Is your town a clone town?
Clicking here will download the survey form in PDF format to your computer. Print it out and take a stroll down your high street, scoring points according to the type of shops you pass. Then add up the points, see how your town is doing for homeliness (or 'cloneliness'), and pop the form in the post to the nef (the address is on the form).
I was thinking about this type of thing earlier when I was on Princes Street - Edinburgh's high street - waiting to catch a bus. The scene was beautiful. A full(ish) moon was hanging brightly in the sky, gentle wisps of cloud were complementing the deep blue backdrop and the old clocktower of the Balmoral Hotel was, as ever, watching benevolently over us all. I looked at the lights in the trees and one or two other seasonal decorations, thinking of how they were succeeding at being both pretty and inoffensive. Next to the tall, elegant Scott Monument was a small, temporary fun-fair complete with ferris wheel and bright, neon lights... a pleasant juxtaposition of old and new, classical and sensational.
As the last minute shoppers strutted around, and the buses jostled for position with the few cars that had managed to squeeze inbetween them, I had to admit it - the city was looking good!
It was when I turned my head towards the shops that my vision was bombarded with a load of santas, snowmen, tinsel, fake trees and fairy lights: all this stuff that just looks more and more tacky and sad with every year that goes by. It became more clear to me than ever that the most pathetic thing about christmas is the desperate commercialisation of it by companies that are out to make a profit.
Have a good 'un!!!