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Mr. S. J. Wade "thebardofb6" (United Kingdom)

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How to be Good
How to be Good
by Nick Hornby
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Trouble With Being Good, 26 Sep 2002
This review is from: How to be Good (Paperback)
If you've ever wondered what the consequences of following a liberal conscience might be, this book is for you. Its not a new idea or a GREAT book but hey, who wants to read only GREAT books. This is just a bit of thought-provoking fun, which will keep you entertained for a couple of evenings and you'll be all the better for it when you are through. If moral philosophy is Arsenal versus Manchester United, then this is a kick-about in the park. Not Hornby's best work by any means but a couple of hundred pages of thougtful pleasure. I'm glad I bought it.

Songs of Innocence and Despair
Songs of Innocence and Despair

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mainlining Into The Emotions, 25 Sep 2002
I have to say that this CD is one of the greatest discoveries of my musical life and illustrates so much about what's good about amateur music. Its immediate, raw and only occasionally in tune but this adds, not detracts from the experience. Listening to most types of music, I'm often aware that through the multi-tracking, mixing and hours of post-production, most of the human feeling is filtered out. This recording is an emotional tour de force and the title is completely appropriate and something magic happens, when the innocent sing of despair they are yet to know. But even the happy tunes convey an emotional charge and I'm Into Something Good, captures childhood at its most joyous. It may be only the wounded of heart that can feel this great CD but for those that can, something magical happens. Just wonderful.

A Darkening Stain
A Darkening Stain
by Robert Wilson
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get The Girls Back And Try And Stay Alive, 24 Sep 2002
This review is from: A Darkening Stain (Paperback)
Thrillers need a good sense of place and some interesting characters, to add colour to the plot. Benin in Africa provides the exotic backdrop and Wilson provides a multi-national cast of characters, some quite grotesque, but none you can trust. The African descriptions hold up well but our hero is not quite in enough jeopardy to create any real tension. The story keeps you turning the pages but considering the subject, it seems under-written at times. The African heat is palpable but you can't really smell it. A rather routine excursion but just about worth a read.

Frank Skinner
Frank Skinner
by Frank Skinner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Slummy Brummie Laughs All The Way To The Bank, 23 Sep 2002
This review is from: Frank Skinner (Paperback)
This book is a surprisingly honest account of Skinner's rise from unemployed drunken bar-fly and amateur wit, to a substantially rewarded TV personality. On the scrap-heap at thirty and tabloid-famous at forty-four, Skinner takes us through his stuttering start; his years of perfecting his 'voice' and on to the considerable privileges of celebrity. The narrative alternates between poignant recollections of his working-class childhood, with it's typical warmth and pragmatic toilet arrangements; and the sharing of his substantial thrill at rubbing shoulders with TV and rock legends: with plenty of nob jokes in between.
Stupendously fascinating and hilarious, this book reveals the rather sad and 'wistful' schoolboy that lurks beneath the carapace of his humour. The revelation of his return to his Catholic faith, is no surprise at all and there are plenty of clues within the text, that prove it to be an essential element in both his creativity and his psychological survival. It becomes obvious that it is the tension between the tug of the fleshpots and his religious faith, that inspires him. For Skinner, truth is cathartic and the lifter of a huge weight of guilt from his soul.
There are plenty of laugh-out-loud pleasures but the funniest line in the book comes from his mother. A joyous excursion through Birmingham of the Seventies and Eighties, ending in the lament of a lonely hedonist.
By the end of the book, I couldn't decide whether I liked our Frank or not but I was really glad that he wrote it. Superb!

Berlin: The Downfall, 1945
Berlin: The Downfall, 1945
by Antony Beevor
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fate Worse Than Death, 24 Aug 2002
A very disappointing read compared with Stalingrad. It opens well enough but quickly becomes repetitive. Such is the concentration on rape, that it seems to propose it as the greater rather than the lesser evil, as compared with the multitude of ways of dying in a war. Some of the quoted sources seem to be merely anecdotal and are unconvincing. Such is the balance of the moral argument, it seems hardly conclusive whether it was a good thing the Soviet Union won the battle or not. Just as with Stalingrad, Beevor's writing tends to induce sympathy for the Germans and detracts from the tremendous sacrifice the Red Army made in turning the tide of Naziism. With the morality thus skewed, I found it a depressing read and I was rather glad when it was over.

System Shock 2
System Shock 2

1 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive FPS, 28 July 2002
This review is from: System Shock 2 (Video Game)
I was very disappointed with the graphics that starts the game off and throughout the game. The 'monsters' are repetitive to the point of irritation and actually spoil the best part of the game - the infinite variation to how problems can be solved. The robots in the later levels are much better but the early stages are clogged up with poorly rendered zombies.
Having enjoyed Half-Life, my expectations and hopes were dashed by this one.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2010 8:40 AM BST

Half-Life Generation: Half-Life, Opposing Force, Counter Strike, Blue Shift (PC)
Half-Life Generation: Half-Life, Opposing Force, Counter Strike, Blue Shift (PC)

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Brilliant!, 28 July 2002
Having been a massive Duke fan; especially with the infinite number of maps available out on the web, I was looking for something extra and from the moment I ran Half-Life, I knew I'd found it. Good story and astounding graphics but best of all characters I could interact with. I was frankly amazed and totally engrossed, even though it was a trifle jerky on my very basic (166Mhz) PC.
My only reservations came when the story line moved from the feasable and reality-based plant, to the floating world of Xen, which I thought got more desperate for decent ideas the more it went on and some levels seemed like 3D Chuckie Egg.
The monsters became very repetitive and I got tired of killing 'head crabs' and they just held up the flow of the game and brought very little interest, once I'd blasted the first few dozen.
I thoroughly recommend the game and consider it a benchmark but as with too many FPS's the game play is patchy and goes from the brilliant to the tedious.

The Testament
The Testament
by John Grisham
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Moral Blockbuster, 16 Aug 2001
This review is from: The Testament (Paperback)
Its hard to give a populist like Grisham five stars but this book is so 'nice' and it is really quite wise. It tackles some interesting issues, such as the astronomical sums a really rich person can accumulate in a lifetime and the demoralizing effect it can have on those family members that don't actually earn it. The feckless greed is hilarious and the old man's revenge an absolute delight. Anyone contemplating downsizing their lives, might find inspiration here. I loved it and was sad when it ended. I wanted the warm satisfying glow to continue. I was left wondering whether Mr. Grisham is really as nice as he seems. A very satisfying reading experience.

Angels Flight
Angels Flight
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story But Not Much Else, 16 Aug 2001
This review is from: Angels Flight (Paperback)
Perhaps its just that L.A. is not very interesting but this story has no real sense of place. Whatever is special there is missing here. The story is good enough to keep the pages turning but apart from Detective Bosch, the characters are generic and uninteresting. Its the sort of book that reads like its written for a future movie. So I was disappointed. The fact that it was shortlisted for a CWA award, raised my expectations, which were never entirely justified.

Purple Cane Road
Purple Cane Road
by James Lee Burke
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cajun Classic, 15 Aug 2001
Read enough off the crime shelves and things get predictable. The authors you return to are those that add the atmosphere, the characters and the style. Burke has an interesting detective with baggage and an amusing side-kick. He has the usual omnipotent threat and a decent plot but the overwhelming joy, is the Southern flavour, with dialogue that has voices warbling poetically, in the head. Fabulous entertainment.

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