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January 17 , 2010

Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love


Enough! For far too long, Lancashire has languished under the grimy pall of smoke and muck and mills and mines, enveloped in outdated condescensions, smothered by the easy dismissals that put down the north of England as just 'up there' and 'grim'. Thank you very much George Orwell, Monty Python and every London cabbie.

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But Lancashire is not up there. Lancs is actually situated in the centre of the British Isles. And far from being grim, it is a place of wit and wonder, romance and surprise, a land of exotic influence whose people have always looked outward to sophistications and influences beyond frontiers and seas.

Indeed, French writer Honoré de Balzac recognised these affinities and yearnings in the Lancashire people when he had one of his characters declare that 'Lancashire is the county where women die of love.'

Mock if you like, but then think about it: where is the magnificent thoroughfare that inspired the boulevards of Paris? Where did they go to film Brief Encounter, the most romantic British film ever made? Where did the young Shakespeare dream of and draw on for his inspired imaginings?

Join Charles Nevin, Fleet Street journalist and humorist, as he returns to his roots and reveals all this and more. Discover the true Camelot and the beauty that is rugby league. See where Lancastrians go to die, but first visit Lost Lancashire and its great twin cities, Manchester and Liverpool. Mull over why Britain's greatest comics, from Laurel to Coogan, Formby to Vegas, Dodd to Kay, Fields to Wood, Morecambe and Dawson, have all come from Lancs. Mere coincidence? Give over, and read on . . .

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