Let's move to the land of candy floss, scavenging seagulls and infamous sex offenders! This week: Scarborough 

What’s it about?

Scarborough is the classic British seaside town: shit. Buckets, spades, decaying Victorian attractions, hammered tourists and noisy rip-off arcades.

Neighbouring towns call it Scarbados, which is a damning indictment in itself. It’s on the Yorkshire coast and the North Sea, meaning it’s wet, cold and full of Northern Tories.

Crime is an impressive 85 per cent above the national rate for England, lending its seediness an edge of thrilling danger, but worry not – it’s mainly violence and sexual assault. Actually maybe worry a bit.

Any good points?

The main drag of shops and amusements is situated on an armpit-shaped bay, cheerfully walked by visitors until the attractions dwindle to nothing and they have to turn back.

And while it remains in the middle of fucking nowhere, it is the perfect day trip for major Northern cities known for their friendly, open male populations. A Mecca for all the roughest, neck-tattooed bastards from Newcastle and Sunderland to the north and Hull and Leeds to the South. An army of shirtless, sunburnt scrotes, adding an air of menace and Strongbow Dark Fruits to the seaside charm.

Despite being a coastal town, there’s nowhere famous for fish ’n’ chips. Instead wooden shacks on sell defrosted mini prawns, cockles and unlabelled, miscellaneous pink stuff formed into the shape of lobster tails.

The only less impressive array of marine animals in the area is at the Sea Life Centre, which is where all the other Sea Life Centres send their most feeble animals to die. Like a hospice where you get to pet a starfish.

And for ice-cream, why not buy your kid a Lemon Top? A local favourite of vanilla Mr Whippy topped with a tangy squirt of sorbet. It’s never caught on anywhere else, because it’s fucking disgusting.

Beautiful landscape

Enjoy beautiful views of the shite-brown sea in your top coat, scarf and woolly hat, because chances are you’ll be freezing your tits off. If you do hit a sunny day, the beaches will be packed and a naked, screaming toddler will run over and piss on your towel.

Travel the rest of the city on a £5 open-top Beachcomber bus tour, which seems good value until you realise it’s the seafront you’ve seen already, a few mini-roundabouts and dangerous fairground rides playing intense techno.

On the other hand it’s near the North Yorks Moors, Dalby Forest, and the far superior seaside town of Whitby. So if you like going to places that are near better places, it’s ideal.

Hang out at…

The arcades. 2p waterfalls and women on mobility scooters putting their benefit money back into the local economy. Or, once you’ve bought tokens, give the kids 50 seconds on a rickety ride painted with copyright infringing imagery of Peppa Pig or Buzz Lightyear.

There’s the Stephen Joseph Theatre, home of bedroom farce-master Alan Ayckbourn and one of the few old Odeons in the UK which is not a Wetherspoons. Don’t worry. There’s still a Wetherspoons.

Or there are gigs at the Open Air Theatre, passed by the North Bay Railway steam trains, which is stuck in an unforgiving loop of artists your mum likes. Alfie Boe. Olly Murs. Olly Murs again. Britney Spears once played there, which would be kitsch and cool if the locals could shut the fuck up about it.

Where to buy

Houses and apartments with a sea view are in high demand among the kind of Londoners who didn’t raise quite enough selling their flats to move to nicer seaside towns in Sussex.

Sir Jimmy Savile lived here for years and was buried here, with his coffin at a 45-degree angle so he could see the sea. Yeah. His gravestone’s not there anymore. His corpse is. Sit with that for a while and decide whether you want to become a resident.

The pandemic housing boom’s over and all those Londoners are stuck here vaguely wondering when the gentrification’s happening. South Bay’s still the nice bit but North Bay’s cheaper. Barrowcliff is very affordable. Remember that crime rate from earlier?

From the streets:

Darren Smith, aged 52, waltzer operator: “It’s a fucking dump, but at least it’s not full of fucking goths. Unlike Whitby.”

Julian Cook, aged 43: “It seemed such a lovely idea, living by the sea, working remotely, leaving dirty old London behind. I didn’t know. I wish to God I’d known.”

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Mash Blind Date: 'I hoped he'd bring the dog from his Bumble profile. It's all I'm interested in'

NAIL artist Kelly Howard, aged 29, only swiped right on Jack Browne, aged 32, because of his adorable King Charles spaniel. Can she endure a whole date without seeing it?

Kelly on Jack

First impression?

Jack almost looked exactly like he did on his Bumble profile. Except he wasn’t holding a lead with that heart-meltingly gorgeous dog on the end of it, even though I hinted pretty strongly I’d be angry if he didn’t. So that was already a blatant catfish.

How was conversation?

He asked all the standard first date questions: where do you work, got any siblings, what do you do for fun, the usual shit. I responded by asking how old Charlie was, did he like to be tickled, can he raise one paw, etcetera. It’s important to be upfront about what you want from a relationship.

Memorable moments?

A man walked past the restaurant window with a bearded dachshund in tow, its little tail wagging away like a clock. I gazed at it dreamily, picturing myself in his place.

Favourite thing about Jack?

He owns Charlie. Jack is a dog owner. Charlie technically belongs to Jack and if we got married I would own Charlie. The dog. I want the dog. Give me the dog.

A capsule description?

Dog-owning man unfairly deprives canine-starved woman.

Was there a spark?

I got a jolt of happiness when I saw pictures of Charlie on his phone I’d never seen before. Admittedly I had to swipe past the picture of some niece or whatever, but it was worth the effort. I got through half a dozen before he wrestled it off me.

What happened afterwards?

I invited myself round to his for a night of unforgettable passion where he could do anything he wanted to me. I qualified it with ‘if Charlie’s there.’ He declined.

What would you change about the evening?

Jack could have dropped the dog off and gone home. Charlie and I could have gone on a lovely walk through a park, and I’d have thrown sticks for him and petted him and told him what a good boy he was. Not that I want to date a dog. That would be weird.

Will you see each other again?

When I got home I saw that Jack had unmatched me, so probably not. I can’t blame him. He’s got Charlie. Why would he need anything else?

Jack on Kelly

First impression?

It would seem she wasn’t joking about bringing the dog, even though this is a reasonably expensive restaurant. She told the waitress she was only dating me because of my dog. I had to show the waitress pictures of my dog. We hadn’t even ordered drinks.

How was the conversation?

Dog-centric. I could have told her I was the billionaire who invented the Covid vaccine and I spend weekends at my beach house on the Sea of Tranquility and she wouldn’t have given a fuck, because they have nothing to do with my dog.

Memorable moments?

The toilet paper in the restaurant bathroom was triple-ply. Don’t see that very often. I had a nice chat to the attendant about ska. I don’t know much about ska, but it was a blessed reprieve from fucking questions about my fucking dog.

Favourite thing about Kelly?

She offered to split the bill, which I happily took her up on because she wasted my evening badgering me about a pet I am slowly growing to resent.

A capsule description?

Kelly has no interest in me as a person and only dated me to take away what makes me happy. So a pretty normal first date as a man, really.

Was there a spark?

I’ve never had a less romantic evening in my life. And I play five-a-side with fat blokes every Thursday.

What happened afterwards?

Kelly flung herself at me and I fobbed her off with some bullshit about needing to get up early for work. I expect she went home via the greyhound racing track to get her dog fix.

What would you change about the evening?


Will you see each other again?

I am in the process of taking out a restraining order against Kelly on behalf of my dog. So I’d say it’s unlikely.