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Shopping for staples, with free street theatre, at the 'Murder Mall'

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At Murder Mall on a Wednesday afternoon things are generally quiet.

The security guards haven't started their shifts.

Shopping trolleys are sometimes abandoned in the streets during the week, and late in the day, or left felled in gutters and up-ended like giant metal insects with wheels.

But they're not arranged defensively like a barricade or a border beyond which the uninitiated shouldn't cross, like it is on some weekend nights. It's been that way sometimes outside Murder Mall, feeling like you have to storm the shopping trolleys to get your muesli and mince, but not on a recent Wednesday afternoon.

No. It was all quiet on the Murder Mall front when I went to get cat food, which was a pity. It can feel a little wild there and I don't mind that. It was just kids and parents doing the grocery shopping dance - "Can we have pizza for dinner?", "No", "Why?", "Because we're having spag bol", "I hate spag bol", "Then you'll have nothing" - and a bunch of wanderers like me, avoiding the noisy aisles and trying to remember the things we'd come to buy while filling our baskets with essentials, like chocolate.

Murder Mall isn't its name, by the way. It's a shopping centre with a perfectly sensible title, although it's slightly geographically confusing. But the title went out the window the day a relative called it Murder Mall after a visit on a Sunday night to buy cat food (we all like cats) and, from memory, toilet paper and milk. Staples,........

© Canberra Times