Archive for April, 2009

The Phantom in Vegas

One of the areas where the astonishing levels of OTT actually work in Vegas’ favour – is theatre. Now I’m not a big  fan of musicals.  Or even a small fan for that matter (in fact I still have nervous twitch from being subjected to The Wizard of Oz every day for two years when I was younger) . Anyway I succumbed to feelings of “when in Rome…” and bought a ticket to see the Phantom of the Opera playing in my hotel.They call it a “Spectacular” and it really is.


I am so pleased I went. It was a GREAT show. Firstly all the over-the-topness of Vegas was channeled into a fabulous purpose – built POTH theatre that apparently cost around $35M to build. THis was complete complete with an ENORMOUS two storey chandelier – certainly the largest in the business – that had the Phantom dangling off it at one point. Even better, the chap playing the Phantom was superb. My only previous knowledge was Michael Crawford but the Vegas Phantom (Tony Crivello) completely blew him out of the water to the extent that I think Christine ended up with the wrong guy.

Enormous Chandelier

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Vegas – still the strangest place on Earth

 This week I’ve been back in Vegas – actually in my favourite bonkers hotel here – the Venetian (where else would you find canals and gondoliers UPSTAIRS?)


 I thought nothing would surprise me here anymore, however a few things that have struck me:

  • this place is designed as a huge maze with networks of identical corridors. I think the idea is that when you inevitably get lost you repair to the casino for a cheeky gamble before continuing on your way.
  • This place is absolutely enormous. The other night I was working in my room and got thirsty. Now there’s no water in the room and tap water here is revolting. Presumably the plan is that when you pop out for something to drink, you can play some slots on the way or have a cheeky gamble….. Anyway, to get to the nearest water shop I have to: walk down several corridors to the lift, take the lift down 9 floors, along various corridors to the skybridge, walk across and into a series of identical atria, take a lift down 3 floors to the shop level, along several corridors and into the food court. That takes 7 minutes. One way.  It is at least 10 mins from the room to the outside world! Not surprisingly the place is full of lost souls trying to remember which identical but non-linked tower their room is in. Presumably this gets worse later as people start drinking.
  • I still can’t get over how tacky casinos are. People come here on holiday. Why?
  • People really do gamble 24 hours a day. I’ve been through the casino at 5am (was leaving for airport not returning home 😉 and 7am and whilst the place isn’t packed, there are quite a few tables and slot machines occupied by people who obviously aren’t the early rising type.
  • Despite tales of economy induced woe Vegas is actually pretty busy still. Yes the Wynn hotel keeps emailing me to ask me to stay and the Starbucks queues were shorter at the event I attended, but the Venetian was full and restaurant reservations were a nightmare. So not as bad as previously reported methinks.

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The importance of being Earnest

Isn’t it weird that you don’t notice something until it isn’t there anymore? Last week I went back to the UK. It was a visit that was looong overdue and not least of all because I’d started looking at preppy cardigans thinking “ooh that’s nice”. Anyway, what jumped out at me once it was absent was how EARNEST many Americans are. They just take themselves a little too seriously sometimes. So there’s a lot of good that comes out of unwavering self belief – just I think I prefer the British self deprecating approach. I mean, you have to be able to laugh at yourself or you are an uptight prig. Oh hold on…

Clarkson recently captured the difference in a recent  article “… when the first four Brits were sent to the new Top Gun academy in California, they didn’t much care for the “Maverick” and “Iceman” style of call sign adopted by their American counterparts. But their hosts insisted, so they came up with “Cholmondley”, “Dogbreath”, “Alien” and “Spastic”.

On a wholly different note – we Brits really do have fantastically bad teeth compared the yanks. I had never really noticed before.

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More genius from the mall in the sky

It really is a joy looking at the latest edition of Sky Mall each time I fly. The latest one had a pet special – oh the joy. Here’s one of my favourites. I bet my father wished he had something like this when washing my nices’s hair – suffice to say it involved a lot of water outside the shower and a soundtrack of screaming blue murder (my nice not my father. Mostly not anyway).

Anyway  – feast your eyes on this little beauty.Mall

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