What makes Stafford such a place of wonder?
It’s lameness is somewhat innate (sorry)
As a fresher you often find yourself explaining where you come from on an almost weekly basis, the queue for Digi Mondays is long enough for the entirety of your life story and before you know it you’re crying about the good old days of the Superclub with a randomer, who has never heard of, has been or ever will go to Stafford. When asked to describe what makes my hometown unique some immediate thoughts come to mind, but how is it possible to even come close to explaining the absolute hilarity that is Stafford itself, to a person from the outside?
How to locate the unlocatable
Where? Every Staffordian knows that an explanation/Geography lesson is required with every answer to this small question in conversational small talk. Nestled between the city with the ‘Ugliest Accent in the UK’ and what is locally referred to as ‘Joke on Trent’, is the county town of dreams. Upon receiving the answer “where?!” in the end “near Birmingham” tends to get people off your back but leaving it at this can be a risky decision due to the immediate prescription of a Brummie accent upon you. When in reality you know that your southern flatmates couldn’t be more wrong in their diagnosis that you “go Brummie when you’re drunk” as your accent is the one of the most neutral in the area.
It has issues, even Stafford isn’t perfect
Stafford is simultaneously the best and worst place to live, it’s failings as becoming a cosmopolitan town make it entirely endearing and repulsive to the young people that live there. Coming back from uni to the familiar sanctuary that is the pub quiz on a Thursday at ‘The Wood’, an excuse for your whole year to sesh on a night that isn’t student night or the weekend. The endless roadwork traffic from the council digging up every road in town one by one, making it quicker to do your food shop in the next town than in your own, is comforting.
The most endearing thing about Stafford is that it tries. It tries to improve but it’s failure to do so leads me to believe that it’s lameness is somewhat innate. So maybe there is nothing there, granted this is a feature of small towns in general but Stafford; why do you have two Greggs along the same street? Why would any small town need two Greggs in the same street? Whilst at the same time missing so many chains that are necessary. Coming to a city uni the choice of food is ridiculously different to Stafford and the surrounding areas, making you aware of the culinary poverty that exists in Stafford.
I oatcake, you oatcake, he/she/we oatcake.
At least we have Oatcakes, inherited from our own Stoke on Trent, it’s the crème de la crème of Staffordian delicacy that my mum may or may not post out to me so that I can have a taste of home. Those of you who have not had the privilege it’s a savoury pancake like treasure served with cheese. To the outsider it may sound gross, as many of my traitorous hometown friends have said, but with the opening of ‘Oatcakes and Milkshakes’ Café, Stafford can now provide for the curious tourist in all their Oatcake needs they never knew they had. In fact my recent craving for the greasy and delicious treat led me to go to the chain ‘Crepe Affaire’ for a cheese crepe in the hopes that it would taste vaguely Oatcake-ish. Needless to say it was shit, and I have never felt so far from home.
An example of poor Stafford’s comic misfortune is the way 100 million pounds was invested into a new shopping complex only for it to be filled with the exact same shops that already existed on the high street causing subsequent mass closure and the highstreet dying a painful death. But I mean NOW we have a NANDOS so it was entirely worth it right?! But really if you’re eating Nandos in Stafford does that not put you off your piri piri chicken? Automatically in coming to Stafford, Nandos is uncool.
It made The Tab’s poll for ‘Most tragic hometown club in the country’ so what??
Despite it all, however, Stafford’s night out is unmatched. Living in Newcastle the ‘party city of the UK’ is almost nothing in comparison to the routine of getting your pitcher at The Picture House, with the historic blue ceiling and seeing everybody you have ever met getting blitzed with their mates. Then a swift move on to The Superclub before 12:00 for the free entry entry and £2 VKs, exerting yourself harder than you ever did in PE in an attempt at winning the Cheesy Room dance competition. You know it’s bad, but at the same time you know that nothing else could ever be so wonderful.
It could be the way we all pile in to Al Karims or Denry’s (if we’re feeling fancy) on the way out of the club or the flooding that will always be under the Radford Bank Bridge. It could be the same songs being played over and over in Couture and how they used their spare Halloween decorations on NYE to cut costs but the loudmouths of Stafford, including me of course, would not have it any other way and for that Stafford I love you.