Let’s move to a railway junction of deprivation! This week: Crewe

WHAT’S it about? 

A lot of trains go through here. You’ve probably changed trains here once. Maybe, if there was an hour or more’s delay, you wandered out to find a street of Cash Converters and violent pubs and concluded it was rough near the station. No. It’s all like that.

Any good points? 

Urban planning fans will love Crewe’s dehumanising system of roundabouts and dual carriageways. Or if you’re a pedestrian, wander around the town centre with its wide range of vape shops, charity shops, closed shops and market stalls selling second-hand stairlifts that somebody died in.

Or venture further to the retail park filled with the same fucking shops you see everywhere else, from Next to Sports Direct to Food Warehouse. The car park’s especially confusing to facilitate near-misses and punch-ups between angry men in their early 40s.

Wonderful landscape? 

The Cheshire plain is flat and featureless. To make up for this, Crewe’s criss-crossed with a network of train tracks and hardly any bridges, so one wrong turn means you’re driving seven miles out of your way. Even if you’ve lived here your whole life don’t expect to recognise landmarks. It’s terraced streets and railings around industrial facilities whichever way you go.

Queens Park is stunning in comparison. In summer you can watch a thriving population of yobs playing threatening football, and it has a small island commemorating the Burma campaign in WW2. Take your kids to learn about interesting Japanese war atrocities.

But the jewel in the crown has to be the local park’s game of giant chess, which despite not being exceptionally giant is even more thrilling than the permanently empty bandstand. ‘When a man is tired of giant chess he is tired of fucking Crewe,’ as Dr Johnson would have said.

Hang out at… 

The Lyceum Theatre. It’s not exactly the West End, so you’re less likely to see Mark Rylance in the new Mamet, and more likely to see Bradley Walsh in Dick Whittington. Or An Evening With Susie Dent which all parties involved will very much regret.

The Limelight used to be the nation’s top tribute band venue, with a new collection of musicians whose dreams have died imitating better musicians for money every night of the week. It’s now boarded up.

Gourmet? Conveniently located by the station is a vast array of cheap, identical and radically unhygenic takeaways. 15 different flavours of kebab meat in a bun, one of which will kill you.

Where to buy? 

Crewe offers many cheap terraced house-shares, great for meeting new people who like listening to loud music at 3am and are strange in an intimidating way.

There are plenty of highly desirable out-of-town properties, but that’s leafy Cheshire so you can f**k off. Unless you’re a consulting doctor married to a stockbroker or one of Cheshire’s many professional footballer arseholes. All of whom pretend Crewe doesn’t exist until they need a bong for a dinner party.

From the streets: 

Tom Logan, aged 36: “I moved here 15 years ago for work and I could never be arsed to move somewhere better. I’d highly recommend it to anyone wanting to relocate somewhere superficially tolerable that slowly sucks the life out you.”

Ryan Whittaker, aged 17: “It’s great because in a lot of town centres, gangs of teenagers aren’t around to strut around like they own the fucking place, walking five abreast and sweeping strangers into the gutter. But they are in Crewe.”

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How to cook the perfect poached egg, with Colin the emotionally unstable chef

AS A chef, I’m frequently asked is how to poach the perfect egg. If that’s your biggest problem in life go fuck yourself with a rusty saw, because some of us dream of being that fucking lucky. So let’s see which method works best.

Deep water

Boil at least four inches of water and add a teaspoon of vinegar. Be warned – this method does tend to leave wispy strands of egg white. What a fucking tragedy in your middle class foodie life. Let’s have a national day of mourning for your wispy egg.

You know I was once so skint I had to eat cat food? Not the pouches either. Or the tins. Dry food. That’s what a real problem looks like. You people. Where’s the cooking wine?

Strain and poach

Put the egg in a colander to drain off stray bits of albumen, then simmer it for exactly four minutes. Very much the fussy ponce’s method of poaching an egg. But that’s you, isn’t it? The sort of ponce who never misses Observer Food Monthly and knows how to ski.

Fuck knows what you’d do if you were me, stuck in this shithole rented flat, eking out a living writing inconsequential food articles, destined to be forever alone. I’d kill myself but nobody would notice. Also I’ve not finished poaching fucking eggs.

The whirlpool method

Create a vortex in a large pan of water and put the egg in the middle. Takes some practise, but definitely the professional chef’s method for making the perfect egg. Imagine being so worked up about a fucking egg that you’d do this shit.

I tell you what’s a vortex? My life. A vortex of self-loathing, debt, addictions and unbearable pain. Humilation and degradation, all whirling around in a soup of regret, spiralling down the drain. Meanwhile you’re there with your lovely houses and lovely children called Hugo and Portia and lovely schools and lovely au pairs and lovely cottages in the Cotswolds. Your unthinking sense of entitlement is disgusting. I wish I was you.

Fine strainer and no salt or vinegar

As the name suggests you need a strainer with a fine mesh to remove excess albumen. Yes, excess albumen. That’s what’s keeping you awake at night. There’s a war going on practically on our doorsteps and you can’t sleep because of your albumen build-up. You make me fucking sick. Shit did I finish another bottle of wine already? Just nipping to the corner shop.

The no-fuss method

We all love no-fuss cooking! Just bring a pan of plain water to a simmer and slide the eggs in from a ramekin. The eggs will come out a bit flat and not round, but no one said life was fair. When I was six my best friend was my puppy Patch. He ran under the gate and a van hit him. That’s what real life is, mate. Cruel, fucking cruel.

My conclusion

And so my odyssey of poaching comes to an end. Of all the methods I tried, I’d say the best one is: just fry the fucking thing. And take your pampered bourgeois existence and stick it up your arse. You’re like Marie fucking Antoinette if she’d said ‘Let them eat poached eggs’.