So although you wouldn’t notice from my terrible organisational skills, I have been planning on coming to America for a number of years. During that time I made various notes of things I wanted to see, which unfortunately has left me rather like Guy Pearce in Memento: I’m following the advice of a younger me and I have no idea what I was thinking, which brings us to Eden Prairie Public Library:
It looks… like a building. The inside of it has a nice enough ceiling, I suppose:
The only problem is: I have absolutely no idea why I sent myself here. No clue. Normally if I don’t leave myself a note it becomes pretty obvious, y’know, the Museum of Bad Art in Boston is pretty self-explanatory. But why Eden Prairie Public Library? Does it have a section dedicated to Star Trek fanfiction? On Fridays does it turn into rave central? On Fridays does it become a Star Trek themed rave? I can only assume so, but unfortunately I’m here on Monday, so it’s just a library.
Since I have no way to know what the hell younger-me was thinking, I call him a wanker and head on to my next destination: the Mall of America. The one mall, for all of the America. Fortunately it’s large enough: 4,200,000 sq ft, 530+ stores, nearly 13,000 parking spaces and still, somehow, only the second largest mall in the US.
It is so large it contains an entire indoor theme park, with a timeless Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ride. It is so large it has a store to itself. It’s a meta-store. It’s self-perpetuating consumerism.
But forget all that, because there’s Lego. A vast array of Lego. More Lego than you can stick a Lego leg on.
I love Lego, but everyone loves Lego. If someone says they don’t love Lego, it’s because their heart is made out of something vile, like Mega Bloks. Lego, it is well known, was God’s first choice for building the Earth, but unfortunately it proved to be too expensive.
I would like to clear up something, though: it’s Lego. Or LEGO. It’s not Legos. It’s never appropriate to call it “Legos”, unless possibly you were talking about an anthropomorphised Lego block and something that belonged to him, but even then, that would be “Lego’s” with an apostrophe. It’s Lego. Apparently this has some bearing on Lego’s ability to trademark and yadda yadda, but calling them Legos just sounds wrong and seems to be peculiarly American.
Thank you for listening to me, I believe I have just changed the world for the better. This is probably how Ghandi felt.
I will confess something a tad sad: there was such a dazzling display of Lego, so many options, so many Lego pieces that I, er, did start to hyperventilate. Of course, there is one problem with providing the masses with so much Lego goodness and that is rather unfortunate images, like the Parisian catacombs that was the Lego head selection:
Fortunately for those feeling a touch light-headed, there’s an oxygen bar and it’s right next to a store that only sells beanbag chairs. I’m just saying, I didn’t realise the Mall of America store was going to be one of the more sensible stores here.
Now that I’ve bought everything that I need and most of the things that I don’t, I’m off to the south of Minnesota, to a little town called Austin. It contains what can only be described a museum to spam. Because it’s the Spam Museum.
Okay, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one (surprisingly it wasn’t Younger Me who sent me here), but it turned out be actually… pretty good. It was about the possibly-meat product, yes, but it had everything. Interactive exhibits, films, comprehensive displays, scandal and betrayal:
It also had, er, this:
Most importantly, it gave everyone the opportunity to fill what is surely a universal childhood dream: to can your own spam.
You are also invited to learn the secret code behind every spam can. After learning this, you’re basically like a member of MI5. A very specific, spam-related MI5.
And you’re going to need all the spam-knowledge you can stuff into your head (over seven billion – seven billion – cans of spam have been sold), because there’s going to be a test. A quiz show test:
You can even work with your friends in a team, or work against them, assuming you somehow tricked them into coming to the Spam Museum.
And it wouldn’t be a spam museum without a dedication to Monty Python:
Okay, I confess, I bizarrely enjoyed myself at the Spam Museum. It really is a lot of fun and I don’t feel embarrassed about saying that, because Tom freakin’ Brokaw spoke at its opening ceremony. I had fun, I learnt so much and I have a selection of spam recipes should anyone want them. Yes, it’s spam, it’s: