Not So Spotless
Medway. My home conurbation that squats on the greasy bank of the titular river. Established by the Romans, site of a ‘magnificent’ castle and cathedral, the home of Dickens and Billy Childish. The site of the first youth prison, Borstal (so called because it was built in Borstal village in Rochester), Gillingham Football Club, the Dockyard (where they built HMS Victory), Medway College of Art (Tracey Emin studied here) and the Strand, a marvellous leisure park consisting of rusting swings, an outdoor swimming pool and a miniature train. Lovely.
Like most English towns, this semi-rural group of market towns is a two-faced bitch. It plies its historical re-enactments and ancient buildings with all the vim and vigour of a member of the WI on Adderall posing nude for charidee; but should you make the mistake to venture out after dark it shrugs off this genteel middle-England mask and reveals a lethal truth. The Medway towns turns out a rough lot, all tooled up and ready for the off. You’d be surprised what one can conceal in a knock off Louis Vuitton clutch bag and don’t even think about the menfolk. Frankly if you are stupid or tasteless enough to go to any one of the grotty pubs, foul restaurants or filthy, sticky nightclubs you will get your head kicked in or contract a social disease or both.
You’ve been warned. If you do find yourself here and want to go shopping, you’re fucked. Rochester High street is packed full of teashops, pedlars of antiques and hairdressers. Chatham High Street and the Pentagon Centre are full of pound shops and mothers cursing at their little children. Allders is in receivership. Marks and Spencer and all those other high street favourites have moved out to Bluewater, the shopping and leisure centre of your dreams. And it’s here that you will find the more mobile residents of Medway, blissfully consuming in the perpetual sunshine of the sterile mall with a tight little smile on their faces.
The Medway Towns are rotten. Everyone has fucked off to Bluewater.