Thursday, May 24, 2012
The Moonrakers, and Other Vacancies
I've been fascinated lately by vacant storefronts. There's something so forlorn about them, and they pose so many questions. This one caught my eye yesterday as I walked to the post office on Ladbroke Grove -- it had been home to a Chinese restaurant, and then the restaurant closed and the sign came down, and beneath it was this mysterious older sign.
I knew "Moonraker" only as the title of a James Bond novel, and somewhat mediocre corresponding film (partly redeemed by its fabulous Shirley Bassey theme song). But it turns out Moonraker is a colloquial name for a person from Wiltshire, with origins based in this story. No idea what this store might have sold, aside from Coca Cola.
Here are more vacancies, from my walk around Islington and Camden on Sunday:
And these are from my walk to Wembley last week:
There are still plenty of going business concerns on London's "High Streets," as the shopping districts are called. But there's also an awareness that many local businesses need support, particularly in this economy. I've seen campaigns aimed at getting shoppers away from malls and back to the High Streets -- much like the "buy local" movements in the United States. Obviously I don't know the story behind any of these particular businesses, but I'm sure the economy didn't help any of them.