Breakfast was the predictable menagerie of children swarming around the novelty conveyer belt toaster burning countless slices of white sliced as parents looked over from the temporary bliss of a deserted table.
Crumbs. The children are called things like Jade and Kaleigh and look the part. The dads wear bright white polo shirts and have severely shaved heads with a slightly inflamed pink tinge. The mums all wear fake Ugg boots and jeans with sparkly details on the arse pockets and overuse stretchy wool-nylon polo necked sweaters as they fight losing battles with their muffin tops.
Badly washed plates and leathery bacon rashers sealed together with excess salt. I can’t believe I paid £107.50 for this. It’s definitely time to go home. My cold is in full flow and the wind here is blowing some sort of twisted summer gale through the deceptively sunny sky, which is blue.
I’m mildly astounded that I paid £6.40 for a large glass of pinot and £18 for an average leg of lamb. In Blackpool. Vanilla cheesecake with raspberry compote for desert.
Apparently there is an ‘inclusive deal’ which explains the large number of children and the laid back dress code in the superbly seafront banqueting hall. I wonder briefly where Margaret Thatcher would have sat, before remembering room service.
One thing I secretly quite like about colds is the feeling of expelling all the bad stuff when it hits its sniffling snotting peak (usually on day three, for me). Surely this is why the common cold is so often the desert to a dinner of stress…
Maybe this is why I’m thinking of going back to London tomorrow: judging by the amount of snot I’m producing, most of the bad stuff must be out of me, distributed around various toilet bowls and bins, safely discarded with pieces of tissue for company.
Tonight I’m going to sample dinner at the Imperial, mainly because I fear a lack of non-deep fried options outside. So, a feast of English stodge beckons. I’m still ruing not ordering the knickerbocker glory at the Midland. No sign of those here. Just faux footballers’ wives fresh from three hour tanning sessions. Satsumas. Actually I fancy some English stodge now. Time to eat.
My cold has dissuaded me from going to the hotel gym. The man in the red and white striped football shirt and stubbly face and head also helped. As did the five families’ worth of children who helpfully warned everyone in earshot that they were scheduled to spend the next two hours in the adjacent swimming pool.
So I’ve swapped gym sweat and pool piss for Campari and soda and a window seat. The sunset is warm through the large bay window.
Sadly I’ve decided that rather than the faded seaside glamour of Ramsgate, Margate and maybe-just-about Morecambe, Blackpool is more a breeding ground for hens, stags and slags.
True there is a light peppering of nostalgic grannies revisiting ‘that old bar that used to be the place to be’ and a few non-feral youths (holding onto their parents for dear life), but predominant vibe is that of a knocking shop for sixteen year olds who are paving the way for their council house upgrade by working towards their second or third child. It is sad.
One pleasing anomaly to the recurrent theme of chavs, children and chips is the northern pier and its delightfully deserted sun lounge. Like a Victorian greenhouse filled with plastic white chairs (loungers).
This is probably the quietest part of Blackpool, populated for the past hour or so by just a couple of grannies and a pair of deflated mums (children pinging off the walls in the arcade). Happily the Fosters/Stella bar was abandoned, giving the whole place a touch of Mary Celeste.
In fact the whole pier was quite a treat, with die hard over-60s sunning themselves through sunglasses, gritted teeth and protective glass on the promenade section. Occasionally shut in the event of high winds. Diving is not permitted.
The two clinically obese girls with very tight bootcut jeans and figure-hugging McKenzie gym vests synchronising to the responsive dance mat game in the arcade was curiously mesmerising, if not one of the most amusing things I’ve seen. I didn’t dare to look for longer than a couple of seconds.
From a safe distance. Substantial gold earrings look dangerous if you jump while wearing them.
I’m starting to think that greasy spoon cafes and heart attacks might actually correlate. Positively. For the second time in two days I’ve found myself sitting among the locals in a cafe listening to them discussing the time a friend/family member collapsed. In the cafe. That time the ambulance ‘ad to be called…
This time it was someone’s mum, having took a funny turn after taking one of those pills from that Holland and Barrett. Last week. Either she had it mixed in with one of the many fried eggs in her Full English or the shock of trying to ingest something healthy made her body to say NO. She were as red as a lobster.
I could have powered an eco-bus with the spare oil on my haddock and chips.
All I want now is pasta and a warm shower. I think I might go home tomorrow despite the lack of the latter. The north west is like another country and while a lot of the people are friendly, I don’t fit in. Lesbian Hair aside, I have honestly never seen so many teenage mothers, bright white trainers and Nike twinsets. No jeans here.
Blackpool beach looking north with the tower in view
Is different from Morecambe. And I fear the initial impression I got when exiting Blackpool North train station won’t be easily shifted.
Very tatty, very run down and very poor. I crossed the road more times than strictly necessary to avoid a selection of tramps, frightening bright tight white trousers and quite frankly, dirty young men. In need of a wash.
It’s much busier than Morecambe, perhaps explaining why I was terrified for the first two hours which I foolishly spent wandering around the southern section of promenade – the most fearsome part of the town. Hen nights and stag parties are welcomed.
I chose a hotel on the quieter northern section called the Imperial. Turns out it is where the Labour party had their last Blackpool-based party conference. Tony Blair’s crash pad of choice. Home of the Number 10 bar and the Churchill Suite. Imposing communal areas. And hoards of holidaying children everywhere.