We were driving through Finsbury Park recently, on our way to a friend’s birthday party. We had to stop off to buy booze as decorum requires of a guest. We spotted and appropriate looking corner shop and nipped in.
Now I always find going into these shops a vaguely weird experience. The neon strip lighting glazes the scene with that other-worldly, alway-open wash; they smell of warm cardboard and dried cleaning fluids; despite the owner’s best (or most paltry) efforts to make the shop look appealing you can always tell that the largest part of their revenue comes from selling booze, especially single cans of Super; and the dazzling array of different tins, packets, bottles, and boxes makes me feel like I have walked in to a budget Aladdin’s cave. It is often late at night or in moments of unfortunate insobriety that I venture into these shops, which enhances the odd feel of these liminal shops hovering on the edge of the consumer dream.
Anyway, I always like to do a quick circuit of a corner shop when I visit just to briefly appreciate the dilapidated and un-homogeneous charm, when it struck me that I was getting a strangely wholesome feeling. Quite at odds with the usual bargain-booze posters in the front window. I then realized that the whole food section had been organised and aranged with stunning care, nay love. All the cans were perfectly stacked, the labels were all exactly turned tot he front with even a thought spared to colour co-ordination: just look at those bags of rice on the bottom shelf. Lahrvely.
Maybe there is a ‘Best Stacked Shelf 2008′ award, or perhaps the shopkeeper was bored out of his skull. Or simply out of his skull. At any rate, I really enjoyed taking in this bizarre sensual experience like a refreshingly demotic art gallery. There is a special kind of beauty to be found in the corners of this world.