It's the day before the fun fair and 'IT'S NO ONE FOR FUN', but in a good way. Rides are yet to be unpacked and now stand layered in seemingly impossible smaller versions of themselves. An invitation to 'TAKE MY PHOTO' is still holed up behind bars. Micky mouse and Minnie hover above a carriage draped in green tarpaulin buoyed up with their very own brand of irrepressible and somewhat irritating optimism. Micky's ear is missing so he'll need it.
Cinderella's carriage has a number plate and tail lights as it squats unceremoniously on its trailer. Its pink paint has peeled away. The gold gilt is tempered by a utilitarian non-slip uniformity of bumps. But the fun fair imperfections don't make the scene sad, just more beautiful. Cinderella is always on the way to the ball, and midnight never comes to break the illusion. The ride doesn't go anywhere, just ends where it starts, a story erasing itself as she moves through it, a circular amnesia.*
'Kunstlich' the German word for 'artificiality' springs to mind at the funfair. Both "Kunstlich" and "artificial" have the word "art" at their root. We may romantically think of art as a "real" or a "true" expression of emotions. But "kunstlich" or "art-like" is not real or true, just imitation and is somehow thought of as second-rate. It is man-made, an imitation of nature. It is plastic, not the real thing. It does not decay or die, but deteriorates, becomes tawdry, becomes scrap. It has no core like a tree has rings, but is hollow, empty, without substance. The funfair imitates fun and we revel in it. It is a pastiche of itself. Does this make it less fun? Of course not. That the illusion that is fun is a millimetre thick, rusted to boot and is as insubstantial and fleeting as a bubble only makes the experience of fun more real to us.
Number ones, 1's and No. Ones rule the fun fair, emblazoned on every ride in ever more eccentric fairground font. Freddie Frog, Mega Machine and Mystery House all simultaneously kicking each other off the number one spot of the best rides in town. Shot to the top of the hit parade by their screaming fans though they all celebrate the same gut wrenching song of "oggy oggy oggy". The fun fair where you can be a number one, or a no one, disappear in the crowd or have your picture taken.
It's the day before the fun fair with the promise of IT'S No ONE FOR FUN', a space we can forget our own narratives and destinations for the space of a ride, be a no one, but in a good way.
*I've just read Jenny Diski's "Travelling with strangers", An excellent book about travelling without going anywhere and visa versa and finding yourself among strangers in both senses of the word.