Monday, February 23, 2009

Why the Golden Mile survived

The relatively light bombing of Blackpool in World War II has always been something of a mystery to historians, as the seaside town played quite an important role in aircraft production. Recent press reports, however, shed new light on the special treatment from the Luftwaffe. German dictator Adolf Hitler apparently wanted to save Blackpool as a centre for R&R after his troops had occupied the UK. The iconic Tower and the Golden Mile therefore had to remain untouched. Kitsch, I suppose, is a German word originally so the Nazis may well have held a secret regard for kiss-me-quick hats and those irritating coin-toppling machines.

My personal hunch is that the Fuhrer had heard about those blokes who dress up as Arab sheikhs and provide a running commentary on races between mechanical camels. If you haven't had this particular pleasure on the Pleasure Beach, groups of tourists roll balls frenetically into holes with different numerical values. Their desert steeds are then propelled along a track at a speed determined by their score. The knowledge that the British had this kind of entertainment on tap would have given Wehrmacht officers the right hump. I reckon they would have bypassed London entirely and headed straight for the north west.

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