Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bears, Alton Towers

Time flies, so they say, and looking at this picture I can well believe it.

This picture was taken 20 years ago at Alton Towers and shows most of the Costume Character's from the Entertainment department, or to give them their more usual name The Bears.

The setting is behind the scenes of the theme park just out side of the shed that housed the parade floats, the time is just before we started to get ready for the parade. In a matter of minutes this bunch of reprobates will be dressed as brightly coloured bears, pirates, and fluffy dogs, ready to entertain the visiting public. I'm stood on the left having just given my camera to someone and dashed to get in the picture, at this time I was just starting to learn to take pictures and my camera went every where with me and 20 years on I have re-found the pictures.

My first thought was how young we all were, I was one of the oldest at 24, in fact I felt so old that for a time I just did not fit in. The rest were aged around 17 to 20 and were mostly at collage or university, all were very bright, energetic and talented, the atmosphere was chaotic and mad in equal parts.

I fell in to the job by accident, even now I can not imagine what I was thinking when I took it, it just was not me. The job really called for someone who was out going and with an ability to interact well with people especially kids, the sort of people that get up to dance first at a party (some of this lot would dance before the music started). I, at the time, was shy, bookish and a bit dull, and found it hard to cope with all the big personalities that were there.
I can well remember trying to be like them and getting no where, a real low point in my life. Then one day I gave up trying to impress them, stopped trying to be like them and sat down with my book and started being me. All of a sudden I started to be included, people took an interest in me and asked my opinion on things. Looking back I think the one thing that the group as a whole hated was fakers, be what you are and be truthful about it, and they'd accept you, but try to hide behind a front and they just won't trust you.

My second thought was where are they now. It's been nearly 20 years since I have seen the majority of these people, the odd one I have met walking around town but the rest have vanished in to history, until this week.

The girl trying to choke me is called Annette and she sent me a friend request on Facebook, she, unlike me, has kept in touch with some of the others and through her and them I have now managed to catch up a bit with a few of the others. 20 years on and for me looking at this picture it seems like yesterday, we were not all best mates, we hated parts of the job and the money was crap, but for 2 seasons I felt proud to work with them and treasures the memories this picture brings back.

Steve Howe on the decks!
Now playing: Livin' Joy - Dreamer
via FoxyTunes
Now playing: Ce Ce Peniston - Finally
via FoxyTunes
Now playing: Robin S. - Show Me Love
via FoxyTunes

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Amanda said...

OK...You made me cry... So many happy memories.. and sad that that time has passed. Loving your photos and glad we are back in touch! Trev xx

Lisa B said...

cool picture and memories!

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