This evening I listened to a description of Portsmouth, (Hampshire, UK). Pictures flashed before me of areas mentioned, like Portsea and Southsea. I wondered if I would hear anything about North End. I think I did but it may have been merged with a general description of a wider area. There were one or two place names I had to think about. Recognition did come. Portsmouth was and still is a student city. It boasts a university.
The interviewee, an author of crime novels, lived in Portsmouth for about four years, the same sort of time period I lived there. He described this ‘island town’ as ‘rough and violent’ like its history, citing its naval roots as main cause for this disturbing picture. It also has tribal social connections in each of its distinctive areas, he said.
First, I would describe this interesting and varied coastal Port city as being just that. It is no more rough and violent than some of the major cities of the world. Sure, it has some districts that are not salubrious. That not unusual. There was poverty when I was there and there will be today. Poverty was either social, emotional, material or all three.
Portsmouth has a transient Royal Naval and student population. The naval presence will raise interesting interactions. I witnessed a few, set off by people who needed something with which to increase their working statistics. I am pleased to say, I was party to minimising at least one injustice and helping to resolve another. I also say, with sincerity, I found some really super people who were residents of Portsmouth
This author should keep his expansive literary descriptions to his books, as I presume Ian Rankin does with his Books, which are based in and on aspects Edinburgh. That is the nub, the writer has voiced ‘artistic’ aspects for his literature based in Portsmouth, which have been magnified in discussion as being totally real and everyday life in the city today.