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The Idler Book of Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides: The New Top 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK Hardcover – March, 2006
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At the beginnings of Rick Steves European Guidebooks, there are large maps of the country in question. All of the larger cities are marked in colours of black or grey. Black locations are "places of touristic interest". But the grey locations are "places of little or no touristic interest." What are these "grey places"?
There is now a remedy - The books "Crap Towns" and "Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides" are mostly areas of grey, with despair, boredom, and poor council planning leading the way.
Readers of the UK "Idler" magazine submitted letters filled with memories, testimonial, fear, dismay, sadness, bemusement, hope for the distant future. All so that a book could be compiled of the 50 worst cities and towns the UK has to offer.
I will only list a few of the 50 - the fun is in being surprised. Hackney (for the second time in a row), Milton Keynes, Gravesend, Cleator Moor, Bristol, Sunderland, Kew, and (yes) Manchester & London.
The book is thoughtful, blunt, bitter and humanist. The letters written to the Idler and put into the book are witty and thoughtful. The black and white photographs are perfectly chosen and will leave you invigorated in your bleak mood.
Because this is a British book with British readers in mind, it helps to have a good feel for British slang, culture and perhaps history. But no matter. I cannot recommend "Crap Towns 1 & 2" more highly.