100 Minutes Wasted


100 minutes of my life, wasted, that I’ll never get back.

I just watched “The Last Man”.

What a waste of celluloid that is. Starring Hayden Christensen and Harvey Keitel.

Maybe Christensen is a bit young, but Keitel is old enough and ugly enough to know better.

The story is a formulaic, end of days, apocalyptic drama with added skinhead / nazi yobs.

Christensen plays a PTSD suffering veteran who builds a secret underground shelter. He receives advice from a street prophet played by Keitel.

Christensens character is never convincing and Keitels is even less so.

I really do wish that I had some paint drying, so I could have watched that instead.

My advice, avoid this movie.

Vampires Rock


It was Saturday night, we were in Bournemouth and we, well I really, were a little trepidatious. You see, we were going to see Steve Steinmans “Vampire Rocks” and we really didn’t know what to expect.

truckside

I’d seen the posters, visited the website but that doesn’t prepare you for the show. Even, while waiting to enter the auditorium, studying the audience as they entered the Pavilion Theatre foyer does not give any clues. I’ll admit to be a little concerned when I saw a guy, that must have been in his seventies, pushing one of those three wheeled zimmer frame contraptions. He must be a regular as the lady behind reception spoke to him like an old friend and was warning him that it was going to be loud. Obviously some of the audience had been to see Mr Steinman before as they were wearing costumes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Hammer Horror movie. And there were kids there too.

We were soon seated, the band took their places and we were off. Driven into the backs of our seats, like the old Memorex tapes advert from the seventies. The show also got off to a flying start, literally. The flying carried out by Steve Steinmans radio mic, presumably caught in his long coat, which was whipped out of his hand as he made his dramatic entrance. Once the mic was retrieved the show, which had spluttered a little in first gear suddenly went into overdrive.

Very soon feet were tapping and we were all clapping along. With Steve Steinmans able leadership we were treated to many classic rock rock anthems which included Queens “We Will Rock You”, T’paus “China in your Hand”, Bonnie Tylers “I Need A Hero”, Europes “The Final Countdown” and The Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” just to name a few.

It’s really hard to categorise the show. We have previously experienced “Rocky Horror…” and also Draculas in Queensland. It’s a bit of each of them but it is much more. Vampires Rocks is a cross between a rock concert (featuring a covers band), a musical show and a pantomime. Should Steve Steinman ever read this, despite what he said on the night, it really is a bit like a pantomime. We had the villain, the virginal heroine, the faithful servant who becomes a hero but most of all we had the audience interaction including the “behind you” moment. Most of all we were treated to the lightening fast adlibs and responses to the heckling.

Since most of the action takes place in the Live And Let Die Club I guess I shouldn’t forget to mention the pyrotechnics, the sexy costumes and the cage dancing which does set this show apart from your average panto.

The show is first and foremost about the music which tells the story, loosely tied together by moments of theatre, an evening of entertainment combining burlesque, contemporary music and comedy.

Highlight of the evening, well one of them, was when, to AC/DCs “Hells Bells”, we were treated to a display of aerial silk acrobatics.

Lowest moment of the evening was during Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child Of Mine”, not one of my favourites anyway, but we were treated to the most appalling guitar solo I have ever heard.

Most bizarre moment was when the main character Count von Rockula has been shot with a crossbow by Van Halensing. A member of the audience decided to join in and offered Coun Von Rockula an NHS Crutch !!!

All in all though, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We had tears of laughter and our ears were ringing for quite some time after leaving the theatre.

NB: Another draft, long overdue for publishing. The show was back in March 2019.

Limousin, France – Day 14


The morning started with heavy rain and thunderstorm surrounding the gite. With breakfast and the storm all done by 09:15, and with the sky brightening, we took to the car and set off. Todays target was Bort des Orgues but as usual we made detours or stopped off en route.

After filling up the fuel tank at Bugeat we pulled over to take in the beautiful vista that is le Lac de Viam. This is an artificial lake which now provides beaches from which many water based leisure activities are launched. And, as well as a feast for the eyes, the lake is an integral part of the French hydro-electricity network.

le Lac de Viam
le Lac de Viam, Correze, France

After enjoying the view we continued on our way, but not for long. Another small detour took us to Le Mont-Bessou just north of the town of Meymac.
Here we climbed the viewing tower

Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France
Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France

which I have since discovered

is built of Douglas fir, braced with steel cables, and is triangular in plan. 188 steps and six intervening landings, take the visitor to the main viewing platform, which is 26 metres (85 ft) above the ground.

Which probably explains why I came close to being seasick so far away from the sea. The tower resonates with every step as you ascend and never quite seems to settle, never quite stationary. Presumably that is why they have this mounted on the top deck in the middle of the floor.

Swing-O-Meter, Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France
Swing-O-Meter, Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France

I’m pleased to say that I did not see the pendulum swing out of the center circle.

All that aside, the views were, despite the clouds, spectacular.

View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France
View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France – Looking towards Meymac

View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France
View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France

All the fresh air, scenery and climbing the tower had made us hungry. So on we travelled to Bort des Orgues where we sat on the terrace of the Central Hotel overlooking the river and ate a superb lunch.

NB: I just discovered this post, in draft state. I don’t feel it is complete but have submitted it as is because my memories of that day are truly hazy.