“Allowing alphabetical superiority to go to its head, Bedfordshire has let standards slip in all other indicators of achievement. This indifference has seen the county cut adrift in educational standards, social integration, cultural attractions, many other things, and everything else.”
Stubbornly unconcerned about addressing its low rankings, Bedfordshire instead wastes time buying atlases to flick back to the index and nod in self-absorbed satisfaction at seeing itself at the top, ignoring the overwhelming smell of impotence and disappointment that pervades throughout like a wet dog.
Having conspicuously failed to hit the heights, Bedfordshire instead opts to flirt with the depths. After a national newspaper asked whether Bedfordshire University was the worst in the UK, university officials reacted angrily. Although they concede the institution is easier to get into than Paris Hilton, it has nonetheless maintained a popular student exchange programme boasting links to some of the most active madrassas in northern Pakistan.
In years gone by, the county was well-known for its hat-making industry. Millinery provided a source of pride and income to local towns, at least until trends in fashion moved on to embrace sexier materials than hay. Bedfordshire’s economy today relies on convenient commuting distances to London and the career opportunities offered by Easyjet at their Luton airport headquarters. Sadly, these opportunities are typically delayed for almost as long as the company’s scandalously squalid planes.
After searching for a feature which the county could legitimately claim excellence in, the Bedfordshire tourist board hit rock bottom in the 2000s after deciding to boast on roadsigns of the county’s position in the ‘centre of the Oxford and Cambridge arc‘. This fatal admission left prospective visitors in no doubt that the area’s appeal amounted to little more than being a tedious advert break sandwiched between two high-budget period dramas.
12th Century – Dunstable Priory sees England’s first ever theatrical performance ruined by monks failing to switch off their mobile illuminated manuscripts.
1336 – Much of Luton town centre is destroyed in a fire started after a man absent-mindedly tries to put out a pipe using his straw hat.
1660 – Maverick author and preacher John Bunyan is sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by draconian Church authorities after being accused of conducting services in a whimsically sarcastic tone.
1951 – A crack Bedfordshire militia is forced to invade the proposed county of Avon to maintain the county’s alphabetical primacy, after a preemptory application to change its ceremonial name to Aaaaaahshire is rejected by the Boundary Commission.
1996 – Easyjet sets up its headquarters at Luton Airport. The company’s low-cost business model goes on to revolutionise the airline industry, to the point where receiving a wet chicken piece constitutes premium travelling.
2005 – Luton is named as the ‘crappest town in Britain’ in a survey conducted by The Idler magazine. After considering the most practical options for escaping the unwanted accolade, Luton Council applies for the area to be reclassified as a village.
Did You Know?
The world’s first tractor was developed in Biggleswade by ‘Genial Dan’ Albone in 1902. Local records reveal that Genial Dan was in fact a rude, loudmouthed bastard, but no outsiders who came to admire his achievements could hear him over the noise of his tractor.
Locals in Bedford sometimes address each other as ‘Clangers’, a nickname derived from a popular suet pastry dish. A delicacy rarely found outside the county, a traditional Clanger is made from a small pastry case, into which a paste made from pink space mouse is inserted.
Bedford is home to one of the UK’s largest groups of Italian migrants. With almost 30% of the town’s population claiming some Italian ancestry, they have brought Mediterranean vitality to the city in the same way that Beppe brought it to Eastenders.
Despite the name, Bedfordshire actually has fewer beds per person than any other UK county, opting instead for the futon – an exotic Japanese innovation that allows one to experience the hard slatted sensation felt by a rasher of grilling bacon. Recent studies into the inexplicable heaviness of the average futon proved that most are composed of futonium, the purest form of hatred.