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This is a question Fairgrounds, theme parks, circuses and carnivals

Tell us about the time the fairground came to town and you were sick in a hedge; or when you went to a theme park or circus and were sick in a hedge

Suggested by mariam67

(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 11:37)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I am a support worker
and I work with a very disabled gentleman who I shall call Steve. Steve cannot speak, he cannot walk unaided and he has a damaged spine held together with a steel bar. Nature was unkind to Steve because inside all of the Autism and physical disability there is a kind and gentle human being who I am very fond of. It takes a special bond to be made a key worker and advocate.

Steve struggles going out, my co workers really struggle trying to motivate him to go out when I am not there and they usually resort to housework while Steve listens to the noise of the vacuum cleaner or his radio.

Last week on a glorious sunny Day a co worker and I decided that Steve needed a break from the house and the theme park down the road was open. So using basic language and Makaton (sign language for people with learning disabilities) I told Steve we were going to ride roller coasters and then get chips!

Steve was out of the door like a whippet on a track! Once at the park we queued for the rides which Steve is not good at, his level of Autism makes time an unreal concept for him and he wants stuff right there and then, but he waited for his go with more than his usual patience. I stood back and watched him ride the coasters. The smile on his face combined with the laughter said more to me than Makaton ever could. He rode every roller coaster and had two goes on the log flume. He finished it up with his chips and we went back home, where he lay on the sofa holding my hand and smiling.

I love my job, my mate Steve is awesome and I have had more fun with him than I have had with some of my fully able bodied friends.

Not my usual sickness, but it is all true.
(, Sat 11 Jun 2011, 13:53, 16 replies)
My sister and nephew
Came to visit me when I was a student in the fair city of Stirling. I took them to the obligatory visit to Stirling Castle, and we walked from the town centre to the top of the hill upon which the castle looms. My nephew was only five at the time, and found this rather a trek. My sister and I kept encouraging him saying "We'll soon be there!" and "You'll see the castle soon!" and "It's an amazing castle, you'll love it!"

When we got to the top of the hill, you see the great courtyard and behind that the restored splendour of the castle itself, with its eleborate facade with gargoyles and sinister looking mythical creatures. My nephew burst into tears.

"Oh, oh, what's wrong?" I asked, all concerned.

(, Fri 10 Jun 2011, 3:13, 4 replies)
Eighties Freak show
Long, long time ago - back before political correctness - I went to a local fair along with some school mates for whom candyfloss and grimy-handed gyppos (sorry, travelling folk) represented the acme of leisure-time amusement. That, and the opportunity to be maimed by a poorly-maintained waltzer or a tunnel of love that electrocuted you half way through.

But this time it was different. They had what they called a Chamber of Abnormality - a freak show, basically. £1.50 to see Nature's abominations. If nothing else it'd be funny to see how fake it was.

The exhibits were not just laughably bad, but preposterously bad:

1) The Chicken Man - a gangly youth with a partially inflated pink rubber glove attached to the top of his head, a beak made from the neck of a toilet duck, and a feathered costume. The illusion of avian identity was perfect but for the fag in his mouth and a bored expression.

2) Double Jointed Girl - a prepubescent gyppo in a stained leotard who occasionally attempted to adopt the 'crab' position before toppling to the floor with a grunt. Watching this twenty or thirty times was both fascinating and deeply depressing.

3) The Fat Lady - a fat lady. Not obese exactly, but the kind of thing you see in the 'before' photographs.

4) The Sand Man - not exactly sure if I saw this one or not. There was a sand pit with a cat turd in it, but no indication of whether the Sand Man was literally the sand, or buried beneath it (or round the back having a piss).

5) The Man Who Eats Anything - a bit of a disappointment, this one, as he was surrounded by a team of paramedics rigging up a saline stomach pump as he convulsed on the ground.

6) Mimic Maid - a true wonder of the mimetic arts: a girl who can repeat any accent or voice tone after hearing it once. At least that's what it said on the poster. In fact, it was some scouse slapper who just repeated everything as if she were Sonia with learning difficulties. Oddly, she seemed happy to repeat the many insults directed at her.

7) The Human Yeti - a moderately, but by no means excessively, hairy man wearing clawed fancy-dress 'bear gloves' and growling every few minutes with the blood-curdling ferocity of a koala on opium.

8) Inside-Out Man - a fellow with a bucket of entrails tossed over him. I couldn't stay long becuase the flies were terrible and he insisted on attempting to push a large frankfurter sausage into some random animal organ saying "This is actually my anus, you know."

9) The World's Biggest Penis - a big draw among the girls, this turned out to be predictably disappointing. It was a man with his cock on a table surrounded by miniature objects (a Matchbox fire-engine, a Monopoly hotel, a Barbie comb etc) to create the amazing illusion that his knob was actually bigger than them all. In truth, it looked like a thawed Lidl sausage roll about two months past its use-by date.

10) Monkey Child - this was the most convicing of the lot, until I realised that the gurning, hair-covered imbecile I was looking at was actually the guy who ran the tent. The genuine Monkey Child was a teenage moron wearing a mohair sweater and eating a plastic banana.

Good old days, fondly forgotten.
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 15:35, 24 replies)
The best birthday ever.
One year I went to Alton Towers for my birthday. I played crazy golf and won a free game. I rode the roller coasters and the water slides and had hot dogs. I bought key rings and souvenirs with my birthday money and at the end when we had to leave and I didn't want to, to cheer me up I got bought a massive bucket of sweets that I ate so many of in the car on the way home that I had to stick my head out the window in case I threw up. It was the best birthday ever.

Although when I say 'one year', I mean 'last year'.

I'm 37.
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 15:13, 6 replies)
Woburn Wild Animal Kingdom
My first job after leaving school in 1986 was on the Sky Ride at Woburn Park, and even though the wages were awful, I fucking loved it. I did my stints on all the rides in the park; the crap kiddies roundabouts (known, inexplicably as the “Dobbies”), the Ghost Train, the Rainbow Ride (the one big decent fairground thrill ride in the park, and responsible for at least 3 deaths), the Carousel (a genuine Victorian wooden, hand painted affair with a player organ driven by reams of thick punched card, it was one of only a few left in the world), the boats and the train, but it was the Sky Ride that I worked on most of the time.

The Sky Ride was a mile long cable car ride through the beautiful Woburn woods and over Drakelow Lake. In the old days, the lake had gorillas on an island, and tropical birds on another island (called, imaginatively, Gorilla Island and Bird Island respectively) and you could get off the Sky Ride at the lake end and take a pleasure boat around the lake. One particularly bad winter, the lake froze over, and the gorillas simply walked to freedom. One of them was captured walking along Woburn High Street. By the time I worked there, the birds, gorillas and pleasure boat were long gone, and the Sky Ride was a round trip only, with the customers, known by all staff as ‘punters’, not allowed to get off at the lake end anymore. (Unless they were attractive young ladies, in which case it was positively encouraged, but rarely achieved!)

Working at the lake end of the Sky Ride was referred to as being “down Drakelow” and it was by far the best place to work. There would always be two people working down Drakelow, and the time could really drag if you were working with someone boring, but most of the time I was working with my mates and it was just one long laugh. We regarded the punters as our personal playthings, there simply to provide us with entertainment. The cabs came through the station at intervals of between 20 seconds and 1 minute, depending on how busy we were. That’s a lot of people to fuck with during an 8 hour day!

Here are some of the things we would get up to:

The cigarette scrounge

This was common practice throughout the park, but Drakelow was by far the best place to get away with it. Most of us were smokers, so we used to have competitions for who could scrounge the most fags during a day. Basically, if a punter was smoking in the cab when they came through Drakelow, the cab monkey would say “‘scuse me mate, I couldn’t pinch a smoke off you could I? Only I forgot to go to the shop this morning, and we’re not allowed to leave site during the day”. This would work almost every time, and you could go home at the end of the day with 40 or 60 cigarettes in your pocket. Occasionally you’d get caught out when a punter went on the ride twice, but you could usually just make a joke out of it. Sometimes someone would take pity on you and give you half their packet. Occasionally you’d get really lucky and get someone who was smoking a joint.

The fake fight

This was a regular one, and we got really good at it after a while. I would be pulling the cab round and my mate would be waiting just around the corner. As I came round, I would let go of the cab, walk over to my mate and smack him one in the face. This was of course a stage punch. He would raise his hand to defend himself and at the last second we both opened our hands and my palm struck his making a loud smacking sound. He would then spin round and fall to the floor, apparently out cold. I would grab the cab again and carry on pulling it round as if nothing had happened. This produced a variety of responses from the punters, some would ask me why I did that, to which I would just shrug and reply “he’s been getting on my tits all day”. Most would just nervously look at one another and go quiet.

The fake accident

This was a favourite of mine and I did it all the time. As the cabs left the station, they would rise sharply up to the first tower. Just outside the end of the station was a small grass area. I would amble about on this grass area, idly kicking a ball about or something, and as the cab left the station I would be standing in just the right spot so it would just clear my head, at which point I would smack the bottom of the cab with my fist, and drop to the ground like a sack of shit. The punters would just hear the thud, and then see me lying motionless on the grass. I would remain there until the cab went over the hill and out of sight. Sometimes the punters would come round again and ask if I was alright “yeah, but I got a banging headache now”. One chap said to me “you don’t learn, do you boy”, “I’m sorry?” I replied. “We came on here a couple of months ago and you got hit by our cab then too”! Oops.

Stop/start or walking down

This was our way of dealing with rude or aggressive punters, old school friends who were visiting the park or anyone else who we thought deserved it, and it was really fucking dangerous. Stop/start, as you might imagine, involved rapidly stopping and restarting the ride. After a few times, this would set up some major oscillations in the wire rope, causing the cabs to bounce about like fuck. Utterly terrifying if you were in one of them at the time and stupidly dangerous when you consider that the wire rope only went over rollers on top of the towers – it wasn’t actually held on with anything. Walking down was similar, but only affected the one cab. Basically, the cabs were released from a trap, and rolled down a ramp onto the rope at which point cab and rope were travelling at the same speed. The weight of the cab would then cause a clamp to close over the rope, and away you go. Walking down was where you held onto the back of the cab when it was released from the trap, and walked it down the ramp making it much slower than the moving rope. The moment the clamp gripped onto the rope, the cab would suddenly and violently lurch forwards and would be swinging wildly for several frightening minutes of its journey. It still amazes me that these practices didn’t result in a major catastrophe.

The pissy bonfire

We would often build bonfires outside the station. Then we would spend all day drinking Happy Shopper lemonade and peeing into a mop bucket. When the bucket was full and the wind just right, over the fire it would go, the resulting cloud of foul-smelling piss-steam billowing up and over the unlucky punters on the ride. Have you ever pissed on a fire? If you have, you’ll know that it’s one of the most unpleasant smells known to man. This one drew a number of complaints.

Which brings me onto the subject of complaint letters. I’ve still got some of the good ones, including the one about the staff member (me) riding his motorbike, without a helmet, through the rhino section of the safari park. This was one of the few that I actually got into trouble about, mainly because the complaint went to the safari park, who were different management to us on the amusement park. You see, our ‘management’ were, basically, a family of pikeys. Very nice and very funny people but pikeys none the less. They didn’t give a fuck. Complaints were seen as badges of honour. My boss would read them out in the staff room in the morning, all the while pissing himself laughing.

““And then the staff member ran onto the jetty and pushed my son into the boating lake““ (pauses while everyone laughs) “no listen to this bit, listen “and some of the lake water went into his mouth and he was sick and bilious in the car on the way home”“. Boss and entire staff collapse in hysterics. Eventually, when everyone recovers “seriously now, don’t push the punters in the lake”

There’s one other story I want to include. As I lived in Woburn, my journey to work in the morning involved climbing over the wall behind Drakelow station and getting a cable car up to the other end. There was no phone installed in the Sky Ride, and this was long before mobiles, so the only means of communication between the two ends of the ride was with an intercom and a buzzer. So one morning, I arrive in the station and buzz the other end, expecting the line to start up so I can go to work. But there’s no reply. I keep buzzing and trying the intercom, but there’s just no answer. I settle down on the grass outside to read the paper, assuming that there's been a fault with the comms system, and eventually, after about 2 hours, a voice crackles over the intercom. When I respond, my boss tells me to make sure the station door is shut and to shut myself in one of the cabs, as 2 tigers have escaped from the safari park and “they’re on their way down to you”!

Even though I suspected this was a piss-take, I did as I was told. It wasn’t a joke, 2 tigers had indeed escaped and were heading down towards the Drakelow station. The safari park had 2 people who were qualified to handle tranquilizer guns. One was on holiday, the other was off sick. So the tigers were shot dead. This still upsets me. Bastards.

I worked there for 5 years, and it was the best job I’ve ever had or ever will have. I could fill page after page with the stories from my time at Woburn, and many of the friendships I formed there have become life long friends. Sadly, they dismantled the Sky Ride a few years ago. I shed a few tears as I watched it coming down.

Length? A mile long and up to 90 ft high.
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 20:07, 16 replies)
We First Met at the Fair
I met the missus the first time ever at the county fair on my 14th birthday. I fancied a girl I'd met at camp, and knew my crush would be at the fair showing their horses. This lass didn't fancy me, no matter how smitten I was (I don't blame her, I was weird). When I showed up unexpectedly, flush with my birthday monies, offering an evening of carnival rides, she dragooned her friend (now my wife) as an escort.

While pretty enough, her friend was decidedly cramping my style, so I devised a plan to be rid of her. I took them both on increasingly thrilling rides, until the one-two combination of the "Tip-top" followed by the "Round-up" precipitated a serously sick stomach. Unfortunatelt my crush used this as an excuse for both of them to elude me.

2 years on I meet this great girl, and when we realize that we'd actually met before she immediately begins conspiring to pay me back. One night on a date she demands we stop at a roadside carnival, and proceeds to "eggbeater" me half to death. Still, from inauspicious beginnings it's been 38 amazing years.
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 22:14, 7 replies)
Another tale from my days at Woburn Wild Animal Kingdom
On Sundays I used to drive the train. This was a narrow gauge railway which ran through the deer park, from the amusement area, around the boating lake to Pets Corner, and back again. On the one side you had a lovely view of the boating lake, on the other side it was a picnic area and overspill car park. Not the most picturesque of rides.

The train itself was a red diesel engine with a smiley face painted on the front. There were 2 stations, the main one at the amusement park, and the second one at the Pets Corner end. At each end you would uncouple the train and drive it on a small loop of track back past the carriages, and re-couple it again, so that the train was always pulling the carriages. When driving round with the carriages full of passengers, you would travel at a fairly sedate speed, about a jogging pace. The whole ride, including the re-coupling at each end, would take about 20 minutes. Train rides were generally every half hour, leaving 10 minutes between rides for the carriages to fill up.

In this 10 minute period between rides, I used to sit in my little train drivers shed. The shed contained drums of oil, diesel, grease, tins of paint, oily rags and other bits and pieces pertinent to the running of the train. You could either sit on one of the oil drums, or on the small shelf which ran along one wall of the shed. In the old days, before I worked there, people would have to pay to go on the train ride. This shed had been the pay kiosk, and as such it had a flap in the side, hinged at the top and held shut by a couple of small brass latch bolts.

So this one particular Sunday, I’m sat on the shelf in my little shed eating a bag of crisps with an oily hand. It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon and the park is packed. Without warning, the flap in the side of the shed, against which I am leaning, suddenly comes open and I fall backwards through the hole in a cloud of dust and salt & vinegar crisps. I end up hanging upside down by my knees, the flap banging down again against my kneecaps, covered in bits of crisp, still holding the (now empty) packet in my hand, and looking at a hundred or more upside down people. There’s a moment where everything goes quiet, like in the aftermath of an explosion, and everyone just stares at me. Then they start laughing. Hundreds of them. Arse. (I’m just glad this was before the days of mobile phones with video cameras and youtube!)

Now there was no dignified way to get myself out of this situation. So I did the only thing I could do. I hauled the rest of myself out of the shed into a heap on the floor, picked myself up, dusted myself off, performed an overly theatrical bow to the laughing crowd, put my train drivers hat back on, and took the train out.

The people were laughing all the way round to Pets Corner. They were laughing while I re-coupled the train, and they were laughing all the way back to the main station. I never sat on that little shelf again.
(, Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:15, 1 reply)
I can't find a picture of it
but we had a huge slide at the park that required you to sit in little burlap bags with a strip of carpet on the underside. The tops of the bags had some sort of plastic coating on them and a little pouch you stuck your feet into to keep the bag under you as you slid.

One night some friends and I hopped the fence after a night out drinking, and decided it would be cool to go down that slide at 2am. As we climbed up one of the guys noted that the slide was wet with dew, which meant that we wouldn't slide very well- we'd get stuck partway down.

"It's okay!" piped up one drunken voice. "Flip the bags over shiny side down and we'll hydroplane!"

I still don't know why we thought this was a good idea, but we got to the top and put the bags shiny side down and sat on them. One guy let out a whoop and pushed off, and I saw him get airborne on the first drop. I immediately followed suit.

Had I heard him hit bottom I wouldn't have done it.

I went forward about twenty feet, zooming far faster than normal for this ride, and found myself about two feet above the slide through about a twenty foot drop down as the slide curved away under me. Then the slide slammed up against me as I hit the bottom of the trough and flew up the other side. The end of the slide and the carpeted area where you were supposed to safely slide to a stop were at least a foot below me as I slammed into the fence, three feet from my groaning friend.

We heard the whoops and rumbles just in time to roll out of the way as three more drunks flew past us and crashed into the fence, then lay bruised and bleeding on the carpeted area. I remember hearing a whimpered "Oh FUCK."

Very sober, we limped back to our cars and went home and never spoke of it again.
(, Fri 10 Jun 2011, 22:47, 3 replies)
Breakfast in a Cup
I've been lurking on these boards for years now, I've read countless hilarious anecdotes. This is my first post to QotW. Please be gentle.

A few years ago (ok more like 7 or 8 years ago) I was on a "round the country road trip" to watch Sunderland vs West Ham. I went with my then girlfriend and her Family. Being from London, it was deemed to far too drive in one day. So we elected to stop somewhere near Nottingham and then visit Alton Towers on the Sunday before heading back down Saaaarff.

Sunday morning in the Hotel, a glorious (rank) fried breakfast was consumed, then off to Alton Towers.

We arrive and straight away we head to Nemesis. At early o'clock there are no queues for said ride and well why wouldn't you go on the best ride first.

One of the members of the party was then GF's uncle, a guy we shall call Richard, as this was (and still is I believe) his name. Richard was suddenly very nervous and started saying things like "Think I'll just let you guys go on this one" & "I think I should just sit this one out". If he was a small child of 10 then I could understand the fear, but he was 42.

None of us were impressed by the new cowardice streak that Rich was showing. Instantly we were practically dragging him on to said ride and asking him why he wouldn't go on it.

Finally he admitted that he lives his life by a simple mathematical equation. It was "Legs Over Head == Sick".

After the initial laughter subsided we started pestering him with questions like, if he did a forwards roll? would he be sick? And what about a cartwheel?, What about a somersault on a trampoline? Eventually after much piss taking we all go on Nemesis, including a nervous Richard who could no longer be the butt of everyone's jokes.

Up, Down, Over, upsidedown, downsideup wooooosh.
A great ride on nemesis (at the time, it's a bit tame really)

Whilst waiting to disembark I looked over at Richard who had turned a shade or grey, not unlike John Major's puppet from Spitting Image. Gingerly he left the ride and wandered over to his misses who held out a cup of tea for him. Instantly the the cup was emptied into a hedge and poor Richard proved his theory correct.

He proceeded to chunder into the cup, his whole fried breakfast. The best bit of this was as he finished he put his finger to the side of his nose and blew out a whole button mushroom.

We were howling with laughter. Poor Rich though felt worse and worse and didn't go on anymore rides for the entire day. It still cracks me up that he paid all that money to go to Alton Towers and went on one ride, puked up and then spent the rest of the day feeling like he had just come out of a washing machine.

Apologies for length, but no apologies for girth.
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 16:04, 17 replies)
A couple of years ago, a circus came to the village where I live. A massive big-top appeared in the field, posters went up and a sense of excitement was - Well, nobody was that arsed to be honest. My daughter, however, was desperate to go. And so off we trotted.

You know how people say "The circus is in town"? And how they never say "The circus is in village"? Turns out there's a reason for that. When I saw the posters, I wondered whether a four-night residency was maybe a tad optimistic for a village with a population that would struggle against the Polyphonic Spree in a tug-of-war. And I was right; We took our seats in the cavernous big-top alongside* approximately three other families. My immediate concern was that, if the clown** tried any of his zany hi-jinks with me, it'd be a lot more difficult to tell him to stick it up his arse and fuck off.

Anyhow, the circus acts did their best, faced with rows of empty benches. Tumblers tumbled, acrobats acrobatted, bendy women in lycra provided a little something for the dads, and the whole thing was presided over by the traditional ringmaster. Hurrah!

One act sticks in my mind, however; The juggler. A young chap strutted into the ring (fnarr fnarr, etc) and, to great dramatic music, displayed his awesome ability to throw things and then catch them a few seconds later. Bravo. This was all a build-up to his grand finale though. The lights went down, plunging the ring into darkness. And then, in the middle of the ring, three glowing white balls appeared. He was going to JUGGLE IN THE DARK!

Suffice to say, after a couple of minutes of watching some white circles going up in the air, plummeting down to the ground, rolling along the floor a few feet, getting picked up, then going back up in the air, then plummeting down to the ground again, then rolling off in a different direction this time, then getting picked up, etc, we decided to leave the other three-quarters of the audience to it.

* Several yards away from
** Yes, 'clown' singular. Which meant that his wacky capering looked less like madcap antics and more like harrowing mental illness.
(, Fri 10 Jun 2011, 14:44, 2 replies)
“You’ll be fine, just have a can of coke or something”
We shall return to that infamous line towards the end of this endearing parable. But first, let us bend space-time and take ourselves back to the Baiter Park fair in Poole, the summer1994.

Four intrepid young men, armed with many hard-earned (begged off parents) coins. Ready to throw money at any fairground ride we could find.

This turned out to be quite a few, most of them nauseating and a lot of fun. Six or seven rides later, we make our way to the wall of death. Here, the ride spins you around, pining you to the wall, as the floor drops away. Excellent fun. However, one of our ‘posse’, John, for that was/is his name, was feeling a little green.

It turns out, that in his haste to make the fair, John had snoffled quite a lot of BBQ at his parents in rapid time. Now this is when the immortal line comes into play. There was one last ride to go on. The name escapes me, but the memory of the ride never will.

John had his reservations about how long his stomach could hold out, before my other mate pipes up and says: “You’ll be fine, just have a can of coke or something.”

The requisite famous last words have now been set in stone.

The four of us clamber onto the ride, and we are the only four. The ride is made of four legs. At the end of each appendage is an encased box, with open sides. There are four seats in each box, with two on either side, facing each other.

The ride then turns, the arms undulate up and down and the boxes then begin to rotate. So imagine a broken washing machine, spinning around on a roundabout and you start to get the picture.

At first, things went quite well. There was lots of laughter, screaming and shouting. This all changed when John started to retch…

As I said, this whole ride had the effect of being inside a washing machine. If you add copious amounts of vomit into the mix, I think you start to see the picture.

It turns out that I don’t really like the smell of puked-up half digested meat and peppers. In fact, the smell has never left me since. John coated every one of us in this noxious mixture, which prompted dry retching and vomiting from the rest of us. Screams of joy warped into screams for help.

However, this was something the little pikey operating the ride was not akin to. Instead of stopping the ride, he decided to speed it up. I swear I could see his face light up as he could see the terror in our eyes.

The ride eventually ended. All John could repeat, as if in some sort of chunder-induced trance, was: “I’m sorry, so sorry.” The look of utter shame was enough for us though.

I managed to phone my dad in the end, telling him to bring bin bags and towels. Upon arriving, he pissed himself with laughter for five minutes, then bundled us, pants only, into the back of the car (it’s not what you’re thinking!)
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 14:43, 6 replies)
Klingons and Romulans have landed!
About ten years ago I took my boys to King's Dominion for the day. At the time it was owned by Paramount, so there were all manner of tie-ins with movies and TV shows all over the place. This particular day the park was full of people dressed in character for some reason.

As we walked through one area there was a Klingon in full garb standing there, makeup and prosthetics perfect. I looked closely, admiring the detail in the costume, and he grinned and said in a basso profundo voice, "Would you like your picture taken with me?"

I grinned back. "I would, but I don't have a camera. That's a great costume." My sons were hanging back a little, awed by the appearance of a Klingon in their midst, so they never noticed the Romulan who came up behind them and placed a hand on each of their shoulders. They squeaked and ducked behind me again. I said, "Come on, guys, show the Romulan captain a little respect."

He replied, "It's Commander, but thank you." And he bowed slightly.

"Commander, then. So what brings you here today, Commander?"

"I am here to negotiate the surrender of Earth to the Romulan Empire. Why does your government not listen to me? Don't they realize that I have five quantum torpedoes aimed at the planet at all times? With one command I could obliterate-"

"You know what the problem is?" I interrupted. "You're not happy enough."

He looked a bit stunned.

"Come, I'll teach you to be happy!" And I began singing "Happy Happy Joy Joy" from Ren & Stimpy and dancing, trying to do the butt bump with him.

The twentysomething kid in the outfit started to blue screen as this idiot started singing and capering around him, and I could see him struggling to come up with an appropriate response as my sons giggled and the Klingon was struggling not to piss himself. Finally he roared, "Go away! You're evil!" and stalked away, leaving the Klingon with tears streaming down his cheeks as he gave in.

Fun times.
(, Sat 11 Jun 2011, 18:19, 1 reply)
My most memorable day at a fairground
was almost certainly the worst day in the totality of my six years I'd spent on this Earth. It has also served as the most convincing argument for my own young sons.

I'm not convinced they'd invented wavy lines back then, so make do with the horizontal tracking button.

Hampton Court fair it was, funny how you remember these things, and the whole family was there. I had to take my cuddly toy everywhere back then, a little spittle ridden toy puppy. My dad and I went on the bumper cars and I put my toy down in the footwell. Of course, with the excitement I forgot it was there until we were half way back to the car when I began screaming. Kindly, dad took me back to the ride, and we searched, but no doubt some kid had found a bonus gift and the toy was never to be seen again.

It was only a stupid cuddly toy, but it was my world back then, and I learnt the toughest lesson I'd ever had, with many years to pass before it was surpassed.

My own children both have their own favourite toys, without which they won't sleep, eat, or even breathe without tears. So I've even gone to the ends of the internet to ensure I have a spare should the same trauma ever sully their little lives. Whatever happens, I always make sure they are either permanently attached to the child or left at home to guard the house! When I told my first born this story, in order to leave his teddy at home, he cried and offered me his own (second favourite) toy! But he learnt from my lesson, which is perhaps the wisest thing he could have done. Happily leaving his teddy to 'guard' the house whenever we go somewhere he might leave it.

Lesson; Like gambling, don't take anything you're not prepared to lose with you.

If apologies are deemed necessary for such a sickly story, tough. I lost my toy and I mourned his loss for months and years afterwards.
(, Sat 11 Jun 2011, 17:31, 4 replies)
In Hull, about the second week in October,
Fair folk, travellers, people who own massive rides (some of which actually come from theme parks all over Europe as it is out of season), shooting galleries where the sights on the guns are woefully out of alignment, coconut shies that make use of 'No More Nails' and several descendents of the original Gypsy Rosy Lee all descend on Hull to form what is claimed to be the largest travelling fair in Europe, which has been on the go for about 720 years. No, really.

It is based here,


on that large carpark thing just above 'Bonus Arena' and then a load of stalls that run the full length of Walton Street.

I drew up a list of rules to Hull Fair a couple of years ago. Those of you that have lived in Hull long enough to have attended several times will know exactly what I'm talking about here:

Rules of Hull Fair

1. Point out how you wouldn't like to live on Walton Street during fair-week.

2. Dismiss any claims that it would be ace cos you'd just go out your door and you'd be at the fair.

3. Consider that the residents probably get a bonus off the council for the disruption.

4. Insist on having a look round first before doing anything.

5. Mention how they put the prices up as it starts getting busy.

6. Mention how much more expensive it is this year.

7. Say "You can tell it's Hull Fair week, cos it raining"

8. Watch several people get fleeced by pikeys on nigh-on impossible stalls - the hoopla that has a PS3 for a prize for example where the hoop would only just fit over it using laser precision machinery.

9. Get fleeced by pikeys as you attempt to get cheap darts that are as blunt as the wrong end of a biro to stick into sheet steel with a dartboard drawn on it.

10. Point out to wife/girlfriend that the bloke you see walking about with an enormous stuffed toy hasn't won it by standing up a coke-bottle with a small hoop on a string, but is in fact yet another pikey.

11. Speculate how much loose change must be underneath the rides.

12. Get roped into going on overpriced rides that make you feel ill for the rest of the evening.

13. Say "I'd hate to think what might be in those burgers, and did you see the state of the chip-van?"

14. Buy a burger, a hot-dog and some chips.

15. And a big squeaky inflatable hammer

16. Stock up on candy-floss, nougat, brandy snap, coconuts, pomegranates and bags of sweets.

17. Completely forget that coconuts and pomegranates are a third of the price if you went in Asda instead.

18. Be dismayed when you see the same stuff, but cheaper further along the street, even though you knew they would be.

19. Pay over the odds for the 'F' service buses.

20. Resolve never to go again, as you are now £65 lighter.
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 13:11, 11 replies)
In Ireland
we have our fair share of shabby travelling fairgrounds. These were very much a highlight of all our younger years. Back round the time when Kevin Costner was Robin Hood and it was the only video my nan had for us to watch, a fair arrived in our little village.

My friend and I scoured the entire show which took a whole half minute. Deciding we love life too much (The next village a kid would die on one of the rides)we settled on the games of chance. After too long at the pluck a duck stand we headed over to the sucker arrow crossbows.

No one ever won these. But young Daz began to sing the "Dundadundadundadundadundaaaadundaaaaaduuunnnn" from Robin Hood and BAM. Bullseye. My friend and I stared. 20 Pounds!!!!!!

We called over the attendant and displayed my triumph. He glanced at it, grunted and hit the board causing the arrow to slide down the board out of the winning zone. Now being much smaller we were smart enough not to argue too much.

But that, dickhead, is how the same night your shitty little stall got covered in old paint.
(, Tue 14 Jun 2011, 8:12, 2 replies)
the big one
i'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so i love rollercoasters. when the big one opened in blackpool, i knew i had to go on it.
off i toddled, with my cousin, my sister and my nephew. we had a fantastic day, eating seafood and candyfloss, playing in the arcades and going on a buggy ride along the front. soon, however, it was time to ride the coaster.
now, being an utter heiffer at the time, i had a bit of trouble with the safety bar: it wouldn't go down over my boobs.
"no problem," says the ride operator, "we'll sit you in the front seat, it's got a seatbelt."
so i got into the front seat and, after a bit of a struggle, the seatbelt was fastened and the ride was off.
we chugged along the flat bit of track and came to the uphill bit.
*clunk* went the carriage, as it settled onto the pulley-type system.
*click* went my seatbelt, as it came undone.
i was now on one of the biggest and scariest rides in the world, without a seatbelt and with the safety bar flapping freely above my norks. serious brown alert.
i wedged my feet into the sides of the cart and clung on with my hands so tight, i must have left imprints of my fingers in the metal. cresting the top of the slope, i truly thought i was going to die.
fortunately, my impromptu starfish impression was just enough to keep me from falling out of my seat to certain splat on the floor far, far below.
once the ride finished, i got out with very shaky legs. i'd survived! hooray!
the only problem with this is that i'll NEVER be able to top that as a white-knuckle ride.
(, Sun 12 Jun 2011, 14:40, 17 replies)
Mentally Scarred by Legoland
When my brother and I were youngsters, my parents decided to take us on a family holiday to Denmark. As if 19 hours in storm force 9 crossing the North Sea by ferry wasn't enough (mom doesn't like flying), the holiday was nearly blighted by a family tragedy whilst visiting Legoland.

My brother at the time being around 10 years old, had a go at driving an oversized Duplo vehicle around a mocked up town with other children doing the same. They were out of "cars" so he had to make do with a Duplo tow-truck type thingy. Running through the middle of this giant Lego town was the Lego train track, which carries jolly visitors all around the park.

Well, my brother gets to the part with the train track, just as a train is approaching. Like a real level crossing, lights flashed and the barriers started to lower themselves. My brother, being the cautious fellow he is, duly applied the brakes.

Unfortunately, the eight year old girl behind him decided not to stop. Whether through malice or a serious case of away-with-the-fairies, she rammed the back of his truck, which careered straight forwards. The barrier lowered, landing on my brother's lap. He was trapped with the train steadily approaching.

You should have seen the look of horror on his little face, and the expressions of the train passengers as they juddered past him, barely two inches from the poor little blighter, just missing him. I can still hear my mother's scream of horror to this day, slowed down somewhat in the style of a bad overdramatic action movie.

My dad put all of our Lego in the loft when we got back home.
(, Mon 13 Jun 2011, 23:12, 2 replies)
Revenge of the ride operators!
As a ride operator, you have to deal with a certain amount of crap from the public. There are pushy parents, bratty kids, obnoxious teens showing off for girls, and the general attitude that you're just a part of the ride and not a human being.

Most rides are pretty simple to operate, usually consisting of a power switch and a brake lever or some such. Ferris wheels, for instance- just a lever that you push over one way to engage a clutch and the other way to engage the brake. The operator doesn't have much control over the actions of the machine when it's started- with a few exceptions.

My favorite, the Tilt-A-Whirl:

As you can see, you sit in a semicircular car that pivots around the central point of the circle as it goes up and down over an inclined track. You think can get the thing to really swing by leaning one way or the other, but in reality you can't- so the operator occasionally hits the brake lever to make them swing.

I was very good at that.

So occasionally I would get a car of obnoxious kids that gave me attitude, and I would keep careful track of them and hit the brake at just the right moments to make their car spin like a spastic ballerina, whipping them around until the centrifugal force made their vomit spray all over the place- and then spin them a little more for good measure, pretending I didn't see them heaving. I would send them, gray and moaning and staggering, back to their parents to deal with their smelly whimpering brats. I would then close down the ride for a half hour while I got out the hoses and Lysol and washed the cars, then let them dry, thereby taking a nice little mid-shift break.

I loved running that ride.
(, Sat 11 Jun 2011, 16:20, 5 replies)
A pun? A really strained and unfunny pun?
They should have called it a
wait for it
honestly ... it's worth the scrolling ... you'll love this
tee hee hee
(, Wed 15 Jun 2011, 16:20, 18 replies)
Abandoned Amusement Parks
I do a lot of urban exploration in South Korea. So far, I've been to so many abandoned amusement parks and theme parks I've lost count.

Last weekend, I went to the Bible Expo, a failed theme park that was built last year to brainwash Korean kids. It's on Songdo, a ridiculous pork-barrel project often referred to as the Dubai of the Far East. It's built on reclaimed land and has some of the most expensive real estate in the world, but so far no one wants to live there.

We went to the Bible Expo and had a picnic in the Garden of Eden, under a mostly naked Adam and Eve. We found the execution of John the Baptist and the manger where Christ was born, and swapped baby Christ with the severed head of John the Baptist.

Anyway, have a look:

A couple years ago, I lived in Suwon, which also had an abandoned amusement park known as Woncheon Lakeland. You can see pictures of it here:
For my housewarming, I brought some of my friends there. We got inside an abandoned wedding hall that was floating on the lake. My friend Will said "Take whatever you want, boys, this thing's getting demolished!" If you know much about urban exploration, this isn't something we do.

Will decided to steal a neon beer sign from the front window (fully visible from the shore). He went looking for scissors or something sharp to cut it down. Another friend found a tambourine in the karaoke lounge, and put it in his backpack. Every step he took, the tambourine rattled.

A moment later, I happened to look down at the dock, where a Korean guy in a black suit stepped down off the shore and started walking very purposefully toward us. I warned everybody and we all hid, but we couldn't see Will.

It turns out he was downstairs looking for something sharp to cut the wire holding the neon sign in place, and was just walking back with a pair of scissors when the Korean guy caught him. It was obvious that guy knew we were all there, considering there was no other way out--short of stealing a paddleboat and paddling away. To make matters worse, Will was calling out to us.

I called my friend on the phone and told him to just say sorry and walk by the guy, banking on the assumption that he wouldn't be physically stopped. He didn't seem to get it, wanting to lie his way out instead by saying he was a Samsung engineer.

I rounded up the other guys and told them we were going to march out. Only one problem: Mr Tambourine Man. I told him to take it out of his bag quickly and leave it behind, because there was no way we were getting past with that. We went down, walked out past this clearly angry Korean guy, and just kept going without looking back.

I have several more stories about abandoned amusement parks, but I won't bore you anymore right now.

This weekend, I'm going back here:
Maybe I'll have another story before the next QOTW.
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 14:10, 9 replies)
So for my mum's 60th birthday a couple of years ago, she insisted on taking the whole family to Alton Towers.
Oh dear Christ what a god-forsaken shithole of a chav's wet dream that place is BUT the kids loved it so that's fine with me.

What was not fine was that the older lads insisted on going on the ... Giant Headfuck ... or whatever the most mentalistly stupid rollercoaster was.

Now - I don't even do Pirate Ships. I've done bad acid, I've been in car crashes, I've abseiled, bridge swung, and been shot at, and so I'm really quite happy taking the little ones on the poot-poot train around the animal enclosure - I'm really not interested in having my body thrown around repeatedly at 5G by an automated device designed to strike terror into my very soul, so no - I wasn't going on.

While they were queuing, mum and I took the smaller ones on the train, and returned to the rendezvous via the sweet shop to get a big bag of sugar lollies for all the kids.

The lads came back enormously excited, and mum gave each of them a lolly.

One of them was having trouble unwrapping his - they had a plastic wrap sealed tightly with sellotape, so I offered to help.

"Here you are, lad" I said, "Give that here and I'll unwrap it for you."

This bastard thing was clearly designed by a sociopath - the sellotape was absolutely bound, and even using what nails I have I was having distinct trouble with it.

Observing this, my nephew cried frustratedly, "Uncle Vagabond you're rubbish! You're too wuss to go on the rollercoaster, and now you can't even open a lollipop!"
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 12:10, Reply)
Not me but....
My eldest step-sister has absolutely massive tits. She was already in her 30s when our parents married and by then they had become grotesquely enormous. Her husband told of about them visiting the fair in their teens (she must have been in the G-JJ range then). Anyway...

They went on the ROTOR, one of those centrifugal contraptions crossed with the wall of death, so basically an open topped spinning drum with people in.

As the G force increased sis's gigantic jugs of joy spilled forth from her top and continued upward until her nips were being tickled by her earrings.

Her hubby said they offered her twenty quid to stay on but that must have been bullshit cos the slag would still be there now.
(, Wed 15 Jun 2011, 11:46, 6 replies)
Some years ago, the famous San Diego Zoo opened a second, larger branch called the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Park is built around an enormous open-field enclosure where the animals roam free. To see the animals, visitors ride on a monorail called the Wgasa Bush Line which circles the enclosure.

They wanted to give the monorail a jazzy, African sounding name. So they sent out a memo to a bunch of zoo staffers saying, "What shall we call the monorail at the Wild Animal Park?" One of the memos came back with "WGASA" written on the bottom. The planners loved it and the rest is history. What the planners didn't know was that the zoo staffer had not intended to suggest a name. He was using an acronym which was popular at the time. It stood for "Who Gives A Shit Anyhow?"
(, Fri 10 Jun 2011, 21:41, 2 replies)
The boy as a man.
Disneyland, Orlando. 1989. At a certain point in the day, if God was watching he would have found 15 year old me hiding in the 'facilities' wanking furiously after having just watched a stage show featuring Snow White.

I guess that's forgivable, I was 15.

Disneyland, Paris, 2006. At a certain point in the day, if God was watching he would have found 32 year old me hiding in the 'facilities' wanking furiously after having just watched the Tarzan show featuring a very athletic and barely dressed Jane.

That's less forgivable, really.
(, Thu 9 Jun 2011, 15:33, 16 replies)
Song Dynasty Park
This place was a park in Hangzhou China that went from serine lily pad, tranquil family historical themed park, to a bat shit crazy theme park.

Let me explain.

(About 4 years ago) I arrived at the park about 2pm not sure what to expect - as the people I went with - didn't really speak English. Imagine a historical themed park Akin to Camelot or something along those lines. Respectable families would arrive in smart clothes. Men in suits (though this was kinda the daily dress code norm for any man in china as afar as I'm aware)

have a look at this for an idea of the place


This is some of the only footage I have ever found of this place. For a while I wondered if I imagined it all.

anyway. Night fell, and I slowly noticed small stalls appearing everywhere selling water pistols and bowls. This was odd, as the only things up till then that you could buy in this place was traditionally made wooden sculptures and green tea.

For a laugh we buy some of these water pistols and we walk over to an area where people were converging and grouping. There must have been around 1000 people all milling around. I notice large open barrels filled with water dotted about the place, and (for some reason) several large canoe/boats filled with water (I know- stick with me on this though) (look at the video @ 5:36 for the dums and boat in the background)

It looked like we were about to be treated to a performance... this was proven correct as - differing to traditional history of China, a Hawaiian themed procession started before us, with people on chairs hoisted up in the air. Grass skirts etc. They walked around the audience and then through them and onto a platform and started to sing. Odd.

A man then marched into the crowd turned around with a bow an arrow, lit the arrow end, and fired it 40ft over the performers into a giant hole behind them. This lit a massive volcano like structure behind the performers.

What happened next I still to this day cant comprehend.

BOOM! The whole park went dark, strobe lights went on Dry Ice. Water jets from under our feet shot in the air


With that Rave dance music blazed out of the PA system. And everyone darted to the boats/barrels with their water pistols/supersoakers/bowls

I instantly get it - and join in. Within 2-3 second I was soaked to the bone.

I really cant convey how weird it is to see Chinese people - of all ages - I'm talking 80yr old women included here- having a water fight with you. T

**TAP TAP on your shoulder** turn around… WOOOOSH as you take 4 litres of water into your face… behind your eyes, down your throat through your nose, you get your sight back - it’s a 70 yr old man in a very soaked suit. He laugh and runs off..

**Tap Tap ** again you turn around….WOOSH an other bucket of water in your face, full force, you catch your breath and realise everyone is doing it and your not being singled out. You instantly realise you have to get someone….

Fill your bowl

You spot someone next to you unware of you… this time its youwho Tap tap's

Woosh - you get the chinese man back.

And so on - for another hour.

I was ill for a few days after that, as they used the water from the pond that you see on the clip above… not very clean but brilliant fun.

Sorry for length - im still to meet someone who has done this, or taken pictures.

Edit: found a picture of the volcano
(, Wed 15 Jun 2011, 16:37, 1 reply)
Talking of Dodgems
A friend of mine from a young age was obsessed with them, he had pictures of them on his wall and traveled for miles to spend hours on end riding them. I often wondered why his parents spent the time and money on such an obscure and dead end hobby.

As soon as my friend was sixteen he ran off and joined the fair and trained from a grease monkey up to dodgem controller.

One fateful day there was a nasty crash involving a little girl and an old lady , my friend got the blame (even though he was off that day) and was sacked. My friend came round crying to my house and asked how he could get his dream job back.

I suggested he sued them for fun-fare dismissal.
(, Wed 15 Jun 2011, 14:16, 5 replies)
Well, it hasn't been the best QOTW we've had, but not the worst either.
It started slowly, picked up some pace then has hit some highs and lows interspersed with bits of not really going anywhere at all before just flattening out as we head towards the end.

If only I could think of some sort of appropriate metaphor.
(, Wed 15 Jun 2011, 11:16, 11 replies)
Centrifugal Puke
Old father Prime takes delight in telling a tale of woe from his youth, involving the 'Wall of Death' - the spinning disc which pins people to the wall as it speeds up.

He tells me how everyone in the first 30 seconds laughed and cheered as the speed picked up, pinning them to the wall until they were completely unable to move.

He tells me how they all laughed when a young lady projectile vomited, only for the vom to be violently splashed back in her face thanks to the laws of centrifuge.

He then recalls the laughter turning to terror as the sick slowly worked its way around the 'wall', people realising they were helpless to move out of the way of its advance and having to accept a warm, chunky doom.

He said there were bits of carrot that got stuck up his nose.
(, Tue 14 Jun 2011, 12:24, 3 replies)
Just a little one.
A couple of years ago we took our eldest to the fair. She was only 3 but even them almost fearless. She loved those bouncy castle type inflatable slides and went on at least four of them. On one of the later ones her ascent was hampered by a girl about twice her age who must have gotten scared half way up and stopped for a cry. Littlecloud #1 quite literally climbed over the top of this much bigger girl, standing on her head etc to get to her next adrenaline rush.

I was so proud.
(, Tue 14 Jun 2011, 11:21, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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