A radio DJ has come under fire for criticising Accrington in his new book.
TV regular and BBC 6 music presenter Stuart Maconie travelled to Hyndburn while writing Hope and Glory to retrace the history of the Accrington Pals, who fought in the First World War.
However, the book paints an unflattering portrayal of the town today, citing ‘chain-smoking women’, ‘teenage girls with prams’ and the number of ‘Cash Converter shops’.
Maconie writes: “The main street is a crowded, unlovely hotchpotch of cheap shops, minicab offices and fast-food outlets that can fur your arteries just by looking at their logos and a few desultory and cheerless pubs.
“In the doorway of one, a pallid, ginger youth is relating to an equally whey-faced companion an expletive-littered anecdote about a confrontation with a local kickboxer.”
He later writes: “Every man I see between 15 and 60 is dressed in an identical uniform – not khakis these days but cheap black trackie bottoms tucked into trainers.
“Pallid youths loiter on benches, some of them straining to hold the leashes of ugly, compact dogs.
“Chain-smoking women and teenage girls with prams cackle by the gaudy yellow frontage of one of the many Cash Converter shops.”
Council leader councillor Miles Parkinson responded to the criticisms saying: “We don’t need people coming to the town and being negative and picking on people who are less fortunate.
“We can’t all be city whizzkids in London or other places. It’s very cheap and tacky criticism.
“He maybe able to find it acceptable to pay £650 for a lunch in London but not everyone can.
“Accrington is making strides to improve itself. If people want to knock us then they can’t knock the friendliness of the people and the community spirit.”
Tory leader councillor Peter Britcliffe said: “When people do something callous like this they don’t do the town any good. A lot of people and traders work very hard to improve the town. I’m very disappointed and I think it’s terrible when people do these things.”
Accrington Market board chairman and Chamber of Trade vice president Ian Smith said: “It’s not cricket really. He’s being quite harsh in his criticism. It’s all negativity and it doesn’t do the town any good.
“Anybody reading it will think ‘what a dump’ and they won’t want to come. That doesn’t help, as we are trying to get people into the place.”
Hope and Glory is Maconie’s sixth full-length book and also features the his visit to Peel Park.
He does however acknowledge Haworth Art Gallery as one of Accrington’s highlights. Wigan-born Maconie has written for NME and Q magazine and now
lives in the West Midlands.