The Shawshank Redemption: could it perhaps not be the greatest film of all time?

IT’S been top of every popular movie ranking for more than a decade. For good reason, or is it shite? Warning: spoilers for a movie everyone currently living has seen 15 times.

It’s a fun caper with prison rape

Andy Dufresne suffers horrific sexual abuse on a daily basis for years, all while running an accountancy hustle and working on escape. All of which adds up to a very uneven tone, like combining Ray Winstone in Scum with Trading Places’s frozen orange juice hustle.

The plan could very, very, very easily go wrong

It takes 17 years to dig the tunnel. During that time the Blu-Tack is infallible and there’s never a basic cell search. One breeze, one split drink, or one inappropriate ejaculation could have blown the plan at any point. Presumably Andy took care of his cellmate’s sexual needs to avoid the latter eventuality.

It’s f**king lucky Andy is an accountant

If Andy wasn’t an accountant, he’d have no skills to trade and the whole film would collapse, so it’s as well he wasn’t a feng shui consultant. Looks like your parents were right about accountancy – it pays well and gives you something to fall back on when wrongly convicted of your wife’s murder.

Cliched prisoners

There’s Brooks the institutionalised old-timer who works in the library, and of course Morgan Freeman establishing his godlike persona as the wise old inmate who knows how to play the system. And Andy, our likeable hero, is the old favourite: the innocent man. Yeah, there’s some ambiguity, but why else does the kid who knew the killer get shot?

The poster plot hole

How did Andy re-affix the bottom of the poster after climbing into the tunnel? Apparently he just let it hang down which is bollocks but whatever, sometimes nerds need to just f**king let an inconseqential error go. Is some kind of wire hook that pushes tape down really beyond this escape artist’s abilities? Say that happened. Done.

The fans

Excessive hype can put you off anything, even if it’s good. Shawshank fans claiming a film you watched on VHS in 1995 and forgot about is the greatest movie ever? When they’re comparing it to nothing more than Star Wars and The Matrix? If you mentioned The Godfather they’d say: ‘The Cod Barter? What’s that? I don’t like Iranian cinema.’

No women

Why do film bros really vote for this in their droves? Because there aren’t any women in it. There’s Andy’s wife, a cheating whore who deserves to die, and that’s it. We establish that neither Red or Andy is gay via the Sisters and then it’s one long bromance, ending with their embrace on a beach. Because without women, the world finally makes sense.

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Let's move to a city where the people love bridges almost as much as they love Greggs! This week: Newcastle upon Tyne

What’s it about?

They’re friendlier up north, and Newcastle is truly one of the friendliest places to get your head kicked in for glancing at someone’s girlfriend. But acts of savage violence aside, Geordies are warm, welcoming and unintelligible to anyone south of Darlington.

Newcastle is a lively city with its own culture and customs, like drinking pints, smoking tabs and wearing close to no clothing in sub-arctic conditions. The government prefers to forget it exists which at this point in time is a compelling reason to move there.

Any good points?

Newcastle is renowned for its nightlife – and, unlike shitholes like London, lives up to that reputation. A night out in Newcastle makes nights out in other cities look like a watercolour painting class for pensioners at the local library. Geordies know how to have a good time and, if you get on their good side, they might just teach you.

It’s also one of the last few places in the country you can get a pint for less than £2. Find the right pub in Byker, Walker, Heaton or even some city centre locales and you’ll be buying rounds under a tenner or, as locals call it, a deposit for a three-bed terraced house.

It’s a football city. You can accurately calculate your odds of being filled in on a night out by whether Newcastle lost that day. The club was recently sold to Saudi Arabia, which because Geordies are a welcoming people who embrace diversity was celebrated by pissed fans dancing around with tea-towels on their heads outside St James’s Park.

Wonderful landscapes?

Surrounded by nightmarish housing estates and brutal suburbs, Newcastle’s centre is delightful. Grey Street, frequently voted one of the most beautiful streets in the country, is so aesthetically pleasing it feels like a mistake, as if it was meant to be in Bath but got lost. At the top of it is Grey’s Monument, a huge statue of the guy they named your nan’s favourite tea after.

Residents of the city are so taken with the novelty of crossing water there are seven f**king bridges, which is dramatic but unreasonable. The Tyne Bridge looks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge but isn’t half as famous and the Millennium Bridge is known as the Blinking Eye, but more closely resembles a harp crossed with a vagina.

Hang out at….

You’re never more than six feet from a Greggs in Newcastle. Like pasta to Italians, Greggs is a regional staple. Their sausage rolls are called Geordie Dummies because they’re given to infants as the beginning of their life of Greggs.

If you want to try an age-old Geordie tradition, find yourself a café that does a ham sandwich with pease pudding on stotty bread. It’s a regular ham sandwich with the addition of a yellow mush that tastes a shit hummus.

For nightlife there’s the Bigg Market. Nobody alive today can experience the last hedonistic days before Rome fell, so this is the next best thing. There’s everything you could want: nightclubs, kebabs, cocaine, bouncers pumped up on testosterone incensed at the mere thought of a man wearing trainers. There’s also the Quayside, which is the Bigg Market with a non-zero chance you’ll fall in the Tyne and drown.

If you’re artsy, there’s an abundance of wanky venues. Baffling contemporary art? Go to the Biscuit Factory or stroll over the vagina harp to the Baltic.

Where to buy?

Back in the 1970s, the powers-that-be had an ingenious idea: gather up all the poor and build a wall around them. Thus Byker Wall was born. A hybrid of warzone and prison, Byker’s cheap, central and has a vibrant culture of calling ambulances then throwing bricks at them.

Upmarket? Jesmond’s for you. It’s hard to believe but there are posh parts of Newcastle and Jesmond is one of the poshest. The Geordies who live there prefer the Guardian to tabs and Waitrose to ale. If you’re from the south, you’ll fit right in.

From the streets:

Tom Logan, 30, said: “Newcastle’s great. It’s cold and miserable, the government doesn’t give us any money, and parts of it are rough as fuck. But if you’ve got twenty quid in your pocket you can forget all of that shit and have the greatest night of your fucking life. Who’d want to live anywhere else?”