We tend to think of mythical places as being perfect for living in. After all, who wouldn’t want to live somewhere like El Dorado, Shangri-La or Avalon?
Err, you wouldn’t. Scratch the surface of any mythical utopia and you will discover a horrible place you really wouldn’t want to spend much time in at all.
Shangri-La – Boring as Heck
This Himalayan “paradise” is completely cut off from the rest of the world and the people who live here are almost immortal. Can you spot a flaw with this place yet? Yep, it would be boring as heck. You might be itching to celebrate your 200th birthday with a wee trip to Shanghai or Ulan Bator but you can’t get there because it’s, well, it’s flipping well cut off from the rest of the world, ain’t it? You’re just going to have to spend all of your remaining centuries of life in Shangri bloody La with the same people you’ve seen every day for the last 200 years. Sure, it’s a paradise on Earth and everyone’s happy and blah de blah but come on; you’d be bored out of your skull living in this dump.
Avalon – Too Much Noise
Having an old Roxy Music song going round your head constantly is going to be the least of your worries here. This is where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur was forged, so you can expect the Avalon Sword Making Company to make a helluva lot of noise and cause a lot of water pollution around here. Also, King Arthur went there to recover after getting slapped about in some battle or other. Can you imagine how disruptive it would be to normal life when injured members of the royal rock up to a small town and start complaining about their wounds, screaming for aspirin all night long and boring everyone senseless by talking about their crappy sword and the stupid Holy Grail? Between Arthur and the local sword production industry it would be a noisy and frankly annoying place to live.
El Dorado – Too Much Gold
A city made almost entirely out of gold; yay! Except wouldn’t it be pretty crap to live in a place filled with gold? On a bright Andean morning the dazzle shining in your window would waken you up every single time, even when you draw your gold drapes. The gold sidewalk would also be really slippery when it rains and your gold chairs would be awfully uncomfortable. Add in the constant threat of those freaking annoying conquistadores coming back to kill you all and it is clear that this is one mythical paradise that stinks to high heaven.
Cockaigne – Poor Quality Buildings and Flying Cheese
You might not have heard of Cockaigne as much as the other mythical places we have looked at but it was widely used in medieval times to depict a utopia on Earth. It is a place of incredible luxury where gluttony, pleasure, sexual liberty, comfort and cheese are the order of the day. Sounds alright so far, doesn’t it? Well, apart from the cheese but we’ll get to that in a minute. As far as the architectural standards go, this isn’t something that I would normally worry about in such a paradise. However, it seems that the houses here are made of barley sugar and cakes. Is that a wise long term building policy to adopt? Additionally, grilled geese fly straight into your mouth and cooked fish land at your feet. What? I hate goose and fish so that sounds awful. Worst of all, it rains cheese, dude. I mean, I like cheese but I’d rather not have a chunk of cheddar whack me on the head while I’m trying to avoid those annoying fish and geese. All in all, I think I’ll give this place a miss as well.