London-based poets Sara Hirsch and Sam Berkson grew up in the same sleepy commuter town on the border of Hertfordshire and Essex as me.
Bishop’s Stortford (famous for it’s easy access to the M11 and Stansted Airport) is not violent enough to be national newsworthy, not poor enough to invite organised crime, not pretty enough to attract tourists and not far enough away from London to be out of its shadow.
For one reason or another, we all left. Perhaps our ambitions and needs were more than Stortford had to offer, or life just took us in a different direction. Or something a bit darker.
So, commissioned to produce a podcast for national poetry organisation Apples and Snakes, we braved it back to Stortford for a day to decipher our own experiences and try to find out a bit more about what the town is like today.
Have the car parks of a decade ago become thriving cultural hubs in their absence? Is there more to Stortford than shops, a motorway and decent schools? We spoke to strangers on the street, in the pubs and local figures to try and find out what makes Stortford tick.