I would normally consider myself to be an eminently practical person. I’m the type of friend that you can rely upon to have a lip balm or tissue in their bag, the ‘Mum’ companion who reliably gives boring, logical advice that no one really wants to follow. The “have you eaten before you go out?” and “drink plenty of water!” type.
I try to listen to the various new focal points for student moaning (because, let’s be honest, the best part about writing for an opinions section is a legitimate excuse to moan) and the latest topic for complaints in The Bubble has been Market Street’s contentious new arrival, the ‘Great Wizard’ shop. Given my preamble, you might expect me to be the type to roll my eyes at this (admittedly) ridiculous addition to our high street, and to write something passive aggressive on Facebook about how the space could be more usefully filled with something practical like a clothing shop that isn’t Edinburgh Woollen Mill. The more logical part of me knows this to be true. However, there’s a ‘book-mad’ child inside of me that clapped her hands with utter delight when the shop opened. This girl used to turn to Harry Potter when she was sad or lonely, used to identify with the nerdy but brave heroine Hermione, and grew up reading and listening to all of those books– we are, after all the Harry Potter generation. J.K. Rowling’s story is tied up with all sorts of precious memories for me, and I doubt I’m alone in that fact. I’d be surprised if most students didn’t recognise the franchise’s iconic music.
This child in me serves to validate the ridiculous impracticality of life. You never see kids do things because they’re practical—they simply follow their nose and it leads them to what’s fun. If you think about it, practicality can be viewed very differently. As an English student, I of course would defend the practicality of my degree, but I can see why the most narrow-minded of people would say the arts aren’t really that practical. In some ways they’re right. But we’re human, and since when have we ever drained all the ridiculousness out of life to leave it as merely practical? My world would certainly be a boring one if it were reduced to that. Maybe we should start viewing practicality differently, and letting the inner child decide. Could I do with a more budget-friendly place to shop for clothes? Probably—but that’s what the internet is for.
Is the shop ridiculous? Absolutely. Does it make me feel warm inside and make me smile every time I walk past it on the way to lectures and hear that familiar music again? It sure does. Encourage your inner child to help you to rethink how you define practical, and you might find life leads you in the way of much more fun.