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The butt-end of the universe ...

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  • The butt-end of the universe ...

    "butt" as in the used end of a cigarette.

    You-all can offer somewhere else, guys, and feel free to offer your suggestions, but I think I've found it.

    Here it is. It's in England, and it's called Newhaven (as in "the New haven", being as the river it lies on used to come out at Seaford, a former Cinque Port, farther down the coast):

    Nowadays, no-one who can possibly avoid it goes there. Cross-Channel ferries leave from there, so that people may depart to visit Dieppe. The ferries come back the other way, but it is believed that no French person has ever visited Newhaven. Some may have passed through on their way to somewhere more interesting.

    As you enter Newhaven on the railway line from Brighton (a town that itself is bad enough in all conscience) you pass the premises of three skip firms on the left-hand side of the rails; on the right-hand side, sits the municipal incinerator, looking like something out of a nightmarish science-fiction film. On a good day, you can at least smell the sea; on a bad day, the smell of the local sewage farm, next the railway track a little further up, gently perfumes the air.

    The local council you know local politicians: these people have no shame has recently committed the final indignity of petitioning a third-world country that cannot feed its own people to pay for and deliver a statue of a former leader who, they claim, may have visited the town. (He probably didn't.)

    Have they no shame? No.

    The leader in question is Ho Chi Minh. Americans will probably recall the name, and the connections between South East Asia and France will spring to their minds. France, of course, made a total mess of things in the region. If you've read Graham Greene's The Quiet American you'll recall his fantasy that the French "understood" the region, and it took the Americans, who did not, to screw things up. Total philo-gallic snobbery. The U.S. was no more able to solve the problem than anyone else, but France handed the problem over to the U.S., because she couldn't solve it and had partially created it anyway.

    BBC News - Ho Chi Minh 'friendship' statue unveiled in Newhaven

    I suppose if the truth be known, if such a thing could ever be got out of such a tangled mess, Ho was probably not a particularly wicked man and stuck in the middle of a historically-determined situation he didn't cause and didn't understand, but one has to wonder whether the statue of a leader of a one-party state does anything at all to enhance the status of this decayed English South-coast town. And surely Vietnam has better things to spend its money on.

    As I say, the French connection explains the request for the statue. Ho lived in France for some time, and studied there. He also worked as a pastry-cook on the cross-channel ferries, but there is absolutely no evidence that he ever disbarked from them in Newhaven. Why would anyone?

    Newhaven is also known for Gibbon Road. It's named not after the member of the order primates, but after Edward Gibbon, the diminutive author of the Decline and Fall. Gibbon supposedly wrote some of his "damned thick square book" on land belonging to his patron, Lord Sheffield, in Newhaven. Gibbon Road, however, is rather "rough". Even the police are said to go in pairs down that road.

    Come on! can anyone better Newhaven as candidate for butt-end of the universe?

  • #2
    Camden, NJ.



    • #3
      Insert random city from Michigan. I'll use Flint as an example:

      How Flint, Michigan Became The Most Dangerous City In America

      Arsenio Hall sentenced to prison for fatal Flint dice game robbery
      (no not him but that headline does grab your attention)

      Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says 'everything on the table' to cut $650 million in legacy costs

      See What Two Michigan Cities Top The List Of America’s Worst
      #1. Flint, Michigan
      –Violent crimes per 100,000: 2,729.5
      –2012 murders: 63
      –Poverty rate: 40.6%
      –With 2,729.5 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, no city had a higher violent crime rate than Flint. Flint also had nationwide highs in burglary rates and arson.