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1 February 2023

This England: Dad dancing

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s “Richard II”, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.

By New Statesman

A 76-year-old dancing lollipop man who says grooving with his son “keeps him young” counts Lizzo and Beyoncé among his fans.

The videos of Brian Kilgallon and his son, Jay Scott, have had 84 million views online. Brian, from Oldbury, West Midlands, still works as a lollipop man. He gets recognised while working and people toot their horns at him. He said: “I love it. When Jay said about TikTok at first I said ‘Is that an ice cream?’”
Wales Online
(Daragh Brady)

Surrey I haven’t a clue

There are few places in the UK as “snooty” as London, but according to satirical website iLiveHere, Farnham in Surrey is where “showing the world just how middle-class you are is an absolute must”.

Citing the town’s “stringent” residents association and “nimby ballpoints”, the website also suggests that the Farnham school run is more of a car pageant than anything else.

MyLondon
(Steve Morley)

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[See also: Why can’t the UK get over its hatred of London?]

Hug it out

A professional cuddler who earns £75 for an hour-long platonic hug is now hosting “cuddle puddle” parties for groups of strangers.

Trevor “Treasure” Hooton, 30, of Bristol, admitted the experiences aren’t for everybody, but said they can be “special and powerful”.
Metro
(Jenny Woodhouse)

As sweet as a nut

A conker fan has collected more than 10,000 near his home. Brian Mountford, 76, also forages for other seeds and plants.

The grandfather from Leek, Staffordshire, says conkers are a “particular favourite” as they “take me right back to when I was a child”.
Metro
(Amanda Welles)

Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to comp@newstatesman.co.uk or on a postcard to This England.

[See also: Londoners must stop complaining about arts cuts. Culture exists outside the M25]

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This article appears in the 01 Feb 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The Great Housing Con