2020欧洲杯体育投注开户On Wednesday night there was a riot at the end of my street and I slept right through it; what I supposed to be a dozen youngsters having some wholesome fun as I drifted heedlessly into the arms of Morpheus was described in the tabloids the next day as “pure mayhem”.
An eyewitness told our local paper the Argus: “There were ten police cars and about two thousand kids were walking around shouting at police like football chants – it was a stand-off.” Predictably “litter was left scattered2020欧洲杯体育投注开户 across the grass, with alcohol bottles, juice cartons, a football and clothing being just some of the items left behind.” (Lady Bracknell voice: ‘A football?’)
I couldn’t get myself into a state about it, though some locals were fuming that such antics should take place within sight of the Queen Victoria statue at the bottom of a street a friend once only half-mockingly referred to as “the Champs Elysee of Hove”. Why couldn’t they have desecrated dirty Brighton just a few yards down the road, Hovians tutted, which as Keith Waterhouse memorably wrote “always looks as if it’s helping the police with their enquiries” anyway.
Apparently for many of the youngsters it would have been their prom night after completing their GCSEs. I felt slightly complicit, remembering what I wrote in this newspaper last month: “If I was in charge, I’d let teenagers out first so they could have a lovely weekend when the streets belong to them, meeting up in parks and on beaches.”
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户If they were brandishing copies of the Sunday Telegraph at the rozzers, surely my status as The Voice Of Youth would at last be restored in my sixtieth year?
But by the time I ventured out the following noon, the Lawns were pristine, because that’s what a seaside town is geared up to do2020欧洲杯体育投注开户 – get messy and smarten itself up again. It’s how the hospitality trade makes the money which sees us through each long cold winter.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The beach too was gorgeous, with water so clean that a fisher caught a bream from a groyne while my friend was bitten by a luscious-looking crab while paddling. Here were lots of jolly families taking their ease at sensible distances and only my husband and myself letting the tone down as we chugged cocktails from cans.
It made us smug to read of genteel Bournemouth and the Dante’s Inferno-esque descriptions which were filtering out like bulletins from a war zone, with police declaring the beach itself “a major incident” as an allegedly half a million degenerates descended to defile the cowering watering hole. Gridlock, illegal parking, anti-social behaviour, overnight camping and overflowing bins were just a few of the nightmarish aspects of this degenerate Dorset re-imagined by Hieronymus Bosch.
Of course we won’t be sniggering if there’s another spike2020欧洲杯体育投注开户 due to our fun in the sun – but let’s try a bit of perspective here.
As William Goldman once said of Hollywood, “No one knows anything”. We can’t keep the youth caged up indefinitely so that we who’ve already had our fun can sleep safe in our blameless beds. Every festival is cancelled and all music is silenced everywhere this summer; seaside towns are by far the best places to let off steam.
The sea definitely makes people more pleasant. It’s all well and good seaside councils from Blackpool to Cornwall begging people not to rock up and make merry, but the staff in the beachfront bars2020欧洲杯体育投注开户 tell a different story.
And there’s already an unpleasant aspect to the reporting of the people determined to enjoy a few hours in the sun after three months of being shut up in a surreal half-world.
These are the people who voted for Brexit, you can hear the self-styled great and the good sniff; every Lady Muck and namby-pamby is having a field day with this new stick to bash the “gammons” with. It’s a new angle on what I named The Big Sulk (“La Grande Boude”) of the populist-hating Establishment.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户No one is saying that seaside councils can’t be practical; put up roadblocks if you must, work the one-in one-out system with cars as shops do with customers. But stop acting as though staying in makes every no-mates Rosa Parks.