Amadeus Meets His Nemesis in the Land of Make-Believe
These were all taken on my recently repaired Fuji Finepix F30. Everything was on auto and with virtually no flash used. It’s a shame it doesn’t have variable zoom and aperture when in video mode. I could have done with that.
Hopefully, you’ll get some of the mixture of boredom and surrealism that is Bridgwater Carnival.
It’s been going for over 400 years in celebration of Guy Fawkes and his Roman Catholic chums being ritually castrated, disembowelled and then chopped up after failing in their plot to blow up parliament. The terrible punishment seems to have worked, because even though the place is a viper’s nest of corruptive practices and intrique, no-one has really tried to blow up parliament since.
The Carnival is now what may be termed a charitable competition, where the prize is a cup like the FA Cup say, and to get the prize you need to spend oodles of dosh to have any hope. As the parade of over 100 entries winds it’s way through town, passers-by are “encouraged” to give money for charitable causes, usually local. All the dosh is collected by a fleet of slowly moving converted carts and a small army of volunteers who scuttle about picking up falling coinage. Some of them have bizarre funnel & pipe contraptions to collect from the back of the crowd.
The Carnival is now big – very big. For years the visitor numbers have been well over 100k, people arrive from all over the country. This is amazing for a pokey little place of ~30k or something. There are basically two sets of townfolk – the Carnivalites and their supporters which include people who like Carnival – and those that can’t stand the Carnival or the people that do it. 🙁 Me. I quite like it, but I’m a foreigner as I’ve only lived here for 19 years … The only people who make any money are the charities, the hamburger folks and the geezers who flog flickery toys and deflat-o-matic balloons, some of which can be seen hovering teasingly over the town after a child has lost their grip. For everyone else it’s a labour of love.
Bridgwater is not the only carnival, but it’s the biggest and the oldest. It’s the one that all the teams want to win, although there is an overall prize for the Somerset Carnival “Season”.
See Squibbing 2008 here.
The next day, the results are posted on the town hall door (see the photo I took). People were getting quite worked up about them…. You’ll see that Nemesis by the Gremlins won.
I tell you, Harry Potter’s got nothing on this.