Podcaster and comedian Dan McKeon gives us a view of his hometown through a light-hearted lens…
I’ll never forget the ripples of pure excitement when the Mediterranean Supermarket opened. Group chats lit up with intrigue and delight. Every interaction I had was punctuated with that question, gasped to a hushed audience: “Have you seen the new Mediterranean Supermarket?”
It had the same tone as when a sleezy guy in a movie opens his coat to sell you a watch. When asked, you’d notice a gleam in the asker’s eyes, the crowd transfixed by what that could possibly mean. A supermarket but Mediterranean? Here in England? They might have things from the Mediterranean there! Questions would come thick and fast: “Have you been in?” “What sort of stuff have they got?” “Do you think their tinned tomatoes taste better than Tesco’s?”
It came up almost every day for a month. I’d roll my eyes and go along with it, slightly writing it off as well-to-do fussiness. Getting excited just because it happens to be European? You might as well get excited over a barber where the scissors are multicoloured. I mean, how different could the Mediterranean Supermarket be from a regular supermarket?
I could not have underestimated how much fun I would have when I finally entered. I half expected to start singing the Candy Man song as I roamed the fresh fruit section.
Oh my God, they sell lavender?! You get so much rice in one bag! Look! Their tinned tomatoes have a little mascot on them. No one could have predicted how joyful this place could be! I grabbed all the Milka Chocolate I could carry and would’ve kissed the man at the counter if we weren’t wearing masks.
Living here all my life, I’m well-used to seeing exciting shops spring up only to be shut down again. It almost feels like a sad rejection of anything different at the cost of our neighbours’ livelihoods. So, it is genuinely heartening to see a new shop be received with such affection, and long may it tantalise us with types of flatbread you can’t find at Sainsbury’s! (Go visit at 103-109 Heath Rd, Twickenham).
Dan has written for Objectively Funny and is the author of Country Bumpkin Blog. You can listen to his podcast, That’s Rich! wherever you get podcasts.