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Knauf

Knauf

Skegness is not looking too promising. Yet again it’s raining and during our research into the town, we clicked the ‘Places of Interest’ tab on the skegness.com website and were answered with the message, “No Results”. Skegness marketing hasn’t got the best track record, given that the most famous advertisement for the town is ‘Skegness is SO bracing’. You’re selling a holiday destination and all you can say is “It’s blimming cold”? The only other selling points we find are that the town came number one in a survey in Yours magazine for the best retirement place in the UK, that you can still buy Chesney Hawkes t-shirts on the high street and that there’s another shop called Allsorts which apparently has “something for everyone”, which is definitely true seeing as how the something includes a “humourous turd collection”.

pleasure beach

pleasure beach

So no, Skegness doesn’t look promising. But, what’s this? On arrival, the first thing we see is a rockabilly boutique called Fiesta. It sells mainly new things, not all vintage, but has amazingly cheap brothel creepers and is run by a cheery man called Del. Del tells us about a mega car boot sale (the biggest one in the country) which is happening tomorrow and promises to go home and root through his stock to see if he has any creepers in our size. In the meantime, Tamsin gets a sailor top and Nhung a vintage vanity trunk.

Skegness Pier, That's a good idea

Skegness Pier, That's a good idea

After, Fiesta, the high street is a bit of an anti-climax, and disappointingly, there’s no Chesney Hawkes memorabilia to be seen. It is one of the most garish roads we’ve ever seen, lined purely with shops selling shoddy fluorescent scarves, cheap workware stalls and grimy cafes. Everything is so gimcrack and flimsy, even the street furniture is probably made in China. The stench in the air could be chip fat or it could be petroleum-based products pooling in flabby arse cracks into puddles of grease. The charity shops are also disappointing, although Lindsey nearly buys a cook book, only being put off by a recipe inside for something called ‘Wee Pancakes’.

little hoody

little hoody

The seafront in comparison is stunning. A beautiful sandy beach with wild dunes and a dramatic wind farm out to sea. We chat to a man with a cute dog in a jacket called Millie (the dog that is, not the man or the jacket) and the sun comes out and suddenly Skegness is quite nice. We wander along the prom and look at the windbreaks which all have odd messages written on them like, “I fell in love with a pianist from the orchestra”. We walk through the Pleasure Beach theme park and admire its impressive donkey derby. We have a look at the pier, which has a sign saying; “Skegness Pier. That’s a Good Idea’” (Once more the Skegness tourism board comes up trumps). Lindsey gives her Lost Prom tip of the day, which is “The shitter the seaside town, the better the crazy golf”. Then we have ciabatta melts and chilli and garlic bread in Christopher’s Tea Room and discuss our next move. We are toying with driving out to the seal sanctuary, but it’s a bit early in the year for them and it may be a wasted journey, so instead we decide to head back in the direction of Grimsby (by way of Fiesta to check the brothel creepers – damn! They’re not quite right) and have a look at some industrial installations instead.

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We drive towards Immingham, an industrial port just outside Grimbsy. On the way back from Bridlington yesterday we had seen the Lindsey Oil Refinery in the distance, lit up like an ugly smoke-charred chandelier. It had an exciting look, so big and dynamic, almost breathing through smoky nostrils with a septum destroyed by years of pollution, unsafe working practices and disrespect for its workers. However, security is so tight, we can’t work out how to get near to it, so instead we sidle up to the rival Conoco-Phillips oil refinery and photograph it instead.

Conoco-Phillips oil refinery

Conoco-Phillips oil refinery

We are happily snapping away, when a van labelled ‘Forward Patrol’ draws up and the drivers beckon Lindsey over. Apparently we shouldn’t be taking pictures and we are suspected of being ‘anarchists’. “But they’re Southerners’” protests Lindsey, “They just want some photos of belching smoke”. Strangely this seems to appease Forward Patrol and they end up giving us suggestions of other places we can visit. We are mentally filed as barmy Cockneys and allowed to go on our way.

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Our Southern longing for dark, satanic mills and other grimy exotica is not yet assuaged, so next we make Lindsey drive us through an industrial estate that smells of poo, drains and burning. And then we finish off at Grimsby docks where we want to photograph the derelict Victorian icehouse and the clock tower, but here our luck runs out. We’re not allowed onto the docks and aren’t allowed to take any photos. So we console ourselves with a drive-by shot of a racist chip shop and some pictures of a duck factory. We’re Southerners, we like that sort of thing.

Brit and Chips

Brits and Chips

Lost

Seals

Brothel creepers

Lindsey oil refinery

Wee pancakes

Grimsby docks

cliff's cave

cliff's cave

Found

Retro sailor top

Four 7” singles

Cream vintage vanity trunk

New brake light for Lindsey’s car

New ‘baglady chic’ look for exploring chilly British seaside resorts

motel

motel

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Our first Lost Prom trip to the North East has started inauspiciously. We set off late, Nhung has a streaming cold and we get pulled over by the fuzz at Redcar, just past a Drive-Thru sex shop, because Lindsey’s car has a brake light missing. One cop is overly jocular, the other is grim and unsmiling, just like the films. But they let us go with a warning and eventually we reach Lindsey’s mum’s house in suburban Cleethorpes at 1am, where we stagger off to bed and sleep the sleep of the very, very sleepy.

Sexy superstore

Sexy superstore

We’re looking forward to exploring Cleethorpes, Grimsby and Skegness and also hearing some of Lindsey’s mum’s legendary anecdotes (the Ginger Minge, the Widow and the Dildo, the Wet Fart, the Mobility Scooter etc etc). But, we’re here for 3 days, so we decide to start off in a different county and head to Yorkshire to visit Bridlington.

Sadly it’s raining, but that doesn’t stop Nhung and Tamsin from getting over-excited by all the interesting industrial installations we pass – oil refineries, cooling towers. Lindsey is used to them, having grown up round here, but to N and T, they’re exotic beauties – smoke-wreathed, glittering mirages in the distance, majestic in their humming, echoing ginormousness.

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It’s still piddling down by the time we reach Bridlington, so we head straight to an eatery, The Manor Café, where we scoff egg and chips, and jacket potato, and pie and mash and Lem Sip off red faux-leather tablecloths. As we drove into town, a man winked at Lindsey (Again! Lindsey is the Lost Prom Femme Fatale!). If he lived in Brighton his haircut would have marked him out as a hipster, but something told us that this particular gentleman hadn’t changed his hairstyle since the winter of 1982 when he got a Hall and Oates album (on cassette) for Christmas.

The Store

The Store

We have a look at some charity shops. In the first one, we overhear the assistant say, “I can’t wait until I get my two-headed dog”, which he then follows with, “Life will change when I have Beastmaster”. He is wearing a Santa hat and we have no idea what he’s talking about. But perhaps life is more exciting in Bridlington than we thought. Conversely, perhaps life is much less exciting? What can it all mean?

Bowling

Bowling

In the next charity shop, it’s the Lost Prom who provide the excitement. Nhung is thinking of buying a Halloween mask and asks Lindsey to model a rubber hag number. A German woman stops in her tracks; “Oh my God, you’re so scary! Look at this pretty girl! Look at how scary she is!”. She then proceeds to gather everyone she can see from around the shop, all the time babbling, “Look at this pretty girl in this mask! Put it on again! Put it on again!”

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I’m sorry Bridlington. This blog can’t really do you justice. It was raining so hard that we ran from shop to shop and were barely able to get much idea of the town’s feel. There are lots of shops with ‘Fashion’ in their name, but no discernible fashion to be seen in their windows. There’s a sandwich shop called Top Bun and snack van called Bap Wagon. One of the charity shop assistants has tattoos and is called Ronnie. Why this has been recorded in Tamsin’s notes has been lost in the mists of antiquity. Complexions are as grey as the sky. The world seems to be formed of puddles and disappointment and the puddles aren’t oily enough to have rainbows in them. Which is disappointing.

Jungle Rider

Jungle Rider

We walk along the pleasant seafront towards the twisty-turny harbour and photograph the fairground rides that are wrapped up in blue plastic for the winter like Christo installations or Laura Palmer’s face. Past the Utopia Loungebar and Nightclub we go and Lindsey remembers there used to be a boat with a big shark on it here, but it’s gone now. The rain hasn’t let up at all, so we give up and drive back to Cleethorpes. Another motorist gives way for Lindsey to get through and she accidentally gives him the finger instead of the ‘thank you’ sign. We drive home through Hornsea which is notable only for its boarded up amusement arcades and the ‘Promenade Retirement Home’. Maybe that’s where we’ll end up?

Mini Miami

Mini Miami

Lost

Brake light

Shark boat

Shrink wrapping from Nhung’s scarf

Volcano making kit – Nhung was tempted but decided against it

True essence of Bridlington

twister

twister

Found

Beach Boys LP and 2 7” singles

2 sets of coasters : 1 set of 80s Habitat ones – red, blue & white geometric, the other set has 7 pictures of stately homes and 1 picture of a brutalist concrete local government office

Rubber witch mask

2 royal wedding mugs for Lindsey’s flatmates – 1 Charles & Di, 1 Andrew & Fergie

1970s bathroom scales covered in brown shagpile

Gazza The Game! (with free Gazza poster)

£18 of pharmaceuticals to ward off Nhung’s cold

Set of Christmas cards

Be Safe Be Seen cycling armbands

INXS tape (Nhung has a sudden compulsion to listen to them. We listen to it once and swear, never again)

Our future resting place?

Dropzone

Dropzone

 

Mini Wheel

Mini Wheel

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