In the forgotton hub that is Vaulx-en-Velin, an Average Individual visits Miniworld
If you manage to make it through the charmless corridors of Miniworld, push past the shop which prematurely force-feeds you its merchandise, the plasticky café screaming grease and calories, you’ll fall into the destination finale, inside which, for one hour – no more – you can play God. Yes you can, with a wand and everything.
You’re in fictitious France and it’s you at the helm, pushing the buttons.
Make the trains whoosh past you and into a tunnel cut from limestone to deliver the goods the red-faced construction worker has been expecting yesterday. Let the lumberjacks chop and trees fall with no qualms about the environment or health and safety. Feel free to partake in the Lycra-mad Tour de France or set off a rock fall. Start a merry-go-round spinning. All these little people in little people circles, doing little people things like living and going to work and arguing and having fun, makes you – a former little person – feel that life is not just quite sweet, but manageable, and wahey, it’s actually fun.
You don’t care about having to get back to make the supper because this is your home now. Time is mish-mashed and gongs to a stop. And what you see is there for the taking. It’s majestic and mean.
Watch a rock star crowd surf, see hippies play the guitar without any clothes, revisit classic movie scenes where a T-Rex bites the head off a toilet-ridden moron, see a flamingo rolling dice, a zombie or two. You might not notice but there’s a prostitute behind the Big Wheel and deep inside the forest a pack of wolves are surrounding a stag. Close your eyes. Listen to the crows, the trickling water, they all whisper something.
A fake-Lascaux cave-dweller once drew dreams on the cave wall – antilopes and bigger beasts which he probably couldn’t control, like mammouths and love – and you walk past, right next to Sponge Bob.
Just as you’re leaving, that blue sky turns into a glorious concoction of stars and darkness and it suddenly dawns on you that you’re an inhabitant of a planet, a planet spinning in space, which is itself spinning inside a bigger something, which means that at this very moment in time you may in fact be upside down. So as you see yourself shrink back to normal size, you remove your God-like robes and hand back your wand, achieve a sense of gravity, and resume the terribly gruelling challenge of becoming that very insignificant human being you came in as.
But with an I Love Miniworld mug.
Miniworld, Pôle du Carré de Soie, 3 Avenue de Bohlen, 69120 Vaulx-en-Velin