Not my words, but something a good friend once said to me back in the 1980s. We’d spent the day in Blackpool, and enjoyed all the delights on offer, including Candy Floss, beer, and Fish and Chips, as well as wasting what little money we had on sideshows. “I love Blackpool,” he said, “…it’s so shit, it’s brilliant!”
I couldn’t disagree with him. He was a Southerner, and an amateur. I’d been coming to Blackpool since I was a small child. I considered myself to be an expert at tacky seaside fun.
I’d been on the donkeys, I’d seen best of British light entertainment on the North Pier, I’d oggled in dismay at the floating tap outside Louis Tussaud’s, I’d watched a Cyberman almost scare the life out of my mother, while we stood next to the TARDIS on the pavement.
But, it never occurred to me before to photograph the place. So, one summer’s day in 2018, I took a friend to Blackpool, armed with cameras. The challenge: to capture the essence of Blackpool. Did we succeed? Not quite, but it was a valliant effort.
It was certainly a productive scouting session. I will be back this summer with more definite plans for shots.
I was sad not to see any chocolate dildos, or Kiss Me Quick hats. Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough.
I saw plenty of plastic crap. David Attenborough’s anti-plastic message doesn’t seem to have reached the beach capital of the North West just yet.
I resisted the urge to risk life and limb at the Pleasure Beach, which is more than I can say for some people.
The many displays of good taste around every corner did not disappoint. Blackpool really is a documentary photographer’s paradise.
My next visit will definitely be later in the day. I might even manage to stay well into the evening and catch the illuminations, which I haven’t seen for a very long time
I didn’t spend much money at all. The only cash changing hands was for parking and lunch. I wasn’t even tempted to buy any “fancy goods”.
We were treated to great seaside weather, eventually. It’s not really a proper seaside treat unless you can eat a stick of rock on a pier, whilst sitting on the … erm … grass.
It’s also not a proper trip to Blackpool unless you’ve had to fight gulls off your chips, or done at least one double take on the Golden Mile. Blackpool, I’ll be back.