Shaw: The Place That Joy Forgot

I spent a great deal of my formative years walking feverishly around the narrow field-bordered streets of Shaw, and found it difficult to describe to friends who would visit just why the place was so awful. To the untrained eye the hamlet seems quaint and even welcoming – this is a false perception. When I was a teenager, me and my friend would regularly be beaten for having long hair. On one of our frequent trips to ASDA (for there was literally nothing else to do), we were once chased and kicked to the ground by a group of 8 or so young hooligans who, likely as bored as we were by their lifeless surroundings, decided to express their frustration physically, in our faces.

Eventually we all started smoking weed and honestly, if it weren’t for that I think the boredom would’ve eventually led to some kind of suicide pact. It’s the kind of place your senses need to be dulled in order to tolerate. Most choose one of Shaw’s many pubs to disorient themselves in, and on a weekend the un-respectable and sad knuckle draggers you usually see wincing through the overcast sun put on their liveliest clothes and neck a load of cheap beer to throw up onto the pavement a few hours later. A kind of half screech half guttural roar comes from all directions, a depressing soundscape of unfocused aggression and confused poverty.

In terms of things to do besides drugs, there are none that come to mind. The swimming baths were knocked down so people could enjoy becoming even fatter without the troublesome spectre of somewhere to exercise looming above them, and the markets have been moved from “the markets” area and was instead in some stroke of genius decided to be placed on the only main road in the whole town, meaning that more people are likely to go out of their way to avoid it than actually bother to buy the tat they have on offer.

All in all, the place is a hole, and thank god I’m leaving for good. If you like being an idiot, it could be the place for you, but if when you look upwards you see sky instead of the underside of a sloping brow, my advice is: AVOID.

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