Indiana Jones Pinball

I love pinball.  The lights, the sounds, the graphics – all so exciting.  I can take or leave arcade games (and I don’t even own a single home gaming console), but there’s something irresistible about playing pinball.

It’s just so damn cool!  I mean, The Who didn’t write a song called “Space Invaders Wizard”, did they?

Not that I’m any good at it, oh no.  Tommy I ain’t.  But it’s fun to have a game every now and again.

Sadly, however, pinball machines seem to be disappearing from sight.  My usual silver ball haven – Rhyl – which has several amusement arcades, used to have a handful of pinball tables.  Now I don’t know of any pinball machines in the town, and some of the arcades are shutting down too.

It seems that the lure of the table is no match for their more modern arcade game competitors.  Pinball is going the way of What the Butler Saw machines and Punch and Judy.  Though bizarrely, the penny waterfalls and fruit machines are still in rude health.  Why, I just don’t know.

The Indiana Jones table shown here was photographed five years ago, in the amusement arcade at the end of Llandudno pier.  By 2017, it wasn’t even plugged in, it just stood there like the sort of forgotten relic that Indy would go in search of.

This year, it had disappeared altogether.

A real shame – it was a cool game that had great playability, as well as looking fantastic.  Check out the ball launcher for a start – it’s shaped like Indy’s pistol, and when you fire it, it makes a gunshot sound!

My quest for pinball machines will continue.  I know they’re out there, waiting to be rediscovered.

The Circus of Horrors

The Circus of Horrors

Saturday 29th November 2014

Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Are you prepared for a spectacle unlike any other?  For a night of the bizarre, the strange and the wickedly beautiful?  Are you ready for the Night of the Zombie?

That’s exactly what we got when the Circus of Horrors visited Llandudno recently.

Mrs Platinum Al and I had witnessed this macabre event a couple of years previously.  This would be our second show, and at the same venue – as part of an early Christmas present for Mrs PA. 10428001_852015048175960_3585830705782720595_n

The Circus of Horrors is a mutation of live music, daredevil performers, freak show and burlesque.  This touring Frankenstein regularly travels across the UK bringing a touch of good old fashioned weirdness to many an unsuspecting, sedate town.

Dr Haze is the ring master, and his duties as compere are augmented by leading the live rock band through their pretty much non stop attack.  It’s a full on, guitar driven heavy rock attack that features both original numbers and some covers.  All delivered by a well honed band  who constantly deliver an energetic set.

The acts themselves are varied, including awe inspiring trapeze work and gravity defying gymnastics.  The Kenyan Warriors leap about, creating shapes with a precision that seems unbelievable.  There’s a girl in a bottle (who reveals herself as a saucy nun on this occasion); performers hanging and twisting from ropes without any net what so ever; fire eating and (my personal favourite) knife throwing.

Hannibal Helmurto is a mohawked sword swallower, amazing the audience with his skills.  Of course, the good Doktor Haze barks out his commentary, explaining how Hannibal will attempt the impossible.  I found myself not believing that Helmurto would be able to accomplish what he did; and I was relieved when he succeeded without slicing himself open.  There are some moments when the audience really doubt that the acts will be able to accomplish their feats – making the whole experience more vivid.

There are beautiful women on stage, not just as set dressing but belting out lead vocals or performing incredibly nimble contortions.  Then of course there’s the Mongolian Laughing Boy, occupying the opposite end of the eye candy spectrum, bringing gross out humour to the proceedings.

There are many acts, far too many to list here.  Suffice to say that though this is the second time I’ve seen the Circus of Horrors, there has been more than enough variety (and different acts) to keep the viewer intrigued (or shocked!).

My only criticism this time would be that the Night of the Zombie theme could’ve been fleshed out (!) a little more, but this didn’t distract from the show.

A fantastic evening – full of amazement, laughs and chills.  You literally won’t believe your eyes.  Keep those peepers peeled though, the Circus of Horrors picks up the tour again in the New Year – and you really don’t want to miss it!

Now I’m off to practice my knife throwing skills…

Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy

A break at the Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy, North Wales

A few weeks back, Mrs Platinum Al and I were lucky enough to visit the Quay Hotel in Deganwy, North Wales.  It had been a present for Mrs Platinum Al’s birthday, an we were looking forward to nice relaxing break away.  Here’s a brief over view of our time there.

Deganwy is close to Llandudno on the North Wales coast, just far away enough to feel like we were removed from the every day.  The Quay hotel is a modern, yet stylish building situated (as you would expect) right by a small harbour on the Conwy Estuary.  The setting is picturesque and the hotel impressive and welcoming. _MG_3030

We were a little early to check in, so left out bags with the extremely helpful reception staff and checked out the leisure facilities.  The gym was compact but well equipped; I spent a good half an hour here getting my break off to a positive start!  I then joined Mrs Platinum Al in the swimming pool.  The pool was a fair size at 15 metres and not too busy.  We also experienced the hydrotherapy spa pool, steam room and sauna.

After this, our room was ready.  Our luggage had already been taken up for us.  The room itself was a large room with both bed and chairs, not to mention the added bonus of a balcony with view over the harbour.  The bathroom was enormous! IMG_3069

Next on our agenda was lunch.  We ate on site in the Grill Bar.  Mrs Platinum Al opted for a Club sandwich.  I chose a very fine wrap with poached chicken, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce.  This was served with fries and was exceptional.

Later that  afternoon, it was time for our spa treament.  We were both booked in for an hour long, deep tissue full body massage.  I had never had a massage before, and found this to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.  The spa environment was calm and luxurious, and the expert staff friendly and hospitable.  All in all a fantastic treat that I would recommend. _MG_3052

In the evening, we chilled out in our room and enjoyed a drink on the balcony.  It was very easy to lounge in comfort and watch TV – with full satellite channels there was plenty to watch!  However we decided to head into nearby Llandudno for a meal.  There are several restaurants in the town to fulfill this need, and it’s not far away in a taxi.

Our stay at the Quay Hotel was fabulous – I have no complaints what so ever.  The setting and the premises were really top notch and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  We hope to make a return journey soon!

The Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy Quay, Deganwy, Conwy, North Wales LL31 9DJ

Tel: 01492 564100

The Quay Hotel website is here.