Full of smug, self-satisfied yummy-mummies and the stockbrokers who keep them, alongside ancient crumblies who clog the pavements walking 3 astride at 1mph.
On the weekend it acts as a haven for the High Wycombe catchment area, attracting aspirational lady diners and bar-goers in search of their very own stockbroker. Inevitably this attracts cynical gentlemen diners who disguise themselves as stockbrokers, a subterfuge which collapses after their second Stella and they revert to the oikish twats they really are.
Virtually nothing in the way of original live music – pretty much all local bands play covers of music which may not be newer than the 80s. They had a live drum and bass band here in 1998 which stretched Wycombe A+E to the extent it had to close.
The odd exception for a small acoustic duo who play reasonably up to date music on guitar (actually rather good). But innovation is actively frowned upon.
Generally the most excitement is generated when a new restaurant opens, particularly when it serves exactly the same fare as another nearby restaurant, but at 50% higher prices. The arrival of the Giggling Squid was heralded as something akin to the opening of the South Bucks branch of the Barbican, and the reopening of the Crown by Tom Kerridge has been met to breathless, gushing publicity unseen since the announcement of CrossRail.
The car parks, bus lanes and streets are clogged with Chelsea tractors, particularly in the mid-late afternoon when the yummy-mummies are transporting their little darlings to and from school and/or Peppa Pig shows at the Slug and Lettuce. Public transport is risible, with a 30 minute journey from Maidenhead by train (a distance of 4 miles), or an equally long bus ride in either direction. A taxi fare costs £2-3 a mile.
Neighbouring Marlow are various council estates, only catered to by the Cross Keys, leaving a vast cultural gulf between the ciabatta-munching, Barbour-jacket toting haves and the remaining have-nots. The only form of cultural interplay outside of the very friendly O’Donohues weekly Open Mic session is the sport of comparing jewellery and sports jackets.
In short, a shiny, spotless jewel concealing a rotten underside of derivatives traders, smug women who are obsessed with useless trinkets and overpriced shoes in a merry-go-round of lifestyle retail businesses, and wide boys who aspire and/or pretend to be part of this milieu. I intend to leave as soon as possible.