Friday, 19 August 2011

A little bit of Blackpool rock

09:27:00 Posted by Lindsay , 5 comments

Before the bitterness of the place hit me I adored Blackpool. Moving here when I was four years old was an adventure. There was so much to do; we had everything the tourists loved on our own doorstep. In the alley behind my street lay a rock factory. Fat bags of sugar piled in a mountain outside while wasps swarming became a no-child zone, but they often left the door open due to the heat. Creeping to the door, we would stand and watch the workers heave the molten lump of coloured sugar out of the mixer and roll it by hand into long legs which would get thinner until it was perfect. We finally knew, the secret of how they put the writing in rock, and it never got boring to watch. Someone at the end of the line would chop it into sticks, ready to be wrapped. It was all done so quickly and smoothly it was mesmerising. If we were lucky, we’d be given a small bag of broken rock and hurried away to play, if not we’d get bawled at to bugger off, but we always came back. It’s finally closed down now, which leaves me sadder than I ever thought it could.

I recently went to Skegness on holiday and we bought some Skegness rock. On the label it said ‘Made in Blackpool’ which made me chuckle, we’d come all this way, and the souvenir was from home. Despite the poverty, the drugs, alcohol abuse, the cynicism and bitterness and the wide-boys out to make a fast buck who will fuck you over. Blackpool does have a legacy, and it’s sweet and sugar laden.


Ashley R Lister said...

D L King, one of our regular readers from New York, has visited Blackpool and sampled our rock. I think it's the reason she wants to visit again soon.

The stuff is addictive.


vicky ellis said...

I'm not a fan of rock - until they bring out a line filled with salt. I like salt.

I think it's a pretty cool industry to call our own though. And you can buy it in rude shapes which is a huge (or not) bonus ;)

A fab piece of reminiscing. The happier side of Blackpool.

Is that your dad in the photo? Sorry Lindsay... I struggled to concentrate on the words, the hotness of him was distracting! Yes, I know it's wrong.

Lindsay said...

Yes that was my dad in the 80's. My pops was a handsome dude in his day.

Don't muuch like rock myself, too sweet. You can still go to the factory for the rock shop in town, but it's dying out it would seem. That rock factory has only recently closed and I thought it would be there forever. The smell of mint cleared your nose in the back street :)

D. L. King said...

Yes, rock is addicting. I like salt and savory more than sweet usually, too, but I am definitely addicted to Blackpool rock. I may need more, Ash. Not 'may,' actually...

And the picture is wonderful. I'm with you, vicky, and it's okay because I don't know Lindsay.

Ghost said...

Blackpool rock, aka stick of cellophane wrapped tooth decay, manages to lurk in just about every one of this country's resorts. I must say that the vision of a wasp infested bag of sugar ending up as a stick of rock will deter me from crunching any more of my favourite aniseed flavoured lumps whilst yelping with pain as another piece of tooth breaks off.
I am sure that everyone is rather relieved that Ash was enamoured with the adult male rather than the small child who seems to have already learned that important lesson.. ears are for hanging on to (sorry Lindsay)