I have covered funfairs before so forgive my apparent obsession with this, but I do feel compelled to revisit this subject following an experience over the Christmas/New Year when one of these travelling ‘attractions’ arrived at Shepherd’s Bush Green in London. For two weeks it had set up residence in this west London enclave replete with bright lights and spinning metal. It was an ugly, Godforsaken, modern-day Babylon that only the most hardened chav would visit.
As I walked past, my journalistic instincts kicked in however. My brain was telling me that I had to try a ride.
It was in the interests of fair play: I have slagged off funfairs in the past but I felt the need to ‘road test’ it and describe the experience. The choice of ‘fun’ was easy: I selected The Waltzer – the jewel in the funfair crown – and hoped for a gay old time.
Within seconds of climbing aboard the multi-coloured torture chair I fully understood the nature of the ordeal I had, stupidly, agreed to embark on. I felt that if I was lucky the experience would merely result in an oral release of an earlier kebab-based meal but if I was not, I would caramelise my underpants.
The man I had employed as my ‘minder’ for the ensuing three minutes in my fun-packed car looked unpleasant but I felt it important to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was naive: I should have known he was an active agent working on behalf of The Kebab Liberation Organisation. This man wanted results and would go to any lengths to get them. He went about his work silently and with devotion, and as the ride continued its relentless journey, accompanied by a soundtrack of unintelligible Eighties pop, I realised that this tormentor would not rest until he had, at least, witnessed some chilli sauce seeping from my eyeballs. He spun my car like his life depended on it.
After two minutes the smell of half-digested cabbage was palpable. I opened my mouth in a vain bid to inhale oxygen, but all I got was diesel fumes and chip fat. It prompted a pre-puke retch, which proved to be a forerunner to a ribbon of projectile doner meat intertwined with chilli-dresssed lettuce. I saw my reflection in a hexagonal mirror located at the heart of the ride. Only Shrek has looked greener.
Convinced that a more severe eruption in the downstairs area was imminent I begged the KLO agent to ‘stop the bloody madness!’ but the delirium had masked the fact that the waltzer had, in fact, stopped. I extracted myself from the car by lifting the so-called safety bar and, with a string of minced lamb entrails and mulched-up salad decorating my coat lapel, I staggered incoherently to a chemical toilet, sat down and lost half a stone in an instant.
Then I noticed the absence of toilet paper.
So, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: a funfair is neither fun, nor fair.