Brian Moore's head

Not content with dumbing down history, Madame Tussauds, it seems, now wants to dumb down the entire universe:

Guardian: Where have all the planets gone?

There is splodge from an egg on the side of the pale green copper dome on Marylebone Road that could have been hurled at the former London Planetarium by a furious astronomer.

But the wonders of the cosmos no longer bring crowds to a reverent halt and yesterday Madame Tussauds reopened the rebranded "Stardome" with a cartoon about an alien boffin who believes every resident of our planet is a celebrity. "It's a no-brainer," said Nicky Marsh, marketing director of the waxwork attractions. And, in several senses, she was right.

Hitchin and I visited the London Planetarium during August Bank Holiday weekend in 1990. I can confirm that, even then, it was hardly pulling in the crowds. There were three different queues: one for Madame Tussauds, one for the planetarium, and one for both. Hitchin and I were the only people in the queue for the planetarium, while the other two queues stretched out into the street.

As we waited patiently for the next show, a management gorilla in a penguin suit approached us and demanded to know why we weren't in either of the queues for Madame Tussauds.

"We just want to see the planetarium," explained Hitchin.
"What's wrong with Madame Tussauds?" whooped the gorilla.
"Nothing. It's just not our sort of thing."
"Why not? What's wrong with it?"
"Well… I just don't like dummies, I suppose."
"Why on earth not?"
"Erm, well… I'm allergic to wax."

We didn't like to mention my unpleasant experience with a candle as a child.

See also: Planetarium (highly recommended)

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


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