Adrian and Marie Fisher have deservedly established a reputation over the years for both creating the world’s finest mazes and for giving good party. Sunday’s gathering was an eclectic mix of relatives, children, relative’s children, ex-spouses, current spouses, relative’s current and ex-spouses and a smattering of amusement industry folk.
Met Martin Barrett, ex-Merlin and Tussauds and now a director at Vision XS, who with over 20 years senior management experience in visitor attractions has enormous insight into what’s going down/on in the business. He told me about the origin of Nemesis, Alton Towers’ famous coaster and my own personal fave. Martin and Nick Varney in their pre-Merlin days had had Quatermass in mind, as they were looking for a unique English themed ride, Quatermass being a rocket scientist with a frightfully British countenance and whose ill-advised experiments were the cause of a million nightmares for children of the 70s. Height and space constraints focused minds and the ride became the tremendously compact and intense experience it still is today. Looks like Quatermass’s pit too…
Talked about queues, with queuing being a national pastime. Intriguingly, heart rate studies have shown that if a guest goes immediately on a ride with no queuing at all their heart rate remains the same throughout the ride. However, with just a 15 minute wait the same person’s heart rate getting off the ride has doubled. Seems the trick is not to jump to the front but to jump to 15 minutes from the front.
Rajive Kaul, the CEO of Kolkata’s Nicco Parks , his daughter Pallavi and his family were in attendance, they are working closely with the Fishers on various projects and happened to be in London. The next day they were off to Lords, surely the world’s most aesthetically pleasing sports venue.
Neat back-handed compliment on the drive home, Rachel praising me for “meeting someone French and not spouting on about Balzac”.
Yesterday sat in the rain on a wet plastic chair at the school sports day. I came 4th out of 12 in the dad’s race, in a strong field of middle-aged, out-of-condition men. Didn’t get a sticker. The kids raced, the mums and dads raced but the teachers did not. The best coaches it seems, are always in the stands.