When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Cheeky Jordison finds truth in humour of dodgy towns
12:00pm Friday 18th October 2013 in News
CRAP Towns isn’t a particularly scientific survey.
Hundreds of thousands of people have visited the website craptownsreturns.co.uk I’ve received thousands of emails and messages through the site and social networks like Twitter.
It’s also been featured in national newspapers and I’ve gathered information from them too.
But the condemnation of towns is as much about subjective emotion as statistics about crime, house, prices, transport and schools.
People write in because they feel strongly about their town. Yes, they’re making fun, but it’s also affectionate.
In the same way that people laugh or moan about their family, they can laugh at their town although they love it really.
The new book Crap Towns Returns came about through unpopular demand – just in time for the tenth anniversary partly because Gary Barlow sent out a tweet about how much he liked the first book and his followers started getting interested.
Soon people were demanding to know when we were going to give Chipping Norton its just desserts, reveal the truth about Banbury and why we hadn’t included Great Yarmouth in the earlier versions.
On Chippy, one correspondent wrote: “Those who haven’t been to Chipping Norton imagine it as one of those beautiful Cotswold towns with solid, elegant buildings made of soft honeyed stone.
“They’d be right too. It gets cold in winter, but there’s a refreshing lack of concrete and even more welcome lack of chain stores.
“So, in plenty of ways, it’s a nice little town. I’d even enjoy living here, if it weren’t for one thing or rather several hundred of them...”
Like it or not, the Chipping Norton set dominate the town in a way, for instance, that Tony Blair never did in Sedgefield.
The wealth of Chipping Norton also partly explains why these people are so cut off from the rest of the country and seem to care so little about it.
They have country suppers while thousands of families are dependent on food banks. Chippy is the spiritual home and a potent symbol of the malaise gripping the UK.
As for Oxford, I love it. There are amazing places. But because I love it, it also makes me angry.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw the student building at Port Meadow. It robs the meadow of its character, spoiling what should be one of the most beautiful views in the world.
You see similar terrible decisions in the wrecking of the old boatyard and attempts to close libraries. It’s maddening.
The book also highlights the stroke of planning genius that was encouraging rowdy establishments to gather on a single road in the centre of town.
My correspondent wrote: “To drive down George Street on Friday night is to recreate the experience of Windsor Safari Park with kebabs. Hairy creatures will block your way. They will bend your aerial and display their bare bottoms.”
Yes, that’s funny. It is a book to be read on the toilet. It is meant to make people laugh. But the humour of contributors always has something behind it.
- Mr Jordison will be at Oxford Waterstones on November 14 at 7pm.
Comments are closed on this article.