Dickens World - Chatham, UK
Dickens theme park has a twist
April 20, 2007
THE consortium behind the proposed theme park Dickens World in Kent attends a meeting of investors. Two faceless executives prepare to address them.
Executive No. 1: Gentlemen, we're here to present an exciting opportunity in the field of writer-based theme parks. We believe the market is ripe for investment in a park based upon the works of a distinguished 19th-century English author.
Executive No. 2: We've all seen how the market has dealt with previous efforts with modern writers. Noam Chomsky World was a disaster. Children didn't like being reminded of American neo-imperialism while riding slippery dips.
No. 1: And John Pilger World. Patrons don't like being told that their indifference is responsible for African genocide when they're on a Ferris wheel.
No. 2: But with Dickens World we can offer people a nostalgic experience drawn from the memory of one of literature's most beloved authors. The potential is endless. Imagine, if you will, a place completely covered in soot, a land where the magic of David Copperfield comes alive each day.
Investor: The story?
No. 1: No, the magician. We've imprisoned him in a cell, and refuse to feed him unless he performs.
Investor: Will Uriah Heep be there, too?
No. 1: The English rock band Uriah Heep will be. They're in the cells next to Copperfield.
No. 2: The streets will be full of loveable urchins, like in Oliver. You won't be able to walk without a cheeky Cockney lad asking, "All right, guvnor?"
No. 1: Or escape the park without having your pocket picked. That's pure profit, gentlemen. (Murmurs of agreement in the crowd)
No. 1: Children can see what Victorian England was like, working 16 hours a day as chimney sweeps as their parents re-enact Little Nell's death scene by gunning her down in the shooting gallery. Then they can dine on their choice of weevil-infested gruel in the Can I Have Some More Cafeteria or watch the Tiny Tim Dance Extravaganza.
Investor: Don't you think a park based on a long-dead author may not appeal for a generation of children who have barely heard of him, let alone know how to read?
No. 1 (shocked): What makes you think the children have anything to do with it? This isn't Harry Potter World. This park is aimed squarely at the people who really count.
Investor: The baby boomers?
No. 2: Exactly. The children will have no choice but to attend. Their parents will force them to go.
Investor: Now that's truly Dickensian. Well done, gentlemen.