Friday, 3 April 2015

Nevermind the DJ, hang the Bluecoat.

He stumbles home, skin hardened and appearance dishevelled from the uncompromising terrain and harsh weather. He barely has enough energy to summon upon to make a simple cup of coffee, his mind still racing with thoughts of what he'd put himself through. Anger, guilt, remorse, pain.....every emotion imaginable. The scenes of desolation cannot be extinguished from his torn up, damaged mind.

Now, I know there are charities set up to help soldiers arriving back from duty in the middle east and wherever else we send them to "protect our nation", it would actually be quicker to list off the places they're not, but whilst more could be done for our troops, much more in fact, what about people like me, arriving back......from Pontins?

I'd only recently brought the symptoms of post-traumatic-pontins-disorder to a manageable level from my last visit, almost 3 years ago. "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in", said Michael Corleone in the much maligned 'Godfather 3' eerily appropriate quote that would become a reverberating echo in my mind during the course of my 2nd tour of Pontinslamabad. It was an experience I never thought I'd revisit, like a basic horror movie plot where they head towards certain death when it would be easier to walk the other way, albeit making the said horror flick a non-horror flick. Here I was, heading towards certain boredom.

Before you have a pop at me for being melodramatic, just remember that you wouldn't greet a soldier who'd done a six month stint in Afghanistan with eyeballs rolling to the skies every time he had a whinge about hearing gunshots, screams of pain and bombs a-blasting, no, you wouldn't. At least he has the comfort of knowing he's done some good for his country (allegedly, this has yet to be proven). I, however, felt like I was contributing to this grim debacle simply by attending, I was encouraging the whole movement and I'd probably have felt less guilty on a march for the BNP. I'm pretty sure if I'd stayed for the entire week, I'd have become brainwashed and institutionalised, like poor old Brooks from 'The Shawshank Redemption'. The cruelest of all institutionalisations, surely? I'd never hang myself in Pontins though, they'd probably embalm my strung up corpse and use me as a tourist attraction, I'd go and have a look if they had one, would be a nice excursion and a break from the 2p machines.

My state of misery was only compounded by the absence of Wi-Fi, in fact, there was no signal at all. My get-out-of-jail-free card was well and truly ripped up, nowhere to run or hide, I was forced to comply and reluctantly immerse myself in Planet Pontins. I think I've called for it before, but if I'm not nominated for a Pride of Britain award or even invited to Noel's Christmas Presents for this, there's something wrong with the world.

Typical British weather didn't exactly help,either. Gale force winds hurled bins across the desolate UK version of Benidorm (which in itself is a parody of the UK and makes for an interesting paradox), escaping chip wrappers flailing and rolling across the teen-pregnancy paradise landscape like modern-day wild-western tumbleweed. At one point, the clarity of sheer, utter all-round mood of dejection was only made more poignant when I saw a family of five walk past on my way back from the on-site chippy, laughing and sharing a joke, blissfully ignorant to their surroundings....I had to do a double take, such was the profoundness of the moment, it beggared belief.

As for the chips, they only confirmed what we already knew, that Brean Sands is the place that cuisine forgot. I'd wager that 95% of the world freezer population live there, it's a turkey twizzler town, a fine-dining vacuum, an alphabet spaghetti western. Cooking doesn't get shitter than this.  As all of my four regular readers will know, I'm not big on research, but I'd bet my bottom dollar (if I could muster one up) that the majority of the obese population is lower-working's easy to see why, too. There was barely a healthy meal on offer, so how on earth are people supposed to become healthy if it's not even on offer? Most of what I ate was probably as hazardous to my health as smoking a ciggie, yet there wasn't a health warning in sight. If they're going to ban logo's from cigarette packets, read distressing facts about what could happen to you if you smoke them along with graphic images of what they do to your innards, why don't unhealthy foods also share this take on a pro-active, guilt ridden march towards a healthier population?

Anyway, it's ok.....because once I'd managed to force feed myself and endure the torrid coastal bitter winds, I could finally sit down in the comfort of the clubhouse and wind down as my children enjoyed some Bluecoat hospitality.....right? Wrong! Now, the kids bloody loved's all for them......I can deal with that, there was alcohol on offer....shitty lower-working class alcohol, but nevertheless, alcohol....bring me some fucking ALCOHOL! But, why oh why did we all have to listen to a poor-mans, no......a homeless mans......NO, a dead mans Alan Carr tribute act of Alan Carr......louder than an AC-DC concert? I'm convinced they do this in order to ensure the parents spend as much at the bar as their wearily, jaded little wallets will allow them to.

The 'Pontins Got Talent' "show" was my personal lowlight. Out of the three contenders in the adult category, each and every one of them was disabled and had mental issues, meaning that I couldn't even ethically heckle or chastise them off for being rubbish, I felt like Chandler Bing when he agrees to stop poking fun at the rest of his 'Friends', I could feel the jibes within me trying to rip through my chest like a baby Alien releasing itself out of John Hurt. The Bluecoat charged with bombarding us with anything that came into her head, kept talking about the audience "GOING MENTAL" which I thought was in extremely poor taste, given that half of them were from the same group. I thought the Jim Davidson era of comedy was over, but in this 'Life on Mars' corner of Great Britain, it's remnants are alive and kicking. Actually, as awkward as it was, those performances were the only genuinely heartwarming parts of the entertainment......they were clearly having a great time and were far braver than I can ever say I've ever been, I was actually envious of their spirit, living completely in the moment.....working with the disabled must be one of the most challenging but worthwhile jobs out there.

For the majority of the holiday, I was torn between wondering whether or not it was important for my children to see that daddy could let his hair down, whatever the holiday....or to allow them to see what it means to have standards. Luckily, their attention failed to acknowledge or register my snooty demeanor.....they had an absolute ball, which I'm entirely jealous about. Despite their joviality and insistence of enjoying themselves, they're easily pleased and I can't help but think that these seaside towns are due the atomic bomb treatment (see, Morrissey, Every Day is like Sunday). We need to rid ourselves of this outdated notion of 'entertainment', it's old hat and lacks any kind that the part of British culture that we should be clinging to?

Dear 2p machines,

You can stay.

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