Kicking off the series exploring the joys of Essex, surely the most maligned and misunderstood of counties, singer-songwriter Billy Bragg reflects on the borderland between London and Essex that fuelled his childhood imagination John Betjeman called Essex ‘a stronger contrast of beauty and ugliness than any other southern English county’. But, known recently for the pneumonic blondes and diamond geezers of TV’s The Only Way Is Essex, as well as the peroxided ‘Essex Girls’ of the 80s and the Tory-loving ‘Basildon Man’ of the 90s, Essex seems to have become a parody of itself. But Billy Bragg thinks otherwise… Reader and writer: Billy Bragg is singer, songwriter and activist.

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Other essays in the series are:

  • Washed Up in Essex – Writer AL Kennedy takes us on a watery journey through the county she now calls home.
  • The Refusal of Place – Writer Lavinia Greenlaw takes us back to the formative landscape of her childhood.
  • Brightening from the East – Writer and social historian Ken Worpole introduces us to Essex’s radical past.
  • Writer Gillian Darley celebrates the unsung and lesser-known delights of Mid Essex.

Find out more and listen to the series here