Woolworths has gone bust, it closes forever on January 5th, which is a great pity for all those workers, but let's be frank, it's an appalling shop and it has been for years. It's an American company but people seem to think it's some sort of British institution like Morris Minors or old buses. When did people use it for anything more than buying Simpsons pants and littering in though? When I was growing up in Hampshire it was the only shop in our small commuter belt town that sold toys, so there was a time I loved visiting it. They had a good range of GI Joes and Mr Bean videos, but as I got older John Menzies had a better selection of cds, air gun magazines and Universal Soldier videos, so I got over it. I went in to the one in Camden a few months ago because I couldn't be bothered to walk across the road to Argos and everything was sticky, like when you spill a fizzy drink and it dries. They didn't have what I wanted (they didn't have anything, and this was before the economic crisis) and so I crossed the road and got the thing I wanted in Argos. When I was little though it was cool and strangely enough some pretty pivotal moments in my childhood happened in there between the ages of seven and 13:
- First stirrings of sexual awakening looking at the back of a Cindy Crawford workout video.
- Stealing two penny sweets, walking out, eating them, getting crushed by guilt and thinking god was watching me, going back in, putting two pence down near a till, running out. I didn't steal again until I stole from Pret next to the Size I was working at in Carnaby Street.
- Second stirrings of sexual awakening looking at the back of a Basic Instinct video.
- Watching boys with skateboards try and steal stuff and having an argument with staff and thinking they were totally badass and wanting to get a skateboard.
- Third stirrings of sexual awakening looking at back of Pretty Woman video (she's lost it since then).
- Having my first real gear crisis in the clothes section, choosing plimsoles for gym, wanting some Ninja turtles clothes but my mum saying something about council housing and me not being allowed them (she is very middle class indeed).
- Forth stirrings of sexual awakening looking at the back of a Total Recall video (I don't think it had anything sexy on the back but I saw it when I was really young and the girl with three boobs made me feel funny).
- Getting really weird about buying Gameboy games because they were so expensive I was only allowed one a year so I used to take three hours to decide which one I wanted. Deciding finally on a Terminator game that was so hard it put me off video games for life.