October 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm 2 comments

The loneliest place on the planet is a hotel restaurant when you are travelling solo. No matter how engrossed in your paperback, paperwork, or contents of your iPad you attempt to look, all of those in the restaurant look at you as if you are the saddest person in the world.

This is why room service was invented. This is why hotels can charge exorbitant service levels for delivering food they have cooked and prepared downstairs, upstairs.

Correction. The loneliest place on the planet is the Verve Bar and Grill of the De Vere Village Urban Resort, Dudley. For some reason the hotel thought it would be a good marketing technique to make you duck under some yellow tape such as you might find around a hole in the ground or an unexploded bomb, labelled “Caution. Enter at your own risk”. Witty. Not. But, I guess it helps manage the customer’s expectations around the quality of the food.

The restaurant smelled of beer and vinegar. It was still early, before seven (England were playing Poland in a World Cup qualifier later in the evening) and the restaurant was scattered with families (including screaming sprogs), the odd romantic couple (like a meal out at your local Village hotel is going to help you get your leg over…….) and the occasional other saddo like myself, away from home, traveling alone.

The experience would have been depressing enough on its own. But was made much worse for being in Dudley. I will put my following comments into context. I was born in Walsall. I lived in Birmingham. I worked in Wythenshawe. So, I have seen some sh*t holes in my time. But, Dudley is dull. Dudley is depressing.

Dudley is in the heart of the Black Country. This may have been an apt term at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Today, the Grey Country might be a better description. Especially at this time of the year and in this weather.

Dudley is infamous. Dudley is famous for some very strange things.

Dudley has been labelled the “Chaviest town in the Midlands” by chavtowns.com, beating both Kidderminster and Telford. The website states: “Stand by the main entrance (of Dudley bus station) and award one point to each person who looks vaguely normal (i.e. not shaven-headed, tattooed, bleached blond, adorned with Burberry and/or bling, not strangely bearded (GUILTY), any woman whose backside is less than the width of the bus shelter). You’ll not reach 10 points.

Dudley has been voted the ninth unhappiest town in the UK. I would have expected it to be closer to the top of that list until I realised that people who live like the people on Jeremy Kyle are generally happy living that way. Roll on benefit reform!

Dudley is famous for the discovery of the oldest ever condoms discovered in the remains of Dudley Castle and dating back to the English Civil War. At least this shows that the average 17th century Midland Royalist was more STD or unwanted-baby aware than the Jeremy Kyle generation.

During the 18th and 19th centuries Dudley was known as “the most unhealthy place in the country”. And, in July 1962, Dudley was the scene of some of Britain’s earliest race riots.

Probably the town’s high point was when it was credited with having Britain’s most modern zoo. But that was in 1934…..

The De Vere Village Hotel has blended in with its surroundings very well. The hotel is painted gun grey. The rooms are dark. Dudley is depressing.


Entry filed under: middleman. Tags: , , , , , , .

How Irritating….. Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patricia Pover  |  October 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Brilliant and very hillarious xxxxx


  • 2. sooocheshire  |  October 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Middleman, just cast your thoughts back to that lux suite in Capetown…
    Without the dark, there is no light.



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