I was lucky (or should I say unlucky) enough to get hold of much sought after tickets to the ‘Dismaland Bemusement Park’ in Weston Super Mare which I visited this week with Poppy. Our admission time was 11am so we arrived on time and were directed across the road onto the green into a massive queue which was zig zagging slowly between barriers where we were treated like cattle for the first hour until reaching the front of the queue. I got the feeling that this is part of the ‘fun’ to get rid of any smiles and laughter because if you dare to laugh or giggle on walking through the airport style entrance, you are likely to be taken to one side until you are miserable. The next step is to try and get hold of a leaflet you are offered as you go in though this is a challenge as to may have to beg for it, snatch it or watch as the grumpy looking man screws it up into a ball and drops it on the ground for you to retrieve.
Dismaland has been set up onto a derelict site on Weston’s Sea Front which was a popular water fun park (The Tropicana) back in the eighties. Parts of the pool and other features have been adapted for alternative art features which is the idea of Banksy who has been joined by other artists including Damien Hurst.
The weather forecast had been wind and heavy rain today which would have made it even more dismal but the sun came out and it was quite warm. There is plenty to see in a couple of hours but ideally, you need a good three hours once inside. You can wander around the ‘park’ and look at the pool where a police riot van is partly submerged with a slide coming out of the side, admire the whale emerging from a toilet to jump through a hoop into a paddling pool, sit in a deck chair and watch an even more controversial version of Punch and Judy or you might like to try your luck at ‘Topple The Anvil’ (alternative coconut shy) with 3 ping pong balls for £1.00. You might be lucky enough to be thrown a wristband for your efforts. There is a Carousel to ride where a couple of horses have been removed. If you look closer at the photo, you will see why! There is a rifle range which looks like someone used a machine gun on it and a chance to ‘Hook a Duck from the Muck’ where you could win a fish finger in a bag. With an alternative Mini Golf (with oil slick) and a kiosk offering ‘Pocket Money Loans’, you can also visit some indoor areas where there more ‘attractions’ including ‘The Dance of Death’ with the Grim Reaper riding a dodgem to the sound of ‘Staying Alive’, some very clever animations, a miniature town at night-time full off blue flashing lights, sculptures and plenty of wall art. In the centre of the ‘park’ is a replica of the iconic ‘Sleeping Beauty’s Castle’ (ruin) which you can go inside to see even more. There is food available on site and a bar overlooking the site.
I didn’t realise quite how much there would be to see and wished I had time to stay longer. I dare not say I enjoyed it in case I get into trouble from the legal team!
Dismal and Bemusement Part is open daily until 27th September 2015.