Sunny Southampton. A place where everyone is welcome and everyone feels at home. The place that attracts thousands of tourists pouring out of the cruise ships. Not!
I will try to paint a picture of what Southampton has become just by taking you on a walk down the High Street. As you may or may not know the Southampton High Street is called Above Bar Street and it starts from a shoddy park. This is where all the local drunken ***** and local pregnant teenagers hang out and shout abuse at you for simply walking past them. It finishes at the Bargate – the medieval gateway to what once was the old Southampton.
The Bargate holds a special place in every ****’s and beggar’s heart because this is where Lidl is. Every single day the same group of ne’er-do-wells drink, piss, vomit, look for cigarette butts on the street or ask if you have 50p. If you dare make eye contact with them and tell them you don’t have any change, they will start following you shouting abuse and other slurred inaudible words. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves; let’s start our walk at the beginning of the Above Bar Street – Watts Park.
This park holds the city’s Cenotaph and whoever you may be, surely even you would agree that this place deserves a little bit of respect. Well, the local drunks/homeless gangs don’t share this idea. They carelessly piss against the monument and sit next to it while taking their hard earned heroin. If you walk past them while they are doing their activities, if you happen to be a female, they will inevitably ask you if you would like to join the party. If you happen to be a male, they will ask you “what are you staring at, mate?!”
Walking down Above Bar street, we walk past one of the buildings used by the local university. One of the entrances is not used therefore you will inevitably see the local homeless couple who “live” there along with all their belongings and their booze. If you are lucky enough to walk past this place in the evening, you might even catch a glimpse of them consummating their relationship.
Pubs and Restaurants
Across the street from this building are a few pubs and newly built restaurants. The council poured a lot of money in this area trying their best to tell the local residents “this is not a homeless people ******** area” by building new buildings on top of all the homeless people’s shopping trolleys with their belongings in them. If you decide to sit in the outside area of one of those pubs/restaurants, you will be asked at least 5 times by the same 2 people if you have any change. You’ll hear the same old ruses, they lost their bus ticket or need to get to the hospital. If you look carefully, both of them have their heroin needles sticking out of their socks.
Moving down the street, if you look to your right, you will see the council. It is an impressive building but its glory is ruined by the local wannabe chavy skaters who use the big square in front of it as a skating ramp. If you decide to use the benches there for the purpose they are built for (i.e. sitting) you will be called a “mug” or an “idiot” for being in their way while they are skating instead of being in school.
Keep going down the street, you walk past a couple of the local drunks who are begging for money from the little 13-year-olds who decided to go on a little date in Sprinkles. Across the street is KFC – every ****’s dream come true. When you manage to jump over all the homeless people sat/slumped outside it and you walk in the restaurant you will immediately notice that you are way overdressed. The dress code is tracksuit bottoms, Nike shirts/hoodies, and cropped tops not hiding the teenage pregnancy too well. When you try to order, you need to speak slowly. This is because the cashier behind the till is not used to hearing English which doesn’t consist of “bruv”, “innit”, “****” or any word with the “T” pronounced.
Keep going down the street and you will see the bustling local sports bar where bar fights and stabbings are [not, for legal reasons] considered normal and part of the local culture. You will also walk past several bus stops which would take you to the outskirts of the city, and where the same homeless looking woman walks around talking to herself and accusing everyone of staring at her. If she had had her drugs, she is actually quite polite when asking you if you have a quid. If you say no, she will either swear at you or spit at you (if you’re lucky). On the left hand side of this part of the high street is where the local parks begin. If you type in “recent stabbings and rapes in Southampton” you will definitely see these parks.
Continue walking down the street and you will come across the local banks and charity shops. Every self-respecting chavy city centre needs to have a charity shop or five! You will also see the betting shops which are always bustling with life, especially when the benefit payments come through. This is when the real fun begins, because the local drunks have enough to pay for their booze and to place a few bets! If you look around you will find yourself surrounded by ugly 1960’s buildings which have been left to rot and fall apart. Just keep walking.
West Quay shopping centre
And we have arrived at the entrance to Southampton’s only attraction – West Quay shopping centre. Outside West Quay you will see the boarded up shops which it has helped close down. You will also see a few homeless people residing outside the doors of these shops basically using this space not just for sleeping but also for defecating, urinating, vomiting and drug taking. [alleged] Traveller boys will approach you with plastic bags full of aftershaves and perfumes they [allegedly] nicked from the nearby Primark, asking if you would like to buy them. Be polite to them, otherwise they will take offence and [not] pull their knife on you.
At the end of the small square outside West Quay’s entrance, you will find Poundland. Outside Poundland you will find the chavy families of the nearby council estate (it’s only across the street!) shouting abuse at each other and even slapping one another. If you dare enter, you will be greeted with stares as if you have walk into somebody’s home not a local shop.
At last, we have made it to the Bargate. The gates are open so tourists can experience “walking into history”. However, all they will experience is the local drunken homeless men sleeping there or trying to jump you if it’s dark.
Behind the Bargate we will see a demolished shopping centre. A victim of West Quay and the council’s decision to gentrify the city centre, as this is the only thing the tourists from the cruise ships actually see. However, no level of gentrification will be able to get rid of the local chavy girls and boys. They seem to think they are big scary men, who sit outside Lidl and the local wetherspoons every hour of every day. They stare at you as if they own the whole street. Well maybe they do, since the council estate is behind the road.
Here we are, this was our small walk down Southampton’s high street. We would be considered lucky if we still have our wallets and no one tried to stab or rape us.
My suggestion is to stay away from this place. Try your best to avoid the high street at any cost, otherwise you may find yourself being the next victim of a robbery/rape/racial slurs/abuse.