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The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Flamingo modern classics)
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Flamingo modern classics)
by Robert Tressell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.82

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We have only swapped paintbrushes for PCs, 22 Jun 2005
A tremendous book.
Writen by Irish housepainter Robert (Noonan) Tressel just prior to the outbreak of the first world war, this story concerns the self-hating atitude of the working class and how it prevents them from realising their true power.
The central character, Owen, is Tressel. And his rage against the system (or rage Against the Machine, if he was around now) rings as true now as it did then.
Forget that these people painted houses over a century ago. All we have changed is the KIND of work we do. But we are still wage-earners i.e. workers, and so the charade continues.
One of the most eye-opening books I have read. It will be around long after the two-bit shills and snake-oil salesmen of capitalism have been hoist by their own petard.
Get it. Get it for your friends. Read it. Read it again.

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [DVD] [1962]
The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner [DVD] [1962]
Dvd ~ Michael Redgrave
Offered by classicmovies2000
Price: £17.49

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you never felt this way before?, 6 Mar 2005
I don't understand why another reviewer has said that this film is dated. The school system may not be the same, but the battle of wills that plays out in the film is being played out not just in every school, but on every factory floor, every office, every lab, football team, choir, everywhere. This is one of the supreme human stories and if you don't have this film, you have no excuse. It's an element of what makes people people.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2011 6:16 PM GMT

A Gabrieli, G Gabrieli: A Venetian Coronation 1595
A Gabrieli, G Gabrieli: A Venetian Coronation 1595

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time machine, 25 Feb 2005
This is one of my favourite records. Not only is the music beautiful and evocative, but the essence of what the music is about - the coronation of the Doge - adds to it a sense of time and place other recordings don't have. With other records we get a rendition of a composer's work. But with this we get a rendition of a slice of life from another age. Owing to this it acts as a sort of 'time machine', transporting the listener into the congregation in St. Mark's. I would therefore not only recommend this solely on the basis of the music (which is tremendous) but also because it is an aural museum piece that opens up one's imagination to the power and glory of the Venetian republic.
A must have.

Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism
Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism
by Peter Marshall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is demanding. And it is impossible., 7 Feb 2005
This vast compendium dumps the novice directly into the flow of anarchist theory. And what a refreshing thing it is too! Here we have Chinese monks, Russian princes, Irish playwrights, English poets, French revolutionaries, American gun-nuts, Spanish militias and German students. The author has cast his net wide and drawn together a wide group of individuals whose only common ground is their willingness to be in control of their own lives. It creates the idea that anarchism is an ancient philospohy, protean and mercurial and as a result you are left wondering just what you have read. Because there is no consolidated philosophy here - which makes sense as to lay down rules would be against the principles of Anarchy. Bored with conventional wisdom? Try this.

Satie: Gnossiennes; Gymnopédies; Ogives; Trois Sarabandes; Petite ouverture à danser.
Satie: Gnossiennes; Gymnopédies; Ogives; Trois Sarabandes; Petite ouverture à danser.
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.25

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and innocent music, 7 Feb 2005
If you have never heard of this music, you will have heard it played. All through my life I seem to have heard this in one place or another. It is, therefore, literally haunting music. This rendition is all solitary piano - no orchestras. So it is presented as an intimate secret between composer and listner. There is something child-like about it, as odd and difficult to understand as a child's imagination is to an adult. There is a playfulness that sounds serious and a joy that sounds sad. Owing to this, it cannot fail to captivate. It is one of my most treasured recordings and I know it will remain that way for the rest of my life.

Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: £1.73

0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't think of a title., 7 Feb 2005
This review is from: Tubthumper (Audio CD)
Can't think of much of a review either. But it's not bad... The liner notes are worth reading... ummmmm

The Killing Fields [DVD]
The Killing Fields [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Waterston
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.21

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The crime that is thinking too much about the past", 7 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Killing Fields [DVD] (DVD)
Apparently this film was cut by American censors to remove images of the Vietnamese providing aid to Cambodian refugees after they overthrew the Khmer Rouge. If true, it fits well into the film's depiction of a global power, claiming and then abandoning a country for the sake of its own political ends.
The film falls into two parts. The first is in pre-year 0 Cambodia, during a war betwwen royalist and Khmer Rouge forces that is driven into febrile excess by American bombing runs. This part of the film creates a feeling of a country sliding into the abyss and shows how thin a veneer civilization is. The second part of the film is set post-year 0, when the Khmer Rouge have assumed control of the country. Here there is no sense of inescapable descent - we have gone down as far as we can into a living hell.
In the first half we follow Sidney Schanberg and his colleague Dith Pran as they cover the war. Then Pran refuses the air-lift to remain in the country as the Khmer Rouge close in. He is trapped, despite the efforts of his friends to aid his escape. He remains behind as they are expelled. The second part has Schanberg back in America conducting a letter writing campaign to find his friend. However, the bulk of the second half involves Pran in Cambodia attempting to escape into Vietnam.
The film is not for the faint-hearted: the first half is unsettling in its depiction of chaos breaking loose and the second half contains some nightmarish imagery (especially Pran's discovery of the eponymous 'killing fields'). However, it is a mature and well-produced film that has a strong, compassionate core and seems to fit the times we live in as much as it fitted the times when it was first released.

Traffik [DVD] [1989]
Traffik [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ Bill Paterson

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative drama., 6 Feb 2005
This review is from: Traffik [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
I first saw this when it came out on UK television and I am pleased that it has been released in its full-length form on DVD. I imagine renewed interest in this drama owes a lot to the US film, but it is the UK series that is superior. This is because over it's 5+ hours, there is more time for character development and the story can unfold at a measured pace. It also allows for the vital character of Fazal (his equivalent is missing in the US film).
The drama involves three storylines, braided together: The poverty that encourages Asian poppy growers to cultivate opium, the rich European traffikers who move the heroin from Asia to Europe, and the addicts of London who are hooked on the stuff. Unlike the US film, these strands are expanded so that we see the heroin manufacture in Afghanistan during the civil war, the political whitewashing of puny aid-for-action schemes, the power that the drugs trade brings to those who control it and the destructive effect that it has on innocents.
This is the most illuminating part of the drama. Both Fazal, the grower and Caroline the addict are not bad people. Fazal's story can be described with the proverb 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' as at each step he is motivated out of love for his family. This is also true of Lindsay Duncan's character, Helen, who acts in a defensive way towards her family to the point that she is willing to kill, smuggle and traffik as her criminal husband languishes in custody.
However, the central character is Bill Patterson's government minister, directed to halt the growth of opium, but powerless to stop forces that are aided and abetted by politics, corruption and his own daughter's addiction. His story is ours as we begin with his attitude towards drugs - it is the growers fault, and ends with the knowledge that drug abuse, its attendant ills and the crime that feeds on it are the products of a society that is unwell.
There must also be praise for the direction of the film that manages to capture the mood of each setting so perfectly - the chilly hamburg harbour, the teeming throng of karachi, the rainy isolation of London, the insomnia and fatigue of the police stakeout (both the German policemen are excellent).
I have always considered the US film to be a washout, especially in its wilfull unwillingness to adress the issue of why drugs are grown in the first place. Thus, the UK series is superior. It is educational and entertaining and an essential purchase for anyone who enjoys high quality drama that respects the viewers intelligence.

The Tracks Of Sweeneys Men
The Tracks Of Sweeneys Men
Offered by Sound and Vision
Price: £4.00

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy for the first album, 5 Feb 2005
The first album on this CD is excellent. The second is ok. Therefore, it is worth buying for the first one.

The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Saint Francis of Assisi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.40

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of a unique man., 5 Feb 2005
Did everything in this book happen? The stories range from the mundane to the extraordinary. Are they all true? It is better to think of them in terms of mythology and what they can teach us. GK Chesterton, who wrote the best biography on St. Francis, says of how it is the attitude of Francis towards the events recounted as the 'little flowers' rather than the events themselves, which matters. And it is just this attitude, of immeasurable joy and an utter lack of greed, that marks him out as one of the few great people ever to walk the earth. We can still learn from him today.

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