Engaging the community in events
Dronfieldians, as a general rule passionately hate each other. They can’t help it. They’ve spent too long speaking to other people about other people, accidentally alienated themselves and anyone they’ve ever bumped into at Sainsbury’s. Their dead-eyed stare at one-another no longer registering emotion. You can’t blame them for it, Dronfield is small enough for everyone to know everyone, like a large perverse social experiment. Perhaps we’re all part of a soon to be released documentary on Channel 5, demonstrating just how quickly rumours travel. Dronfield: Talk Of The Town. Or not. Probably not.
The resultant deflated sense community pride (and ever increasing price of The Great Fire of Dronfield) has resulted in people giving less of a shit about standing in a field for a local charity with each other than they do about global warming. Someone needs to explain to the organisers that more fireworks is not equal to a better time, rather a longer and more arduous assault on your neck so you have to smash two Nurofen before and after. Perhaps they’ll have a Nurofen stall next year, just to cash in on the neck-pain, the bastards. Or not. Probably not.
Even Party In The Park is too much for some people. On principle I avoid places that don’t offer seating, anything that describes itself as a ‘picnic style’ event is getting a wide birth from me. All the standing and abundance of one-hit wonders is the pre-cursor to a full scale riot. Perhaps, one-day, everyone is going to snap and kick the shit out of Rick Astley or whichever washed up formerly famous act some clueless committee booked. Or not. Probably not.
Having even the smallest sympathy towards the youth
Given that the Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School takes up approximately two thirds of Dronfield’s land mass, you would have thought the council would be more willing to invest in things for young people. You know, so they are out having fun rather than harassing people outside shops, burning each other with cigarettes and generally acting like little shits. Fewer people might have their wing-mirrors kicked off in a morning if at least one of the self-serving geriatrics on the council had a clue how to engage with people outside of charity cake sales and church groups.
Having had the displeasure of sitting in on meetings, speaking to town and county councillors, and trying (unsuccessfully; the Conservatives called me a ‘liability’) to become an electoral candidate for Dronfield Town Council, I will happily call them all busy-bodying bastards more interested in scoring party political or personal goals against each other than actually caring for the town. We have a Civic Hall that’s run at a loss because they don’t have a clue how to best utilise it. Nice one Dronfield Town Council, LADS.
We’ve essentially failed the young people of Dronfield, all they have to look forward to is turning 17 so they can just about get away with having a beer at one of the more lenient pubs. Until then it’s a life of riding BMXs around in the cold until mum calls to say get back bloody home now, or trying to score dope behind Greendale Co-op, or maybe even carving dicks into the sands at the golf course with the rakes they leave out at night.
Not opening shops on a whim then being surprised when they fail
Just when you thought Dronfield didn’t need another hair salon, or a coffee shop, or one of the many interchangeable trinket shit-shops in The Forge, another will inevitably pop up by some opportunistic middle-aged women who fancies a stab at being self-employed without any business or marketing experience.
Six months later, when the business inescapably fails, they have the careless delusion to be surprised by their own remarkable failures, left wondering why so few people wanted to buy overpriced produce from a poorly marketed business which only opens between 10 and 2, Monday to Friday.
Welcoming to newcomers
Have you ever watched that show where Ross Kemp goes to maximum security prisons in the US (bear with this analogy for a second), meets prison gangs that initiate people by beating the living piss out of them, then act all cool about it, calling them bro and stuff? Well, Dronfield is not as bad as that – it’s only about half as cliquey, and it’s unlikely anyone is going to force you to get a S18 tattoo or stab a rival in the eye with a sharpened toothbrush. Well, not anymore. Not since the Bridge Inn closed its doors.
If you’ve just moved to Dronfield, prepare to be as welcome as a condom in a nunnery. It’ll be a long time before you remember the name of every single landlord, participate in a local community group or get invited to the Thursday morning celebrity breakfast. The former, I’m told, is actually worth going to if you’re ever lucky enough to have an invitation extended.
Really like the spice turmeric? Mad for a curry? Dig a lamb bhuna? Well, if you like Indian food, you’re in for a treat. Whoever said variety is the spice of life should have done some leafleting around Dronfield because I think some people missed the memo.
Or take advantage of the many indistinguishable pubs on offer. Drink in the one with the stools at the bar, drink in the one with the deposit for the pool cues. You could even drink in the one with the pictures on the wall: it wouldn’t matter. Each pub as uniform as the last, with the exception of the Green Dragon, having a large gazebo, you’ll find yourself invariably drinking the same drink with the same people. Again, with the exception of the Dragon: you could be sat in the gazebo.
You look like a Co-op man. Are you a Co-op man? Prepare to change your trunks fella because I’ve got some good news for you. In Dronfield’s most eerily constant town 1963-2015, Co-op rules the roost with Godlike omnipresence. Sure there’s an Aldi and a Sainsbury’s, but you’d probably have to speak to people and you wouldn’t want that.