The danger that a few recent television programmes might lead to a re-evaluation of the North by those in the South made it urgent to re-establish the traditional misconceptions. Every so often those of you living in that latter-day Black Hole of Calcutta are bound to raise your heads and think you see a green hill far away. And then you'll mess up this lovely corner of England, too.
You don't think we're jealous of the real South, do you? Places like Basingstoke, Dagenham, Lewisham...
Can you live in affordable bourgeois sub-urbia, yet still be ten minutes drive from a city centre more vibrant than the West End? Can a 30-minute car journey take you to places where scenery (as well as the climate) is literally breathtaking, where you can walk through countryside which is genuinely uninhabited?
It's been a hard-fought battle, I'll not deny. First, we had to get the names of bits of England altered to fool you. You get to Nottingham and think you've reached the North, then after Leeds we put Scotland to make you fear you are leaving the known world altogether. It works - few get this far. But why am I telling you this? If the truth got out, this place would become full of people like Charles Jennings. And if that's not purgatory, I don't know what is.
Andrew Gibbens Newcastle-upon-TyneReuse content