In retrospect it seems like utter madness, but in its opening days, amid the driving November rain and teeming crowds, I have made a visit to the new 'super-mall', this biggest shopping centre in Europe thing, a monolith to days of boom and carefree spending, Westfield, in sexy Shepherd's Bush.
Wow, that's almost certainly the first time the word 'sexy' and Shepherd's Bush have been used in a sentence when not in reference to a hooker.
So, yes, I went to have a little cultural excursion to find out what £1.2 billion worth of retail outlet buys you these days. And it seems the answer to that question is - really quite a lot. There is a very great deal of roof for instance, which naturally undulates in the most modern and impressive way. There are wide open spaces and lots of lovely signs telling you where to go and where you are. There are stages where Leona Lewis or, in the case of my visit, the London Community Gospel Choir, trill merrily to passing shoppers.
But what startled me somewhat is that the shops themselves were actually rather... small. A gay of my casual passing acquaintance works in one of the rather chic stores and I stopped in to say hello. He paused to talk to me with a very impressive blow-dried bouffant and black rimmed spectacles and mentioned that he was expecting some giant expansive space allowing endless browsing and a more, shall we say, take-it-easy type of shopping experience. In particular you couldn't have swung a digital SLR, never mind a cat, in the branch of Jessops.
I wasn't sure how gay it was going to be. Would screaming moxen throngs be filling the aisles? Not exactly. But I certainly saw quite a few. Maybe the wider number had heard that the super chi-chi boutiques (Ferragamo, Prada, Vuitton, Gucci et al) have yet to open and are keeping their powder dry. What struck me was a glaring, glaring, obvious-if-you-think-about-it gap in the planning. There was a huge branch of Nandos. A Wagamama, untold other grazing spaces. What the place was missing was a branch of Bar Code (or similar). Somewhere to act as a honeypot for thirsty gays to parade around their designer shopping bags. Someone must act on this. Something must be done.