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Sentiment & Empathy 4 December 2013

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Life, Ponderings, Self-criticism, Theology.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Browsing the local news on the internet just now I was fascinated by my own reaction to the news that Northampton’s House of Fraser store is to close. The shop, from a chain that I always regard as rather upmarket, will be replaced by branches of Next and Primark, and further reduces the odds of me entering the shopping centre. My first thought was “how the mighty have fallen!” which tells you a lot about me and my upbringing (and very happy memories of Beatties in Solihull, a comparable store).

The more considered truth is rather different, however. I rarely enter the shopping centre, and even less rarely have visited the House of Fraser shop (although more often than either Primark or Next, to be fair). Nevertheless the shop’s departure makes me sad, and I’m not sure why. Could it be something about the retreat of modest aspiration? Fondness of memory? Despite the acknowldgement of my non-use of it (primarily on the grounds of cost!) there is a part of me that would rather have the totem presence of that shop than the real presence of the others. Perhaps, as I was reminded some months back while walking around John Lewis in Peterborough, there is still a part of me that not only looks back, but still, if not looking forward at least can not only remember what was, but that can still hope to somehow (re)attain it.

I no longer am responsible for the running of a church, for which I am grateful, but the imminent demise of the House of Fraser is just another reminder of how we value things, and why, against all logic but with great sentiment, there are perhaps many who would rather see a parish church empty and unchanged, as a reminder of what was, than full but being used in a rather more “down-market” way than they would prefer.

Faith remains, as does the retail sector, but so do memories, and aspirations, however vague or deeply buried.



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