Medway actually has a fair bit going for it. The North Downs and the River Medway on its borders, castles, forts, and cathedrals amongst its towns. It’s a testament to the residents commitment to crapness that, despite these draws, Medway remains the dog-**** splattered patio of the Garden of England. For reasons no one can fathom the local Council insist that the jewel in Medway’s crown is Chatham.
I’ve lived in Chatham all my life, because I’m a moron. Fortunately I’ve escaped to Chatham’s outer boundary, but the town centre’s foetid stench still wafts over my hovel when the wind direction is unkind. Chatham’s downfall was sealed in 1984 when its Dockyard Closed. With no more dockers, the local prossies took to screwing themselves instead by turning their home town in to an open toilet. Elderly Chatham residents still wander the streets humming Careless Whisper, praying for the Dockyard gates to reopen. Some wise soul thought it a good idea to turn the Dockyard’s corpse in to a tourist attraction. It ranks somewhere between Rochdale’s Museum of Fence Panels and Bury’s History of Nasal Hair exhibit.
What the Dickens?
There was also an indoor Charles Dickens theme park for a few years until someone explained to the owners that no one in a 15 mile radius knew how to read. The “attraction” shut in 2016 and is now [allegedly] used as a drop-in centre for recovering Greggs addicts.
The High Street
Like many towns, Chatham’s High Street has become its putrid nadir. Most chain shops have gone. Waterstones remains for ironies sake. The High Street inhabitants linger and pulsate, staggering along grease stained streets in search of a some sort of score. If you’re in the market for a Nicki Minaj wig, a vodka flavoured vape, or something for a paaaaaand it’s a veritable goldmine. Check your brain in at the Medway border though; both shoppers and shop assistants communicate via a series of grunts, so you’ll need to “learn” the dialect if you want to make a purchase.
Town centre pubs have the warmth and welcome of a gas chamber. Enter wearing the wrong clothing and you’ll be sniffed out as a wrong ‘un. The pubs assigned John-Boy (every pub and working man’s club in Medway has a John-Boy drinking in it) will then take you outside for a tear-up. Offering multi-syllable words will buy you the time you need to escape a Fosters Super Chilled pint glass to the face. The only upside to these pubs are the relatively clean toilets; residents tend to do most of their pissing outside.
The ‘C’ Word
Chatham’s greatest claim to fame is being the originator of the “****” phenomenon, though having seen this trend take off nationwide Chatham-ites now see this as a style to aspire to. If you’re not sporting a matching tracksuit (that’s never been used for sport), a cheap gold chain, and snow white Reebok classics, you’re failing at life. For the discerning Chatham lady, a pair of leggings stretched to breaking point over too much orange-peely flesh is the look of choice. If a sixth child from a fifth father is sought on a Friday night the leggings are swapped for a short leatherette skirt. For some reason said skirts usually offer a frequent waft of mushy peas.
Come and visit!
Despite this, I recommend a visit… once seen, your home town will shine in comparison. Just be sure to pack some fruit and Durex for your visit; the Dockyard may be gone, but scurvy and [acts we can’t mention] are still rife.