C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

When theme parks go literary...

According to the SMH (and Reuters), somebody in the south of England is planning to open up a theme park based on the works of Charles Dickens:

"We are not Disneyfying Dickens," insists manager Ross Hutchins as he dons hard
hat and fluorescent jacket to tour the site, a hive of activity as the Fagin's
den playground and Newgate Prison's grimy walls are given their finishing
touches.

In addition to offering boat rides through a 'dank and dirty London', the theme park may also have characters like the Artful Dodger and Uriah Heep wandering around, perhaps directing visitors to 'Ye Olde Curiosity Gift Shop'.

Whilst the New York Times and some other newspapers were dismissive of the idea, it got me thinking about the myriad of possibilities for other literary theme parks.

What about Dostoevsky World, where tourists get to re-enact murders, and hang out with Russian prostitutes on a makeshift Nevsky Pier?

Or Freud World, where tourists wander through exhibits depicting Oedipus, Hamlet, et cetera, whilst bearded Austrians waving cigars pop up and offer provocative interpretations?

Maybe William Burroughs World, where the kiosks offer heroin in addition to food, and every day at 1pm sharp, the Naked Lunch amphitheatre is the stage for a drug-fuelled sex pantomime?

Or perhaps Kafka World, where all of the rollercoasters stop halfway into the ride. When visitors attempt to get a pass out, they are continually told that they are at the wrong information booth, and that they need to try the help desk on the pther side of the theme park, until they collapse in exhaustion.

Actually, I think I've been to Kafka World. They call it the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Melbourne.