Notepad on Life

August 27, 2010

Torquay ghost train more symbolic than scary

Filed under: Consumer — - @ 6:38 am
Tags: ,
Cover of "Ghost Train"
Cover of Ghost Train

TO: Ms E Raikes, Chief Executive, Torbay Council

“Dear Ms Raikes,

On holiday in your resort last week, I tried out the ghost train in the seafront fairground at Torbay Road with my younger son. I would be very surprised if there is a greater civic embarrassment anywhere in Torquay.

Picture a 30-second meander through a couple of rooms spray-painted with day-glo skeletons, and a ‘climax’ of terror that involves an attendant in a luminous mask emerging from the shadows to growl at the patrons.

I can honestly say I rode ghost trains in the 1960s that made more of an effort than this, both artistically and technologically.

Yet as my distinctly-underwhelmed son and I left the carriage and reflected on such slapdash presentation and unfulfilled promise, it occurred to me that as a metaphor for a nation in decline, the ride is unsurpassed in recent memory.

I am loth to see anyone put out of work in a recession, so what I am suggesting here is not so much removal as rebranding.

Delete all references to ‘Ghost Train’ from the signage and instead call it something like 21st Century Britain – What a Load of Old Crap, and I believe you transform it into an exhibit of social commentary that will strike a chord with many future visitors.

Hard-hitting, to the point and controversial, it would be a publicity godsend and, I have no doubt, come to be seen in some quarters as art. I’m sure I don’t have to spell out to you what that might mean in terms of public funding.

I would welcome your comments on this suggestion and in the meantime have forwarded a copy of this letter to your local Trading Standards office. At the very least, someone needs to have a word.

Yours sincerely,

NP Liffe”

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