At the weekend I marched purposefully all the way to Butlins in Bognor Regis and demanded to see some fairground rides. See that screeching harpy in the orange scarf on the chairoplane? That’s me that is:
It was my third visit to Butlins, but the first time I’d paid to go. The first time, we were invited to stay as part of the launch of the new Ocean Hotel. Then in September, I was there again for a night as a judge at the MAD Awards.
But this time it was a pure and simple family holiday, and I was interested to see how different the experience was. Normally if you are reviewing something as a journalist, you get it for free, but you have to learn to put that aside and treat the experience as if you were a paying customer. Which you’re not. And everyone you encounter knows you’re not. They know you’re the bearer of good or bad publicity, and treat you accordingly.
- The hotel room was a bit smaller, missing the acid green sofa we’d had before. I never did like that sofa anyway.
- There are ace-looking light up seats, which people seemed reluctant to sit on, possibly because they look like they could burn you on the ass.
- The live wrestling was more epic. At least what I saw of it – my children insisted on leaving the wrestling show because they didn’t like the fighting, and weren’t convinced by me telling them that it was just a bit of heavy metal pantomime.
- The drinks were bluer. Frozen Fanta, you really don’t want to know.
- As also was Basil Brush, who had way more flatulence jokes than is decent. They kept that well hidden from the feral beasts of the media. For which the feral beasts of the media are rightly grateful.
But minor points about the room aside, everything at Butlins was exactly the same – everywhere was spotlessly clean. If anything, it was cleaner this time. The staff had the same endless ‘What are they on?’ good humour. The disco lifts are still locked in an endless loop of Stayin’ Alive through to Dancing Queen and back again.
All in all, it was excellent value for money. And a free blue tongue to take home as a souvenir! I blame Basil Brush.