The 2012 Advent Calender: For the 25 days of Christmas, I will be blogging each day about a miscellaneous thing I love. Not necessarily a big thing, not necessarily a small thing and not in any order.
In my twilight years, Whitby is where I will live. In a small cottage, somewhere on the hill, facing the Abbey, looking over the sea. I don’t remember when I first visited Whitby, but I was taken there by my mother a few times when I was young. It was somewhere that Katintheattic always went with her parents for Goth Weekends, and maybe that’s why I was always fascinated by the place. Now it’s become my favourite place, something about it that always draws me there.
The town clings to two cliffs with the harbour snaking up the centre. A haphazard series of buildings, Victorian and older are held together with steep steps and winding alleyways. The streets by the harbour are peppered with pubs, fish and chip shops and arcades, and the famous Magpie Cafe. On the other side of the harbour, the ruins of the Abbey sits atop the cliffs, with St Mary’s Church and graveyard by its side. Whitby is soaked in a kind of Gothic atmosphere, faded seaside glamour alongside gables and cobbles. Its steeped in the heritage of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and has just that feel, werewolves and vampires and all sorts of supernatural weirdness just around a corner, but in a safe way, as if Dracula and Frankenstein may in fact be partaking in tea and crumpets in a cafe, and a werewolf is nursing a headache from the day-after-the-full-moon-before with chips in the nearest fish and chip shop.
When I was sixteen I wrote a TV show called Exorcist, set in Whitby, in which my main character/alter ego Aaron moves into a gothic attic in a building the location of which I have actually scouted. I’ve been to three Goth Weekends now, and on the first I accidentally ran across a book singing of the writer Paul Magrs’ of the latest novel in his Brenda and Effy series, about the Bride of Frankenstein settling down in Whitby to open a B&B. The signings have become a tradition, and I’ve been to one on each Whitby Goth Weekend, once in full top hat and tails as his character Mr Danby, and I’ve walked the streets dressed as a ‘prawn’ from District Nine on Halloween. I’ve slept in a tent in winter looking over the town, and walked up and down the streets imagining my home being behind one of the windows.