Darlington. Beautiful Darlington. Traditional market town that is the embodiment of North Eastern values. When I was growing up there, expectant mothers did not get the usual NHS offering of a ‘baby starter pack of nappies, wet wipes and a helpful booklet’. No; babies of Darlington Memorial Hospital were prepared for life as a future citizen of the North by the provision of a flat cap, a brass instrument, a thin gruel and a Catherine Cookson novel. Perhaps not the novel; literacy is optional here.
Entertainment and nightlife have improved of late I am led to believe on my last trip home. You can go sophisticated at the local Wetherspoons, and to quote my friend ‘Aye pet; we’re very cosmopolitan now, we’ve got a Subway’.
If you have adequate protection against STIs, the local sport of ‘car hopping’ is considered distraction from the terminal depression invoked by the tragic accident of growing up in this market garden of the North East. Get yourself a bottle of white lightening or cheap vodka from Morrison’s line up near the war memorial and wait to be invited into a car for an evening of grubby groping. If you are lucky you can go to the chippy afterwards for a chicken parmo; a North Eastern violation of chicken involving the transformation of previously healthy meat into a fat- laden meal of epic calorific proportions. If you are very lucky, you can go to Subway.
Visit South Park and take in the Rose Gardens and ancient band stand. Residents enjoy animalistic sexual congress and brass band music here. You can collect a souvenir used condom complete with trampled chips.
Dress code is near naked. The usual for North East England despite the climate. The locals are very friendly in the early stages of drunkenness and will rub against you like a sexually frustrated whippet with gonorrhoea. This will change as the evening goes on and the reactionary socialism that is the nature of people here breaks through the thin veneer of grease and Charlie Red perfume. Anger and discontent at living in a sh*thole trampled into the ground by Thatcher, with no jobs anyone wants and a benefits system that barely funds a whippet and a flat screen TV when you have a white lightening and vodka habit, results in mass fights of Bacchanalian proportions.
Daytime distraction at the Cornmill Shopping Centre is where it’s at. Local girls decorate themselves at Claire’s accessories before nipping out for some quick nipple and labia piercing and a few tattoos. This is because the physical pain of piercing your vagina is the only pain greater than living in Darlington whilst sober.
Alternatively you can get a drug and daytime drinking habit or join the local brass band. You choose your pain in this town.
It has been said that Brass Bands are better heard outside from the distance of a mile at least. I suggest Darlington is better seen from an airplane not on course for Teeside airport, or a Virgin Train going South.
Mixed bag for Darlington (Darlo)
If, in Darlington, you’re black, there’s no going back
Darlington, during the day is when normal people dilute the arsewipes
Bedale is the red and grey brick cyst on the face of the otherwise picturesque Yorkshire dales
Darlington, full of old men who still think they’re 20 but are closer to 50