The Road to Wigan Beer
Lucy Hilton of the news website Wigan Today tells us that a man called Paul Bennett has been sentenced to a 12-month community order for having sex with a bright red, George-VI-era, pillar box in a shopping arcade. Her report goes something like this: after an argument with a woman (girlfriend? granny?) who then departed the scene, Paul lay down on a bench, yelling. But then he sat up, started to perform a sex act, exposed himself and pulled down his trousers (really? in that order?). Now comes the tricky bit: he began to perform ‘a sex act’ (another, or the same variety?) while simultaneously walking towards the pillar box. And then – and only then – did he begin ‘to make sexual advances towards it’.
At this point, though shameful, guilt-inducing and somehow slightly humiliating, an image of Cherie Blair, herself a Lancashire lass, pops uninvited into the reader’s head. Bennett was highly intoxicated. Could he have been labouring under the beer-sodden illusion that he was about to ‘perform a sex act’ with the illustrious QC?
There’s an eerily long and (almost) silent video of the abused post box which is worthy of a first year creative film studies student. In addition to this surreal visual offering, it would appear le tout Wigan has commented on the event. Many of these comments have been lost to posterity, but one or two pungent, Les-Dawsonesque examples remain; good to know that dry Northern wit is alive and well. Sort of.