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Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The waxworks housed by the museum are endearingly ludicrous – a true testament to the skill of our fabulous Norfolk craftsmen, the jewel in Yarmouth’s plastic tiara.
It’s my son’s birthday – happy birthday, Cole! – and I struggled for some time to think what I could buy for him: the child has everything and has more money in his bank account than I do.
Then I realised the answer was staring me in the face, or in the Evening News, to be precise – with the imminent closure of Louis Tussaud’s House of Wax in Great Yarmouth, I could snap him up his very own set of gigantic colouring crayons.
I am genuinely sad that the Regent Road business looks likely to close: Jane and Peter Hayes, now in their 80s, have created something really special in Yarmouth – the most terrifying museum in Christendom. Had I been the marrying type, I’d have considered it as a venue.
The waxworks housed by the museum are endearingly ludicrous – a true testament to the skill of our fabulous Norfolk craftsmen, the jewel in Yarmouth’s plastic tiara. I very much hope the museum is named after the Vincent Price film which sees him playing Professor Henry Jarrod, a devoted wax figure sculptor who is hideously disfigured by a rival and whose revenge on society is to create the best mannequins on earth by the simple method of dipping the victims he murders in a giant vat of wax with the help of threatening deaf-mute, Igor.
To be fair, I don’t think this is how the waxworks at Yarmouth are created. Just look at them.
Anyway, if Cole isn’t interested in owning a bewigged horror mannequin that bears a very, very slight resemblance to a celebrity (if you squint, in the dark, while hideously drunk) then I certainly am. I know that you all wonder just what to get me for Christmas: should it be the hugely ostentatious gift that you throw lots of cash at but barely any thought or should it be something that might not cost the earth but will be full of love and individuality?
I’ll give you a clue: it’s the former. Maybe you could all club together. Remember I don’t wear gold and I like big diamonds – if it helps, just give me the cash.
If you’re determined to give me something thoughtful – curse you – then look out for the auction notice from the House of Wax: working on the basis that Father Christmas delivers lovely things to those who have been good all year, I’m fairly convinced I’ve been bad enough to warrant being given Cliff Richard rendered in wax, nylon and marker pen.
If you can’t afford Cliff, go for a BOGOF deal on Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Kylie’s waxwork channels Norman Bates’ mother wearing a badly-fitting wig on her way to Dale Winton’s fetish-theme Halloween party while Jason looks as if he is nursing a secret sorrow, possibly following an incident involving his bottom and a sharpened pole coated in Deep Heat.
Jim Davidson as imagined by the House of Wax stands in front of Mr Blobby, a grossly deformed beast complete with bow-tie, goggling eyes and a hideously sinister grin (and Mr Blobby isn’t much better).
Here, I feel, the museum has missed a trick. The stuffed tiger at Norwich Castle Museum used to emit a weak roar if you pressed a button, Jim Davidson’s could emit a stream of insults he’s directed to the town over the decades.
Press once for “Yarmouth is full of overweight people in flip-flops”, press twice for “and fat people of no class” and three times for “you’re all fat birds dressed up like Britney Spears but weighing 20 stone with everything hanging out”. Such fun.
Only the desperately myopic or incredibly inebriated could claim the waxworks at the House of Wax are anything other than hugely vague interpretations of celebrities – that’s part of their charm. Actually, that’s their only charm.
I can understand why people used to visit waxwork museums in the days before the internet and the proliferation of celebrity magazines, but now we’re flooded with pictures of celebrities throwing up on pavements and flashing their cellulite, what can a 3D model offer us? A long-life candle in case of power cuts? A massive but boring wax crayon for the kids?
Madame Tussaud’s in London has always been an attraction for would-be stalkers who can’t commit to hanging around on rainy street corners in the hope of having their picture taken with a celebrity.
At least Great Yarmouth’s version of Tussaud’s has its own unique selling point, namely waxworks that don’t look creepily life-like, just creepy. I’m fine with that: in fact, forget buying me a Christmas present, let’s just pool our resources and buy the whole museum.