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  • Rollercoaster at Pleasure Beach amusement park, Blackpool, England
    Pleasure Beach amusement park


Blackpool is Britain's tacky, laid-back underbelly. The private domain of its working class, the town is a faded and sticky mix of Coney Island, Las Vegas, and Denny's. Huge arcade halls advertise free toilets and broadcast bingo numbers into the streets; the wind machine under a wax Marilyn Monroe blows at a steady gale; and the smell of fries, tobacco, and sugar is everywhere. Spend the day "muckin' about" the beach promenade of fortune-tellers, fish-and-chips joints, amusement piers, warped mirrors, and Englanders wearing hats with built-in ponytails. Scream down roller coasters and eat "candy floss" until you're deliriously queasy. Some people love it…others hate it. But it is, without a doubt, a spectacle. And it's real.