A national newspaper has condemned York’s ‘fun police’ – here are the best reactions

A hen party in Duncombe Place, York. Photograph: YorkMix
23 Oct 2018 @ 7.11 pm
| News

York should not try to curb drunken behaviour, but embrace the “marauding tribes of pissed people roaming the streets”.

Groups of stags and hens should be welcomed as the latest incarnation of the Roman and Viking hordes that invaded the city.

So said journalist Sophie Heawood in the Observer this weekend.


York is her home town, and she ripped into it in her column headlined, What harm can a couple of inflatable penises do to our historic cities?

She was responding to the Guardian‘s report that the council was asking buskers not to hand over their microphones to members of the public.

Superiority complex

York believes itself to be “vastly superior” because of the history here, and should get over itself, she argues.

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“I grew up there,” writes Sophie, “and it’s a town that has always hoiked up its bosom and tutted at all of its northern colleagues, believing itself far superior to the industriousness of Leeds and Bradford, or the noise of Newcastle, or the spelling of Scunthorpe…

“If tourists come to England to get a whiff of our Roman and Viking history, can’t they see that it’s alive and well in these marauding tribes of pissed people roaming the streets?”

Her thoughts set off a right old debate about York and its attitude to people on a night out. Here are a selection…

‘Magalufian style displays of gratuitous Bell-Endery’

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  • We’re utterly sick of this anti-social behaviour and just as the Council and Police and other organisations start to take it serously, you produce this effing rubbish that you think stands for ‘journalism’. You’re a disgrace.

    – former Lord Mayor Cllr Dave Taylor

  • York sees itself as Oxford or Cambridge, but without the economic dynamism to match. It’s alright persecuting party-goers and students when you have Silicon Fen or the Thames Valley economic areas to fall back on, but York’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism and the University for survival. A slow, tasteful decline into obscurity or drunk people and their filthy money: Pick one.

    – Matt Snowden

  • I don’t think anyone would find drunken groups’ shouting, swearing, looking for trouble, relieving themselves in public fit anyone’s taste… That often makes York in a weekend evening a no-go to a lot of locals too!

    – ChestnutUtan

  • The city of York is undoubtedly beautiful, welcoming and positively dripping with a historical richness on a par with any in Europe… York is also cursed by severe public order issues which revolve around a frankly insane drinking culture which sees huge numbers of pissed-up halfwits disgorged onto its streets on any given weekend where they routinely terrorise the locals, befoul the streets and engage in behaviour which goes beyond a little tipsy fun and regularly descends into Magalufian style displays of gratuitous Bell-Endery rarely seen or tolerated in any similarly sized city in the UK.

    – nightynurse

  • We see Vikings daily. We know our history. The difference is the Vikings steamed in, ripped your village asunder and fucked off – they didn’t keep bussing themselves back in to burn the same village down the weekend after.

    – Beckyann

  • Couldn’t they build a virtual York in a giant warehouse out Wetherby somewhere and bus all the hen and stag do’s out there? They’d never tell the difference.

    – daffyddw

  • Never mind stag/hen parties,and never mind just York, can all cities everywhere please ban amplified busking, full stop? Acoustic busking is great – long may it continue – but this trend for (ever-louder) amplification is an assault on everyone’s enjoyment open public spaces.

    – ThisEarthling

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