Rumbelows and other shops it's hard to believe existed

ONCE rulers of the high street, it’s now impossible to believe that their unsettling concepts were ever viable businesses. How did they ever survive? 

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To listen to a song – a single, three-minute song – you heard it on the radio, noted the name, got a bus, and asked the assistant if they had the single. Frequently they didn’t. Today’s teenagers are annoyed if a song they click on buffers for 3.5 seconds.

Rumbelows and Radio Rentals

TVs used to cost six months’ salary so you rented one. And washing machines and stereos, but mainly the telly. Some sets were coin-operated and many old bastards still have stories about running out of 50ps just before the last minute goal in whatever old bastard event.


Cheap gold is a contradiction in terms, and for Ratners also a business plan. Destroyed when boss Gerald Ratner admitted its wares were ‘total crap’, the name still survives today as a term of contempt for nasty shiny jewellery worn by wankers. Something to be proud of, Gerald.


At the dog-end of the summer holidays, you’d be dragged to Woolies for new school uniform and pencil case, then hang around for an hour while your parents browsed garden tools. 30p to spend on pick ‘n’ mix was no compensation for the cool girl from your school on the record counter sneering at you.


Fancy a night in with a takeaway and a film? The film was the tough bit. Traipsing up and down the aisles picking your VHS, discovering you had a fine to pay from last time, and not getting stroppy because you’d rented The Lovers’ Guide two weeks before and nobody could ever find out.

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Britain has lovely Christmas, apart from everyone self-isolating and Prince Andrew

THE UK has enjoyed a memorable Christmas, with the exception of the hundreds of thousands self-isolating and the Queen’s second son.

The country has enjoyed feasting, parties and merriment unless unlucky enough to catch the Omicron variant or unlucky enough to have no witnesses to a particular evening in Woking Pizza Express.

Bill McKay of Wrexham said: “It’s been a classic festive period. Though not for me, because I tested positive on Christmas Eve, and not for Prince Andrew because a close associate’s been convicted on five counts of sex trafficking.

“I had to spend the whole time at home, unable to leave because of a positive test. Though it only lasted seven days, so not like being confined to Balmoral indefinitely.

“Normally the Royal Family doesn’t do anything more entertaining than going to church in outfits at Christmas, so stepping it up into a court battle centred on the Duke of York has been very welcome to those of us trapped in.

“I’ve no idea where I got Covid from, just like the Prince has no idea why a photo exists with his arm round Virginia Giuffre with Ghislaine Maxwell in the background. But as he’s found, there’s no denying it.

“Anyway, I didn’t lose my sense of smell and apparently there’s no evidence he lost his ability to sweat. Thankfully I’m feeling much recovered now. I can’t say the same for Prince Andrew.”