I know many of my posts are pumped filled with memories and things past - Indeed I often ask myself whether it is the rides and parks that I pine the loss of or my youth :-)
- I cannot help mourning along with many, though, the tragic loss to this country's park and coaster heritage.
With the economic downturn and hassles with foreign travel -Having to register your visit to the States 72 hours before you go as from next January anyone? - the British Seaside is long overdue for a return in popularity.
Problem is, there aint gonna be much for people to do when they get there.
The Cyclone / Texas Tornado at Morecambe was a classic...and Morecambe wasn't bad either..until The Bubbleworks pool complex and Frontierland closed down that is.
The whole place went into freefall.
Morecambe did not get wise. It was a sitting target for the tabloids and broadsheets and the Morrisseys of this world.
Of all reports I read about Morecambe, however, I have to say that the one below written nearly ten years ago remains my favourite.
It sums it all up for me.
From The Observer, first published 25th July 1999:
For many years Morecambe seemed to be in denial about its ignominious slide in status - there is, of course, no longer any need for a glamorous gilded 3000 seat theatre in a town with a declining tourist trade, a place where the summer season artistes include a magician called Harvey Rush and Paul Wheater singing Jim Reeves and other country favourites'...
...The Labour council managed to get quite a bit done, enthusing the town with a bit of a 'vision', but residents lost faith after the premature announcement of an exciting revenue generating new tourist-attraction, a Noel Edmonds-endorsed Crinkley Bottom theme park
Mr Blobby-land soon went spectacularly, and very publicly, belly-up, however, and the local council is now run by a bunch of Independents.
...The ongoing £40million redevelopment is making a difference to Morecambe but it still feels like a town with one foot planted firmly in the past and the other poised hesitantly, waiting to step forward.
On the seafront, Gypsy Lee, who has plied her trade in Morecambe for 46 years ('my mother was here for 60') reads my palm for a tenner.
I'm going to live to a great age, apparently and although I've had a 'difficult few years, surrounded by chaos, things are looking up'. In fact, things look up rather faster than I expect as soon as I stumble across P. Brucciani, purveyors of award-winning Ice-cream, tea, coffee and snacks.
With its red formica tables linoleum and acid-etched glass Venetian scene, Brucciani's is a perfectly preserved slice of the 1930s...
If this were Brighton it would he abuzz with earnest conversation over Penguin classics and the fog of a million Marlboro.
But this is Morecambe and there is only me, six septuagenarians in Pacamacs and even though it is run by Italians, there is no espresso machine.
Despite this, it is heaven.
Kathryn Flett 1999
The Texas Tornado video below brings back everything that was great about Morecambe for me and believe me when I say that I would love to see Morecambe become great again.
> I know many of my posts are pumped filled with memories and
> things past - Indeed I often ask myself whether it is
> the rides and parks that I pine the loss of or my youth
I've thought a lot about nostalgia over the years, because I can't deny it's something that affects me, sometimes strongly, sometimes not. I can tell you it was a strange feeling to finally see the "Safari Ghost Train" again!
I've come to the conclusion that there are three main ways of appreciating the past:
1. "Rose-tinted" - obviously when people think things were better than they actually were.
2. Genuine quality - this is things that are still genuinely good, and still show us qualities that modern times often forget, eg. the old woodies. Unfortunately, this does include the Scenic Railway and Southport Cyclone (and although I can't be sure, personally, very likely also the Southend and Morecambe Cyclones).
3. Nostalgia. Yes, I do believe nostalgia in its purest form does not necessarily include either No.1 or No.2. For instance, my pining for Clacton in the late '70s. It's not that I even want to be that young again. It's just the awe and power of time travel.
> With the economic downturn and hassles with foreign travel
> -Having to register your visit to the States 72 hours
> before you go as from next January anyone? - the
> British Seaside is long overdue for a return in popularity.
I truly believe the British seasides are still popular (or should that be "popular again"?) I know the doom-mongers say it's only in the summer, but surely this was always the case? Also, I doubt said doom-mongers actually go and see how packed they are and how much money people spend.
There have been a couple of casualties, but unfortunately, you can't stop the few individuals who are determined to ruin their assets. For every high profile "failure" (Margate and Southport, frankly), there are loads of seasides that invest every year.
We may not get £12m rocket coasters, but that's fine by me! :)
> The Texas Tornado video below brings back everything that
> was great about Morecambe for me and believe me when I say
> that I would love to see Morecambe become great
Hopefully the restoration of the Midland hotel is the first step. :)
Viva la seaside!
What an amazing ride!
I love how its station sits necxt to the street like a walk-in shop. Then it starts out as a typical seaside coaster and suddenly races through this wooden area. Great!
It seemed to very fast and with its overgrown track and the "waterspalsh" towards the end it really looks amazing.
I often get caught up in nostalgia too, that and my favourite author often looks back on the 90's (which in essence was an oblivious time for me, and grateful for it), and I do get the rose tinted look sometimes...but I'm fortunate enough to kick out of it.
For me, the closest thing to a seaside park would be Cedar Point, and the nostalgic side of me thinks it was better before Raptor and the rest of the new rides. That saying, I love the new coasters, Raptor more than Millie, Twister etc etc..., but think the atmos is not what it used to be. Still, everytime I hear the Beach Boys, or going back to Eddie Cochran's Summertime Blues, I still think of the Point.
Now onto Texas Tornado (I apologise for the rambling), I recently saw the video for it, and couldn't believe how fast and how powerful the airtime appeared to be. The layout was wonderful too.
> What an amazing ride!
> I love how its station sits necxt to the street like a
> walk-in shop.
Yeah, it reminds me of a Coney Island coaster, Tornado in particular.
That's a great video. It sums up all that was great about the British amusement park industry.
Graeme, would that be the Tornado similar to the Bobs?
> Graeme, would that be the Tornado similar to the Bobs?
Yeah, the Coney Bobs/Tornado.
I'm awesome, thanks. lol
Graeme, did you ever get to ride it? Texas Tornado, not the Coney Bobs.
> Graeme, did you ever get to ride it? Texas Tornado, not the
> Coney Bobs.
Unfortunately not. It's the one defunct wooden coaster I really had a chance of riding but didn't.
Being South-eastern, we didn't go to the North-west for holidays when I was younger (opposite ends of England, of course). My one chance to ride it was when I first went to Blackpool and Southport in 1999. Alas, I didn't.
It was only a short break and I was staying in Southport (from North to South they go: Morecambe, Blackpool, Southport). My days were taken up with BPB and Pleasureland, and Morecambe was just a step too far that year.
I did go to Morecambe in 2001. Of course, two years too late.
I rode the Texas Tornado four times in all: Once when it was The Cyclone.
The first time I rode it I was accompanying my dad on one of his work trips (He surveyed ships / boats - all sizes - and gave them certificates to sail)
He had a trip to Morecambe one time and I had never been before. I always remember thinking that once we left the motorway the town of Morecambe seemed to take ages to get to.
Whilst he was off surveying some boat he gave me some money to spend at the park.
There was enough for three small rides or one big ride and a small ride! :-)
I first had a walk around Noah's Ark...Great but in my mind "a cheaper version of the Blackpool one"..and it smelled rather urinal like down one of those corridors.
Really the walk around the Ark acted as a bit of time for me to gather courage up for a ride on The Cyclone..but ride it I did.
WOW!!..Bumpy?..Yes!..Bone Rattling?..Yes!..Branches brushing against the side of my face..Believe it!!
All over too quick for my liking..and another hour to kill before I met up with my dad..I spent my last few pence in an arcade on the front.
I loved that day.
* This Post Has Been Modified *
> I loved that day.
And I bet you were shaking with adrenaline, weren't you? :) When I was young, if I went on a good ride or played a good arcade game, I would literally shake with excitement!
This is a great thread, I've really enjoyed it.