Ah, Kingsbridge, Where No Unsold Sandwich Ever Sees a Bin
Martin, Andrew, New Statesman (1996)
Much of the website of the Idler magazine (www.theidler.co.uk) is currently given over to the Crap Towns project, which will appear in book form in October. In this, people are invited to submit nominations for the crappest town in England, together with reasons why. At the time of writing, the mantle has not been awarded, but the creators of the website admit: "We'll be surprised if it isn't Hull."
As the town elders of Hull sit trembling, I would like to strike a countervailing note of happiness by mentioning my favourite town in England, or at least one of my favourite towns in western England, as of this week: Kingsbridge, in South Devon.
There's really only one street in Kingsbridge. I can't remember its name. Kingsbridge Street would be quite fitting. Interesting medieval alleyways run off it, and it contains the only high street chain that you really want, namely a Woolworths, and hardly any others. Like all good towns, it's slightly somnolent, and features a shop selling ladies' "separates", whatever they may be (I think they're pastel-coloured clothes that spring directly from the imagination of Alan Bennett).
There's also a slightly whimsical-looking dress shop called Clouds, and a craft shop called The Busy Bee, where you can buy things to do on a wet afternoon, other than looking at porn on the internet: a build-your-own-Victorian-cart kit, for example. …