Let's move to the home of prisons, witch trials and commuters! This week: Chelmsford

What’s it about? 

Described by Charles Dickens in 1835 as ‘the dullest and most stupid place on earth’, Chelmsford hasn’t changed much.

The population bases its self-worth on being slightly more genteel than nearby towns Billericay and Wickford, who in turn believe themselves more refined than the inhabitants of Chelmsford’s category B prison and young offenders’ institute, a convenient drive in a police van from Basildon, Southend and Grays.

The town boasts that it is ‘the birthplace of radio’ where Guglielmo Marconi opened the world’s first wireless factory. This took place in 1899. There have been no brag-worthy achievements since.

Any good points? 

A cathedral, a railway viaduct in a park, Henry VIII built a palace here for Anne Boelyn but there’s bugger all left. For that matter the Romans built here and there’s bugger all left. Most of what Marconi built’s knackered too.

The Riverside Leisure Centre, with swimming pool and ice rink, has kept generations of adolescents busy and so constitutes the main method for lowering the youth offending and pregnancy rate. Pete’s Airgun Farm, with an indoor and outdoor range, offers pistol shooting at 30 and 50 yards. Unsurprisingly many residents demonstrate a real aptitude for this theraputic pastime.

The ususually wide high street is a blessing to local teenagers, allowing several different gangs to lurk menacingly at the same time.

Beautiful landscape? 

Hylands House, a neo-Classical grade II listed villa, plays host to the more expensive end of chavvy weddings and is surrounded by 574 acres of attractive parkland. Alternatively the Hyde Hall public gardens boast a crowd-pulling exhibition of vegetables from around the world.

The River Chelmer flows through the city and is home to several varieties of fish, providing a convenient cover story for the town’s smell. Take a cruise along the picturesque waterways of Maldon and Heybridge Basin or take some time out to go fishing at Paper Mill Lock, observing the pondlife.

Hang out at… 

The Guardian once described Chelmsford as a ‘cultural black hole’, which is deeply unfair as there is an Odeon. It’s opposite the roundabout with the ruins of a Roman temple buried beneath it.

The 500-year-old Saracen’s Head was, in 2020, transformed into Peaky Blinders-themed bar The Garrison in response to no public demand for that whatsoever. Though the 1920s theme does explain the state of the toilets.

The Voodoo Keller Bar also leans on gimmickry to be interesting. Based in the old holding cells of the magistrates court, it forces numerous young men on the pull to pretend that this is their first time drunk behind bars.

Residents still mourn The Army and Navy pub which in its glory days hosted Oasis, Ash and Elastica. A local church tried to save it in 2006 with the condition that no alcohol be served, astonishingly not a hit with the punters. A Travelodge now occupies the hallowed ground where generations of young men first attempted fingering.

In 1645, Witchfinder-General Matthew Hopkins tried twenty-three Chelmsford women for witchcraft. If he were able to now visit Popworld and Bassment at closing time, the demonic shrieking, exposed body parts, grotesque painted faces and warts would see him triple that easily.

Where to buy… 

Located just 30 miles from Charing Cross, homebuyers come to Chelmsford for proximity to London. Such new arrivials of the city are known officially as ‘Chelmsfordians’ and unofficially as ‘commuter wankers’.

If you can afford it, expensive homes in Great Baddow and Broomfield are in the catchment for Chelmsford’s heavily oversubscribed grammar schools, a must for social-climber twats with social consciences.

Alternatively, less pricey houses are available near the mixed comprehensive Sandon, a must for anyone hoping their child gets only eight to ten years with a strong likelihood of probation.

From the streets: 

Jack Browne, aged 18: “I reckon Marconi invented radio in the hope of contacting intelligent life outside of Chelmsford.”

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How to go to your grave without doing anal, by the Mash sex columnist

DON’T fancy it? Not sure why his junk feels entitled to demand yet another hole? If you’d rather let the other orifices do the heavy lifting, use these dodges: 

Draw up an extensive plan of action

The death of spontaneity is the death of sex and there’s nothing less spontaneous than a 13-point anal sex action plan. If the vigorous miming of an enema doesn’t do it, the lube budget and timing around bowel movements should. He’ll get as panicked as when he booked that flying lesson and it turned out it wasn’t like the videogames.


He talks about anal sex, you talk about Sucession. He talks about anal sex, you talk about the dog’s lazy eye and how cute he’d look in a patch. He talks about anal sex, you talk about a new street-food meze place. If he sees through the plan and says ‘Are you avoiding the subject of anal sex?’ ask if it’s normal for your shoe size to change.

Talk about your bowels a lot

Report back on every shit. Paint a full picture of your faecal life: clogged up or free-flowing, if he loves you, that man needs to know.The more vivid the images, the less he’ll associate your back passage with sex and cramming his little soldier up your fart box will be forgotten.

Don’t be swayed

You’re right to doubt his claims you’d love it. That’s not his motivation. And he’s overselling the G-spot idea: never found in vaginal intercourse, does he honestly that’s because it abandoned fanny and scuttled up your butt like a crab changing rockpools?

Imply it’s reciprocal

Line up the sex toys, from the ones he knew about to the rather more sizeable ones he definitely didn’t. Ask which one he’d like to start with. If he doesn’t seem keen, remind him it’s a predilection enjoyed by the second highest in the land so he should feel honoured.

Get older

There comes an age where nobody’s expecting you to be adventurous any more. Sure, losing your anal virginity in your 50s would make a great dinner party anecdote but you’re hardly going to be lying on your deathbed wishing you’d gone for it while you had the chance. Or maybe you are. Perhaps lube up and give it a bash just in case.