Rotherham – the place where Stainless Steel was invented
Rotherham – mentioned in the Domesday Book
Rotherham – home of Conisborough Castle the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s novel ‘Ivanhoe’
Rotherham – where every shop sells stuff for a pound
I grew up in Rotherham, it used to be a nice place with a busy town centre and an annual fair that attracted chart topping bands who came to play over the weekend for free. It was like the Reading Festival but you didn’t have to pay to get in and got to go home at night to your mum.
I moved away in the 90s but came back to live in 2003. Something changed in those ten years. The first time I drove into the town centre, on a saturday afternoon, was a shock. All the shops were shut and people seemed genuinely surprised to see a car on the streets. They didn’t exactly stop and point but they came close.
Walking around the town all the nice shops – Tailors, Jewellers, Marks & Spencer etc had closed and been replaced by pound shops, drugstores, amusement arcades and catalogue reject shops. The town was dead and the people there were the living dead. I walked past some 5 foot tall t****r in a kappa tracksuit wearing more tacky gold around his neck, wrist and fingers than i’d ever seen. I think he also had a mullet but I can’t be sure as I involuntarily burst out laughing. He was too stupid to realise it was at him.
I went to a couple of pubs where the police outnumbered the punters. Rotherham United had just got beaten and some twat in a Burberry Cap used this as an excuse to try to stare down me and my mate. We decided to go to a better class of boozer but found that all the good ones were shut. At 5pm on a Saturday!
Driving back up Ship Hill I noticed the boy racers starting to congregate in their shitty Vauxhall Novas. In a bid to get more than 85 miles an hour out of their 1 litre engines they’d fitted exhausts that were seemingly made out of a catering tin of Heinz Baked Beans. Flourescent lights made all the cars look like mini mobile whorehouses. None of the drivers however looked like they’d ever had a shag in their lives.
I wish I had a great story about twatting a chav for being cheeky or something but the truth of the matter is that I put as much distance between me and the population as possible after that first visit. One month after returning to Rotherham to live I stopped going into the town centre. There was no point. I like a pint without violence. I like to sometimes buy stuff that costs £1.99 – or more! I’m happy my car goes fast, I don’t need to rev the engine while stationary for a couple of hours to prove it. I didn’t have anything in common with a midget in a tracksuit wearing a lot of gold who was obviously not an athlete. Or rich.
After a year of reading headlines in the Rotherham Advertiser like ‘Chip Pan Fire Guts House’, ‘Body found outside Takeaway’ and ‘Asbo Grandad at it again’ I decided I somehow didn’t fit in and moved away. I’m sure that says more about me than it does Rotherham but somehow I don’t feel that bad about it!