Oh dear. After a pleasant chat with Ben Wilson the chewing gum painter, who was brandishing a tube of filler, I wandered round to the Antiques Emporium. All shut up, all voided. To be made into flats, no doubt.
The car park has been tarmac'd to destroy the market (three stalls left, most of the time) so we can only shop in the supermarket, and a humungous H&M is doubling the height of the shopping centre, itself a mutated church (replace spirituality with capitalism, etc.etc.).
In the square in the centre (all mature trees uprooted and thrown away to make more retail space), customers sit and drink coffee with piped music in the background: Rhodes piano, major sevenths and syrupy male vocals stroking their ears.
What did it remind me of?
Why the Sims, of course!
The Offsprogs used to have the game. Simulated computer people with stereotyped personality traits occupied themselves with service jobs that were just the right shape for them, all to the tune of muzak; their language, Simlish, took all the rough edges even off anger, because there were no words and hence no poetry.
Barnet is turning into Betaville, very rapidly.