Friday, 29 August 2008


I almost feel as if I have just had a proper holiday.

Paid a visit to the Victorian village at Blists Hill in Ironbridge on Bank Holiday Monday. Moderately interesting I would say, not being one of those types who likes steam, metal, coal, bricks and stuff like that. What they've done is made a partial re-creation of an Industrial Revolution era Victorian village, complete with pub, sweet shop, school (relocated from its original location a few miles away) chemist, bakery, etc. It is a work in progress, so I shouldn't really be too critical I suppose, but it was rather expensive at £36 for a family ticket.

There are a number of authentic Victorians wandering around, including a schoolteacher, pirate, funeral-goers (?) and various others mingling with the grockles. A major gripe for me is the lack of commitment in these people. Stanislavski or Walt could certainly have taught them a thing or two. The (rather lame) pretense of authentic Victoriana, in the shape of being able to exchange your modern money for LSD (though of course you can pay for your vegetarian pasty or pint of Lowenbrau with either coin) falls away pretty quickly when the 'cast' can't keep up the act. My experience was that, although the people were wearing the clothes, they weren't inhabiting their characters.

I spoke to the headmistress (she looked the part) and was disappointed that she couldn't even muster a speck of acting. All they could do was scold the kids for touching things and then gas about local news. I wish that the whole place had been truly authentic - only tripe cooked in lard at the eating places, only Banks's mild or gin at the bar, persecution of minorities, etc. Only joking, obviously. I mean, at the sweet shop, the assistant made a scathing remark about the sugar content of some of the stuff on sale! Yet I was told that they had stopped selling chocolate bars because they couldn't source authentic wrappers. Makes you sick.

Prior to that, I strayed as far north as the Scousepost of Llandudno (Tony Bastable, we love you) and was pretty impressed. I have particular tastes, as you may have noticed (if you haven't, then hey fuck you) and seek something a little different in these homogeneous times. Llandudno did it for me. Yes it did. There was an endearing shabbiness to the place, perfectly summed up by the past-their-best hotels all along the prom. The Great Orme was something else, especially as we had won the rarest lottery - that of the weather - and were blessed with a glorious day. But, Jesus fucking Christ on a bike, what the fuck is the human race coming to? We can't cope with anything unless there's a burger and an ice cream (weather permitting) to help us through it. Shagging hell, I nearly choked on my rum 'n' raisin.

I even managed to make it to the top of Hen Dinas on the Saturday morning, and though it has changed somewhat (more overgrown, but with access paths and benches being added - the former I approve of, the latter, I'm not so sure) it still retained the magic it has always held for me. Just to think of those Ordovices running around sends a tingle up your spine. And the view is something else, brother.

Parallel Lines


victoria n principal said...

The whole concept of a "Victoriana Pleasure Garden" is simple lunacy Sir.
Our most hallowed epoch was marked by the kind of events that have long since crumbled unto dust:
A shrill Media cacophany from Wapping concerning Gypsies,tramps, thieves and all manner of young men enjoying penny dreadfuls and then knifing each other on a whim!
A noble excursion by our armed forces into Afghanistan. They need our help! Especially with Russia's adventurism!
A Gentleman bound for Bedlam who kills whores!
A run on a bank Sir!
Your Association Football team moving to a plush new home!
A Woman on the Throne for over fifty years!
Freak Shows, Sir! Come see the freaks caper amusingly!
Rebellions in foreign parts against the Empire!
Trips to the sea-side with Ice-cream!
And we are all waiting for the forth-coming London Olympics!

God Save The Queen.

b kenwright said...

Plus ca change