Friday, 25 June 2010

Skegness is so bracing (allegedly)

The rabbit hopped off to Skegness today. It was for work and he was not best pleased not least because Skegness is the back end of beyond and a round journey of over 6 hours by train but that's another story. It was the first time the rabbit has been to Skegness since he was 17. He had a lot more fun on his first visit but that's another story too - and certainly not one to be repeated here.

At the risk of howls of outrage cascading on the rabbit's head from the Lincolnshire coast, Skegness is a joke sort of place. For the unitiated, it is an English seaside resort of a certain type. 'Classy' is not a word to be associated with it but I must say it seemed to be looking in pretty good nick in a brash sort of way. If it's beer and beach and fish and chips you want then Skegness is the place for you. It is no coincidence that the first ever Butlins (overseas readers - don't ask!) was opened just outside Skegness. It is also noticeable that a lot of elderly people seem to have have retired there, presumably for the sea air. I have never in my life seen so many mobility scooters - erm - scooting up and down the pavements. The rabbit had fish and chips on the front for lunch and bloody good they were too. The fact the weather was absolutely on the money: hot dry and sunny no doubt helped the relatively favourable impression. I even in an ironic moment bought a fridge magnet with a picture of an owl and the caption 'Skegness is a hoot'. I told the young Polish women selling this tat that I am English and therefore do irony. She looked somewhat bemused. I don't knock tat, I should say. Tat can be ironic. Ironic is good.

I mention the sea air. Skegness rose to fame from being an obscure nineteenth century fishing village - but one blessed with a fine sandy beach - to a holiday resort on the strength of an advertising poster - The Jolly Fisherman - by an artist called John Halsall with its caption 'Skegness is SO bracing' became one of the best-known advertising posters ever. Skegness Town Council reports, a touch smugly 'The Jolly Fisherman is probably the most famous holiday advertisement ever drawn. It has been circulated hundreds of times in almost every newspaper in the land, and the dancing salt has been imitated by thousands of visitors. John Hassall drew the picture in 1908. It had been commissioned by the Great Northern Railway Company and for this masterpiece he received twelve guineas'. He died penniless in 1948, aged 80. Here is Beau Bo D'Or's take on the Jolly Fisherman (complete with starfish) intruding on Jack Vettriano's The Singing Butler .

Just to show that not everyone found themselves braced by Skegness, here is a story from 1913...


Nottingham Man Tries To Poison Himself in the Train.

At Highgate, London, last Wednesday, Harry Hart, 38, grocer and beer dealer, of Montfort street, Nottingham, was charged with attempting to commit suicide by taking laudanum whilst travelling on the Great Northern Railway between Skegness and Finsbury Park.Defendant, it was said, had been staying at Skegness for the benefit of his health. On his arrest he said he did not get better. He bought twopennyworth of laudanumm boarded a train at Skegness, and on the way to London drank the poison. He added: 'I thought I should have been dead by the time I reached London'.

At the first hearing of the case he said he did not see the folly and wickedness of his act. He then complained that his head was so bad, and was remanded to Brixton Prison.Now he promised the magistrate that he would not do such a thing again, and was handed over to his friends.

While on the subject of irony (well sort of), this amused. Hat Tip to Phil.


Petit fleur said...

Happy weekend Rabbit.

I also like the "Le Petit Mort" on the top of that sign... very silly.

Barmaid said...

You should have taken a short trip up the coast to Theddlethorpe - there's an unofficial male nudist beach there which I stumbled across some years ago. I wondered why there were lots of men in the dunes wearing beige swimming trunks, but as I got closer I realised that they were naked. All very odd, but very funny and well worth a visit.

tony said...

I know Arty people get snotty about him but i kinda like Jack Vettriano.I always think of him as The Leonard Cohen of Art although,Christ knows where this thought come from.....
I like the East Coast.much better than flat&boring Blackpool.But the weather is usually shite.You were Lucky to catch good weather there!
Have a Fine weekend but watch out for The Hun on Sunday!

savannah said...

delightful image but such a sad ending, sugar! *suddenly i want some fish & chips* sighing xooxoxoo

white rabbit said...

Little Flower - A happy weekend to you too. I noticed the Petit Mort thing too - isn't that an orgasm?

Barmaid - Welcome back to my humble blog. I'm rather taken with the idea of beige swimming trunks.

Tony - Agree about the east coast. I asked someone I know's daughter -who is a recent Oxford fine art graduate about Vettriano. 'Is he really that bad or is the art establishment's dislike of him just snobby stuff?' I asked. She rolled her eyes and made rude comments about his brushwork, which she considered appalling. Mind you. I suppose she's part of the art establishment.

Savvy - Fish and chips - at their best a great delicacy :D

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Oh the joys of Skeg! As a Notts lad it was the sea side destination of choice for the East Midlands, what a grand place, an awful place but grand nevertheless.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Skegness sounds--well--skeggy. Just the name makes one want never to visit.

JoJo said...

Sounds like a decent beach. How's the beachcombing? Any good shells or glass?

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