Recommended reading for today is from a friend of mine, a fellow Salfordian, who commutes regularly between Salford and Southport. The latter town’s been in the news recently after some overpaid parasite footballer got into an altercation in one of the pubs.
When you roll into Southport on the train, you are greeted by signs that welcome you to ‘England’s Classic Resort’. When leafing through the thick Christmas Radio Times tonight, I came across an ad inviting readers to come on holiday to ‘England’s Classic Resort’. What twaddle. On the rare occasions that the sea appears, it is far too filthy to bathe in. Until last year we had a theme park, which is now shut down and deserted. The town centre is full of flashy bars, hair extensions and false nails and people are always getting beaten up.
Southport has tried really hard to keep Victorian values to match its Victorian architecture. There was outrage when a lap dancing bar opened and locals are still trying desperately to get the local sex shop shut down. What these people don’t seem to realise is that every town in the country has sex shops and lap dancing bars – what makes Southport so special and exempt? It would seem that the residents of Southport would rather deny the existence of the whole system of reproductivity completely. The most shocking example of this was a couple of years ago, when a Bodyform ad on a billboard offended so many people that it had to be taken down. No one else anywhere else in the country complained about it. It just said ‘Every month, 1 in 5 women is let down by her sanitary towel’. What’s wrong with that? Goodness knows, but it was too much for the people of England’s Classic Resort.
She’s also provided some insight into provincial insularity that my bourgeois eye has missed (even though I’ve been in Salford for a year and a half).
Then there’s the people in Salford, who think that Southport is like Barbados. On a hot day at Swinton Train Station, the platform is packed. People often come to talk to me to tell me about their trip to enjoy the sunshine in Southport and I tell them that I am going to visit my Mum. They can’t believe it! How did I end up living here from Southport?! Why on earth would I ever want to leave?