I’m off to the North-East of England for a week, and someone I mentioned this to reacted by saying, amongst other things, "it’s grim up North". This is an expression I’ve heard many, many times without ever wondering where it comes from, so I decided to investigate.
I discovered that it’s the name of a 1991 track by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, whose lyrics include a long list of UK Northern towns.
It seems that the expression was coined within the context of the cinema genre called British New Wave, which blossomed in the late fifties/early sixties and focused on the working classes, particularly in the North of England, hence this expression which echoes the difficult times those areas were going through.
As for me, I love what I’ve seen of the North of England. Durham (this arty "grim" shot of Durham cathedral is courtesy of Andy, our resident designer) and York are beautiful, the Yorkshire Dales are an atmospheric delight, Hadrien’s wall is a stunning reminder of where the Roman Empire stretched to, Holy Island is magical and I hear that all of the main Northern towns are booming.
It’s great up North!