Harlow, in Essex, is a New Town taunted by the lush affluence of Hertfordshire on one side and Stansted Airport’s tantalising hope of escape on the other. Built after WW2 to help ease overcrowding in London, it boasts not only one of the largest social housing percentages of any town in England (30% of properties owned by the local council) but also a per capita unemployment rate which consistently exceeds the national average by a sturdy 10%. In short, it has all the unfortunate makings of a comedy/tragedy goldmine.
I have commuted to Harlow every working day for the last five years and the stories I bring back from my colleagues and co-workers never fail to keep my friends and family in a state of perpetual astonishment. The problem has always been that I can never substantiate the deluge of “my friend at work knows a guy who....pulled his tooth out with pliers rather than spending £14.90 at the dentist opposite his house / smurfs people with his monster penis when drunk / lives solely on a diet of Guinness and hard boiled eggs / had a monkey that committed suicide, etc” tales I bring home every week. Until, that is, Spotted: Harlow launched on Facebook.
Spotted: Harlow is supplied with its daily fuel of stories from the good people of Harlow, submitted anonymously, the awful, wonderful, shocking and hilarious goings on of this landlocked island of insanity are thoroughly documented and discussed, often by those involved, for the amusement and lamentation of anyone brave enough to look. Still not convinced? Try this-
That’s right, the gems that appear on Spotted: Harlow often occur in multitudes, simultaneously repulsing, fascinating and downright astonishing Facebook users all at once. The brutal honesty of these submissions is to be admired, the events depicted in text and image which grace smartphone screens nationwide are just too damn bizarre to be manufactured. Harlow is like a mystical lens both magnifying the frequency of these freakish occurrences whilst also amplifying the intensity of events which might otherwise take place once in a blue moon elsewhere.
It should be noted that Harlow is not a white trash town, it hosts a full diversity of lifestyle choices such as these Travellers stopping for a drive through McDonalds-
With their horse and cart.
Spotted: Harlow isn’t only a rubber necking , point and laugh feed, it also carries romantic advice for the thousands of Harlow’s men seeking female companionship, as seen here-
As the old adage goes “ a picture tells a thousand words” but on Spotted Harlow, a picture of words tells a thousand times more, as this sexual and romantic advice for one particular young lady shows-
And that’s just the posts, once you get into the comments on the posts Facebook users will uncover arguments that make Jeremy Kyle look like Prime Ministers Question Time....
It simply can’t be denied that Spotted: Harlow is a modern marvel, not exactly celebrating the excesses and immorality of it’s townsfolk, but not wholly condemning them either. It is entirely addictive, impossible to Unlike and as utterly compelling as it is revoltingly shocking.