We have a few shopping centres dotted about here in Hull. These kind of places are all very similar aren’t they, same shops, same bright lights. But we have one here slap bang in the middle of a huge council estate in the north of the city that’s been around for years. It’s called North Point, and it’s not for the faint hearted.
As soon as you enter the huge car park you get a sense of unease. Menacing birds circle the car as you open the door. A couple will land on the roof straight away, gazing at you with black beady eyes as if to say ‘Go on! Try moving me!’ This place is that rough they have knuckle dusters on their bony claws. And you can guarantee when you get back the car will be covered. One time I saw a flock of blackbirds nicking a bag of shopping off an unwary customer there….getting away with two frozen pizzas and a garlic bread…..If you get past them then it’s the front doors, which are usually surrounded by a dozen or so people smoking because you can’t smoke inside the building. You hold your breath then try and get through the smokey blue haze, moving as fast as you can, emerging to the other side like a contestant on Stars In Your Eyes. “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…..stinking of fag ash!”
The place is essential a long covered strip with wonderful emporium’s full of delights. Cheap and cheerful. Well, cheap anyway. It’s not exactly Oxford Street in London but can you get a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich for two quid there? I don’t think so. I’d like to say the locals are down to earth but to be frank they are more subterranean. Like the warlocks from The Time Machine but less friendly.
It’s got a few discount frozen food shops there. A sign of the times. One of them is Jack Fulton’s. I’m not saying they sell out of date stuff but I picked up some eggs, opened them up to check for cracks and six chicks tweeted back at me. Jack’s had a great deal on for the locals around Valentine’s. Frozen kebab meat and chips. An Arctic roll and a bottle of white lighting cider plus a plastic red rose all for five quid. The queue went right around the centre…. twice. Must have been a lot of loving going on that night! One thing is definite, midwives will be rushed off their feet come November.
And then you have the mobility scooters. Its like a race track at weekends and if it’s warm you could almost be at the Monaco grand prix. The start line is next to the doors, a few of them dot their cigs out and bang! They’re off! The powered up pensioners zoom past you zigzagging between the public, racing for the post office, occasionally hitting the bolted down plastic seats or skidding on a patch of melted ice cream. The security men look on, chatting together, arms folded, bored stiff as a kid runs out the vape shop with a few boxes under his arm, straight past the cut out lifesize smiling policeman warning shoplifters will be arrested.
Its a bit like Machu Picchu or The Taj Mahal. You have to see it before you die. From knicker elastic to a Knickerbocker glory you can get it there. If you’re ever up this way give it a go…just bring a gas mask to get through those smokey doors…