The title of this blog isn’t just for show, y’know. I archive everything. It’s… not a million miles away from hoarding, in all honesty, I just try to be careful about it. Anyone who has literal OCD will know the deal there… anyway. Today I finished scanning in every! single! picture! I know exists of my childhood, and I’ve realised that as a teenager I experienced quite a few events that turned out quite formative and nothing was ever photographed of them. My parents were big into analog cameras, but when they went obsolete and digital cameras replaced them it was a totally different story.
I remember for example that in 2005 I went to see Green Day with a friend (who’s still one of my closest friends in fact!) at the Milton Keynes Bowl. I think that was the first time I’d been to a concert without adult supervision. I did go see The Monkees when I was a very young child, that’s one of the things which triggered my lifelong Monkees fandom. But this Green Day concert, everyone in school was talking about it and I wanted to go so badly! So I managed to grab some tickets off of Ebay and hell yeah, I got to go. I can still remember it, it was a fantastic experience. To this day Billie Joe Armstrong is the most electrifying person I’ve seen on stage. And yet… I have so little evidence, for lack of a better word, that I was even there! No photos, no ticket stubs, nothing. I do have this entry in my journal:
Which is a valuable thing to have! But I do wish I had photos. We live in such a photo-heavy society now, I guess, and it’s so weird to have whole years where there just… weren’t many. That same year, in the same town, I went to a convention with the same friend and all photos of that are lost too. I know they existed once, because I actually wrote an entry about it way back then!
But as you can see, all broken links now, and I have absolutely no memory of it whatsoever except that Chris Barrie was nice. My very unreliable memory is, I think, probably the main reason I desperately wish I had more photographs of my life in 2005. It was, according to the diary referred to up there, a pretty difficult and depressing year in many ways. I once saw someone call photographs “memory receipts” and man, I’d really have liked some good receipts of all that.
Kids who have no doubt seen the faces adults make upon seeing teenagers whip out a smartphone, please take as many selfies as humanly possible and upload them to all your social medias. You’ll be grateful you did, I promise.
Poor old Disneyland Paris, it was always the underdog of the Disney parks, insofar that anything pulling in millions per year can be an underdog. It’s considered the worst of the Disneys. But it’s not, I promise you it’s not! It has its own French flavour and I really love it.
And here’s what it looked like in 2001…
I’m a big fan of animatronics and DLP hosts two terrific ones: the Dragon and the Giant Squid. If you have submechanophobia like me, try not to think too hard about how the squid is cleaned and maintained, mmkay?
A lesser-known animatronic in the park is this guy, the crocodile which sits outside of the Rainforest Cafe. He was still there as of 2017!
Here’s some shots of the parade through the Magic Kingdom. This was before the Studios part of the park opened, so no parades there.
But there was only one year to go until it DID open, so you could still see the entry gates and the water tower, you just couldn’t go in.
This is the Main Street Electrical Parade, which I’m sure looked MUCH better in real life. Sadly it exists no more, at least not in Paris. :(
And lastly… There’s no photos of me in here because I was hideous-looking in 2001, acne and puberty hit bad, so please enjoy this picture of the castle which I luckily am not in.
Recently I stumbled across some photos from when my family went to the Millennium Dome in 2000! OMG!
If you’re not British (or are British but very young) you might not know the history of the Millenium Dome. I didn’t until quite recently. This twitter thread sums it all up perfectly:
Essentially the Millennium Dome was an expensive, extravagant, incredibly entertaining disaster right from the get-go and there’s a part of me that kinda wishes it was still there. Just me? Probably, yeah. Sadly I can’t really remember all the details of it very well either, because I was only about 12 I think and there was a lot to take in.
This picture, featuring as it does both an inexplicable sculpture of a squatting child and a McDonalds, pretty much sums up the essence of it.
This was Timekeepers of the Millennium, pretty much the only thing in the Dome that children would be remotely interested in. It was, if I remember rightly, basically a massive ball pit/play area where you could fire balls at each other with air cannons and generally cause chaos. It was of no educational merit whatsoever, which was probably for the best.
It at one point had a television show to go with it! It had the same name as the ride and aired on CITV. Most of it is lost apparently but I have some old VHS tapes to go through and I’m really hoping I might find some of it on one of them.
Here’s one of the Disney-like Timekeeper mascots. (If you’re viewing this post looking for pictures to illustrate something you’re writing about the Dome, please don’t use this one okay? You can use one or two of the others if you message me in the comments first.)
This here was a seaside-themed area. I think it was the first section completed on the Dome, I remember Newsround telling me so back in 1999. It had, IIRC… pretty much the same charm as your average British seaside.
Wonder if kids were allowed to play in the sand, like on a normal beach? I’m guessing probably not.
Now THIS! This is the Body Zone!
The weirdest and daftest section of the Dome. I clearly remember this beating heart (for it did indeed beat) hovering omniously above guests in this area.
WHAT? The WHAT NOW?
Outside in the slightly more fresh air there were some pretty, rainbow-coloured tents which I believe formed a “rest zone.” Probably for the parents who’d left their kids with the ball cannons.
In the very middle of the dome there was a show on every so often! And I remember it was actually really good?
Or at least, it had music and fire and lights, and that was more than enough for my 12-year-old self.
While going through the photos I also found this leaflet:
There’s a little map in there which gives you some idea of the scale of the thing. Might be safe to say the crowds of people drawn on there aren’t completely accurate, though. In many of the pics I have there’s… Pretty much no people in the background at all.
These photos were taken in May 2000 and by December it had closed. During its brief time on Earth it racked up no end of controversy, ended or at least severely stunted a few political careers, and had a gang of diamond robbers crash in with a JCB digger. We will never see its like again. The Sunday Times, which was I think marginally less crap back in those days, predicted the downfall before it even opened:
At worst it is a millennial metaphor for the twentieth century. An age in which all things, like the Dome itself, became disposable. A century in which forest and cities, marriages, animal species, races, religions and even the Earth itself, became ephemeral. What more cynical monument can there be for this totalitarian cocksure fragile age than a vast temporary plastic bowl, erected from the aggregate contribution of the poor through the National Lottery. Despite the spin, it remains a massive pantheon to the human ego, the Ozymandias of its time.
Look On My Wall Of Giant Animatronic Pubic Lice, Ye Mighty, And Despair.
Now that COVID restrictions have been lifted I got to VISIT MY FAMILY!! Can you believe it? FINALLY things are sliding back to normal.
While there I got to go in the attic and look at old scrapbooks, and I found various bits of Cool Old Stuff! Check it out:
Amnesty International magazine (I was part of an Amnesty group in high school) being ahead of the curve on the word “snowflakes.”
A newspaper from five days after 9/11.
Some drawings my dad did for a student magazine in the 1970s!
These paintings were done by my grandfather, and they’re REALLY GOOD
And these are postcards all the way from the 1920s! Look, that’s what people sent before birthday cards! Some of the names referred to in the messages are people I recognise (though not all). The baby referred to in the “Baby’s 1st Birthday” cards was, in fact, my grandmother.
Here’s some throwback photos to when I went to Disneyland Paris for honeymoon, hung around all the Star Wars stuff (this was before Galaxy’s Edge was a thing, not that Paris would’ve gotten one anyway) and generally had a lovely if extremely rainy time.
I ventured out to Leicester town center via the bus. Not the most cheerful place to be, unfortunately. Most shops I used to casually just hang out, all gone. Empty unit after empty unit. And there are memorial signs for Prince Philip EVERYWHERE?!
It wouldn’t have felt so dystopian if not for all the shops that had signs up saying, “At 3pm we’ll be holding a one minute silence for Prince Philip” as if people couldn’t possibly have better things to do.
The St Margaret’s bus station has gone now, and it was pretty rubbish but it’s still weird it not being there.
It was at least sunny, and I got to hang out in Abbey Park for a bit.