I'm not exactly sure why I'd always conceived such romantic notions of sunny Blackpool in my mind (like the nostalgic scene below left). The idea of the charming north west seaside town's 'pleasure beach' abuzz with red-lipsticked girls in high-waisted shorts licking ice creams, their sexy, quiffed rebel boyfriends draped around their shoulders with fags dangling from the corner of their mouths seemed so cool to me, I guess I still hoped to find some trace of that long-gone innocent era. Maybe I watched Grease one too many times, or more likely excellent 1987 British film Wish You Were Here starring Emily Lloyd (below right).
What I did find in Blackpool was pretty amazing, unfortunately not in a good way. The town managed the unenviable accolade of being The Chavviest Place Robert Smiths Tears Has Ever Visited (beating even Tracy Emin's creepy, sordid hometown of Margate) and at the risk of sounding like an insufferably patronising Guardian-reading member of the chattering classes, I actually felt incredibly sorry for the local Blackpool folk trapped into the cycle of benefits, council housing, teen pregnancy, lack of education and worst of all obesity. This seaside town seemed to encapsulate all these problems the media likes to brand Broken Britain. The Brokeback Coalition should really spend a day here, forcing down a tepid pork pie'n'gravy lunch in despair from the buffet cart (actually located within the slot machine enclosure gambling addicts!) of the gigantic, tacky Coral Island gambling emporium as the last of their benefit payment gets swallowed up by a greedy, whooping machine.
The real Blackpool looks like the pictures below - the lone remaining Bay City Rollers fan trying to make some coinage while avoiding 'paedo!' taunts from the local teenage toughies and an obese woman no longer able to walk (no doubt wearing one of these quality Justin Bieber tops purchased from the local market stall).
It must be so gratifying for these northerners to know that while their town and prospects decay before their very eyes money continues to be thrown at London's Olympics and other 'crucial' public services such as Boris' massive London Cycle Hire scheme - no doubt aimed at protecting his legacy in the event of a comeback by Red Ken at the next election.
I didn't hang around the misty, grey seafront to witness the nocturnal carnage brought on by Blackpool's notorious paralytic hen and stag crews already starting to congregate along the promenade in matching outfits. I'd had enough and my eyes were hurting. Stopping at an off license on my way out I bought the man's only copy of the Guardian to which he expressed surprise saying 'I haven't sold one of those for ages. People round 'ere only ever get those' pointing to the redtops. Get thee to the train station...pronto.