8pm on a late August day and there's a soft neon glow clinging to Redcar's seafront. The dwindling sun melts into the sea while bright reds and purples emitted from the arcades create a cacophony of colours. This all adds a woozy feel to the final hours of day as the final few families pour coppers into one-armed bandits. Candy floss fizzes on children's tongues, dissolving onto sticky lips. The silhouettes of dog walkers float across the sand as a solo photographer takes aim at the vintage helter-skelter.
Parallel to the seafront, the tired high street is empty. Shuttered windows hide closed shops: those that will reopen tomorrow and those that have now closed for good. A blue signpost – aimed at the non-existent crowds of tourists – offers up five choices. I dart off in the direction of the public toilets, only to be faced with boarded up doors.
It's warm back in the car, parked next to screaming neon overlooking the sea with yesterday's grease-covered paper covering my knee. Too hot for fish and chips, really. Too hot to have taken the drive to this jaded seaside town for fish and chips. But as night replaces dusk, and the attractions continue to chime and sing, the British seaside is at its best: a gauche illumination of nostalgic glory.