Thursday, 21 February 2008
I spent two days in Stoke this week. With apologies to any local patriots reading this – and the people were friendly – what a dump! The picture is a bit of ex-industrial dereliction in Stoke. It turned my mind to the books Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK and Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides. These two books were linked to The Idler magazine (whose website I have plundered pretty shamelessly for this piece) and were the results of public nominations. For the record, Hull won first time around and Luton second time. Some of the named towns were counterintuitive. As well as the usual suspects, Winchester, Windsor and Clapham figured in the roll of dishonour. Some of the comments are savage. This is Portsmouth: ‘The town during the day is the usual non-stop stream of half-dead pensioners, teenage mums and shell-suit bedecked amoebic life forms. By night these people really come alive, however, but choose to come alive using vandalism, street violence, verbal abuse, glue sniffing and rapid, canine-like sex in public against lamp posts’. Hmmm…
This is not all chav bashing, however. Berkhamstead: ‘A town so utterly inbred and pompous I can’t spend more than 12 consecutive hours there without coming out in hives. Berkhamsted is populated almost entirely by lawyers, and their odious offspring - simply because they are the only ones who can afford to live there’. Know the sort…
Under amenities in Woking is recorded simply ‘a pond’.
I loved this line too: ‘If the Daily Mail were a town, it would be Sutton’.
High Wycombe: ‘At the weekend it’s full of city twats, who would step over you if you fell down in front of them during the week, wandering around with their families pretending to be awfully polite and pretending they live in the countryside.
Harlow: ‘Harlow bus station on a Sunday morning in November. Vacant acres of grey concrete. Drizzle. Piles of refuse swirling idly in the wind. A native listlessly dismantling a bus shelter’.
I’m sensing a lot of anger here…
Okay, my nominations:
1. Stoke – nuff said
2. Wolverhampton – which would have been top of the list until I discovered Stoke
3. Hull – which does have joint best street name in the world – The Land of Green Ginger – yes really! - but that’s still no excuse
4. Milton Keynes – the concrete cows says it all
5. Coventry – the town planners finished off what the Luftwaffe started