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to update on that: it's the 164 cafe (but it's not a proper cafe, it's a shop) opposite the parkinson building. meatballs are on most days, but there's always something mighty good. anything chickeny comes highly recommended, as does the pain au chocolate. makes my working day worthwhile.
 

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Went to the Challenge Cup Final in Cardiff not too long ago and was astonished. Not by the the hostelries of Cardiff, the sporting excellence provided by Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos, or the price of Cardiff's gargle, but how Britain's centres are uniformly the same.

This year, as every year at Cup final weekend,for the past three, Cardiff's hotels were booked out since Jesus wore, and shat, his nappies.

This gave us the opportunity of staying in Gloucester after the match.

Great, I thought. a night out in a proper olde english citie. A wander round a olde medievile citie during the day. what did i find? JJb, HMV, Maccy D's. etc, etc.

I thought that Gloucester would be the sort of place untouched by this. Up t'North, I can understand that the industrial towns and cities are quite uniform and not olde worlde.

i was dissapointed that somewhere like Gloucester could just be the same as going out shopping round Wigan or Doncaster (no offence to either of those towns). Apart from the fact that Gloucester had medievel looking passageways, as opposed to Wiggins guinells.

do you all think that it's a shame that no matter where you are in the UK, it's the same old story on every high street? Or survival of the fittest rules, consumer choice has dictated our high street scape?

Gloucester, by the way, was great, friendly locals and good pubs.
 

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Bermondsey Boro
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Sadly excellence isn't a word I'd use for Leeds Rhinos that day, we were shite :(

Agreed it is a pity that every city seems to be a homogenised mass of the usual big chains, but it's been betting that way for the last 10 years or so. It certainly seems that you can't move 10 paces without passing a McDs a Starbucks and a Subway.

Did you get down to Cardiff Bay? I was really impressed with the buildings down there, the shopping outlet is pretty generic, but the copper clad concert hall and that superb water feature were very impressive. I particularly liked the old unrestored buildings around the bay, really evocative, I'm a sucker for that type of thing! All in all I really enjoyed Cardiff despite 2 defeats in 3 years and it's a pity the Challenge Cup is moving back to Wembley, Cardiff certainly welcomed RL fans more than Wembley.
 

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Wheels...
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Gloucester is a really good example of an ancient town where the chav's took control back in the early 90's, great potential but it's sister city Cheltenham has stolen all Gloucesters thunder, even if Cheltenham IS in Gloucestershire. The town is crap because there were plans to relocate the whole city centre back down towards the docks in the mid nineties and now in 2005... no change.
 

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Well I would agree with the identicalism of town and city centres to some extent, alot is in the way its presented rather than the shops themselves though- I don't know why you think northern towns would be more identical than southern though. Doesn't every city have their high street and specialist areas? Harrogate, Leeds, York, Bradford all offer high street and individual shops... I don't think chain shops are particularly bad, its only when they start opening a ridiculous amount of stoers, like McDonalds. Did you know, at McDonalds peak, during a certain point in 1997, they were opening a new restaurant every hour somewhere in the world. Some chain stores are good though, it can be more efficent and cheaper, providing there are other shops too.
 

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But people use these chains. They expand in every town because they are popular. And often there weren't better local alternatives before the chains arrived. For example most British towns did not have cafes where you could sit on a terrace and sip an espresso or cappuccino until Starbucks, Costa, Coffee Republic, Caffe Nero, Aroma etc arrived - and even where there were local cafes before, such as in central London, the local cafes were actually boosted by the arrival of the chains. The first pizzas also arrived in the average British town via chains like Pizza Hut and Pizzaland. Now they have Pizza Express which is at least some improvement. In most of Britain there were no modern designed bars until chains like All Bar One arrived. There are also other areas where our consumer choice has vastly improved. Supermarkets now offer far more choice and quality than they did in the 80s - there really is no comparison. A couple of decades ago you couldn't buy garlic and olive oil in the supermarket let alone sushi seaweed or gazpacho. People living in the smallest towns can now access a bigger choice of DVDs and CDs via internet sellers than even the largest London stores can stock - and for cheaper prices too. Globalisation may have made our towns and cities samey but it has also vastly improved the range and quality of goods and services on offer.
 

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Second Citizen
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Maybe we could introduce a ban on some types of chains? ;)

Monkey has a point. Whilst I cannot speak about towns, my local high st has got better since the like of coffee and pub chains moved in. It has meant that a couple of greasy spoons have closed (there are still a couple left though) but there are some classy indedependent cafes now - the likes of Costa & Nero have upped the ante and created a market. Similarly with the pubs - a couple of chains moved in and since then the freehouses have had refurbs - they realise they need to do this in order to keep customers. There are still plenty of independent resturants as well.

Clothes shops are the problem - the opening of clothes chains has driven the boutiques & other independents out. And of course there are the 2 main evils: estate agents and charity shops :bash:
 

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Yes many clothes are made in places like that- its a bad thing because its almost guaranteed that when you go into somewhere like H&M where prices are cheap, the money is going to H&M rather than the workers, in other words, everytime I (or you) buy these things, it supports exploitation in the 3rd world, even if there is little choice (that is readily available on the high street)
 

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Bangladesh depends on its textiles industry and textiles is one of the industries that is lifting hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. Let H&M make their profits and employ Chinese and Bangladeshi workers. Ultimately trade leads to much faster development than aid and this is one area where I cannot agree with the anti-globalisation movement. If we started making the clothes here instead not only would the prices be much higher - we'd also be snatching away the livelihoods of workers in the Third World.
 

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Exactly what I was thinking, people criticise companies all the time for employing cheap labour from the east, but these low paid jobs are the only lifeline for many poor in China/India/bangledesh. I don't see how it is exploitation when they are providing jobs to some of the worlds poorest people?
 

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I agree - clothes would be so much more expenses if we imported the raw matrerials and made them here.

Western companies should be responsible for their suppliers though and make sure good working practices and conditions are implemented throughout the supply chain.
 

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van het noorden
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Biosonic said:
I agree - clothes would be so much more expenses if we imported the raw matrerials and made them here.
We used to do this...i.e. import American cotton into Lancashire, spin it and turn out miles upon miles of cloth.

Clothing in this country is getting ridiculously cheap.
 

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I mean the clothes should still be made in the third world, but just not under bad conditions. Most clothing factories do not allow talking during the working hours (usually about 0700-0900) and are cramped. If shops were making clothes that did not exploit the 3rd world, then they would have the fairtrade mark.
 

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Bermondsey Boro
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Leeds No.1 said:
I mean the clothes should still be made in the third world, but just not under bad conditions. Most clothing factories do not allow talking during the working hours (usually about 0700-0900) and are cramped. If shops were making clothes that did not exploit the 3rd world, then they would have the fairtrade mark.
I presume you mean 0700 - 2100 not 0700 - 0900 LN1? Even I could keep quiet for 2 hours and I'm a gobshite of the highest order ;)

I agree with you though, sadly third world workers often endure horrendous working conditions. I'm all for trading with the third world as much as possible, but as you rightly say it has to be fair trade.
 
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