Plymouth is a seaside city unlike any other because only when you get to the sea is there any seaside vibe, every other seaside town/city in the UK (with the possible exception of Portsmouth) when you enter everything seems bright well maintained and cheerful but not here, here you enter into a grim grey area where even the Seagulls seem more forlorn malicious and evil than those you may have encountered before.
Plymouth has now got the first field hospital in the country, the idea behind it is to provide first aid for people injured in fights, in its first weekend it dealt with one stabbing one bottling and dozens of other fight related injuries. Reassuring huh? So at least now when you are beaten to within an inch of your life for not talking like a brain damaged sub human form of under evolved monkeys pizzle, at least you know that there’s someone close at hand to glue your face back together.
This then is my guide to Plymouth, a carefully plotted route which for safeties sake you need never get out of your car for, you will pass through the low points and the lower points of this historic city.
Well we may as well start from the approach to this wonderland, driving south along the A386 as you go over the roundabout and enter the city another lane appears beside you and a slew of Vauxhalls pass you each making a sound not entirely unlike a diuretic hedge trimmer,
Welcome to Plymouth the antithesis of hope and glory.
The impression as you continue along this road heading nauseatingly towards the centre of Hades itself is one of utter disinterest. Notice the blandness of the view and the complete lack of any form of seaside vibe, as you head deeper into Plymouth notice the haggard looks of the 14 year olds as they once again physically assault one of their myriad of offspring. Observe the sky darkening and feel the tremble of fear down your spine.
If you are feeling brave you can go through Muttley Plain, or if by this point you have seen enough feel free to veer onto the A38 and drive away as if Satan himself was offering to wash your windscreen. If however gentle reader, you are made of sterner stuff then continue on to Muttley Plain certain horror awaits.
As you enter the plain you have a traumatic decision to make as the road opens once again into two lanes, do you:-
A: stick in the inside lane and brave the countless buses and taxis (complete with neon lights, for f***s sake…) pulling into the road with no warning or indication of intent?
B: The outside lane where endless drunk Chav types will vault the central barrier and fall flat on their faces inches in front of your car?
The answer seems obvious, it’s B every time right? After all, running them down seems to be the only logical thing to do but I for one cannot afford the bill for repairing the bodywork of my car every week.
During this time you will notice the smell of vomit and urine emitting from the area as it does every weekend, you will also notice the 5 tossers in the clapped out Golf beside you at the traffic lights, it will have a exhaust the size of the channel tunnel and a body kit which on inspection does not have any aerodynamic advantage over say… Istanbul. They will be shouting and gunning the engine in order to provoke you to race them, ignore them and hope they crash into something large, immovable and preferably explosive.
Once you are through the last set of traffic lights you will start your decent towards the centre of immorality and wickedness in this town you but for the moment are currently passing through the student area, these people present no immediate threat to your personal safety most of them are art school types and therefore placid and unaware of the horrors that await them in the real world, you know Beatniks…
In front of you lies the construction site of Plymouths hopes and dreams for the future the place which may make Plymouth the premier shopping centre in the southwest, however in reality it is a Mall based on an outdated design which can only hope to attract the chav culture, in the same way a decomposing lamb attracts rats. This is indeed the future of Plymouth and a bloody grim one it is to.
You will notice a line of young girls possibly waiting to board the school bus so they can go home to study for their GCSEs (if it’s a Thursday) but on closer inspection they are not old enough to be doing GCSEs, they are waiting to go into Destiny’s where they can become impregnated and eat a burger at the same time, they can always deal with the genital herpes later.
Before you get back to the church hang a left follow the road around, take a left at the round about and then your first left, drive down the cobbles a little way then stop and select reverse, keep the clutch in and a few revs up for a quick getaway should everything go wrong, welcome dear friend to the Barbican.
You will become aware of a large police presence and about 200 people swarming all over this tiny area all drinking Stella or WKD blue, empty bottles get flung into the water along with enough kebab boxes to re-float the Titanic. Once you have recovered your composure come out and go back in the direction you were heading and take the next left.
This will lead you along the back streets of the Barbican here you can dodge taxis and drunks as well as seeing people (both male and female) urinating openly.
The car in front and probably behind is probably a Ford Focus SRi at this point. There are an infinite number of pubs on this road with an infinite number of drunk Chav types which all makes one of the busiest one way single lane cobbled streets I have ever seen anywhere and I have been to a fair proportion of cities and seen a good proportion of busy streets but nothing comes close to this on a Saturday night.
A note of warning at this point, the combination of cobbles, streams of urine and puddles of vomit mean that your breaks are useless so keep a good distance between you and other road users.
This street opens up on the left now and you can see the sea or at least the lights of boats, along here are the Mayflower Steps where the first settlers left for America in 1640 take a moment to imagine their excitement and trepidation about leaving for a new life and starting what would become the most powerful country in the world, these days the average Plymouthian commemorates this event by using it as a urinal.
Continuing our tour once you reach the end of the road turn left and left at the next roundabout and all seems quiet, pull over and take a break you deserve it, but keep the engine running. See that speed bump? Well watch what happens in a moment, yes that’s right a Vauxhall Corsa just went over it at about 50mph causing a shower of sparks and bits of trim to be left behind, and look the next one did the same thing! This is where the Chav population destroy what they have spent their dole money on, or possibly yet another stolen car. Any actually expensive cars owned by normal people will slow down and go around these humps using the cycle path on the right hand side thus saving the underside of their car.
Continue along this road it will take you right along the Hoe which is where Sir Francis Drake is said to have been playing bowls when he got news of the Spanish Armada, today it is where the Chav population go to reproduce and drink White Lightning.
At the end of this road turn right and follow it back to the mini roundabout you passed on your way to the Barbican and take a left up the hill you will pass Brettonside bus station on your left, this concrete monstrosity houses Tramps, both the homeless type a bar called Tramps and the female type there will also be Vauxhall Novas driving around at high speed. Do not stop here but follow the road around and turn left onto Royal Parade at the roundabout.
In an effort to reduce the number of Chavs using this as a racetrack Plymouth City Council have put up about six speed cameras and replaced the subway with a zebra crossing as well as reducing the number of lanes available thus making it mind shatteringly dangerous for all road users.
There are bus stops down both sides housing people in the depths of depression enjoying themselves.
There are an increasing number of people the further you go down this street both homeless and Chavs once you get to the roundabout go straight over, you will now witness that every building has a huge queue, welcome… To Union Street.
Union Street connects the Naval base to the town centre and has been known for as long as it has existed for being one of the seediest places in England, forever has it provided employment for prostitutes and women of questionable morals.
If you doubt this ask your Grandfather, the chances are a distant far away look will come across his face as memories of a bygone era when men were men and anyone could have a good time for two shillings an hour. He may even regal you with a tale of sordid deviancy.
You see the bed of sin and wickedness that is Union Street can corrupt you, this infamous area can draw in even the most hardcore Goths and Punks and leave them calculating their child benefit and ciggie budget, anyone can be lured in by the seemingly innocent establishments and quickly become acclimatised by the mindless violence and open trade in bodily fluids, these people will show symptoms like saying “I went out in Plymouth last weekend and it was alright” pity them.
They then tone down their clothes when they are going out and soon they become just another brain dead Plymouth clubber, it is frightening to see this happen, anyone who knows anyone with Alzheimer’s will know exactly what I mean.
As you drive down Union Street you will notice many many acts of violence and aggression blue flashing lights will be all around you and the air will be filled with profanity and the stench of decay and urine, keep your windows up. Vast hordes of gibbering citizens line each wall waiting eagerly to pop a couple of pills and dance the night away to the finest R&B the country has to offer, when I say finest I do of course mean the same s**t that everywhere seems to deem fit to pollute the air with these days and when I say dance I mean get packed in until movement is impossible and then bobbing up and down whenever they remember too.
Just after you pass Loyds on your left you will notice the Plymouth Pavilions which is a leisure complex of sorts (total bollocks though it may be) a while back a girl was raped here at midnight on a Saturday night, if by now it is midnight on Saturday you will have noticed that it is not exactly a quiet area nor is it discrete, this once again alludes to the caring atmosphere of community shared by all Plymouthians, if the biblical account of the Good Samaritan had been based here then the bloke by the side of the road would have lost his wallet and any gold teeth he may have had and would probably been used as something to piss against by the Samaritan himself.
The pub to your right is called the Single Tree it is normally populated by 40 year old women who are looking to shag their 17 year old sons mates, here you can witness Janner parenting at its finest.
Just beyond this is the boarded up Millennium Complex, it has been closed now for I should imagine around 2/3 years, the police closed it down for illegal activities, no one seems to know what these illegal activities were but the rumours range from under age drinking (what a shocker) to being the centre of a drug ring (would not surprise me) (if anyone does know the absolute truth let me know).
To your left there is an array of small clubs each with a back alley ambience so foul you would not be surprised to find a dead dog under the table and a rat in your pint glass, there is also a free trade in the sexually transmitted disease of your choice courtesy of any number of fat slappers you desire.
Also along this row you will find the now irrelevant Candy Store which once attracted top DJs from all over the UK in the late 90’s this was the last time Plymouth could be considered anywhere near the cutting edge of the UK’s music scene. At this time Plymouth had a great atmosphere (in the right places) and attracted the dance culture who were far to hedonistic to ever start a fight or even react if you insulted their mothers however with the arrival of “Cheese House” (Heyyyy hey baby… etc) the Chavs moved in and the culture moved out Candy Store declined and moved to smaller premises on Union Street where it has been embraced close to the Chav bosom and today plays Cheese House.
Eventually you come to another round about, if you wish to browse the sub standard selection of prostitutes Plymouth has to offer turn left, otherwise continue straight ahead where you will come across the Dance Academy.
Dance Academy has a bad reputation to say the least, but I would not consider it a Chav hotspot for several reasons, first the high entry fee and high price of drinks puts most of the more scummy aspects of Plymouth off, they would much rather take advantage of the “all the blue piss you can drink” offers that other clubs have available, also the music is to heavy and not cheesy enough for the average Chav.
Dance Academy does however allegedly have more pills, powders and potions than any other club in Europe, look at the amount of water being consumed and the fact no one can stop twitching as evidence of this colossal intake of narcotics but it is this very trait that keeps everyone friendly, at least by Plymouth standards, they may not talk to you and will probably look at you in a very odd way but that’s because they are just trying to work out what colour you are if you are human and even if you actually exist, if you were to punch one of these guys in the nose they probably would not notice.
I rate the Dance Academy mostly harmless, continuing down this road you end up near the Devonport Docks in an area called Stonehouse, this area is hell.
You may notice barbed wire along most of the walls and broken glass everywhere else, you may even notice boarded up houses but what you may not notice at first glance are the shadowy figures down each of the cobbled alleyways or the cars parked in odd places pay attention to these or end up dead.
I went to the CFE near here and every day heard people bragging about whose car they had stolen and how much they could score a ½ gram of charley for, while proudly showing their latest battle scar while proclaiming “I didn’t care I just smacked ‘im in the face wiv me bottle”.
This place really is the arse of Plymouth where any element of good and proper has been expunged, replaced instead by a aura so foul so depraved that everything you ever thought you knew of good and right seems a dim memory the sun seems darker here and sub human forms hover at the edge of vision, a broken bottle and blood on a wall eludes to last nights festivities further along some teeth reveal more details as to what took place, scorch marks on the pavement and up the wall mark the spot where someone’s car got torched. Evil can be found at every turn.
It is time to leave… quickly. Keep the wall of the docks to your left and follow it until you reach a T junction turn left get into the outside lane and turn right, hurry now there many not be much time but be aware of the speed camera near the fire station, at the end of this road you can turn either way to escape further west or to the east using the A38 and onto salvation and hope for tomorrow.
As the bright lights fade behind you take a moment reflect on what you have witnessed, how many souls have been lost in this town to the forces of evil. Consider how lucky you are to not have to ever return.
Go home now and return to your normal life knowing that this ordeal is forever behind you.
And so my guide is over, the manifold sins and wickedness of this nightmarish area have been exposed to you, but if you are feeling brave there is much more to discover ranging from the puss-soaked Good Companions karaoke bar to places I dare not utter the names of, who knows you may even discover that which has been prophesised but never discovered – a decent pub.