Return to the sea

I’ve been trying to calculate just how many times I’ve visited Torquay, it’s posibly 35 or more. Each easter my extended family (very extended, extended up to a hundred friends and friends of friends) would hire a coach and book out an entire hotel under the pretext of a football tour. I first when in utero apprarently, and went every year untill the team got too old to compette a few years ago.

In truth, I didn’t enjoy many of those visits. As an awkward child, slightly too old to play with my cousins too young to really hang out with the adults I didn’t have anyone to talk to. When I could drink it was easier, but I have a tendancy not to stop when I should: many have remarked upon it. So it was one Torquay Easter I chased my friend Tommy pissed around a car park, fell and broke my colar bone. 

I knew I was hurt, but wasn’t sure it was bad so next morning I got up (still drunk) and went to play football. Dean, the manager at the time made sure I didn’t play. He was a drunk and an idiot too, but not to the extent I was. We’ll meet Dean in a few days. 

I fell over running the line and it was obvious that my arm was broken. I was propped up the bar until the end of the game, and the raffle and the drinking — and then the coach dropped me off at A and E. My note said “Reason for injury: football + alcohol” which was okay, cool even. The doctors wanted to talk about the signs of my teenage self harm, but I didn’t. 

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.

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