As good as a nice cup of tea, and a sit down.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Scott Crosby is a graphic designer/all-round Charismatic Englishman who hails from Leeds. At my behest he commissioned me a Butlins Campaign Poster:

This was based on photo album I discovered on the internet of a Classy Wakefield Lady's holiday to Butlins (or, as she called it 'Butlinz'). Here's the link to the album in question, but heed this warning: you may feel like washing out your eyes afterwards. YIKES!

Anyway, it got me thinking about my own experience with the place. I never had any childhood holidays there, but I had the pleasure of visiting the Minehead site for ATP back in December. Minehead is a 8 hour coach journey away from Leeds, in case you weren't aware, but with a festival line-up including My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, a couple of friends and I thought it was too good to pass up.

As we travelled through the beautiful Devon countryside - okay, I admit it, I got my hopes up. Minehead is perched on the coast next to Exmoor National Park and the hills are dotted with pony trekking centres and thatched cottages - it's the definition of idyll. Then we got there.

I wasn't kidding myself that it would be something dazzling, but I thought like aging seaside towns such as Scarborough, Blackpool and Bournemouth there would be redemption in it somewhere - a soul of some sorts. But even someone as nostalgia prone as myself couldn't get misty eyed about the rows of leaky, asbestos-riddled cabins. The years have not been kind to these tiny chalets, and the now-redundant cheer of names like 'Porpoise Avenue' and 'Dolphin Way' only made the place further resemble the set of 'Psycho.'

Adding to this creeping malaise is the abandoned feel of the off-season. Drizzle on an empty playground, a vicious looking seagull eyeing up your chips.
Anyone who watched Scooby Doo will attest the creepiness of closed fairground rides. And somehow, their attempts to modernise it seem to make it more grotesque, like a decrepid old woman with the breasts of a 25 year old. You can pimp it up as much as you like, but there's not much soul in corrugated iron.

I forgot that the people who holidayed here most were the Post War generation. People who had been rationed to the point of boiling potato peel, in huge economic crisis, they were glad simply to be alive after D-Day. Even a shit heap would look alright next to Auschwitz.

So following up the ornate baroque of the Victorians, and the dazzling modernism of the 20s, the WW2ers legacy of cardboard sheds never really stood a chance. Shame.

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