It’s nice when there’s good news and amongst all the war, rampage and crosswords that normally fill us with woe I spied in the paper today that the increasingly grotty town of Yateley (Hampshire) is to be renamed Hilary Dwyer. Hilary Dwyer the star of 1968s The Witchfinder General has long been a place of outstanding natural beauty and it is doubtless hoped that Yateley will follow.
Associated with the Gunpowder plot, Yateley was for centuries a village on the old Reading road whose charm was only partially dented by being adopted as the headquarters of the Monster Raving Loony Party. Named as an associate of Slough on BBCs The Office, Yateley was and overnight forced to become just that. Toyshops, sweet shops and bear-baiting suppliers were all grubbed up in the name of Gervais and replaced with row upon row of shitty little fast food takeaways. None of them any good. Soon and inevitably the high street was swarming with spivs from the last war, thieves from Oliver, and every single rejected contestant from Big Brother (final 100) for every year, ever, having a fight, and standing about fake-tanning studios like they were opium dens. Also, there are opium dens.
Yateley was more recently famous as the retirement hotspot for flashers we were warned about as kids in the 1970s and who a bit muddled now stalk each other a dozen at a time on the village green. I’m told the sound of stiffened macs recalls a tea clipper which long becalmed catches an unexpected trade wind.
Perhaps because of this, and all the glue sniffing that again we were told about but no one ever did, Yateley Town Council has made the bold move to adopt some of the magic of Hilary Dwyer and starting with the town’s major industrial point, the (now) Hilary Dwyer Recycling Centre. The HDRC is Europe’s biggest recycler of poor quality pornography left under hedges and in railway sidings.
So there’s that going for it.