Morecambe in Summer

As the rest of the country slithers deeper and deeper into recession, Morecambe smiles. Because now gap toothed high streets snaggle every town, those who used to sneer at the crumbling ‘four for a pound’ decay here find the pox has spread to their own towns. Morecambe smiles, for now everywhere has the desperate failing small businesses and boarded up shops of Morecambe but no-where else has the view. Morecambe has won. Again.

It’s a tenacious old place. Like a zombie, it repeatedly rises from the dead – in winter it is desolate yet strangely compelling as its snapping sandy wind howls around post-apocalyptic urban bleakness contrasting with the clichéd perfection of the Lake District mountains across the churning sucking bay.

Now it is summer and the desperation has been sellotaped over with shops open again selling buckets and spades for the gritty sand and unflattering nylon clothes in lurid patterns.

People have tried to make Morecambe posh again, how it used to be back in the day when consumptives and grey factory workers came to ‘take in the air’  in a futile  swipe against sickness and mortality. The Midland Hotel, an art deco beacon resurrected from decay throngs with people gawping at the retro futuristic poshness, its optimistic pricing and elegantly uncomfortably seating but those who have chosen to spend a few hundred pounds on a night here are stranded on a windswept island of indulgence. Should they choose to leave their king-size bed and go for an expensive meal out, they would be faced with eateries that advertise the price as the main recommendation or with ‘meals of the day’ written on cardboard stars.

The Kings Arms goes one better and it is not the price, not the food but the sheer amount of it that is boasted about-‘King Size’ portions of pie and chips! Monstrous lashings of puddings! Buckets, troughs, mountains of fried delights-drown under a roast dinner tsunami and have change from a fiver. There is no jus here.

But should that shell-shocked couple peruse the streets of Morecambe a bit more, they would find cafes selling smoothies, beetroot and feta soup, croque monsieur’s, all for more than a fried 10 item breakfast on the prom but less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee and sandwich somewhere else. There are shops selling vintage fabric and handmade jewellery, real ale pubs with newspapers and leather sofas overlooking the bay, nice things, things that people like but presume Morecambe, the butt of every loud Southern joke would never have.

Delis, pound shops, restaurants come and go but the essence of Morecambe remains. In a giant Polo mint highlighted by blue sky. In a Guinness and white chocolate cake in a glass fronted café, in the sound of a hacking cough outside Festival market, in shops selling bags of Thorntons misshapes and cheap unpopular flavours of celebrity endorsed pasta sauce, in beautiful boarded up Victorian terraces, in its pure potentiality that never quite comes to fruitation and in its view, that glorious view that cannot be sold, sullied or changed.

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6 Responses to “Morecambe in Summer”

  • nick Says:

    I admit it, i’m a carmella fan 😀

  • cyberfairy Says:

    I should think so too 🙂

  • g,keith Says:

    Dam Right,

    Wrote by a poet..
    Lancaster has been ripping morecambe off since time began, taking all they can out but not giving anything back, Dumping all its asbo,d youth into the west end of Morecambe, All its socialy unacceptable misfits, its phscitsophenics, its sycotics its expelled drug dealers and expelled drugged up people in need of rehab all got rehoused in the west end of Morecambe, Cheers Lancaster! Only now has Lancaster started to give a little money back into the west end, Unfortionaly most of that money is being wasted by the police that have to patrol constantly around the west end, Or the drug rehabilitation centre that have to try and help the family’s of loved ones who’ve gone astray, The dehumanised junky, crack head, pill head, alcoholic who got dumped in to the west end of Morecambe with there socially unacceptable family’s when they were six years old, All just a little to late, if only Lancaster had put money into Morecambe 35 years ago and carried on giving a little back instead of keeping it or losing it, And if only Lancaster had worked with the family’s in need of help instead of asboing them to the west end of Morecambe, Morecambe would be as lovely as its coastal views!!

  • cyberfairy Says:

    Cheers for that G-The West End could be so beautiful but no regeneration has touched it-a friend lives there and she has had a lot of trouble with junkies, the mentally ill and the just unpleasant. Its a good point about Lancaster and the recession has not helped Morecambe at all-just heard The Artisan has closed down which always seemed so busy and was one of the middle class draws of the area and now apparently Breeze might be heading the same way.

  • g,keith Says:

    Its such a shame for all the businesses that are going down the drain, 90 percent of the pubs in the uk are doomed and have been since the smoking ban came in, Unless they can adapt and make there put a family friendly environment which main selling point is there food they have had it especially if there tide in with a brewery which don’t or won’t help much are doomed. And the recessions making sure that those on there last legs don’t get any breathing space, its especially difficult for the coastal towns which have been hit hard since we all go on holidays abroad now now

  • cyberfairy Says:

    I agree-the price of booze in the supermarkets does not help either-especially during a recession. And how many families would go to your average west end pub just because there was a smoking ban? I was furious yesterday when I met a friend at lunchtime in Wetherspoons with a sleeping kid in pushchair in tow. They had an excellent cider for sale as part of the beer festival but refused to let me have a pint because i had a child. I was meant to order a full price foul meal to go with it so politely declined and went home and fumed. The brewery tie-ins are absolutely shocking-and I am amazed at when I go back to Devon an Somerset how expensive and mediocre a meal in a village pub is-think fourteen quid for some uninspiring pasta-I am vegetarian so always get ripped off. The posh coastal places are thriving as pub going is a rich persons sport now.
    The recession might mean more people stay at home rather than go to spain and thus go to Morecambe/Blackpool instead but it still might well be cheaper to go on an all inclusive two weeks in Benidorm. I don’t know, not been abroad in years as can’t even afford to renew passport! I feel so sad everytime I see a business close, especially when they are not part of a chain. I wrote a piece about Lancaster budget eateries a few months back and of the ten, two have changed hands or gone under. At least Lancaster can afford to lose one or two. Morecambe can’t. The Artisan was pricey but a draw for the middleclass who might have spent more money in Morecambe. Even the Midland has upped its prices even more since being taken over. Three quid for a coffee is obscene.

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