After a couple of hours catching up with maths students in the city Claire and I took a little jaunt on the Daniel Day to Dundrum. Last week she calls me with a story of woe from Charlestown. I’ve never been out to the shopping thingy at Charlestown. Shopping centres just don’t appeal to me. No, it’s more than this. Shipping centres, or Malls as our colonial cousins call them, upset me at the core of my being. I’d rather me mauled by a pack of rabies infected dingoes than spend a single, non-refundable hour of my life strutting about cloned High Street UK outlets in the soulless chrome and glass cultureless void of vapidity and sterility that is the modern Shopping Centre. Her report from Charlestown was bleak. She was depressed by the apocalyptic Irish depression era wasteland that she witnessed out there. To many this description may sound like a trauma. Not to me. I live in the hope that one day I will see all such dens of phrenetic consumerism reduced to rubble. Well, she was distressed by what she saw, and – good guy that I am – I promised to take her out to the sparkle that is Dundrum Town Centre.

Oh yes, it was sparkly and fabulous alright. It was populated by a better type of person; bedecked in designer ropes and painted a deep orange colour, but the place – with all its sensual and visual attractions – was my image of Dante’s third ring of hell. A single tube of the brownish paste fashionable women so like to cover their faces in daily and wash off when their other halves are asleep cost more than the amount I spend on food in a month. Shoe shops? I have never seen so many fecking shoe shops in my whole life. We aren’t even talking about real shoes here. We are talking about this season’s shoes – items that are fashionable this month and passé next month. These aren’t the sort of shoes you can actually wear. These are non-functioning pieces of aesthetic; style over substance. Shoes that lengthen the calves and tighten the buttocks; making their wearers more sexually alluring while they hide their faces under a layer or two of brown paste. Shoes like these, it was explained to me, do have one function. They are status symbols that are not subject to the weight variation of commodified human beings and their body dysmorphic behaviour. Well, that was Dundrum.

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