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Preview: Illuminations Switch On

Look around the world today, open a paper, switch on the news; death, disaster and destruction seem to be all you see. One could be forgiven for wanting to turn the clock back to a less aggressive age and a simpler time. Well, the Saturday night of the iFest Switch On Weekend for the world famous Blackpool Illuminations is doing just that! Blackpool is jumping into the musical TARDIS and taking us back to the 80s! OK, there were the horrors of Thatcherism, the Falklands War and Timmy Mallet, but there were also a whole bunch of great things in that neon lit, big shoulder-padded, wild haired decade of indulgence and Rubics cubes and we have them in Blackpool this year.

Do I love them? Yes, I’m guilty, guilty as a boy can be – of loving Bananarama in the first degree. That’s right folks, Saturday night, in association with Vintage TV, is headed by the awesome trio that could run rings around Electric Kitten and show the Sugary Babes how to knock out a power-pop anthem.

Heart throb Paul Young will be crooning out his smash hits; hopefully he won’t be doing his ill advised cover version of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart though. Who else? you ask. As if they weren’t enough for your retro enjoyment, lion-haired Carol Decker appears with T-Pau, there will be Kagagoogoo’s toilet-brush-haired Limahl, and, admittedly only one hitter and hat wearer, Owen Paul will be asking us to join his favourite waste of time. These are just some of the names. I’m holding back the big one though… Jason Donovan will be there as well! Thus giving us ‘one more reason’ to buy tickets and join the fun.

Did I mention fun? I did indeed and hosting the evening will be Mr Fun House himself Pat Sharpe, the only man to have a mullet that instead of being business at the front, party at the back, was party at the front AND the back.

That is the Saturday night sorted for music, but if that leaves you wanting to have a few laughs, get your ticket for Sunday night. Hosted on the Comedy Carpet, it promises to be an array of today’s hottest comedians.

Headlining is the Pub Landlord Al Murray who will no doubt be doing an hour of thinly veiled racism masquerading as an ironic postmodern exploration of the rise of British Nationalism among the working classes. Hey though, if that isn’t to your fancy, many a face from the telly will be standing up for you, including Chris Ramsey, Alun Cochrane, the brilliant Tiff Stevenson, wry Craig Campbell among many others. There really is something for everyone and all tastes, it’s going to be a brilliant night of serious comedy.

So get your tickets for the big Switch On iFest weekend. They are on sale now with extra tickets reserved for locals after many missed out last year. It’s great that the iFest weekends are evolving, addressing the complaints of the previous year. We are on year three of these new format switch on events in Blackpool and third time is the charm by the looks of this year’s line up.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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