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Annie "Pippin" (Perth, Australia)

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The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones (Canons)
The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones (Canons)
by Stanley Booth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures a time, with verve, 10 Jan 2013
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Let us start by saying I was a very young child during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but like many people from my generation, was always enamoured by the sounds of the 1960s, particularly The Rolling Stones. I first read this in the 1980s and it was read, lent to friends and then re-read until it fell apart.

What I like? It feels like you are reading a letter from the frontier of youth culture during a particular heady time in the Twentieth Century. It has not been doctored to suit 21st Century sensibilities and all the stronger for it. For example, the reader gets to fully understand to what extent bands like The Rolling Stones were seen to be saviours and spokespeople for a new movement and a new way of life. Also, you will notice the idolisation of black artists / musicians, which at times, to a 21st Century reader, verges on stereotype.

It is beautifully written. You are THERE - no really! From the descriptions of living with the Stones (going out for dinner etc) to standing at the side of the stage watching them perform, to noticing someone at the airport - Stanley Booth captures it all.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys excellent, honest writing and has an interest in this period of history. If you are a Rolling Stones fan it is required reading, if you are not, you will still enjoy it.


Fingersmith
Fingersmith
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I envy you that have yet to read this...., 21 Feb 2012
This review is from: Fingersmith (Paperback)
I have just had a quick cursory look at all of my reviews on this site - and most of them are five out of five stars.

Perhaps it is because I know what I like. So this review will attempt to say what precisely I love about this book - without giving anything of the plot away. It occurs to me that there are lots of people out there who share my tastes. So this is for potentially a fellow reader. To quote Julie Myerson: 'There are always novels that you envy people for not yet having read, for the pleasure they still have to come. Well, this is one.' Agreed!

If you like:

1. Memorable, three dimensional characters who make the alien world of 19th century London and rural England come well and truly alive.
(*This is so important to me as a reader. It is all very well to have all the boxes ticked as regards historical accuracy, but if you cannot make the reader feel that this other world is not 'other', then it is a waste of time)

Sarah Waters not only sets her novel in a world that my own ancestors lived in, and man, this woman knows her material (poor, working class London), but she breathes life into it.

2. A rollicking good plot. Again, all the brilliance in the world will not disguise a boring read. If you want (as I do very very much) an intelligent, beautifully written story that keeps you reading way past your normal bed time, your eyes closing in rebellion against your desire to want to read 'one more page' - then this is for you.

3. A book you will return to? Then yes again. I knew as soon as the last page was finished that this was a 'stayer' on my bookshelf.

There are some wonderful reviews here that provide excellent description of the setting and plot, so will not repeat their material again. The less you know, the better.

Highly recommended if you recognise your own tastes here. This is what the joy of reading is all about. Thank you Sarah Waters for a wonderful piece of writing!


Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Remembered (Archive Photographs)
Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Remembered (Archive Photographs)
by Stephen Humphrey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book., 20 Jan 2012
This was a Birthday present for my Dad who was born and raised in the area. He loved it! Not a big reader normally, he read it from cover to cover unable to put it down apparently.

So, if you have an interest in working class life invest in it, because while there are numerous sources about the East End over the water, this area for some reason seems to get forgotten about by social historians.

If you have family from this area, buy it for them. I loved the review here where someone mentions a family member naming everyone in one of the photographs. My dad got a very sentimental look on his face when he saw the kids going to the Saturday morning pictures!

Highly recommended.


The King's Jester: The Life of Dan Leno, Victorian Comic Genius
The King's Jester: The Life of Dan Leno, Victorian Comic Genius
by Barry Anthony
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dan Leno: A scholarly take, 20 Jan 2012
Okay, an admission. Along with Roy Hudd, I have a bit of a 'thing' about Mr. Leno. I first discovered this man while reading Peter Ackroyd's 'Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem' when it was first published. Really had no idea this character I fell in love with was based on a real Music Hall star. This was before the Internet had much on it, so it was a trip to my University Library which brought me face to face with the one, the only: DAN LENO! There he was in black and white images staring at me across the decades.

As a result I wrote my History Honours paper on London music hall - with a strong emphasis on Dan the Man. So, when this book came out, I was very excited.

Don't get me wrong, if you want a scholarly and orderly overview of Dan's life - this is five out of five stars. No doubt at all. It is well researched and written.

It just wasn't what I expected. Felt it was a bit 'cold' somehow, Roy Hudd's introductory bit was my favourite part of the book because of its heart and soul. I would have loved more about Dan Leno's home life, what made him tick. In his lifetime he saw comics made with himself as the main character, plates and cups and saucers with his image. How did this affect this talented man?

But that should not put you off purchasing this book if you have an interest in late 19th Century music hall. If you want a re-imagining of who Dan might have been, get a copy of Ackroyd's book.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 17, 2014 10:14 AM BST


This Is England '86 [DVD]
This Is England '86 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Thomas Turgoose
Price: £7.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, 20 Jan 2012
This review is from: This Is England '86 [DVD] (DVD)
I ordered this from Amazon before Christmas. It was a present for my husband (we both loved the film 'This is England') and what a fantastic viewing experience it is! I have long been an admirer of Shane Meadows' films - he seems to capture the way people talk and act so realistically it is mind blowing at times - so be aware of my bias.

The actors are all so good in a series which makes you laugh one minute while causing you to want to look away the next.

Beautifully filmed and incredibly moving.

In an age where working class English people are routinely represented as complete morons, this provides a welcome and three dimensional interpretation of working class experiences (plural - not singular).

Thank you Mr. Meadows.

Highly recommended.


The Woman In Black
The Woman In Black
by Susan Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Do not read alone on a windy night!, 18 July 2011
This review is from: The Woman In Black (Paperback)
'....I could hear it again, the odd, faint, rhythmic noise - bump bump, pause, bump bump, pause, bump bump...' (p. 114)

Finally ordered a copy of this book and was so pleased I did.

My first 'experience' (because it is: an experience) of this chilling ghost story was watching the English made for television version many years ago. It absolutely terrified me! Spending my childhood years walking around the Estuary on the North Kent coast no doubt made the East Anglian bleakness (marshes, mud flats, tides, damp) that is the setting of Eel Marsh House, all the more real and believable for me. That movement you thought you saw - just out of the corner of your eye. Fear that you would see a figure materialise through the drizzle.....stories of ghosts and superstition.

To go back to the origins of this story has been an amazing (and terrifying) experience which I recommend to anyone who enjoys storytelling at it's finest.

Similar to so many of my favourite stories (novels, films, television) the landscape here is a leading character.

Arthur Kipps finds himself at the mercy of not only the eponymous 'Woman in Black', but also a landscape that appears to be temperamentally psychotic. From clear blue skies and sharp visibility to 'frets' in minutes. The ghost and the environment at times appear to be working together - as if the Woman in Black has been summoned forth from the marshes and the mists - both threatening to engulf and drown Arthur both physically and emotionally.

Sometimes stories become famous and 'big' because they appear in a cultural landscape at just the right time, I would suggest 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' is one such book.

Other stories become famous and 'big' (the play version has been running for years and a new film adaptation is apparently underway) because of their sheer literary brilliance. This is in the second category. I would predict people will be reading this for many many years to come.

Sometimes less is more. This is only 160 pages long and you never EVER get bored.

Highly recommended!

Now for someone to remaster and make available that English television adaptation - someone do it please!


Spirit Guide
Spirit Guide
Price: £11.48

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant!, 3 Jun 2010
This review is from: Spirit Guide (Audio CD)
I have been wanting to buy a meditation CD for years and years, but was always put off by the lingering connotations of all those movies and comedians sending up the Californian Guru voice - just knew I would not be able to stop laughing if this was the case!

I am familiar with Tony Stockwell's work on the television programme Psychic Private Eyes - was always impressed by all three of the psychics on the programme, not least their down to earth approach to their gifts and - perhaps most importantly - the people they were attempting to help. So when I saw this CD on the Amazon site it was time to give mediation a go.

If, like me, you have been feeling you would like to begin meditating but are unsure of where to start: then this is highly recommended. Tony Stockwell's voice is just perfect and before you know it you have gone somewhere else. It really does leave me feeling so much more centred and energised for the day ahead, rather than my mind running all over the place.

One caveat here though, if you think spirit guides and the like are a load of rubbish, perhaps you should look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you suspect that there might be more to the World than two dimensions, then this is for you. I will definitely be looking at buying another Tony Stockwell CD in the future, as this really has helped me at lot. Thank you Mr. Stockwell!


Family Britain, 1951-1957 (Tales of a New Jerusalem)
Family Britain, 1951-1957 (Tales of a New Jerusalem)
by David Kynaston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Polyphonic spree!, 15 Feb 2010
I received this book as a birthday present and what a present!

A note of honesty here, I enjoy reading social history (so there is the Nerd admission up front!), particularly English social history. However, there is something extra special about this publication. Namely, while usually reading a history book I require some fiction on the go at the same time (some Stephen King let's say....just to keep the Nerd factor at an optimum....yes and I like Torchwood....), but this is unputdownable. Do not be put off by the sheer size of the book (776 pages including index), if you are looking for a narrative that will make you smile, chuckle out loud, while providing poignant moments aplenty - then get this book! David Kynaston is to be congratulated on the remarkable achievement of putting together so many different 'voices' from people. From housewives to M.P.'s, from newspaper headlines to Mass Observation findings - they all speak to you with a remarkable immediacy. Clearly this is a winner for people who remember this period of English history, but equally so for people like myself who were not even born yet. This is no mere 'sentimental' 'good old days' nostalgia. So people from a younger generation do not be put off!

Nearing the end of this book now, I am feeling decidedly tempted to get on this site and order some more books by this writer. Great stuff! .....and need I say it?
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


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