The word "surreal" is perhaps overused but stay with me. I went dancing for a weekend at Pontins, Brean Sands. Yes, Pontins, a "holiday camp" with "bluecoats" and chalets. Pontins still exist (although they went bust) and my picture was taken on a balmy evening in October 2011 although the
The "Brean Sands" bit sounds old-fashioned and it is. The single road is lined with amusement arcades, caravan sites and more caravan sites. But, break out and head across the dunes and there's an enormous, desolate sandy beach. When the tide is out, you can't see the sea and if you can see the sea, you're not running away fast enough. There's even a Heath and Safety guy in a big truck with a tannoy yelling at people to get out of the water.
Back to Pontins where the reception area is crammed with "amusement" machines that flash, beep and even wolf-whistle as you walk through to the dance floor. It's modern jiving put on by the Ceroc organisation and runs through to the small hours on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. About a thousand people are kept cool by huge roaring fans. If that's still too hot, there's a terrace outside. Daytime is taken up with classes on how to (almost) drop your partner on the floor, "double trouble" (1 man, 2 ladies), Tango and even Pole Dancing.
And the "Daddy-long-legs"? They were in season and took up residence in most of the bathrooms. Interesting creatures, they are the adult form of the leatherjacket that spend the summer eating the roots of the grass on your lawn.