‘From the bustling streets of Dagenham to the rich artistic exchange of an evening in Romford, the much-maligned county of Essex has plenty to recommend to the visitor, whether he is there for a day, a week, or just out on remand.’
Populated by a vibrant crowd, a big-fisted welcome is promised to anyone foolhardy enough to join Essex’s sharply dressed thrill-seekers on a typical Friday night, ready to receive the traditional greeting of ‘Whachoo fucking lookin’ at?’ from someone impersonating an auctioneer in a wind tunnel. Unusually tactile for the British, many of Essex’s residents place great emphasis on the importance of physical contact as part of building lasting relationships, with a particular fondness for the punch.
The county has made several influential contributions to British culture over the years. In popularising the 200-watt bass amplifier upgrade to poorly built Astras, the familiar sight of cars suffering terminal mechanical failure from the effect of sound vibrations has inspired circus clowns far and wide. And recent “dramality” programmes like The Only Way Is Essex have reminded the rest of the country that while they might be lying on a sofa in tracksuit bottoms eating cold beans from the tin, there is still a bunch of sentient beings out there to feel smugly superior to.
Defenders point out that Essex has cast off its slovenly image and undergone a resurgence over recent years, with a booming economy and major expansion in cultural events and amenities. These people, sadly, are liars.
- TRADITIONAL DRINKS: Stella, Chardonnay
- TRADITIONAL GIRL’S NAMES: Stella, Chardonnay
- ECONOMY: 100% reliant on insecurity about physical appearance
- OFFICIAL MOTTO: ‘Only a little bit worse than you’d think’
- HEALTH ISSUES: A vajazzle hides a thousand sins
200 BC – Roman historian Tacitus comments favourably on the town of Colchester in his book The Annals of Ancient Rome, though complains that the women “hath had more cocks than a fairground rifle.”
50 BC – Roman inhabitants of Colchester are derided by the local Celtic Iceni tribe for their glaring white togas and pimped chariots.
1381 AD – During the Peasant’s Revolt the city of Chelmsford briefly becomes the seat of Government, a choice made to focus minds on regaining control of London.
1664 – Southend is colonised by lager.
1967 – The stiletto heel is brought to Essex, leaving unprepared pavements looking like a relief map of Vanessa’s Feltz’s thighs.
1984 – Following the successful introduction of fluoride to the local water supply as a public health measure, Essex County Council also approves the addition of peroxide, and later, Hooch.
1994 – Brentwood is mocked for being the most boring town in Britain. A rearguard PR campaign fought by the town council is not helped after one of the ‘Interesting Facts about Brentwood’ points out that Brentwood is an anagram of ‘bored town’.
1999 – Nike cedes control of Colchester to Adidas in the Battle of JJB Sports.
2003 – Chelmsford prison was branded one of the worst jails in the country by the Chief Inspector of Prisons after inmates were found to be living in such unsanitary conditions they were escaping in rubbish bags after disguising themselves as piles of litter.
Did You Know?
Radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi set up his factory in Chelmsford. A blue plaque to honour this was erected in 1995, though it was stolen for use as a hubcap on a Vauxhall Nova.
A diamond geyser from Ilford, Ol’ Richard Littlejohn releases spectacular twice-weekly blasts of wind and shit.
As part of a plan “aiming to bring the town into the 21st Century,” Basildon paid homage to the famous white Hollywood sign by creating their own version. At five feet tall, the new sign is one-tenth of the height of the original, though the council has been surprised to note it has not attracted one-tenth of the interest.
Bas Vegas, Basildons’s largest nightclub complex, sees visitors lose and lose big on the slot machines, the post-club fight in the car park and, eventually, the battle for genital hygiene as well.
The area of Jaywick is Eastern Essex was recently identified as the most deprived place in southern England. Unemployment was estimated at 44% and the community was found to severely lack basic amenities like hairdressers, beauticians and tanning salons.
You’re a bouncer in the famous Essex nightspot of Chelmsford. Your job is to make sure everyone has a great night, and doesn’t get stabbed at least until after they leave your pub. Unfortunately you’re a meatbag, and let five sharps into the bar while you were outside selling poppers. Can you find the knives?