Two months ago Ang and I struck a deal: I could let my ten-year old self run wild at Jodrell Bank if we spent the Wednesday before the Royal Wedding at Alton Towers. I thought I was on to a winner there, I loved roller coasters, I didn’t have to watch a wedding, and I got to play with big science: what could go wrong? I hadn’t been on a really big roller coaster in ages which is why this was the result:
Picture the scene – 1985, days before a bedraggled Irishman put on a little benefit show for Ethiopia, nine-year old me was brought to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This was the year the Space Invader opened, a black hole ride that I’d just seen on John Craven’s Newsround and I wanted to go on. Dad hates roller coasters so I told him it was just a gentle indoor ride, I begged, I wheedled, I got my own way. Imagine a man terrified of all fast rides, his young firstborn, and a single car climbing up in the pitch dark. That was the day I learned my first swearwords.
Ang just won free passes to another amusement park and this was my reaction:
Guarded by the Minotaur, who snarls in fury, and encircled within the river Phlegethon, filled with boiling blood, is the Seventh Level of Hell. The violent, the assassins, the tyrants, and the war-mongers lament their pitiless mischiefs in the river, while centaurs armed with bows and arrows shoot those who try to escape their punishment. The stench here is overpowering. This level is also home to the wood of the suicides- stunted and gnarled trees with twisting branches and poisoned fruit. At the time of final judgement, their bodies will hang from their branches. In those branches the Harpies, foul birdlike creatures with human faces, make their nests. Beyond the wood is scorching sand where those who committed violence against God and nature are showered with flakes of fire that rain down against their naked bodies. Blasphemers and sodomites writhe in pain, their tongues more loosed to lamentation, and out of their eyes gushes forth their woe. Usurers, who followed neither nature nor art, also share company in the Seventh Level.
The Dante’s Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels: