Western-Themed Amusement Park #2: Mini Hollywood

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.

(reluctantly modelled by the good Doctor)

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.

Men Who Like Posing with Showgirls

Thank you, Mini Hollywood, for showing us your knickers.

Django Experiment #1

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 Experiment #2*

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

*For details of the experiment see Django Experiment #1

honey, I ain’t gonna miss that train

tie me to the tracks, I tell ‘em
unpick my painted toes
from between the timber weeds
and pebbles

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

A Stranger Arrives in Town…


He is not like the others.

Some  come here in groups, all toy-store guns and novelty cowboy hats. They take pictures of each other and laugh at the cancan show. It’s almost as if this place were a joke. 

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.