F*#k Tonbridge (his heading not mine!)
Most people dislike their home town, I’m sure. (Except residents of Bristol and Brighton actually, but I’ll probably come back to that.) I’ve disliked the majority of places that I’ve lived over the years, but I can think of places I did like, and still do; Rochester is picturesque in places, with its Dickensian charms and old buildings, and I did enjoy my brief tenure in Bearsted (before the aforementioned house fire). The cricket green our house backed on to, juxtaposed with two old style pubs was definitely aesthetically pleasing, and the village as a whole was pretty in its construction; lots of green spaces, old thatched roof cottages, and happily for the 3 male occupants of our house there was a near continuous stream of fit women pouring into the pub next door.
There have been places that were less enjoyable of course: Chatham was, as the area’s reputation might indicate, an absolute dump, populated by for the most part, very scummy people – for example my neighbour (who I’d know for years and who I always knew was a slight strange) turned out to be a rapist. That’s just an example of the type of people that live there; I’m not saying just because you lived in Chatham once upon a time you always precede coitus with a savage beating, but if the cap fits…
Most areas generally have a redeeming feature, one silver lining in amongst the retarded inhabitants and horribly designed cityscapes. For example in Chatham, there is a lovely park next to a college, which means you can effectively sit in the sun and get stoned and pissed whilst looking at 18 year old art students. In Horsmonden the general tranquillity and the horses at the bottom of the garden made up for the fact the village is the most remote place in the whole of Europe, and in Rochester the historical references to Dickens and co are redemptive of the fact that the town is sandwiched between Strood and Chatham. (For those not au fait with the area, imagine a sexual experience with Courtney Love, and Natalie Cassidy. You’re the ham in their sticky pale skin sandwich, in much the same way Rochester is infringed upon by two frankly horribly shit places.)
There is however once place, that has no saving grace; A place where it has rained everyday since 1952. The same place where bizarrely there are no married couples. The sky is always grey there, and rumour has it there are no fish in the river. In this place it’s perfectly normal, and acceptable for girls to have had sex with 49 men before their 18th birthday (She actually used to read this blog, until she decided I was a “two faced prick” so I doubt she will be reading anytime soon.) Legend has it that Hitler initially had this place earmarked for Auschwitz but was worried about the effect the smog there might have on his German soldiers. This place, Tonbridge, is my town, and I hate it.
Apparently some people like Tonbridge. I don’t believe them. I think they hear my best friend and I constantly cussing the place, and have decided we are pricks and just want to argue with us. There is no reason to like this town. There is nothing here for anyone, except evidently amorous teenagers…
Situated between Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells, should make for a decent place. We have two relatively rich neighbouring towns, with haven’t really been overly affected by the recent period of austerity and we are geographically close to London, and Brighton, with decent travel links also. I know what some readers might be thinking at this point – redeeming features? NO. These things are a further kick in the teeth. Our richer, more historically important neighbours simply serve as a reminder of how disappointing a place my home town is. The river meanders through the town, which could be quite pleasant, but the problem with the river is the drunken dickheads constantly attempting to kill themselves/their significant others/their children in it. On a day where the council aren’t fishing bloated bodies from the river a stroll down by the riverside could be enjoyable, however the reeds and the muddy banks beside resemble a landfill site. A landfill site with a special section for needle and nappy disposal.
Tonbridge, according to Wikipedia, has 30,340 residents, all of whom can be found in the Wetherspoons, which is named after Humphrey Bean, on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. I put in some research to find out about Mr Bean (the namesake of the pub, as opposed to Rowan Atkinson’s perennially unfortunate television character) in the hope that he would turn out to be a paedophile/mass murderer/insert other despicable crime here, as this would certainly add to the conviction of my diatribe, however it turns out he doesn’t exist. That’s good enough for me. Tonbridge’s primary watering hole is named after a fabricated character. In Rochester, they have the actual chalet Dickens wrote Great Expectations in, and the pub next door: Great Expectations. Even in Horsmonden (remember its half a million miles from civilisation) their pub is named after a local war hero. In Tonbridge they didn’t even have anyone worth naming a pub after). I’m going to assume Mr Bean’s mother actually named him Humphrey, because at times that’s the level of general retardation the unfortunate looking occupants of Tonbridge display, so that would fit nicely.
Pubs aside, Tonbridge town is bleak as fuck. I was recently looking through some pictures of the Somme. It looks a lot more fun than an afternoon in Tonbridge. The “town centre” is one road. It has 145 hairdressers, 55 charity shops, and about 15 chain restaurants where you can buy 2 meals for 10 pounds (Microwave + Table + Waiter = Tonbridge ASK). 50% of the shops are empty and thus badly vandalised, and on Saturday morning, I genuinely counted 15 piles of sick between my house and the local McDonalds. That journey was probably 200 yards. More concerning that then sick piles however was the blood caked thong, deposited neatly next to a dog shit bin. That was just beautiful.
Tonbridge parenting is something else. I said there are no married couples, which was a bit of an exaggeration, I realised two of my friends are married, so there is at least one married couple. It would be too easy to label all of the parents here as the “Jeremy Kyle generation” but I know of three couples who live within walking distance who have featured on the popular mid morning freak show that is JK. Discipline in Tonbridge is, as far I’ve witnessed non existent or frankly sadist. The two general schools of parenthood appear to be “ignore the little shit” or “scream at the little shit”. Either way, we have created, (as detailed in my Intersports > JD Sports blog post) a generation of mongy, disrespectful youths who’s idea of a nice time is harassing punters outside of the local off license, or harassing punters outside the local pub, which is incidentally where their absent fathers can be found, when their not harassing the mother of their children’s new boyfriends. I am not going to talk about anyone personally, as I have set out to mildly offend a whole town, as opposed to horribly offend particular people, but suffice to say you would be shocked at some of the things I know about a number of the parents in this town. The half naked toddlers running riot in estates all over North Tonbridge (the very nadir of what is already an abhorrently horrid town) really do remind me of the famous picture of the Vietnamese child covered in napalm running down the road, except children of Tonbridge aren’t covered in 46 parts polystyrene, 33 parts petrol, and 21 parts benzene (napalm to most people), they are covered in a light layer of dirt. The parents of the dirty children are “horribly depressed”. So “horribly depressed” they smoke weed all day every day, and sniff copious amounts of cocaine at the weekends. I am not one to talk about partying habits and whatnot; however I do not have a number of young dependants, by a number of absent sperm donors. Dirty children in clothes that don’t fit obviously pale into insignificance when compared to the parents need to blunt the edge of the knife of realisation, by “bunning” (youth speak for smoking, so I’m told) some of Tonbridge’s finest home-grown herbal remedy. The realisation, of course is that your children are going to grow up to hate you, because you are shit parents, coupled with the fact you live in a shit town. The doctors surgery in Tonbridge is inundated with young-ish mothers seeking repeat prescriptions of their anti-depressants/anti-anxiety pills/sleepers – perhaps a more sensible idea would be to ascertain the scale of the women’s drug abuse, and build a care plan based around that, so that next time I go to the doctors to get my ears syringed my appointment isn’t actually delayed by 2 hours, because of an emotionally unstable North Tonbridge mother deciding to have a breakdown (read probable drug induced spastic attack) in the surgery. Remember Tonbridge mothers, when all else fails: “SHUT UP YOU C*NT, YOU’RE DOING MY F*CKING HEAD IN!” – Yep, it really is that bad.
The people, the shops, the pubs and the geography aside, Tonbridge has a horrible feeling associated with it. A general unhappiness resides, and hangs heavily in the air like mustard gas, so much so that it makes my soul hurt to spend longer than 15 minutes in the town, and I am almost sure that much like the theory about smoking cigarettes (1 cigarette depletes 15 minutes of your life) living in Tonbridge is terrible for your health. I had one grey hair when I moved here, and 2 years later I’m at the stage of finding grey hairs in my beard, and even one on my chest recently, which makes me quite unhappy. But not as unhappy as living in Tonbridge. We recently went on a rather massive party weekend, spent time in London and Bristol. I cannot put into words how sad I felt on the main road back into Tonbridge. Ben simply rolled down the window, looked at the decimation we were entering and bellowed: “SHITHOLE!!!!” Tonbridge.Nail.Head.
I know basically I am a bit of a prick, because there are plenty of Somalian children in Mogadishu, who would kill for a meal in the ASK, a pint in the Wetherspoons, and to be shouted at by some strange North Tonbridge woman for no particular reason, but I for one harbour an intent to leave this town, and all of the retards in it behind, and until the day I relocate to Bristol, or Brighton, or somewhere more suited to the lifestyle of Mr Lean I will continue to insult this shithole town and its retarded residents, and if you don’t like it, you can find me in the Mr Bean Wetherspoons, insulting you, the mother of your children and your town.
Big Kisses residents of Tonbridge, you truly fucking suck.