yarmouth-circusThis is not Las Vegas. Circus Circus is in Las Vegas. And The Flamingo. But Circus Circus, The Flamingo and The Golden Nugget are also in Great Yarmouth. Great Yarmouth! Not just Yarmouth. Las Vegas doesn’t get a Great upfront. And so which is best? Let battle commence.

I’ve been to both places… is that showing off? As a child, in the 70’s, I’d go with my family to Mariners’ Park in Great Yarmouth. We’d pretty much stay in the park, and I have no memory of there being any mariners. Now I go to Great Yarmouth once or twice a year and stay at the Vauxhall Caravan Park. I go there to play pool as part of the Waterloo Pool League. Why once or twice? Well, it depends on whether or not we qualify. It’s a serous business, the world of amateur pool.

Once there we play pool, and on Saturday night we head to the Starlight Lounge, on campus, where the comedian manages to offend most decent minded pool players (and there are lots) by mistaking us for a bunch of blokes on stag do’s and telling us racist jokes. Then a stripper comes on and humiliates a young boy. Why do we go? Because it’s there. Mariners’ Park in the 70’s had no such entertainment. It had a pool and a slide. That’s all I can remember. Nothing as swanky as this…


But then the Seventies were sunnier.

If we dare venture out of the confines of the caravan park… and it’s rare, for the rules of the World Eight-Ball Pool Federation are strict, and they like to keep an eye on you. I’ll have to be careful here… I once had to go to Asda and buy a £12 pair of black slip-ons because my shoes were against the rules… Damn, that’s me dis-membered! … Did I point out that it’s a serious business, the world of amateur pool?

So, yes, if you dare venture into Great Yarmouth, before you hit The Golden Nugget, The Flamingo, Circus Circus, you pass the Britannia Pier.


This summer* they had The Chuckle Brothers, Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Cannon and Ball, The Grumbleweeds, Smackee Abba, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown, Elkie Brooks, The Rat Pack, The Four Tops, One Night with Elvis, Bernie Clifton, Jimmy Cricket, The Searchers, Derek Acorah, and Billy Pierce.

Or you could go to Vegas and see Carrot Top or Danny Gans. Or Barry Manilow. Elton John? Bette Midler? or you might prefer David Copperfield (the magician, not the Dickens character, although why the two haven’t combined is beyond me.)

Take your pick. I’m not going to decide. I like both places.

Here’s my favourite slot machine at the Vauxhall Caravan Park.


I have no idea what Smackee Abba is but I’d pay.

* Well, I say this summer because the photograph was taken in April 2008, but look! In April 2008 they were still advertising 2007’s summer season. Maybe not much changes in Great Yarmouth. And before anyone gets too judgemental, remember that Siegfried and Roy performed year after year in Vegas until a tiger ripped Roy Horn’s head off. Get well soon Roy. Apparently they will be back doing their thing in Las Vegas in February 2009. Now that’s magic! oh, unless it’s a hoax.