As a kid I always thought both bouncy castles and ball rooms (aka Bazinga/Ikea rooms) were way better in anticipation than reality. Bouncy Castles always had some shithead of a kid (not always, but often, of ginger haired extraction*) who would menace you, and it had always rained so they were slippery or had an unfortunate puddle in them. I remember begging to go on one and then not really enjoying it. We did have a trampoline growing up, so it was kind of more of the same really.
This painting is more about how I wish it had been. If I’d done a more realistic bouncy castle, there would be one kid landing on another kid’s leg and snapping it clean in half, while other kids kind of bounce around being a bit disappointed.
We had an Ikea close to us (opposite Brandon Park in Mulgrave) and Ikea had a BALL ROOM. I recall being so excited at going to it that I was nearly sick, and then when you go there in you’d go to the coloured ball pool..and then the disappointment of being IN the colour balls hit you. There’s not much you can do in there. It’s a bit like, as an adult, having a bath. You light the candles and put in the Avon Original Scented bath oil, and (in a house with what has to be the worst water pressure in the universe), you come back 40 mins after starting the tap, you get in, and in about 3 minutes it’s all ‘Yep. Ho Hum. In the bath. I’ve scrubbed everything once. Now what’.
Maybe if a bouncy castle was made of soft black velvet, filled with coloured balls, and each of those balls was full of nitrous oxide or red wine or gin/soda/lime, I might be able to get some enthusiasm up for it these days. Plus you could sleep in there. And no creepy horrible boofer kid to menace you.
*I’m very awfully fond of ginger hair as a look on both guys and girls – I find the look incredibly attractive actually. I’ve been faking my own red hair for about 20 years. It’s just unfortunate that the shitty kid at school was often the red-haired kid, at least where I went to school.