I read an interview this morning with band Chemistry Lane (thanks Schott’s list for sharing it on facebook). They were asked about living in Chester and in part of their answer they said “…Chester has some good restaurants and a zoo…” That neat little summary was pretty depressing right? No offence to the restaurants or the Zoo but we’re are more than that aren’t we? Of course we are! But the guys aren’t alone in their thinking either. Despite the fact that our collective, and many other groups champion local arts and culture, proving there is tons on offer it never removes that feeling in the air that there is nothing really going on locally. Putting the lack of theatre and cinema aside for a second, why is that feeling so pervasive? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve only lived here for a few years so perhaps this is something that goes back a long way. Personally I blame the Romans (the ones who claimed Chester that is, not the people of Rome). Yeah I think it’s about time they came in for some criticism. It’s been the go-to reference for what Chester is about, forever. It’s the reason many people visit Chester. But I think it’s perhaps why there is a lack of collective confidence in our contemporary sense of identity. Do you agree? From my experience of moving here and living here it’s a vibrant, happy, warm, creative city. Comparing it to the last place I lived, Bristol, that lavishes itself with self congratulation about its arts and culture I think Chester has more to offer in lots of ways. Chester feels more embracing somehow. There is so much goodwill to get together and make things happen. Groups are warm and welcoming and the arts and cultural happenings are unpretentious, inspiring and fun. Ironically if there was one word I’d use to sum up Chester it is ” Theatre”from its architecture, its calendar of parades to rival Disney, its performing arts groups and organisation to it’s love of burlesque. Of course it’s not perfect and I strongly agree the establishment could give Chester’s grassroots more support. But I think it’s about time we stop letting ancient conquerors dictate our identity and let our sense of self as a city thrive. What do you think?