This was a quite personal one for me. Not because I have any deep infatuation for the zoo troop. no no! they were well after my time! but it was personal for me because it allowed me a little bit of wriggle room to really remenise about my childhood. This video may paint a somewhat darker tinge to aspects of my life, but its weird what you pick up on as an adult that as a kid you think nothing of.
Holiday towns in the UK in the 90’s were a quite magical place really, it was a weird time just before the mass renovations that have swept through most seaside towns since the early 2000’s but just after absolute poverty had set in. And it was absolute poverty. The best example I can think of is Rhyl (Which features heavily in the start of this review) In the 90’s my memories of Rhyl are particularly bleak. y’see, before Rhyl ended up being the 50% run down arcades, 50% retirement complex that it is today Rhyl was desolation. I remember with a strange nostalgia the funfair near the entrance to the town that reeked of fag smoke and stale booze and sugar. I recall large gangs of pale hollow men parading along the sea front…the rusted and gnarled railings along the seafront that were held in place only by the dirt and smog given off by the heaving and overbearing traffic. I remember the slums, delapodated terrace houses that ran in rows that were predominatnly housing druggies and other similar nefariousness. And for me probably the most memorable. I remember the smell of cooking meat, burgers and hotdogs the stench of onions stewing in brown water being served by a bloke with a fag on out of a hatch from some godawful arcade that wouldnt be out of place in the Hotel california.
And yet, weirdly as I mention in the review itself I remember all of this with a strange nostalgia. A fondness if you will…As an adult I can appreciate that this was a horrible place to go and im not entirely sure what my parents thought they were doing taking me there. But I find my memories of that to be happy ones somehow. I remember running along the seafront losing a shoe in one of the quicksand-esq drifts, I remember excitedly stroking a stingray in the Sealife center, I have very strong memories of regular visits to an arcade on the seafront of Conwy (Just outside of Rhyl) and for years every summer we’d go for the mini golf, the 2p machines and video games like “The Simpsons arcade game” or “Time crisis 2” or my personal favourite an Addams family pinball machine (Which I believe is still there to this day) I’ll have to visit it again some time soon and get some pictures because as far as I can tell google images doesnt think it exists.
The Zoo troop may have been after my time but Rory was most definitely the coolset cat in town when I was a young’un. Haven caravan holidays may have not been my most favourite thing in the world (Even now I remember lying in bed one night with a massive pile of coats on top of me desperately trying to keep warm while flipping through a black and white A5 “Beano funsize special”
(It was this one specifically if memory serves though I remember it being a darker blue)
Im not entirely painting these holidays as rip roaring fun. But I really need to stress that miraculously somehow they were great. It was pretty much a week of non stop travelling for me visiting castles, beaches, strange shops and eating my weight in Nougat. and while objectively the seaside towns of britain are infinately better in the 21st century. Subjectively I’ll always have a bit of my heart left in the past.