Bringing back the Earls Court show is like the revival of Spinal Tap: mad, ironic - and fun


Remember this? Doesn’t the Earl’s Court boat show look exciting in retrospect? This year it was crystal clear that no reed bed, polystyrene pub or fog tunnel can transform ExCeL (the self-important name and those daft capitals!). The venue is what it is: is a sterile exhibition factory – great for an arms fair or a resilient mountings trade show, but not a family fun day out. No matter what pattern they put on the carpet, kids will still chew it with boredom.

Recreating a show at Earl’s Court is such a mad notion it could work. The idea is like the revival of Spinal Tap – ironic and funny. Imagine: the ‘back office’ Guinness bar, the pond, the gymnasts, SBS abseilers and fashion shows, the mock Mediterranean villages, and that chronic Earl’s Court lurgy everyone shares by Day 4. And all this rolled into a bit of Christmas shopping in London.

A good thing, then, or is it just a case of absence making the heart grow fonder?