Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Blackpool: OMG

I cruised out of Morecambe with the sky laying out its most sultry clouds; off down to Wallings farm to collect more ice cream and then....I really had no clue where I was going. I'd had an invite from a nice man in Morecambe but...I don't know, sometimes you just want to get on the road and see where you'll end up - it's part of the thrill.

And so it was that I was drawn to Blackpool. I hadn't particularly thought that that's where I'd go but, sure enough, after a bit of lane wending the great signs proclaiming 'Pleasure Beach' seduced me in.

It was getting late, too late to get a supper invite and too late for a B&B or campsite but I didn't care because I was gathered up by a sensation so kitsch and exotic that it didn't matter what happened.

I cruised and cruised through the adjusted night sky. The balminess of earlier still hung, warm and encouraging; people perched on walls outside hotels - hotels like you've never seen! One after the other, tromping up every street, on either side. Out back, round the corner, up above; all brimming with the proud sleaziness of multi-coloured neon.

I gasped in wonder and all-out awe. I'd never been anywhere like this in Britain and my only references were of holidays in Greece, Spain, America....places that are so wholeheartedly consumed by the provision of non-stop pleasure and vice. Hen parties cackled past, replete with pink fluffy bunny ears; checked-shirted guys with shower-fresh glows released a riot of aftershave into the debauchery; clubs throbbed with boozy desire and all the while the sea sat calmly, riding out the storm.

I eventually tore myself away from the strip and unearthed a hotel that had space and power - a near miracle in this super-condensed town. It smelt of stale fags and air freshener and the carpet seemed to hold a lot of history within its deep, putrid weave. Martin, the owner (cheap aftershave, shiny suit) introduced me to his collection of single malts - I knew there'd been a reason for choosing this joint over all the others. There were whiskeys in there I'd never heard of - from New Zealand, Japan, the USA. I opted for the Japanese one and sat at the bar, my eyes shimmering in time with the spangly backdrop and Martin's suit, gassing with the barmaid about her days off in the pub.

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