Fair-Pix the brainchild website of fairground enthusiast Martin Cooper, from Bordon in Hampshire (South of England). The story to Martin's lifelong interest in fairs and how it evolved is told as follows..
I've been interested in fairground equipment virtually all my life, dating back to when I began to get addicted to the sights & smells as a young boy in the late 70s & early 80s. My parents are lovers of steam powered machinery so there are obvious connections to older rides. My younger days would be visiting the local fairs at Headley Green, Haslemere, Petersfield & Liphook. My favourite old ride was the Octopus, I used to have repeat rides on the machines Billy Davis & Chris Burnett used to travel. By late 80s, my homeplace Bordon was getting annual visits just five minutes walk from my home.
At the time, we were starting to visit Stourpaine on a regular basis so I was able to see some rides which weren't normally around locally, to date I have never missed a GDSF on the current Tarrant Hinton site since 1988. I have seen some spectacular rides there in my time, Willie Webb's Voyager was one of the first travelling "big-hitters" of its day I saw in the flesh & ridden. I was also starting to enjoy repeat rides on Orbiter rides.
The early 1990s, my college and early working days is when I started to really develop my interest. By end of 1992 I was regularly not occasionally getting the World's Fair paper and never looked back since. 1995 was a big year for me, I visited the big UK three for the first time (Newcastle, Nottingham & Hull), had my first World's Fair reports published that year, passing my driving test in November allowed me to broaden my horizons. 1998 I gave up World's Fair reports to concentrate on new challenges.
During this period the big fairs I visited regularly included Leeds, Hampton Court Easter, Cambridge Midsummer, Cardiff Big Weekend, Great Dorset Steam Fair, Oxford St Giles, Bridgwater, Nottingham Goose, Hull Fair and Loughborough Pleasure Fair. Initial years I commuted by rail but by the end of the 90s I found driving to them more convenient. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to sample a Crazy Shake, Superstar, Over the Top, Top Scan, Extreme and Experience in the UK. It wasn't until 2001 when I started to drive to Newcastle Town Moor on a regular basis.
The new Millennium brought in new experiences to sample including Jump & Smile's, Tower's, Booster's, Tango's and Freak Out's. I visited by first fair in Scotland in 2003 - Kirkcaldy Links Market, returning in 2007. The Autumn of 2004 I bought my first digital camera and Fair-Pix was getting more instant photos uploaded. I stopped using 35mm film at the end of the year. 2006 saw the debut of possibly the most intense ride ever - the 2Xtreme, I rode this at Newcastle and on the same day I rode Bomber Mark II the UK's largest travelling thrill ride. Recent years has been disappointing in terms of new rides in the UK (largely due to ecomonic climate) however soon we await the arrival of a new sensation to hit the UK, a Zierer Star Shape for Abie Danter called AIR.
In 2004 I visited my first Continental fair at Brussels on a day trip via Eurostar. The following year 2005 was another significant one. I visited my first German fair (Dusseldorf) and the big Dutch premier fair - Tilburg Kermis. Enjoyed them so much I visited them again the following three years. Rides I've enjoyed in my visits include Alpina Bahn Rollercoaster, Hollenblitz Indoor Spinning Rollercoaster, Wild Wasser (World's largest portable Log Flume), Power Tower 2 (largest portable Shot & Drop Tower in the World), Star Flyer, XXL, High Energy, 24-car Breakdance, Ikarus, Jet Force and Fun Factory. In 2008 I was one of the first to ride the Dominator - KMG's first model of their Inversion ride at its premiere in Tilburg. I managed a return visit in 2010 however immediately following the loss of my mother I could not feel the magic of past years. Hoping to go somewhere different this or next year.
I took up modelling in 2006 and completed my first fairground model - Kaleidoscope Mirror Maze. In 2008 I was invited to attend Brighton Model World which is one of the most prestiguous events in the model calendar. Following an unsuccessful attempt in building a Booster and Shot & Drop Tower, in 2010 my latest project completed was a traditional Mirror Show. Later in 2011 a new ride will be joining my collection of models which is being built by a fellow enthusiast.
The Millennium year 2000 was also when I started actively surfing the net becoming members of Message Forums and making new friends along the way. In August 2000 I launched my very first website - Dr Chaos Funfair Site hosted on free webspace by my first ISP - Freeserve. In 2001 I purchased the Fair-Pix domain name and was hosting photo specials as an offshoot to DCFS. By 2004 I decided to merge it all together and rebrand DCFS to its current name - Fair-Pix. During the time I pioneered pages such as Travel Tricks (an offshoot of Events & Fairs Section today), Galleries page, Links Directory and Funfair Reports.
Over the years I've met many people and made new friends, I've enjoyed trips with others but most of the time I may my own way to fairs. Without the support of others my interest would not have blossomed as much as it has today. I'm a Commitee Member of the Fairground Association of GB and also a member of the Fairground Society.
To bring you up-to-date in February 2013 I received a letter from the Showmen's Guild London & Home Counties Section Office to notify me that I was nominated for Honorary Membership and was one of just six unanimously accepted. In May 2013 I was officially presented the card by Senior Vice-President of the Guild, Cllr John C Culine MBE. I would like to thank the Showmen's Guild for recognising my hobby and personally a lot of thanks goes to the London Section's Past Chairman Mr Joe Noyce.
That's all about me and again - I enjoy your time visiting Fair-Pix. Martin :-)