No, I'm not going to get all boring on you and talk about the lockdown and "Cov-idiots" breaking the rules and ruining it for us all (although I could go on for days on that subject!). Instead I wanted to share my views of what I've seen from the community lately while we're all going a bit cabin fever and all going a bit mad.
(If you've never watched Muppets Treasure Island, I suggest you put this lockdown to good use!)
This has been the thing that has bugged me the most, we're locked in, a lot of us are furloughed, locked away from our families, I can't even see my own mother until mid July as she's on medical lockdown on top of the current restrictions. A lot of us have restless children to try to entertain, we're all fighting for refunds for booked trips, trying to work from home and make the best of things and yet all some people are concerned about is how quickly we can get back into amusement parks. It's great that people want to support our parks, it really is, but there's better ways of doing it rather than posting on Twitter that they (a park) won't give you a precise date for re-opening. Here are a selection of the silly questions i've seen over social media in the last few weeks;
"When will 'X' park be open?
IF ONLY WE AND THEY KNEW! WE'D ALL BE SHOUTING FROM THE ROOFTOPS IF WE DID...
Ok, now I've got that out of my system we shall continue. But seriously, We don't find out about lockdown changes or extensions until the last minute, how are the parks, meant to know when we will reach the stage where our beloved petri-dish-like gathering places are allowed to contemplate opening? Do people really think the UK is going to look at re-opening amusement parks before schools are back, everyone's back at work and it's safe to go on public transport once again?
"Are they still working on 'X' ride?
Well, once again, let me polish off my crystal ball and have a look for ya.
Let's think of this like grown ups though, most rides, particularly dark rides, are pretty cramped in there, not the best for social distancing. These sorts of projects don't tend to be one man sat tinkering away, teams of skilled people need to work together, lifting, moving, planning, all sorts. There is also the slight issue of getting parts for this work, remember when we couldn't even get bog roll a few weeks back? It wasn't just the supermarkets affected, panic buying or just straight closures have affected every industry out there. If you tried to get hold of any IT kit from the two weeks leading up to lockdown you'd know how crazy things got from early on!
On this note though, it's good to see parks being sensible and postponing openings and refurbs to next year, plenty time to get things right and give us all a chance to experience everything as it should have been.
It's not all been bad, there have been some great things to come out of the lockdown world we currently live in. I actually think the community is a bit closer than it was before, I've not seen nearly as much abuse being thrown about on social media as the height of the season would normally bring and most people seem to be supporting each other a bit more. It's not to say there haven't been fall outs, but on the whole the community have been better behaved. Nicely done guys and gals!
A highlight has to go to Coaster Bot! An 8 hour live stream raising money for the NHS, reaching over £2000! Many YouTubers got involved, including Scott from PBE, and it seems like a lot of people got on board with it! Nicely done! If you missed it, I believe you can still watch the 8 hour marathon over on YouTube!
Honestly, how many quizzes do we need? Couldn't everyone just collab for one epic quiz? Anyway, I can tell from the posts that people are enjoying them, and effort has gone in to each quiz, and as much as I'm not interested in them, it is nice to see the community staying together and playing nice.
Different groups have been getting together on consoles and PC, be it Friday night F1 races on the PS4, Open RCT and others, it's good to see people with similar interests away from the parks and rides still getting on well and getting a good chance to socialise and get to know each other better. As much as I love it, it's a well needed break from coaster chat!
Ever since we published our unboxing video of some new Pleasure Beach merch I have seen so many people get on board to support the park and getting themselves some new merch. It might be a small thing, but it's currently the only thing we can all do for our favourite parks! (If you haven't seen the video, head to YouTube to have a look - I'll also be doing a short write up soon!)
So there's been some good and some bad goings on, but in general there has been less chaos than I anticipated in what can, at times, be a very fragile community. It's not always been pretty on the content side of things, but something not everyone will know is that during this pandemic, a lot of advertisers have pulled out of YouTube advertising, simply put, there's no need to advertise closed businesses and some simply cannot afford to continue to pay out for the advertising at this time. That has a direct hit on the payouts that YouTube creators get and it's completely understandable that some who solely rely on that payout might be panicking a bit, but on the whole there has been some good content produced under these strange circumstances; after all most of our channels heavily rely on going to parks and filming the day we have there. Lockdown put a wee bit of a downer on that one. But despite us all being in the same boat everyone has taken different approaches for their channels and there's still a good variety of content to get stuck into.
So remember to support your local parks, buy some merch if you can, be patient with them and keep supporting all the content creators out there working hard to keep you entertained!
That's all from me for now