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Starscape (Scotland)

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Adventures Of A Waterboy
Adventures Of A Waterboy
by Mike Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.47

4.0 out of 5 stars A journey of his own, 25 Dec 2013
This is a wonderfully written book. Unlike most rock autobiographies, Mike has an inspirational turn of phrase so reminiscent in his lyrics. Rain isn't just rain but some mythical experience bathing the Earth from Heaven, heralding the birth of a new life. Almost poetry.

Mike Scott has long attempted to impart a new age way of beliefs in his music. This is a central core to his music as he travels from Scotland to London to Ireland to New York and back again, discovering his life journey. What surprised me most was just how ruthless someone so interested in spirit and community Scott could be. Colleagues, band members and even close friends could be jettisoned at the drop of a hat if it wasn't right for Mike. How it affected others wasn't really part of the equation. I felt especially sorry for Anthony Thistlewaite. Anto wasn't just a band member but a founder, every bit as much as Mike. He contributed songs, ideas and direction - so much so, that Mike talks about an almost telepathic bond. Yet, Mike ditches him when he feels he doesn't think Anto can contribute to the next album. Yet, Dream Harder features saxophone, mandolin and all the other instruments in a direction reminiscent of the pre-Fisherman's Blues Waterboys - a direction that Anto had a direct hand in.

The book's entitled Adventures of a Waterboy and that's really what it is. Mike's personal life isn't mentioned much. How did he meet his wife Irene? Where did he propose? What were their shared interests? Did she go to New York with him? What was her reaction to Findhorn? There's little mentioned. Witness the majority of his other relationships too.

As others have said, it's frustrating when the book ends. Steve Wickham gets just about in on the reunification (and the Fellow Who Fiddles makes Mike brutally aware of what he thought of his ditching) but what about Anto? I know they still play together but as friends? As a business? Now that the charts are pretty much dead, where does Mike see his future direction (i.e. from 2000 on)? I'd love to know.

All-in-all, a compelling book but it does show a side to Mike Scott I never knew existed. Still one of my favourite music writers and a superb telling of a journey from the cutting edge of rock to a step back in time, then back again.

A Sea of Stars
A Sea of Stars
Offered by inandout-distribution
Price: 12.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Tacky keyboards and cheap distorted guitars, 1 May 2010
This review is from: A Sea of Stars (Audio CD)
Following an accidental listening to `Blue Monday' by New Order on some chart radio show, Chris, Canadian-born and Scottish-bred, found that perhaps he wasn't the only one out there. After gorging himself on Factory Records, new wave music and Sarah Records, Chris began to feel that someone else saying almost what he meant to say wasn't quite the perfection he had hoped. With that, Chris bought his first Casiotone - an MT45, which was dated even then - and set about playing with no musical tuition. Not for him was learning someone else's tunes. Instead, the beginnings of songs that appeared on the first album began to take root.

All the songs from the first album, `A Sea of Stars' were written on that ancient little keyboard with its' 8 drum patterns and its' 8 tones. Chris only ever picked up a guitar the first time he entered a studio. The songs from `A Sea of Stars' have slowly matured and developed but at heart they remain played on that tacky keyboard and that cheap distorted guitar, on an outmoded 4-track. The honesty of the album almost bites.

The music swoons and crashes, reminiscent of, say, Pulp, Scott Walker or the Trembling Blue Stars. There are comparisons with the lo-fi of bands such as The Decemberists, Band of Holy Joy, Tindersticks or Casiotone For The Painfully Alone but there's a far darker side to these tracks, maybe more connected to Joy Division, the Durutti Column, Interpol and Thom Yorke. The lyrics convey a sense of yearning and loss, none more so than the conversation taking place in `A Moth Around A Candle', where our protagonist realises that when `lying in bed and wishing you dead' the only conclusion can be 'what's the point of it all?'

Starscape Presents: PLANETFALL
Starscape Presents: PLANETFALL
by Jason Quinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Starscape comic volume 1, 10 Feb 2010
The Deterrent dies, long die the Deterrent! It's Star Wars v Spider-Man in this origin issue. Guard Dogs - Cockchester's finest heroes! Imagine The Office meets The Batman. That's the Guard Dogs. The Lash fight for survival and to learn the secret of his creation in...Damage Circus!

A selection of original stories from Starscape comic, featuring Guard Dogs written by Jason Quinn (Spider-Man, Commando, Power Rangers), the Deterrent ('reminiscent of [Alan] Moore's Marvelman), the silly superheroine of Monosense Girl, futuristic droid wars in Damage Circus, plus sci-fi horror in the Hitcher by 2000AD's Gary Wilkinson.

Collected Hook Jaw (Spitfire Comics)
Collected Hook Jaw (Spitfire Comics)
by Pat Mills
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now updated!, 17 May 2007
This edition of Collected Hook Jaw vol.1 has taken into account the criticisms of Jackson Pollock'sNo.5 into account. Not only is the paper of superior quality and the page and paper adjusted for a better fit but the scans are cleaner (600 dpi) than before and indeed better than many of the contemporary British comic graphic novels.

Still deadly!


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily Perret's best work, 23 Nov 2006
This review is from: Remains (Audio CD)
Lacking humour persistent in Peter Perrett's other work, this collection of out-takes shows the darker, more desperate side that the Only Ones rarely captured on their other releases. Want some proof? Just look at the titles: Flowers Die, My Rejection, Watch You Drown etc.

Counterfeit Woman (with the only guitar solo that ever mattered) and Hope Valley Blues match anything any rock/underground/indie band ever did.

Quite simply, one of the greatest works ever released and certainly better than any 'official' Only Ones work.

Trees (Collins Gem)
Trees (Collins Gem)
by Alastair Fitter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.99

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the favourite, 22 Feb 2005
This review is from: Trees (Collins Gem) (Paperback)
I've been studying and working in ecology since 1987 and this is still the first book I turn to. Descriptions are clear and concentrate on distinguishing features. It's divided nicely into closely related groups with additional pages on fruits and nuts with a simple bark/leaf key. There's also a description of tree buds for winter ID.

Essential Human Torch Volume 1 TPB: v. 1
Essential Human Torch Volume 1 TPB: v. 1
by Stan Lee
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So awful, it's great!, 4 Feb 2004
Unless you've got money to burn on these old Strange Tales back issues, you've probably never read these stories before. And it's pretty obvious why they've never been reprinted!
Most of the stories are corny, flag-waving, simplistic rubbish - but that's what makes them great! There's no deep Alan Moore writings, none of the weirdness of Grant Morrison, heck, there's little enough promise in there of the greatness that was to come from Lee/ Kirby.
Johnny Storm is the celebrity turn in his own version of smallville. In between constant mood swings as he tries to prove to the other members of the Fantastic Four that he's a grown-up, Johnny Storm fights the likes of Paste Pot Pete, Plantman and plenty of commies with dodgy tricks up their sleeve. The Thing later teams up with Hothead, and there's always plenty of FF action, not to mention the X-Men's Iceman. One disappointment is the Spider-Man team-up. Astonishingly bad art by penciller Jack Kirby and inker Steve Ditko!

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