Once upon a time, a celebrity was someone who has become famous for being exceptional at something, be it music, sport or film. Many of those who became a celebrity honed their craft at Borehamwood’s famous Elstree Studios.
Today, a celebrity is anyone prepared to get their private parts out on television, preferably while being racist. As a symptom of these troubling times, where John Mills, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford once made classic movies, the Big Brother set stands, offering pumped up knuckle draggers their ill-deserved shot at fame.
The squid like tentacles of the Big Brother studio, have caught Borehamwood’s main thoroughfare and have dragged it towards their murky cultural abyss. Before Big Brother, you could browse music at Woolworths before strolling across the road to a charming independent bookshop. Both are long gone, replaced by grubby takeaways, betting shops and the occasional pawnbroker.
While other towns have at least one nice coffee shop, Borehamwood has a huge Starbucks. Despite Borehamwood’s movie heritage, it is impossible to imagine Audrey Hepburn buying an early morning coffee here before gazing longingly in to a jewellery shop window, or to imagine anyone elegant in Borehamwood! Who needs couture, when you can wear cheap gold jewellery. Were Ms Hepburn alive today and on Shenley Road, she would be advised to walk quickly, a fug of violence and Benson & Hedges permeates the air. The locals gather in menacing groups at random intervals on turning the high street in to an obstacle course, eye contact with them is not recommended.
At least the locals seldom leave Borehamwood. For London, the Green Belt prevents urban sprawl and gives easy access to the countryside for urbanites. For the surrounding villages, it acts as an invisible fence preventing those who dream of appearing on Big Brother, having their life made in to an Eastenders plot or both from visiting.