I haven’t seen anything quite like it for a while. Well, not in this area. Yellow jackets and safety helmets buzzing like a swarm of busy bees. Every week whenever I’m catching the early morning train to London these past six months, I’ve run the gauntlet of barriers and barricades and found new pathways through this side of Leeds towards the city station.
All in the cause of Trinity Leeds, which (I learned from the Radio 4 Today programme this morning) is the largest shopping centre opening in Europe this year.
Who would have thought it possible? In the murky depths of recession with businesses failing left, right and centre, Trinity Leeds stands proud, occupying a massive part of the city centre and enticing consumers with no money to come spend, spend, spend.
Or at least, nose, nose, nose. Even I, cynic and critic of most shopping malls, am tempted to enter this temple of consumerism when it finally throws wide the doors on Thursday.
I muttered to anyone in earshot yesterday that I thought “Trinity” was an interesting signifier, given the religious and ecstatic experience most of Leeds seems to be anticipating.
I also find it impossible to imagine the centre without the yellow jackets. Where on earth are they all going to go? Will they be there behind the scenes on Thursday as the big wigs bow to general acclaim? Or merging with the throngs of visitors dressed in going out gear, admiring their work in all its glory?
Anyway, out with cynicism! I’m delighted that economic confidence in the city is so strong, and I can’t wait to see a film in the new Everyman cinema. I’m happy to cheer on this latest endeavor.