...That makes it sound somewhat more grim than it actually is! I have actually grown rather attached to Aberdeen, and its strange little economic bubble.
Firstly, the greyness. Aberdeen - 'The Granite City' - has a lot of buildings made with granite - which gets a lot of stick as a building material, because it's grey. Actually, it can be a very beautiful colour, and kind of sparkly and awesome (not to mention super durable.)
Secondly, the oil industry controls Aberdeen completely. Pre-1970s, Aberdeen was not a big deal. It's very far North, and the UK is frustratingly full of Southern Privilege. You leave behind the more user friendly Glaswegian and Edinburgh accents, and things start to get a bit more unintelligible. (Sorry, Aberdonians. I like your accents!) Then, they found a Metric Buttload of oil, and now it's the oil capital of Europe. Aberdeen is kind of a weird anomaly, due to this. Unemployment in Aberdeen is super low compared to the rest of the UK. Aberdeen isn't really in a recession. There are jobs. Which is, of course, why I moved here. Even though I work in the retail sector, it's the oil industry that allows my company to do so well. Oil has brought lots of (rich!) people here and they are spending their money.
Aberdeen remains very functional, and a lot of it still looks very industrial. Which is why the beach is such an unexpected pleasure, and definitely at least 60% of the reason I decided I would move here. I love the sea.
Gavin and I had our first proper stroll along the beach since we moved here, complete with cameras and dollies.