| Blackpool; the infamous holiday destination of choice for groups of squawking hen parties, steroid pumped stags and the occasional nuclear family visiting the Pleasure Beach. The epitome of British holiday fun, Blackpool boasts traditional seaside grub to aid high cholesterol, sticks of rock to erode teeth, amusement arcades to encourage children to gamble, and typically wet, blustery weather. Naturally it was the perfect place for my friend and I to prance around with a tray of chips in one hand, and a bottle of Lambrini in the other.
Upon our arrival at Blackpool, the fresh, clean air was an immediate relief from the stench of sweat and leather cleaner we had to endure on the six hour coach ride there, six hours of nothing but dismal sky and motorway, the only colour injected being on the faces of the brave passengers who ventured into the coach toilet, to return green tinged, white lipped and tearful. Our first job was to find suitable accommodation; easily found as within a 5 minute walk of the coach station we were presented with a row of B'n'Bs, inviting and warm in comparison to the bone rattling winds of outside. "The New Oxford Hotel" boasted family orientated rooms consisting of no child locks and glass doors, king size beds riddled with mites, and top notch room service, otherwise known as the elderly manager struggling up the stairs, carrying a pint of Carling and wearing a grimace.
After awakening the following morning to the sound of rain hammering against the window, with crooked necks from the beanbag pillows and brains fuzzy with hangovers, the beach was our first port of call. Miles of beautiful British coastline, the sand gritty from the torrential rain showers, littered with sea eroded shells, seaweed and empty beer bottles. The furious tide battered and bruised the beach, throwing sea debris into the public eye and washing away remnants , tossing and turning rubbish like nature's own recycling plant. The wind was ferocious, sand swirling in the sharp breeze, scratching at our faces as we attempted to embrace the fresh air. In the distance, various rides from the Pleasure Beach loomed ominously against the grey horizon, of which we trained our sights as we battled against the weather.
The Pleasure Beach is a brilliant day out, if you're a fan of being coerced into buying overpriced photos of your terrified face as you shit yourself on a rollercoaster, and spending most of your holiday fund attempting to win a gigantic stuffed toy (Esteban the giant chilli became our mascot for the weekend, and also the reason why we only had a banana for lunch.) Entirely accommodating to a wide age range and mixing traditional rides with modern eateries, The Pleasure Beach is a summarisation of expensive thrills, immature fun and instant regret regarding the pizza you consumed before jumping on the log flume. After spending the afternoon wandering around "Nickelodeon Land" and happily trundling along on the children's rides, I was eventually blackmailed into riding "The Pepsi Max", otherwise aptly known as "the Big One." The ominous sign of a maintenance man hosing sick off one of the carriages was surely a sign of things to come; the rollercoaster is certainly not for the faint-hearted. With a steep incline of 213ft, and reaching top speeds of 74mph, if you want to die of dehydration from all of the bodily liquids you have lost, this is certainly the ride for you.
"The Big Night Out", the highlight of any Blackpool weekender, commenced after surviving the Pleasure Beach, and after a hearty British dinner of salty fish and chips. Walkabout Blackpool was our first watering hole, and also the last. Easily relatable to an episode of Animal Planet, the dance floor was stuffed full of carrot coloured women, spilling out of unflattering dresses like potatoes spilling out of hessian sacks, presenting their bottoms to the groups of men that were huddled around the bar, doused in sickly aftershave, emptying sachets of protein into their slim line vodkas and fist pumping to the latest chart hits. After a few painful hours of listening to the mating shrieks of the female club goers mingled with a few too many shots, and a man apologising with a "I'm sorry, my friend doesn't realise he can't touch women in that way", we decided to call it a night. But not before sustaining a minor head injury from a flailing clutch bag.
After a very typical, British fry up, we grudgingly made our way to the local coach station for the six hour return journey home, with Esteban tucked under one arm and a mixture of nightclub stamps and bruises up the other. Blackpool provided a classless mini break; cheap within reason but without the cheer. The time of year is evidently important for a visit; the poor weather enveloping the "closed for the season" bucket and spade shops provided a miserable backdrop to a surprisingly rundown area. The seedy modern nightlife, with its strip clubs and heavy policing, ruined the view of an alleged family orientated seaside resort. Personally, I couldn't wait to get home, to eat something other than chips, apply TCP to my localised injuries and wash the congealed sand and smut out of my hair.