I decided to take a different path from the normal for this post, partly because this festival is shoved in my face where I now live, and partly because I was becoming a little uneasy about the underpopulation of my other posts – I normally studiously avoid including people in my photos as they tend to mar the impact, but what better place to include people than a fairground – and that's just about what the Nottingham Riverside Festival on the Victoria Embankment is. We first noticed several fair organs, of which two are here:
The 52-key Heesbeen-Marenghi 'Octavius', owned by P. Upchurch, and which makes a noise like this.
And this is the 98-key Gavioli engine, owned by Terry Gibson, which sounds like this.
Unfortunately I didn't note the name of this roundabout but the work on it is very impressive.
A little closer detail.
I think the women must represent figures in history, so if anyone can inform me please leave a comment or email me.
And finally, people. They're obviously conscious of me, though, and candid shots are of course far better.
Photos taken of people at night can have an interesting texture. Confident greengrocers' apostrophe here too.
I think she noticed me.
This guy certainly didn't, and I love the juxtaposition of the grinning tiger to the man who's in the fun business, but who isn't finding it fun at all at this moment.
I'm unclear if this is the same person, but I've been spotted again, and the intended subject of the shot has turned the subject back onto me. I like the general brashness of the scene though.
Hot peas with mint sauce.
OK, I know she's seen me and she pretends to play the moviestar and puffs her chest out. Here too, there seems to be some irony at work.
This one I love. The man has seen me, his companion is busy frying onions or whatever, but in the darkened foreground a woman with a half-eaten burger seems spellbound by something, and her daughter with the ketchupy chip appears to find it of interest also.
And then the firework display begins at exactly 22:30.
And it ends several minutes later in a burst of red.
Study in amber. Boaters seem de rigueur with the workers.
A wonderfully kitschy ghost train.
I think I like this more than any other. The woman second from the left wielding the chip pan seems shocked by the way the woman on the left has behaved, and she appears to be hanging her head in shame. Why I like it, though, is for its essential theatricality: these people know they're on show, and they play the part.
To the right of the picture a man and a woman walk their separate ways from a chance to win a bear, and here's another carnie who doesn't see fun as all that much fun.
Here's an enigma, and one I'm sure I'll never get to the bottom of. Does the owner of this business call it 'Museum of Odditys' to flag up a difference between this concern and all other orthographically conventional Museums of Oddities? His oddities are real oddities, and refuse to obey any rules, including those of spelling, yeah? Or is it just that he doesn't give a flying freak?
I think it must be a kind of denial, or obstinacy, or maybe defiance.
I wasn't the only one photographing this. I suppose it's amusing to send as an attachment to someone you know in Hull, but I just fail to understand why where Mr Big Mouth comes from is of any importance.
The Sizzler at rest.
A quiet moment. The end of the day approaches.
Time to get ready to pack up.
The last ride has gone.
The unwon soft toys.
Just time for a final injection of sugar.
And the remains of the day – food containers, wine bottles, beer cans, plastic cups – all bear witness to the end of fun.