Life in the Cess Pit!

Porn, God, Green Living and a spice of Anarchy in Hebden Bridge and the Upper Calderdale Valley.   

A quick glimpse from Alan Dearling

Just as a touch of ‘normal’ life returned to the shops, towns and villages of Upper Calderdale in the Yorkshire Pennines, a veritable Storm in the (free) Book Cabinet erupted into the local and then national media. Along the Burnley Road from the market town of Todmorden lies Cornholme, population about 1,500. Rather delightful book cabinets offering free book exchanges are organised by volunteers throughout this area, often along with community gardens offering herbs, veg and fruits – free for the picking.

However, we can sense the angst and ire of at least one deeply offended Cornholme resident, who posted a notice none-too-politely suggesting that purveyors of porn can take their literature and piss off to nearby Hebden Bridge – apparently Cess Pit of the local Universe!

Gradually easing out of the full-scale Covid lock-down, both locals and tourists have just begun to enjoy alfresco dining and drinking in the pedestrian centre of Hebden, and in and around Todmorden. Everyone has been relishing the re-opened ‘non-essential’ shops and the market selling a myriad of vegan food, local cheeses and meats, crystals, trendy thingummies for the house, books, slightly hippy clothes, candles, vintage goods and much more – all with the Rochdale Canal and the Pennine hills as a backdrop. These days, Hebden Bridge is much more gentrified than it used to be, but still has an ‘alternative’ vibe about it, that it is alive and well. As does its more working-class neighbour, Todmorden.

And so, perhaps with more than a single tongue-in-cheek, the Porn Book War has smouldered on. Amongst the community adverts in the local Hebden Co-op, this notice was posted, rebutting Mister or Missus Offended from Cornholme.

As the old adage suggests, all publicity is good publicity, and Councillor Josh Fenton-Glynn went on to Twitter to thank the people of Cornholme for helping with the Hebden tourist publicity.

 “As a Hebden Bridge councillor I’d like to thank the people of Cornholme for help with our marketing campaign. Please check out our local independent shops. If the Cess gets too much we have a soap shop! Cornholme’s also lovely, what it lacks in Cess it makes up for in nice pubs.”

One wonders what Nico, original Gothic ice-maiden singer with Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground, would have made of this furore? Her work is being celebrated at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge this July 2021. Maybe there will be at least one Venus in Furs’ outfit at the show and the crowd can sing:

“Taste the whip, in love not given lightly
Taste the whip, now bleed for me”

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