- Discombobulation: This article is about the English town on the coast of Sussex. For the English village in Norfolk whose church tower looks like a large pencil-pot please see the "Conclusion" section at the end of this article.
Coat of Arms of the Borough Council
Why would you?
|Motto: At least it's not Bognor|
|Civic anthem: Alma Cogan's cover of Mambo Italiano|
|Official language(s)||English, Chav, Italian, Municipal Doubletalk, Old English, Telephone Voice, Txt mssgng|
|Currency||£sd, because elderly residents never liked decimal currency|
|Opening hours||English Bowling Association championship week only|
Much of Worthing is under the sea. Worthing was a seaside village for hundreds of years and its common was on a headland called Worthing Point. Between 1750 and 1800 this washed away, since which time Worthing has been completely pointless.
Worthing supports ethnic tolerance and diversity. Old age pensioners (43%), mindless slave beings from outer space (32%), extra-terrestrial blobs (9%), inbreeding trolls (5.5%), Italians (0.4%) and a few hairy bikers (0.1%) all live in perfect peace and mutual respect alongside the usual chavs (11%) that populate most other British towns.
In the Stone Age a tribe made Cissbury Ring hill-fort where they dug deep pits in the chalk to mine thin seams of flint for food. Unfortunately being on top of a hill in the South Downs they had no natural water supply. Other stone age locals knew that on the beach there were as many flints as you could eat and enough seawater for you to drink to send yourself mad. Instead the Cissbury Ring folk kept digging until they died of exhaustion, starvation and dehydration.
In the Bronze Age people wanted heavy suntans so on sunny days Worthing beach should have been quite popular. Unfortunately the Bronze Age was only for places that could win at least third prize in something, and that certainly didn't include Worthing.
In the Iron Age Cissbury Ring was settled by a race of Celts, who enlarged the fort into a huge, 60-acre oval circuit for banger racing. When the idea of racing sausages didn't catch on they changed one letter and invented badger racing. These vicious, humbug-striped, tuberculosis-ridden critters are of course nocturnal, so the Celts floodlit the circuit with hundreds of giant wicker men in which they burnt anyone who came from Brighton.
The ancient Romans loved seafood, especially fish sauce and oysters (including sexually). When they invaded Britain the stuff that salty seamen used to sell from lockers beside their fishng boats on the seafront was right up their Via Appia, so the Romans spent the next four centuries having orgiastic toga-parties on Worthing beach. In AD 410 Saxon raiders landed and chased nearly all the Romans back to Gaul, leaving just enough of them to run the ice cream parlour on the seafront.
The mediaeval village
Saxon were of course a heavy metal band so their arrival attracted a race of hard-drinking, virgin-sacrificing, pagan hairy bikers. The hairy bikers named their village Wuroininege meaning "the place of the people of the one who is valiant and noble". "The one who is valiant and noble" was their god, a Great Spirit called Jack Daniels. They continued worshipping on the seafront until the 1970's when they were using the Royal Stewart bar as their temporary temple (see "The Dome", below).
The area is on a coastal plain with very fertile soil, and the proximity of the sea means it suffers much less from frost than inland areas. The hairy bikers found this was ideal for growing delicate crops such as asparagus, bok choi, garlic, goji berries, mange tout, pak choi and physalis, but above all a vast acreage of cannabis that they sold to shabby hordes of alternative lifestyle squat-dwelling drop-outs in Brighton. Combined with the rich variety of seafood available from the salty boys on the beach this gave the hairy bikers all they needed for their regular cookery column in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, so they settled the area and lived peacefully as horny-handed sons of toil. Outsiders didn't come and bother them as they couldn't say "Wuroininege" to ask directions there, still less read or spell it, so the hairy bikers lived undisturbed in their village by the sea for the next 1,000 years.
In the 1580's England's first potatoes and tobacco arrived from America. The hairy bikers forsook healthy mediaeval nouvelle cuisine to invent new recipes from potatoes, while with tobacco they invented the "joint" to smoke their cannabis instead of just adding it to their cakes and lasagne as they had done until now. The result was a massive attack of the munchies from which they attempted to cure themselves with a huge meal. Needing the first few courses very quickly they started with several trays of eggs, combined with a few tons of the newly-imported spuds. Omelettes and pommes dauphine followed by Polish potato pancakes with a bucket of sour cream gave them enough time for the boiled tatties to cool down which they then mixed into a huge potato salad with home-made egg mayonnaise. Next came the fish course of trout in sauce béarnaise with pommes de terre duchesse, a main course of Hungarian gulash with egg noodles, then double helpings of sherry trifle with real home-made egg custard and whipped cream washed down with a glass of Sauternes, a glass of Kahlua and cream while the table was being cleared, then a heavily-laden French cheese board and finally a cup of Irish coffee. This left the hairy bikers acutely constipated for the next 150 years.
By 1745 they had established a large fig garden to make syrup of figs with which to ease their tortured bowels. This was at Tarring, which then was a separate village and not the enclave bijou between Worthing High School and the hostile Western Desert of Durrington that it is today. A big beautiful fig garden is a rare pleasure in such a northerly latitude of Europe, so in the late 20th century the Borough Council trolls (see below) let someone flatten nearly all the trees and build houses on the site.
One night in 1798, while the bikers were off their faces on JD and Coke (and in some cases coke) and had Black Sabbath on full volume they failed to notice the interstellar mothership full of pallid extra-terrestrial blobs led by Princess Amoeba that invaded the village. Amoeba pretended to be the daughter of King George III who, being mad, believed her. The hairy bikers, being off their faces at the time, agreed it was quite possible so they allowed the blobs to stay.
The Georgian borough
When the blobs arrived the hairy bikers had recently sacrificed their last virgin, and as it was a hot summer necrophilia was beginning to go a bit off. They therefore started breeding with the blobs from outer space which resulted in a race of stunted, brutish, insensitive, aesthetically myopic trolls with a nasty predilection for wilful destruction. Princess Amoeba petitioned mad King George to give the trolls something they could do, so using all his skills of governance (see Boston Tea Party) in 1800 His Majesty made the village into a Borough and put the trolls in charge. At the time the trolls were only one year old, so this stage of mental development has been the maximum requirement to be on the Borough Council ever since. The Hanoverian loony himself composed the new Borough's latin motto Ex terra copiam e mare salutem, which means "the extra-terrestrials can cope and my female horse salutes them".
The blobs from outer space brought kits of parts to build huge fighting tripods, but before they could assemble them the hairy bikers with whom they had just spent the night pinched all the shiny bits to customise their Triumphs and Harley-Davidsons. Without their tripods the blobs could barely move on land, so in order to regain mobility they crawled into the sea and thus invented the Georgian fashion for sea bathing. On summer days many of these pallid, flaccid, helpless alien blobs of cellulite can still be seen lolling on the seafront, looking like beached seals just asking to be beaten to death at any moment by a gang of merciless club-wielding Canucks.
At first, sea bathing attracted the most fashionable English society to the town. In 1806 Lord Byron arrived hoping that Princess Amoeba herself would take him up the back passage. (In the local Sussex dialect these narrow back passages are known as twittens. This word should be used sparingly as too many twittens can make you a Conservative Party leader.) Byron checked into Warnes Hotel, then the airiest and most spacious hotel in Britain because it had not yet been built. When the Maitre d'Hotel explained that Her Royal Highness had checked out eight years ago and was now copping off with a Royal equerry old enough to be her real father, his Lordship poetically exclaimed "Well bugger me rigid!" Without batting an eyelid the '"Maitre D." discreetly advised "If that is your Lordship's preference, may we recommend Brighton?"
The Cruel Sea
By now the village common had been washed away (see introduction) so the trolls built hundreds of heavy wooden barricades at right-angles to the seafront to stop any more coastal erosion. As they were long, straight, rigid things that penetrated something wet and salty, Lord Byron named them "groynes" to give the town a permanent memorial to having been penetrated by his Lordship's gonorrhoeic member.
The groynes succeeded by stopping any pebbles from washing away. The pebbles have piled up so much that the town now has one of the stoniest beaches in England, torturing the feet of anyone who dares to try swimming at high tide. Any bather who manages to get into the sea then risks being dashed against the groynes, which are now covered with more barnacles than Lord Byron had clap-pustules on his male pudendum. The alternative of trying to swim at low tide involves a walk across half a mile of sand so grey it's fit for nothing but making cement or digging lugworms, and then walking another half mile into the sea before it's waist-deep and you can pretend to enjoy swimming in it. By now the shingle is so far away and all the groynes look the same so you've forgotten where on Worthing's five miles of beach you've left your towel and your clothes.
In 1845 the railway from Brighton was extended to the town, which was nearly 40 years too late for Byron but handy for thousands of holidaymakers who started turning Worthing from a small fashionable retreat into the huge sprawling chavsville it is today. In 1847 Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club paid the local railway company to extend its line to Portsmouth to enable Albion fans to raid Fratton Park and attack Pompeyites en masse. The railway included a wooden drawbridge across the Arun at Ford to defend against counter-attack by any murderous, swamp-dwelling, uneducated Solent heathen.
In 1863 Pompeyites discovered fire, probably while tool-making by bashing flints together on Southsea beach. They immediately put this to military use by burning down the drawbridge across the Arun, so the railway replaced it with an iron one. This was much heavier and needed a team of eight men to crank it open and shut by hand, for which the railway used a chain-gang of shackled convicts from Ford Prison. The team latterly included George Best, aristocratic insurance cheat Baron Charlie "Angle-Grinder" Brocket, Boris Johnson's fishy friend Darius Guppy, gay playwright Joe Orton and his boyfriend Kenneth "The Hammer" Halliwell, and Guinness über-fraudster and Alzheimer's faker Ernest Saunders.
In 1938 as an economy measure the Southern Railway took the opening mechanism out of use and converted the Arun rail bridge to a fixed span, which left Brighton and Worthing defenceless against the western hordes. In the spiralling football violence of the 1970's Albion fans proved able to vandalise their own habitat without the help of any visiting away supporters, and the late night train home from Brighton to West Worthing was wrecked so frequently that British Rail abolished it in despair.
In 1851 Jeremy Paxton invented an IKEA-style flatpack kit for building steam-heated giant glasshouses. He sold one to Crystal Palace FC to play football in (the windows were quite safe as none of their players could kick that hard), another to Queen Victoria in which to grow her cannabis at Kew Gardens, and a budget-sized one to a railway company who took it to Oxford and used it as a train terminus. Paxton's invention revolutionised Worthing horticulture. By the end of the century the hairy bikers had developed many acres of commercial glasshouses which prospered by sending tomatoes by train to Covent Garden market, increasing cannabis production, and supplying flowers to the growing number of florists and undertakers needed to bury the burgeoning influx of oldies.
In 1862 an even larger memorial to Byron's appendage opened in the form of the Pier. It was built by driving hundreds of piles into the beach, which have been a sore point ever since. As early as the 1880's the town was going out of fashion as a holiday resort and becoming a huge home for old people, many of whom couldn't even reach the end of the pier unless nursey could trundle them there in their bath chairs. Then in 1888 the Pier Company received a piece of junk mail promising them an extension. They knew it was dodgy but in desperation they decided to chance it. Of course like most spam products this one failed to make the pier any longer, but it did cause a large swelling at the end on which the company was able to build the South Pavilion. Unfortunately the swelling also led to soreness in use, and in 1933 the friction finally caused the South and Middle Pavilions to catch fire and burn down.
In 1920 the Pier Company had sold out to the Borough Council. After the 1933 fire the trolls replaced the elegant late-Victorian pavilions with two giant Art Deco biscuit tins feebly contrived to look like the superstructure of an ocean liner. They filled the Middle Pavilion with arcade games and erected a set of huge neon letters on the roof saying "NEW AMUSEMENTS". By the 1970's the sign was still there but the arcade machines were the same ones that were installed 40 years earlier. Childhood memories of the machine with the set of hideous, mange-ridden, threadbare, half-broken, miniature mechanical monkey-musicians that would play a scratchy tune and move in time to the music when you inserted one old penny have haunted generations of Worthingites throughout their adult lives.
In 1971 the team of underwater archaeologists who had just found Henry VIII's sunken flagship the Mary Rose off Portsmouth started jumping off Selsey pier in search of the cathedral that Saint Wilfred had built in the 7th century but the sea had washed away 300 years later. This annual university field trip became the Birdman competition. In 1978 the biology faculty took over and moved the project to Bognor pier in search of any sentient life in the area, as there certainly wasn't any in Bognor town. It took the organisers 30 years to realise that Bognor is just too ghastly, so in 2008 they moved the competition to Worthing Pier.
After a hundred years of trolldom the hairy bikers finally despaired of the disaster that their one-nighter with the alien blobs had spawned in 1798. The bikers built a ritual sacred site on the seafront in which to curse them all, called the Curse Hall (or Kursaal in Sussex dialect). It opened in 1911, disguised as an Edwardian leisure centre. The main hall was a roller skating rink, called the Coronation Hall because Edwardian waitresses in starched uniforms would hurtle alongside the skaters and serve them with plates of the hairy bikers' new dish of Coronation chicken which the diners then had to eat while speed-skating. A second hall, the Electric Cinema, showed Edwardian porn which always frustrated audiences as none of the models could divest themselves of all ten layers of complicated high-security underwear before the reel ran out.
A series of accidents between skating diners, waitresses and plates of cold chicken in mild curry sauce led the municipal trolls to ban this use of the Coronation Hall. In 1913 the hairy bikers launched the revolutionary idea of converting the hall to show films in which the actors kept their clothes on and there was actually a plot worth following. During World War I people started mistaking "Kursaal" for a German word so in 1915 the hairy bikers renamed their sacred site "The Dome".
The trolls knew the Dome's secret pagan purpose so in the 1940's and 50's they plotted to obliterate it and redevelop the whole quarter of the town centre around it. In 1969 they finally won the building in a poker game, which is what forced the hairy bikers to move to the Royal Stewart (see "The mediaeval village", above). Unfortunately the trolls' obliteration of other parts of the town centre (see "Teville Gate" and "Guildbourne Death-camp", below) discredited them so much that they had to allow the Dome to remain a cinema while they tried their next strategy. This was a painstakingly detailed 20-year programme of abject neglect, in which the trolls hoped that one of the most historic cinemas in Sussex would either fall down or at least become so unsafe that they could condemn it for demolition.
In 1988 the trolls triumphantly announced that the Dome needed almost £2 million-worth of repairs so it was their civic duty to flatten both it and every other building in a quarter-mile radius and get a race of fellow-trolls called property developers to redevelop the area. However, by now the Dome was the only cinema left open in Worthing and, like most old tat that you forget to get rid of for long enough it had now become an antique. The trolls weren't bothered when it was made a Grade II listed building in 1989, but in 1991 a Save the Dome campaigner was voted onto the Borough Council. Losing votes, seats and therefore Absolute Power was the one thing that the venal, dull-witted, tasteless half-humans actually feared, so in the early 1990's the trolls found themselves reluctantly parting with money to actually patch up the building and let it continue showing films.
In 1996 the trolls sold the Dome to become a nightclub, which would have restored live action to the Coronation Hall for the first time since the roller-skaters last fell over each other in 1913. The trolls' triumph was thwarted because the building's heritage status had been upgraded to Grade II*, confirming it as one of the most historic cinemas in Britain. The trolls were forced to give the nightclub owner his money back, and in 1999 they finally admitted defeat and sold the building to the preservationists for just £10: a thumping and well-deserved loss for the municipal morons if ever there was one.
It took the Preservation Trust until 2003 to raise the £500,000 needed to get English Heritage to give them the other £2.5 million needed to restore the building. In 2005-07 the building was closed for the final phase of works, but since then Worthing seafront's most eccentric and best-loved building has resumed its apparent purpose of showing films. However, one hour before sunrise every day the hairy bikers and the preservationists share the Coronation Hall for its original Edwardian purpose of mass hate-chanting rituals against the Borough Council while impaling effigies of all the senior councillors. This venerable rite is all the more justified by the trolls' persistent efforts since Word War II to do to Worthing what Hermann Goering's bombers failed to achieve.
Until 1895 the town was still called by its Saxon name of Wuroininege. In another bid to revive its flagging fortunes the Borough commissioned Oscar Wilde to come up with a name that people could actually say, let alone read or spell. George Bernard Shaw suggested "Worthing", Wilde stole the idea and claimed it as his own, and he wrote the new name into the script of The Importance of Being Earnest (referring to the convicted thieving liar Ernest Saunders, see above) to promote it.
Worthing has one of Britain's finest historic costume collections. It opened in 1798 as Princess Amoeba's favourite dress-shop and sold the same range of corsets and crinolines to crusty, pince-nez-wearing dowagers for the next 110 years. When the proprietress finally died in 1908 she left the shop to the Borough Council who simply changed the sign over the door to "Worthing Museum & Art Gallery".
In the 1930's Neville Chamberlain, who was then Stanley Baldwin's Chancellor of the Exchequer, ordered the Southern Railway electrify the railway through the town. This was done while the late night train full of Albion fans was due on the track, in the hope that it would electrocute them all and bring "peace in our time". Unfortunately due to an overtime dispute the locomotive crew had booked off at Brighton, the train was cancelled and the fans' lives were spared. Unaware of their good fortune the fans stranded at Hove Actually railway station rioted, and the Sussex Yeomanry was called out to restore order for the first time since the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1849.
In 1936 Brighton, Hove Actually and Worthing made an attempt at co-operation by clubbing together to buy a salt-marsh in Lancing that the vendor had cunningly labelled "Shoreham Airport". The venture started confidently with flights to Harfleur (in honour of Henry V whupping the French at Agincourt, see below) and Jersey, and the Southern Railway helpfully built a miserable windswept halt on the rail line next to the smart new terminal building. Alas none of the three municipalities realised how often the sea mist rolls up the River Adur and covers the salt-marsh, producing an aeronautical version of the infamous British newspaper headline "FOG IN CHANNEL - CONTINENT CUT OFF". In 1967 the Beagle Aircraft factory at the airport named its new model the "Pup" to commemorate the fact that this was what the three boroughs had been sold thirty years earlier. In 2006 the silly burghers finally admitted their folly and sold off this delightful, iconic, Grade II listed Art Deco white elephant with en suite salt-bog to a private buyer.
In the 1940's Mark and Fay Cohen from Golders Green moved to Worthing with their daughters Alma and Sandra. In the 1950's Alma changed "Cohen" to "Cogan", became the hottest-selling female singer in Britain and moved to a posh flat in Kensington where she threw glamorous parties for Noel Coward, Michael Caine, Princess Margaret and The Beatles. This proved that a hot Jewish chick can become a music star without raddling herself with booze, drugs, the World's ugliest tattoos and prolific public self-debasement like Amy Winehouse. Ted Heath, the band leader, politician and closet homosexual, encouraged the young Cogan at the start of her career. This, and not his Toryism, is why so many Worthingites put his picture in their window during every election campaign in the 1960's and 70's. Alma's younger sister Sandra changed "Cohen" to "Caron", became an actress and ended up appearing in The Crystal Maze. Whether this was a better fate than staying in Worthing and working at her dad's haberdashery shop is a moot point.
In the 1960's and 70's coastal erosion caused an unexpected new threat to the town, as many geography students failed to understand that in this context the initials LSD stand for "Longshore Drift" whereas "getting stoned" means consuming Ken Kesey's favourite candy. This fatal misapprehension of hippie culture led thousands of students to descend on Worthing beach where they attempted a recreational stoning of themselves and each other. Badly-aimed pebbles from this short and bloody episode broke all the glasshouses, destroying most of Worthing's flower and tomato industry at a stroke.
Treating hundreds of bleeding hippies overwhelmed Worthing Hospital so the council trolls hurriedly gave the National Elf Service the bowling greens in Homefield Park next door on which to build a huge, ill-conceived, misbegotten, ugly rabbit-warren of a hospital extension called The West Wing. (Or was it the North Wing? That's how lost I got in its corridors. I've a feeling I went to the wrong operating theatre and carried out the wrong operation on the wrong patient. Fortunately everyone else was as lost as I am so I doubt they'll ever catch up with me.) Dozens of elderly bowlers valiantly defended their greens by hurling volleys of bowling woods, but they were no match for the NHS's battery of just eleven Elven Archers whose arrows kebabbed the oldies with an accuracy as deadly as any English bowman slaying hordes of cowardly Gallic goose-torturers at Agincourt in 1415.
The surviving bowlers retreated to Beach House Park which already had a bowling club, but the two clubs stubbornly refused to merge. This became the most controversial ground-sharing scheme in any sport until 1997 when the Albion shacked up with Gillingham. The annual Derby game between the Homefield and Beach House Park clubs has become a grudge match marred by frequent cases of poisoned scones and Victoria sponge cake in the tea pavilion, violent misuse of walking sticks and zimmer frames by fans and players, and attempts at ball-tampering by clandestine nocturnal raids to plant woodworm in each other's club-houses.
Zombie hordes of retired people continued to take over Worthing, so the council trolls got the property developers to use the glasshouse ruins as sites to build thousands of bungalows to try to house them all. In the 1950's the trolls had demolished an 18th century stately home north of the town next to the A24 main road from London, and in 1968 they built a crematorium on the site in order that its smoking chimney would be the first thing the oldies would see and it might frighten them into trying Bognor instead. The trolls' plan to hang a huge sign over the A24 where it passes the crem saying JEDEM DAS SEINE (figuratively "everyone gets what they deserve") copied from the gateway to Konzentrationslager Buchenwald was banned on grounds of taste, especially as Egypt and Syria had just tried to wipe Israel off the map in the 1967 War and Worthing's belovéd Alma Cogan had died the year before that.
Worthing's roads became clogged with thousands of slow-moving Morris Minors and Hillman Imps, each driven by a tiny, bent-over figure hidden under a broad-brimmed hat and incapable of seeing over the steering wheel. Terrified local police privately referred to Worthing's elderly as "TWR's" - Typical Worthing Residents. With the 1973 oil crisis and the decline of British Leyland the TWR's started to switch to different cars. At first they bought DAF Variomatics but they had difficulty winding up the huge rubber band that powers them what with their arthritis being so bad and having such a long wait for a hip replacement on the NHS in those days ooh it's not like it was before the War and that decimalisation is just a con oranges went from six old pence to six new pence in just a month that's more than a shilling and have you seen the price of Rich Tea biscuits I mean Ted Heath's a lovely man but he should never have sacked Enoch Powell or taken us into the Common Market. The TWR's then switched to buying so many Datsuns that the philathropist and international fraudster Octav Botnar (Worthing's answer to Robert Maxwell) moved Datsun UK's HQ to the town.
The Borough Council's next bid to give the town a younger character was inspired by watching an illegally-imported copy of A Clockwork Orange. The trolls built the Maybridge estate to attract thousands of chavs who they hoped would misbehave in the town centre and on the seafront every weekend, burgle hundreds of terrified old spinsters in Tarring and West Worthing and frighten anyone over 60 into moving away. Some of the knuckle-dragging plankton at Durrington High School prove that this strategy has had some sucess, and the horrible mediocrity of most of the town centre's "Vertical Drinking (VD) Establishments" shows what culture this delightful town has achieved.
After the crematorium failed to frighten the TWR's away, British Rail invented the senior citizens' railcard which caused a new influx of oldies by train. The quick-thinking trolls demolished the perfectly adequate shopping street that led to Worthing rail station and replaced it with the shabby Teville Gate shopping precinct, whose wind-tunnel effects were developed from town planner Sir William Holford's truly execrable design for Paternoster Square in London. The idea was that if its banality and mediocrity weren't enough to turn visitors away, the gales generated in the wind-tunnel would blow the more frail ones over and they would get BUPA to medically evacuate them to some nice private hospital miles away and never come back.
Despite having died in 1881, Modest Mussorgsky was moved by a premonition-dream he had of Teville Gate to write "The Great Gate of Teville" as part of his seminal work Pictures at an Exhibition. Worthing Borough Council reacted by dispatching a hunter-killer cyborg lawyer back in time who issued Mussorgsky with a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter, leading him to rename the piece The Great Gate of Kiev.
In the 1980's Maggie Thatcher's two huge recessions stripped Tacky Gate of most of the shops that were any good, which was even better as the trolls boarded them up in a passable imitation of a run-down neighbourhood in Newcastle under Lyme. Still the TWR's kept coming, so the trolls copied their hero and mentor Joseph Stalin by trying a scorched earth strategy: they demolished most of Teville Gate and left it as a barren wasteland to make visitors fear they've arrived in Chernobyl or at least wartime Stalingrad by mistake. This policy has come too late, as New Labour's cynical gimmick of nationwide free travel for senior citizens means that hundreds of them can bypass the rail station by coming on the 700 bus from Brighton without even paying.
Also in the 1970's the trolls demolished the Theatre Royal, Worthing Market and anything remotely attractive or historic in that corner of the town centre to build a cavernous concrete wasteland called the Guildbourne Centre. Townsfolk were told it was a shopping centre but its real purpose was a docking platform for Princess Amoeba's mothership to return, this time bringing a race of mindless slave beings from the intergalactic blobs' home planet. The slave beings were anthropophagic, and the Borough's plan was to fill the Guildbourne with shops stocked with Werther's Orginals, jars of preserved beetroot and bottles of Heinz salad cream that would lure in the town's surfeit of TWR's who would then be eaten alive by the mindless slaves.
The Guildbourne's "architect" designed its main entrance to look like the jaws of Hell in a Mediaeval Doom painting. Unfortunately this made the TWR's suspicious and they refused to leave the pick & mix counter at Woolies in Montague Street. The mindless slaves were released to pursue them, but as they were dragging their knuckles through Liverpool Road they discovered that McDonalds burgers were even more disgusting than elderly human flesh so they ate all the staff instead and took their jobs. The are still working at McDonalds today, and if anyone normal gets a job there the mindless slaves from outer space eat them and claim they never arrived for work. Meanwhile the Guildbourne's only victims have been the shops on its upper floor, all of which have either gone bust or fled.
Big business has waxed and waned in Worthing: not only the crooks at Nissan UK but Excess Insurance up the road from Broadwater, Lloyds Bank in the Western Desert of Durrington, and the Beecham pharmaceutical factory belching toxic and occasionally narcotic fumes over East Worthing.
Since World War II Worthing's Italian population has recovered from its crushing defeat in AD 410 (see "Archaeology", above). Italians now run the reliable half of the local building trade, in South Farm Road they run Worthing's only proper delicatessen, and they rival the hairy bikers as the town's best chefs. On Sundays after Mass at Our Lady of Sion they play a gentle game of bocce in Victoria Park. Bocce, like boules, is played with small-calibre cannon balls, but with the added benefit that it doesn't involve the French.
The most sought-after employment is at the crematorium, which in Worthing's case offers a job for life (or death). For the last forty years its furnaces have burned night and day, seven days a week on a three-shift basis in a vain attempt to get through the backlog of stiffs, some of which have been dead since before Sterling was decimalised in 1971. Since Thatcher cut local government funding in the 1980's they've been burning several cadavers at a time. You didn't think the pot of ashes they gave you actually came from your own departed loved one, did you? The real ashes all go to fertilise what little is left of the hairy bikers' dope-growing business.
Today Worthing's only significant horticultural crop is seaweed. Normally Worthingites get sufficient supplies of seaweed only when a storm dumps a few hundred tons on the beach. The Borough Council would then send a fleet of JCB's to bulldoze it under the pebbles to stop the next tide from washing it away. Trapped under the pebbles it would rot nicely so that everyone using the seafront for the next fortnight could enjoy the all-pervading odour of algal decay. However, climate change will cause enough sea level rise to inundate the whole town except for Salvington, Highdown Hill, Findon Valley, the cemetery and the ever-smoking crematorium. The thousands of homes and buildings lost under the sea will then become reefs that will grow thousands of tons of seaweed that Worthing will be able to export to Japan, Wales (for laverbread) and hordes of muesli-munching perverts in Brighton.
- Peter Bonetti, former Chelsea FC and England goalkeeper
- Lord Byron
- Sandra Caron
- Alma Cogan
- one third of Prog Rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer
- Billy Idol
- Cynthia Payne, who was born in Bognor so for her Worthing was a step up in the World.
- Harold Pinter, which may explain why he seemed so angry and miserable.
- the man who wrote most of the Carry On Films
- Stephen Spender, the poet who gave up being gay to try to stop people thinking he might be from Brighton.
There is another, much smaller Worthing in Norfolk. It is still a small village, is not beside the sea, is not ruled by trolls and has not been ruined by invasions of amorphous aliens, sarcophages and the undead. However bleak and incestuous Norfolk may be, you are strongly advised set your satnav to take you to that Worthing instead.