Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Dogs and Donuts
We went to the PNE last Sunday. I think the last time I went was when the Cult, touring for Electric, played the Coliseum during the fair. I don’t remember doing anything PNE-related before the gig (besides visiting the beer garden), but I remember the mini-riot that erupted at the end of show, which saw my friend JR embracing the anarchy by climbing on stage, then jumping back into the crowd after a split second of glory.

The PNE is pretty much the same as it ever was—crowded, loud, expensive, fragrant and slightly seedy. You have to embrace these qualities.

As soon as we arrived we headed straight to the Coliseum for the Superdogs. I had a dodgy moment when the emcee, a desiccated Bob Barker type, came out. I couldn’t decide if it was his white satin ensemble or the fact that he was gliding around on rollerblades that made me want to flee. Fortunately the arrival of the Superdogs diverted my attention. They ran races, jumped real high, and were just generally doggy and spazzy. The crowd, including fancylady and the stinker, went nuts, and if that wasn’t enough, we all got to go down to the floor afterwards to meet the Superdogs, who stayed surprisingly calm as people mauled them. We said hi to the Rottweiler and the smallest, fastest dog before heading out.

After some food, livestock viewing and an aborted trip to the pig races, we went in search of some kicks at Playland, picking up some mini-donuts along the way. Bob Barker on rollerblades hadn’t scared me enough, so I decided we’d check out the haunted house. The haunted house at the Playland of my childhood was pretty harmless, but the new one is so scary it isn’t even funny, as Count Floyd once said. Not only do you have to negotiate a maze in total darkness, but real people leap out to startle the bejeezus out of you. Jenni got menaced by some guy with a scythe at one point, while I made a hasty exit when a Jason-a-like popped up and revved what sounded like a power drill. Phew.

Cypress went on the Wave Swinger while Jenni and I got our bearings. We were badly outnumbered by kids out for the last fling of summer vacation—girls in sausage-casing jeans for maximum torso extrusion; guys with neck chains, backwards baseball caps and shell-suit pants. Yo. Playland is the epicentre of teenage trashiness. I was never a teenager, so I have no business commenting, but everybody looks like they’re trying way too hard. Whatever. I don’t understand their deal any better now than when I was 12+4.

Playland is also quite a hard rocking place. I heard enough Rob Zombie to last me for quite a while, with “Dragula” blasting out of every other ride.

There’s no loggers’ sports or demolition derby at the PNE anymore, so the Monster Motor Madness show was the next best thing. A monster truck drove around, “crushing” some already well-flattened cars; a fire-breathing tank-dragon thing came out and chewed on a big tire; and some mini-monster trucks raced around some pylons. The show as a whole was pretty boring until they set up a ramp and brought out a couple Extreme Motocross guys to do some aerial tricks. What they pulled off in mid-air was truly insane. I mean, it was bad enough that they were 50 feet in air, never mind that they were letting go of the handlebars and pirouetting around. Madness.

We considered another walk down the main drag to see some cookery demonstration stuff, but by late afternoon the crowds had become really dense. It felt like the right time to head out. We gambled our remaining pocket change on roulette and ring toss on the way to the exit gate, and that was it. Good day.

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