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N. Griffiths (London)

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Kill Your Friends
Kill Your Friends
by John Niven
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read in two sittings, 20 Sep 2012
This review is from: Kill Your Friends (Paperback)
Dark, distasteful, degrading, disturbing... and utterly compelling. I almost want to go back and count the c-words.
Only put it down once, when I realised I really had to get some sleep.

The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize
The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize
by David Cavanagh
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and compelling, 5 Sep 2012
The size of a house brick, this book was a labour of love in the reading and, no doubt, in the writing.
I'm no major fan of Creation, nor of the majority of its bands, but I lap up music history and have been an admirer of David Cavanagh's writing since his days on Sounds. So I burdened Postie and ordered a copy. And had a job putting it down.
This is a chronological account of the label's genesis-to-demise, veering off willfully on tangents to present back-stories. It's packed with anecdote - who knew that the House of Love's Guy Chadwick had a thing for getting naked at parties? - and interview, with band members, Creation staff and interested parties, while maintaining an authoritative air. Incredibly, given its near 800 pages, it's not exhaustive. Tim Vass, for instance, who is quoted often as having been an early mover on the scene, formed a band, Razorcuts, who were signed to Creation - who fail to get a mention. A lesser author would have slavishly documented each and every act in writing *The* Creation Records Story. My Magpie Eyes... is more of a soap opera, played out for real.
Neither is the book sensationalist - whatever that appallingly designed cover might suggest - the heavy cocaine use being documented rather than drooled over, with Oasis appearing only two-thirds in. (Neither Noel nor Liam provided original quotes and you wonder why.)
Forensic in its detail, vibrant in its colour, featuring a cast of trailblazers and madmen, this is a must-read for any budding music historian.

Shut It!: The Inside Story of The Sweeney
Shut It!: The Inside Story of The Sweeney
by Pat Gilbert
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.19

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, well written but missing something, 6 Sep 2011
Despite being a Sweeney addict since childhood, this is the first book I've picked up on the subject. I read it quickly - always a good sign, being hooked in - but had reservations. Gilbert tracks down plenty of the hardcore backroom crew, including the main writers and show supremo, Ted Childs, and moulds his words around theirs... the caveat being that these chaps - and they are all chaps - are getting on a bit. Ranald Graham, Troy Kennedy Martin and Garfield Morgan all sadly passed away during the gestation of the book. Thaw, equally sadly, is no longer with us and we must assume, since his few quotes here are drawn from his biography, that Dennis Waterman did not wish to be interviewed. I was left with a sense of what might have been, wishing Gilbert had embarked on this project a good decade or so ago. Equally, you wonder how much the Sweeney's crew could remember of the mid- to late-Seventies, which might explain the half-arsed episode guide padding out the rear. None of which is to say that this isn't an enjoyable read, and packed with some great facts. I guess I was hoping for more depth on the Regan/Carter Thaw/Waterman interchange, and inside tales from each of the episodes. The author flags up other Sweeney books, which I now feel compelled to buy - cheers, Pat! - and I imagine that in conjunction with those, Shut It! will form a perfect archive, of a series that deserves never to be forgotten.

Offered by Edealcity
Price: £7.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical, doleful, delightful, exquisite., 13 Nov 2010
This review is from: Mabused (Audio CD)
I chanced upon Mabused earlier this year and played it to death - though there are still copies available - having adored the band's first album, released eons ago. One could not accuse The Mabuses of rushing things. Psychedelia and whimsy spring most readily to mind when trying to describe the sound. And Englishness. There are Syd Barrett fans at work here, without a doubt. But it's more complicated than that. The arrangements, the lyrics, the bluesmen samples, the humour, the musicianship, the sheer beauty of these songs...
I only came on here, really, because I thought it criminal that no one had yet reviewed this album. Perhaps if I gave it five stars - and I do not do so lightly - others would take notice. Sadly it's late and I'm tired and I have singularly failed to put my thoughts into words. The rating will have to do. My apologies.

Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday: My Life with Brian
Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday: My Life with Brian
by Kim Howard Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Kip with Howard, 13 Nov 2010
It's a couple of months since I finished this, but Amazon just suggested I review it and who am I to argue?
I've been on a run of Python books, anything I can lay my hands on, really. Howard's came to my attention late, and in many ways I wish it had never crossed my eyeline. It is a dead book. Had someone not nailed it to the bookshelf... Sorry. It's not quite that bad, but it really does drag on, and all too rarely interestingly. DID ANYONE EDIT THE MANUSCRIPT? (I found myself wondering that a lot, as the author described his latest taxi journey, or where he was sitting, or wondered whether he should take his helmet off.) At one point, Howard notes that he plans to chat to Eric Idle. Then he meets Eric, but Eric can't stop. So he goes away instead. They never did get to have that chat.
There are loads of bits like that.
It only seems to occur to Howard some way into his stay, that with his incredible access to the Pythons, he could actually interview them and learn something interesting. Then, even when he does (interview them), he doesn't (learn something interesting).
He's a fan - a superfan, if you will - and this is very much an exercise in fandom. (I did also wonder why it took 30 years for the book to see the light of day.)
What cannot be denied, however, is that the cast and crew - and the Pythons in particular - genuinely seemed to like him. He's clearly a decent chap. He might even be funny in real life, if only he could transmit humour to the page. So there's a warmth and a charm in there, almost naive, and what really lifts this into buyable territory for the Python nut are the photographs. So many behind-the-scenes shots, privileged stuff, and it's they that bring the production to life.
I think I like Howard too. I just didn't much like his book.

Tales From The Green Valley [DVD]
Tales From The Green Valley [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Sommer
Price: £14.37

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite TV series of all time, 13 Nov 2010
I watched the programmes when they came out, and I've watched the DVD three times since. It's utterly beguiling, the sense of a homestead out of time. Ruth, Alex and 'Fonz' - a touch anachronistic; no wonder they reverted to Peter in later series - are television naturals, warm and funny, while adept at imparting information. Owen Teale's soothing narrative tone - like a whisper in your ear on a misty morning - is just perfect.
I do take on board the points of our * reviewer - perhaps there are many practical and factual errors - but I'm not watching Tales from the Green Valley with the intention of buying an overgrown plot in the middle of nowhere, donning a silly hat and ploughing a field using a toothpick made of hamster bone. I can never remember anything anyway. I just let the living history wash over me. Being a Xmas fan, I particularly adore the December episode. Yule log fire and... see, I've forgotten what they ate.
Wonderful to have the trio back, as I type, in Edwardian Farm, but for me they'll never top this opener.

The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner
The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner
by Jay Rayner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely palatable, 31 May 2010
I love food but I'm no foodie. Stiff, starched Michelin-starred restaurants are my idea of hell - as they are Rayner's wife's - so the author's globe-trotting in search of the perfect meal, involving some of the world's most expensive and exclusive restaurants, appealed only as an ideally entertaining read. Most readers couldn't afford these meals, if they were even deemed worthy of a table in the first place.
Initially I had admired his honesty, stating why he went for this kind of food snobbery, when others might find it distasteful - he stuck with his guns. But as his journeys continued the veneer of reason began to fade and the hedonism became ugly. Rayner goes on a Michelin-nosh one-night crawl in New York with an uber-rich author of a foodie blog. At one point, a waiter who has the temerity to be unaware of their magnificent plan, and who tries to offer them "cocktails and menus" - as if they'd need menus! - is "got rid of". It left a nasty taste in my mouth, as did their celebrations when meals were declared 'on the house'.
Increasingly the author dreams up gimmicky plans - the NY crawl, seven three-star restaurants in as many days in Paris - to avoid this feeling like a sequence of reviews, and a sense of gluttony creeps in. I went off Rayner. (As for the reviews on the cover - 'Laugh-out-loud funny' and 'Often hilarious' - I'm afraid my lips failed to curl upwards once, but then humour is so subjective.)
On the positive side, I did make it to the end, purely on the strength of the author's way with words. Were he to invite me out for a Michelin meal, even if he picked up the bill, I'd have to pass. Admittedly the invitation seems unlikely.

Canon - PIXMA MP140 - Multifunction ( printer copier scanner ) - colour - ink-jet - copying (up to): 19 ppm (mono) 15 ppm (colour) - printing (up to): 20 ppm (mono) 15 ppm (colour) - 100 sheets - Hi-Speed USB
Canon - PIXMA MP140 - Multifunction ( printer copier scanner ) - colour - ink-jet - copying (up to): 19 ppm (mono) 15 ppm (colour) - printing (up to): 20 ppm (mono) 15 ppm (colour) - 100 sheets - Hi-Speed USB

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agree with all the other one-star reviews, 30 Sep 2009
I bought this in Argos (cough) as the cheapest printer in the shop, hoping for a bargain. Hoho. Quite apart from the panel being a bit of a mess - I'm still not sure what some of the lights mean - as others have said, it goes through ink carts at a quite bewildering rate. Having replaced the carts (only) twice, I'm giving up on it, spending a bit more and upgrading, which will hopefully save in the longer term. (Although every printer I've bought develops some sort of fault after about a year - conspiracy theorist, moi?) Whatever, avoid this one like the plague.

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