Initially, I’d set out to write an informative post on Bournemouth’s reputation as a hotspot for fun, which is probably the view you’ve all heard. So, I headed to my nearest supermarket to find and interview some locals. It was here that I met Andrea Thomson who painted a slightly more depressing picture of this once peaceful seaside town.
Bournemouth is not the town it used to be,” Andrea told me. “It’s become very tacky. We never used to have to all these awful night clubs, strip bars and cut-price shops. Everything’s about binge drinking and getting everything on the cheap.” This was not the response I’d anticipated. Has Bournemouth really replaced its class and authenticity with an assortment of tacky attractions and nightlife? I wondered into town to reflect on what she’d said.
And where better to begin my search for tack than a strip club? And Bournemouth certainly revels in this seedy excuse for entertainment, boasting 4 lap dancing clubs within a two mile radius. However, exploring one myself seemed an unnecessary effort -strip joints are the epitome of tacky. I’m sure you don’t need a journalist to tell you that.
On the road riddled with strip clubs, I was greeted by a host of wolf-whistling kebab shop men lurking outside their eateries, stinking of rotten meat and grease. Charming. And I’ve never seen so many foreign restaurants that distinctively lack authentic culture. The merge of Chinese restaurants with British fish and chip bars is just one example of this. Andrea’s cheap and seedy perception of the town had been endorsed.
I wondered whether younger locals were as pessimistic as Andrea. So I approached fellow Bournemouth uni student, Josh Horne, outside HMV.
“I’m generally happy here. “This town is perfect for getting drunk, going to a lap dancing club, getting a kebab and doing it all in under twenty quid. What’s wrong with that?” He told me.
And he’s right. As students, we’re not interested in the history, scenery or culture of a place, just what clubs it has to offer. Similarly, tourists seem to use Bournemouth as a stop off for drunken fun. This is evident in the massive £500 million that the town rakes in from tourists each year as well as the influx of cheap B & Bs in the area. To find out what other Bournemouth students think of the town, click here to read my interview with friend, Becky Hannan.
So it seems Bournemouth has built a good reputation amongst tourists and students at the cost of satisfying its life long residents. Whilst the heavy partiers are revelling in the cheap entertainment, the town’s new image is a massive blow to permanent locals who would rather scrap the tat. Bournemouth has begun to resemble a giant Butlins and it seems its future lies in the hands of the tourists and students. Guilty? Yes.