3.) Blackpool, UK
August 1st, 2018
Joey Blower’s Legendary Bar
Another 6-hour, blurry plane ride to my favorite Island. You know, 6 hours really isn't that bad, especially when you can overcome the fact that you are hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour in a thin metal tube, laughing in the face of hundreds of thousands of years of Homo Sapiens’ sedentary geographic existence. Hell it takes about 6 hours to drive to Pittsburgh! I even watched a movie! The Disaster Artist is quite a great movie it turns out. I’ve got to mention, though, that the best movie I’ve watched in the air recently is Death of Stalin. Holy shit is that movie amazing.
I don’t have a fear of flying per se. I would love to learn to fly. When I was a kid all I wanted was to be an astronaut via fighter pilot. I do, however, often have a problem being strapped in an uncomfortable chair and having to deal with a bunch of people for hours and hours over and over. I’d say I get the tunnel-vision jitter-limbed get-me-the-fuck-outs about one in every ten flights. It passes in a couple of minutes. I’ve had the full on sweaty, short breath gimme a fucking drink on two flights ever. It’s not nice.
Traveling is fantastic don’t get me wrong. It’s extremely exhausting and I’m sure I’ve knocked off a couple of years in the end by being so stressed and tired the past ten years. Don’t let that take away from the romance. I encourage you to get out there whenever you can. Shrink the world and bring us all a little closer. Open your heart and mind. Get a little weird.
Jet lag is weird. We never really got to some Tyler Durdan level disassociation, except maybe the 30 hours of travel back to Philly from the west coast of Australia that one time. Joe and I got into a little bit of trouble and I sauntered my way into the galley and codeine-slurred to the flight attendant, “How bout some wine for the boys for beddy bye? No more promise.” to which he extremely reluctantly complied and we woke up 10 hours later after landing in Philly.
For jet lag cures I’ve tried everything from standing barefoot in the grass of your destination (which I totally stand by, hippy magnets and shit be damned) to various pharmacological and homeopathic solutions. I’ve found that time, water, and the mantra “I’m going to make good decisions and trust myself” win the day. I also subscribe to those listicles that reference studies on appropriate nap times. Oh and if you can manage it, a cold shower.
We pulled into Blackpool and were immediately greeted with the sight of generations of punks sporting their sharpest (literally) and most colorful threads walking around with a unique swagger reserved for such sub-cultural pilgrimages. The first thing we saw as we parked was a family, Momma punk and Papa punk carrying a stroller with a baby in a Jeff cap up the steps of a hotel, sandwiched on the front and back by three other punk kids. It was awesome. Every bar is full of punks, completely overtaken. These are not fest punks, these are lifers, OG English Punks.
We snuck in a quick cheeky Nando’s together. I’m not sure why we call it a “cheeky Nando’s.” I think it has something to do with memes or Sugandese internet shit of some kind.
After a long stroll through the city, through the mall and past the Sainsbury’s, through the city’s Gayborhood and down to the boardwalk, I found this awesome bar on the North Pier and stopped to write this all up The Merrie English Bar. This place is awesome.
The city has an Asbury meets Scranton meets Boardwalk Empire feel tied together by one of those HBO crime dramas with weird yet wonderful cut scenes. It’s a little bit more coastal town than your average beach town. Nobody’s going in the water.
There's an older lady who winked at me (the comforting kind) and the speakers are blasting some weird as hell song about a Bear named Rupert, Rupert the Bear. That's some pretty British shit going on right there.
Previous Descriptor aside it’s quite a pleasant place. There are plenty of families, young couples, old couples, and friends all walking up and down the boardwalk enjoying a holiday. They're eating ice cream and playing in arcades, riding horses and buggies and playing blacklight mini golf. They're walking up and down the distant beach and sneaking beers on benches. My favorite part is that, for this weekend, half of them have two foot Mohawks and Cocksparrer T-shirt's.
Listen: David Byrne - American Utopia
Watch - Disaster Artist
Food - cheeky Nando’s