I was born in Crewe but was lucky enough to have relatively enterprising and hard-working parents. They felt it would be better to move out of town and bring me up in a semi-affluent village not too far away. Enough, I cannot thank them!
Graduating from university in another God-forsaken northern pit called Lancaster (which was considerate enough to build its university outside the dangerous triangle comprising the job centre, pub and disintegrating council estates), I did my very best not to have to go back ‘home’ and land some underpaid shelf-stacking job in South Cheshire. This is what graduates tend to end up doing. I did the decent thing and left the country to become an ESOL tutor.
World Class City
Two decades taking in the world, including places like Kazakhstan that your average Brit sees as a dirty, primitive backwater, and the time slowly came to consider returning to the UK, now able to speak six languages with a lot of experience to boot. Surely I could get a decent job. Well, if there are any jobs.
But why would anybody bother? You know, I don’t think I will bother. I think I will change my passport and have done with it.
Why would anybody leave Almaty, an affluent, relaxed, interesting, beautiful, world class city to come back to a town where you are not safe to leave your house because of the serious risk you may need to walk past somebody in the street? What would be the logic in moving away from the best city between Moscow and Tokyo, which has everything you could want in a safe and VERY friendly environment, skiing, sunshine every day, forest mountain bike trails, hundreds of restaurants, gorgeous friendly women, overwhelmingly safe night-life, etc etc etc, to shut myself away in fear, in a two-up-two-down shack which takes most of my salary to live in?
Dirty ol’ town
The last time I went to Crewe I left in shivers. It was never exactly good, in my lifetime, but I used to enjoy my annual trip to the few semi-safe pubs on Nantwich Road and my occasional chats with locals about how the football team were doing OK for such a small club.
Not any more, in a day there I saw only about three people I did not feel immediately threatened by (and they were waddling around the bus station on crutches looking 60 despite probably being mid-30s). I must have crossed the road ten times to avoid pairs or groups of youths coming the other way. It’s not even as if I am easily intimidated, I do boxing, MMA, krav maga and combat sombo and have studied with Russian military combat trainers.
Most of the town centre is closed down with 50% of units lying idle behind poorly soaped-up windows and a pile of three dozen flyers all over the floor, and the Wetherspoon’s pub has left town, which is about as low as it can get. Even some of the pound stores had closed down.
I guess if people are there day in day out they feel the change less. I was there last time for the first time in 4 years and it was terrifying how bad it had got. Interestingly, I had a Kazakh girl with me. She never said anything, but she was visibly shocked that a town in the country everybody sees as some paradise on Earth was like the u-bend in a council house bog.
Going to the dogs
The UK is going to the dogs slowly but surely, at least the north, and yet is in self-denial. The once great workhouse and brains of the whole world is a degenerate mess and people either haven’t noticed or won’t allow themselves to, presumably out of misplaced pride. Blame, er blame anybody else, that’s the way! Where I live now, people wonder why I would leave the UK to live in Kazakhstan, if only they knew, if only! If only Brits could see it, but they are too far gone!
The (late) train down south to London, the tube to Heathrow and the plane back home, and I mean HOME. It may surprise even readers of this website to learn that Almaty in Kazakhstan is a million times the city that Crewe ever was and ever will be.