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Christopher Chinnery (London)
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Night Mail / West Highland [1936] [DVD]
Night Mail / West Highland [1936] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arthur Clark

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure poetry, 27 Jun 2011
Night Mail is deservedly celebrated, but I bought this DVD for "West Highland", John Gray's beautiful and poetic 1960 BBC documentary about life on the West Highland Line between Glasgow and Mallaig. The line has often been well filmed, but never nearly as well as it was here (in black and white).

We hear the voices of railway workers talking about the line, of its beauty and, above all, of its significance. There are simple readings of place names; of the mountains, lochs and glens. This poetry is sometimes inter-cut with bald facts: gradients, miles of track to be maintained, and reminders of the necessity of shovelling coal to boil water to lift hundreds of tons of train up onto Rannoch Moor. In some passages, sounds from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop are used to evoke the dream-like quality of railway travel.

To us, the film is about a vanished world but, at its core, it is about the value of community and about the dignity of service. But the film is so well made that that is never expressed. It doesn't have to be.


Ubuntu Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Ubuntu and Debian Power Users
Ubuntu Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Ubuntu and Debian Power Users
by Christopher Negus
Edition: Paperback

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly useful!, 24 Jun 2009
To summarize; if I had to have only one book on GNU/Linux, this would be it. It is excellently indexed, very readable, and-- at only 330 compact pages-- usefully portable. Almost immediately, it established itself as my number 1 reference. Ubuntu Linux Toolbox is almost entirely devoted to using the shell. After a useful introduction to Ubuntu, the following 13 chapters are on subjects such as using the shell, working with files, manipulating text, managing the system, remote system administration etc. Each chapter is divided into sections such as "Backing up tar archives over SSH". It is in these sections that the authors' experience really shows. Everything is explained and alternative approaches explored. The three appendices cover shell variables, Vim and /proc. The aim always seems to be to get you started, and to point you to a variety of useful features and ways of doing things. As a moderately competent user, I can not judge this book's appeal to a real expert, but to anybody else, I would say that buying this book is a no-brainer. Alternatives versions exist for Fedora and Suse.


Philosophers Behaving Badly
Philosophers Behaving Badly
by Nigel Rodgers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.84

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nietzche was a sweetie, 18 Jan 2006
A great little book. I hugely enjoyed it, as did my two friends who to whom I lent my copy. Although we all read the book from cover to cover, it is an ideal dipping book; divivided into chapters, each of which stands on its own. As a non-philosopher, I felt both entertained and educated. Forget about actors, pop-stars and footballers. The French have it right! Intellectuals are the stars! Keep a copy lying around and you and your visitors will have something to laugh about. You might save the chapters on Rousseau and Russell until last. While fascinating, they were both so very unpleasant. Nietzche was much sweeter.


Flight to Arras (Penguin Modern Classics)
Flight to Arras (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Antoine Saint-Exupery
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.32

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but unforgettable, 4 Mar 2005
A short but searing personal account of a suicidal reconnaissance mission flown as France was collapsing before the Nazi surprise attack. From the vantage point of this short flight, Saint Exupery saw the whole tragedy: the population of the North taking to the roads south, unable to bear the repetition of the pain that they had suffered less than a quarter of a century earlier, and the utter impossibility of getting any help to the elderly reservists that faced the blitzkrieg.
To read this book is to understand two things: how the view of the pilot can increase his sympathy rather than his detachment, and what the collapse of France was like. How a country with rough parity of equipment and forces could be so quickly defeated by a neighbour is a matter for military historians, but as for what it was like to be on the losing side, I can not think of a better account.


The Last Steam Railroad in America
The Last Steam Railroad in America
by Thomas H. Garver
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking and elegiac, 4 Mar 2005
O Winston Link trained as a civil engineer but followed a career as an industrial photographer. Whenever he had a spare moment, he would photgraph trains. In 1955, with the end of steam looming, he took his first night photograph of a locomotive on the Norfolk and Western Railroad. He had to act before his favourite subjects became extinct. Cutting back on his day job, he spent as much of the next five years as he could, as an adopted member of the Norfolk & Western family, wandering their sytem and photographing locomotives at night. His new photographic genre required mountains of equipment and superlative technique, but the results are breathtaking. These pictures of machines, of people, and the relationship between them, are sophisticated, full of wit and visually stunning, but they are more. With their unique captions, at the same time poetic and familiar, they are a lesson on how might learn to appreciate the lives of others.


Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying:
Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying:
by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive, 14 July 2003
The best explanation ever written on how to fly an aeroplane, and one of the few in which the essence of the subject is not buried under a mountain of irrelevant technical detail. If you read only one book on how to fly, this should be it. Even the illustrations are not only very clear, but evocative of the age in which it was written.


Flight to Arras (Modern Classics)
Flight to Arras (Modern Classics)
by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surrender Monkeys?, 14 July 2003
A short but searing personal account of a suicidal reconnaissance mission flown as France was collapsing before the Nazi surprise attack. From the vantage point of this short flight, Saint Exupery saw the whole tragedy: the population of the North taking to the roads south, unable to bear the repetition of the pain that they had suffered less than a quarter of a century earlier, and the utter impossibility of getting any help to the elderly reservists that faced the blitzkrieg.
To read this book is to understand two things: how the view of the pilot can increase his sympathy rather than his detachment, and what the collapse of France was like. How a country with rough parity of equipment and forces could be so quickly defeated by a neighbour is a matter for military historians, but as for what it was like to be on the losing side, I can not think of a better account.


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