2017 April 15
by dickdickerydick

goliath-roller-coasterI have been editor now for nine and a half months. Nine and a half long and gruelling months. But the perks of the job have certainly helped absorb some of the blood, sweat and tears. Perks like free gig tickets and club entry, meeting your idols and interesting individuals. Even free festival passes – all in exchange for a few hundred words.

On Wednesday 8th April PULP was invited to Alton Towers on a student press trip, for the purpose of… well… I am still a little unsure. Promote the park’s new “Sharkbait Reef”… (which we didn’t even see…)

Arriving nice and early – a surprising change – we collected our free entry passes and headed towards the conference room for our “media welcome”: a coffee, a map and a priority pass – “to get us not just in the fast lane, but straight to the front…”

And that was it.
“Go enjoy the park.”

Oh student journalism is so unbelievably taxing.

Alton Towers is located in Staffordshire, on the grounds of a former stately home, belonging to the Earls of Shrewsbury. It opened as a theme park in 1980 with The Corckscrew rollercoaster, Pirate Ship and the Alpine Bob Sledge ride. It has since expanded into the UK’s second most visited theme park (after Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach), boasting 125 attractions across 500 acres and 11 areas.

In 1996 the Alton Towers Hotel opened, followed four years later by the Splash Landings Hotel and Waterpark – transforming Alton Towers, humble theme park, into Alton Towers, super resort, complete with “Extraordinary” golf, spa, conference centre and now Sea Life centre.

(Yes. Research. We were given PRIORITY passes. Queues were reaching up to TWO HOURS long.

Not for us.

I couldn’t just write ‘Alton Towers is wicked, yeah, you guys should, like, definitely go. Tickets are only 30-something-£ and it’s well easy to get to from Manchester, although our bus driver did total a Jag on the way in. It was well embarrassing. All the smoking pregnant thirteen-year-olds at the back were, like, heckling him. Poor guy. And the Jag driver worked there. Prob a bit more senior than Mr Bus Driver, now prob Mr Jobseeker…’)

By now it was 11. The park was beginning to fill up. We had to play this tactfully in order to get the most out of our priority passes, which incidentally permitted just one queue-evasion per ride. No messing around – we headed straight for the park’s most famous attraction: Europe’s first inverted rollercoaster, Nemesis. Already the queue had hit an hour. Not wanting to use up our pass yet, we settled for the 30 minute wait for Air, the park’s “flying rollercoaster”… and what a way to kick-off our Alton Towers adventure. Concern over the constricting nature of my harness quickly became relief as we were tilted forward and propelled headfirst out of the gate.

In an encompassing sweep of the park, we checked out in the following order:
Hex, Rita – Queen of Speed, Oblivion, Ripsaw, Air (again, using the pass this time, straight to the front, to the front carriage – much to the annoyance of the queuing masses. HA!)


Runaway Minetrain, Spinball Whizzer, Nemesis (which they forget to stamp off, so we could go on it again later. HA), Duel, Submission and Nemesis (again, jumping at least an hour’s queue. HA HA HA.)

And felt in the following order:
Nauseous, winded, terrified, wet, jammy.


Childish, immature – could not stop laughing. For some reason this ride was just fuckin hilarious, enthralled, engaged, dizzy and satisfied.

A job well done – for this was work after all – and a day well spent.

Of course, I can NEVER go back to Alton Towers again, to return as a mere queuing mortal. I have seen the privileged light. I have been spoilt and refuse to experience anything less.

Holly Dicker