"UPDATE ON TAMWORTH"
I have been musing lately on my attitude towards my home town, and have come to the shocking conclusion that it represents nearly everything I hate. I have come to realise that any sentimental acceptance of its shortcomings (i.e. previous chapter) only serves to provide excuses for the feckless, uneducated, ignorant scum that populate this blot on the map of a generally uninspiring part of the United Kingdom. I'm so glad I've left it behind, and if Kim Jong Il ever needs to test his long range missiles, I'll happily give him Tamworth's co-ordinates. Viva la revolution!! xxx
Ah, Tamworth - the Big T, my hometown and the standard by which I judge every place I visit. It's probably the reason I love to travel so much.
A medium sized market town on the northern outskirts of Birmingham, Tamworth is somewhere people grow up and leave. It has a snow dome, a castle and a motorway service station, although these claims to fame still don't threaten nearby Lichfield as South Staffordshire's number one tourist spot.
The 2001 census highlighted the fact that people in Tamworth are half as qualified as the national average and crime figures out the same year revealed that it is twice as violent. This is because you need qualifications to leave Tamworth and go elsewhere to find opportinitues, better pay and more excitement. The people left behind amuse themselves the only way they can - by smashing bottles of Becks over each others heads.
Tamworth has no real regional identity; at once loathe to accept its inevitable assimilation into its huge concrete neighbour to the south, and yet unable to call itself northern, and take solace in the "downtrodden province" mentality of other nondescript northern towns.
I love Tamworth, I love its pubs, and their vain attempts to all become "wine bars". I love the way, as a badge of pride, people in the town refer to the local nightclub using the name by which it was known when they first blagged their way past the bouncers at age 15. I love the extensive canal network that local people never use, and yet people from Essex pay hundreds to float on for a weekend.
Long live the Big T.