discovered a formulation that will successfully do away with a hundred odd years of psychoanalysis, and who would have thought it would be strawberry scented too?
So what is my 'emotional state'? (apart from 'woman who has just discovered she has taken a photo of herself that includes a slight bogey up the nose')
Hmm according to them I am having 'dirty thoughts'.
Little do they know this is far from the truth, as I am in fact wondering if I have time to do my hand-washing before I go out this evening and if it is weird to have felafels for both lunch and dinner.
So yes, Westfield... it's definitely worth a look, but more so you can work out your exit strategies for when the thought police come knocking, or to have some life-changing revelation about the shallowness of your existence. Not if you want a ginger beer, that's for sure.
p.s If anyone wants to hire me as a hand model, do drop me an email...
p.p.s Let's update that emotional status to 'woman who is now questioning her photography skills after taking a second pic with the most embarrassing item in her living room in the background.' Look yeah, I won it on a grabber in Southend, and it's not exactly easy to dispose of a giant teddybear without feeling a bit cruel and wasteful.