Football clubs aren’t often the most imaginative organisations when it comes to nicknames. Some clubs see it as an opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the world, thinking up names so obscure that nobody but a small band of followers actually understands why. But on the whole, nicknames are a bridge too far for the PR agents and the marketing executives. So for every “The Nuts & Bolts” there will be three or for “Reds”, each “Monkey Hanger” is bettered by a dozen “United’s” and of course for every “Shrimper” there is half a dozen “Rovers”.
And that is the story of today, the hottest day of the year. In the deepest, darkest part of South East Essex is a place called Foulness Island. Not high up on the list of “Best Places in Europe to Visit 2013” according to Trip Advisor, but actually one of the most important areas of land for finding Brent geese no less. This flat, virtually uninhabited areas of Essex doesn’t see many visitors, as the roads and rails from the west stop at Southend-on-Sea, Britain’s 101st biggest settlement and home to the world’s longest pier. To the local’s it is simply Las Vegas on Sea. Home to Lee Evans, Phil Jupitas and James Bourne (what do you mean who? Do you not know anything about rock music???), it is also the Friday and Saturday night traditional entertainment spectacle of “Cruising”.
Having spent a year working in Essex, and actually occasionally going out with a genuine Essex girl (born in Essex, owned a white handbag, had a tattoo before they were trendy) I remember this ritual. “Where shall we go tonight? ” I would ask. “Cinema, Opera, Ballet?” I would offer as options. “Let’s do daarn Saafend and cruise” would come the response. Driving up and down the Essex Riviera with music pumping out of the car was the nocturnal pleasure of choice. I think I only kept going out with her because it was a cheap date… Continue reading