Growing up in Didcot is very much like having a prostate exam. As much as you never wanted to be in such a position and as much as you try to get on with your life as if nothing happened, you can’t escape the knowledge that, metaphorically speaking, you HAVE had another man’s finger up your ass.
The sheer existence of Didcot relies on the necessity to link A and C with a B. While the eponymous parkway may have put Didcot on the map, it was the later introduction of the coal-burning power station that made it a visible blight on the landscape. While both the railway station and impressive cooling towers can be appreciated from either the comfort of a train carriage or a reasonably tall hill several miles away, you need to get closer to discover what really makes Didcot so…well, I guess you have to go there to understand (or maybe just read the relentlessly dull Twitter feed)
I was able to escape a little under a year ago and, to be honest, expected to miss the ol’ place a lot more than I do. I still return every now and again to visit my parents or scope some feral jailbait and I’m genuinely surprised by how much shittier the place is than I remember. Recently, I was struck with an inescapable comparison to the moment in Back to the Future Part II when Marty travels back from 2015 to find Hill Valley totally fucked – except worse as I didn’t even have a hover board.
Before tonight, there would have been little I could credit Didcot with except possibly for allowing me to claim a deprived upbringing whenever I think it’ll help. However, after watching an old episode of Mock the Week on Dave earlier, there is one positive thing to say:
Didcot offers undeniable proof that God exists. And he’s a bastard with a sick sense of humour.
You see, a few years back Didcot appeared in the top twenty list of the crappest towns in the UK. If enough people who lived there actually explored the town beyond the route from their home to the train station, this might have been cause for a fuss. As for the young boys and girls who fight with their Abingdon opposites out of pride for their community, their literacy rate falls somewhere just above being able to read the pregnancy test results and below the instructions for a condom, so they wouldn’t have found out about it anyway.
This isn’t shocking anyway. What is mind-blowingly surprising however (and provides final proof in that God character), is that residents of Didcot have the longest, healthiest lives in the whole of England and Wales! This article from The Telegraph uses the phrase “… residents enjoy the longest, healthiest lives…” but I think ‘enjoy’ is surely pushing the limits of journalistic integrity.
What kind of twisted world do we live in where one of the most depressing and soulless places in the UK also has its most healthily long-lived population? Living in Didcot’s kind of like being in a stable coma on life support – do yourself a favour and pull the fucking plug already.
Update! Here’s a video clip of that Mock the Week referencing Didcot (and legs on pies…)