I was surrounded by teenagers. Fat ones, emaciated ones, join the dots spotty ones, ones who practiced the Victoria 'I am too cool to smile' Beckham pout, and others who were cool but didn't know it. Many others who thought they were, but weren't. I am so pleased I am not a teenager again. Anyone who ever angst for these times should go to Thorpe Park. It reminds me of the insecurities of that age. Of wanting to be noticed and not wanting to be noticed. Of wanting to stand out and not wanting to stand out. Of wanting to be something, anything other than who you are, under the guise of gaining any experience, good, bad and ugly. I know quite a few forty somethings that are still going through this phase or have re entered it.
I didn't go on the rides. Instead I waited in the 'shops' the riders had to walk through at the end of each roller coaster. In one they sold 'victims blood slime' next to sweetly smiling teddy bears with Thorpe Park emblazoned in embroidered yellow on little blue jumpers. It made the bears look creepy and sinister. Then there were the voodoo doll key rings (without the pins), mini marshmallow chain saws (they looked like chain saws), little statues of a man with a very white face and blood red mouth on a tricycle which is something to do with the film Saw, but I've never seen it so didn't get the point and rather than be impressed I just thought them very strange. There were a lot there so don't know if they had sold any. Then there were huge medals for going on each of the rides. You could get three for £10. And loads and loads of jelly sweets and other brightly coloured sugar immersed gelatin filled crap.
I sat there in the sun, and kept thinking of what the place reminded me of. I've been to Alton Towers and Universal Studios in Florida and Phantasialand in Germany, and other 'lands' with rides of this scale, but this one was different. As I sat watching everyone scream their heads off, and praise themselves afterwards for not throwing up and still being able to smile, speak, see, walk - I breathed in the whiff of pizza, pasta, curry, chinese, fish 'n chips, mexican drift in the breeze - and I thought of the story of Pinnochio and the land he ended up in when he started to turn into an ass. I left with stealth, as the ride Stealth was closed.