Thursday, 12 August 2010

Great Yarmouth and The Crooked House

I went to great Yarmouth today to visit my mum, dad and sister who are holidaying there at the moment, a three hour trip there and back was very tiring, especially as i missed my connection at Norwich and had to wait an hour for the next train to Great Yarmouth. However, all was not that bad- I asked to exit the station and headed into town for some lunch. (Baring in mind i had a massive super duper saver ticket, I'm surprised they let me out) It has been fantastic weather today and it reflected the city well, especially the castle and the nearby market. I picked up an 'I Love Norwich' bag for my sister and headed back to the station (A little joke that we have- whenever i go somewhere that she hasn't been, i get her an 'I love...' T-shirt. Unfortunately i could only get her a bag this time)
The stations leading up to the seaside town, are as you can imagine very small town. If you could 'hail and ride' a train, this would be a service for it, yet Great Yarmouth station was quite big, and once in the town it  seemed to be massive- much larger than Southend (My local seaside estuary)
Anyway, my dad picked me up and we perused around the shops for a while, it amused me that most of the shops were called 'fashion central', 'chique chick' etc, yet all sold an array of seaside rock and shells with googly eyes- There was one in particular called 'Bag city', we went inside and there was no sign of any bags, Just a huge sherbet dispenser! To be fair, I'm sure its one of the only thing that sells in seaside towns nowadays. It's quite easy to imagine the people that buy a shop to retire with- near the sea-front where they have many a precious childhood memory, only to be condemned to selling ice cream and rock for the rest of their lives. That depressive thought mirrors most of the shops in Great Yarmouth town, dozens of closing down sales, a dozen more boarded up- side streets desolate. The state I'm sure of many great British seasides.
The beach at Great Yarmouth is fantastic. I don't like sand, but this was nicely bearable because of the dunes and general cleanliness- also a very nice view onto some wind turbines in the sea. Forecasters had said this morning that it was going to rain, so we also had the beach to ourselves. It did eventually rain, so we went to the fair.
This was undoubtedly my favourite part of the day, not only did we have a horse drawn cart ride to the end of the parade, but i got to go in a crooked house. The arcades were amazing, the games and entertainment have obviously not been altered since before i was born, because i had never seen anything like it. There was a puppet show for 20p (20p!), which i do have film footage of, but it includes every fairytale character that you can think of bouncing up and down in perfect unison to 'little miss muffet'. Each character i think is handmade and the wolf is very scary, but only because of the placement of him hanging over the other characters. Also, I really liked a clown in a case, it wasn't working, but again i think it just bobbed up and down, but it was about 5ft tall and was fantastically sinister, it had a dropped head from lack of interest from any of the children around the arcade.

Going back to the crooked house- it cost £2 each to get in. A rip off for what it was, but it has caused a slight obsession for me of their purpose, and how i can incorporate them into my work. The fact that it is a house that is there purposely just for you to question its purpose is odd. I like the idea of the host being behind a glass panel and usually a bit crazy, but not real, in which case i suppose the 'real' host was the bored man sitting outside not letting my mum come in because she wasn't wearing trainers. You go inside and get thrown about and walk up wonky steps. It is a badly made house, that is all- the most thrilling part of this house was that thing where you walk over a bridge through a revolving brightly coloured cylinder that makes you feel like you are falling over- the whole experience reminded me a bit of the architecture in the Jewish museum (Berlin). It does suit purpose though i suppose, its crooked and dark, maybe a little scary, but only because it is beyond social norm and a little sensationalised. i thought it was brilliant. The haunted house was next door, what a combination.

The last thing that i thought i should mention is a pub on the seafront that was for sale:
 'The Barking Smack'

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