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Comedy Carpet Book Launch

comedy carpet

Straight off the bat I have to say I love the Comedy Carpet. It’s a great piece of work.ย  It’s not always the case that a major piece of public artwork gets it absolutely right, perfect tone for the the location and has such an inherent sense of fun that it is a pleasure every time you see it. As I wander around the outside of the locked and gated tower in the freezing cold wind and rain though the fun wears a little thin. The comedy carpet is having its book launch, a lavish and lovely affair, both the book and the launch, set as it is in the gloriously overwrought Tower Ballroom, if only I can get in the building!

After fifteen finger-numbing minutes I finally find a cleaner who slips me in through the works entrance and I am led through the service-ways in the bowels of the Tower until I hit the gilded majesty of the Ballroom. My grumpy feelings melt away as I enter. The Ballroom is filled with practicing children in a massive dancing mass and I grab a defrosting coffee (rather nice I should point out) and relax into the proceedings.

The book launch is a culmination of events involving local schools and I’m told that the previous events have been very well attended by the hundreds of children’s mums, dads and relations, which could explain why there are none really here today to watch the events. Along the side of the Ballroom, tables are festooned with books and the eye-dazzling Comedy Carpet Board Game, created by local children and the ever inventive Bonkers Clutterbucks. The Comedy Carpet book itself is a beauty, a real coffee table affair, filled to the gills with stunning photos of the huge floor based artwork. A little pricey at twenty five pounds but if you want a lovely talking point for your collection do seek it out, you can buy them from the Grundy Gallery (not a hidden advert by the way, just a suggestion).

After perusing the tables the dancing begins. The Ballroom dance-floor is packed with kids and the jaunty 1920s music starts up. The kids are great.ย  So much hard work has obviously gone into creating a huge synchronized dance routine that its hard not to be impressed by the commitment of everyone involved. Hats off to the organizers and dance teachers. After the kids have finished, a round of speakers take to the stage. It’s an odd pitch to be honest. Although the points made about The Comedy Carpet from the Arts Council and local councillors proving that the arts and funding are not just for the cultural elite ‘down south’ are true and valid, it’s hard to work out who they are being aimed at, the room being mainly filled with people who are or were involved in the project and are more than aware of the issues and complexities of arts funding. It was a genuinely positive celebration of Blackpool’s achievements however and I just wish more of the general public were in to hear it.

Still, that niggle aside, it was nice to hear from the Comedy Carpet artist himself, Gordon Young, after a surprise birthday cake and a rousing singsong of happy birthday accompanied on the world famous Tower Wurlitzer organ. Gordon’s brief speech was as fun as his carpet, ranging from off the wall references to Narnia to odd Swedish folk holidays, but his point that only Blackpool, out of anywhere in the world could host the Comedy Carpet, with its rich history of music hall and comedic heritage really did hit home. After all, where else?

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