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Harry Boxx "is it rolling bob?" (United Kingdom)

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The Endless River
The Endless River
Price: £7.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Endless Dreary Meanderings., 13 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Endless River (Audio CD)
Sounds like what it is. Left over jam from the bottom of the jar. These sessions were a part of the journey that made a great album, The Division Bell. Don't be expecting more of the same.

Nothing happens. I kept expecting someone to tell me "the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one". Heaven forbid. But even that would have helped liven proceedings. The whole thing sounds like background musak to a movie I'm not watching. Maybe a replacement to Giorgio Moroder's dub on "Metropolis" or Bobby Beausoleil's soundtrack to Kenneth Anger's "Lucifer Rising", neither of which I would recommend.

The question is, Why do this? The funereal black tape on the CD cover indicates this is intended as a tribute to Richard Wright, one of the great musicians in 20th century rock. But his contributions herein were never intended as a Mass. David Gilmour would have far better spent his time on a long awaited follow up to the magnificent "On An Island".

Not a keeper. After all this time a gap on my Pink Floyd shelf looks set to appear when this goes down to the charity shop.


Trueshopping 'Sulgrave' Compact Solid Rubberwood Kitchen or Garden BBQ Storage Rolling Trolley Cart with Butchers Block Style Chopping Board
Trueshopping 'Sulgrave' Compact Solid Rubberwood Kitchen or Garden BBQ Storage Rolling Trolley Cart with Butchers Block Style Chopping Board
Offered by Trueshopping Ltd
Price: £104.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for microwave stand., 11 Jan. 2015
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Superb product. No problems with assembly. Very sturdy construction. I use mine in the kitchen as a microwave cooker stand, with the shelves below ideal for bread box and fruit bowl. I haven't bothered with the wheels yet, but might do so as that would make cleaning behind and beneath very convenient. I would recommend.

Pinata Festive Toy Fillers - Pack of 36
Pinata Festive Toy Fillers - Pack of 36
Offered by barcode bargains
Price: £4.86

3.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the packet., 31 Dec. 2014
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good value. Quite a lot of repeats...

Hockney [DVD]
Hockney [DVD]
Dvd ~ Randall Wright
Price: £12.20

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Hockney". Dazzling, skillfully applied surface colours, but no deeper waters., 31 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Hockney [DVD] (DVD)
“What do you think of it?” The voice came from the woman in the otherwise empty row behind. The one I’d been chatting to in the foyer whist waiting for the Savoy’s Screen 3 projection room to be relieved of a mass of hyperactive children more than a little excited by an afternoon of “Annie”. Mercifully, the cinema’s air con dispelled the stale odour of pop and popcorn with equal efficiency.

I pondered her question: What did I think of it? Asking me what I thought of Hockney’s remarkable artworks would have been easier to answer. But the Randall Wright documentary, and subsequent Live from LA interview we’d just watched? Not so sure. “I thought it was okay. I expected a bit more. But I’m not sure of what”. She felt the same, and we both tried to formulate and express our opinions as the sparse audience around us listened in, attempting to do the same. It was a discussion with more space than statements. Later reviews in the press would be similarly challenged in their critiques.

David Hockney was and is something of both icon and idol to former art students of my generation. His media savvy predates and anticipates the later Britart activities of Emin and Hirst. It ensured his work reached the attention of the public eye, and not simply for a fashion sense which rapidly escalated from bowler hat and brolly to blond bespectacled beach boy. With few obvious exceptions, to have art books published about oneself in the early 1970s one usually had to have been dead since the end of the 19th century. So in 1971 Hockney’s own “72 Drawings” found little competition from his contemporaries, and soon found itself onto every self-respecting student’s bookshelf, whilst miniature first editions of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales he illustrated, protruded from Levi pockets as a symbol of cool.

This ready access to his work beyond the gallery walls of London helped establish him as a kind of saviour to those of us who felt the possibilities of a previous generation’s Abstract Expressionism had been exhausted, and the ready-made imagery of Pop Art of limited substance. Hockney’s work was at one and the same time contemporary and traditional. It put observational drawing back in centre stage. It still does. So, sat there looking up at the now blank cinema screen, why my lukewarm response to this documentary? Why my difficulty in answering that woman’s question? What did I think of it?

We live in an age when the works and lives of artists, musicians, writers, can grow in estimation in direct proportion to either the tragedy or excesses of the lives they live. An early death via car or plane crash is seen as a particularly good career move. Failing that a serious drug habit can prove a marketable alternative. Nothing quite like a cocaine confession to give a teenage pop star a little credibility. Never mind the quality, feel the notoriety.

Paul Simon once said, with a commendable honesty not usually associated with the entertainment industry, that after one achieves a certain level of success it is no longer appropriate or convincing to write angst ridden songs about “sitting in a railway station with a ticket for my destination”. His solution, responsible for the longevity of his success, has been to explore the technical aspects of the medium itself (in his case music) as the motivation. The African rhythms of “Graceland”, not typical of a Jewish rock star from New York, would be one such example.

David Hockney can be said to have pursued a similar course of action. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, leaving his solitary student tea breaks behind, he has been a hugely successful, famous artist. He’s done this by exploring his chosen medium via a series of technical challenges: Depicting water in the pools and sprinklers of California; the photographic collages and composite Polaroids; stage set designs; and the changing seasons of the Yorkshire landscape depicted across multiple canvases, to name just a few, and not to mention his theories on the use of mirrors and projections in classical art. At the time of writing (and the documentary mentioned herein), his latest fixation is “reverse perspective”. It won’t be his last.

“Hockney” showed the majority of these projects in chronological order, with an impressive digital clarity not experienced on the printed page. Home movies and photographs punctuated the proceedings with appropriate biographical detail. But that’s it. And why should we expect more? Hockney’s life hasn’t involved any greater tragedy or notoriety than most people reading this post. Accordingly, it is simply his passion for and exploration of the painting / printing medium, and the possibilities by which it can depict his mostly contented environment, which fuels his quite remarkable work. The paintings resist any political or social context. There is strong personal style, but not necessarily personal statement.

So that’s what I thought of it: A perfectly fine journey across the surface of an impressive range of beautiful canvases. The hero of the piece is not going to cut off his ear, choke on his own vomit in the back of an ambulance, or shoot himself in a drug fazed game of Russian roulette. In short, Ken Russell would never have made a film about David Hockney. The skilfully applied surface colours and textures are dazzling, but there is no revelation regarding deeper waters, if indeed deeper waters exist. That’s not what "Hockney" does. But what he will do, at age 77, is appear briefly “live” at the end of a documentary about his life, totally (and exclusively) excited about what he’s doing in this moment, “reverse perspective”, and attempt to convey to us what this latest artistic challenge he’s set himself is all about. Whether or not this 30 minute interview appears at the end of the DVD I don't know. But it's not essential in any way.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 1:47 PM GMT

The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years
The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years
Price: £4.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Fifty Years perhaps too much for one book. But worthy effort., 31 Dec. 2014
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Enjoyable read. Thought it better than Keith Richards dubious account. (Keith, were the Stones REALLY Stu's band and not Brian's? And was not being a party animal REALLY a good reason to sack the great Mick Taylor?). Thought it less boring but also less detailed than Wyman's.

Storytone (Deluxe Version)
Storytone (Deluxe Version)
Price: £11.96

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Burnt out or fading away?, 12 Nov. 2014
Another disappointing release, but it's Neil Young, and I'm ALWAYS gonna want to hear what he's up to. For me the last truly great releases were Greendale & Prairie Wind. Since then he seems to have been floundering. New directions haven't even produced the under-rated gems they did in the so called "experimental" 1980s.

There is that famous bit of dialogue when Neil responds to a heckler's accusation that "they all sound the same" with the quick retort: "It's all the same song". Of course it's not all the same song, and maybe the problem we fans have is a desire for each album to have the same underlying sound as we got with either Rust Never Sleeps or Harvest. But in recent times, even when that Crazy Horse sound returned with Psychedelic Pill, the basic songs are somewhat lacking. Le Noise seems like a good idea on paper, but Daniel Lanois (often an acquired taste) didn't serve him as well as he has other artists. Americana and the dreadful Letter Home seem like an artist floundering, wandering what to do next. Neil once said of song writing: "If you start thinking, you're finished". Maybe he's started thinking too much.

Storytone is not without it's charm in certain moments. Glimmer, Plastic Flowers, and Tumbleweed for example. The lyrics have been called over-simplistic, but sometimes simple lyrics such as Dylan's "can you cook and sow, make flowers grow" are all that need to be said at certain times in a relationship. Nevertheless, there aren't many songs here that will have me returning to the album as time goes by. I'll no doubt pick a couple of faves and be down the charity shop with the whole.

The second disc is simply trite. The orchestral arrangements are cliché at best, and do nothing to add to the songs other than no double double the publishing revenue.

Neil Young remains in great voice, unlike many of his contemporaries. However, at a time when we see Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, McCartney, etc., (I could go on), returning to former songwriting glories before "fading away", Neil seems to have slipped a few albums behind.

Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2014 8:19 PM GMT

The Amazing Adventures Of The Liverpool Scene
The Amazing Adventures Of The Liverpool Scene
Price: £13.70

5.0 out of 5 stars I love the Liverpool "beats", 8 Nov. 2014
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I'm biased. I went to art college in Liverpool at a time when poets and wannabe folk rock musicians would share a pub stage, often on an impromptu spontaneous basis.

I love the Liverpool "beats". Influenced by American developments in poetry but retaining an identity entirely their own. I wonder if today's "halls of residence" comparatively privileged Uni students got one tenth of the education we got back in the late 60s early 70s in our damp basement flats, or under pigeon-fested roofs. Paraffin heaters and paperback copies of The Mersey Sound. And of course Adrian Henri sat nearby in The Phil. This album brings it all back, But it also inspires me keep pushing to create new stuff.

Poets like Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, Brian Patten, are not given due credit. They are often regarded as being somehow too flippant; too "pop"; too Goon Show. True the angst of the American beats might not be as apparent but that's how the Liverpool people endured during the decades previous.

The Liverpool Scene is dated. So am I. But it still lights a spark beyond mere nostalgia.

The Kandy-kolored Tangerine-flake Streamline Baby (Picador Books)
The Kandy-kolored Tangerine-flake Streamline Baby (Picador Books)
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars like the ones about Phil Spector & Cassius Clay (yes ..., 8 Nov. 2014
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I think I'm right in saying this is Tome Wolfe's 1st book? That might explain why it comes across to me as 40% Salinger / 40% Kerouac in style. Some passages, like the ones about Phil Spector & Cassius Clay (yes that's what he was called then), are great. And I especially liked the chapters on drag / stock car racing which place the roots of the early 1950s youth revolution firmly on the race track even before James Dean appeared on screen.

A good book to dip into and get a taste of the times. But Wolfe got better than this.

The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Price: £12.00

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Basement Tapes is a fine example of a record gaining a huge reputation amongst ..., 8 Nov. 2014
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If you're new to Bob Dylan I would suggest you first of all don't listen to the hype which has surrounded these recordings since cover versions started to emerge in the late sixties. What you get here are loose, jam sessions amongst friends. Nobody, certainly not Dylan, is trying for "final take".

The Basement Tapes is a fine example of a record gaining a huge reputation amongst fans and collectors simply because it was never legally available. In other words it gathered a kind of mystique which grew through the ages as successive critics and writers each tried to outdo the other with superlative praise.

To make matters worse, the version of The Basement Tapes officially released in the 1970s were not the tapes at all. The Band tracks on that release were mostly recorded much later without Dylan, and others were overdubbed. Thankfully one can now throw that dishonest mixed bag in the bin and purchase the real item.

This album is the stepping stone between the heady days of Highway 61 & Blonde On Blonde (albums which in retrospect are quite non-representational of Dylan as a whole) and Nashville Skyline / New Morning. A band of musicians drawing breath, looking at their roots, deciding where, if anywhere, they want to go next. One could argue The Band (though I'm not a fan), gained perhaps more from the experience than Dylan himself, judging by both careers immediately after this project.

This is essential to your collection, but not a first choice by any means. As with the Beatles Get Back sessions, one is constantly left thinking what might have been. You listen to the tracks, certainly enjoying them, but it is left up to your imagination to complete the picture.

Underneath the Gargoyle
Underneath the Gargoyle
Price: £0.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Girl goes to church, gets laid by boyfriend. ..., 30 Oct. 2014
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Girl goes to church, gets laid by boyfriend. Goes to confession, gets laid by vicar. Then gets laid by a demon. Story is almost as brief as that.

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