Blackpool, ‘The Vegas of The North’ wasn’t on my radar for a couple of years and then it became a regular fixture, maybe three or four times a year and even a proper little family holiday for a few days in the middle of the summer. Janice first took a few of us over one Saturday night, almost a spur-of-the-moment jaunt one early summer evening. We packed it all in, a few pints, the Pleasure Beach, ice creams and a stroll on the front. It was less than an hour’s train journey from Victoria Station and on any weekend, on any train there were piles of giddy young Mancs all set for a jolly day out. They even had their own rough-as-you-like seafront pub, The Manchester Arms patrolled by the evilest looking bouncers in Lancashire. Looking back now it was all pretty awful, loads of drunken Scots, loads of drunken Mancunians, tackiness and tat on every corner. But it had trams, a tower and a certain charm and was all good clean fun typified by going to see a Big Daddy v Giant Haystacks wrestling bout, Paul Daniels Magic Show at the Winter Gardens or the Bolton Young Farmers Christmas Ball, headlined by Buster Bloodvessel and Bad Manners. The giant funfair complex known as The Pleasure Beach was the biggest draw, with rides called The Grand National and The ‘loop-the-loop’ Revolution. I think you got a block of twelve ‘white knuckle’ rides for about £4. Through his skill on ‘The Kentucky Derby’ my brother once won six digital watches there over the course of a weekend.

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