Shopping on Amazon is habit-forming. It's not that I'm buying more things but rather I'm going online more often to shop in preference to a trip to the high street. Price and convenience compensate for the time it takes for the goods to arrive.
This month I've bought a Dimplex heater and camera accessories on Amazon. And today I ordered a travel book. I feel guilty. Not enough to stop but guilty all the same that I'm in thrall to this faceless behemoth.
I followed retailing for the business pages of several national newspapers. I covered the stock market flotation, for example, of Clinton Cards whose very future is now in the balance.
I found chains had many faults as they exploited their size but I came to appreciate their strengths too along with the rest of the retail industry. Outside of the public sector they are the UK's biggest employers. As for their wares, whether its food or furniture, albeit in the pursuit of profit, they help raise the living standards of ordinary people.
I know the big boys are migrating to the internet themselves but it's a wonder that, say, any independent booksellers survive.
I’m not going into that good night – gentle or any other way – for as long as possible. Hence the launch of this blog in December 2009 a month before my 65th birthday.
Why the blog's name? When my doctor temporarily prescribed statins to reduce my cholesterol levels she told me to exclude grapefruit from my diet. I received the profoundest sense of my own mortality.
I’ve never liked grapefruit but now banned they called to me siren-like from supermarket shelves.
Forbidden grapefruit, it can only be a short step until my body was denied solid food and then oxygen itself.
Originally a cultural blog subtitled last stop before the abyss, after building a large archive, I re-launched in a new guise in March 2012 and again in April 2014.
My interests are widespread; by nature I prefer to look forward rather than back. I’m male; divorced with grownup children; a retired national newspaper journalist; and a Londoner. GC