Friday, September 08, 2006

A Painful Memory

The Millennium Dome: built by Blair, suffered by millions.

Christ, I've just remembered how crap the Millennium Dome was. I visited the place in late 2000, and I've never really recovered.

The first thing to remember about the Dome is that it cost more than the Hubble Space Telescope - hundreds of millions - yet it was about as fun as a day at Tescos. Indeed it was very similar to a day at Tescos - lots of fractious families worrying about money, lots of crowds and jostling, the whole thing a chore, noise, stress, angst...

But of course there was also a difference between the Dome and Tescos. You go to Tescos to shop, and you come out with food and stuff. The Dome, by contrast, was meant to be fun, it cost £20 per head to get in. So all the people that went there had to pay thrice for it - through their lottery monies, and taxes, and then when they got there.

And when they got there it was abysmal dreck. And boring to boot. Everyone there was wandering around with a special expression - a kind of vacant but horrified stare into the middle distance - a stare that said: Jesus, can it really be THIS bad.

Yes it was that bad.

I think it is the memory of these expressions that's giving me these "Dome flashbacks". I get them every now and again. In the middle of the night, the middle of the day even, I suddenly come to my senses, covered in cold sweat, thinking: oh my God, the Faith Zone, was it really just a desk where you write your thoughts about Jesus?

And that Bodyzone, did people really queue for hours to look at a two-foot-wide heart made out of formica?

And was there really an exhibition about litter on beaches??

I guess it’s a bit like having been in the Vietnam war - having been to the Dome. You never really get over it. You just learn to live with the scars and the memories, the painful memories.

I might apply for incapacity benefit, on the grounds of post Dome-visit stress disorder.

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