Ich bin Anne Hunt aus London. Ich bin Qyper seit dem 25.03.2011
"No fear or favour - in my search for flavour!"
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Profil von Anne Hunt
Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7JX
13.06.2013 (aktualisiert am 15.06.2013)
Notting Hill, London W11 1BW
01.09.2011 (aktualisiert am 27.08.2012)
UPDATE: 27th August 2012
Every year when this Bank Holiday Festival comes along I say to myself, “Anne my girl, not again” “Have yourself a bad case of the vapours, the dreaded …X… disease or, if worse comes to worst, tell everyone you’ve decided to commit Hara-kiri,” but low and behold, every single year some sweet soul – usually a friend from the good old US of A – wants me to take them. So…being the jolly good sport I am, I masochistically allow myself to be pushed towards that West London area, where I pronounce myself to be brain dead or, at the very least, damn weak!
“This is a great place to come when you are young,” I sing out to my 53 year old female friend who has left me flat footed and rather hemmed in between two enormously, imposing West Indian males who are stripped to the waist, even though the sun she ’aint shining and who happen to be staring down at me energetically with ever increasing enthusiasm.
I sing out again, “AND YOU’RE WITH-IT” to the fading yellow dot in the distance who is now clinging passionately onto passing strangers as if intoxicated by the catchy rhythmic beat of the Caribbean music. Now I’m calling out to whomever might listen, “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS” and then in despair to myself…“I’m too old for this.”
When I was a teenager – and a wee bit smaller than I am today and an awesome amount more naïve, I loitered – without malicious intent, I might add – in the Notting Hill area, namely it’s quaint, yet rather sprawling market at Portobello Road. I introduced myself to the wonderful, colourful pubs, eateries and antique stalls and stood drooling, amazed at the pot-pourri of delights. However, sadly, in my ‘wide eyed and bushy tailed’ state, I fell foul to the old PPPP – known simply as the, Professional Pick Pocket Ploy. Undeterred, but much wizened for the experience, I began to study up on the history and beginnings of the market – and it’s now, very trendy, adjoining area known as Notting Hill Gate.
It’s origins go back to farmland and the name Portobello – having been named after Puerto Bello in the Caribbean. Consequently, there is nothing strange in the annual celebration that brings folks of various colours and creeds together for a massive three day street party of hedonistic proportions that emulates the carnivals one gets to witness in Trinidad and Rio – Brazil.
The focus of this August Bank Holiday Bonanza derives from the roots of the West Indian Community who got to settle in the West London Borough in the early 1950’s and as such, with it’s immense vibrant display of colour, intense characteristic food smells, rhythmic jungle beats and contagious party atmosphere. All attributed to those intrinsic Caribbean roots. Which is why the Notting Hill Carnival, with it’s international flavour, attracts those to it from all parts of the globe. Those who wish to soak up the abundance of joy that comes from unyielding exhibitionism and hedonism that is definitely untamed and only matched in their country of origin.
Many years ago, gangs of Down Under PPP’s ‘Professional Pick Pockets’ cleaned up big at this Carnival. It wasn’t over- policed in those days and as the British used to complain, “we once transported the buggers down there and now they’ve come back to haunt us!”
Beginning in 1964 this vibrant Festival has grown in strength and magnitude with gorgeously decorated floats, loud libidinous music and gyrating women who enjoy nothing more than showing off their ample bosom and girths for those who are hungering for a feast of flesh.
Although every year one will find a rather large police contingent, this year almost every Bobbie (Gendarme) in the Scotland Yard squad was on the beat and were given special permission to pat down – not so little – ‘Tommy and Tim’ checking to see if they were carrying anything they shouldn’t. Coming on the shirt tails of the horrific London riots, it is not surprising. And, while this is an altogether brilliant gathering of community and spirit alike, there are low points to be considered. Opportunism runs rife and my little scrape with those aforementioned PPPP (No longer from Down Under) those many years ago, still occurs in great abundance during festival time, so potential visitors best to check your STWW (Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch) at every opportunity.
Squashed to the seams with a vast array of people straining to get a glimpse of the highlights – is really not terrific fun, especially if you are petite. Smelling the body odours instead of the food aromas is neither great and pleasant either, particularly when you are, like myself – arm pit high. And, having lived in Holland Park in my youthful twenties, I can assure you, being so close to the aftermath festival bravado and raucous noise extending into the ‘wee’ hours of the mornings, isn’t that terribly invigorating either.
But still, as the photos detail, most enjoyed the vivacious celebrations that the Notting Hill Carnival had to offer and instead of sounding like a dinosaur, I shall leave it to the vibrant pictures to tell the story. At least one can say, that the usually cold and characteristically stark, West London suburban brick walls get to witness a much needed injection of life for three days of the year.
Roundup Way 20, SE, T2G 2W1 Calgary
10.08.2012 (aktualisiert am 11.08.2012)
It's been far too long since I had the time to do a Qype review and some concerned Qypers have lambasted me for my tardiness, while asking after my mental health. Many excuses later, including - not being able to split myself in more directions than ten at a time, getting to grips with minute keyboards on smart phones, where you just know that if you had a chubby Michael Moore trigger finger you'd be sending off the whole damn alphabet. Plus, and the biggest one of all, having to play 'Acting Mother Teresa' in the Press Room while my Editor continues to convalesce in the hospital .
But, all of these excuses aside, there are dozens of places on the Globe I've been to since my last review, which seems like eons ago (Hell. Sounds kinda like me kneeling down in front of Father O'Flaherty in a rather claustrophobic confessional box, bent on fibbing my way out of a lengthy penance) Anyway, today I'm determined to tell you about my trip to Alberta, Canada as it left a lasting impression and more importantly, they hold one of their greatest rodeo celebrations on the world calendar, 'The Calgary Stampede.' Held in July every year.
Many already know of my love of horses, whether they be Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Stock horses or Rodeo high kickers. I like to think I've ridden 'em all, been thrown by most - but dusted off my 'Chaps' well enough and jumped right back on again. 'Englishmen, please note.' I am not referring to your gender, but the leather 'Chaps' so named so as to stop chaffing of the inner-thighs on one's delicate anatomy.
But back to Calgary before I get into below the belt areas, which 'Chaps' invariably like to hear about, almost as much as young ladies like myself who are closing in on the 'Cougar years.'
You don't have to be a cowboy to enjoy the world's greatest Rodeo event. Even though, actual participation in events like Steer Wrestling and riding half-psychotic wild Broncos is by invitation only, with over $2 Million up for grabs in prize money - so, a trip to the Hamptons could be on the cards. But, even if this spectacle of witnessing the share skill and brutish strength of our participants, the physical adrenaline flow peaked to its highest point stretching all known muscles to their ultimate limit, and not forgetting, the stubborn determination that brings on that brilliant, unadulterated, climatic crescendo of Yeehaw is too mundane for you, or, you don't like the evening barbecues with lots of juicy spare ribs in hickory sauce, not to mention the tremendous fun to be had line-dancing, you will, at the very least be in a city and a province that is one of the most wonderous places in the world. Yes. When it comes to scenery and the great outdoors, Alberta tops 'em all!
This is natures playground. You can hike, fish, climb, paddle a canoe, camp out or kiss a Grizzly Bear. The latter, however, is not recommended for Greenhorns, although some families have - rather unfortunately - persuaded the occasional dim-witted Mother-in-law to try it out. (But that's a grizzly tale for another time or when you're in an 'Edgar Allan Poe' mood – so, just let me know).
Banff National Park is as famous a Yosemite National Park, with their crystal clear lakes, wild mountain sheep, coyotes and eagles. Mountain trails galore and always a horse close by to ride, all trained to carry the small children more safely than any mountain goat - and all the time, even in July through the occasional misty rain, you will see the famous Rockies looming like an ancient god in the distance.
But of course the one great thing to remember is, if you are NOT going to Calgary to see The Greatest Show on Earth, that being, the glorious Calgary Stampede, because your partner or family might think you're a 'Hick' for wanting to go to such an event, just make sure they first know that for the last two years Calgary has been voted the 'Cultural Capital of Canada.' The museums, art galleries, shops, modern restaurants and not forgetting, the Wonderful Outback Horse Ranches, portray the entire history of the Canadian Wild West along with the Indian Territories. Canadian history and culture is emblazened everywhere you look.
PS: So it is not just about the Stampede, but what all goes on around it to make up the Stampede and upon reflection, if it is going to be a family trip for you and experiencing the wonderful spectacle of this Canadian Province, go ahead and take the wife and kids.Temptations in the wilderness is infectious and may well push yours to the brink, that is, if a Mother-in-law tags along too...
Just remember, Grizzly Bear Fever is at it's height in July!
3 Place Opéra, 75002 Paris
At some stage, during the pre-Christmas run up to that now over-blown commercial event, the thought of shuffling around shops that were being systematically squeezed at the seams to breaking point with over-burdened, over-zealous, methodical and mightily obsessed gift givers has, in recent years, not been high on my list of life-saving priorities.
My meagre and diminishing brain cells always tries desperately to multi-task over a list of countries I have to make fleeting business visits to prior to the year’s end, not to mention, the number of people I may just have to corner (interview) during that Christmas/New Year silly season. Obviously not forgetting the light boot-licking needed to comply with family tradition, coupled with the ever so flaky kissy kissies thrown in for good measure when I see one of my siblings who live on far flung shores – and of course, more importanly their delightfully, high-strung and gift-greedy offspring.
However, like any good, warm hearted – yet, commercially masochistic individual – who, at the end of the day, gets a kick out of a dose of wallet purging-splurging around that time of year (In the UK they call it retail therapy) I look long and hard for somewhere trendy, zappy and unique to take my frustrations out on. Maybe even a place that doesn’t like to be forgotten!
“Oh, well,” I said to myself spotting Benetton and eye-balling their rather provocative and cunning store front with their latest Unhate advertising campaign with morphed images of every world and church leader, despot and aspiring despot locking lips in an obvious consensual change of heart for each other. This type of shock and awe advertising therapy is usually not my cup of tea. It’s much too like the American Republican Presidential Campaign. A blatant distraction from what‘s really going on inside. In fact, it reminds me so much of the American election system where the opposite party to the encumbered Government, takes the attention away from themselves totally and their own rather poor policies, by way of highlighting their opposite number’s shady and inadequate side (If they haven’t got one, Hollywood Scriptwriters are a dime a dozen)
The same, I am afraid, can be said for Benetton‘s empowering campaign. Cheap gimmickry – under the guise of Love thy Neighbour with passionate embraces outside (no matter how much you really want to spit on him) sublimating for cosy warmth and fair play inside.
The ‘oh so obvious’ Powers of Psychological Persuasion aside, I, just like the rest of the synthetic sheep following (Don’t expect to see many natural fibres at Benneton any more) I took the plunge and shuffled my way inside.
I have to say, your heart indeed lifts when you walk into a Benetton store because the vivid colours are designed to attract you, however, if you tend to be a weary, investigative type like me – having just witnessed the not too subtle show-boat advertising posters outside – you quickly realise the same cunning approach to marketing hasn’t stopped at the front door, because the rather sly façade continues within. And, if it is true accord you are looking for, where skin seamlessly moves in sync with natural Benetton fabric, then, you are really in for a harsh reality check.
Manufacturers world-wide have seen the days of huge profits sliding through their greedy little finger tips. The hefty margins have gone bye bye and to overcome the turning tide, they have opted for cheaper quality materials and even cheaper labour costs – the result? It’s as obvious as the plastic surgery on many famous Hollywood faces.
Benetton is one of these companies – and it is a sad indictment indeed. And, the reason why they have to rely on contrived advertising to get people in these days instead of going back to the basics. Quality is what Benetton used to stand for, but sadly, no longer.
There is no question that their snazzy colour-range – which conjures up a refrigerator full of vegetarian delights that would have Lady Gaga ripping off a cardigan arm hoping to make a meal out of the decidedly edible looking garment. The styles as well are always super hip, so in both these particular departments, nothing has changed. But, gone are the lusciously thick and thoroughly pure woollen knits and rich cotton fabrics in skirts, tops, slacks and jackets and instead replaced by ‘wool mix,’ ‘cotton blend,’ and plastic like synthetics that you could easily float down the Amazon on and even the hungry ‘Crocs’ would snub you.
Years ago you could always tell if someone was wearing a Benetton item, it stood out a mile and you felt thoroughly groovy wearing the trend setting label. But now, disappointment has replaced that former glee. Benetton has forfeited their distinctive measure of excellence for appearance and profitability – What’s new Pussycat – In other words, like other clothing chains who have fallen foul of the Asian sweat-shop syndrome, using inferior quality, artificial fibres – and often poor workmanship – even though in Benetton’s case they have mostly chosen the former Eastern bloc countries as well as taken the Asian and Oriental locations for their outsourcing. No great difference. Cheap labour is still cheap labour.
Have other Benetton faithfuls also noticed how poorly the finish is these days, and how thin and coarse the fabric has become? Check out the labels and you wouldn’t even recognise the country that the garment has been manufactured in. Places I didn’t even know were still on the map like Chernobyl – well, possibly not quite contaminated to that degree, but I feel you’ll get my drift. If you don’t, no matter. You may be a person who likes the look, has a spare million to spend and can replace it with something else the following week and use the discarded garment to wash the car on Sunday…Warning I tried that once and the fabric was so much like sandpaper, it scratched my poor Merc.
SW 3rd Ave, 400, Fort Lauderdale, , 33315 Fort Lauderdale
20.12.2011 (aktualisiert am 24.12.2011)
Last Saturday evening after shooting an interview with a local Politician in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – a gentleman who has aspirations of running in the Presidential elections next year, which turned out to be the first practical joke on me of the day, as this politician’s amazingly, deadpan oratory powers would be lucky to get him a job at a local Fairground selling warm beer. So, shooting the politician between the eyes wouldn’t be such a bad idea rather than shooting the interview, I can tell you, it would have been saving the American public a fate worse than being bored to death.
That first disaster aside, a member of our film crew suggested we visit a themed Restaurant that evening which is located in a very quaint Marina near Downtown Fort Lauderdale and after reading a local glossy tourist’s guide advertising the place – plus seeing a few lovely photographs of the locale, the cuisine and the Marina itself, it all appeared marvelous and actually sounded and looked distinctly like a hearty privateers high adventure on the high seas.
Themed restaurant’s often attract me when I am in the mood for ‘Joie de vivre’ for they usually have an unbridled atmosphere that is remotely removed from the clinical and stilted in-house restaurants one can get in some 5 star Hotels.
Armed with a few phrases like ‘Hi Ho Silver and ‘Aye, me hearties’ (No parrots for shoulders were available upon request at our hotel however) this landlubber and my crew of fellow landlubbers thus set out ready to sail into what looked like a Pirate’s Den of supreme gastronomical delights.
Although, I am not unknown for satirical jokes on others and love the surprises that life’s ironic twists and turns dump upon us from time to time, ‘The Pirate Republic’ may very well be the most grotesque ironic take-off on it’s own name I have struck ever since I first discovered the Ten Commandments were originally written on the back of a tablet known as an aspirin and not of actual stone (The reasoning of the almighty being that we would actually SWALLOW it all, plus, it would allow us to reach for the painkilling bottle after excessive sin)
After all my travels around this shrinking, over-populated planet I should have been aware by now that Pirates come in all forms of disguise in this tricky world. But, seldom is a spade presented as precisely as a spade so blatantly these days. When others set out to rob us and poison us at the same time.
I am fairly sure by now you can see a modicum of disillusionment creeping into my copy here and while the location of this active ‘Blackbeard Establishment’ (I sincerely presume this infamous Pirate’s ancestors own it) I can say in it’s favour, that the staff’s Pirate-like attire and the glorious setting of this ‘Man O War’ on the Marina could lure in the most trusting passing Frigate or Brigantine full of gold and sailors with heavy purses full of Doubloons.
I mean, how naïve am I? Skull and Crossbone flags are on full display here and while there’s a bawdy and flamboyant ‘Spanish High Main’ feel about this ‘joint’ that might appeal to any with skullduggery in their genes – that is, if I can use such a local American term like ‘joint’ that suggests ‘Not so god-damn hot’ without being sued by the Pirate’s Lawyers.
I will say up front, that any place that seats 200 on the top deck and 300 on the bottom deck, is definitely far more than the ‘Golden Hind’ on a voyage of discovery. But a genuine Pirate Ship on the make. This place simply cried out ‘Pack ‘em in and take a little off a lot’ feel about it. However, we are definitely not talking small change prices here, no, no sire. And, while $31 dollars for a steak is not chump change (Pardon another Americanism) the photos I have up on here will show you a sample of the food menus, and so do let me know if the décor and marina surroundings gets you in visually as it did me, just so I can feel a little better about modern ‘Robbery on the High Seas.’ I mean really, a rose by another name but I could not possibly call this menu, food. Slop more like it for the lowly deck hands.
Not quite satisfied with hefty prices on the plates of grub they’re dishing out, come the count down to 2012 their buffet dinner will set you back a mere $60 a head! Oh, that’s without the aperitifs and inflated cocktail prices. Seaway robbery all right!
Summary: Those who carry side arms and swords may well love this place and it’s Stock-pot-like, mass produced faire or, you may just be satisfied with the view over this magnificent Marina and a touch of a squeamish tummy when you get out of there.
At the end of this nauseous experience, myself and my band of Cut-throats (we started out as mere pussy-cats) were all ready to hoist up the French Tricolours and the Union Jack and stand offshore and give the place a salvo of European broadsides it would not easily forget.
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
17.12.2011 (aktualisiert am 19.12.2011)
We all know that languages evolve and often dramatic change can even come about in merely a generation or two. We only have to look at how abbreviations have become popular in text as well as internet hip hop cyber-jargon. Sometimes quite daunting, even to a professional decipher expert in an Intelligence Agency.
Nevertheless, whether the language is English, French, German or even Urdu there remains the purists who pride themselves on using their criteria at a point where they feel their own particular language has reached its peak in terms of perfection.
Shakespearian English, although not in its lyrical form, is a yardstick that is often referred to when we speak of the purity of the language I am using here. In fact, in most parts of the Euro-zone areas where English is taught as a second language, it is somewhat more precise than taught in the home counties of England – as it also is in many parts of the north-west areas of the USA. Many might say, Bostonian English can often be easier to follow – in its written and spoken form – than the English taught at Wallow-on-the-Marsh in rural England.
So why do I make this initial point?
People who had the great pleasure of reading Helen Hanff’s modern classic, 84 Charing Cross Road where a Philadelphia born New York based writer – first published in 1970 – where it shows her 20 years of correspondence with Frank Doel, a buyer for Marks & Co, a London bookshop, on which she depended on obscure classics and British literature titles, which her passion for self-education revolved (The book was made into a film with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, and a must for all lovers of fine literature) they will appreciate why, when George Whitman, the Owner of Paris’ famous English language bookshop, Shakespeare and Company died last week aged 98 and that he was mourned around the world by great writers, would-be writers and millions of readers alike.
The remarkable longevity of this eccentric, but much loved man – and the fact that through books – fantasy and fiction – his life probably took on wonderful disguises, brilliant adventures, time travelled and had altogether unremitting romances – that always ended well – and endured battles and mayhem, yet came out of it all totally unscathed. His entire life was books – books that could quite literally take your breath away. And, wonder of all wonders, they were all in English – IN PARIS!
When I first visited this amazing shop I was into my second year at Oxford and enamoured by a language that was not my original mother tongue, but having already absorbed the great writings of Madame de Lafayette, Voltaire, Alexandre Dumas, Théophile and Jean-Paul Sartre my mind was drawn to the great English writers.
George Whitman had by then, expanded his small shop to house 13 extra people if required to do so. Either the accomplished high and mighties, or aspiring would-bees if they could-bees and even just the lowly book lovers could stay when in town – free of charge. Oh, yes, George had strong socialistic leanings and he had kept acquiring more portions of the building he was in to house his great loves. Books and the people who also loved his books.
In those days – myself, the usual struggling student of the times – spent a night talking to George surrounded by his books, plays and anything that he thought was a great work of art in the written English word.
These works swallowed up George’s life and if you couldn’t afford to buy something that was required reading, George would lend it, again free of charge.
George saw himself as patron of a literary haven, and in the lean years after World War II, and the heir to Sylvia Beach, the founder of the original Shakespeare & Company, the original shop became a haunt of Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce in its early days.
Overlooking the Seine and facing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the store appears, now, like the old shops of the famous Charing Cross Road in London, a somewhat character filled, colourful store with a Dickensian flavour and over three floors is a mixture of open house and writers commune.
For countless years George Whitman provided food and makeshift beds to aspiring novelists letting them spend a night, a week, or even months living among the crowded shelves and alcoves.
Even more remarkable is, this great man was an American – born in 1913 in East Jersey. His early life saw him moving around the globe quite dramatically something that he continued to do into adulthood until he arrived in Paris and although without much money but with a great love and desire to open a book shop. He did just that in 1951.
When you look at another incredible thing is that the original owner of that first Shakespeare & Company was also an American – Sylvia Beach who was born in 1887 in Baltimore USA and in moving to Paris also dreamt of opening her own book store which she did in 1919 calling it Shakespeare & Company. (George inherited this title upon her death in 1962 and again applied this name to the current book shop as a homage to her.)
Sylvia Beach, sadly had to close her doors to S&C during the German occupation in 1941. Rumor had it the Gestapo thought it was being used as a meeting place for Secret Agents for the allies.
That aside, here we have two Americans bringing the English language together – and not an English man or woman in sight.
When you see the English Prime Minister, Cameron, French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor, Merkel all speaking together they use, what in France and Germany is known as ‘Shakespearean English.’ That is not to say, that Sarkozy cries, ‘Ah, where art thou with thee economy, thou roguish Cameron?’ Nor does Merkel disappointingly says to Sarkozy ‘What hast thee hidden up thou vast proboscis?’ No. Of course not! The term is merely applied to a preciseness of ‘Business English,’ and given the term ‘Shakespearian.’ Perhaps because it is more colourful and visual. An articulated sense of the word. Maybe it is the English that many of us would prefer to see at times, even though preciseness can often deprive us of one of the idioms of indigenized English, for without that idiomatic colour and flavour, TV drama and film would be dreary and very mundane. So we compromise. A bit of this and a bit of that!
George saw himself as patron of a literary haven in the lean years after World War II, and being the heir to a small inheritance of his Aunts, as well as the heir to a lot of Sylvia Beach’s fine books, plus the name of her store Shakespeare & Company. And, as a gracious nod to her, when George’s daughter was born, she was given the classical name of Sylvia Beach Whitman.
So, let us just say, that while the great and wonderful man, George Whitman helped keep English intact, while he may not have been part of the evolution of English as a language, he kept its purity enshrined for those who like it that way!
Central Ave 700, Louisville, Kentucky, 40208 Louisville
14.12.2011 (aktualisiert am 16.12.2011)
November of this year 2011 – a year of financial turmoil in some fields of human endeavour – but on the Horse-Racing fields of Kentucky, there was no such sign of any such turmoil. This November had me stretching my wing span from Melbourne, Victoria – Australia, to Louisville, Kentucky – USA all in a matter of a few days to ensure track-side viewing of two of the world’s greatest and most exciting race meetings. The first being the Melbourne Cup, the world’s richest Handicap thoroughbred horse race and the second meeting, for two grand days and fifteen glorious races of sheer joy and racing bliss at Churchill Downs for the tremendous Breeders Cup. Entitled, as usual, by Americans – when it comes to many sporting events – as the World Horse-Racing Championship.
There is nothing quite more satisfying than to sniff newly mown hay and Blue Grass Turf – and to hear the soothing sound of a fit thoroughbred horse’s neigh, which says quite simply, ‘Let’s get on with it’ while standing restless in their protective stalls before being mounted by their skillful jockey to head towards the parade ring. Then, as they reach the starting gates, along with the uplifting roar of the huge crowds, the distinctive sound of these majestic creature’s hoofs leaving their starting stalls and gathering speed, pounding through the first furlong – embracing the course like there is no tomorrow and no end in sight.
This 2011 Breeders Cup for me marked 7 years of Breeders Cup attendance – and while there are question marks as to whether this particular feisty filly, myself, can still strut her stuff with the best of those who follow the yearly Breeders Cup pilgrimage, methinks she can still hold her head up high and sigh, ‘well, I certainly ‘aint an old grey mare to be put out to pasture just yet!’
Traditionally the Breeders Cup is held at a different USA venue every year and while it once was known as the richest one day race meeting in the world – now stretched to two days – it has since been surpassed by the The Dubai World Cup which has a give-away collection of monies worth over $US21 million – $US10 million on the main race card attraction alone. Pure pocket change, of course, to those wealthy oil magnates who live in Dubai and the Emirates and who have an oil well or two in their backyards, no less.
Each Breeders cup race is a momentous one which covers various distances and track surfaces, but they all lead up to the highlight event, the very last race on the race card, the Breeders Cup Classic worth a cool $5million to the winner and run on a dirt track.
There have been some simply spectacular wins over the years, along with a few bitter disappointments, as everyone – no matter what their flight of fancy – loves a champion to stay a champion, come hell or high water – and to always get home first. The joy of seeing the great Kentucky mare Zenyatta coming from mother-less last on her own home turf and then on the turn and into the straight, weaving her way through the great wall of horses in front of her in her traditional style, and with her trademark of a late finishing sprint to the line to actually put her nose in front – where it belongs – was a sight unparalleled in any sport ever seen anywhere. Watch this 2009 event below to see the horse finish of the century.
After a steely career of 19 consecutive wins under her belt, which included two Breeders Cup wins and going for her 20th, her last year being 2010 in none other than the almighty Breeders Cup Classic, the ‘Great Dame’ of racing left her barrier stall very late and was once again, ‘stone mother-less last,’ except this time, it was if she was taunting her backers, and leaving her run to the finishing line even too late for her. She finished an agonising second with only a nostril in it and to the eventual winner, ‘Blame.’
An aptly named winner, I suppose, under the circumstances, much to the shock and dismay of the huge crowd. Who were more than happy to ‘Blame’ the unlikely jockey rather than the horse – or the circumstances. Such is the bewildering logic of followers of thoroughbred horse racing. Optimists to the end in any race.
However, as a racing fan myself, it’s hard not to lay some ‘Blame’ for this heart-wrenching defeat squarely on the shoulders of the jockey, Mike Smith, a famous American hoop (Jockey) who I am sure will never forgive himself for his lack of timing and judgement in this famous racing event.
And, while here, I can not forget the great Irish mare Goldikova who won the Breeders Cup mile three times in a row and was going for her fourth this year. Sadly, her defeat was inevitable as she was squashed in on the rail and to her adoring fans she had to settle for a disappointing third spot in a race that will be remembered for being a pretty scrappy event.
During Breeders Cup week us ‘foreign infidels’ march into town in our droves from all corners of the earth, but instead of wearing Texas ten gallon hats perched high, with steel capped boots and gun slung at the ready, we usually arrive decked out and brilliantly presented in our tailored ‘Armani suits’ and ‘Saville Row’ or ‘Bond Street’ outfits.
The best of the stayers on turf seem to come out of Europe and they know turf racing like no others in the world and their staying thoroughbreds always shine all over the world.
In fact – The European and English banks can often enjoy a beefy transfer of funds into their coffers after a weekend’s racing at the Breeders Cup Turf Track.
This year, however, saw the only two big wins from the European contingent coming from the golden hands of Irish Trainer, Aidan O’Brien and the Irish Ballydoyle Team with Wrote ridden to perfection by champion English based jockey Ryan Moore in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf.
The next follow up win coming for this skilled and prolific trainer – probably even capping Aidan O’Brien’s amazing career so far and which saw this usually reserved fellow shine with tremendous pride – mainly because it was his 18 year old son, Joseph who was in the saddle of the winner St. Nicholas Abbey, and who rode with precision and outstanding tenacity, patience and steely timing that would generally come from years of determined experience in the saddle. And this time, Ryan Moore had to be satisfied with second place on the British mount Sea Moon. Afterwards all one could say, was the script for these winning Irish horse events seemed Wrote in Hollywood.
This historic win for young Joseph O’Brien crowned him the youngest Breeders cup winning jockey of all time and at 5‘11“ tall and still growing he had better slow down, start smoking or stop drinking ‘Guinness’ or it may be his last as a flat jockey.
But, hey folks, does it really matter? Having snagged a $3USmillion purse for the horse’s owners he will no doubt be waving the trophy around for many a long year to come and his jockey‘s fee will come in handy also.
In the $5US million Breeders Cup Classic we saw an ironic chance of fate for last years failing jockey Mike Smith. This time he left nothing to chance or fate and redeemed himself on long shot Drosselmeyer who came out on top and scooped home the win from his former paramour, jockey Chantal Sutherland into second place on Game on Dude. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on that changing room wall afterwards?
Still, presuming you might be a champion horse and are able to stay on top of your game, or one that is not quite at its peak. There is no denying, that these sensitive and glorious animals love to show off and us humans believe they do actually hear the humungous roar of the crowd pushing them home, forcing them forward to that finishing line and into a place in the history books. Surely, this is not only exhilarating for all concerned, but worth every blood vessel burst in the process!
St. Paul's Churchyard, St Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AE
12.12.2011 (aktualisiert am 16.12.2011)
Probably the only people in the world who think St. Pauls Cathedral is just another piece of western religious decadence is President Ahmadinejad of Iran and King Flukah of the Arunga Tribe in Papua, New Guinea. Normally, anyone who gives Sir Christopher Wren’s great Cathedral – a masterpiece of architectural genius – less than 5 stars here deserves to be drawn and quartered and their entrails sent to Scotland to be made into Haggis. So why do I dare commit such blasphemy here?
To explain and make a very long story and a rather big Cathedral less of a Federal case, we have to look back to the original hallowed ground when Mellitus – Bishop of the East Saxons – built the first one in the year 604. Since then, it suffered more than a few disasters. Mostly of the grave inflammatory kind. And anyway, St. Pauls will indeed get their fifth star back when the Masters of said building grow some backbone and kick out the offensive tent-lodgers who are over-shadowing such a fine and erstwhile house of prayer.
After being burnt in 962 and then again after another attack by a local arsonist in 1087 and then rebuilt by the Normans, it reached it’s first major highlight in English history when Katherine of Aragon married Prince Arthur in 1501 – no relation to the mythical King Arthur I hasten to add – and then again in 1526, because of the London Bishop’s campaign against Tyndale’s new Testament. It was the same place where that doomed document was burnt.
It reached real fame when Queen Elizabeth I prayed there after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. And, with a breathing sigh of relief, the only fire about then, was the musket fire shot into the air in celebration.
But, in 1604, the four Gunpowder Plotters led by the famous and explosive Guy Fawkes, after being suitably drawn and quartered, were all hung in St Paul’s Garden. However, it wasn’t until 1666 when the Great Fire of London again brought more hell, fire and brimstone to this historic place and burnt it once again to the ground. So, we could say up until this point in history, that the Devil – in many a mischievous guise – had been at play here on frequent occasions.
However, when Christopher Wren in 1668 was commissioned to design a final glorious building. The one indeed that stands in the spot today, which after many hardships wasn’t finished until 1710, and that somehow, an exorcism from fire took place gratis of the great man himself. It became the venue for the burial services of many great people from Lord Nelson, to The Duke of Wellington and honoured Queen Victoria’s Jubilee to Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral. Then on to Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee and where Prince Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer to everyone’s great delight at the time.
And even before then, the Germans did there best to again destroy it with fire by a good old World War II bombing. However, apart from minor damage, that old exorcism that was performed by Christopher Wren stayed intact. St. Pauls survived.
It seemed until not long ago that the curse of fire had left this much scarred ground. Well, that is until only some months ago when it came under fire again, of a rather different kind. This time by the very grace of the church itself because it’s administrators allowed a group of protesting tent dwellers, mostly mischief-makers and have-nots and those who always have to complain and gather each time in packs when society stumbles onto hard times, to try and interfere with the life of those who try that little bit harder to help society recover. Even now, today, the courts have not managed to stop this obnoxious tent blockade of this marvellous, stoic and historical building – on such sacred ground and for quite awhile these social misfits have almost achieved what the once mighty German Air Force could not achieve – and bring it under heavy fire again.
Hopefully, their tent based gas cannister cookers and their ragamuffin audacity will pass and not ignite the devil into returning with even more fumes. However, somehow one feels the great Christopher Wren will keep these devilish troublemakers at bay from his celestial seat and the superb structure will stand well clear of troublesome fumes for at least another few hundred years.
Of course, a little prayer for an almighty good cause may just do the world of good. At least the bad weather during the wintry months in London might just flood more than a few Tent-ships into Father Thames. Christopher Wren’s Poetic Justice?
Abdel Hamid Badawy St,, 114 Rawda Al Sheraton - Heliopolis, Cairo
03.12.2011 (aktualisiert am 16.12.2011)
I was about to review my November 2011 annual jaunt to the exciting thoroughbred horse-racing carnival, the great Breeders Cup held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky – which like many events in the USA, from boxing to baseball, is called the ‘World Championship.’
Great ego boosting American hyperbole, but it seems to work on the natives in a country that has to be number one in all things. But that is the American psyche.
However, as I was later diverted by events in the Middle East, to wit, ‘The Arab League’s Summit’ on what to do with that miscreant state, Syria, coupled with violent protests in their own Tahrir Square, Cairo, and those oh so democratic elections the Egyptian people have long craved for. Here I am instead doing a review on the hotel I was saddled with in that famous ancient city of smells, scents and the most adorable permeating body odours one could write home to Mum about.
Four days at the Radisson Blu, Cairo Heliopolis; exposed me to the entire spectrum of all possible intake of proboscis highs and lows.
A wonderful expression that came out of World War 1 and created by a forgotten English soldier, but reminiscent of the glorious, descriptive phrase out of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ’Something’s Rotten in the State of Denmark’ is another equally compelling expression, ‘Something Smells in Cairo’ which now seems to be long forgotten, or perhaps seldom used these days for fear of repercussions on visiting infidels like myself.
All that aside – and without going into whether I think the ‘Brotherhood of Islam’ will win the elections, or if it will be the Vatican’s Representative Party; known as the ‘Little Sisters of Remote Hope’ who are currently running ‘stone-motherless-last’ (Even after the Pope shipped in 50,000 ‘Hail Marys’) my real aim here is to tell about the Radisson Blu and my ’orrible experience there.
Radissons all over the world have a reputation of quality and I have stayed at my fair share. Sadly, somewhere along the line, that message never seeped up the glorious Nile or down the busy Suez, cause The Radisson Blu, Cairo never blew me away for a second.
The façade is superb and the staff are quite friendly and they even speak several languages. At that point all eulogies stop dead!
The bathrooms are smelly, the beds only slightly softer than the back of a dromedary that takes tourists to the ‘Valley of the Kings’ and anyone suffering from haemorrhoids would be well advised to make contact with a reputable surgeon before spending even one night there.
As for the hotel’s Italian restaurant, if it was located in Rome, I am sure it would have weekly visits from the Fire Brigade. In other words, it could bring the worst out in latent arsonists.
Wonders of wonders, there is a rooftop swimming pool. It’s extremely eye-catching and looks even Vegas-quality. Like many areas in Egypt where water is scarce, I can’t vouch for the purity of the aqua pura within. After a day in my smelly room, I was starting to think my pool – as lovely as it looked – was really there so that guests could have an alternative to jumping off the roof to death or drowning themselves instead.
So you ask, why did I even stay there? Well, frankly, it was far enough from the centre of Cairo – 10 clicks – and very close to the airport, because if things got out of control in Tahrir Square, and the Army turned really nasty, or the enraged citizens and protesters saw wandering infidels as an easier target than armed troops, a quick exit was possible for yours truly.
To be remembered in history as just a ‘Mummified Journalist’ would hardly be ‘Tomb Shattering!’
Post Script: There is an error in this program that does not allow paragraphs to be shown correctly
Via Ludovisi 49, 00100 Roma
When financial and political chaos erupted recently, my Editor – a chap prone to bouts of sadistic chauvinism – dispatched me to Rome. This is not to say I don’t like this magnificent and wonderful city – au contraire - the 7 Hills have always reminded me of the 7 deadly sins. Beautiful in concept, but not always practical in execution.
Italy, Spain and Greece, countries I have frequently referred to as ‘Siesta countries’ (a term that may be seen as derogatory, but not meant to be so by ‘yours truly’) After all, only Mad dogs and Englishmen really dare go out in the Midday sun.
Apart from Italy’s burgeoning National Debt, the colourful nocturnal antics and gymnastics of billionaire Sylvio Berlusconi has always been good copy.
Having said that, I did not pick Hotel Eden because of it’s name, nor because I thought if I played femme fatale or hostess at one of Sylvio’s Bunga Bunga Parties he might see me as the ‘Apple of his Eye’ and confess some sins. I’m sure his specially Designed Vatican Confessional with his own 24 hour ‘On Duty Priest’ caters well enough for that. It was because this wonderful Hotel is very central, near the Spanish Steps – a place where I love to do ‘light fandangos’ at midnight after a glass or two of Sicilian ‘Big Boss of Bosses’ Pinot Grigio .
Hotel Eden is extravagant without being excessively opulent. If you want the best views in the central area, coupled with a quiet location, first class service, a fitness centre to keep those well toned muscles in fine working form, along with a remarkable Mediterranean restaurant with a variety of marvellous dishes and with a vantage point right on the top floor – where you and your Eve for the evening can lighten up before laying back in Eden’s plush pastures, which contain some of the most durable bed springs in the city. Beds that even ‘Emperor Nero’ would have given 5 stars too and where you can fiddle all night in absolute luxury.
Knowing George Clooney stayed here might well add to the attraction, even though he was filming at the time and ‘supposedly’ not doing any Bunga Bunga stuff along with Silvio, might add to the charm. Or, knowing Eden have a doctor on 24 hour call – if you need urgent resuscitating ER after Eve bites into that juicy apple.
Whatever; when in Rome you don’t have to do what the Romans do – and that’s blow their wretched car horns an awful damn lot – you can seek splendour and a touch of peace in this lovely city, without the chaotic din. Hotel Eden may well be the very pleasant and luscious garden for you. As it was for me!
- Anne Hunt findet 65. Montags-Demonstration gegen Fluglärm im Terminal1 gut um 19:02 Uhr
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- Anne Hunt findet Festival Jazz "Au cœur et guitare à l’âme" au River ... gut um 11:38 Uhr
- Anne Hunt war bei 64. Montags-Demonstration gegen Fluglärm im Terminal1 um 11:37 Uhr
- Anne Hunt hat ein neues Profilbild um 11:16 Uhr
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