Sunday, June 26, 2016

fun fair (aka carnival?)

When I was small - let's say, between the ages of 7 and 11 - I loved the annual visit of the fun fair to Wimbledon Common, sometime in mid-June.  Now it seems to be held on two consecutive weekends.  So, for Old Times' Sake, I went back for the first time in decades.  It still smelt the same - crushed grass, oily generators, and candy floss.  The music was identical - My Girl Lollipop - or generically similar (YMCA).  There seemed to be more rides and fewer stalls where you threw things at yellow plastic ducks, and no stalls at all where you rolled ping pong balls down chutes, or threw them into goldfish bowls (with prize being a live goldfish in a precarious, slightly leaky plastic bag), or lined them up in the sights of an air rifle.

But the general sense of raunchiness was still there, on the dodgems, on the Waltzer.  Gone was my favorite ride, which had imitation motorbikes on an undulating, fast-rotating track; gone was the big roundabout with the painted ponies.  But I still envied the cool-looking, tight-jeaned, casually balancing and spinning guys who man the rides - that was a job, when I was 10, that I hugely wanted for myself ...

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