William the Conqueror landed just about where the Kebab Hut on the seafront is now. As then, it is still the site of the beginnings of many a battle. The stabbings, mindless thuggery and murder on the spot where sandal met shingle nearly a thousand years ago is still a past time that is alive and well.
A fault line runs around this valley of death and villainy that surrounds Hastings. Aleister Crowley famously cursed Hastings with a curse that if you are born here you will never leave, he decreed it… Unless you find a stone with a hole in it on the beach. I have been drilling holes in stones and slipping them into the pockets of these moronic tribe members for months. I’m joking.
Hastings and its younger tearaway brother St. Leonards are nestled in a valley that slopes down to an always angry and tormented cloudy grey green sea. Old families vie for status telling of their right as an Old Towner to be heard and respected based purely that they have been procreating the longest deep in the old twittens. They live and forever moan in the craggy south east corner.
To the north the Hollington men and boys are warriors all. Tribal, vicious and predictable. The Hollington women some say are easy of virtue, are fierce, loyal and some even proud of the generational poverty they are in and from. Insurance quotes are high in these badlands.
Pagan and tribal middlemen from all walks of life from the shore to the fire hills to the east paint themselves shades of green and share ale and a song of smuggling and taxmen every year in a festival that celebrates their old towness.
Drug dealers set up shop quickly, little dynasties are established, they all fall as quick, its not the police and the wonderful tech and surveillance techniques that doom their enterprise to failure, it’s the bigger, more established crime families that make sure they get caught quickly. Ready cash brings arrogance, it also brings the Rozzers and pain.
Shop lifting is a career choice, you can order your dinner or what size jeans you want from M&S, takes about twenty minutes if you buy yourself another coffee, it will be delivered forthwith. A two foot block of Cornish cheddar cheese from the deli can be yours for a fiver. Which is nice.
Flocks of buzzing two wheeled (Mopedus twatus) insects flow up the seafront’s thoroughfare and back again. The incessant noise is only stopped by the police when they pull them over and inspect these over revved and over designed machines. It is the tribe of Corsa that reign supreme, The Parka wearing social miscreant sixties Mod has been replaced by modded 800cc cars that are designed for nannies and school runs. They sound like the hoards of Babylon with their oversized exhausts and under sized sensibilities rat running from empty car park to empty car park showing off their garish modifications and expensive insurance certificates that daddy and mummy are still paying for.
In the weekday evenings the permanently disabled and long term refuse-to-be-employed are frequenting the bars, they’d frequent pubs but they are sadly, all closing down. Tempting offers of free pool and cheap drink and your friendly understanding drug dealer who is never that far away, keeps everyone happy.
Gangs of uni students circle the one pint they have chipped in to buy fill the trendier bars. Predatory resident muggers circle to decide which one to separate from the herd and rob.
The vegetarian foody haunts have evenings of open mike poetry and prose, stinking in their tofu farts they celebrate oneness with the menu. Coffee shops are multiplying in the arteries of this ancient conquered town. Caffeine, the expensive and highly addictive poison can now be brought to your table in its many tasty guises. The giant multi nationals are setting up shop, we now have a cloned shopping area, all that’s missing is giant hooks that Chinook helicopters can lash too and lift it out and re-sight it elsewhere if projected forecasts aren‘t met…
The Old Town, a small insignificant snooty snivelling little village within a town, within a microcosmic city suburb of London that Hastings really is, pretends it has significant dwellings, shops and people and appoint themselves as the culture torch bearers of us all, some of which dwell within only at the weekends. They come down from the caffeine fuelled metropolis and attempt to subjugate and fawn patronisingly at our ways.
Councillors skulk in backs of taverns, doing deals with those that demand more land and ways to tame and profit from it. Alfie Cobb and Robert Tressell must weep in their graves, from their perspective nothing much has changed. Notorious baby killers are allegedly renamed, restyled and rebirthed. They are here and allegedly walk and work among us.
The bungalowed and mortgage free baby boomers tend their gardens and rarely venture beyond their cul de sacs. Neat rows of micro suburbia habitats dot the valley. Middle pensioned and middle incomed squeeze themselves in wherever they can, they at least hold the real torch of normalcy we all crave for ourselves and our children…
Housing rules that are disguised as well meaning policies and ethics destroyed close communities long ago. Council house dwelling rooms designed by committee are small, everything else just isn't. You can't live next to your Nan or Aunty anymore, natural support systems commitee'd out of existence. Well done those committee members languishing in your settled graves, well done.
Gangs stand on street corners, strangely disassociated from their own neighbours. In times past, everyone would have known everybody’s name in the street you lived in, it is now common to never know the name of the child you have watched grow up, the same child that terrorises you into never leaving your dwelling. Community leaders have been replaced by the occasional drive-by of a comfy warm police car. When did we come to expect and allow that to happen? Who devolved our own community well being and self policing to the Police force?
Who Cares eh?...