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[Thoughts on coming home and going out for a shopping trip in Kingston, South West London, after a year travelling and working in Asia.]

Kingston’s iconic reverse-toppling telephone boxes.

Everybody looks like they’ve committed a crime; theft, fashion, looking at someone else’s bitch.

If you’re under 18, Mum must accompany your shopping trip.

You must look cool to buy cool. It’s like chicken and egg situation, except neither of those things wear sunglasses and a scarf.

Buddhist ‘monks‘ selling books outside Mark’s&Spencer’s seems a tad optimistic.

Cheese is rich and sickly. Did we really used to lavish it on prisoners.

The British accent is fabulous! I do so wish the chaps could teach them yanks a thing or two.

Groups of young people are made up of distinct individuals. Team players not allowed.

Reading people here is easy. Tight trousers + backpack + gloves = cyclist. Blue tracksuit + baseball cap = chav. Wide collared shirt + big mobile = Wannabe businessman who’s actually just a senior sales executive junior manager.

“Braaap, yess m8, that looks sick. Check this man, sick, init?” / “Yess bruv.” / “Ah but shit, man, it’s red. I don’t wear red. Got nothing that matches red. Fuck.”

T-K-Maxx advertises ˜Free Bags Are Back’. While I’ve been away, they’ve started charging for plastic bags to save the environment, then decided that consumers’ 5p is more important.

Since when were milkshakes cool?

Sadly, the most appealing smell in Kingston is Subway’s manufactured baking bread fragrance.

Belly buttons are ugly and unnecessary for public display.

Make sure you shop between mealtimes. There will be no opportunity or time for snacking, or street food.

Uniqlo’s staff didn’t get it when I replaced the usual ‘cheers’ with ‘arigato gozaimasu’.

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