Hill End – A Gold Mining ‘Ghost Town’

One of the most fascinating places I have been to in Australia is Silverton in the far west of NSW. A former silver mining town that now stands as a relic of a bygone age. “Stands” is a bit of a stretch really. It is basically a ghost town with very little of the town remaining. Hill End, near Bathurst, is like a gold mining town equivalent. Here is a short tale of what we found there…

Hill End

Hill End was originally a part of the Tambaroora area (the town of Tambaroora was a few kilometres to the north). In the 1850s the area was known as Bald Hills. In 1860 it was named as a village, first as Forbes, then in 1862 the name changed to Hill End.

Abandoned town, abandoned car. The Rockne 1930s automobile
The last pub standing. The Royal Hotel, Hill End

Hill End grew out of the New South Wales gold rush of the 1850s. At its peak in the early 1870s the population was estimated at 8,000. There were two newspapers, five banks, eight churches and twenty-eight pubs. Despite the wealth of hotels (also serving as pubs) in the town it was supposedly difficult to find a room.

When the gold ran out the town declined fairly rapidly. By 1945 the population was 700. By 2006 Hill End’s population was 166. That dropped below 100 by 2017 and is no doubt less than 70 now. Those still there serve as guardians and hosts of what is basically a tourist attraction.

St. Pauls Presbyterian church
Sacred Heart Catholic church
The Rockne, an American car produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1932 to 1933
Old Post Office

Relics of an Old Town

I would say that Hill End has far more buildings over a wider area than you find in Silverton. The surrounding landscape may be quite different but that feeling of an old abandoned mining town is so similar.

Old photographs show what once stood on the deserted plots.
Some buildings were more grand than others…
Some less so…

Hill End Court House

Many of the abandoned lots have photographs of the property or business that once stood there. In a way it’s a good idea but it makes it more like an outdoor museum than a kind of living ghost town. I think that is part of the beauty of Silverton. Its “this is how it what’s left” approach seems to work well in the outback. This semi-organised museum approach tends to work well here at Hill End also. Maybe. I am not 100% convinced either way is best; only that I like both places for similar reasons.

It is incredible how quickly a town can grow. The little shacks that many of the poor miners would have lived in are easy to understand as they were cheap and easy to build. But there were (and still are) many grand properties in Hill End including several churches. These would have taken time to design and were well built. Not the kind of paces that would have shot up overnight.

With or without gold this area has its own natural attractions
An abandoned gold mine just outside of the town
Hill End viewed from the surrounding hills

While many properties have not left even a trace of their former existence – not even foundations – others are perfectly preserved.

An example of one of the miners cottages
A well preserved but unused building
Hill End public school is still used.

If you fancy spending more time in the countryside setting of this old town there are places to stay. There are several B&Bs/cottages for rent and the hotel. There are also a couple of camp sites.

I wonder what was considered as “fancy goods” in those days?

There is more to write about the gold rush this area including other small towns that still (just about) exist. Watch out for Part Two – coming in the near future.

Snippets of Life in Post Lockdown Sydney

Here are a few snippets of life after lockdown in Sydney…
Nothing ground-breaking but certainly not something you will see or read in the mainstream media. Partly written in jest although factually accurate and (I hope you’ll agree) with a serious side. Just a few things to make you think perhaps…

Do dwarfs need to wear masks?

Walk around the shopping centres and you have to wear a mask. Sit in one of the many cafés and restaurants and you don’t. Kids are not required to wear masks. Wait a moment. Most kids are the  same size as an adult sat at a table. Ahaa…Is it a height thing I wonder? Would they stop a dwarf or midget if they weren’t wearing a mask?

Then of course nobody thinks to mention the HVAC. But I will. Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning – aka HVAC. All shopping centres have them. Basically circulating the air around the whole building. Sometimes heating it, sometimes cooling it, depending on the settings and season of course. Well, at least that’s the theory. They don’t always work that well. I know. I have worked on HVAC systems in the pharmaceutical industry amongst others. Some installations are anything but ideal; there are cowboys everywhere eh?

So regardless of where you sit or stand, mask or no mask, the same air is being recirculated. Even on another level in the shopping mall the exhaled breath of those (maskless) in the café on the ground floor will reach you sooner or later.

A good HVAC system will have some kind of filtration. But in public buildings it will not be that good. It (kind of) cleans the air before blowing it back out. In the meantime air is drawn into the filter/blower part of the HVAC system so freshly exhaled air is constantly being flung around the room. It’s a bit like those smoking and no-smoking sides they used to have at the cinema. If you are as old as me you will remember. The smokers sat on one side and the non-smokers (or should that be passive smokers?) sat on the other. When the film started, thanks to the lights of the projector, you could clearly see the smoke rise, loop along the ceiling and fall on the passive smoking side. Hilarious! We really didn’t give a shit in those days though so it was fine.

And speaking of smoking…

Double Tobacco !!

I noticed there are now twice as many tobacco shops on one street. An odd thing to spot, granted. But hey: When shops have been closing down these days and reopening (often as something else) all over, it is something you tend to notice…

OK there was one and now there are two. Not exactly doubling all over but you get the point surely… We are told that smoking, as a habit, is dying off (no pun intended but obviously one there). So, how can there be more of these places selling the dreaded weed?

Lung cancer kills around 2880 every year in New South Wales. That’s about 55 people per week. That’s way more than covid has supposedly killed this past (almost) 2 years. At the height of the lockdown we were constantly fed daily data to bamboozle us. Including the number of people in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) in New South Wales. It hovered around 70  on average. You would expect there to be about 55 each week in hospital ICUs to be there due to lung cancer right? Considering that number die from lung cancer each week in New South Wales! They should be in a bad way and needing all the breathing apparatus an ICU can find eh? Think about that one…

(Regarding the ICU numbers: probably less than an average of 70, I can’t be bothered doing the calculations but I did keep all the data. At its ‘worst’ it peaked at less than 25% occupancy however so was never as bad as they would have us believe.)

In 2020, it is estimated that there will be 8,641 deaths from lung cancer in Australia *. Averaging that out to about one third (as NSW has about 1/3 the country’s population) that’s about 2880 in NSW. Over a full year that makes (2880÷52=) 55 people per week on average will die of lung cancer. 
* Source: Cancer Autralia.com.au

UPDATE: I actually noticed a third tobacco shop (2nd new one) on the same street a few days after drafting this post.

If they put half the effort into telling people about smoking and lung cancer as they have been scaring them about covid, would there be more tobacco shops? Indeed; would there be any?

The Library

I popped over to a “Public” Library recently. At least that’s what they still call them. Just to check it out. Bear in mind that this time of year is when students are studying for their high school leaving exams, so the library study areas are busy. They are only allowing people with a vaccine certificate to enter. Then they are asking them to wear a mask and allocating seating based on socially distancing the students. (The distancing thing has since been relaxed I hear.) So what was the point of the vaccines then? Weren’t we already doing the masking and social distancing before? And of course these buildings are fully “HVAC’d…” Makes you think eh? It should do…

Odd how you need to mask up and socially distance to study but not to go in the café/pub. Maybe finding it hard to breath with the mask on focuses the mind…

Avoid The Rowdy Pubs

People are back in the pubs of course. Let’s hope it’s not a rowdy pub they choose. Because while the bouncers at the door are asking people for their covid vaccine certificates they aren’t asking to see any proof of Hepatitis ‘B’ shots. Yes! Hep-B is actually quite common in Australia. Far more so than most realise (see below). It’s a particularly nasty disease and very hard to get rid of for some. Most police officers are required to get a Hep B shot as they are often involved in bloody situations (fights, accidents etc). And if a fight breaks out in a pub then it is more or less guaranteed that blood will flow and the pub bouncers will  be involved. Don’t you think we have a right to know if the bouncers in a pub have had their Hep-B vaccines? Why not? Their blood could splatter in any direction. Just like your breath – mask or no mask, vaccine or no vaccine!

The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in Australia is estimated to have increased by more than 50,000 people in the past decade, affecting approximately 1% of the population…
Source: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/july/chronic-hepatitis-b/

Note: Only one source has been quoted here in each case, but there are others. Please do your own research…

Plant a Tree, Have a Son, Write a Book – Revisited

As promised some time ago, here is an update on that well known saying/quote/phrase. About five years and nine months ago I posted an article titled: ‘Plant a Tree, Have a Son, Write a Book’. If you still haven’t seen that post then click here… 

I say “if you still haven’t seen” because so many have. In fact this is by far the most popular post on this blog. Way, way more hits than anything else. Each week no matter how many people read any new article I post, that one nearly always gets more hits. So recently I decided to ask myself: Why?

But First…. There’s this update… 

In the original post I asked for help. I asked you readers two simple questions: “Can anyone help me with this? Does anyone have any real evidence linking Jose Martí with this quote?”

Despite so many people reading the article I never received any feedback. Until recently! A big thanks to a reader called Tom, who kindly posted a comment about an old book which mentions the quote almost word for word. That book is called  “The Ingoldsby’s Legends” and was written & published in the early 1840s.

The book –  full title: The Ingoldsby Legends, or Mirth and Marvels – is a collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry written supposedly by someone called Thomas Ingoldsby. The author used a pen-name. He was actually an English clergyman named Richard Harris Barham.

In one of the chapters entitled ‘The Blasphemer’s Warning: a lay of St. Romwold‘,  the book says: 

There are three social duties, the whole of the swarm
In this great human hive of ours, ought to perform ,
And that too as soon as conveniently may be ;
The first of the Three is planting a tree
The next producing a book, Then a Baby!

Note the genderless use of “baby” there. Very up-to-date eh? Well it is probably more accurate to say that it is because “baby” rhymes with “tree”. Whereas “son” (nor “daughter” for that matter) does not rhyme with “tree”. I would have expected Victorian England to be a fairly male dominated society – and yet… Victoria was a woman, right? Ah well, let’s not get into that one.  

But here’s the thing (as pointed out by Tom)

The book was written around 1840. But Señor José Martí wasn’t born until 1853. So did José Martí get one of his (supposedly) famous quotes from an old English clergyman? It seems possible. 

Of course the phrase is also said to have other origins – as pointed out in the 2016 post. The Talmud (book of Jewish law) quote would certainly predate both ‘Ingoldsby’s Legends’ and José Martí. But that quote is different enough – (‘A person should build a house, then plant a vineyard, and afterward marry a woman’.) A clergyman in the 1840s however may well have studied the Talmud and was aware of its ‘house’, ‘vineyard’, ‘marry’ phrase.  

So the mystery continues. Did the English clergyman, Mr. Barham,  take the words of the Talmud and modify them slightly? Did he derive it from somewhere else? Or did he invent the phrase himself? 

If anyone has any more insight into this phrase then please let us know.

Who is Reading it and Why?

Back to my own query… Why is this simple little expression or proverb so popular across so many differing countries with such varied cultures and history?

The statistics on the blogging site provide some interesting and curious data…

In the first two months that original post only had a handful of hits. Then nothing for over a year. Then it picked up with several hits (and rising) per month even though it was an old post. Then suddenly from 2019 that post has been read thousands of times each year. With 2021 already set to overtake the highest tallying year (2020) – and we are still only just over half way through this year. The stats also show that it is being read in countries all over the planet, not just the English speaking world. 

Why?

I put it down to a few things:

  1. Initially I do not think my blog was being picked up on search engines. So any searching the phrase would not have happened upon this blog.
  2. Since 2019 the blog has definitely been showing up on the various search engines.
  3. This past 12-18 months in particular (ever since the coronavirus scare) I believe people have been searching for something. Maybe several things. Perhaps looking for something philosophical, a goal or something to measure their lives against. What should they have done? What should they still try to achieve? 

Certainly the constant fear instilled by mass media and government officials (almost) over the past 2 years can have an odd effect on the way people think. I believe things like this famous saying resonate with people, especially when they are afraid. What will they leave behind? A son (or daughter), a book, a tree or all three?

Looking back on that post, and more specifically the photos in that first post, it should have read: ‘Have a son, get him to plant the tree, then (maybe) write a book!’ A quick Google search for the phrase puts my original blog post fairly high up the results list. So maybe there just isn’t much more to be found on the subject. Who knows?

And finally… Hemmingway!?

Now I can say right off that I am not a fan of Ernest Hemmingway. I have read a couple of his books and thought they were disappointing. Shit actually! But Hemmingway’s name also pops up in this famous saying. I recently read that Hemmingway was quoted as saying there are four things (not three) that a man should do: “Plant a tree, have a son, write a book and fight a bull.”

He was obviously quoting the already famous proverb only adding his own take on it. He was known to like the bullfights. One of his books even brought the annual ‘running of the bulls’ fiesta of San Fermín (in Pamplona, Spain) to the world’s attention. That novel was titled  ‘Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises’. The fiesta de San Fermin may be worth seeing, but believe me; that book is crap. Let’s just say that I give Hemmingway absolutely no credit for the famous saying. Apart from jumping on the bandwagon…

Note to Tom

Apologies to Tom. I don’t know your location so could not reference which country you were reading from. Tom, if you are out there reading this please feel free to comment again – and maybe let us know. 

Central Tilba – Like Stepping Back in Time

Here’s one from the vault – so to speak…
Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba are two villages just off the main A1 Princes Highway in Eurobodalla Shire, not far from the coast in southern New South Wales. It lies about 350 km south of Sydney and just over 100km north of Eden. Central Tilba has a population of about 300 only,  while Tilba Tilba has just under 100.

The town (more like a village really) was settled during the gold rushes of the nineteenth century and the place retains the look and feel of that period. While close to National Parks and stunning coastline it is the town itself that is the attraction. There is a beauty and quaintness to the buildings that have been well preserved. It is one of those picture postcard settings that attracts tourist from all over. Central Tilba is probably less than 200 metres off the main A1 highway, but it is a whole world away.

The petrol station, General Store, and Post Office.

As soon as you enter the town there is a small B&B attached to the Emporium (general) store which also serves as a post office and petrol station. There are plenty of café and places to eat as well as artisan shops selling all kinds of exclusive designs.

One of the many Cafés in Tilba

Stepping back in time inside the ‘General Store’

Post Office side of the multi purpose building.

Anyone remember those old sweet shops?

If you have a real sweet tooth this shop is like a dream come true. Another one of those ‘stepping back in time’ moments. Remember those old sweet shops with high shelves filled with big jars of boiled sweets etc? I am old enough to remember the ‘traditional sweet shop’ but I don’t recall seeing anything as impressive as the display of sweet jars in this place. Where else do you see this array of sugary, tooth decaying “treats” these days?

There were plenty of names I can honestly say I had never heard even of. Plus a fair few I remember fondly. Zoom in on these photos and see if your old favourites are here.

These kind of sweets are definitely not for me now; but back when I was Dani’s age I would have eaten my fair share. It’s nostalgic. It’s colourful. It’s a dentist’s holiday fund generator. It is classic Central Tilba.

Bloody Cars. Why?

One thing that really pisses me off about these places is the traffic. Of course we drove there too, but I mean allowing the cars into the main streets of picturesque little places. And there is only one main street to speak of here. In the case of Central Tilba, the local town council (or whoever deals with such stuff) could easily make a car park or two outside of the village and simply block off the main street to traffic. Jeez! They do it all the time in bust cities creating chaos and worse traffic congestion. Surely it’s obvious what they need to do here – and other quaint and historical village centres.

As so often in places like this the parked cars spoil the views.

The village pub/hotel. Again partly obscured by cars

Remove the cars from the streets and you could feel as if you were lost in time in Central Tilba.

Shops, 1950s Diner and an old Cheese Factory 

You can walk the town’s main street in 10 minutes but with all the places to step into it is easy to spend hours. Especially if you take in a meal and a drink. As small as it is this place has everything you need if you intend to make a base for exploring the nearby Gulaga and Kooraban National Parks, as well as the fantastic coastline only a few kilometres away.

Inside the retro diner

The old cheese factory

As with all small towns in Australia many locals gave their lives in war.

Dani’s 8th Birthday Party

Today is Dani’s eighth birthday. We arranged a party in the park for a gang of boys from Dani’s school.

After school Dani got changed into something more suited for messing around and then we headed for a local park. The weather had been pretty shit all this week and the forecast for this afternoon was not good. But luckily it cleared up, almost on cue, this afternoon. Great! Which just goes to show that you can never trust the short term weather forecast.

Birthday boy was first to arrive…

We set up our stall on one of the picnic tables they always build in public parks here and waited for the guests to arrive. Soon enough there were  nineteen hyper active kids. Fortunately we had booked an entertainer. “The Commando”. Basically some young bloke dressed in camouflage pants. Hardly Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now material but the youngsters immediately did what he told them. Within seconds they were lined up and standing to attention.

Squid-ish Games

Our Entertainer then organised them into a couple of games that viewers of the popular Korean (Netflix) series Squid Games will recognise. First was a game of Red Light-Green Light. Followed by a good old fashioned game of Tug-of-War. Neither game had the deadly endings of the Squid Games programme of course but by now the gang of boys were really into it.

Tug-o-War. That brought back memories… An old favourite.

Dani’s Tug-o-War team

Gun Battle (sort of)

This was followed by a bit of ‘army training’. Running around and climbing in other words. All leading up to what the boys knew was coming. A Nerf Gun battle. Kids around this age just love those Nerf Guns. With safety in mind the Commando guy dispensed protective glasses to each ‘soldier’ followed by their six shooter gun and ammunition. Then basically let them loose to run around and fire at each other. Not quite what I expected but the kids seemed happy enough. Apart from the occasional one who took offence at being shot point blank in the face. Ah well these things happen at children’s parties eh? It could be worse. Or so the saying goes… In fact it reminds me of when I was 8 years old (yes, I can still remember that far back). Boys being boys, minimum health & safety and pretend guns. Great!

Handing out the weapons!

Once they were off and running it was like herding cats trying to get them back together. Eventually most ran out of energy and willingly returned to the food and drinks table. A short while later the remaining shooters ran out of energy or just got a bit bored – it was hard to tell. By that time the Commando had had enough. He had served his time and as a last act of valour made sure that the kids were all gathered for the birthday song and a slice of cake.

A birthday song and the birthday cake

Restocking on worn out calories.

After Cake

For a fleeting moment it occurred to me that for what they charged maybe we should have had real guns. Our new buddy ‘The Commando’ guy had cost enough. Obviously that is not practical but you probably get my point. Then again, the Tug-of-War was worth half the price alone. Great fun.

Rejuvenated after chocolate birthday cake

Taking over the toddlers roundabout.

Then the boys decided to mess about making their own entertainment. And it was a mess. There were some stubborn stains that may never be washed out. But they all seemed to enjoy it. And surely that’s the whole point eh?

Exhausted (well us parents were) we returned home where Dani opened his many presents. He did well. Another year gone in the blink of an eye. His second birthday in the land down-under.

Dani with the presents he received today.

Remembrance Day 2021

Today is Remembrance Day. Initially the day was to observe the end of World War 1 and those who gave their lives in that conflict. Over the passing decades this day has also come to commemorate the fallen in World War 2 and all conflicts. In the USA this day is known as Veterans Day.

I decided to go and pay my respects to my grandparents (World War 2) generation and so headed to the local cenotaph situated in a nearby park. The same place I attended the Remembrance Day service last year.

I fully expected to be subjected to local politicians grandstanding and making comparisons of the sacrifices of the World War generations with those of the recent Covid lockdowns. That actually happened last year. I managed to bite my lip back then but was not sure I would be able to this year. So I arrived at the local cenotaph just a few minutes before the traditional 11am two minute silence. However, when I arrived the place was empty…

The local Cenotaph just before 11am today.

Then with just minutes to spare a guy stopped and took the same photo as me. I asked him why there was no service and he told me that they had moved it indoors because of the threat of rain. To one of the rooms in the adjacent sports centre. I made it just in time for the two minute silence and stood just outside the open doors.

That was followed by the acceptance of several wreaths of flowers from various members of the community and forces. There were a few more words from the person hosting the service and that was basically that. I missed the opening part of the service and so I have no idea what was said by any local politician. I was spared a bloody lip – or worse, being arrested for speaking up.

The event was attended by about 30 people in total. Several were part of the organising group from the council. Remembrance Day is not as big as ANZAC day in Australia but it is still good that they recognise and commemorate it.

8 Years Old Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my son’s 8th birthday and we have arranged an outdoor party for him. Unlike today’s Remembrance Day service there is no indoor venue to move to if it rains. And all the weather forecasts say it will. It could be a wet one…

From Maths Problems to Twister

Maths Homework

Dani has been getting a bit of pressure from his mum to solve some simple maths problems at home. His mum and I disagree on this one. I am not too bothered. I am sure he could do better but at the same time he is not falling way behind. And he is still only 8 years old (well, almost). He does seem to struggle with some things I thought he had mastered but I also think he probably does better in the classroom environment.

Maths is one of those things that most people think they struggle with but is really only a matter of being able to apply it. I can remember plenty of kids from my school days who thought they were hopeless at maths. But in reality they were simply not interested and couldn’t see how it applied to their lives. Whenever I saw some of these characters years later in a pub their mental arithmetic skills would impress any college professor. I am talking about gambling.

If you asked them what the odds were on certain horses and how much you could win for a given stake they worked it out in a split second. They would even calculate how much tax you would pay (in the days when that was a thing in betting). Not only single horse, single races. These lads (and they are always males by the way) could work out complex bets involving several races before I could start to think what to write down mathematically. It was because they loved it. Gambling like this had become a part of their life and they enjoyed it. Now I am not promoting gambling here. Far from it. But my point is that the appliance of maths problems depends very much on the individual person.

We are all capable (in my opinion) but some people just need to find that thing to trigger their interest. If you asked them to write down their calculations they probably still could not do it. Or it would take them a long time. They do it in their heads. Using their very own grey matter calculators. It’s horses for courses – no pun intended…

Left from Right?

That was a maths related tale from my own past. Here’s another example. This is the kind of thing I see first hand, right now. There is a kid, a little older than Dani, living near us who does after school lessons in computer programming. That’s a thing now believe it or not. Yet incredibly he does not know his right from left. How do I know this you may ask? Well, even if you didn’t ask I am going to tell you. Twister!

Yes that Twister. The famous game from way back in the 1966. That’s 54 years ago. That surprised me when I had to look it up. I guess I thought it was a 70s game…

Anyway, back to the story… I was doing the wheel spinning and shouting out the commands. Left foot on Green, Right hand on Red etc… I am sure you all know it. The kid I am referring to really struggled and had to be reminded several times which side was left and which was right. OK, granted, in the heat of an intense game of twister we can all forget our left from our right. Right? But in this case I do believe the kid had genuine difficulty.

Yet the same kid is quite happy to learn computer programming skills. And no doubt struggles with some basic arithmetic problems at school. It just shows that teaching is hard if the kids are not interested. But how do you get them interested? A school trip to the racetrack is not the ideal solution. Some field trip eh? But maybe something like that is needed.

Youtube Gamers & Maths?

Maybe something along the lines of those boring (in my opinion) youtube videos showing you how to do things in certain video games. I know that Dani will happily sit for hours watching one of those people talking (crap) about how best to play some video game. In a way they are teaching, and the kids lap it all up.

If these youtubers could mix in the basic mathematics skills with their Minecraft (or some other crap video game) chats. everyone would benefit. The kids would not get pestered to ‘get off the screen’, the parents would be happy their kids are learning something.

I am sure if kids had to earn things in those video games by solving maths problems they would soon learn how to do it.

The Many Saints of Newark – Film Review

The Many Saints of Newark is a new mafia-style movie set in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was marketed as a prequel to the HBO TV series The Sopranos.

The Sopranos was the yardstick by which all other TV/Netflix series were measured. It was the best thing ever – until Breaking Bad came along. And since then there has been nothing quite on the same level.

The Sopranos

The tv series ran between 1999 and 2007. Yes. That long ago. It spanned six seasons with 86 episodes in total. Each one averaging between 45 and 75 minutes. That’s (on average) 86 hours of film. That’s a bloody long story.

I remember watching a few episodes here and there on TV and could not get into it. People who were avid fans always told me the same thing: “You have to watch them all“. Eventually I did watch all of The Sopranos. Gorged on it more like, when it was made  available on DVD. And it is a really great TV series.

The main character Tony Soprano, was played by the late James Gandolfini. His real life son Michael Gandolfini plays the young Tony Soprano in this prequal movie and definitely looks a chip off the old block.

But here’s one of the biggest problems. Tony’s character is hardly in this movie. That marketing slogan and the taglines about it being a prequal to The Sopranos is at best misleading. At worst it’s a bit of a con. When Tony Soprano was in the movie it never went anywhere. Nothing happened that mattered and if anything his character could have been left out completely. You would hardly have noticed. The main story centres around Tony’s ‘uncle’ Dick Montesanti played by Alessandro Nivola. The character is the father of Christopher Montesanti from the TV series.

Plot? Or Plots?

The plot is disjointed and has too many subplots and scenes that seem to have no relevance. That’s because they don’t. It is a very cluttered story line. the characters do not develop at all and it leaves you feeling confused most of the time. Then when you think it is going nowhere (which it mostly is) there is a decent action scene that wakes you up. But then it slides back into going nowhere again just as quickly.

It just comes across as poorly thought out and could have been better written. Clearly the two hour length – compared to the 86 hours of TV series – is not a long time but there are plenty of 2 hour movies that manage to play out a complete story. This is definitely not one of them.

If you are expecting the movie to show you the rise of young Tony Soprano through the ranks, how and why he gets there etc… Well prepare to be disappointed. The movie is mainly about his ‘uncle’ Dick – if even that!

Spoiler Alerts?

Well, no need for spoiler alerts really, as my advice is don’t waste your time and money on this movie. But anyway, here goes…

Tony’s uncle Dick kills his own father (also called Dick) who played by Ray Liotta. It happens early enough in the movie for you to think, “oh! Ray Liotta wasn’t in it much.” But that’s where you would be wrong. Because for some strange reason Dick then starts going to visit his father’s brother (Salvatore) who is in prison. And this must be his father’s twin brother because he is also played by Ray Liotta. FFS! Initially you think that these prison meetings are going to lead somewhere but they don’t. They go absolutely f*cking nowhere! I genuinely believe they were only added to get more value for money out of Liotta being around the set. There can really be no other explanation.

There are a couple of good old violent mafia film type scenes but not much else to shout about.

Even the ending is worse than disappointing. It is as if they have another two or three movies to follow. Well if they do I will not be watching them.

Critique

Really? If you have read this far do you really need telling? In a word: “Disappointing”. In two words: “F*#king crap!” “Don’t bother” LOL…

I will give this movie one star (out of 5). And that is pushing it!