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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

More shit I found that I don't want to lose.

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.'


  1. The first nail in the coffin in kilmarnock was the death of massey ferguson,then slowly it fell into repute,and no way will this town ever get its good reputation back, look at the amount of jag monsters that hang around the mall..says it all really :)

  2. The drug problem is really starting to bite. We have always had it, but over the last couple of years it seems to be tightening its grip.
    The bus station, Mall and taxi rank are like a magnet for the hopeless.
    Did you know they had a trial run of playing classical music in the station to try and dissuade the congregating of the worst offenders.
    I never noticed much of a difference myself.

  3. Its like for example,how many people associate Glasgow with the image of Rab C Nesbit,hmm i'm sure that kilmrnock's stereotype will be a shellsuited junkie, eg like a bastardised Paul Calf, instead of "bag of shite", it will be "bag o smack". This image will stick to kilmarnock like a set of hemoroids,lol,and no amount of re-socialisation will ever remediate this problem :)

  4. No amount of music playing wull remediate this problem,only thing that will help matters is more policemen and policewomen in the town centre, but even they seem to be immune to solving the problem, i am sure the police have an agenda that all junkies will kill each other anyway,so what is the point in trying to prevent crime amongst them?? :)

  5. I don't have an issue with people who find themselves sinking as long as they are willing to work with those who wish to help them, but we have so many familar faces who are just ripping the pish that it's a joke.
    They don't want to change, aren't looking for help and in general are making the centre of town a no go area.
    We are going to get to the point that the stereotype of someone from killie will be a shell suited baseball cap wearing toothless and barely literate junkie.

  6. Last week I watched one young waste of space of about 14 shouting abuse at a police woman mid afternoon. She didn't even respond and that sort of pisses me off because if my clean cut son who has never been in trouble with the police did likewise he would have been lifted. No doubt about it.