Quiet Please, I’m Shopping
Almost all of the recent buzz about Selfridges seems to be focussed on ITV’s new Downton-Junkie-bait series Mr Selfridge.
Which is a shame, because the powers that be at the 21st Century iteration of Ooh-He-Was-A-Bit-Saucy-Selfridge’s corner-shop have come up with a simply gorgeous idea of a No Noise initiative.
The idea is short and sweet, offering beleaguered shoppers the opportunity to press mute on the
babble and hellfire encountered on an average trip through the seven circles of Oxford Street hell just to get to their front door hustle and bustle of modern life.
It’s well thought-out, with some fresh ideas and solid programming:
There’s a Quiet Zone retail area with what can best be describes as a no-logo ethos – featuring naked products specially produced by leading brands such as Levis, Marmite and Dr Dre Beats – as well as minimalist fashion by people I’ve not really heard of but I’m told are very credible.
Idler Magazine have been drafted in to provide a greatest-hits selection of their highly popular programme (Tom Hodgkinson on the Art of Idling; Gavin Pretor-Pinney on The Pleasures of Cloud Spotting etc), whilst there’s a not-to-be-missed turn by the John Cage Orchestra on 23rd February – with three performances of 4’33.
(Go see; it’ll be better than you think.)
(Especially if you think it’ll be a load of rubbish.)
Finally, the centrepiece has to be the opening of a the Silence Room; a sort of safe room to escape from the impulses of blowing your credit card limit within the first week of the month.
According to the website, this is actually a re-opening, as this was apparently in Mr Selfridges original design as a place where busy shoppers could “retire from the whirl of bargains and the build-up of energy”. (Given what we now know about the man, this could be seen as a euphemism for something entirely different.)
Anyway this is a strong Go recommendation.