One of the reasons why I started this blog was to explore both the good and the bad sides of Manchester. There were so many places people told me not to go, “just don’t – it’s horrible!”, that I’ve started wondering if Manchester was really that bad. While all you food and culture bloggers enjoy the, well, food and culture of Manchester’s nicest spots, I shall discover and experience the places we normally avoid, and find out how bad they really are – I’ll be playing urban myth buster. I’ve got some fun things planned (without putting myself in too much danger, hopefully), starting with the mecca of my childhood: funfairs.
Ever since I spent a year living in Rusholme near Whitworth Park (only got mugged there once, and there were no potentially dangerous weapons involved, so I suppose you can call it a ‘safe’ area… haha.) I’ve been wanting to go to one of the marvelous funfairs taking place there. However, due to warnings of funfairs being “terribly trashy rip offs” and “full of dodgy people” I was denied this pleasure until recently, in an act of defiance, I decided to be brave enough to go and experience the pleasures and dangers of Manchester’s funfairs with my own eyes.
And so we went to the fair at Platt Fields park on a sunny Wednesday evening, hoping it didn’t turn into a miserablefair (Matt said that. I thought it was funny. I like puns.) – and it was good, sturdy, old-fashioned entertainment. Screaming kids, the smell of greasy deep fried chips and candyfloss, the odd announcer at the rides (my favourites!) and that little bit of sunshine the notoriously bad weather in this city offered us made for a rather nice and enjoyable combination.
We even went on one of the rides, which seemed to be particularly popular with the kids. In fact, so popular that they forgot (“forgot”…) about their good manners and pushed their way to the front to get a seat before the carousel even stopped moving. This rush and excitement caused even me to defend the seat I had just grabbed from a little child that was about half my size, pulling the seat away from its tiny little hands and kindly saying: “NO! THIS IS MINE!”. I shall go to hell for that. (But hey, I was first!! Also, I’m German, I don’t know how to queue. It’s not efficient.)
Due to unforeseen circumstances*, the rest of our trip was reduced to wandering around the fair, marveling at the lovely stalls, the picturesque crowd and their fabulous interpretations of past and current fashion trends, until we ended up at a ‘shoot the cans’ place. My friend invested a whole 2 pounds to win me one of these monstrosities pictured below on the top shelf – a giant bear with an ‘I love you’ heart. The gentleman at the shooting gallery (also pictured below) even grabbed his microphone to enthusiastically (not.) comment on Matt’s dart skills, and called me a lucky winner! After carrying our new fuzzy friend around Platt Fields for a while, we gave it to some kids (and by kids I mean their parents) that seemed delighted by the idea of having a life-sized bear spreading its fur all over the house (hey, just like my flat mate!).
Sitting in the grass we watched some lovely family scenes, as a young man in a grey tracksuit made the teenagers (clearly bored by the rides) at the fair happy by swapping little plastic bags with them for money, while his jittery looking girlfriend was waiting in the back with her toddler in the pram – how convenient when you can combine work with leisure!
Having said that – I did enjoy myself, and the fair wasn’t nearly as bad as people had always claimed. Pick a nice park, a sunny day and forget your reluctance for a bit, and you might even have a fun time at the funfair.
Truth or myth factor: Not that bad, really.
* That means I was stupid enough to have chips and THEN go on a ride. My body reacted with its own version of wagging a finger – I felt violently sick. My natural survival instincts: clearly non-existing. I’m still suffering from it more than 24 hours later, so it might have been actual food poisoning. Maybe don’t go-go to “Food to go-go” next time. Even if CHIPS CHIPS CHIPS are hard to resist.