TAC 36 Index
On the day that Tony Blair went in to bat for the Millennium Dome, I was listening to The Six O'clock News. A spokesperson for the Dome opined that "it will be the best day out you can have". I was stopped in my tracks like General Gordon at Khartoum. A day out at the Dome was going to be the best day out I could have. Better than 14th May 1983 when United won the league; better than 21st May 1994 when we won the cup? I think not. Better than Sunday practice at the 1997 Open, when I was within ten feet of Els and Norman when they both carried the bunkers on the eighth? Doubtful.
But setting such sublimities aside, will it be better than the cloud inversion on Ben Lui, with the Ed and Lorca? Or will it involve more euphoria than skipping along Collie's Ledge with the Bad Companion and laughing at how easy it was? Again, I think not.
Greenwich is totally flat after all. It's in the Black Heart of Albion; the Dome appears to be the only thing remotely approaching a hill, and there's bound to be a parkie to chase you if you climb it. At only fifty metres it is so far short of a Marilyn that probably even Murdo wouldn't bother bagging it. You would need very sharp crampons right enough, cos there's some sort of Teflon coating on it.
The Dome spokesperson's name turned out to be one Joe Simpson. Could this, I wondered, be the Joe Simpson of Touching the Void and This Game of Ghosts fame? Could we take his word on a good day out? For him a good day out includes multiple fractures, frostbite, and having to crawl through a latrine. If This Game of Ghosts is anything to go by, chances are his good day out means climbing the friction-free Teflon Dome with dodgy crampons and ice tools without hand loops. Joe went on to say that the Dome had to appeal to people in Aberdeen as much as those relatively close by in Albion. Quite why Furryboots City was chosen as some sort of epicentre of resistance to the Dome was unclear. Perhaps it's assumed that the dour, thrawn approach of Alex Miller is destined to spread to the entire city. Or perhaps it's thought that if the Dome can overcome the attractions of Codona's Arcade, then it has passed muster.
Apparently, one of the "zones" in the Dome is to include a re-creation of a typical English seaside resort, with fish and chips. I would have thought that the customers would only have to look outside or toddle a few miles down the road to Skegness or Bognor [Ed, could you check my Albion geog here?] to get all that for free. For the same money it might have been possible to build a one-twentieth scale Aggy Ridge out of fibreglass to give flat-earther Albion types a real thrill. Other intended attractions of the Dome include a kind of toned down dreamscape rave zone, and a crawl through giant human bodies. Well, I can't imagine them ever toning down a rave enough for me - and, as for crawling over a giant body, that incident between Brian Blessed and myself was the result of a badly-sited belay.
Clearly this Dome is meant to echo that in the epic poem by famous drug-crazed, albatross- murdering Albion poet, S T Coleridge. Kubla Khan's Dome, however, was a far superior attraction. It featured "caverns measureless to man, forests ancient as the hills, deep romantic chasms, savage places, sunless seas, a woman wailing for her demon lover, a mighty fountain, dancing rocks, caves of ice, an Abyssinian maid, Mount Abora, and the milk of Paradise". Now, okay, on the debit side it also had "wood, dale, and gardens bright with sinuous rills" (sounds too like the Cotswolds to me), "a damsel with a dulcimer" (Joan Baez and Julie Felix were never favourites of mine), and "twice five miles of fertile ground" (bound to be irate farmers); but it would seem to me that Sam's Dome wins over Mandy's on all counts.
Interestingly, the second-nearest British Rail station to the Dome is Stratford - which brings us gleefully back to the Glencoe versus Shakespeare dichotomy of TACs passim.
TAC 36 Index