Leading Article: Black-cool irony

Click to follow
IS BLACKPOOL tacky? The people who run the Golden Mile pleasure beach are certainly worried that we might think so. Apparently, this is the fault of the BBC, which made an unflattering fly-on-the-wall programme about our most famous resort. "That wretched documentary shoved us back into the Dark Ages again as unsophisticated, brash, Northern entertainment," says Amanda Thompson, whose 95-year-old grandmother runs the family firm.

The Prime Minister is also to blame, kiss-me-quick hats and black pudding being deemed too Old Britannia for New Labour. "Suddenly they're too posh to come to Blackpool when they get power," Miss Thompson laments bitterly. But Blackpool is fighting back, using Labour's chosen weapon, public relations. We don't know which well-paid consultant suggested tipping a load of sand on London Euston's soulless marble concourse, but as a stunt it draws attention to the new attractions.

It is tempting to say that they sound remarkably similar to the old attractions - "live entertainment", "hot ice" shows. It certainly does not add up to a "New Black-cool" . But nor should it. There are some things that we have to accept are simply impervious to the attentions of the image makers. The only thing Blackpool can do is to wait for the attentions of ironic post-modernists. It can then exploit a dual market - the traditional if declining Wakes weeks Northern workers and a second, complementary group, whose palates have become jaded with the tastes of Tuscany and Provence and would welcome the invigoration and novelty of a bag of chips on the tram.