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Sep 15, 2015
Out and About

A Whole New Dismal World

Although I had no intention of going to Dismaland, despite finding the concept intriguing, I was encouraged to go when my flatmate suggested a last-minute trip there on the weekend. We decided to try our luck getting tickets on the day, and as it turned out the five hour wait to get to the ticket booth was the perfect start to one very strange experience.

Grumpy security guards, moody staff in Mickey Mouse hats, and a theme park that looked like it was built by Steptoe & Son formed the surface of an experience that was a broken emotional ferris wheel ride – amusement, anxiety, fear, sadness, and disillusionment looping round like the twangy country muzak that blared through tinny loudspeakers between feedback.


Welcome to Dismaland

A fairground-style game called “Topple the Anvil”, where you paid £1 for three ping pong balls, and £7 pizzas that were deliberately bad were at the amusing end of the scale for me. At the opposite end of the scale was what waited inside the castle – wrapping the experience up in a bow of social commentary that made me feel like I'd been sucker-punched by Gaston.

I still haven't decided what it all means, only that what it means makes me feel bad in a funny way. The irony of it makes your head spin – children happily walking round this entertainingly unsatisfying experience, people buying expensive souvenirs of a work of art that yells about the emptiness of commercialised experiences (and Dismaland appears happy to commercialise itself in order to prove its point), and people (myself included) taking pictures of things that mock you for taking pictures of them.


Don't feed the birds


Modern art doesn't usually do much for me, and while previously I've found Banksy's work appealing and iconic I wouldn't have called myself a fan of his either. After visiting Dismaland I'd call myself a convert in both cases, having never been so affected by something that called itself art before, and wasn't a movie or a piece of music.

I didn't go home and cry myself to sleep, but since visiting I've been pre-occupied by trying to untangle the whole experience and its meaning. And just like the real Disneyland (which I'm also a fan of) I'd definitely go back – though I'm not sure why.



Mark is a freelancer who specialises in creative copywriting and content creation. Starting out as a freelance blogger he's experienced at putting his copywriting skills to work on a variety of subjects and can easily turn his hand to different styles. In his years as a freelance writer he's always brought a creative edge to everything he's written. 

In addition to being a freelance copywriter and a hard-working wordsmith Mark has also forged other forms of content for the web and print working as a photographer, video editor and a general content creator on a freelance basis. 

Some Like it Sloth
Riding the Dartington Donkey
High Cross Piano

Based in Devon Mark lives within questing distance of the UK's Middle Earth aka Dartmoor. He likes his detectives hard-boiled, his eggs runny, and his time travel non-paradoxical.

These are the freelance content creation services available from Mark:

  • Freelance copywriting
  • Freelance blog creation
  • Freelance writing
  • Freelance photography
  • Freelance video editing

If you need a freelance writer, photographer, or video editor get in touch with Mark to find out how he can help:

Royal Albert Memorial Museum - Cloning Collections
Exeter City Council - Armed Forces Day
National Trust - South West Christmas Card 2013

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