Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Postcards from the Provinces #1: Leicester

Welcome to the first in an occasional series of postcards from the more ill-starred and unremarkable of Britain's medium sized, mid-ranking towns, cities and conurbations.

The first post comes from Leicester, the home of Walkers Crisps, reptilian MP Keith Vaz and the 'Grebo' artistic/sartorial movement.

Art: ‘Warbo’ was reputedly one of the pseudonyms of Andy Warhol protégé Jean Michel Basqiuat. This early work found near The Manor public house, former base of the Leicester City hooligan firm known as the 'Baby Squad', seems to indicate an artist still coming to terms with his identity.

Culture: In the 1980s Leicester was the epicentre of the almost instantly moribund Melody Maker/NME christened ‘Grebo’ subculture, being the fertile ground from which notable scene pioneers such as Gaye Bykers on Acid and Crazyhead sprouted. More recently Kasabian have picked up the musical baton.

Dance-floor Etiquette: A noticeable foible of popular dance in Leicester is a tendency to switch rapidly back and forth between moods of mouse like meekness and wild-eyed and unabashed sexual aggression, often within a single middle 8. Conversely, the men-folk keep a brooding vigil around the margins of the dance floor but are not so po-faced as to avoid making sport altogether, stepping in on occasion to steal an unusual hat.

Folklore: Pictured below is an area of wind-swept grassland in Thurnby Lodge(a council estate created after the city’s slums were demolished in the 1950s) which is reputedly stalked, according to local myth by a man with a ‘Freddie Kruger hand’.

Food and drink: A particularly foul regional take on Whiskey and Ginger Ale doubles as a kind of ersatz TCP, replicating both its noxious smell and its taste. If this sounds like something that might interest you I seem to remember the active element to be Laphroig Whiskey. If you plan to use this drink topically perhaps adding Baileys or Malibu to the mix may help.

Walker's Crisps may have been swallowed up by an international crisp conglomerate but Sandworth Brothers, one of the UK's biggest names in the sausage roll/tikka slice game is still resolutely flying the flag for Leicester cuisine in the nation's gut consciousness.

Indie Disco Review:
Mosh, St Nicholas Place.

Entry: Doorman are as inconsistent as is the norm. It is quite possible you will be marched outside to sober up in the rain simply for leaning on the bar. "Everybody does this in London" will not go down well by way of explanation, no matter how jokily it may be intended. The £2 entry charge becomes less reasonable the longer you spend inside.

Smell: Season-old shinpads.

Decor: Sumo's main, vain attempt to break up the dominant indie disco motifs of black painted walls and sticky carpets is to cover large areas of wall space with black and white pictures of callow young concert crowds, sharing an aesthetic resonance with Ezra Pound's imagist work
'In a Station on The Metro' . The faces are frozen in catatonic states of bliss, bewilderment or indifference, benign and oblivious to the events mostly not unfolding before them.

Refreshments: Cheap and nasty. The lager on tap is definitely something to avoid as it smells like piss and is only very slightly cooler in temperature.

Music Policy: Seperate rooms help to aggregate the worst horrors of the DJs' playlists. In the indie room there were odd occasions scattered across the night when it was possible dance to something which didn't make you feel dead inside. These were unerringly brief and followed by 'standards' from acts such as Oasis, The Killers and

Dancing: Drastically lacking in humour. A web of joyless circles, backs turned on each other.


Men: Young men adopt a contemporary variation of the Hijab skilfully crafted from their own straightened hair. There were so many helmets abroad that the dancefloor resembled a Sealed Knot recreation of the battle of Hastings at times. Worth further investigation if you're into Northern 'lad-rock'types, just.

Women: Thin on the ground. A gentleman's Field Mice t-shirt will definitely not recieve the recogntion it deserves. Lacking the self-assurance to share the smallest witticism or bon mot without recoiling as if from a phantom sexual attack. Stocky.

Physiognomy: The young men of the city create the disconcerting effect of having unusually small heads and comically over-developed torsos at the same time.

The authorities have the shit so locked down that police recently arrested a man for taking pictures of the council’s city centre Christmas lights. Violent tension around many of the city's nightspots was conspicuous by its absence.

Youth Culture: "Behind the times and playing it safe" J Phillips, Thurnby Lodge, Leicester

So there you have it. A few of the mundane eccentricites that came to light in Leicester, one of Britain's identikit, middle sized cities. Please share you're own experiences of the city with us. Promise to write again soon,

Lots of Love

Polish Ecstasy

x x x

No comments:

Post a Comment