So, that industrial rubble out there:
Perched high over the Vale of Scarsdale, dominated by a magnificent 17th-century castle, the Derbyshire town of Bolsover is proudly kept; so too are the former mining villages that surround it. But the neatness and prettiness on a bright late-August day occlude the fact that the area has suffered since the pits closed. Opportunities are few, unemployment high. Buses are infrequent and expensive. A worrying amount of violent and sexual crime is reported to the local police. Much of what once gave these places their identity has drifted away. In the nearby village of Pinxton, a mural has just been unveiled on the gable end of the village hall. “It is,” says Paul Steele, who worked with the parish council to commission it, “about everything Pinxton has lost” – its railway station, its mine, its porcelain factory. This is classic “red wall” territory: Dennis Skinner lost his seat here to the Conservatives at the 2019 general election.
Steele is the managing director of Junction Arts, the local community arts organisation. “Bolsover has essentially no cultural infrastructure,” he tells me. No theatre, no music venue, no further education. Which isn’t to say that there isn’t creativity. Of course there is.
Those rich southerners should pay for a drag queen reading here. Bitches love drag queen readings.