Morecambe gets a bad rap for many reasons. It is one of those British seaside towns that was once a grand holiday destination, but when holidays abroad became accessible to the working class, it quickly became forgotten about. Buildings became abandoned, theme parks were left to rot and all that was left of the magnificent art deco seaside resort was a derelict, monumental hotel on the front of Morecambe’s promenade, The Midland Hotel, where, fun fact, I broke my arm when I was eight, trying to cycle up its steps (I was a weird child) and the rundown, previously luxurious buildings dotted around its littered streets.
Morecambe is the perfect place for the “What do you see?” test. Some people say, dog poo, rubbish, flying shit machines and rundown buildings, but there are days when I walk down the promenade, the tide is in and the bright blue sky colours the sea a shade of turquoise that I want to fully emerse myself in. I can see the mountains I’ve climbed in the Lake District across the bay and the town that my best friend is from. Then I wait until sunset, when Morecambe puts on a show that rivals any other coast. It is uniquely beautiful as the glowing sun sets over the bay onto a town that is home to glorious memories of days gone by.
Today was a day like that. Today has been my Sunday, I am back at work tomorrow and hungover to buggery, so an attempt to walk off the hangover became necessary. I am completely incapable of walking into Morecambe without going into The Old Pier Bookshop, so my stroll down the prom inevitably turned into book shopping.
There are so many independent coffee shops along the promenade and the grand, art deco Midland Hotel does a wonderful afternoon tea, where you can look across the Bay whilst dining in one of Morecambe’s finest restaurants. I got a coffee to go (god knows why, it was 26 degrees) and went to a secluded spot on the prom where I could do some writing.
After overheating for about an hour, I decided run for the shelter of the bookshop. It is one of my favourite places ever. The walls are literally held up by books in some parts! The floor is slanted, up and down, wobbly and there is the resident mannequin, named Norman, who I was informed got a new, more attractive head yesterday.
I am looking for inspiration for something I am writing which is quite dark and would be the first time I’ve ever really written anything remotely related to the thriller genre, so I have been looking for books about psychopaths, criminals and psychology to get some knowledge and inspiration on how to write a character with criminal tendencies. No matter how often I go into the bookshop or how many times I have spoken to the owner, it didn’t take away any of the weirdness when I casually asked, “Where do you keep your books about psychopaths?” His reply is one of the many reasons that adore this shop, “There should be some true crime books in that corner, but there’ll probably be a load of other stuff mixed in there as well, as is with this shop.” Everything is just everywhere. He wasn’t wrong, among Jack the Ripper and The Mafia’s methods of torture, was Sense and sensibility and an curiously thick book about hydrangeas; about as thick as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but literally just about hydrangeas?
I bought three books, David Hume A Treatise of Human Nature, Sigmond Freud 7. On Sexuality and The Blonde on the Street Corner by David Goodis. Hopefully they will ignite some inspiration. For now though, I am reading His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, so I took my gruesome little book and found a spot on the beach where I could eat an ice cream and watch the sunset.
Morecambe is beautifully inspiring, misjudged and if you look closely, you’ll see that the magic of the past hasn’t been forgotten, it’s still there when you look in the right places.