169 // The Best Thing To Do In The U.K.

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So according to a vague memory of an unverified poll that a friend of a friend told me about, a night out in Newcastle-Upon -Tyne in England, was voted the best thing to do in Britain. The best thing. Not just one of the best, but the best.

This is interesting because it is not as if the U.K. has a shallow pool of historical and cultural things to do and see. Even just think of Stone Henge, over 3,000 years old; ‘nah mate, lets get pissed in Newcastle’ Or the WHOLE of the Scottish Highlands or the Lake District, Buckingham Palace, any castle, any cathedral, any field, any T junction, any job centre… OK, I’ll be honest, I’m not that into nights out in Newcastle.

I quickly realised growing up that I was just not fond of vomiting in the street, drinking until passing out, fighting, singing; ‘EN-GER-LAND LA LA LA’, eating terrible food at 3am or giving piggy backs to girls who had taken their high heels off.

I have a get out of jail free card with this tart criticism though, and that is because I grew up not far from Newcastle and experienced it first hand. Thank goodness for that experience, otherwise I was in deep trouble. It is a brave decision to rely soley on someones experience as a cornerstone of decision making. Especially when famed philosophers like Thomas Kuhn failed to consolidate A posteriori knowledge in such a way, but then again I think the people of Newcastle are more into Kant anyway.

So just because I do not like these nights out is not to say other people can’t enjoy them, but I did get the impression whilst I was out that there was an undercurrent of deep seated masculine insecurity which manifested into increasingly ‘macho’ posturing, where by they would do these acts in order to gain the respect and love of others, to fill the void left by the previous ‘macho’ generation who showed them neither love nor respect.

OK, pseudo-philosophical-psychological paragraphs are done. Tick. On to the real magic.

You see, Newcastle is a Jekyll and Hyde city. By night it is covered in beer cans, cheesey chips, vomit and blood, but then a magical team of well trained mythical creatures street cleaners come in and clean it up in time for the day walkers. It is so clean that by the time the nurses change shifts and the shop doors open, it looks untouched, the floor clean enough to eat your dinner off – something people were doing only hours earlier.

This leaves the exciting prospect that half of the population of Newcastle do not  actually realise it is, by night, a dirty party city. They go to bed early when it is nice and clean, they wake up and it is still nice and clean. They recommend it to their ageing friends, as a large city with lots to do but is also very accommodating to those retiring.

On the flip side you have the party goers and party tourists arriving after the day walkers have gone to bed, they have their ‘Great British Night Out™’ as recommended by a poll a friend of a friend assured me exists, and they go back to their hotels and sleep all day. It is a messy, dirty party city to them.

All respect must go to the street cleaners though, they see both worlds, but only for a brief moment.

I don’t know if I would get a job there, as it took me 10 hours to clean a very small apartment today. As the furniture disappears, and the luggage bags are zipped up, it begins to hit me that I need to get ready for the changing of the guard. I am privileged to see this brief moment between two worlds where it neither looks like my place nor the next persons. So, in a few days this will be someone else’s department and its their turn to cover it in vomit, beer cans and cheesey chips.

Paul Green



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  1. helentastic67

    You paint such a delightful picture. Si vivid I can almost smell it. Occasionally when I head into the city(Melbourne) on a Monday morning despite streetcleaners it still smells like a urinal. I spent my 20’s working in clubs, sober and happy. Its doable. But my 3 month tour of the UK in ’94 was unforgettable. Hope to revisit one day. Cheers,H

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MoJo

    Who ran this poll? Maxim magazine (the British English edition)? Don’t get me wrong. I dearly miss my heel-free vomiting tart days, but my favorite thing to do in the U.K. is to play “Who can order the most unexpected sandwich to contain mayonnaise” with any other willing contestants. I also appreciate “Who can guess what kind of meat was sitting on this ice before I asked my waiter to put it in my water glass?” And anything at all when you can involve the bobbies. Even their name is more fun than our versions. Now I’m remembering all things England and missing it. Even the gray days. But not the mayo. What is up with that?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. MoJo

        Sounds like an excellent move on your part, and you have traded out for some incredible experiences in return. On that note, I had an extremely difficult time reading your post about Auschwitz. It made my heart ache more than I can articulate. I struggled deeply with overwhelming sadness when I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. years ago. I’m not Jewish, but I am human. It’s quite literally beyond my comprehension how anyone could possibly behave with such unmitigated cruelty towards another ever. It was a heart wrenching and raw post Paul, and it was beautiful.

        Back to levity… I’m in Texas so the mayo is still a thing here. I’m not actually sure why it’s a thing, but so be it. And I meant to say butter. I had mayo on the brain (yuck), and my mind went there. I was going to bed last night and randomly realized what I had written. What can I say. I’m not always the sharpest knife in the block. Or as I said to a friend one time, “I’m not a rocket science!” If only I had intended to say it that way… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Paul Green

          Sorry to hear you had a difficulty with the post, it is such a difficult place to go to, but I think a place everyone should visit. It is important so we know never to repeat such a thing.

          I actually since read a book by a jewish prisoner who assisted the infamous Dr Mangele. It was horrifying.

          If you have any other bedtime revelations about the blog then let me know!


          1. MoJo

            It was a tremendously moving post. I loved it. It just made my heart sad. I am thankful that those tortured souls who wiped away in minutes will be honored forever by all who remember them. Your post did just that.

            Liked by 1 person

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