A Tale of Two Crookes

It’s amazing what you can learn from the local news.

For example, apparently the area in which we live is awash with big gangs of students, all walking along very slowly and self consciously. We know this must be true, because although we have never seen Crookes look quite like this, we saw it on the news. I mean, the BBC wouldn’t get big gangs of students to pose just for the cameras, would they? Oh no.

Anyway. These students. They’re over here, living in our houses, using our cafes, drinking in our pubs, taking our jobs (actually, scratch that last one) and filling our pavements – but failing to vote for our councillors in local elections. Apparently these pesky students are spoiling our quality of life, surrounding us as they do. Tsk tsk.

Except that they aren’t. We live next door to a ‘student house’ but we aren’t plagued by wild parties and late night revelry. In fact I often worry that Mr TLC’s guitar playing might disturb them.

The local pubs serve plenty of students, but the cafes featured in the news are almost exclusively used by a somewhat older generation. The student pound does keep a lot of local shops in business, but fortunately not to the extent that Te$co have turned up (yet). And members of my evening class were most definitely jealous when I casually asked if anyone wanted me to pass on copies of the French daily paper I get. It turns out that no one else as a local newsagent who stocks foreign titles at all, let alone enough to offer a choice.

I’m not saying that there are never any problems, nor that students are limited in numbers, clearly they aren’t. But I didn’t recognise the Crookes on the news as the Crookes where I live. My Crookes is a great place, but then my Crookes doesn’t have embarrassed looking gangs of students shuffling along, blocking the pavement for the benefit of the cameras. The students in my Crookes are fairly normal folk really.

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