Still Crap
June 9, 2012 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Ten years ago Sam Jordison created a magazine/website column and later notorious series of books entitled Crap Towns. After resurging interest in the books he revisits the town that first inspired him, Morecambe. (Previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Fizz at 10:20 AM on June 9, 2012

The Idler is still going? Superb! Are they still doing the print edition?
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on June 9, 2012

Huh. That band out of his hometown, The Heartbreaks, is pretty good.
posted by limeonaire at 10:53 AM on June 9, 2012

Oh, and I guess this must be the one that was filmed there?
posted by limeonaire at 10:55 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

People have told me Luton is posh now. I do not beleive them.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on June 9, 2012

I recently went back to Plymouth for the first time since 2007 or so and what Sam Jordison describes about Morecambe is true of that town well. Never all that rich a town anyway, I was shocked to see how bad it had gotten. Lots of closed down stores, lots of parasite stores instead (cash converters, payday loansharks and so on). The centre was flash and glitzy with a newish shopping centre but just a street or two away from it the decay begun and away from city centre and the tourist areas it really was abysmal.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:07 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I loved "Crap Towns" when it first came out, never really dreaming that I'd one day move to the UK and live in a town prominently featured in the book. Looking back on it, the Idler complaints were very much of a time as well as a place: they're describing the building programmes, alcohol and other consumables' consumption, and modes of sociability that marked the credit boom in the UK. Much of it could be boiled down to the observation: (formerly) poor people now have too much money! And they're using it wrong!

But that time has passed. I remember something a taxi driver told me in Milton Keynes last year. I'd come back late on a Friday night from London and booked a cab from the railway station. It was getting on for midnight; we drove through eerily deserted streets in the Centre, heading for my flat on the outskirts of the CBD. The driver was in a garrulous mood. "Five years ago," he told me, "this was all different." Parties everywhere. Drunks spilling out onto the streets, even on weeknights. Now everyone was indoors, minding their money. A few clots of people around Wetherspoons, maybe, but otherwise: still, dark, motionless concrete. He rather missed those days, he said. Much harder to make a living now that there were fewer drunk people to ferry around town in the evenings.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:12 AM on June 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

Every year, we used to get some lobbyists desperately trying to get someone to go and visit an aluminium smelter in Warrington. They were clearly having difficulties trying to get anyone interested and got very persistent, including regular phone calls of an increasigly plaintive nature.

Eventually we got sic of fobbing them off, so I asked the next person who called if they had been to Warrington. They hadn't, so I told thm I had and promised myself never to go there again, so we would not go to see an aluminium smelter there.

Not heard from them for two years now.
posted by quarsan at 11:30 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Having read the article more fully now—what a beautiful, sad piece of writing. And yes, the Heartbreaks are quite good. Funny how many talented, underappreciated, yet somehow strangely backwards-looking underground rock acts are coming out of depressed Northern and Midland towns in the UK. See also Doncaster's 93millionmilesfromthesun and Leicester's Daylight Frequencies. There's an interesting aesthetic going on there: a post-apocalyptic space-rock of the ruins, if you will. 'Course, it all gets drowned out by the overrated dubstep-by-numbers the South East's currently pumping out. For some reason.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:46 AM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

When I click on the Revisits link, it hijacks my mobile and takes me to some " pick a prize site that required a close to leave the page. Fyi.
posted by dejah420 at 8:50 PM on June 9, 2012

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