I’ve suddenly realised that it’s that time of year again when Stratford-upon-Avon gets a day and a night’s relief from the traffic pollution and instead gets to breath in the all-the-fun-of-the-fair fumes of the Mop. All beefburgers and onion rings. Luverly…the Stratford-upon-Avon Mop is in Town.
For those that don’t know what the Stratford-upon-Avon Mop is…look here.
In all the years that I’ve lived in Stratford-upon-Avon I’ve gone through the whole gamut. From quite enjoying the spectacle (a great excuse to get drunk) to absolutely hating it, to where I am now…
…Couldn’t care less.
Basically, the Mop is a massive ‘fun’ fair that takes over the Town Centre. It’s a (yet another) time of year when most of Stratford’s shops suffer a drop in profits because most of the precious foot-fall is out on the street ‘enjoying’ themselves.
(Forgive the inverted commas but I’ve had three kids since I’ve lived in Stratford and when it’s Mop time the wallet takes a hit).
The Mop is, like Shakespeare’s birthday one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s traditions. And like most of of Stratford-upon-Avon’s regular happenings it is year after year, chaos. Roads are closed and old farts like me spend what little time they have left, complaining. Except, now I don’t. It’s not worth it (nobody takes any notice) so one is best locked up in the house grumbling away to one’s heart’s content.
Although I say that the Mop is a tradition, some might take that to mean ‘that everything stays the same’. The Mop unfortunately, is not that sort of tradition. Every year, most things change. From the sophistication of the fairground rides to, as one might expect, the prices. They, (the prices) rise like bubbles in Champagne, the drink that the owners of these rides must consume like water after toting up their profits on the last night. What does tend to stay the same is the volume of the music and the demeanour of the heavily tattooed ‘sales assistants’. I hasten to add that this is not a criticism, for two reasons.
One, I do not want to get kidnapped and used as an exhibit and two, didn’t we all at one time in our lives want to run away and work on the fairground. I know I did. It’s a known fact that the guys who run & ride (see them go) the dodgems have a high. although hasty success rate with the ladies.
Anyway, the Mop will arrive and be erected over-night. Which in itself is one hell of a feat considering the size of some of the stuff. Massive pieces of hastily connected heavy metal will spend a few hours whizzing round at a high rate of knots just inches from some high-class jeweller’s windows while the angry owner sits in his empty shop watching his profits walk by clutching candy floss. People will scream out of insane enjoyment and at how fast their pockets will empty. Kids will have an amazing time. They will be sick, wet themselves and turn all the colours of Christmas (mainly green).
And the next morning? It will all be gone. As though it never happened. Just a bad dream.