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I say, I say, I say

29th March 2012

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Blackpool. It’s a word that conjures up many different images – the Tower, the prom, sticks of rock, ‘kiss me quick’ hats and the Pleasure Beach. It might also say ‘comedy’ to you. Many of Britain’s comic legends honed their skills at the Blackpool Tower, Winter Gardens and various other entertainment venues in the town.

Commissioned as part of Blackpool Council’s regeneration project the 2,200Msq Comedy Carpet by artist Gordon Young is bursting with catchphrases, jokes and songs of over 1,000 comedians and writers.

I first read about the carpet in Creative Review and decided I would like to see it for myself. We visited on a grey Monday which although didn’t show it in it’s best light meant that not many other people were treading it’s boards. It’s brilliant, well worth a visit if you are in the area. The sheer scale of it means it is a mammoth task to read everything. Plus, if you are anything like us you will be in tears from giggling so have to leave for a rest (and a warm up in the Tower Ballroom on our cold day – a must for any Strictly fans!) A guide book is available at the brand new Tourist Information Centre or you can get one here.

But, back to the comedy. It is made up of over 160,000 individual granite letters all encased in a specially formulated white concrete. The construction is a masterpiece – I knelt down several times to touch various letters and you cannot feel any join or ridge. The letterforms and overall design are based on old comedy posters and programmes. You can read more about the installation at the Comedy Carpet website and see some more of my pictures here.

Gordon Young states “You’d be a miserable bastard if you didn’t smile walking across it!”

Our favourite joke from our visit is from the late Frank Carson… “I was cooking an octopus. Took five hours. It kept switching the gas off”


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