Tag Archives Marks & Spencer

CONSUMERISM

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From the open air car park adjacent to

the first floor of one of the largest

department stores in Western Europe –

whose customers are car owning folk

with some disposable cash to spare –

I can see the methane being burnt off

at the oil refineries, and, beyond,

a bundle of wind turbines turning

on the flood plain beside the estuary.

 

On the opposite side of the busy road

from the store is the second largest

retail park in England. At its centre

a gleaming big wheel turns attracting

and distracting families of shoppers,

who have commuted from across the region –

north east on the motorways from the old

Cotton Mill Towns, south east from the Potteries.

The car I am sitting in was made here

in this town built for the refineries,

motor vehicles, and canals – with narrow boats

carting bags of coal and fetching finished goods.

 

In the furnishing department of this store

there is a new range: William Morris Towels.

Morris – iconic textile designer,

socialist activist, artist, poet,

author of ‘The Glittering Plain’ and ‘News

From Nowhere’ urged: ‘Have nothing in your house

that you do not know to be useful,

or believe to be beautiful’. Yesterday

it would not have been safe to ask about

the towels – and tomorrow it might be

unsettling again – but today

we may be comfortable in our knowledge

of where they were made, and how, and who made them.

 

 

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