Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Madonna and the Rain

While Madonna's attempts to shock continued apace in the half-full

 Aviva Stadium, Dublin last night, from the Act of Contrition voiceover for Girl Gone Wild
to bloodspattered screens and pointed guns for Gang Bang to a thonged, rain spattered, bum in our faces

the real star (not) of the show was the RAIN which poured relentlessly (apart from a short, joyful break from 10pm to 10.45pm) on us, her pitch standing, straining-for-a-look fans.

If you hadn't listened to her new album MDNA, then the show could be a bore, as classics were thin on the ground. Around half way,  I spotted fans chatting and disengaged while she sang Masterpiece, a song from MDNA and some leaving the 'Golden Circle' - a section near the stage that cost E140!! - at half time.

Highlight of the night was a gospel version of Like a Prayer  -electrified the crowd.

For those of us who just admire the guts and general tenacity, even the wet-to-the-very bones rain, didn't dampen.

Didn't make it here though:

Friday, July 13, 2012

A whistlestop visit to the D-Day landing beaches.

After much on-line scrolling and searching, taking of a deep breath, pushing the "book it" button, running the gauntlet of the war like rigidity of Ryanair, and finally setting out on a fourteen hour coach trip with fifty fellow tourists, I found myself (and thirteen year old) in the town of Caen, Normandy, France. 

Our first stop at the War Memorial in Caen took us through the timeline of events, from an actual re-constructed bombarded, Normandy restaurant building, shell holes intact,

 to the newspaper with the news of Hitler's suicide,

with an array in between, of poignant, tear inducing black and white photographs, showing in savage detail the pointless brutality of war.

Our next stop was at Point du Hoc where the Americans launched their assault on 6th June 1944.
The bunkers built by the Germans are still in fine shape,(fun had by tourists checking them out)

 a testament to the expertise that went into them.

Omaha Beach where the greatest loss of life occurred is a fine, long, sandy beach and the sea gulls glided along as swiftly as any Spitfire plane.

The cemetery at Omaha, where 9,387 soldiers are buried, is a stark reminder of the extent of the casualties.

Eventually, when we got back to Paris, there was a sharp sense of how World War 2 has shaped our lives and how different things might have been.

Tis amazing what can loom behind the trees, as you fly by in a coach, if you're quick enough with the camera.