Monday, 30 April 2012

FUCK ART, LET'S BOUNCE: Reflections on playtime in Glasgow

Intrepid Edinburgh adventurers!  Fun-loving folk of all ages!  Consider this a call to arms - I have encountered a singularly cool spectacle, not of our fair city, that may have eclipsed our every effort at innovative play.  In Glasgow.

I speak, of course, of BOUNCY STONEHENGE.

It first came to light in this article, alerting the wider world to the presence of a particularly unusual iteration of the classic inflatable castle.  Now, if you actually read the piece, like I just did (previously I only looked at the photos), you can witness a plethora of disgruntled comments.  Most of them are centered around the alleged ineffectiveness of Glasgow council, the disgrace of having an iconic English monument commanding attention (and taxpayer money) in Scotland, the ultimate futility of art, and a host of other politically charged statements.  I guess Guardian readers are a bit touchy about these sorts of things.

All I can say is, haters gonna hate.  I came, I saw, I BOUNCED.  It was awesome.

We approached with caution.  This was a strange spectacle indeed, and it drew a crowd.

Now, I didn't make a special trip to Glasgow in order to take part in the serendipitous stonehenging.  In fact, I had already planned to be in Scotland's other city for alternate reasons, but I had the great fortune to be tipped off by a very astute friend, who knew this puffed-up piece of history was right up my alley.  Once she mentioned it existed, there was no question about it: I had to go see for myself.

We arranged to meet up and take a wander down to Glasgow Green, the site of the temporary prehistoric playground.  Before even catching sight of it, though, I was struck with indignation and envy.  Why, do you ask?  Please refer to the photograph below (figure 2).


The Glasgow Green has a freaking pirate ship.

Look, we've been around our share of Edinburgh playparks.  Heck, we even made a blog about it.
In all our rambles across the city (see our map for full details), not once have we seen anything even remotely approaching the excellence that is this nautical specimen.  It simply isn't fair.  After gibbering a bit about the indignity of it all, I managed to pull myself together and continue on towards our main goal.

Readers, I have never been to the real Stonehenge.  I have never gazed upon the legendary standing stones, nor have I basked in the shadows of its mysterious, astrological aspect.  But I tell you this: I truly felt the magnitude of an ancient power that day.  And I jumped aaaaalllllll over it.

A closer inflatable view
Jumping, as it turns out, is rather tiring.  All around us, there were pint-sized hooligans boinging, flipping, and ricocheting off the springy surfaces with seemingly limitless energy.  Most of their adult handlers, in contrast, were flopped in a heap, gasping for breath.  I'll admit that there were moments we felt rather wheezy ourselves, but we gamely bounced onwards for the full 15 minute session.  I found that flailing my arms like a windmill was a particularly effective way to derive maximum enjoyment from the experience.

When it was over, we schlumped off the surface and staggered away to let the next crowd have its turn.  Overall, I was quite impressed with Glasgow and, although I am loyal to Edinburgh, I suspect that future visits might be in order... especially to that fantastic pirate ship.  I think I might conquer it by force. 

1 comment:

  1. I am very jealous I couldn't make it.
    Also the pirate ship playpark rings a bell from the deep crevices of my childhood memories, and I think there is/was similar in Edinburgh, perhaps at Newhaven.