Sheffield is a woman called Tracy, and well, Tracy is a bit of a tart. She knows nothing of civility, elegance or decorum – let alone how to spell them. She embodies everything that is wrong with city, and yet somehow, she continues to live oblivious to her degenerate character. Tracy is the kind of city that goes food shopping in her pyjamas and wears mini-skirts long past her age allowed such fashion adventures. She cusses and spits routinely, louts and drinks at all times of the day. She holds a dejected fag in one hand and pushes a pram with another, all the while hoping to catch a quick shag by local townies. As I say, she is a bit of a tart.

I will begin with her outer-wall which caught my eye as the train zoomed forward. Like a quarantined zone, I was struck by the contrast, for those green fields of English countryside gave way almost instantly to concrete, and miserable concrete at that. This woman was plonked here, and well, she certainly does not get on with her neighbours, in fact they shun her at every oppertunity. Sheffield is a leaper city, cast away and aside by others, she now sits far removed from civilization itself. Orson Well’s War of the Worlds dramatic scientific joke could not have worked here, as either the aliens would have been welcomed as liberators, or they would themselves have fled in fear of their own contamination.

It is said that a wise man learns from his own mistakes, but an even wiser man learns from the mistakes of others. And so do not - as I was - be distracted or persuaded by the artistic water fountain that meets you as you exit the train station, for it is the veil to an Armageddon town, so much so that I keep expecting Kurt Russell to make an appearance in “Escape Sheffield”. Once past this purposefully planted touristic mural you enter the Ghetto that is Sheffield. At first sight you will be forgiven for thinking this the natural film set for a zombie movie - not the expensive kind mind you but one of those B-rate movies in which everything is determined by a limited budget. She is a deserted town, a place run dry, where all signs of life and intelligence have since scampered and moved on.

I am not one to use the term r‘i’tard[1] but there is certainly something strange about these people. I would not go so far as to say that incest were a problem here, but certain a few have clearly experimented with inbreeding. Tracy, along with her delinquent teenage mother friends, meet each day. She is a degenerate, a leech that offers little but sucks plenty. She is a welfare city. And then of course there is her nauseating accent that colours a limited vocabulary. So expect her sentences to begin and end with an asinine “love”. And all this is but an example of her tart'ish style. Just one look at her general wardrobe, and you will realise that this is where fashion came to die. You would not be ridiculed for thinking that it a disguise of some sort, but the truth is that this is her everyday dress. In this regard I have a theory to offer: perhaps it is not her fault, perhaps she was stuck in some perverse existential bubble, where everybody has assumingly been segregated from the rest of humanity. In any event, Robin William’s satirical line was surely penned in this town: ‘even a blind gay Golfer would be offended by fashion” in Sheffield.

And finally, Tracy is a city that has remained in the fridge long past her ‘sell by date’. Smelly and rancid, her clothes are as nauseating as her character. She would inspire my pity were it not for the vulgarity by which she carries herself. In all honesty, she is beyond realistic hope and should be put out of her misery. I am not one to usually advice euthanasia, but in her case, where the cancer of concrete misery has grown such that amputation is longer viable.....then death is the kindest solution.

[1] Certainly the only thing spoken by Sarah Palin that marked me as sensible, though perhaps ironic that on this occasion she corrected everybody else’s stupidity!

N Tswai

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