Twinned with Péronne, a war ravaged part of the Somme region, Blackburn has a similar post-devastation chic. Empty streets, shuttered shopfronts and dour-faced social anomalies permeate the town.
26 percent of the population are Muslim and, if my experiences stand for anything, the other 74 percent appear to be aggressive racists. While enjoying a watery pint of Murphy’s in an Irish pub (one of four open drinking holes) I was treated to a pensioner shouting at his own football team on the television – because there were too many ‘fucking foreigners’ involved. Obviously. Talking of televisions, a local man was recently arrested for stealing his friend’s TV whilst he was busy showering.
3406 people suffered violence or wounding in Blackburn alone last year, making GBH just about the only hobby on offer.