I was in a supermarket with my wife the weekend after the riots down in England. England, let's remember, not Scotland - when we have riots, it's over much, much stupider things than shootings or inner-city deprivation. Football, for instance. Images of looters running down streets with armfuls of Nike were on my mind as much as they were on anyone else's as I headed for an opticians just inside the front entrance of the supermarket. Unfortunately the opticians, unlike the (24/7) supermarket itself, was closed.

"You just missed it," we were informed by a guy manning a security station located between the opticians and the supermarket entrance. "Excuse me," he said, next directing his attention to Emma, "but are you actually Chinese?"

No, she explained, she was from Taiwan, and suddenly we found ourselves deep in conversation with this man, who had gone backpacking in China for a month and wound up meeting his fiancé there. He was thinking of retiring to Shanghai to live with her.

He mentioned the colossal bootleg culture in China, and how his wife-to-be was in the habit of acquiring ripped DVD's of current Hollywood releases at phenomenal speed and posting them to him so he could watch them in the comfort of his own home, sometimes before they even reached our own cinema screens. While he was proudly telling us this, I could see some kid with a mohican slowly wheeling a 40 inch Plasma TV through the doors behind him. The alarm started to sound. The kid kept walking at a steady pace, apparently oblivious,

"Excuse me," said our new friend, and we watched as he ran off and talked to the kid. Less than a minute later he and a security guard frogmarched the kid past us and into a tiny office. The guy who liked to watch bootleg videos of new movies had just arrested someone who'd tried to nick a TV on which, I suspect, those ripped-off DVD's would have looked pretty good. This struck me as an object lesson in irony.

1 comment:

Buster said...

Asda govan by any chance?