56 Things You'll Know If You Grew Up In Bolton
The Venga Bus taxi, Peter Kay, and chips and gravy.
1. You considered chips and gravy one of your five a day.
2. Everyone from outside Bolton thought you knew Peter Kay.
3. Or Vernon Kay.
4. Or Dave Spikey, at a stretch.
5. You remember when the beautifully made lion statues outside the town hall were fenced off because kids used to ride them.
6. And also when The Water Place closed down and you felt like your childhood had ended.
7. You saw Stu "Ee, I could crush a grape" Francis at the Bolton panto on more than one occasion, even though you didn't know who Stu Francis was. Or what "Ee, I could crush a grape" meant.
8. Sometimes, when they'd run out of regular taxis, they'd send the Venga Bus to pick you up instead.
9. It had flashing lights on the inside and played the Vengaboys out of giant speakers.
10. You remember the original elephant statues that lived on Newport Street. Not the newfangled, fancy, colourful ones.
11. Softy's Hard Stuff was Bolton's version of the houses of parliament.
12. And you remember when it turned up on That Peter Kay Thing.
13. Speaking of showbusiness, the year the pig from Babe turned on the Christmas lights was a highlight.
14. When the final Harry Potter book came out, everyone flocked to The Last Drop Village because they'd put some old books in the window to make it look like Diagon Alley.
15. In your goth phase, you'd spend hours sitting on the Bolton Town Hall steps.
16. Or on the benches outside Game.
17. You went to Hollywood Bowl every weekend.
18. And you definitely went to at least one kids birthday party at Alphabet Zoo.
19. And the Wacky Warehouse.
20. At some point, you owned a Hooch coat from DB3.
21. And you obviously owned everything that Bench ever made.
22. Your first night out took place in Atlantis.
23. Or Ikon if you were a bit classier.
24. Or J2 if it was a special occasion.
25. But that was it. There were no more nightclubs.
26. At least once a week, someone put washing up liquid in the Bolton town centre fountains, making the entire of Bolton look like a bubble bath.
27. Or they just knocked the glasses off the Fred Dibnah statue.
28. You've eaten a pasty INSIDE a barm before now. And you have no regrets.
29. You got an off-copyright Disney towel from Bolton market and then worried obsessively about when the police were going to track you down.
30. All school trips involved going to Bolton Museum and getting traumatised for life by the giant elephant head.
31. And seeking solace in the Ancient Egypt section.
32. Everyone got excited when Bolton Wanderers got into the Premier League and got the shiny Reebok Stadium to show they were now Jonny Big Bucks.
33. And when Middlebrook vowed to change the shopping experience forever because they'd got a Carpetright.
34. Your dad told you that The Old Man and Scythe was haunted.
35. You felt pretty grown up when you watched your first emo band at Soundhouse.
36. And when you got your ears pierced at Stef's.
37. And got drunk along the Jumbles reservoir.
38. Strawbury Duck was the place to go for a lovely pub lunch. Even though it was spelt wrong.
39. The cool kids went to Manchester Victoria at the weekend just to go and sit on the field next to Urbis, even though it was only two minutes away from the train station.
40. You lived off Carrs' Pasties.
41. And Hampson's sausage rolls.
42. You remember when The Railway in Bromley Cross turned into a rock n' roll pub and they put pictures of Led Zeppelin up in frames to prove it.
43. And that time Neil Buchannan from Art Attack's heavy metal band played there further proved it.
44. You went to Frankie n' Benny's a lot because it seemed really upmarket.
45. And because you'd seen someone from Coronation Street getting a calzone there one time.
46. Everyone rented their VHS movies from Global Video in Astley Bridge.
47. And everyone had "a mate" who'd gone to Diamonds Strip Club.
48. You spent every weekend at a birthday party at a cricket club.
49. And you always did the Macarena at said birthday party.
50. Because this was what growing up in Bolton was all about.
51. And it didn't matter how many times someone yelled "garlic bread"
52. Or kicked a football and went, "Have it!"
53. Or just mentioned Peter Kay in general.
54. You definitely missed it when you left.
55. But no matter what happens, you'll live with that Bolton promise.
56. That there'll always be a bacon and egg barm waiting for you at the train station café when you come back home.