THE BEGINNING

There’s plenty of music out there on the High Street. Let’s go clubbing!

checkout

Can you imagine what it must have been like the first time a shop owner piped the wireless through the walls and over the clothes racks? I imagine it was like the first time the Fonz said “Aayyyy”, or the first time Frankie Boyle was a bit of a cunt. Out there. Few things surprise us these days, but shopping to music is so familiar we’ve gone beyond the contemplation of it ever having been new, to a point where it’s practically invisible. Listen though, and you’ll find that in Recession Britain you can get your clubbing kicks for free by simply tootling down the High Street and ducking through a few doors.

In terms of narrative arc, a day of shop-floor raving should follow your normal nightly routine – you don’t go straight for the super club; you meet somewhere to catch up and drink up. Marks & Spencer has a food court, so that’s the drinks taken care of, with the added bonus that the store’s PA seems to be one MacBook Pro embedded in the ceiling above a sea of tweed (menswear) or pictures of Twiggy (womenswear). It sure is a subtle volume they’ve gone for, perfect for a pow-wow by the Autograph range before moving on. Cock an ear as you leave and you’ll realise that that faint murmur has probably been Beverly Knight or The Noisettes for the younger ‘Mylene Class’ crowd.

Moving on to BHS now would be like trading your iPhone for a Nokia 2210. They’ll be playing Travis anyway, although admittedly at a brazen volume in comparison. Pass it by for Uniqlo, who’ll be spinning Italo Disco. It’s a shop made for that pre-mixed gin and tonic you bought in the food court.

Foot Locker is something of a Slug And Lettuce in the world of High Street clubbing, a place you might pass through for the sake of it rather than somewhere to end up. They’ll only let you in in trainers, too, ironically. That’s probably what they’re shouting over Labyrinth’s  ‘Earthquake’. Ultimately, that leaves you with the Ed Banger-pumping Urban Outfitters – where the staff are better looking than you, are having more fun and, it turns out, love flirting with each other but definitely not with the customers (trust me on this one) – and retail’s own Fabric, Topshop. The former has an abundance of Saved By The Bell T-shirts to mop that sweaty brow with, but Topshop (on London’s Oxford Street, at least) is a five-floor indie party playing The Walkmen’s ‘The Rat’ one minute and an Alt-J B-side the next. It’s where you can wear sunglasses indoors, too, and besides, everyone else you know is ending up there.

Hit Poundland on the way home for cheap snacks and a one-hit-wonders-of-the-80s wind-down. Magic (FM)!

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