On the other Foot

place, Swindon.

When Swindon Town football fans visit metropolitan rivals, the local fans taunt them with farmyard noises. A tired comedian will tell jokes when end "..but I ended up in Swindon!" - and he might even get a tired laugh.

For some reason, Swindon has become the epitome of unsophisticated rural life - remote, rustic and unattractive - the last place you'd want to be posted to.

Dunno why.

In fact, Swindon is a lively, bustling town - almost a city. According to the statistics, it's one of the fastest-growing urban centres in Europe. In fact, they call themselves "The City of the 21st Century" (they called themselves that before there was a 21st century).

Nor has this growth anything to do with agricultural pursuits. Swindon hosts the UK headquarters of Castrol, Renault, Honda, Allied Dunbar and W.H.Smiths, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies, many of them working in the highest of hi-tech enterprises. After all, Swindon is bang in the middle of Southern England's "Golden Corridor" - a string of prosperous towns, along the M4 motorway from London to Bristol, making it the nearest thing to Silicon Valley on this side of the Atlantic.

Maybe, once, Swindon was the bucolic little backwater fossilised in all the jokes. But it must have been a long time ago. It's really time they picked on someone else.

Apart from anything else, those citified football supporters ought to bear in mind that those Swindon Town "yokels" are probably driving home in shiny new Honda Preludes or Renault Meganes - while they're going home on an old, rickety bus.

Messing about on the River Messing about on the River Piggy in the Middle Piggy in the Middle
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