Maybe you develop an uncontrollable urge to queue for half an hour or more to buy Swedish flat-pack furniture in a low-ceilinged warehouse that reeks of meatballs.
Maybe you want to test your cultural credentials by trying to spot a Banksy among all the other graffiti.
Or maybe you just took a wrong turning at the Hicks Gate roundabout and found yourself inexorably sucked in.
No matter. Whether it’s fate or fortune that draws you to the sprawling metropolis on Bath’s doorstep, once you’re there you know you’re there.
Because on every other billboard, it seems, is a poster advertising a well-known supermarket chain that doesn’t have a major outlet in Bath.
An advert which states, in no uncertain terms: “The Big Price Drop on Bristol’s Shopping List.”
For better or worse, for richer or poorer, when you see a poster like that you can be pretty much certain that you are. Indeed. In Bristol.
Struggle back to Bath with your Nordic kitchen units or your shattered dreams – or both – and all those certainties crumble to dust.
Because - or at least until yesterday - right next to the exit from Avon Street multi-storey car park was a similar poster advertising the same supermarket. But there’s one subtle difference. Because this poster said: “The Big Price Drop on London’s Shopping List.”
|Tesco advert, October 19 2011|
Now hang on a cotton-picking minute. London? London? What’s going on here?
Well, Tesco (oops) is certainly a powerful organisation.
But surely even Tesco (oops again) can’t have got its hands on some transdimensional wormhole generator that rips Avon Street car park, the jewel in Bath’s architectural crown, from its noble setting between a neglected river and a dreary coach park and drops it 100 miles east in The Big Smoke?
No, there’s more to it than that.
That poster was the visible tip of the iceberg, a deep and insidious conspiracy created by big business, the council and the powerful Heritage Lobby to confuse Bathonians, tourists and taxi drivers alike into believing that they’re not in Bath any more.
And why would they want to do that, you might ask? Well any number of reasons, really. But to go into them here would be to expose oneself to unwanted attention from the conspirators themselves.
Suffice to say that there’s more to that drilling project next to Thermae Bath Spa than meets the eye.
|Chip advert, October 20 2011. Spooky.|
Enough said: a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat.
If anyone has the slightest idea what’s going on down there at Avon Street, please keep it to yourself. Don’t write in, don’t email, don’t call. Because the less we know about it, the safer we’ll all be.
And if you’re one of those people who prefers to believe in cock-up rather than conspiracy (perhaps you think the poster is just a mistake), then sleep easily while you can.
But remember: truth will out.