You'd have thought a chap like Gary Numan, who made his fortune picturing a post-apocalyptic world of electronic friend rentals, car-dwelling survivors and people wearing second-string branded jeans, would have been in his element over the last couple of weeks.
Turns out not, though: Numan is hitching up his skirts and fleeing England for America.
It's understandable, though: Numan lives in one of the riot hotspots, Waldron. Yes, just forty miles as the looted, lit bottle of four star flies from the nearest bit of rioting.
Numan is insisting that his sleepy home village is something of a gangsta's paradise, though, cracking the door open enough to squeak to the Argus:
“We live right out in the country. It is very rural and there are no big cities. You would think it would be the most peaceful place in the world and it is very pretty and relatively affluent. Yet the other day my wife was walking down the High Street and a bunch of kids between 12 and 14 were telling her what they would like to do to her. She had my children with her. You’ve got to be kidding.”Yes, slightly boisterous teenagers. One incident with cheeky kids, and Numan is sat in the saferoom, Remax on speed dial, plotting his escape.
His neighbours are a bit bemused:
Father David Charles, the priest in charge of All Saints church in Waldron, said: “There’s only a couple of hundred residents and they are mostly retired. If there are any gangs roaming about I’ve certainly missed them.”To be fair, the single incident Numan could think of was probably in nearby Heathfield rather than Waldron itself; perhaps outside The Cushion Warehouse or in the shady precincts of The Wealden Talking News.
But can central Sussex stand to lose such a significant member of its population?
Wealden District councillor Dick Angel said: “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him, so it wouldn’t be much of a loss. I think it’s absolutely astounding he could say this.”Gary Numan, Councillor Angel. You remember: the bloke who crashed his plane. Was going to shoot anyone who didn't like the Royal Family. Owner of the most famous hair weave, for a while. Surely you recall?
So where is Numan off to? He's going for a quiet life in Santa Monica:
“America clearly has its own problems, but Santa Monica is great. It has beautiful beaches and the Pacific Ocean. There is not one bit of trouble and not one surly or aggressive person there. Everyone is friendly.Yes, that's right, Gary. In fact, it's a fact that satnavs were only invented because of the greater than 50% likelihood that asking the way in Britain would get you stabbed. It was the only way to stop the bloodshed of the late 1990s when thirty or forty people would be stabbed at every poorly signposted junction each week.
You ask the teenagers there for directions and they are polite and helpful.
“Do that here and you are as likely to get stabbed as you are to get directions. The fact is the English are pretty miserable.”
The Argus helpfully points out that Numan's view of Santa Monica might be based on poor research:
A comparison of crime statistics for the two areas shows that for the last available month Wealden had 30 incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour, compared to 317 offences recorded for the city of Santa Monica.Santa Monica's Wikipedia entry actually has its own section for gang activity. Wealden's entry doesn't even mention crime.
The American city recorded 14 assaults with a deadly weapon compared to none in Wealden. There were 16 counts of grand theft auto, compared to zero vehicle crimes in Wealden.
Goodbye, Gary. Good luck in your new home.