Installing concrete type on the grounds of the Blackpool Comedy Carpet
June 18, 2012 11:54 AM   Subscribe

The Comedy Carpet is an enormous public typographic artwork in Blackpool, England, for decades a waystation for every stand-up comedian and comedy troupe in the country. This giant expanse of typography – like a football field of flat concrete you can read and walk on – displays every punchline and catchphrase of 20th-century British comedy, up to and including the entire Monty Python “Parrot Sketch.” Designer Andy Altmann gives a talk (direct Vimeo version) describing the immense design, computation, and construction work that went into fitting all those letters together.

But earlier this year, without consulting the designers, Blackpool city government decided one edge of the Carpet was too close to tram tracks and jackhammered it into rubble (photo).
posted by joeclark (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Second to last link is the same as the link to the video.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:56 AM on June 18, 2012

Whoops. And that’s after five previews. The Guardian: “Anger piles up over Blackpool comedy carpet destruction.”
posted by joeclark at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2012

Not just five previews, but actually thinking “No matter how many times I preview these things, something always slips through.” And lo did it come to pass.
posted by joeclark at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2012

posted by cortex at 12:02 PM on June 18, 2012

Ah thanks.

First you pay more than 2 million to install an artwork, then you pay a wrecker to demolish it; somebody heard about Keynian countercyclical investments and that old crack about hiring people to dig holes that you hire other people to fill again to get your economy back on track and didn't quite understand it?

What I don't understand is why nobody though about just installing a fence between the carpet and the tramlines?
posted by MartinWisse at 12:11 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm bummed that the first I'm hearing of this incredibly cool thing is because it's being fucked with.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:13 PM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hmm. In the photo, the names are right-side-up, which would seem to encourage foot traffic out onto the track in order to view them properly, which would indeed be problematic.

On the map, though, the names are upside-down, to be viewed from within the piece.

posted by Sys Rq at 1:17 PM on June 18, 2012

The whole thing is just baffling to me. At first, I'd assumed that it was destroyed because the transit lines needed to be expanded -- which would have been sad and probably avoidable, but kind of understandable on some level.

But now that I see they destroyed it because of the liability of people walking onto the tracks to read it? They couldn't have built a fence? Or, you know, a sign?
posted by roll truck roll at 2:58 PM on June 18, 2012

"We are looking forward to discussions with the artist as to how the missing credits can be replaced in a safer way."

And this couldn't have been done before the destruction?
I have been to Blackpool multiple times since childhood and was proud to finally see a real piece of art commemorating its entertainment history. What a ridiculous shame and waste of money.
posted by Isadorady at 3:45 PM on June 18, 2012

Now I'll have to go back and visit Blackpool again.
I gew up in a childrens home in neighbouring St. Annes. That was in the 50's.when Stanley Mathews played for Blackpool. Remember.
Our annual treat, paid for by an unknown benefactor, was being taken by bus (we called it a sharra) to Blackpool to see the illuminations, followed by a fish and chip supper.
Then round Christmas it were panto at t'Tower.
posted by jan murray at 4:24 PM on June 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

That was a quick emotional journey: Oh, I want to see that! Then: Oh.
posted by dr.duus at 7:51 AM on June 20, 2012

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