The moment we got through the entrance and bumped into these guys…
…we knew we were in the wrong place. I’ve watched a fair few Euro-Westerns in my time, but I don’t remember seeing a Plastic Indian in any of them.
Mini Hollywood is the largest of the Western-Themed parks, and cunningly combines its Western town with a zoo and a swimming pool. If anything, this seems inauthentic. However, it does have a few perks. The ol’ Saloon was beautiful, the staff friendly, and the tequila cheap. The cancan girls didn’t kick their legs quite as high as the Texas Hollywood, but they kept it going for longer. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there somewhere…
The gift shop could also be described as marginally better. Alongside exactly the same range of cowboy hats and accessories, they also catered for the poncho-loving enthusiast, T-shirt wearers, and people who enjoy crockery.
To conclude, if you’re looking for an authentic faux-Western experience, this probably isn’t going to be your Western-themed amusement park of choice. If, on the other hand, you would feel like a massive failure if you didn’t get all the way to the middle of nowhere and visit every single one Western-Themed amusement parks that still remain (within a 5 minute drive of each other), you will probably not be disappointed.
Thank you, Mini Hollywood, for showing us your knickers.
Django, the Vultures are Lining
(Django's Bloody Trail)*
Django does not speak the Lord’s prayer
Django does not forgive
Django dead, he came to kill
Django your hangman waits already
Django the bastard,
Django his colt sings six verses,
Django relentless as the sun
Django and the bonds of the hanged
Django (bloody ropes)
Django (bloody cords)
Django (crosses in the bloody sand)
Django knew no mercy
Django I want him
Django like a bloody vulture
Django to die in the dust
Django you endure, the dust
Django he came to kill.
*Taken from German Westerns with the name ‘Django’ in the title**. You can read the full list of Django titles (in German)*** here.
**After the success of the 1966 Western, ‘Django,’ it was pretty common for traders of Euro Western films to boost sales by redubbing the story to include a lead character named Django (no matter how tenuous the link to the original). This led to rather a lot of ‘Django’ movies.
***Titles translated via Babelfish and Google Translate. If you like translation poems, check out Ross Sutherland’s documentary Every Rendition On a Broken Machine.
DJANGO the bible is not a card game DJANGO black god of death DJANGO i want him dead DJANGO a coffin full of blood DJANGO waiting for your executioner already DJANGO lick dust off my colt DJANGO the greed for gold DJANGO shooting me the song of death DJANGO relentlessly until death DJANGO says the night prayer
tie me to the tracks, I tell ‘em
unpick my painted toes
from between the timber weeds
hook your weather beaten wrists
around my dimpled knees.
tip me backwards, tie me down,
wipe my sooted cheeks
with straggled gingham rags,
torn from the cotton dress
I wore all summer
stop. caress my frightened curls,
my cupid’s bow
then step away
hear my cries
as the whistle blows
The stranger does not laugh. He does not enjoy the cancan show.
Nor does he join ‘The Enthusiasts’ - die-hard Spaghetti Western fans, lugging expensive camera equipment and overlooking the needs of their sweating wives.
The stranger is a not an enthusiast. He doesn’t carry a camera. He walks slowly, and travels alone.
Rumours circulate that his wife has taken a detour to the on-site aquarium.
He arrives at the foot of the great arch. Once Upon a Time in the West, Harmonica’s brother was hung here. He stands, one man on the edge of the desert, and takes in the scene with a quiet reverence.
I follow at a distance, absorbed by his intensity. I can’t help but notice how comfortable he looks in his cowboy gear. He barely even sweats.
Most of us here just tourists playing dress-up: oversized children in a Disneyland for grown-ups. The Stranger is an exception. He walked into this place and reminded me to stop, just for a moment, and remember the stories that were born here.
Thank you Stranger, for your mysterious presence!
NB: later that day I came across an additional scene of where he took off his cowboy hat to join his partner at the swimming pool. He looked less comfortable in a pair of bathing shorts. I like to imagine that this would be the case for most cowboys.