Friday, December 14, 2012

1988: Peace of mind

I loved working in a shop. Of all the jobs I've had, I think it's right up there with the best of them.

Take the bookshop job: no real responsibility, on your feet all day, surrounded by books, everyone the same age and just using it as as stopgap until something else comes along to really start your career, a great social life, regular money (not a lot of it) and finally feeling you were living the life you imagined yourself living in London, albeit without the piles of cash and high-flying career in the City and amazing loft apartment. Mainly, it was about having fun.

And nothing can make you feel more Christmassy than working in a busy shop, a destination for gift-buyers in the heart of the West End. When I think back I recall a warm glow emanating from the shop, busy as Hell, bustling shoppers; it's Christmas time in the city. Is that Jim Reeves' Silver Bells I hear? Yes, but we're also hearing this song, and we're at the very height of Neighbours mania. Not that I ever saw it these days, though I did always be sure to catch on my day off, and I do remember seeing the wedding. Songs kind of crept up on me in those days.

So I didn't mind one bit having to work on Christmas Eve. I can't remember what day it was but I think it may have been a Saturday. I had to take my chances with trains from Waterloo, but we could squeeze in a Christmas drink beforehand. I don't think I arrived before midnight. But it was worth it.

That would be my one and only store-bought Christmas. The following year I was in a proper job. The stopgap thing was indeed just that.

Enjoy your carefree golden days while you can. You'll regret it if you don't.


  1. I had a shop job in the West End as a student, and working on Christmas Eve was great fun. In fact, as a sanity measure, I started helping out in a friend's shop down here once a week earlier this year. It's a fantastic antidote to the responsibility and strain of being a therapist. Happy days, you're right.

  2. I too did my time in retail and while it is nice to get home at a sensible hour and then not fall asleep on the sofa, I do kind of miss the buzz.

  3. It was the buzz more than anything else. And seeing how you could be as rude as you possibly could to customers and get away with it.

    Shop work is appealing, KK. If it all went tits up for me, I think I'd start again doing just that.