The Ermine household ventured to Weston-Super-Mare, where the Mendip Hills surrender to the sea in the Bristol Channel. There was a free public spectacle, part of the Festival UK scratch that, Festival of Brexit no, it’s definitely not called that, Unboxed 2022. Sounds like the sort of thing that people do on YouTube when they get a new gadget, but it’s all about mind-blowing creativity happening now across the UK
Round these parts the mind-blowing creativity is a whacking great big oil rig on the beach. It’s one of the more accessible of the exhibits. The Ermine is on the philistine end of the spectrum when it comes to the arts. Not as far as reaching for a Browning when I hear culture, but not a luvvie. I was middle-aged before Mrs Ermine educated me that you don’t qualify art by whether you like it but whether it makes you see the world in a different way. It’s always easy to carp on arts funding, but I will leave that to others
I’m not sure that it made me see the world in a different arty way, but I certainly saw WSM in a different way physically – some of the faded grandeur of the beachfront hotels from a height.
I’ve never had the opportunity to be on an oil rig before – it was surprisingly small. They didn’t have the workers’ accommodation or much of the functional plant. I was trying to place the guys from Tabitha Lasley’s book Sea State on it. Even getting a helicopter onto the helipad must be a serious challenge in high winds. I got a useful amount of exercise climbing 30m of steps, but I missed the entire renewables theme, I had to look at Wikipedia to get that. Even the seemonster website left me confuzzled.
Weston-Super-Mare has seen better days, like so many British seaside town. If you are in the area, go north to Clevedon for a classier experience, or south to Burnham-on-Sea for a less tacky experience on a smaller scale. WSM hosted Banksy’s Dismaland in 2015, so it has form on public arts projects. As far as bringing money into the town, that’s a maybe. It certainly gives employment – they have people everywhere on all levels because I would imagine the temptation for kids to climb over the guards rails could be a bit much, the water this thing stands in is only three feet deep, not enough to break a fall from 30m. And we did have a full English of industrial sausages, white fried bread and instant coffee at a local caff, because sometimes you have to rough it. You can get a better breakfast in Clevedon and Burnham-on-sea, though whatever you do don’t carry on to Bridgwater, because the guys building Hinkley Point power station need good honest grub at low prices, rather than poncey ‘elf food and the town is set up for that.
An echo out of time, before Covid and the Brexit dividend showed its face
Once upon a time, four years and three prime ministers ago, a Remainer who didn’t really believe in Brexit proposed an arty celebration of all things British, to be funded with the lolly on the side of the bus we were going to save leaving the EU. There was going to be so much the NHS wouldn’t need it all.
To be fair, that was Theresa May in Oct 2018 so nobody had heard of Covid-19 She called it Festival UK, but the temptation was always there to rename it as a Festival of Brexit, and Jakey boy took the opportunity to change the label, despite asserting we have to wait half a century to see the economic benefits. Put the champers and the festival on the National Debt, then, JR-M, or on the tax rises? The varmint is from Somerset though thankfully not my local MP.
There was something dismal about a Remainer trying to implement Brexit, in the end if you are going to implement a car crash you really need someone who is going to put the pedal to the metal and go out with a bang rather than try to survive the experience. Think Vanishing Point rather than The Italian Job, so well done Bozza for Getting Brexit Done. Covid gave you enough time to pretend the fail wasn’t too much Brexit but that’s starting to wear a little bit thin now. Well done you on making it not your problem now, mate.
Brexit seems to have a voracious appetite for Tory PMs, chowing down four and countin’. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people. You can get Brexit Done but you’ll never make Brexit Work Well until you learn to talk civilly with our nearest neighbours, even if you don’t want to be in their club, I curse you and the horse you rode in on always offends.
As for our talents at striking dynamic alternative trade deals, there seems a lack of bovine reciprocity in the Aussie-UK trade deal brokers by Liz Truss – as in importing Aussie beef is dandy but importing British beef is still verboten Down Under. They must’ve cracked a few tinnies on getting that past La Truss. The Aussies keep the Ashes then, and it’s about time Britain learned that negotiating against self-inflicted deadlines gives the other side the upper hand. Them 2 Us Nil if you add in the Article 50 fracas. There’s a whole field of Game Theory, and even Harvard geeks yattering on about BATNA but, well, experts, schmexperts, we don’t need no steeking expertise round here, eh, Mikey? Cynics might say it shows, Gove my boy, sure shows…
Curious how selecting True Believers seems to have selected against Basic Competence. Still, we have a couple of years of tax rises and spending cuts to look forward to as a lovely Brexit dividend. Paris is now the largest European stock market by capitalisation as London fades. Just as well that the major age group that voted for it don’t need to earn a living any more, eh? Curious how Truss and Crazy Kwazy missed the most obvious way to get a bit more growth, selling more shit to rich neighbours. Even the rabidly Brexity Daily Express is flying a kite for better dialogue under the guise of monstering Nicola Sturgeon
Instead of Boris Johnson’s “oven-ready deal”, Rishi Sunak’s Government could “consider a much more softer version of Brexit – for example joining the Single Market.
“If they did that, a lot of the powerful messages for an independence referendum would go out of the way, or would be reduced.”
I do wonder if the subeditor who allowed this heresy through has actually thought what that implies for the desires of their more rabidly xenophobic readership cohort. They could do well to remind themselves of what the single market is. Maybe they feel more strongly about the Union than not hearing Polish spoken on the High Street? The power of analytical thought is not strong in Brexity cakeists.
Still, we did our bit for this echo from a distant world, before the uneaten cake/eaten cake wavefunction had collapsed into the cake is a lie, and the Festival of Brexit the Great Unboxing was celebrating the success of the idea of the cake still existing after it had been eaten. Original attendance numbers for the whole shebang were projected at 66 million. The outcome is somewhat lower at about a quarter mill. Some bugger’s quaffing all the champagne as per Jake R-M’s edict, but it wasn’t us, guv.
See Monster is only open for five more days until the 20 November 2022, but you can see a VR tour on the website. FWIW I did appreciate not being charged, and even the bogs were free.
One thing you must not do, BTW, is swim in the sea in Weston. I don’t indulge, personally, but Mrs Ermine did on a previous occasion. And got to wonder why there was a smell of shit after getting out. Well, before Liz Truss ruined the UK economy even more by starving it of money, she ruined the Environment Agency by starving it of money. Fortunately everyone was OK apart from having to run boil wash afterwards. But the shit in the sea can apparently get up your arse and put you in hospital. You wouldn’t want to do that, because a different part of the Tory party has been starving the NHS of money in the hope of selling bits off.
Shit in the water seems to be a widespread problem. I tried paddleboarding in the summer, in the Avon. I am a weak swimmer, but drowning wasn’t the problem. It had been raining a couple of days before, which apparently is when the shit gets into the river when the rainwater overtops the capacity of the sewers. I fell in, as you do as a tyro. After a couple of days I felt sick, achey and weak to the exent of only being able to crawl to the head. After about three days of that it went away, so I got off a lot more lightly than the 22 year old swimmer. But I am going to avoid open water in the UK in future, because I didn’t realize that sort of thing could put you in hospital, I thought it would just give you bellyache and the shits if you were unlucky. I never liked swimming that much anyway…
16 thoughts on “Festival of Brexit – less dismal than expected”
Oh c’mon, giving up swimming because shit in water can get up your arse? That’s a bit extreme. As we often like to say on this island, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing (and equipment).
Here’s a handy gadget that I expect every avid swimmer will use from now on to avoid the Sewage Getting Up Arse problem. Not required if one is from Yorkshire.
Makes a good Christmas present for those keen on open water swimming, like Mrs Ermine.
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I take the opportunity to add the obligatory NSFW warning for those WFH reading on corporate IT VPNs 😉
I salute your creativity, but how will 52% of the population be able to use these devices and still be able to talk to fellow swimmers while frolicking in the sewers? According to the govt. Office for Unicorn Affairs, that is how they primarily communicate.
Ahh, the joys of the oil rig. Spent seven years on them, three weeks at a time of either 12 hour night shifts or day shifts. Hard going but there wasn’t a face that didn’t break into a smile at the sound of incoming chopper blades filling the air. An hour and forty minutes to Aberdeen, onto the train and as jolly as a newt by the time I hit Dundee. Happy days.
Looking back it was a profitable wee earner. Looking forward there’s still going to be fifty years of decommissioning work to employ folk as well as the transition to renewables.
Pity we didn’t set up a sovereign fund like Norway did. Hard to see where the revenue went really.
I think our generation has had the best of most things. Cheap travel, good pension schemes. I look at my grandson and dread to think what age he will draw his pension at, if at all. With a bill of over £100 billion a year one wonders how sustainable it is. By my reckoning screwing over two and a half million women by raising the pension age to 65 only saved about £45 billion, (feel free to correct me), Eye watering numbers. Hard to see what direction it’s going other than down the pan.
Here in Scotland there seems to be a radical rethink amongst those that voted no and were undecided at the last independence referendum. I think it will be too close to call if there is a next time. Only my humble opinion.
All the negative press about immigration as well. With an ageing population where do people think the manpower to keep the wheels of industry turning is going to come from?
Just waiting for Thursday to see what kind of a rabbit the chancellor pulls out of the hat. He’ll need to be some sort of a magician to sort this one out.
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I always had WSM as a British seaside utopia – classier than Cleethorpes, better bred than Blackpool and more magnetic than Margate.
You’ve put me off. Luckily I’m up in idyllic Scotland where there is less shit (but more oil) in our waters – and a better managed decline in living standards under the SNP than you lot in the rUK
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Dunno about Cleethorpes which I have never seen but I have been to the other two, and you’ve set the bar very low 😉 WSM does have the edge by a fair way if you are going to set the standard at that level!
Like your experience in the Avon, Brexit will work its way through our National body with similar symptoms. If only there was some cure 😎
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> Original attendance numbers for the whole shebang were projected at 66 million. The outcome is somewhat lower at about a quarter mill.
Just how deluded was the person/committee/etc that assumed nearly the whole UK population would up-sticks and visit a sad de-commissioned oil rig in WSM? I used to think “the three million” was a bad estimate (IIRC turns out it was nearer six million EU citizens that applied to stay in the UK post-Brexit), but this (0.25m vs 66.0m) is a whole other league of ……..
You may just have stumbled on the ultimate totemic Bxxxx fxxx-up statistic!
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In fairness, the 66m was a stretch target for the entire UK-wide mind-blowing creativity, rather than this specific exhibit. I got the figure from this politicshome article. While the bar is low, Unboxed did manage to blow Nadine Dorries’ mind with a variant on Gysin/Burroughs’ Dreamachine with this exhibit in Woolwich. Managing that particular collection of neurons into a semblance of coherence has to be a major advance in AI…
From the wiki link:
> It was praised by a reviewer in The Guardian as “as close to state-funded psychedelic drugs as you can get” and “the one good thing to come out of Brexit and worth every penny”
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Sir, you seem to be dangerously close to saying the UK is full of sh*t, how unpatriotic is that, does one really want to fall foul of the Department of Brexit Excellence and suffer the consequences?
Why can’t you just believe the TV and enjoy your seaside visit, have some more turdbot and chips washed down with weak sovereign tea, then go back from whence you came, instead of talking down this septic isle?
Also you seemed to have missed the subtlety of the artistic display on exhibition, its not just an ironic flytipping of an obsolete oil rig signifying squandering the unearned north sea blessing, but implied in your post-industrial full English brexfast! The lukewarm various canned tomatoes and mushrooms, grey slurry-filled condoms, (bangers geddit) deep-fried ersatz bread and fecal sample resembling hash browns are a metaphor for current daily life under UKAP. (the UK austerity party)
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> The lukewarm various canned tomatoes and mushrooms, grey slurry-filled condoms, (bangers geddit) deep-fried ersatz bread and fecal sample resembling hash browns
You make it sound like I went to Bridgwater for some good honest Hinkley Point contractor’s grub with that dramatisation 😉
Well, your choice is a step down from lobster, has Sir been scared straight (or into a waste-watcher) by Lord Jezza Hunt’s sado-masochistic corrective budget? Or twice shy from your recent exposure to the unnatural environment of the seafood likely to end up on your plate?
Did you get tested for your bout of ill-health, maybe it was the dread covid? (since apparently the vaccines don’t actually stop you getting it again, or spreading it or experiencing symptoms. (The curious might wonder what in that case endless millions of taxpayers money was spent for)
I remember going to WSM when a student at Langford vet college, a few of us (fool)hardy souls jammed into a VW combi van and spent a few hours sliding around on the stony beach while the wind blew the freckles off those who had them. I never would have guessed that fast forward a couple of decades and I’d have been grateful we were probably slipping on natural brown algae.
Haha, I won’t be dashing to see the See Monster, sorry but even your photos of it look depressing. Though seeing as it is free if it was within a 10 minute drive i might make the effort. Actually i can see an oil rig from the beach at Ainsdale near me, though always regarded it as a blot on horizon. With all the sewage in the UK waters and crap the Govt tell us maybe we should have A Festival of ShitShow (literally) I would love to make the Government swim in it.
Will save my swimming in the ocean for holidays abroad where I may be able to swim without a Turd floating by.
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Thanks Erm, you’ve reminded me why I need to get back to Philippines as quickly as possible!
Update – visitor numbers to the Festival of Brexit as a whole were 18 million apparently. There’s a certain amount of handwaving in
but not an absolute wipeout. It’s about £42 per head for live visitors, which isn’t absolutely shocking. The wag who claimed ” You could fly each individual visitor to Vienna, give them a front row seat at their opera house and fly them back again for that cost.” was perhaps gilding the lily, unless he has an exceptional deal with both Ryanair and the Vienna Opera.