The Idler Magazine


Posted in Crap Towns Archive on 4 August 2005

Alumni: Pub-singer-got lucky, Paul Young. The poet John Hegley (apparently still in post-Luton recovery).
Amenities: Hookers, drugs

Once home to a thriving hat-making industry, Luton’s main asset is now its airport which, given the current popularity of flying, is perhaps not the greatest strong-point to fall back on.

People there still take pride in re-enacting the infamous 70s Lorraine Chase advert (Martini? Bacardi?) where she namechecks the place. Jesus.

This is an archetypal conurbation town with no basic infrastructure or ammenities for culture or entertainment. No sense of history. Nothing to inspire or stimulate, just houses. Everyone is in the same sinking boat and tensions inevitably arise.

Too close to London to warrant building anything approaching what the capital has to offer, yet just far enough to away to offer a sense of other-worldly, neglected isolation, Luton is out there.

The centre is dominated by a crappy – surprise, surprise – Arndale shopping centre and a clutch of generic theme pubs and wrist-slittingly moribund nightclubs which, when I was last there four years ago seemed to be named after piss poor 80′s cocktails drinks – Mirage, Manhattan Skyline etc.

There are also plenty of opportunities for fighting – I got in four or five in my three year tenure in Luton, none of which I instigated I should add.

What else?

Nope, sorry that’s it.

Ben Myers


Dreary, concrete and polluted. A lot of towns/cities have this image but they still have redeeming features eg Birmingham has art galleries, theatres and semi-decent nightclubs. Despite the presence of good F.E. colleges, anyone who’s reasonably educated flees this dumping ground as soon as they can.

What a Lutonian really loves the most is agro. You’re not normal unless you relish agro. Indeed, one of the most commonly used words is ‘attitude’. If you answer a stupid yobbos lager-infuelled question with a polite, intelligent answer you are automatically accused of being stuck-up, even though Luton people think materialistic features such as new cars and tacky modern houses are of great importance.

Once, a large group of scum thought it would be fulfilling to beat up an old man outside a nightclub.

Luton is the only place I know where men will leer at you even if they’re accompanied by their girlfriend, who will be meekly accepting.

Abby Jenner

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