Let's move to where everyone thinks they film Hollyoaks! This week: Chester

What’s it about?

HOME to the UK’s best collection of caged animals, Chester is also the place where Hollyoaks is set but not filmed so don’t expect streets cascading with blonde teenagers suffering relatable personal problems.

Once a Roman army camp, the walled city is now home to empty shops, a needlessly high density of cafes, and pavements lined with senselessly drunk and heedlessly vomiting gamblers come race day. Don’t forget to check out the famous Chester Rows, a series of perfectly normal stores that are, incredibly, a few metres higher than street level.

Any good points?

It was once full of great stuff but it’s all either fallen into disrepair or been replaced by another sodding vegan bakery. A couple of thousand years ago you could have enjoyed cock fighting and bull baiting at the amphitheatre, but now it’s half-covered by road, making it feel like a glorified car park-cum-sandpit.

Perverts are catered to with Boutique by Nice ‘n’ Naughty, an adult retail store which adapts its window displays to cash-in on unerotic events like the Olympics with laughable results. And if you like Tudor architecture then Chester is filled with wonderful buildings from the era doused with centuries of piss by knobheads on nights out.

It still has a town crier making midday proclamations, which is a novelty the first time and sucks every other time. Though the creepy guy who makes balloon animals for children on the high street mercifully appears to have fucked off.

Wonderful landscape?

Chester is famously nestled in an S-bend of the River Dee, which snakes around the city and is fun to ride via pedalo on a sunny afternoon. Sadly Chester is perilously close to Wales, making the xenophobic English residents seethe with bitter fury.

If you catch yourself marvelling at the glorious rolling hills from the top of the Northgate, temper your enthusiasm by remembering they belong to a country deliberately ignored by the clock on Chester town hall.

Hang out at…

If you like to watch majestic animals get brutally whipped for your entertainment and financial gain then Chester Racecourse is the place to be. Though you won’t win. A thriving billion-pound industry exists because you don’t win.

Once you’ve counted up your losses you can always head to the city’s best nightclub, Rosies, which managed to break America a few years ago when two university students won a Halloween party there dressed as the World Trade Centre on 9/11; post-impact, pre-collapse.

After intellectual stimulation? Chester boasts some of the country’s worst poetry open mic nights. Take your pick from Alexander’s to a cramped meeting room above the Boot Inn and brace yourself for verse after punishing verse of trite observations about the burden of being trapped in dull pleasantness.

Where to buy?

House prices tend to climb the closer you get to the racecourse which makes no sense. It’s like paying extra to live next door to William Hill. But if you fancy a base in the centre of town then just rent one of the many empty shops in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

The council will be delighted you’re making the place look less rundown, and the properties may not have toilet facilities but you can make do with a bucket in the corner. It’s how the Romans did it.

Want somewhere cheaper? Move to Wrexham and lie.

From the streets:

Joshua Hudson, aged 24, said: “Chester is home to what some people claim to be the second most photographed clock in England. And having battled through crowds of dithering cunts pointing their cameras at Eastgate Clock on a daily basis, I reckon that’s true.”

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Mash Blind Date: 'I thought oysters would be an aphrodisiac, until she almost shit herself'

WILL sales rep Alex fall for book editor Clare, despite a catastrophic bowel detonation caused by a hitherto undiscovered shellfish allergy?  

Alex on Clare

First impression

Absolutely gorgeous. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she was some distance out of my league. That’s why I ordered oysters as a shared starter, to try and seem sexy and confident and as a desperate attempt to increase my chances.

How was the conversation?

Initially flowed really well but about halfway through the main course it started to peter out on her end. Then she got quite red in the face and broke out into a visible sweat, which I assumed was the oysters working their magic. It turned out they were, but not as I’d intended.

Memorable moments?

Clare leaping out of her seat and yelling ‘Get the fuck out of my way’ as she shoved a waiter to the ground in a flat sprint to the toilet will definitely stick in my mind. Also I don’t think I’ll ever forget the malodorous miasma she left behind. It smelt like I imagine death will.

Favourite thing about Clare?

I’d say her perseverance. After that initial bout of what I presume was volcanic-level shitting, she returned wan but smiling to the table.

A capsule description?

Beautiful, intelligent and thoughtful. The ideal woman, if it wasn’t for her weak stomach, loose bowels and previously unknown allergy to shellfish.

Was there a spark?

I thought there was because she seemed so fidgety and flustered, like she had powerful feeling she was afraid to confess. But it transpired that the feelings she was reluctant to discuss were the incipient signs of a nasty bout of food poisoning, so I may have been wrong.

What happened afterwards?

We carried on with the meal, after she’d very sweetly apologised to the waiter while he was taken away on the spinal board, but then within ten minutes she was back in the loo. She texted asking for a lift home but my Alfa Romeo’s got leather seats so I had to decline. I presume she got an Uber as she wouldn’t have managed the bus without a nasty accident and a lifetime ban from TFL.

What would you change about the evening?

The shitting. It really killed the mood.

Will you see each other again?

I would love to shag Clare on a day when she hasn’t got horrific diarrhoea. Although maybe we could squeeze sex in between bouts. The danger would add to the fun.

Clare on Alex

First impression

To be honest he seemed a bit of a wanker. I mean, who orders oysters? I only ate them to be polite, which is ironic given how things turned out.

How was the conversation?

I was already bored of his detailed description about the new carburettor he’s bought when my stomach lurched. Then he asked me a question about myself and very obviously ignored the answer, then the nausea began to rise and I gave up speaking entirely to concentrate on stopping my arse from exploding.

Memorable moments?

Finding out I’m horrifically allergic to oysters in the middle of a busy restaurant is something that I will certainly remember. The mix of surging relief as I reached the loo in time and gut-wrenching abdominal agony is also unlikely to ever leave.

Favourite thing about Alex?

He had a lot of ridiculous, old-fashioned ideas, like believing that oysters make you horny. This also meant he insisted on paying for the meal, which was great as I didn’t want to shell out £50 for the privilege of my anus becoming a sewage outflow.

A capsule description?

The prick refused to drive me home because of his precious car seats. What happened to chivalry, and gentlemen, and looking after a lady suffering prolonged bouts of graphic gastroenteritis?

Was there a spark?

Are you fucking kidding me? I have never been less interested in a shag.

What happened afterwards?

He pissed off in his stupid car and I got a taxi home, stopping twice. Once by an alleyway and once, to my shame, by someone’s front garden.

What would you change about the evening?

I would not have suffered an apocalyptic bout of the shits due to some selfish knobhead believing bivalve molluscs are an aphrodisiac.

Will you see each other again?

No, I imagine it’s an experience we’d both like to put firmly behind us.