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Classic Service Stations
Inept Defending Of Our Time
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Quite Remarkable Service Stations of the Nation - Keele
Think about the following question very carefully: when was the last time you went to Stoke-on-sodding-Trent? More specifically, when was the last time you went to Stoke-on-sodding-Trent WITHOUT STOPPING YOUR CAR?
not hard, is it? The answer is, of course, never. You
have never visited Stoke because you’ve listened to the gruesome
anecdotes of those sorry souls that did venture to the city –
and you really don’t fancy being beaten about the head with a
baseball bat before being burned at the stake by a gang of baying recidivist
to think of it, unless you just so happened to be the unfortunate survivor
of a terrible plane crash calamity in the Stoke area – which,
given the thick black smoke plumes spewing from burning cars, actually
isn’t beyond the realms of possibility - why would anyone stop
isn’t even a fucking Wagamama.
But for one blissful hour, screaming down the empty A50, it is all-too easy to slip into a Utopian dream – a dream where you’re actually driving in a proper country, like Germany; a nation that doesn’t spectacularly fuck up its transport planning policy year-on-year – yes, a country that has actually managed the seemingly impossible and constructed a usable network of asphalt tracks.
Then you hit Stoke, immediately hit the central locking, put your foot down and get out of there as fast as possible. At this point, even Wales looks like a more attractive destination. Once you’ve emerged unscathed on the other side and turned towards the North on the M6, you eventually encounter Keele services. After the tense experience of driving within long-throw distance of the Britannia Stadium, you may be tempted to stop for a coffee, or a bite to eat, or food poisoning. Thousands of people a day do indeed stop. impsTALK’s sincere advice is simply to keep driving.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that service stations, by means of glacial osmosis, commonly inherit the latent characteristics of their customers and, more significantly, their geographical context. Hence genteel, super-organic Tebay, visited by jovial middle-class tourists and surrounded by snow-capped mountains and sheep, achieves the kind of graceful serenity one normally associates with an alpine ski resort, Antiques Roadshow or a Friday night in Lincoln.
Of course, this isn’t actually Keele’s fault, nor is Keele the only service station where football fans stop. But it is on a route that provides the primary link between two equally repellent Premiership heartlands. And when utterly nauseating, braying fans of Big Clubs stand between you and a £9.99 fifteen-item Big One Breakfast, or the jazz mags in Smiths, you simply can't help wishing that the ignorant bastards would all just drop dead.
conveniently enough, is pretty much what will happen if they attempt
to use the toilets at Keele services. Sanitation in a decimated World
War One trench, or even Glastonbury, would surely shame Welcome Break’s
token efforts to clear Keele’s accumulated backlog of fossilised
shit, solidified urine and matted pubic hair. Faecal-borne e-coli is
so entrenched here that lethal bacteria practically greets you with
a cheery ‘Yo!’ as you walk into the fetid guff-cloud. Gagging
in horror, a retreat to the cafeteria provides precious little respite
– the only difference being that you’re charged a huge amount
of money to be poisoned instead.
Others in the series
Index | Leicester Forest East | Tebay
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