The majority of my waking hours are spent working out of my small office in Batley, the heart of Yorkshire, England.

Batley is an amazing metropolis peopled by the beautiful, the intelligent, the bohemian and the cosmopolitan (I'm not a native). The town's majestic, sweeping boulevards and sun-kissed beaches act as a magnet to artists, musicians and supermodels.

Batley has it all, the chicks, the nightlife, the...

Oh bollocks! I can't keep up the pretence any longer. If there is Utopian town on this planet's surface, Batley is the place it's furthest from (with a nod to George Lucas).

A former mill-town, Batley gives the impression that it has been in terminal decline since about 1814. It consists mainly of sprawling ghettos and slums clustered around a short "High Street". Efforts to rejuvenate the town seemed to begin and end with the installation of a hideous monument dedicated to bats - which just about sums the place up. The town's only claim to fame appears to be that one of Brontë sisters once visited - but that was a long time ago. Nowadays, even gypsies avoid the town.

Batley is also home to Bradford Road, the centre of Batley's nightlife scene. Bradford Road is lined with pubs and clubs and seems to have taken it upon itself to excite more neon atoms than Blackpool. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the street is filled with drunken, debauched revelry as the ChavScum spend their unemployment benefits. Morality has never strolled down Bradford Road. Drugs, guns and sex are all for hire on "sin alley" and almost anything can be purchased if you're happy to file off the odd serial number or two.

The Rice-Boy instinct is highly visible on the streets of this miserable town. You usually hear them first, the unique roar of a 1-litre, four-cylinder engine equipped with a "racing" exhaust and bereft of its silencer. Then you see them and you laugh maniacally, clutching your rib-cage as the palpitations reverberate through your chest cavity. These cars (or, as I prefer to call them, abortions) defy all the laws of aesthetics, aerodynamics and common decency. They invariably house sound systems whose sole output is bass. I've often wondered who drives these cars, but you never see their owners, they are so ashamed they hide themselves behind tinted glass, sunglasses and baseball caps.

More on Batley

  • Batley is home to Fox's Biscuits and, for some reason, Britain's bed manufacturers
  • Joseph Priestley was born near Batley and went on to discover oxygen, presumably by leaving the town's borders
  • Stunning Victorian architecture is everywhere

See also: "The Batley Lad" by Peter Hall

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