Friday, 13 May 2016

Shell company

Most of us can think of local amenities that we don't have, but would like to see. Where I live, we've got most of our day-to-day needs covered within a short distance, but there's always room for improvement. I'd be happy to see a bookshop on our high street. My wife would be happier with our local gym if it had a steam room. I'm sure others have their own wanted lists.

The good news is that a new amenity is coming to town. And it's certainly going to be unique:
The £2.5million complex which is to open next year along Sherington Road, Newport Pagnell, will include the world's first fully operational vintage Shell petrol station, a vintage drive-thru diner, 1950s coffee bar, classic car show rooms, period retailing and office space.

Mr Pacey, who actually lives in the town, said: "Newport Pagnell has 200 years of motoring history, from Salmon Coachmakers to Aston Martin.

"This will be a unique selling point for the town which like other market towns has suffered from the internet and shopping centres, but I believe as the first vintage Shell garage in the world it will be a great visitor attraction."
Of course, some things are unique for a very good reason and I'm not entirely convinced that there is a massive pent-up demand from people whose idea of a good time is shopping and working in a faux 1950s version of Newport Pagnell Services.

In fact, as the whole idea sounds like a satire on the consumer society dreamt up by J G Ballard after going to bed on a cheese toastie, I hope there isn't. But maybe I'm just not aspirational enough, lifestyle-wise.

Mind you, the " period retailing" idea does sound intriguing - will the retail experience feature an extensive range of ladies' sanitary products, or will goods be strictly rationed, authentic 1950s style? I can hardly wait to find out.

I may have to wait, though - if memory serves, this guy's last venture in town was a now-closed shop on the High Street called "The Magic of Motoring" or something like that. It sold high-priced vintage and pretend-vintage Shell-branded memorabilia, or would have done, as it never seemed to be open. In the end, we decided that the permanently-closed shop must have been a front for some elaborate tax fiddle, or money laundering operation.

Legal note - we thought this as a joke. As far as I know, no organisation associated with actual tax avoidance and money laundering has had a presence on Newport Pagnell High Street since HSBC closed its local branch earlier this year. And the "Shell company" in the post title has everything to do with the oil company referenced by Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot and nothing at all to do with Mossack Fonseca. Glad we cleared that up.