Taking Stock - September 23, 2013

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Every morning, as I drive into work, I pass a sign.

In truth I pass several signs, some of which tell me to drive at 20 miles per hour – a truly needless and ridiculous waste of time and money and which, given our obsession with cutting out all risk, are just a precursor to the return of the man with the red flag.

But those aren’t the signs I’m on about.

No, there’s one in particular which really gets my goat.

It’s just outside South Shore Cricket Club and welcomes drivers (and I presume pedestrians and those on pushbikes) to Blackpool.

Now maybe it’s because of the horrendous traffic on Queensway and the fact I’m invariably stuck in a queue when I pass it, but I can’t help but think we’re underselling this fantastic resort.

It doesn’t help that, thanks, I presume, to an advertising agreement, there’s a separate sign below it exclaiming Blackpool is the home not of The Tower, the beautiful Winter Gardens or those incredible Lights but Terry’s Cut Price Carpets.

But even without the message from our sponsors it would still be a terrible sign, cluttered, amateurish and carrying the slogan ‘a great place to visit, a great place to live’ or some woolly rubbish like that.

It’s the kind of generic, inoffensive and inclusive slogan which typifies the naff culture of 21st century Britain.

And don’t think you’ve got away with it, Lancashire.

I still remember ‘a place where everybody matters’, better, admittedly than Blackpool’s current mantra ‘A fair place where aspiration and ambition are encouraged’.

Over the pond they get it right, where each state manages to sum up it’s ethos in no more than about four words.

California is The Golden State, Connecticut is ‘Still Revolutionary’. Delaware used to go with the moniker ‘Small Wonder’ and lets not go without mentioning ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.

Maybe Blackpool could go with a song or a catchphrase – something with a connection to our cheeky seaside heritage. Let’s chuck out that offensively inoffensive rubbish.

It’s time to say “Welcome to Blackpool – It’s turned out nice again!”