06-01-13

Crammed into all available public spaces, from squares to pedestrianised shopping streets, the funfair has come to town. Only a matter of weeks ago, those same spaces were packed with faux wooden huts meant to evoke a nondescript Europe populated by cheery beer and cheese sellers. Then, freezing stall holders stood behind their counters, waiting for shoppers tanked on glühwein to stare at their wares and maybe pay over the odds for some smelly cheese they could get cheaper in the local supermarket, or a brooch made from felt. Now, freezing fairground workers stand alongside bulb encrusted rides, waiting for grim faced parents to give in to their relentless offspring. One ride, modelled on something like Ice Blast at Blackpool Pleasure Beach but aimed at the under-5s, consisted of the fairground worker strapping a small child into a moulded plastic seat and pushing the seat up and down the metal pole. Maybe it was broken. Or maybe it really was that grim. Scale models of public service vehicles chained together clattered endlessly along a predestined route, and the bulging eyes and straining mouths of the horses on the carousel nearby hinted at a life of grimness, even for the inanimate.

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