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Essex
August 30, 2002 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Essex is the New Jersey of England, but is trying to change the public perception of my beautiful home county. Not all Essex girls are slappers and it's not all industrial wasteland. But why tell the rest of England about our beautiful secrets?
posted by essexjan (31 comments total)

 
Ahhhhh, Essex. Most of my English friends are Essex boys (or girls). And what would Essex be without West 'am United?
posted by The Michael The at 12:22 PM on August 30, 2002


I would really, really, really like to take Essex seriously. I'm not going to though.
posted by vbfg at 12:23 PM on August 30, 2002


i couldn't even bear to click on that Hammers link, but then, as a good Essex Girl, I support Manchester United - and before you say "yeah, typical Man U fan", I would point out that Essex is my adopted home county and my roots are pure Mancunian.
posted by essexjan at 12:33 PM on August 30, 2002


Essex is the New Jersey of England

By what measure? One of the highest per capita incomes in the country? More horses per capita than any other state? A leading producer of blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes, and famous Jersey Sweet Corn? Miles of sandy beaches? Some great trout fishing?

Sorry, I realize the point you were making, I just get a tad defensive about my lovely (if flawed, especially in areas of the northeast) home state. And Jan, I thought all those of "pure Mancunian" persuasion rooted for City?
posted by jalexei at 12:37 PM on August 30, 2002


No probs, Jalaxei (groovy name!), I am as defensive about Essex as you are about NJ because I know how lovely it is. Most people associate Essex with the industrial Thames Estuary, not realising what treasures lie further afield.

My family is half Red, half Blue, so there is 9 months of banter, bickering and heated debate ahead of us now the season has kicked off.
posted by essexjan at 12:43 PM on August 30, 2002


Somehow I can't see a British version of The Sopranos set in Chigwell.

(And it's that image of concrete, strip malls and suburbs, jalexei, that was being used in comparison. Though I really don't think Atlantic City can shake a stick at Sarfend-on-Sea.)
posted by riviera at 12:43 PM on August 30, 2002


Actually, I realise that the British version of Sopranos, set in Chigwell, came first, and it was Birds of a Feather. Christ almighty.
posted by riviera at 12:44 PM on August 30, 2002


Here here jalexei. I am from Indiana and have been to New Jersey (Ocean City, specifically) a few times. South Jersey is actually very pretty, and quite bucolic. The industrial northern section is just a big suburb of NYC anyway, right? Kinda like Gary and Hammond Indiana are to Chicago.
posted by internal at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2002


My family is half Red, half Blue

I'm so sorry. Isn't there a cure for that?
posted by slipperywhenwet at 12:49 PM on August 30, 2002


Jan,
Where's the noughties Ian Drury.A great champion of Essex
posted by johnny7 at 1:01 PM on August 30, 2002


Billy Bragg grew up in Barking. How could Essex not be a wonderful place if it gave us Uncle Bill?
posted by ursus_comiter at 1:21 PM on August 30, 2002


There were some great musicians that came out of Essex in the 1970s, not least Ian Dury. I loved Dr. Feelgood with that nutter Wilko Johnson, and the Kursaal Flyers. Was it really 25 years ago? Sadly, yes ...
posted by essexjan at 1:31 PM on August 30, 2002


My family is half Red, half Blue

I'm so sorry. Isn't there a cure for that?


Yes. Support United.
posted by essexjan at 1:35 PM on August 30, 2002


Essex is more comparable to Staten Island.

All New Jersey big hair is not indigenous, but is first generation Jersey from born and bred Staten Island, or Brooklyn, or Long 'Giland'.
posted by rich at 1:37 PM on August 30, 2002


Man U: The New York Yankees of the Premier League.

I guess my love for West Ham is the analogue of my love for the Red Sox.
posted by The Michael The at 1:39 PM on August 30, 2002


Where's the noughties Ian Drury.

Six feet under, sadly.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:57 PM on August 30, 2002


Question: What do Essex girls use for protection during sex? Answer: Bus Shelters.
posted by plexi at 1:58 PM on August 30, 2002


By what measure? One of the highest per capita incomes in the country? More horses per capita than any other state?

Actually, while Essex has a rather weird reputation, yes, it probably has one of the highest per capita incomes in the country, and it certainly has a lot of horses.

Essex is a lot like New Jersey demographically. It contains large urban/industrial areas located next to the nation's largest city, one of the biggest ports in the region, the biggest Ford factory in the UK (okay, Ford's factory at Edison, NJ is large but not the largest in the US), and the nation's busiest road passes through.

It also has a major split like NJ in that one side of the county is very densely populated, whereas the other side is very sparsely populated. It's more similar to NJ than you might think.

I was from Surrey, the Connecticutt of England :-) (Yes, country clubs, old rich bastards who play golf all day, highest property prices in country, etc) The parallels between certain areas of the UK and the US are quite striking.

However, I now live in Lincolnshire, which is like the Kansas of England.. big, flat, windy, covered in farms, and dull *g*

(Obligatory Essex Girl joke: How do you know an Essex girl has been using the computer? Look for Tipex on the screen.)

And, essexjan, you surely realise that Kent is now getting the reputation that Essex had ten years ago? 'Chatham girls' and 'Sheerness scum' are now the talk of the land.
posted by wackybrit at 2:12 PM on August 30, 2002


I'm from Wales, the Canada of England.
posted by ceiriog at 2:22 PM on August 30, 2002


I'm from Essex, the New Jersey of Baltimore.
posted by dfowler at 2:28 PM on August 30, 2002


Thanks for the geography lesson, wackybrit. As my knowledge of England is restricted to two brief visits to London, a love of English football, and Car magazine, I'm often hazily aware of some of the cultural references enough to figure them out from context, if not grasping all the subtleties. The automotive press in particular being fond of offhand references to Essex in regards to what I imagine are horribly modified testaments to bad taste. I also enjoy when they go on about "PR girls" and hairdressers.

During a recent bout of Trivial Pursuit I shouted out "scousers!" in response to the question "What are residents of Liverpool referred to as?" Despite my arguments that both my response and "Liverpudlians" were correct, I was not given credit.

And essexjan, I believe the cure for your multi-hued affliction is to root for Arsenal...
posted by jalexei at 2:52 PM on August 30, 2002


I wouldn't be worried about us and our culture over here, jalexei. Just be glad you don't live in a country whose government is quickly losing power to an unelected consortium located several hundred miles away in Belgium.
posted by wackybrit at 3:46 PM on August 30, 2002


I would rather stick blunt, rusty needles in my eyes than support Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Newcastle or [shudder] Leeds United.
posted by essexjan at 4:02 PM on August 30, 2002


I wouldn't be worried about us and our culture over here, jalexei. Just be glad you don't live in a country whose government is quickly losing power to an unelected consortium located several hundred miles away in Belgium.

Oh, shite and monkeys. If there's been a tangible loss of power in recent years, it's been to an elected consortium in Edinburgh. (The ones in Cardiff and Belfast are more open to argument.) Just because Essex was the stamping ground of such luminaries as Teresa Gorman and Teddy Taylor, it doesn't mean you have to raise them from the political grave...

(And to add to the discussion, I don't think Mark Eitzel has written a song about New Jersey. Bon Jovi? Pah!)
posted by riviera at 4:28 PM on August 30, 2002


I suppose now it's the time we mention that song by Blur.

In this town cellular phones are hot with thieves
In this town we all go to terminal pubs
It helps us sweat out those angry bits of life
From this town the English Army grind
Their teeth to glass
You'll get kicked tonight
Smell of puke and piss
Smell of puke and piss on your stillettoes

posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:43 PM on August 30, 2002


What's the difference between an Essex girl and a shopping trolley? The shopping trolley has a mind of it's own.

In the immortal words of Spitting Image, "Sorry Essex, but you're crap".
posted by salmacis at 5:33 PM on August 30, 2002


I'm from the West Midlands, the, um..... Midwest of Britain......
posted by influx at 6:44 PM on August 30, 2002


I wish I would have known about this when I was in England; maybe I would have visited Essex.
posted by bingo at 3:58 AM on August 31, 2002


Tipex?
posted by planetkyoto at 6:20 AM on August 31, 2002


'White-out', planetkyoto.
posted by riviera at 6:43 AM on August 31, 2002


I'm writing from North Essex, and it really is a whole lot like New Jersey, give or take the mountains and the woods. Out here is pretty rural for England, a lot of old money (as well as the gangsters), Germaine Greer in a farmhouse down the road, and people who talk fruity RP in the pubs. Some of the pubs, at least. In others, of course, they talk South Essex/Estuary and there are girls outside the Queen Liz on a winter Friday evening dressed scantily for a Rio de Janeiro beach.
posted by alloneword at 9:00 AM on August 31, 2002


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