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This Sceptred Isle
October 5, 2013 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Crap Towns Returns... and the winner is London! (Ugliest? Hemel Hempstead)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (32 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I suspect flawed methodology.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


They are clearly using some some form of the word "crap" that I am not familiar with.
posted by Decani at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2013


The top ten don't seem so bad - I would have said the UK had far crappier shitholes - but perhaps they contain more than their share of griping whingers.
posted by Segundus at 8:37 AM on October 5, 2013


That shot up the main drag of Hemel Hempstead reminds me of my summer living there 20 years ago. The terribly sad thing about the town is that the old town was charming, and there were nearby bits of outstanding beauty in the Chilterns, but the new town of Hemel Hempstead lay in the middle of it like a puddle of vomit on a Constable painting.

It caught fire in 2005. Unfortunately, some of it clearly remains.
posted by scruss at 8:38 AM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whoo! Linkbait listicle in paper form! How wonderful! It will doubtless be a fascinating read.

I wonder how much free advertising they're getting at the moment. I'm sure the book will sell really well.
posted by YAMWAK at 8:41 AM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I recall correctly, the vote is a mefi style favourites count, not an amazon style rating system. London, with 10% of the population was pretty likely to get a high rating.

I'm pretty sure that they did the second book because people kept complaining that their town was worse...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 8:45 AM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder whether the paucity of towns in the north west which have made this list is because of the low number of the inhabitants who have ever left town and so do not know how shit their corner of the country is or because they are knuckle draggers who have not yet heard of the Internet and thus didn't vote. It's certainly not because of any inherent not-crapness. Shout out to Widnes!
posted by biffa at 9:23 AM on October 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


If everyone who doesn't like London could just bugger off somewhere else that would be fine and would help with the traffic.
posted by walrus at 9:24 AM on October 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Chipping Norton? That is a place?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:32 AM on October 5, 2013


Chipping Norton? That is a place?

Yes. I'm guessing its ugliness is due mainly to the fact that Jeremy Clarkson (and others like him) lives there.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:44 AM on October 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seems Chipping Norton just means "north market town" in some ancient language. The town is known for a pre historic archeological site, a church, Jeremy Clarkson, and this really awesome highwayman James Hind.

Pretty cool when even your crap towns have amazing churches and archeological sites. Our crap town have, maybe a strip mall and a meth motel.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:20 AM on October 5, 2013


Chipping Norton is not an unusual name. I have family who live in Chipping Sodbury (actually quite a pleasant place, all told).
posted by YAMWAK at 10:25 AM on October 5, 2013


Yeah it is not as cool a name as I first thought now that Wikipedia has told me Chipping means market.

You know what, I was all set to defend Chipping Norton despite never having been there and having limited knowledge based solely in a quick skim of Wikipedia, but it probably is crap.

Good call, book.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:42 AM on October 5, 2013


English town names remind me of this relevant Achewood:

Is LYLE mad about anything? You bet! He was trying to mail a postcard to a friend in England, and he got pretty steamed by how long their addresses are! Look:

Keith "Kez" Helpingsall
Place Gittins
Governance Pasture
Twine Ailment
12, Uppings
Salute
Creamharrow
Lanx 1Y1 276
England.

posted by scose at 11:19 AM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a touching post where everyone overestimates the power of architects in making crap towns – not remotely to defend all architects, just that they're rarely let off the leash enough to be the sole force behind crapness.
posted by carbide at 11:25 AM on October 5, 2013


1Y1 276

This is a poor shot at faking a UK postcode.
posted by biffa at 11:34 AM on October 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


There's a touching post where everyone overestimates the power of architects in making crap towns – not remotely to defend all architects, just that they're rarely let off the leash enough to be the sole force behind crapness.

In all fairness they did have what amounted to a blank slate with the centre of Coventry, only a few churches and the wherewithal to move the other few surviving old buildings around as they pleased. The result was a fucking shithole. When you compare it to some of the rebuilding of German towns and cities its a disgrace.
posted by biffa at 11:38 AM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, London is a fair call. Anybody who defends London can meet me in Leicester Square tonight and tell me about their glittering metropolis.

Seriously though, London's problems have been accelerating over the past ten years. Unlike towns such as Coventry and Hull, there's no way to solve the problems at a council level, as each council area is run by raving idiots (Lewisham) or arch-knobs (Westminster). With the ongoing house-price bubble still happening, the hollowing out of public services, and its general levels of dickheadery that everybody seems intent on sharing around, London is headed for such a kick in the nuts that it's obvious to everybody.
posted by The River Ivel at 12:15 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Its lazy articles (reader photo trolly linkbait gallery listicles?) like this which make me consider strongly supporting the idea of London as an independent city state. After the unilateral declaration goes through with a massive majority, we'll fondly wave goodbye to the hinterlands as the walls go up and promise to visit during the hols.
posted by Bwithh at 2:08 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


the new town of Hemel Hempstead lay in the middle of it like a puddle of vomit on a Constable painting.
When I first moved to Stroud couldn't help but be struck by the Lubyanka-style concrete monstrosity that is the 70s police station up top of the main hill in town - otherwise it's a fine place in spectacular Cotswold scenery. One of my new friends put it in similar terms to you, delivered in a laconic Gloucestershire burr - "like shit on a wedding cake".
posted by Abiezer at 3:38 PM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder whether the paucity of towns in the north west which have made this list is because of the low number of the inhabitants who have ever left town and so do not know how shit their corner of the country is or because they are knuckle draggers who have not yet heard of the Internet and thus didn't vote. It's certainly not because of any inherent not-crapness. Shout out to Widnes!

I seem to recall an international survey some weeks back which rated Manchester as a better place to live than London. Mostly due to the cost of living I believe.
posted by Thing at 4:43 PM on October 5, 2013


My town didn't make the list? What the fuck? It is totally crap.
posted by marienbad at 4:49 PM on October 5, 2013


London can take it.
posted by Devonian at 6:35 PM on October 5, 2013


My town was, quite rightly, in the first book. Preston has been in the news for their preservation of the bus station. It is a horrid, horrid place, I was taken to the bus station before it opened, on a school trip. This is a fact I use to provide an illustration of what passed for 'education' then.

The bus station was an utter failure from the first day it opened, as the planners had not realised people would walk out of the place instead of using three underpasses that stand of urine on the first day.

Described as a 'brutalist masterpiece' is it merely brutal. That Preston kept it says it all about the aesetic qualities of the town, now laughably calling itself a city.

Apologies, just really needed to get that off my chest.
posted by quarsan at 12:10 AM on October 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a poor shot at faking a UK postcode.

They're just being kind to the postman who would actually have to deliver to that address in Lanx^ if the postcode were valid.

rated Manchester as a better place to live than London

I watched all of Blue Murder, and it only made me want to live there. [Just one redevelopment area, Salford Quays, has a lot of impressive new architecture.]
posted by dhartung at 2:32 AM on October 6, 2013


The thing about London is it's a great place if you have plenty of money and/or a lot a friends, if not then it's pretty horrendous.

And I when I worked there I was pretty shocked just how insular a lot of the natives were - as far as they were concerned anything beyond the M25 was Here Be Dragons
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:27 AM on October 6, 2013


And I when I worked there I was pretty shocked just how insular a lot of the natives were - as far as they were concerned anything beyond the M25 was Here Be Dragons
posted by fearfulsymmetry


As, indeed, it is.
posted by Decani at 5:54 AM on October 6, 2013


Land of dust and ghosts.
posted by Artw at 7:45 AM on October 6, 2013


I wonder whether the paucity of towns in the north west which have made this list is because of the low number of the inhabitants who have ever left town and so do not know how shit their corner of the country is or because they are knuckle draggers who have not yet heard of the Internet and thus didn't vote.

I'd normally disagree with this ChavTowns-esque characterisation of my homeland, but my God, if anyone in Blackburn had actually heard of The Idler, it would be No.1 with a bullet.

I live in London and there are lots of reasons to dislike it - the fact that a low deposit on a property here is about £20k for one. 'Pop-up shops' being the other. Where I come from, a 'pop-up shop' is something that opens in the precinct in November to sell poor-quality wrapping paper and is gone by January.

I really like the bit of London where we live, and the convenience of it for shopping/leisure activities/groups of likeminded people/parks to walk in is great, but if my job moved to Manchester I'd be packed by lunchtime.
posted by mippy at 4:56 AM on October 7, 2013


Crap Towns: We can't fix our problems if we refuse to see them
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:44 AM on October 7, 2013


Described as a 'brutalist masterpiece' is it merely brutal.

Well, yeah. It's a parking garage. They're all like that.

But it's most beautiful parking garage I've ever seen.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:00 AM on October 7, 2013


Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
posted by sourcequench at 11:09 AM on October 7, 2013


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