Consume, consume, consume. Watch TV. Consume. That was the message of the all seeing, oval eye that towered over the scurrying figures below. Your eyelashes are inferior, your car is inferior, you and all your stuff are substandard, but don’t worry – watch TV and flash the plastic and everything will be alright.
Am I describing some futuristic, dystopian Sci-Fi novel? No I’m referring to Birmingham’s new Grand Central shopping complex.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think the fact that an architect, who’s obviously watched far too much Dr Who, has been allowed to make a large area of the city centre look like it’s been covered in tin foil is rather cool. It’s the eyes I object to. Embedded at various points in the tin foil are these huge, oval eyes that are constantly broadcasting adverts and casting their evil spell. So far I’ve resisted buying the New Maybelline Push Up Drama Mascara – (I think it gives your lashes a gravity defying quality) – though I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. And how much energy do these things use?!! Most derived from fossil fuel I’d imagine. I know the Paris agreement said we don’t need to bother doing anything for a few years (I’m paraphrasing), but even so these electronic hoardings are a bit much.
So I avoided Grand Central today and did my consuming in The Warehouse Café – one of Birmingham’s leading Vegetarian restaurants. Their menus ‘are inspired by seasonal British fruit and veg’ and they use organic produce as much as possible. It’s hidden away in old industrial Digbeth, but once you know where to go it doesn’t take long to reach. I had a wonderful mushroom and blue cheese burger – (all the house patties are handmade with spinach, beans, grains and peanuts) that I’m sure will leave me feeling full for a week. Good coffee too.
And talking of good coffee do visit Faculty for a damn fine brew. I think I’m visiting a bit too often which is why those giant advertising eyes in the tin foil are making me a bit jittery. Still I think it’s worth meeting their gaze and thinking about what they’re saying.
Consume. You’re inferior. Buy more stuff. Keep consuming.
With the challenges we have coming our way not the most helpful message.
The Warehouse Café
54-57 Allison Street, Birmingham, B5 5TH
14 Piccadilly Arcade, Birmingham, B2 4HD