Wednesday, July 18, 2018

So it has come to this!

Dear America

As we prepare to depart your shores we would like to thank you for putting on a truly wonderful show. 

The Madness of King Donald has been a thrilling ride from the very first episode. (The entrance of the the Mad King down the gold escalators was a sensational opening sequence).

It is rare to see a series as long as this that does not have some flat spots but this is not the case with The Madness of King Donald. Every episode has been carefully crafted to ensure that the talents of the writers and actors are given full reign. 

The casting of the Mad King is a triumph. He exudes precisely the right amount of dangerous lunacy coupled with the manic language necessary to impart instability. He takes me back to Silence of the Lambs but with an unrestrained ability to deadpan language that has the viewers rolling on the floor laughing. 

The writers must certainly be up for awards for the genius of casting him as a fat orange man who wears ill fitting suits and ties that are six feet long. It is pure comic invention. His performance is faultless. 

The series really kicked into gear when season two started on 8 November 2016. The opening sequence in episode one flabbergasted everyone 

Since then it has been a roller coaster ride of shock, horror and amazement as all the performers throw themselves into free space clearly clutching for something ephemeral. They provide stunning performances that I have never seen bettered anywhere. 

Some of the cameos have been brilliant. Michel Flynn as the poisoned dwarf was perfectly cast. The Scaramucci character burned bright but too briefly. I was disappointed to see him written out so early in the series. Vladimir as the dungeon wrangler was eerily good. 

And I was sorry when Sean Spicer left but his replacement Sarah more than filled his boots and is simply stunning in her role as the prevaricating waffler - yammering witlessly to groups of stunned journalists who dribble as their mouths hang agape.  

Of course the longer the show goes on - the greater the tendency is for the writers to jump the shark - and indeed some of the episodes are so far fetched as to make it necessary to suspend disbelief. 

But all in all a riveting, rollicking show with a madcap cast of characters and never ending series of impossible and hilarious situations.

I give it five stars. 

Monday, April 3, 2017


I have been in Paris during the last week visiting my daughter and her family. I have posted on Facebook daily but never seem to get time to write a blog. I have posted lots of photos on Facebook. Having discovered the magic of the exposure triangle I am giving it a solid workout. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Las Vegas


I got on a plane in Indianapolis and landed in one of the circles of hell. I should have known this from the plane trip. There was a drunk woman sitting behind me and she shouted and shrieked for the entire excruciating 3.5 hour trip. I think she may also vomited and defecated but I did not dare look. 

I have never seen anything like the Venetian hotel. I never wish to see anything like it again. If I was wearing a jock strap and sandals I would be overdressed here. There are poker machines in the airport. There are poker machines everywhere. And they smoke everywhere - EVERY FUCKING WHERE!

To get to our room we have to walk miles through acres of poker machines and smokers. 

We had dinner in a French restaurant and it was expensive so we figured that we would avoid most of the drunken women with their tits hanging out and the men with green hair and green shirts vomiting into the pot plants. 

It was so dark the only way I could read the menu was to photograph it with my iPhone and enlarge it on the screen. 

It's very noisy here we said to the receptionist and yes she said it is St Patrick's day and also MARCH MADNESS. 

This apparently causes many young people in America to congregate in places like Las Vegas and drink themselves insensible and wake up in the morning covered in vomit and semen. 

We did not venture outside. We asked where the quietest bar was and were directed to a place where there appeared to be a couple of hundred people engaged in hand to hand combat accompanied by heavy metal music and TV screens showing snuff porn. 

We went back to our room and ordered a $12 bottle of Pinot Grigio. This translated into a check for $120 but if you need to drink yourself insensible money is no object.


Today we went to Death Valley. It was very hot and very stark. It looks like most of America will look like after 4 years of Trump. 

I did not bring my camera on this trip because I did not think we would be touring the countryside. However - after in evening in Las Vegas we decided we needed to escape. It was not like I expected it to be but was sensational scenery. People camp out - in RVs of course - to see the night sky. 

Tonite we went to see Cirque de Soleil at the MGM Grand. This was about a mile from our hotel and it was hot so I said to Cate that we should catch a cab. No we will walk she said. I have never experienced anything quite like it. The strip is hard to describe but imagine more people you have ever seen in one place in your life all wearing clothes that look like they have been fired backwards through a thrift shop and - toss in a helping of drunks, panhandlers and near naked women - add excruciating music bellowing from every restaurant and shop and you are starting to get the idea. 

Most people seem to dress like they are just about to go to bed or else they woke up naked and in a drunken stupor after a party and put on what they could find in the trash can. 

It took us 40 minutes to walk a mile because there are many, many unavoidable detours as you are funneled into drinking, music and shopping areas. By the time we got to the hotel Cate was crippled with blisters and was hobbling. 

The MGM Grand is as terrifying as most other hotels but we found a very nice Italian restaurant and steadied our nerves with Lasagna and Soave. The show was wonderful. We got a cab home and crashed.

On this trip we used this Allegiant Air because it is the only one that goes from Indy to Las Vegas direct. We will basically do anything to avoid transiting through Chicago

This is one of those airlines where you pay to select a seat and pay to carry a bag on board and pay to get priority boarding. There is a box for donations on the way out of the plane.

When we first got TSA pre approval there were not too many people who used the facility. The TSA pre lane is the one where you do not have to remove your shoes and belt and take your iPad out of your bag. 

These days it is always immensely crowded and it is quicker to go through the non TSA pre lane. But we generally don't do it because we cannot be bothered taking shoes and belts off. 

Also in the TSA pre lane people are not shouted at quite so much. It makes me nervous when security people shout at me for an infraction I was not aware that I committed. There are so many possible infractions that there should be a manual and exams. 

They are always shouting SIR! SIR! you cannot……..

These people lie awake at night thinking about new tortures for passengers. I guess I would too if I was paid so little for dealing with an endless line of grumpy and whimpering passengers. 

In the Venetian monstrosity in which we stayed there was no way to the rooms except via the casino. I guess all the hotels are the same. We would not mind this except that smoking is allowed in the casino and we had to run the gauntlet every time we went out and came back. 

This is because many chronic gamblers are addicted to smoking. So in most parts of the USA you cannot smoke because smoking and passive smoking are lethal. But in Las Vegas your money is much more important than your health. So go broke and die. 

In the elevators the music being played is all classical and we heard Pachelbel and Brahms. In fact I think it may have been baroque music when we traveled 9 floors with a a man with a gut the size of Texas. He was not wearing a shirt and was sucking on a bottle of beer. He was also a world class belcher. 

There are trucks in the streets with signs saying that there a girls who would like to meet me. Well I sincerely doubt that but I was willing to meet one - but Cate would not let me dial the number. 

There are some interesting shows own in Las Vegas. One that caught my eye was Donny and Marie Osmond who have apparently been rated the number 1 show for the last three years.

Up until I saw that sign I had imagined the Donny and Marie would by now be in a nursing home being fed mashed peas but no - they are battling on and I guess they must really like what they do. 

But the act that astonished me was the Righteous Brothers. They are still going? Well actually as you all know they were neither righteous or brothers and one of them died from a drug overdose - but the survivor - Bill Medley has teamed up with Bucky Heard to storm Las Vegas. Unchained Melody has always been on one of my playlists. 

I no longer feel so old. 

Last week I was doing a new playlist for my iPhone - which I use in the car - and I deleted - for the first time ever - Chuck Berry. He took this rather badly as you know.

And he was working on a new album. 

There is hope for us all.