After a while, it seems that the world consists of nothing but light, in all colours, different shapes, moving relentlessly through a procession of images, or fixed to provide orientation through a structure whose physical presence fades from conscious awareness. With it disappears any normal concept of time passing. Light in the shape of a familiar brand name or logo or the discovery of a desired item–a shirt, a perfume bottle, a computer, or a box of vitamins or anything else that stimulates desire, fantasy, or longing–marks the passage of time. How long have I been in here? Wow, I have been looking for one of those… Where did I come in? Was it on this floor where the SUPERDRY shop is?
Light is being reflected in surfaces of glass and polished granite, gleaming metal bars, doors and in the eyes of the other shoppers. There is a sky high above, high above a roof of glass, which reflects the lights below, intersected by strips of fluorescent colour, lights shaped into sculptures hanging between floors and shops. This universe of lights, a wonder, is drawing me here and there, through another set of doors outside onto a piazza in the middle of buildings whose shapes elude me. But there are lights, giant screens with images of a seductive model, but a minute later it says CAUTION in bright orange and black lettering. Another is of a formula one car and race drivers, a couple pushing a pram walk through it, their reflections mingle with the image, or are they the image? There is a fountain, lights rippling across the surface of the water running down an illuminated column. The windows reflect the bright dots from the fairy lights in the newly planted trees, which are multiplied into many dozen. Of course, Christmas soon. Which way is north? Where did I come in? It must have been the floor below. Or maybe two? It was near the MARKS & SPENCER’S if I remember well. Was there a STARBUCKS, too? Or was that more in the middle of the mall or was there more than one? So, outside… Which way is Canary Wharf? That I would recognize…
So here is JOHN LEWIS. I like the shop; it is owned by its staff. That is why they are so friendly, I suppose. The food places at its entrance are better, more organic, more exotic, more expensive than the other place in the middle with the screaming children, nagging parents, and queues of teenagers lining up in front of beeping fast food counters. Those people would not shop at JOHN LEWIS, anyway–good thing they eat their food elsewhere. The APPLE shop sure was full, though. I use APPLE so their logo always jumps out at me. I was surprised to see DEICHMANN, the German discount shoe shop. Isn’t this place a little better than that? Of course, a floor above was PRIMARK, too. Not for me, probably all made by Vietnamese child slaves. FAT FACE is more my sort of thing. Or CARHARTT. Is that the end where I came in? Or a few floors further down?
If I just walk past TOPSHOP again, that must be where I came in. Maybe I should go down the escalator first. Once I find M & S, I will be fine.