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Reviews Written by
Benjamin Frankly (edinburgh, scotland)

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Harmony Springs
Harmony Springs

4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative little gem, 26 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Harmony Springs (Audio CD)
An interesting throwback,although not always completely original,and very reminiscent of the music of Fairport/Fotheringay, as well as Pentangle in places, with the occasional touch of mellowed out Jefferson Airplane. Vocalist Anna Sheard sounds very like Sandy Denny at times, and guitarist Jim McCulloch adds some lovely deft touches to the whole album.This is a band I would love to see live, as their music would lend itself well to extended improvisations. Well worth checking out.


Murther and Walking Spirits
Murther and Walking Spirits
by Robertson Davies
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Voices of the forgotten, 8 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A wonderful saga, utilising a multiplicity of voices and viewpoints,examining what constitutes a worthwhile life, and what we inherit from our parents. North American history and the immigrant experience,loss, longing, heritage and alienation are examined, as well as the damaging effects on children brought up by damaged parents. Wonderful addictive storytelling, which is ultimately life affirming and uplifting, in spite of the often tragic family histories which unfold.


The Cunning Man
The Cunning Man
by Robertson Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars As a standalone work it ranks only very slightly below the great trilogies for me, 23 Dec. 2015
This review is from: The Cunning Man (Paperback)
After a slow start this novel really takes off into the stratosphere with some really gripping writing, which could only have come from the wise, witty and acerbic pen of RD. As a standalone work it ranks only very slightly below the great trilogies for me, as the structure is a little bit hit or miss at times, and it takes a little too long to get going. Having said that, I would recommend all of his books to any reader who loves great literature dealing with the big themes in an amusing and compassionate way.


The Road to Samarcand
The Road to Samarcand
by Patrick O'Brian
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Boys Own Stuff, 23 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: The Road to Samarcand (Paperback)
Aubrey and Maturin this certainly is not; O'Brian had yet to begin his masterpiece series of novels when he wrote this teenage adventure which could have come from the pages of the Victor or Hotspur, albeit with a smattering of greater erudition and a slightly richer vocabulary. Much of the dialogue is laughably silly: stilted, artificial and in falsely archaic slang which just does not work, although the descriptive passages do stand out. One dimensional racial stereotypes abound. Reading this story which I could not finish, it is often hard to tell what time zone we are supposed to be in, as the ancient and modern rub shoulders in extremely unlikely ways. Best treated as fantasy if you can suspend your disbelief for long enough to ignore the silliness.


Palimpsest: A Memoir
Palimpsest: A Memoir
by Gore Vidal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The view from Olympus, 16 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Palimpsest: A Memoir (Paperback)
Acerbic wit, analytical character sketches, catty sarcasm, moving memories of love and loss, and some laugh out loud moments. Vidal is both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. Looking forward to reading the next volume.


The Meaning of Night
The Meaning of Night
by Michael Cox
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pass the sick bag, 16 Nov. 2015
This review is from: The Meaning of Night (Paperback)
Tedious self inflated claptrap, full of needless, showy footnotes and sub O Level Latin headings, propping up a flimsy, predictable plot, full of teasing promises to tell all at a later juncture. Couldn't even make to page 100. Even Victorian authors weren't that Victorian.


Brooklyn [DVD]
Brooklyn [DVD]
Dvd ~ Saoirse Ronan
Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Drawer, 13 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Brooklyn [DVD] (DVD)
I have not read the book but I will now, as books are nearly always better than the film version. That said, the book must be a masterpiece, as this film is a beautiful and moving work of art which deserves lots of awards. The whole cast are excellent, and the performances are top drawer. Lapsed Catholics and Irish exiles will recognise many of the character portraits and social situations in the film with pleasure and toe curling embarrassment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2015 11:07 AM GMT


The Martian [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2015]
The Martian [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [2015]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Price: £14.99

11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life on Mars is easy....., 13 Nov. 2015
A sanitised and anodyne version of the book which makes Watney's ordeal seem like a walk in the park. The film lacks the excitement and tension of the book, as well as half the disasters and challenges facing the stranded astronaut. You always know he's going to make it and this robs the film of any elements of suspense. Some of the science in the film is inaccurate too - e.g. potatoes surviving -80 degrees at night. Having said that, it always looks good, but if you've read the book then it's going to be a bit of a disappointment.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2016 9:18 AM GMT


Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind [DVD] [2003]
Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Drew Barrymore
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Just a crazy mixed up kid trying to make a buck or two......., 9 Nov. 2015
This film can't make up its mind what it wants to be - satire, black comedy, conspiracy thriller, farce, or expose of sleazy American TV game shows. It really is all over the place all of the time. In addition, it's hard to have any kind of sympathy for any of the characters or care about what happens to them. In fact I kept wishing that they would all just get killed in the number one hobby now sweeping the USA - a massive gunfight.


Merrell Allout Blaze, Mens Trekking and Hiking Boots
Merrell Allout Blaze, Mens Trekking and Hiking Boots
Price: £70.00 - £221.33

3.0 out of 5 stars China V Vietnam, 2 Oct. 2015
Having read several reviews on other websites to compare opinions about my own pair before writing this one, it has now become apparent that Merrell have outsourced everything to Vietnam and China. My pair of all out blaze were a gift from my brother and do not have enough support underfoot. This is a pity, as Merrell used to have such a good reputation - I still have a pair of all leather Mayan Merrell walking shoes: they are amongst the most comfortable and hard wearing shoes I have ever owned, and they are over 12 years old; the label on the tongue says: "wear them out".....believe me I've tried.
From other reviews it would appear that the shoes made in Vietnam are of superior quality to those made in China. My All Out Blaze shoes were made in China and need an extra insole for support in order to avoid sore feet. I've never experienced this with a pair of Merrell shoes. Buyer beware.


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