America, Countries, UK

Rydell High and other cool schools

Sandy will always have pride of place above my bed in my childhood home where in my imagination I went to Rydell High and other cool schools.

Because we all know that the sole purpose of school is to get into trouble and get the girl.

And Sandy, aka the dearly departed Olivia Newton-John, was every schoolboy’s dream in 1978.

I’m Sandra Dee… licious

And so it was an unexpected highlight of my trip to West Hollywood and LA to be driven by Rydell High on my StarLine Tour.

What tales those walls at the Venice High School could tell, though Greaseheads already know where the real Danny and Sandy live…

In Radnor High School, Delaware County where director Randall Kleiser was schooled.

From Cumbernauld to Springfield

British education in the Seventies were a little less cool, more Gregory’s Girl and Grange Hill than Rydell or Ridgemont High.

Gregory’s Girl bucked the sassier American school film model with a quintessentially Scottish geeky innocent homespun charm.

And it put a new town on the map… what’s it called? Cumbernauld.

It’s hard too to countenance from the 2020s just how threatening Landin boys Tucker Jenkins and his pals seemed to Seventies parents.

It actually all went off (in truth just fat ties not buttoned up) in the site of St Audrey’s School, Hatfield, Hertfordshire outside London.

Take it as read: The Daily Prophet

Of course class-ridden Britain is defined by its private/boarding schools and comps.

JK Rowling’s world is very much the entitled one… magic, yes, if you have the money.

You can see Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Great Hall too in Hertfordshire at the Warner Studios’ Harry Potter tour.

And while that is more film set, obvs for the whole world Universal’s Harry Potter World is where it’s at.

Side by side with The Simpsons’ Springfield Elementary School… now that is magic.

My, my American Pie

Cherry on top: The other Jim

There are those, of course, who have dipped their toes in both, private and comp, most famously Inbetweeners’ Will.

And there and American Pie’s East Great Falls High were more akin to me and my pals than even our school.

Complete with bullshitter… I was more Simon.

Where there’s a Will: There’s a Briefcase Winker

The Inbetweeners’ Ruislip High, London in fairness probably would get you down.

While East Grand High, Michigan and a lakeside beach nearby and Tara is far more alluring.

Now while, of course, East Grand High remains closed to everyone but the other Jim and his pals…

My American high

NY’s finest: The Big Apple

This Jim though did have his day in an American school when I was invited to spend time in my cousin Eddie’s NY school.

One day was enough to bewilder my new classmates who thought I was from Mars after I opened my mouth.

But even Martians have their admirers (exotic, you see) and a couple of girls took a shine to me.

Not that Eddie told me, saying after that he was only being protective. Thanks Ed.

A would happen Ed’s brother Danny would make a name for himself in John Adams High School, or after school, or back in school (bear with me).

And another Danny

Harley credited: My cuz Danny

As Harley Keiner in Boy Meets World which we were assured was Philadelphia but was really Walt Disney in California.

Mind you Grease had already shown California must be the best place to go to school.

Because it’s the home of Rydell High and other cool schools.

 

America, Countries, Europe, Music, UK

Five concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee

And continuing our series, and because we’re not all pliant subjects, here are five music concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

Queen’s domain

Ready, Freddie go: Freddie Mercury

Live Aid, 1985: And the generational music festival from Wembley, London, for the Ethiopian Famine Relief when Freddie Mercury and Queen stole the show.

From the moment Status Quo kicked off we were rockin’ all over the world.

While Prince, Lionel Ritchie, Madonna et al put Philadelphia on the pop mark.

Stardust in Woodstock

Hippy shake: Woodstock

Woodstock, 1969: Before all that Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York broke the mould for music fests and climaxed the Sixties.

Joni Mitchell famously had to miss Woodstock because of the NY traffic but bequeathed her song for Matthews Southern Comfort.

You don’t have to… you can drown out the God Save the Queen’s with Jimi Hendrix’s electric version of the Stars and Stripes.

Up Pompeii

In the Pink: Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd at Pompeii: And the kings of stadium rock would never play at the local ground when Classical sites would do.

The ambient super group set the pattern at Pompeii for the rest, one we fully endorse.

Well, in best Travel fashion, we wish you were here.

Rocks in the Rockies

Red Rocks: Of course, the New World has its natural wonders too.

And Red Rocks hasn’t escaped the notice of rock’n’roll royalty.

With everyone from The Beatles through U2 to OneRepublic (in front of yours truly and a private audience) playing there in Denver.

Glasto blasto

Hello from me: Adele

Glastonbury: Now there have been many claimants to the crown of Queen of Glastonbury.

Beyoncé, the Queen Bey herself, Dolly Parton and the diva of divas Shirley Bassey.

Adele famously broke the record for f-bombing, cussing 33 times in her 90-minute sets.

Now that won’t happen at the Queen’s lovebomb.

Better then, sit back and watch these five… concerts to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

And like London buses there will be another couple of lists along over the next few days.

 

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Five films to escape the Platinum Jubilee

And because we’re not all pliant subjects here are five films to escape the Platinum Jubilee.

And other ideas will follow through the week.

Historical

Life is a Cabaret: Berlin

Cabaret: And because it’s only the best film ever made.

Daddy’s Little Girl was my proxy in Berlin this past week where she partied at the KitKat Club, named for the Cabaret burlesque club.

From the opening credits of the MC and Sally Bowles singing Wilkommen you will be drawn into 1930s Nazi Berlin.

It is musical, historical, tragic and comic. In a word it is Magic.

Comical

The talk: Jim and his Dad in the Great Lakes

American Pie: And this is like having to choose your favourite child (btw, it’s the one who buys you the biggest gift).

Who can pass Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Some Like It Hot, Gregory’s Girl, Monty Python and The In Betweeners?

But on the grounds that there are three of these.

Then the classic coming of age trilogy on the Great Lakes will keep you occupied, smiling and gorging in American Pie. Whisper it but Los Angeles doubles for East Great Falls.

Mysterious

Kathy’s no clown: Fried Green Tomatoes in Georgia

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe: And the title lives up to its billing in this Deep South Classic from Juliette, Georgia.

Juliette, 56 miles from Atlanta, is where the action takes place and you can still visit The Whistle Stop Cafe.

And no, they don’t put on a barbecue.

Feelgood

Feline better: A Street Cat Named Bob

A Street Cat Named Bob: Now we’ve all binged on movies on transatlantic flights… and often fallen asleep during some.

And a tip here… if you’ve worked out that you can fit in three movies, always pick the one you least want to watch as the last in case you do nod off.

I’m glad to say that I picked A Street Cat Named Bob as my first movie on the way over to LA… and cried.

It is set around Covent Garden in London and deals with a drug addict homeless man who is saved by a stray cat. And it proves that cats really are better than humans.

Scary

It’ll make you cross: The Exorcist in DC

The Exorcist: And scarier still than the cutesie little girl who turns evil, spins her head and chucks priests down stairs with the power of her mind, is that its true.

The author William Peter Blatty agreed with the family to change the child’s sex from male to female to defend their anonymity.

There are tales too that the actress Linda Blair was psychologically damaged by playing the part.

You can visit the area where it was shot in Washington DC. Head for Georgetown.

So that’s five films to escape the Platinum Jubilee, and we’ll come up with another listicle to plan your altenative Platinum Jubilee weekend.

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Mayday Bravo

And whether you’re keeping the red flag flying here, celebrating the Internationale or just twirling around a maypole it’s Mayday Bravo today.

It was, of course, an Irishman, Jim Connell, who came up with the emotive words in 1889 to go with the tune O Tannenbaum.

He had been travelling by train, where you can do a lot of your thinking, in London.

So to mark May Day we’ll revive our Rainy Days and Songdays occasional series with these May Day tunes.

Way to go, Joe

Folk champion: Joan Baez

 

Joe Hill – Joan Baez: And this workers anthem relates to a union leader, framed on a murder charge and executed in Salt Lake City.

But the organiser stands for everyman and of course returns to the narrator in a dream.

And in typical American storytelling style it covers the geography of the whole country… from San Diego up to Maine.

Lennon doctrine

Comrade Lennon: And Jimmy in Prague

Working Class Hero – John Lennon: They were more Lennon than Lenin in Prague during Soviet rule.

When they would congregate at the Lennon wall to protest.

Lennon, the Working Class Hero from Liverpool, has influenced as many if not more around the world from Hamburg to New York and beyond.

Tennessee tunes

Music town: Memphis, Tennesse

Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford: This ditty of a song with the catchy refrain derives from Kentucky’s Merle Travis in 1947.

And the line ‘You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt” came from a letter written by Travis’s brother John.

We’ve taken Tennessee Ford’s 1955 version which hit the top of the Billboard charts and was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.

The New Boss

Something to say: The Who

Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who: And the Cockney Four whose shows were as much about menace as music nail it here.

And they captured the working class fascination of the Mods in Quadrophenia in their odyssey to Brighton.

But it’s this anthem against The Man and its clarion call: ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’

Lady Donna

Summer time: Donna Summer

She Works Hard For The Money – Donna Summer: Now you might not associate the Queen of Disco with a societal message.

But the New Yorker penned this after seeing a toilet attendant asleep on her shift at a post-Grammy event in West Hollywood.

And a reminder too for all that while music is replete with messages of working men, working women have had it just as bad and worse.

 

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, UK

Banksy, Murtsy and a history of graffiti

If my school had had a more liberal attitude to wall art, folks would be talking now about Banksy, Murtsy and a history of graffiti.

After all I was only following in a Classical tradition that dates back to the Romans and Pompeii.

For yesterday’s lewd diagrams to denote their red light district think today’s cock and balls.

Whether the graffiti great of the Classics world had the same celebrity though as Banksy has been lost to history.

An exhibition of yourself

Banksy’s capital: The Flower Thrower

But the shadowy scribbler’s notoriety is richly deserved and are celebrated at a special exhibition in Covent Garden, London.

The Art of Banksy is the world’s largest touring collection of Banksy artworks, boasting over 100 original works.

And it has already been shown in Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Auckland, Toronto, Miami, Gothenburg, Chicago, San Francisco and Sydney.

Whether they have the rat and briefcase piece he drew when I took la famiglia to New York for the first time I’ll have to go along to Covent Garden to discover.

The exhibition highlights works made for charities all over the world.

From the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation to international activists Greenpeace.

Showing pieces from private collections, The Art of Banksy showcases his most iconic pieces.

Alongside rare works never seen by the public before.

American Graffiti

With bells on: Liberty Bell, Philly

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, lays claim to being the modern-day home of graffiti.

Although, as in most things, New York contests this and insists the City that Never Sleeps is an upgrade.

If you’re a city break fan and seek out the places where the ragged people go then you’ll always glory in graffiti.

Graffiti always explodes where repression reigns and the Berlin Wall was probably the most graffitied surface in history.

Czech this out

Imagine: Prague

We saw it too elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe and particularly in Prague.

Where the John Lennon Wall came to represent the uprising against the Soviet invasion of the Czech capital in 1968.

Put the boot in

The bad guy: Putin

Of course these challenging times have inspired an outpouring of creativity to reflect our support for Ukraine.

And our revulsion at the invasion and our belief that the writing is on the wall for Putin.

The good guy: Zelenskyy

So you have my permission to make your mark on history.

And maybe I’ll get my spray paint out and get my name out there.

It’s got a ring to it, doncha think for the next exhibition…

Banksy, Murtsy and a history of graffiti.

How to get there

Icons: The exhibition

The exhibition at 50 Earlham Street is on Thursday and Friday: 10.00 – 21.00, Saturday: 9.30 – 19.00, Sunday & Monday: 10.00 – 18.00.

And if you don’t know London, the nearest stations are Covent Garden (3 minute walk), Leicester Square (5 minute walk), Tottenham Court Road (8 minute walk) Holborn (8 minute walk) and Charing Cross (10 minute walk).

Tickets are priced from £14.50 and can be booked online at artofbanksy.co.uk or over the phone, on 08440 412001.

Countries, Culture, UK

How many Ukrainians can Buckingham Palace take?

You do the math, but with 775 bedrooms how many Ukrainians can Buckingham Palace take?

The Queen has moved back, of course, to Windsor Castle in Royal Berkshire.

Which means it’s free.

A room for free: For Ukrainian Vlodomir

And even someone of her considerable wealth could do with the £350 per month government payment for taking in a Ukrainian family.

It would all help to pay her second-born’s settlement with Virginia Giuffre.

A day at the palace

Don’t go out on the balcony: The Royals

Of course nobody gets into Buck House for free, unless your titled or entitled.

So it’ll be £30 of your pleb money for a visit to the State Rooms or £55 when it’s Combined with a Royal Day Out.

And that’s the State Rooms, The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews.

We’ve been down this route before flagging up the royal palaces around the UK which you can visit.

With the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the foot of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh an old favourite and former neighbour.

How to explain the British reverence, fascination and obsession for the Royal Family?

It’s a combination of tradition, pomp, ceremony and soap opera.

Tourist magnet

Snap happy: Get your pic how you can

And it is perhaps the biggest draw for tourists to the UK.

The experts, of course, are the guides who have an unrivalled knowledge of the history.

Whether they’re the Beefeaters at the Tower of London or the guides at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

And while your Beefeater is stiff and proper there’s a twinkle in the eye of your Edinburgh guide.

A bloody royal tale

Maneater: Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots

And he will cheerfully walk you through the story of the murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ favourite David Rizzio.

You’ll be invited into the Queen’s Chamber where the Scots lairds (that’s lords) killed the Italian in front of the queen.

And wend your way down the spiral stone staircase where the guide will point out to you and the impressionable American and Asian party…

Of the blood embedded in the stones.

I swear I saw a brush protrude from his satchel.

Haggis farms

Winging it: The haggis

Us Scots are noted for our dry deadpan wit and another example springs to mind of how the guides play with their party.

When Stevie apologised to the Irish party I was with in Aberdeen.

That we were running late and would not be able to visit the haggis farm.

And I had to prompt him later to put them right in case they wrote about the haggis farm in their articles.

Armoured and dangerous: And knowing smiles

So maybe it’s best to leave that question I set at the outset to the guides who know as much about the royal residences as the queen.

How many Ukrainians can Buckingham Palace take?

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

Touchdown LA

The eyes of the world will be on the Super Bowl tomorrow so let’s play a little game of stadium spotting… and Touchdown LA.

The magnificent SoFi Stadium is led-lighted up like a Christmas Tree so the world can see it from the air.

And while we, of course, always look out of our windows for iconic landmarks, us sporty types also target sports stadiums.

LA is my Playday

What an Angel: Jimmy in LA

Los Angeles: Now the first thing that we look out for when we fly into the City of Angels is the Hollywood sign.

Alas it is not so easily spotted up there in the hills meaning SoFi monopolises your view.

Cartoon fun: Simpsons

You can, of course, rectify that with a 8.8km walking trip up to the Griffith Observatory.

As long as you didn’t sit yourself down next to a passenger who was sick into her bag, gave it to you and passed on a 24-hour bug.

London calling

Wembley way: And Scotland are winning?

London: With 22 football grounds in the English capital you’d think you’d have a choice of viewing from the air.

You can see a good bunch of them, Wembley, the Emirates, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Stamford Bridge and the Thameside Craven Cottage.

More surprising is the ground outside of the capital in Watford.

And its red and yellow seats… very Harry Potter which is pertinent seeing you can visit Harry’s world there.

As the Hertfordshire town houses the Warner Bros. Studio London.

The other is in LA… and yes, I missed that too because of that passenger’s virus although I will be back, and obvs with Attraction Tickets Direct.

In Dublin’s air city

Green for go: At the Aviva

Dublin: And, of course, Irish sports fans will be converged in Paris today for le rugby et Les Bleus v Les Vertes.

For those of us who visit the Irish capital, or were lucky enough to live there for 13 years you’ll see their marvellous Aviva Stadium.

Which I will again tomorrow… and my heart is leaping.

The Cruyff turn Amsterdam

Bird’s eye view: How Cruyff changed football

Amsterdam: And this is really what they should call the pilot’s move as he flies into Schiphol Airport in Clog City.

The Ajax stadium is named after the Netherlands greatest-ever player after which this move was named.

The late Cruyff was iconic in his white and single red stripe Ajax top and Oranje national shirts.

And if you can board a bouncing train with the Oranje Army down to Rotterdam where Cruyff played latterly then all the better.

The Camp Flew

Bear hug: With Messi the bear

Barcelona: Cruyff is as big a hero in Barcelona as Amsterdam.

After reviving them as a player with his total football.

And as the architect of Barca’s Tiki-Taka football, taken to new heights in the Catalans Messi-inspired teams of the Noughties and Tweens.

I first saw Barcelona from the cabin of a cruise ship (as you do).

So I saw the city from the air in a helicopter.

I expressed my wonderment to the pilot about the stadium below.

Only for him to tell me that that was the Reserve Team’s ground and that the Camp Nou was coming up.

So if you’re flying into the City of Angels for the Super Bowl.

Or plan to visit in the future look out for the SoFi stadium… because it’s Touchdown LA.

 

 

America, Countries, UK

Potter gold for 2022

There’s a Potter gold for 2022 with a New Year’s Day reunion on TV to mark 20 years of the Boy Wizard films, and a road trip in my inbox.

And our friends at Family Money have outlined a route and what I’ll call a Muggles Budget.

And now with a flick of a Harry Potter wand I’ll now share.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the two cities that inspired JK Rowling the most are the most represented.

London and Edinburgh, of course, feature most heavily in the author’s life.

With the Scottish capital where JK has set up her demesne.

The two major capitals in the UK are also, because of their history and their architecture, among the most used sets.

The journey starts, obvs at King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 and three-quarters.

Your Potter planner

The magic train: And Harry’s off

And this is how Family Money lay out your Potter planner for you, the cost, and how much time you will need. 

 

King’s Cross Station

20 minutes to the next destination

3.6 miles to the next destination

Free

30 minutes

Leadenhall Market

10 minutes to the next destination

1.7 miles to the next destination

Free

5 minutes

Millennium Bridge

10 minutes to the next destination

1.8 miles to the next destination

Free

5 minutes

Tower Bridge

30 minutes to the next destination

2.8 miles to the next destination

Free

5 minutes

Platform for success

Party spirit: And even Voldemort gets into the festive fun

Your journey will take you more than 70 hours to enjoy if you are driving (not including sleep or food time) and could cost you up to £2714 if you are taking part in the full trip.

Explore the different bridges that were used as filming locations in The Big Smoke and enjoy walking the corridors at Gloucester Cathedral.

And relax with a drink in one of the many Harry Potter themed bars or stay in the J.K.Rowling suite for just £2370 a night!

As well as London and Edinburgh, you will also be traveling to Watford where you can look at the Great Hall and go behind the scenes of the filming.

Other essentially English sets include Oxford, Chippenham, Gloucester, Northwich, and Alnwick. 

Buckle up

Magic Murty: Showing off his wizarding skills in Watford

And to reiterate your journey (and I always need telling once, twice, thrice).

You’ll start in King’s Cross Station, venture to Leadenhall Market, Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, The Harry Potter Photo Exhibition, The Potion Room Tea at Cutter & Squidge, House of Mina Lima and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

That Warner Brother Studio Tour in Watford, north of London, is a must for families.

So next one will be Warner Brother Studio Tour before going all academic in Oxford at The Dining Hall at Oxford’s Christ Church College, Duke Humfrey’s Library at Bodleian Library, New Colleges Cloisters & Courtyard and The Divinity School at Bodleian Library.

Now I confess the next bit of geography and Potterology gets sketchy for me but you’ll know where to go.

So it’s Bodley Tower Staircase and Cloisters, Lacock Abbey, Harry Potter’s Parents’ House and Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway.

I know that Gloucester Cathedral is in the West, then there’s Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience before you hit the north and Alnwick Castle.

Welcome to Edinburgh

Gothic: Edinburgh

And seeing that I’m in the second chapter of my Scottish capital life let me take you around.

The Balmoreal Hotel  where the clock is always set three minutes late to allow rail passengers at Waverley some extra time to catch their train.

But that trip up to the Highlands can wait.

First we have to take in The Elephant House where JK wrote the early Potter.

Greyfriars Kirkyard where she took the names for characters such as McGonnigal.

The Victoria Street shops, J.K. Rowling Handprints, the Department of Magic Escape Rooms, the dramatic George Heriot School, The Dog House and The Cauldron (Harry Potter Cocktails).

Bridge of highs

And you can play quidditch too: In Orlando

Now some of these I confess have stumped me but I’m seduced by those cocktails, particularly as I wouldn’t be a fan of Butterbeer.

We’ll finish it off, of course, by driving past the bridge we all know, Glenfinnan Viaduct.

And if you have young people in the back make sure that the broadband is good and they can crank up the films on their laptops.

Of course as Harry is the gift that keeps on giving your clan will want you to take them to Universal Orlando for the full Harry Potter World experience

And Orlando is on the radar again for me too in ’22.

Trouble is you won’t want to return to Muggleworld.

So make your New Year’s Resolution to unleash the magic… and find your Potter gold for 2022.

 

Asia, Countries, Food & Wine

Cocktail Millionaire Hour

We’d been seduced by a rooftop viewing over Cannes but I baulked at a $16.50 Aperol Spritz… before I learned this week about Cocktail Millionaire Hour.

They must have heard about me at Pay Day Loans because why else send me news of a $22,600 cocktail, Diamonds Are Forever?

And so if you’ve got that down the back of a sofa then get yourself over to Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo.

What a sparkler

Glitzy: The Ritz-Carlton

We’re told the DAR in the skyscraper hotel is a Grey Goose vodka and a twist of lime…

And a $16,000 diamond on the side of the glass, and helpfully they advise not to swallow the diamond.

Not wanting to stymie any future chances of a stay at the Ritz-Carlton but that’s one expensive voddie and lime at $6,600.

Vegas mixers

Oh yes: The Ono

Now you pay for the celeb watching in Vegas too.

Although thankfully I had the good services of my hosts the Las Vegas Convention Board to thank for introducing me.

The Ghostbar in the Palms Casino is where you’d find everyone from Matt Damon to Paris Hilton.

But you always had to take your passport to The Ghostbar, Palms Casino to get in… they’d want verification that it’s really you.

Or you can check in at the XS Nightclub, Encore for a $10,000 Ono.

Which is a Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981 and Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac.

Plus the drink comes with a pair of men’s silver cufflinks and a woman’s 18k white-gold chain.

Playboy of the Cocktail World

Let’s shake on it: The Playboy

Now us playboys need a drink that best reflects our lifestyles.

And the $9,000 Salvatore’s Legacy at the Playboy Club in Mayfair, London, does just that.

It is made from a 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, Dubb Orange Curacao circa 1860 and two dashes of Angostura Bitters circa 1900s.

We don’t know what the tip is here but at 10% that’s $700 so be prepared when you hit the Big Smoke.

And the others

What every woman wants: The fast set

We’ve just extended our knowledge of Connecticut following our trip to Dublin for the VisitUSA Thanksgiving get-together.

And they were keen to flag up their rich casino tradition.

Usually if you’re gambling you’ll be offered a comp drink, but not alas a Sapphire Martini at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Now Hemingway sure loved his cocktails and the Bar Hemingway in Paris channels the Great Man.

Through its $1,670 Sidecars.

And one we made earlier: With my Cocktail Girl

When I go high set in Belfast I head for the Grand Central Hotel and the highest bar in Ireland, the Observatory.

Alternatively the Merchant Hotel will keep you in maraschino cherries.

They do an Original Mai Thai at $1,270.

While as coral and atoll islands have been in the news with COP26 et al we’ll finish off in the Maldives.

It’s a favourite place and I’m glad to see some Irish friends who had yet to have sampled its charms are over there now.

At $312 for a Hennessy Cognac it’s to be sipped and swirled around the mouth.

Yes, you’ll feel like a high-roller In Cocktail Millionaire Hour.

 

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, UK

Madonna Holiday

If we took a holiday/Took some time to celebrate/Just one day out of life/It would be/It would be so nice Madonna Holiday

And that’s why I’m pushing for a public holiday for us all on Madonna‘s birthday which is as it happens is today.

And to mark The Queen of Pop’s 63rd birthday (really?) here’s five belters from her catalogue which transport us to magic worlds.

Matadoronna

Birthday girl: Madonna

La Isla BonitaAndalucia, Cuba, San Pedro, Belize: And this is where Madonna goes all Hispanic on us.

Or more specifically Andalucian.

Madge fans like to identify La Isla Bonita as San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize but she says it is generic.

Although it is heavily infused by Cuban rhythms.

Go-on-delier

Venice dancer: And no danger of falling in the Canal

Like A VirginVeniceAnd Madge certainly announced herself on the scene with this bells, whistles and Venice lions vid.

Of course, a nod here to Signorina Ciccione’s Italian heritage.

With her dancing around on a gondola in front of The Bridge of Sighs.

And well ducked La Madonna.

California Praying

Racy: Madonna

Like A Prayer – San Pedro, Los Angeles Mission Maria Stella Maris church: You might associate this with the Deep South.

But the church where all that Jesus being reborn as Madonna’s fantasy figure happened in this Latin Church in California.

And while LA is ahead of the times and trends it grew out of a small Spanish settlement… Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.

Or Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula.

Oh what a circus

Miss American pie: But with an Argentinian twist

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina ~ And Madonna’s life’s dream, to play Eva Peron in a musical.

Naturally it’s shot in Buenos Aires but also Hollywood… and Budapest!

Time goes by so slowly

Raunchy: And with all the moves

Hung Up, London – And this was during Madge’s English phase of her life as she likes to call her marriage to Guy Ritchie.

London shows itself off with the Trocadero being used for the games arcade scenes and also approximating Paris, The Bronx in New York, and Chinatown for Shanghai.

All of which fits with Madonna’s status as a world icon.

And which is why we should all get the day off for a Madonna Holiday.