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A. Thirsk (Scotland)

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Living With War
Living With War
Price: £6.75

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could do better, 17 Jan. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Living With War (Audio CD)
Back in the sixties/seventies most songwriters who tried to put over political points couldn't hack it musically. Usually whining hippies with beat up acoustic guitars. Neil however showed what could be done and produced real heart felt lyrics with great tunes. Listen to the beauty of Helpless or the rocking clarity of Ohio. Unfortunately none of this talent shows up here. A few of the songs have interesting lyrics but the music is in the doldrums. Mostly wooly sounding rythym guitar. If it was a vinyl record I would have been checking the needle for fluff. If you want music with your truth, then I suggest the far better 'Liars' by Todd Rundgren. However, I do find it very disparaging that it seems to be left to the old guard to protest. So Neil, you can do a lot better but at least you had a go.

Royal Enfield Big Twins Limited Edition Extra (Brooklands Books Road Test Series)
Royal Enfield Big Twins Limited Edition Extra (Brooklands Books Road Test Series)
by R.M. Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Meteoric rise and fall of Enfield twins, 19 Jan. 2006
If you are interested in British motorcycles and especially big twins then this book is a facinating collection of 'when they were new' write ups from the magazines of the day. I would particularly recommend it to anyone who is not familiar with Royal Enfields as it may surprise them into re-accessing their worth as a truly impressive motorcycle manufacturer.
Of course I am biased as I own a few myself.
Obviously if you have no interest in motorcycles then this book is not for you. The only problems I have with it is the articles collated are not evenly spead across the models with the Interceptor taking up half the book and the original 500 twin not getting a look in. Maybe thats just the way it panned out.
Another grudge I have and this is more important is that Brookland books have all these articles to hand on file and therefore can put together books like this relatively cheaply so it really annoys me when I open the cover to find 'Printed in China', on the inside. Or perhaps it's just ironic.

The Sensational Alex Harvey
The Sensational Alex Harvey
by John Neil Munro
Edition: Hardcover

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars About time, 18 Feb. 2003
It's about time that someone wrote a biography of Alex harvey, one of the top rock n rollers to have ever lived, and my hat is tipped to John Munro for doing that. I feel however that such a book could have been better if written by someone closer to Alex who knew him. The portrait does seem to be incomplete and I didn't learn anything new myself apart from some minor trivia. John Munro, freely admits that he never saw SAHB play live and never met Alex. The sceptics among us might conclude that here we have another journalist using an easy route into the book market. Another line on the CV.
Yes I have been harsh, but I hate to see some of my favorite albums such as The Blues, Tomorrow belongs to me, SAHB Stories and Rock Drill treated without the reverance they deserve.
While I am gripping. Could they have possibly picked a worse photo for the front cover?
This is one for the fans. It will never be a piece of important literature and I'm not even sure that Alex would have liked it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2012 11:50 PM BST

The Cruel Sea
The Cruel Sea
by Nicholas Monsarrat
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm glad I wasn't there, 17 Jan. 2002
Although this is a work of fiction, it is just oozing with a realism that is borne out of the truth. Monsarrat was in this long hard stuggle for control of the Atlantic. A battle which cost 3000 ships and 30,000 men on the British side alone. Sometimes this novel seems to become a continuous catalogue of carnage but strangely seems to become de-humanised to the suffering just as the people envolved also become less vulnerable as the war grinds on. And grinds on it does to such an extent that you feel like you are there, in this (now) alien world, where life is one long stuggle against the 'cruel sea' interspersed with short but very violent clashes with the enemy. Without giving too much away, I felt that the book lost momentum 2 thirds of the way through when some of the crew of the Corvette transfer to a new Frigate. The description of the events seems to get a little thinner and a clash with german destroyers is brushed over but not so as to ruin the book. This has been written by someone who was there and knows what it was all about. There is no gung ho approach here. No one who reads this would want to go to war. In fact it should be made compulsory reading for all. I have given this book 4 stars but it should be 4 and a half. I thoroughly recommend that this book be read along with 'Das boot'.

Complete Battle Axe
Complete Battle Axe

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Resurrection, 16 Jan. 2002
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Complete Battle Axe (Audio CD)
Buried for 25 years, this overlooked and hard to get album has finally made it onto cd. In 1977, a group called the Billion Dollar Babies, emerged from the ashes of a group called Alice Cooper. Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith got together with Bob Dolin on keyboards and Mike Marconi on lead guitar to make this scorcher of an album. 'Battle axe' was to be their comeback onto the world stage but alas it failed. Nothing wrong with the record just bad luck: an engineering error meant it had to be recalled and re-engineered/pressed at great expense, little pr from polydor and the onslaught of punk caused this great record to slip into history un-noticed by most. While Alice's solo records were slipping into blandness(eg. go to hell and Lace and whiskey), this Battle axe was fresh,raw and more importantly, heavy. I have given it 5 stars but if Alice had contributed it could have been something more. This is worth the money. Not only do you get the album but another two cd's as well. One cd is studio cuts that never made it onto the original record and the other is a recording of the first show of the battle axe tour that collapsed after 4 gigs due to lack of funds.(unbelievable).
The live recording isn't brilliant quality but is listenable, especially if you play it loud.
If you are an Alice Cooper fan then this is for you. What a bargain, buy it now.

Beside the Ocean of Time
Beside the Ocean of Time
by George Mackay Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Each page a gem, 26 April 2001
This was the first George MacKay Brown book I ever read and since then I have managed to read everything in print by this great, under-rated author. He is one of those incredibly rare talents that could paint a picture with a word, descride a life in a page or the history of a people in a chapter. A true storyteller that brought the story of his people(the orcadians) to the world. This book centres on a young boy growing up on an Orkney island and how he see's his world steeped in myth and legend and coloured with characters from the past and present. The author takes the reader into another world of dreams and passions until the end of the book that comes all too quickly. Read this book and experience the lost art of storytelling.

School's Out
School's Out
Price: £4.23

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to schooldays, 28 Mar. 2001
This review is from: School's Out (Audio CD)
I was at school when the song 'school's out' burst forth on the unsuspecting British charts. It made quite an impact. However it was a few years later before I got the album and it is nothing like what you would expect.'Luney tune' is a song about insanity/suicide which is far superior lyrically and musically to anything on 'from the inside'. 'Gutter cat v the jets' has an incredible drum and bass which turns into west side story and ends up in a 'streetfight'. 'Blue turk' is a beautiful jazzy blues tune with lovely lead guitar and sax. Although the lyrics are in contrast to the music and are typically gruesome.'My stars' - well I just don't know what this about but the music is about as good as Alice gets.'Public animal no.9' is a teenage rebel song done to a heavy motown beat. 'alma mater' is a great accoustic ode to their old school Cortez high. All these songs are great and have great diversity in style which may be not what some would like but to me makes a more interesting album. A lot of thought has gone into this and the rewards were worth it for the bands continuing success. However there is one problem with this cd and that is the last track. 'Grande finale' is a instrumental mish mash and I can only assume that ideas for songs were running a bit thin at the time or recording schedules forced a quick exit from the studio. It's listenable but loses the record a star.

Pretties for You
Pretties for You

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars one for the bin, 26 Mar. 2001
This review is from: Pretties for You (Audio CD)
Alice Cooper went through a 'freak band' stage in the late 60's and were picked up to record this for Frank Zappa's straight label. However he never turned up to produce it and that job fell to the boys themselves. What we get is a chaotic jumble of songs and ideas that never seem to take direction. 'Reflected' from this album got reworked into 'Elected' later on but everything else was removed from the bands repetoire when they made it big. Some songs aren't bad such as 'living,fields of regret,levity ball and swing low sweet cheerio' but even these sound rough and need some reworking done on them. This is only really suitable for the die-hard fan(like myself), and even then only to give them an idea of how much the band matured over a short time. The following record 'Easy action' is much more listenable.

The Reader
The Reader
by Carol Brown Janeway
Edition: Audio Cassette

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 22 Jan. 2001
This review is from: The Reader (Audio Cassette)
This is a beautifully written book and is a joy to read even if the subject matter is so serious. There are some words used which are not contemporary with the historical setting(1950/60s) but that is probably due to the translation rather than the original text. Without a doubt this is a excellant book and is the best novel I have read in recent years.

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (20th anniversary edition with a new preface by the author)
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (20th anniversary edition with a new preface by the author)
by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Edition: Paperback

17 of 110 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull as dishwater, 16 Jan. 2001
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Maybe I'm not intelligent enough but I found this book as dull as dishwater. I had to give up on it because I kept nodding off. Nothing else has quite the same effect except maybe IBM mainframe manuals or networking protocols. Yes I work in computing and my job is dull enough without 700+ pages of mathematical theory to plod through. I prefer to listen to music than read about it. I prefer to look at art and make my own judgement about it. I prefer not to think about maths. Not the book for me as you can see. I shall browse the bookshelves for something more entertaining/enlightning.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 20, 2011 6:10 PM BST

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