I wrote this for a friends website that was devoted to saving jobs at Johnnie Walkers bottling plant in my hometown.
We were unsuccessful, but as more jobs are being shed across the UK it is maybe worth breathing some new life into it and posting it here.
It's a fictional diary extract from the future. Sort of trying to take a forward view based on where where we are now.
Extracts from a diary.
June 15 2021
This morning I walked to the last remaining supermarket in town. Or should I say ‘the last remaining supermarket just out of town’ as the Queens Drive isn’t really inside what most people consider the actual town.
It’s a fairly depressing walk as you have to navigate the town centre. An area where it sometimes feels that those sad broken people with drug and alcohol problems equal the amount of boarded up shop fronts.
Imagine a Romero script directed by Ken Loach and you’ll get the picture.
I remember when Morrisons was just around the corner. That was much easier to get to as it was virtually on my doorstep, but that’s been gone for over a year now.
It’s Asda that managed to outlast all the others with the mighty Walmart’s deep pockets keeping them going.
Now they’re the only show in town and the prices reflect that.
I stood for about three quarters of an hour waiting to serve myself at an automatic checkout while Asda‘s skeleton crew of staff hovered about avoiding eye contact with their customers.
It’s nearly all automated now.
At any given time I would guess they have about twelve people working the store.
They must have more employed behind the scenes but you never see them.
I suppose it’s like Willy Wonka’s in that respect. Asda’s very own Oompa Loompas slogging away out of sight and out of mind.
I managed to get a loaf. Had to settle for one of those light weight Nimble ones as the rest were gone, but at least I got one. I even got some sausages.
Between both that’s a couple of meals sorted out for this week.
It’s not as nutritious as I would want for the kids, but beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.
When I was leaving the supermarket I headed towards where Curry’s and B&Q used to be. The circuitous route seemed the most sensible as about nine people were involved in some sort of scuffle in the Asda car park.
There’s plenty of room for scuffles in the car park. In fact you could have pitched battles with hundreds of people involved as there are never any cars parked there.
It’s still mind boggling how fast cars disappeared locally. With jobs going and petrol prices rising they were the first to go for lots of families.
No job and nothing on the horizon meant that they became an expense that few could afford.
Of course there are still cars driving about. There always will be, but it’s now more like what I remember it to have been when I was a kid in the seventies.
Families who have three or four vehicles, with the husband, wife and kids all having one each are a thing of the past now. In most cases it’s one car for the whole family and it’s used as required.
As my mate Steve says to his kids ‘if it’s in walking distance then you’re walking.’
By the time I reached the junction where JH Donald’s was I remembered that my daughter needed school shoes.
It was the main reason I had went out as well. I could have kicked myself.
My choices were heading back to Asda or having a look in the last couple of charity shops that are left.
I’m was kidding myself on though. The only real option is the supermarket.
The charity shops are working on ever diminishing returns. Very little is ever handed in any more. The era of the hand me downs is back.
As for the stuff that’s given to them, it’s a case of if your not first in to pick over what’s new then you can forget it.
Visiting the charity shops any time after 10am reminds me of a t-shirt I seen years ago that said ’coming in second means you're first of the losers.’
If you don’t get in there first then there really isn’t much point.
I really couldn’t face the supermarket again though and I’ve resolved that I’ll do it first thing tomorrow morning.
A few days ago a mate asked me if I could pinpoint when Kilmarnock died.
It would be easy to point the finger at Diageo’s closure of their Johnnie Walkers packaging plant he said, but was it really that?
I had to think about that for a minute, but in all honesty I couldn’t think of any other reason.
In hindsight it was the catalyst. The closure set off a domino effect through the local economy and one store and business after another toppled in the aftermath of the closure.
The luxury flats that they built where the car park was still remain empty and over the intervening years have fell into disrepair.
Now the smashed windows, graffiti daubed walls and littered entrances just stand as a great visual reminder of how short sighted people can be.
I mean who here has the money to buy a luxury flat?
Did they think that people with money would relocate here?
Now as you come into Kilmarnock from Glasgow on the train they tower over the town like a tombstone.
They should carve into them in ten feet high letters 'here lies our dreams, beaten into submission by greed.'