Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Starstruck in London

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen we were having a family day out in London. I'd hoped to take my currently space-mad six-year-old to the old planetarium next to Madam Tussauds, but when I googled for details of prices and show times, All in London dot com cheerfully informed me that:
The London Planetarium, once located in Marylebone Street, in the green dome next to Madame Tussauds, has been closed in order to make way for a new celebrity-themed show that opened in July 2006. Although the planetarium used to be one of London’s attractions, there was less demand in recent years. The planetarium was therefore renames [sic] 'the Auditorium' and now hosts a show by Aardman Animations about celebrities.

Now a real* integrated part of the Madame Tussauds experience, the show was designed especially for projection onto the dome shaped ceiling. It takes visitors through a complete 360 degree circuit exploring how our earthly legends such as Marilyn Monroe are viewed by aliens!! 
I resisted the temptation to bang my head repeatedly against the desk (although if I'd done so for long enough I might have become sufficiently brain-damaged to enjoy a "real", integrated, celebrity-themed experience). Knowing that a working planetarium had been gutted in order to make way for this abomination was bad enough, but knowing that the people behind Wallace and Gromit were complicit in the sacrilege was almost too much to bear.

Instead, we took a boat downriver to Greenwich and visited the Royal Observatory, which now houses the Peter Harrison Planetarium, so we got our show with the added bonuses of a river trip in glorious, though chilly, sunshine followed by one of London's best short walks, from the Cutty Sark and Wren's Old Royal Naval College, up through Greenwich Park to the observatory. The Offspring enjoyed the show at the planetarium, which now proudly calls itself 'London's only planetarium.' Because you clearly couldn't find enough geeky kids to support more than one working planetarium in a city that only attracts one and a half million tourists a year and is home to a mere eight million people.

Now that we know that the universe in which we live is billions and billions of times less interesting than whatever Simon Cowell tweeted ten minutes ago, we can safely move on to your breaking sleb news. Our resident paparazzo has a sensational photograph from Greenwich, confirming gossip that celebrity foodstuffs bacon and chocolate have been collaborating on an exciting new project:
Compared to that, the whole of infinity sucks, obviously.

*If you're in the business of promoting waxwork replicas of airbrushed, PR-washed, image-controlled slebs who looked like waxworks to start with, I wouldn't bother with the word "real."