Blackpool, the most insalubrious working-class retreat in Britain, is probably best known for its sheer unabashed dedication to gratuitous pleasure seeking. There is no lust that cannot be slaked at England's North-West capital, and I'm not talking about drugs, crime or deviancy (although these temptations can all be found in a certain measure). It is wholesome, family based debauchery that beats the heart of The Front. Let me walk you down the promenade and show you a place of unique exquisiteness, a sprawling temple to the malevolent God of the Lost Consumer.
Located just north of Liverpool (famous for its beetles), Blackpool's own tourist board describes it as "a Mecca for family fun." A careful choice of words, I feel, since Mecca is synonymous with devout, fanatical worship - and the last western resort is a harsh, unforgiving divinity who accepts nothing short of complete and unabridged veneration. Choose (or be chosen by) your god from the powerful Blackpool Pantheon; be it the mighty Tower that connects heaven and earth by audaciously skewering the sky with its vicious, dominating spike; the cruel Sea that has grown three legs and beckons its congregation out into the bitter murkiness of its violent realm; the surreal dominion of the Pleasure Beach, tempting the lost, the weary and the deviant to kneel at the alter of fear and fast thrills; or the affluent Golden Mile who grows swollen and fat by ravenously devouring all who wander onto the desolate tract of the promenade. It is here where we, the Penitent Gamer, shall take our unholy communion.
A straight line drawn along the sea wall from south pier to north, the Golden Mile is swarming with Blackpool's repository of gambling dens and amusement arcades - vast, powerful, magnificent and overwhelming to stand in the presence of. They are places where solitary worship is forbidden - impossible, in fact - and a cycle of forged, broken and renewed companionship is in perpetual, dizzying motion. Just as many towns and cities across the world have developed red light districts, the Golden Mile is Blackpool's answer to digital love-on-demand.
The front of the Mile's arcades put on an enticing fa