The café was as if re-animated from the dead. In an original-featured building, twice closed down, it sat, plonked, suspended in time. It felt like one of the erstwhile Lewis’s cafes had been re-born and placed, belatedly, there.The espresso was NOT espresso; and the café boasted a “most improved eatery” award(improved from…what?!?!)
It overlooked a faded atrium, the staircase-once proud-wound sinuously from floor to floor; and people ascended it and descended it like automatons. Down below,gaudy trinkets occupied a concession outlet(often a sign of impending financial catastrophe), which advertised, on a dated sign, “Ladies’ gifts”. Random rugs;rapidly placed beds and cookers occupied the other floors.
I felt as if I were trapped within a sebaldian sepia photograph of some “emporium” of elder times. Or, in Blacklers(closed in the late 1980s), which, similarly,impoded in its OWN descent into concessions(and , which, as time cascaded on itself,had a similar , once grand, atrium-style design and an ornate sweeping staircase).
It was the benjaminesque detritus of capitalism again; the remnants displayed were somehow disrobed of their market value, because I could not imagine anyone buying any of them. It was not QUITE the (barely) living museum that Lewis’s became in its uncanny last days; but it had an air of the soon-to-be-defunct.
Will this shop still be extant in a year?
Guess the name of the shop-in Liverpool; its hidden somewhere in the text above