Blackpool, una ciudad inglesa con encanto.
The seaside has long cast an alluring spell on the British imagination. It is the scene of many indelible childhood memories: raucous family days’ out; awkward donkey rides; sticks of candied ‘rock’ you could literally break your teeth on; your first toffee apple or taste of wind-whipped candy floss; endless wooden piers jutting out into the choppy waters; stony beaches and rain-splashed promenades lined with cosy Bed and Breakfasts, forlornly hoping for custom in chilly off-seasons.
The ruinous British weather has often ensured that trips to the seaside invoke the redoubtable British mentality; the endearing stoicism with which the British tend to face the world, an uncomplaining mentality that remains determined to make the most of things, come hell or high water: “Sure, it may be hailing, poor Granddad’s gone missing again and we may be miserably soaked to the bone – but these hotdogs are nice, aren’t they?”
Perhaps this is a sepia-tinted view of British coastal resorts. Sewage levels in the waters surrounding major seaside towns has reached catastrophic levels and the gaudy, meretricious siren-call of penny-slot arcades and cheap chip shops isn’t to everyone’s taste. Yet there is something enduringly quaint about the British seaside, an innocence that harks back to a simpler time before teenagers spent their weekends listlessly playing their Xboxes in bed or drunkenly twerking (thank Miley Cyrus) in beer-soaked nightclubs, instead of scouring sand-clogged rockpools for elusive crabs.
Growing up in the industrial North of England, amidst grime-smeared textile towns, louring grey skies and inscrutably gritty Northern folk, the seaside resort of Blackpool represented an almost indecent oasis of neon and spectacle: a mini-Vegas cloaked in Lancastrian gloom. Nothing epitomizes the grandiosity of Blackpool more than its famous Tower; modeled on the Eiffel Tower (though much shorter than the Eiffel Tower, at 518 feet compared to 1063 feet tall), it has shone like a beacon for generations of sun-starved Brits since 1894, when it was opened.
Blackpool is also a haven for light entertainment stars whose best days are behind them: faded TV actors and has-been comedy duos litter the venues, scattered on piers up and down the Blackpool coastline. The town seems to preserve these relics in aspic, much as we retain memories of our young selves enjoying the sea views for the first time.
It is surely only a matter of time before some bright spark opens up a virtual Blackpool online, and the real Blackpool fades into the nation’s past, like the sun going down at the end of another seaside day.