Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dismaland - A Mind Blowing Day of Bemusement and Art...


Hello,

This week's blog post is a big change in style from my usual colourful and cheerful images because yesterday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Banksy's Dismaland in Weston-Super-mare.

After the initial hard work of trying to get hold of tickets, I was very excited about going for two reasons.  Firstly, I love Banksy's work, I love the way he uses art to provoke thought and shine a light on the absurd and shocking in our world.  Secondly, I make no secret of it, I was just as curious about what the inside of the old Weston-Super-Mare Tropicana looks like these days and reignite some old but happy childhood memories.... 

In the queue.  Top Left: My Husband John and I. Top Right: My very good friends of many years, Vikki, Me, Venetia and Jane.  Bottom Left:  Showing our support to the campaign to save the glorious Victorian Birnbeck Pier in Weston .  Bottom Right:  We're In - Going through the 'Security' gates.

In it's hey day, the Tropicana was a colourful and exciting outdoor pool/ lido (well, exciting by the standards of a kid growing up in the West Country the early '80s) .  I can see why, if Banksy visited the Tropicana as a kid too, he chose this venue.  In it's day, to kids our age (I understand that Banksy is said to be a 40 something too) the Tropicana was the closest thing the kids of Somerset, Bristol and Bath had to Disneyland...all be it on a tighter budget! 

See for yourselves, here's a link to The Weston Mercury's article showing some lovely pics of the Tropicana (or 'Club Tropicana' as I used to call it when I was 10, as I always hoped I may bump into George and Andrew from Wham on a lilo there!!):


But less about the venue, what you really want to see is inside the Bemusement Park isn't it?

Hold on to your hats then, here comes my whistle stop brief tour...


Walk through the main entrance and here you are, in the heart of Dismaland with 'Cindrella's Castle' straight ahead of you.  The brochure says "Step inside the fairytale and see how it feels to be a real princess".  More on that exhibit in a bit....

In the pic above we are sat by the 'Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit' - again, as the brochure describes it " Warm yourself around an authentic real open fire ceremonially lit each day by burning one of the famed local perjurer's novels"...


...then we move on to something for the kids (although I personally would give Dismaland a 15 rating and then add a warning of not for those who are easily offended by ...well everything really! nothing is off limits here!).

This is a puppet revue show "constructed entirely from the contents of Hackney skips - it's 'Fly Tip Theatre' by Paul Insect and Bast."...


There were plenty of colourful 'characters' if you wanted to have a novelty photograph...


...and of course no Bemusement Park would be complete without a Punch and Judy show, this one has been brought up to date by Julie Birchill with references to Jimmy Saville and Fifty Shades of Grey.  The sign in the background  reads " FREE Hotdog for anyone who can guess what animal is in this HOTDOG".  Always look at the signs in the background at Dismaland, the attention to detail was amazing!....

Moving swiftly along we have 'Kids Enclosure'.  Again, let me stress that this is not a place for kids.  This area features a 'Pocket Money Loans' shop to help you get out of debt with a loan with 5000% APR and compound interest (the small print on the posters made very amusing reading!).  This area is by artist Darren Cullen who has a wonderfully twisted and thought provoking Etsy shop which is worth a good look at here (unless you don't like rude words, in which case don't look):  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/spellingmistakes?ref=l2-shop-info-name

There was also a chance to play Mini Gulf "An oil calphate themed crazy golf course made from the hockey pitch at Cheltenham Ladies College"...


After a swift game of Golf you can visit 'Guerilla Island' which features a bus-mounted museum, library, gallery of guerilla art and a Comrades Advice Bureau!  Above are just a tiny selection of some of the guerilla art....

I guess by now you are sensing there was too much to see in the time available.  I definitely have a sense of wanting to see more.  Five of us went together and each of us have a different out take on the day with our minds thoroughly blown and imaginations stretched!

Towards the back of the park there was a Cinema area showing some brilliant short films, many of which I noted at the end gave a reference to a You Tube link so I will be looking a few things up on You Tube this week to have second chance to view/ view more.


There were side shows such as 'Hook a Duck from the Muck' where you can win a lovely laminated card fish finger in a plastic bag!

You could marvel at the graceful 'Big Rig Jig' which is described as "a masterpiece of post-industrial assemblage art - it's two juggernauts performing ballet by Mike Ross"



As I mentioned earlier, in the heart of the park is Cinderella's castle, which as many of you may have seen on the news is a chance to join the paparazzi frenzy taking pictures of the unfortunate princess after her carriage has crashed .  

And of course there were The Galleries to view "the finest collection of contemporary art ever assembled in a North Somerset seaside town" and I agree wholeheartedly with that statement being fairly local to said town!...


The last exhibit we got to see was a model village - just after a riot!...

And finally there was the highly glossy and seductive 'gift shop' before heading off for our fish and chips on the sea front....


I hope you enjoyed my brief tour of Dismaland as much as I did.   I firmly believe that you can't really appreciate all that is bright and beautiful in the world without experiencing and getting to grips with some of the darker sides of life!

My usual bright and colourful blog posts will return on my next post.

Have a very happy week!

Best wishes



2 comments:

  1. Well done BBF, looking forward to my dismal experience next week x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dad! You will LOVE it, now you know where to find the Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit ;) x

      Delete