Ilfracombe: Tips for the Terminally Clueless

Here for the very first time in public are the mysterious Big Six tips, those elusive six golden rules for the terminally clueless. Tried and tested in Ilfracombe since 1975, or something. You’ll have to keep this quiet because it’s a secret. What is?… Ilfracombe that’s what…Where’s that? – North Devon, you silly. “It’s a dump is what it is!”, you say. Well yes you have a point, but they’ve never had to work. No duff. As Bill Wurtz famously said (probably) – prepare to be amazed…

Those that live here know that Ilfracombe and its local villages – like the hugely awesome and entertaining Combe Martin *cough* – hold the secret keys, nay the Holy Grail even, to reviving Britain’s star studded High Streets, now sadly gone to *****. And we should know. You may ask “what would that be, what is the Holy Grail to reviving crappy High Streets in Britain?” or maybe you don’t give a flying fork, but you should really read on. Take notes or you’ll have to come back here again.

As revealed by Ted the amateur economist and Taxidermist on Sundays, copyright whatever year it is today.

Lesson 1: The local council and officials are usually scaring their customers in an office somewhere and taking money off them, or they’ll be in the Pub. You’ll have no bother from them. Make your High Street as scruffy, underwhelming and unwelcoming as possible; nobody will come. Don’t for god’s sake offer them a bus service to Combe Martin or anything, unless you really do want to become a Tourist trap but that’s just silly and of course it means working. No, take over the local bus services and make everybody use £15 Taxis after six o’clock. Most expensive Taxi fares in the country here, you’ll be minted in a month.

Lesson 2: Advertise your resort (snigger) as the dogswotsits with some really great photos from 1990, and rave about Ilfracombe’s famous restaurants and night-life. Suckers will traipse all the way down and then pay for accommodation. Bingo, after that you’re quids in and they’re farked. You can laugh at them all waiting at the Bus Stop while you count your takings and then bugger off to the beach. Ah, there aren’t any….sorry about that.

Lesson 3: Find a couple of proper muppets to open a **** Pub selling expensive booze and poncey food for a couple of months. Then go out of business or simply round up all the local dickheads to stand outside drinking and being a nuisance all day and night. This has worked in Ilfracombe for decades and there are hundreds of ‘Combe buffoons to choose from. You’ll get rich off the drunks and nobody with any self respect will trouble you. Unfortunately, all the stranded feckless Ilfrascousers will start dealing drugs and falling over. This is not your problem.

Lesson 4: Open a cash and carry ‘Eleven o’Clock’ booze shop selling funny **** for alcoholic locals, which is most of them. Don’t pay the rent, get minted, and then leg it with the profits. This works well if you’re an expert crook and need a holiday from your family empire in Bradford or London. Devon locals – that’ll be about a dozen – are thick as mince and everybody else is either pissed or half asleep anyway. It can’t fail.

Lesson 5: Save on staff wages and overheads by closing mid-afternoon Monday to Friday, nobody likes working at weekends. Open a Cafe and shut at half-three when everybody wants their tea: genius. This works in the summer holidays when dozens of grockles and their umpteen dogs are thirsty and hungry, and loads of anklebiters are hot, mardy and starving. You don’t need to work or make money because after all, you’re not doing this for a living or anything. Tip, if people want food or drinks, just go sick for a day.

6. If the first five tips fail, this is guaranteed: send everybody down the promenade for expensive bad food and cheap booze, or open an ‘Art Studio’ selling childish portraits and tat at London prices. Yes this is a bit drastic and even a bit criminal – no-one likes pulling rotten tricks. But if you don’t want to work and you want those luxury cruises four times a year – then it has to be desperate measures. Some people even work for Estate agencies.

5. Forget the Hotel Inspector, leave your job and spend your Bookie winnings and severance pay on a run-down Hotel or a grubby ‘Chalet’ – full of creepie-crawlies and dry rot. Pile down to Ilfracombe in the van and start running a Hotel for the first time in your life. You could even dress up as a Chef. Don’t forget the microwave and extra bedding for the guests. You could name it The Bates Motel or something. There are no renovation costs or quality controls to worry about, so you’ll not have to fork out. Just keep doing what the others did – charge £600 a week and get away with it. You’ll need to advertise but just tell them anything and include some photos of Spain. When you’re bored, set fire to the place or flog the oldest landmarks for flats. Minted again.

So that’s how you run a business in Ilfracombe without a clue and without working. At all. We truly hope we’ve helped a lot of people today. Almost forgot, here is your bonus ball: you’ll need to complain in the newspapers about economic decline and how business has gone all pete tong. Say something about ‘meetings and action committees’ and it’ll look like you’re really serious. So there you are, the secrets of idle wealth in the Ilfracombe district. Thank you for reading, and good luck with it all. Toodle-pip!