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AK 1957-05 (Manchester United Kingdom)

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Life Journey
Life Journey
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 11.33

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Phoned In, 2 Jun 2014
This review is from: Life Journey (Audio CD)
I really, really don't like cover versions, though I am occasionally surprised (Foo Fighters Have A Cigar, some of Bowie's Pin Ups and of course Cocker's With A Little Help for example). Worse than a cover version is a cover version of a hoary old standard that has been done to death - do we REALLY need to hear Georgia On My Mind or Fever again, however much of a "new slant" Leon supposedly puts on them? A lazy, almost contemptuous exercise.

Big Star: The Story of Rock's Forgotten Band: Revised & Updated Edition
Big Star: The Story of Rock's Forgotten Band: Revised & Updated Edition
by Rob Jovanovic
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The Book Of El Goodo, 1 May 2014
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This is a wonderful, amazing book. Even if you're a Big Star agnostic, if you have any interest in music you will love this book. It has tragedy writ large through it, with the self-destructive Alex Chilton creating some of the greatest music ever made and then practically disowning it to noodle around with lacklustre solo and band projects (albeit ones that seemed to make him happy) whilst also being sucked down into a whirlpool of drink and drugs, eventually dying prematurely, like so many other people in this book. You feel sorry for his bandmates, who each contributed to the phenomenon that was Big Star, but were prey to the vagaries of Chilton's ornery decision-making. It's frustrating to read just how close to greatness they came, only to be thwarted by diabolical record company tactics or the band's own laissez-faire attitude.
Despite all this, your heart goes out to Chilton, negotiating one disaster after another, whether stranded on his roof during Katrina or entertaining a fan for a week while his cigarettes and booze were paid for, before abruptly sending him packing!
The author, Rob Jovanovic, has done a great job - he's unshowy and unobtrusive, never gushing despite (as we see in the postscript) being a huge fan. He relates the facts without judging the people involved or displaying sycophancy.
If you love Big Star you really need this book in your life - if you don't, you still won't be sorry you bought it.

The Counsellor [Blu-ray]
The Counsellor [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Price: 14.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where can I get one of those head cutting off devices?, 7 April 2014
This review is from: The Counsellor [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
That's the only way I can remove the memory of this horrible, stinking, clunker of a movie. It's embarrassing to see people I formerly admired and respected showing that, actually, they're not that good after all. Cameron Diaz, normally one of the most beautiful women in the world, is made to look old and ugly. Her acting makes you cringe, especially when she's trying to be "sexy" (don't even mention the windshield scene, it's too ridiculous for words). The experience is like an ageing, drunken aunt breathing sherry fumes all over you at a family funeral. Cruz similarly comes across plain and wooden. Bardem channels Cesar Romero's The Joker and Pitt goes all "method" but comes up toe-curlingly inept, with his little tics and sideways glances.
There are gratuitous "sex" scenes which are as arousing as three-day-old roadkill but thrown in to make it EDGY, man. The plot is wilfully obscure but not worth the effort, and the has been raked over many times, but it's so bad it has to be heard to be believed. A series of speeches, down phones, in bars or at the side of pools, that sound as though they were written by an adolescent after his first week of philosophy studies. As can be seen from some of the glowing reviews here, it's the kind of pretentious twaddle that appeals to people's vanity, allowing them to pat themselves on the back for having "got" it.
In future I'll trust Mark Kermode's judgement - he slated it (though not enough) but I decided to buy it after reading a recommendation from someone in a paper I respected. Not any more!

Lou Reed - Live Performances 1972-1974 (Dvd+Cd)
Lou Reed - Live Performances 1972-1974 (Dvd+Cd)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two for the music, none for the pics...., 19 Mar 2014
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The music and the performances are great of course, and the price wasn't exorbitant. However, the quality of the visuals is so poor as to be unwatchable at times. It really should come with a disclaimer - sometimes all you can see on screen is a murky cloud, then the camera moves in, your eyes adjust and yo go "Oh, there's Lou!" Some of it is straight from a very worn video cassette and sometimes you get the lines and breakages associated with that medium that make you leap involuntarily towards the TV shouitng "Oh no! The tape's got snarled up!"
For the price and the rarity value - Lou really is on top form too - just about worth it but it should never have been released without a warning on the cover.

Live at Wembley
Live at Wembley
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Bland Company, 8 Mar 2014
This review is from: Live at Wembley (Audio CD)
I also saw the band on this tour, and actually couldn't believe my luck when I saw they were playing again. The gig, and the recording, disappointed me though. These great songs would never warrant anything less than a three-star review, but the band, understandably perhaps in light of their age, are a lot slicker and smoother than they used to be. If you've followed Rodgers' career you will have seen him grow from a raw blues shouter to a sleek, professional singer. Good luck to him - learning how to use his voice properly and sparingly has given his career a longevity many other of his generation didn't achieve - but that, coupled with Ralphs' slightly by-the-numbers playing, makes for an uninvolving experience. Even the packaging is lacklustre. Come on guys, let rip!

Among The Thugs
Among The Thugs
by Bill Buford
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2.0 out of 5 stars File Under Fiction, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Among The Thugs (Paperback)
Not great. It might have got one star but it picked up at the end a little - a good piece about Hillsborough that was refreshingly even-handed in light of all the hysteria we've had over the last few years, and an entertaining account of a trip to Sardinia for WC 1990, which details the police tactics very well. At the end, even the author has had enough of the "nation of little s***s", so at least he doesn't end by glamourising the people he seems to have been slavering over for the preceding couple of hundred pages.

Because he does glamourise them - you will have seen or read all the cliches and stereotypes elsewhere, the top boys in their suits and cufflinks, with their expensive tastes, the Godlike leaders of the thugs whom he depicts as Patton-like characters. There's a sequence where he accompanies a "General" on a charge - the thug leader runs backwards at the head of his troops, surveying them and whispering things like "Feel the intensity!" Yeah, right, I heard myself saying, not for the first or last time. So much of it just smacks of, at best a script for a bad TV drama, with RADA luvvies playing the hooligans, or, at worst, a journalist's wet dream. In the end, I realised I just wasn't accepting any of it as fact. Sometimes the author pads his writing out with lengthy lectures about the psychology of "the crowd" - these parts will make your eyes glaze over.

I can't recommend it at all - I struggled through it although it was just over 300 pages long. You won't gain anything from reading it - it's hopelessly out of date as a result of all the changes in football and policing. A curio at best.

An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
An Adventure in Space and Time [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Bradley
Price: 7.00

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Boldly Went, 27 Nov 2013
Obviously we're all reviewing the telecast rather than the product, so on that basis, let us proceed...

This is a great, rollickingly entertaining tale, which will bring back memories for those like me old enough to remember the dawn of Who, but which will also educate newer fans. David Bradley is outstanding as William Hartnell - and it's a very family friendly depiction of Hartnell (my favourite Doctor, and an actor I loved) which doesn't attempt to address the suggestions of racism or homophobia sometimes levelled against him. He does make one wisecrack to Waris Hussein, the Indian director of Dr Who, but accompanies it with a sly wink so it appears cuddly rather than offensive. Even his fabled crotchettiness is watered down to a couple of outbursts and he comes across as tender and lovable.

It's not perfect. There's a totally unneccesary and cringe-inducing appearance in a vision by Modern Doctor Who (because the kids will just tune out otherwise, right?). Also, I don't like the way the story has been retro-fitted with an "agenda" (The Glass Ceiling! Verity Lambert struggling against a phallocentric BBC! The fact remains that she GOT the job as a very young woman - she may have had to tolerate snide comments and looks in the corridor, but, I suggest, so would a man of her age given such a prestigious job). There's the obligatory gay reference, though even that is so half-hearted they may as well not have bothered (Waris stealing glances at another man of Asian appearance in the BBC bar).

At one point we see the BBC barman ignoring Waris as he tries to order a drink. Verity stomps up to the bar and DEMANDS service. Thank God Waris had Verity there to fight his battles for him! But let's make our mind up...I thought SHE was being discriminated against too? What happened to that Glass Ceiling?

These tongue-in-cheek quibbles aside, a great, great production and probably the best thing to come out of the 50th Anniversary celebrations.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2013 11:11 PM GMT

Minnie & Moskowitz - (Mr Bongo Films) (1971) [DVD]
Minnie & Moskowitz - (Mr Bongo Films) (1971) [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Cassavetes
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: 12.09

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wake me when it starts., 5 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ultra-trendy, ultra-Seventies piece of rambling, formless tedium. Simply nothing there that engaged me, just a constant feeling of waiting for it to begin and take shape. By the end you were thinking haircuts all round and a few years in the army would do them all good.

It's a Man's World
It's a Man's World
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You CAN judge this girl by her covers., 5 Aug 2013
This review is from: It's a Man's World (MP3 Download)
I had never bought an Anastacia record before, but was aware of her as a chart-friendly singer - not my kind of thing as a rock/prog/indie fan. However, having chanced upon it, I was amazed at the girl's performance. Her voice really is a force of nature, and not a single song here suffers from having her sing it - in most cases (*cough* Bon Jovi *splutter* Bono) she improves on the original. I never thought I would deliberately listen to a song by Oasis, U2, Bon Jovi or Kings Of Leon, but Anastacia really sells them by sheer force of personality and those wonderful lungs. I'd have to knock off one star - had all the original material been as strong as Ramble On, You Can't Always Get What You Want and Sweet Child Of Mine it would have had five.

The standout is Back In Black - again, I'm not a fan of AC/DC, but it's a great song and Anastacia simply sings it to a standstill. The lyrics are poignant too - "cheated the noose...nine lives...I'll never die" - in light of her recent recovery from cancer. Here's hoping she keeps knocking out great albums like this for a long time to come.

Harry H. Corbett: The Front Legs of the Cow
Harry H. Corbett: The Front Legs of the Cow
by Susannah Corbett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Steptoe And Daughter, With No Warts, 29 July 2013
A daughter isn't the best person to write a biography. Susannah loved her Dad, that much is plain, and in her eyes he can do no wrong. Except that EVERYONE does wrong sometimes, and Harry was no exception. In my reply to a one-star review here, I say that Corbett comes across as an awful luvvy, and that there is a video clip of him being interviewed where he pours out the most pretentious, actorly guff you've ever heard. However, there is another clip of him chatting to a "totter" in Australia, where he appears relaxed and friendly - more 'Arold! than Harold H.

There are incredibly long, tedious passages in this book about the Littlewood years - unneccesarily detailed descriptions of techniques and acting tropes - whilst the "darker" side of Corbett's life is given a very thick coat of gloss. That's fine - no-one could expect a daughter to expose her father's shortcomings, and she shows admirable loyalty where some dirt-digging would probably have earned her a fortune. It just makes for an annoyingly bland, sterile read! The early depiction of poverty-stricken Manchester is very good, however.

Other reviewers here have dismissed stories of Corbett's strained relationship with Brambell, and of his marital difficulties. Well, I'm capable of making my own mind up on the balance of accounts from a variety of sources. This source isn't reliable, but there are plenty of other books out there which are.

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