It was a county fair of mergers. The cotton candy cart had gotten bought out by the pop corn cart. Unfortunately they missed the market with the 'cotton corn'. The ferris wheel was purchased by the roller coaster and now a giant circle rolled down the tracks. The haunted house and the tilt-a-whirl merged to leave vomit splattered animatronic ghosts in its wake.

I was about to give up any home of finding something interesting... well, more interesting than the dart toss at the goldfish bowl in the arcade when I saw the 'Crystal Fun House' - it appeared the fortune teller and the house of mirrors merged.

With a skeptical view upon the whole place, I was assured a refund if I wasn't completely satisfied. And so, I walked in after handing over my two dollars.

If you've never been in a 'fun house' let me give you a quick overview. It is mostly a lot of deformed mirrors that make you look tall or short, thick or thin. I have no idea how it got the name 'fun'.

This 'crystal fun house' was different. Inside it was full of nooks that had several mirrors that reminded me of the fitting section of an expensive clothing store so that one could see all sides of the suit or dress being tried on.

As I stepped into one, the mirrors didn't show distortions of my current image, but rather of my past and future images. To my left I saw myself at the local high school - that I never went too, my parents had me go to the one in the city. Before me, I stood with a wife by my side and several children in tow. I know that I'm not ready to be a father, and as I gazed into the eyes of the other me, I wondered if he was. The mirror on the right seemed to be unwashed with a faint haze to it. The figures behind it seemed to be something from a Jerry Springer episode.

I walked the length of the crystal fun house, looking into each nook and cranny - seeing glimpses of other possibilities. High priced suits and cheap alcohol, different faces of women that I might have known occasionally were at my side. Occasionally I saw a broken mirror, and it would send shivers down my spine - sometimes seven years bad luck can seem like a lifetime. Some of the images were ones I recognized as what might have been if I made a choice that I couldn't see myself making, some rich and some powerful - but none me. In others it was the easy way, and none seemed satisfied with were they were.

Walking toward the exit, I saw one last mirror that stood by itself. The image it showed was me walking down a hall in a fun house. No one stood by my side, and my clothes were comfortably worn - nothing special or extraordinary, but the eyes and the face told me this one was the one who was happiest with who he was.

Upon exiting I asked about the cloudy mirrors and the broken ones. I was informed that the future is always cloudy and the mirrors appear broken when there is no one to show.

"Where you completely satisfied?"
"Well, the last mirror..."
The owner sighed, and handed me back my two dollars. "Thats just an ordinary mirror, most people get upset when they see it. We can't figure out if they feel cheated that its not like the rest... or something else."

I laughed and wished him a good day. I walked back home, secure in the knowledge that I am me.

The second record by The Stooges, released in 1970. Musically it bears some resemblance to their previous self-titled effort, though the songs are longer and more cohesive in mood. This was apparently one of Miles Davis's favorite records, and there are perhaps some jazz influences floating way beneath the basic greasy riffage.

The record is named after the house in Detroit where the Stooges all lived at the time.

It opens with "Down on the Street", which sets the pattern for things to come. Over a brutally repetitive three-note riff that sounds like a cross between Black Sabbath and Neil Young's "Opera Star", Iggy screams half-intelligible phrases such as "I'm down on the street with a face that shines", and guitarist Ron Asheton lays down the law with his superb overuse of cheesy effects.

"Loose" and "TV Eye" follow, and they all seem to blend together into one 12-minute song. "Loose" is perhaps the best-known song off of "Fun House", with its profound chorus of "I'm stupid, and deep inside, I'm loose!!". "TV Eye", incidentally, is shorthand for "Twat Vibe".

The mounting tension is then dispelled by the record's centerpiece, a brooding seven-minute semi-ballad called "Dirt". This time the riff is played on bass by Dave Alexander, and Iggy sings fine fuck-the-hippies sentiments such as "I'm DIRT, and I don't CARE".

This is followed by two longer jams, similar in mood to the opening songs, but stretched out, and saxophonist Steve Mackay goes apeshit all over the title track, wherein Iggy keeps screaming to the band, "let me in!!! bring it down!!!! let me in!!!!", and the motherfuckers ignore him completely, and play louder, and finally Iggy just starts singing anyway, and this particular sonic assault takes almost eight minutes to stop knocking you about the face and head.....

But nothing can prepare you for the final track, "L.A. Blues", which is a five-minute noise collage of drum rolls and nearly unlistenable dissonance. On the previous six tracks, The Stooges bothered themselves just enough to write a simple riff and jam around it, and this time they didn't even care enough to write the riff! They manage to spend five minutes jamming on absolutely nothing at all, which in my opinion anyway (possibly no one else's) is the mark of a great band.

The Tracklist:

1. Down on the Street
2. Loose
3. TV Eye
4. Dirt
5. 1970
6. Fun House
7. L.A. Blues

The Musicians:

Iggy Stooge--Vocals
Ron Asheton--Guitar
Dave Alexander--Bass
Scott "Rock Action" Asheton--Drums
Steve Mackay--Saxophone on some songs

Fun House was a game show that aired on ITV from 1988-1999 and was hosted by mullet-sporting DJ, Pat Sharp. Fun House was aired on a Friday afternoon at around ten-past four.

Two teams, red and yellow made up of two children each competed for the first two rounds of the game. Each team would have a cheerleader, either Melanie or Martina who would count the scores at the end of each round.

The rounds

1. The messy Games

Everyone's favourite part of Fun House was the messy games which were fun and innovative. The games were too numerous to mention them all here (there were new ones made for each show) but they all boil down to the contestants having to either collect or make as many certain items as they could in the time limit given, all the while either trying to avoid or, more often, having to wade through, the masses of gunge being thrown or in pools on the floor. At the end of the game Melanie and Martina would count how well their respective teams did and the winning team would get ten points, the losing team getting a measly five points.

Each messy game was separated by a short round of three questions (presumably while the next game was being set up) that were added onto each team's total score.

2. The Fun Kart Grand Prix

Each team had an electric go-kart and had to race in three laps around the studio collecting different tokens. At the end of each lap the driver swapped with his/her team-mate, who had to perform a 'pit stop' of fitting a hub cap to the rear wheel of the kart.

On the first lap, drivers could only collect the tokens worth ten points from the posts around the course, only the second lap only the tokens worth twenty-five points could be collected and on the third lap either could be collected.

At the end of the race Pat Sharp would put each team's tokens in some sort of counter (just looked like a clear box to me) that would make a tone each time a token was inserted. The team with the most points with tokens added on to their over all score would commence to the next round, but since it was a kind game show, the losers would get a goody bag to take home with them.

3. The Fun House

After all this, the winning team were given three minutes in the Fun House. The Fun House was very much a large child's play area, with a ball crawl, flying fox, weird foam rollers, etc. Around the Fun House were hung large green tags, each one representing a prize that would be won if a team member grabbed it. Somewhere in the Fun House would be hidden the 'Star Prize' tag, which the audience at home would be shown but no-one else. If a contestant collected it a rooster would show in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to let us know.

Only one member of the team was allowed in at a time and could only stay in until s/he had collected three prize tags, after which they would have to make their way back out of the fun house and tag their team mate, who would then dive in and get three more.

When the time ran out, the team member who was in the Fun House would come out and Pat Sharp would go through each tag collected and read out each prize. If the star prize had been collected, the rooster would crow once again.

Was it enough that the star prize had been collected? Of course not, as the lights were dimmed in the studio and the team would be asked a ludicrously easy multiple-choice question. If they got it right they won the prize. (commiserations to the team who lost by saying the AA was an emergency service)

It is interesting to note that unfortunately Pat Sharp never got gunged, as he always used the excuse that he had to go straight to Capital FM to DJ after the recording of Fun House.

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