What We Learned About Britain by Looking at Your Weird Google Searches
Is your hometown a weird pit of racism, EDM and porn?
(Illustration by Sam Taylor)
The internet is a big bowl of porridge with nuts and oats and raisins and Star Wars figurines and cummy tissues in it. It is a souk of deranged trinkets, every taste easily catered for thanks to the Clapham Junction of hyperlinks: Google. When they aren’t coming up with funny graphics to celebrate world knitting day, or enticing people to be abused in public for wearing space glasses, they’re compiling data on what people search for, through them, on the internet.
Google Trends has gathered together all of this data since 2004, and we thought it'd be interesting to choose some search terms and see which place in the UK googles them the most. While the answers may not surprise you, they will remind you that, while the sun is out and everything seems cool and fun at the minute, deep down this island is still a clammy, pallid ashtray of despair and gross people trying to fuck each other in laybys.
Read on to get a nerd's-eye view of what the UK is really like in 2014.
(Photo by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete)
Most searched for: Crack, Murder, Pussy, Dad Rock, Inshallah, Platitudes, Las Ketchup, Rape Culture, Slam Poetry, Dick Pic, Harry Potter, Gag Reflex, Un-American, Led Zeppelin, Twerp, Mimsy
The big vape was always going to have tons of results in this, some expected, some less so. In a way, it backs up something we already knew – that London is a melting pot, and as such its search history is every single different type of person in the world, looking for the most annoying thing about their respective culture. Slam poets, vinyl dads, pop-feminists, Harry Potter tits, dick-pic sending City boys, infantilised twee arseholes, jihad fanboys, Clarkson apologists, cock throttlers, people who ironically enjoy shit and people who actually enjoy shit – all twatting their interests and whims into Google's search bar paella. A lot of the time places in the UK can be defined by their one foible. London is home to all of them, rotting together like a plague riddled mass grave.
Most searched for: Putrid, Morrissey, Oasis, Family Guy, Piss, Fit Birds, The Good Old Days
The people of Manchester know what they like and they like what they know. They like going on the piss, and they like taking the piss. They like fit birds and they like Family Guy. Perhaps surprisingly, they also still (just about) like Morrissey more than people in London do and they like searching for the phrase "the good old days". Why move on with the rest of the world when you gave it Oasis?
Most searched for: 2CB, LSD, Nut Roast, Josie Long, Dave Gorman, Ukulele, Squatting, Slippery, Pystrance, Kink
It’s cruel to stereotype entire cities based on the absolute worst things about them. But going on Brighton’s googling track record, it seems that all the reasons people cite to avoid the place are 100 percent valid. Ever been to Preston Park? You’ll probably have had your view spoiled by dreadlocked vegans hurling diabolos around. Ever decided to sack off clubs for the night in favour of something less comedown-y? Chances are your quiet pint will have been ruined by an Edinburgh Fringe cast-off using a ukulele to mask the fact all their jokes are shit. Throw in the psytrance and the potential for bad trips on strong drugs and sadly, the rumours appear to be true – Brighton really is an inoffensive, all-inclusive purgatory, where you can go and be the worst you can be, and no one will notice because they’re all just like you.
(Photo by Holly Lucas)
Most searched for: Fisting, Dogging, Bestiality, Hardcore Porn, Cunt, Tits, Bass Music
Anyone who’s ever been to Milton Keynes will understand the results here; it's a place where it seems there's very little to do other than watch people fuck in the most depraved ways imaginable. It's essentially an entire town full of bored suburban teenagers, people trapped in their new-builds by roundabouts and A-roads, hammering the words "dogging" and "cunt" into their laptops. I guess this is how people communicate in a city built for cars. The only things that seem capable of relieving the tedium are videos of stonewash jean-wearing Punto drivers cumming into housewives' hair and SBTRKT.
Most searched for: Hipster, Paedo, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory
Glasgow's not done itself too many favours with its googling. In fact, it seems to be trapped in 2011, when you still had to google people to find out if they were paedophiles and everyone was making jokes about fixed-gear bicycles. Also, it's disappointing to me that the city which gave the world Limmy seems fixated with the two least funny shows ever to air on British TV. Glaswegians might throw great parties and produce amazing dance music, but suddenly they don't seem like the hell-raising, Buckfast-drinking freedom-fighters LuckyMe, the monks and the independence push had us thinking they were. Good riddance to 'em, I say.
Most searched for: Gaping, Britpop, Performance Art
Truly the most eclectic set of results here. I have no idea what links gross porn, Ocean Colour Scene and mime in the Leodensian psyche, but clearly there's more going on in there than cricket and potatoes.
(Photo by Henry Langston)
Most searched for: Faggots, Dubstep, Juggling
Homophobia and crusties? Congratulations Bristol, you are truly the UK's most European city. I don't really know what to say beyond that, other than why google the word "faggots"?
Most searched for: Leroy Jenkins, Fringe
This makes Edinburgh look a bit sad, doesn’t it? The two bits of popular culture they’re more intent on learning about than anyone else in the UK are a viral World of Warcraft video from 2005 and an am-dram festival that happens just outside their houses for an entire month every single year.
Most searched for: Get a Boyfriend, Beatles, Rafa Benitez, Dairylea, Memories
The people of this port city are well aware of its rich history – so aware, in fact, that that’s all they care about. No longer trading on goods and wares brought in by briney sailors, they now trade on former glories: Lennon and McCartney, Benitez-era Champions League wins, the actual word "memories". They don’t even think they deserve real cheese, that’s how far their crown has slipped in recent times. They desperately wanna get a boyfriend but let’s hope our friends in Liverpool don’t get Alzheimer’s, or they’re going to be totally fucked.
(Photo by Andrew Smith)
Most searched for: Nazis, Hitler, Holocaust, Jews, Heroin, Graffiti, Poor People, Bombs, Terrorism, Jesus, Beyonce, Wasteman, Bored
Farnborough, if these search terms are to be believed, may be the closest thing to a dystopia we will witness in our lifetime. Apparently populated by closeted Nazis, this sleepy Hampshire town seems fascinated with poverty, heroin addiction, street art and the Holocaust. The results for Jesus and Beyonce might seem a bit incongruous, but don't be fooled: Farnborough is a sick, sick place, full of sick, sick people, hiding in plain sight. Or, as the last term suggests, maybe they're just really fucking "bored".
(Photo by Alan Fleming)
Most searched for: Hookers, Prostitutes, Cum, Cocaine, Grindr, Spunk, Xanax, Star Sign, Brown Sauce, Elvis Presley, Giving Birth, Alcoholic, Burger & Fries, Bastille
On the flipside, the people of Nazeing in Essex are having a fucking whale of a time. Getting absolutely blasted on prossies and Xanax, Nazeingers shun the drudgery of society’s so-called "status quos", apparently all hell-bent on joining the 27 Club even though they love Bastille. They want straight sex, they want gay sex, they want to pay for it, they want it for free. They want booze and burgers, not fucking salads, mate, and they want it served to them by Elvis Presley. They’ll be giving birth in the morning, in the caff by lunchtime for a bacon sandwich, then back down the brothel by nightfall. Truly, if there ever was an example of a libertine society, of total freedom from the oppressive mores and strictures of this grey kingdom, Nazeing is it.
We salute you, you crazy bastards, and we hope that you get the epic death you so clearly long for.