I’ve just put the car through the annual MOT test (it passed, thanks), and so had an hour or so to kill in Staines first thing. In between staring at Facebook on my phone, texting, and sipping on a passable mocha, I wrote a descriptive/mood thing:
Cold post-New Year wind and rain is prodding half-heartedly at the wind-tunnel streets of Staines in that strange rush hour before the shops open. The coffee shops and newsagents are doling out caffeine to the tired retail workers and travelling salesmen who have wandered into the centre of town too early, while the music here is aggressively upbeat to try and fool everyone’s systems into perking up for the fresh Monday morning.
As the dawn light seeps through the heavy cloud cover, I can see more and more lights beginning to spark in shops behind the security shutters. Somehow this process makes the place seem more desolate as each new set of lights appears – perhaps because of those slotted security screens that reinforce the sense of a barrier between the buildings’ internal life and the observer on the street.
As the magic hour of nine o’clock nears, the music in this coffee shop is slowing and taking on a more ambient feel, hinting at the pause and strain of the wheels of commerce before the day tries to launch into a sprint. It’s probably a coincidence, but it does feel significant.