Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Round round get around I get around woooooo I get around

I took a ride on the Corkscrew rollercoaster at Flamingoland, a few weeks ago. Of all the sensations one expects from a fairground ride, respect, nostalgia and a sense of connection with history are not high on the list - but The Corkscrew is a piece of rollercoaster history. When the Corkscrew opened at Alton Towers back in 1980, it was the first double-loop ride in the UK and for a long time it was the archetypal white knuckle ride. The manufacturers Vekoma sold other, near-identical Corkscrew rides to other theme parks including the version at Flamingoland which opened in 1983. At Flamingoland this historical position is reinforced by the Corkscrew's next-door neighbour, the newer, faster and louder Velocity ride with horizontal catapult launch. There's a point on the Corkscrew where for a split-second you can look ahead and to the side and get a cool view straight through the ammonite-spiral of the double loop.

Video not taken by myself!

Rollercoasters are already widely used as a metaphor for emotional lability (as well as economic change, the transience of fame and "life," generally by songwriters.) I also read this BBC News review of the Saw ride at Thorpe Park. Saw briefly held a record for the longest coaster freefall drop until another coaster, Mumbo Jumbo, opened at Flamingoland. More interestingly, Saw is heavily enhanced with theatrical elements - the reviewer suggests that this is the next coaster trend. As the limits of human tolerance and the different ways of exerting forces on the body within those limits are gradually exhausted, coasters will rely more and more on psychology to produce additional thrills - in other words they will literally be emotional rollercoaster rides.

FYI Jigsaw posted some videos and comments about the Saw ride here.


Jigsaw said...

Your very lucky ! I wish I had one like that here.Theres no rollercoasters in Cork, Maybe the Corkscrew one was meant for here! Obviously I would love to go on the Saw Ride!

Molly said...

Thanks for the video of the Corkscrew ride, which I enjoyed. (In my opinion, the best way to experience a rollercoaster ride is to watch it on a screen while seated in a resolutely motionless chair.)

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Jigsaw: the Republic isn't so very far far away...

Molly: I absolutely disagree with you - for me the ideal rollercoaster car would have an aeroplane-style screen set into the seat in front showing another rollercoaster video.

Molly said...

> for me the ideal rollercoaster car would
> have an aeroplane-style screen set into
> the seat in front showing another
> rollercoaster video.

That would actually be okay. As long as the rollercoaster itself doesn't go anywhere.

I don't have a problem with heights; it's mainly the "hanging upside down" part of a rollercoaster ride that I don't like (too many echoes of an unhappy previous incarnation as a bat).

And the speed, of course. (Too many echoes of an unhappy previous incarnation in which I was continually outwitted by a cartoon Road Runner).