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Tony "Tony" (Ireland)

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Never Go Back (Jack Reacher 18)
Never Go Back (Jack Reacher 18)
by Lee Child
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars Keeps Coming Back, 1 Mar. 2014
This is set mainly around DC & LA but when Reacher initially goes on the run from DC he drifts into West Virginia apparently so that he could meet and beat some more rednecks. Really had to go out of his way to get his redneck fix as they had no meaningful place in this plot. But where would a Jack Reacher novel be without it. Makes you warm and fuzzy inside when Jack makes America a safer place like that. What kept me reading was the tantalising prospect of Reacher becoming a dad so he might settle down and give the poor rednecks a break for a while.


Der Wahnsinn liegt auf dem Platz
Der Wahnsinn liegt auf dem Platz
by Christof Siemes
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Madness on the Pitch, 1 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good way to improve your knowledge of a foreign language is to read a book. I got through this with the help of a dictionary but was also able to figure out what some of the unfamiliar words meant in the context of the rest of the sentence. The most constant theme here is Lehmann's desire to be the best he can by busting his ass in training and developing mental strength etc and seeing off his rivals.
Learned a few things such as when he was 18 his car turned over so he was sitting upsidedown but he walked away unscathed, how he later regretting requesting a transfer from Milan when he was dropped not long after he arrived there ( Rossi was banned for five games after getting sent off just after Lehman left Milan for Dortmund, a club who's hard core fans hated him because he had been a Schalke player so long....ouch ) and how this experience helped him keep his patience at Arsenal when Wengar dropped him for Alumenia. His brief bust ups with Alumenia and Weidenfeller who was very eager to take Lehmann's place at Dortmund and of course his longer term conflict with Kahn. Lehmann believes he ousted Kahn from the German spot because he was a more modern goalkeeper who could play sweeper while Kahn was more reluctant to come out and Lehmann felt he could anticipate things better by observing the opposition players while Kahn would just watch the ball. He also takes a pop at Toni Schumacher for not backing him up at one point.
Interesting chapters also on his early days with Schalke, and the German WC and EC campaigns in '06 and '08 and the opening chapter which covers the UEFA cup win with Schalke in 1997 and Lehmann's part in the penalty shoot out. I found the Arsenal years a bit less interesting than the more unfamiliar German clubs/ national team sections.


The Varangian Way - Director's Cut
The Varangian Way - Director's Cut
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Love It, 1 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What I really admire about this record is the big effort they have made to make the music create pictures in your mind of the epic journey from the Baltic to Constantinople by river and land.

Holmgard- Catchy bombastic epic setting the scene with Hakon one of the men with thirty ships singing the songs. Brilliant sort of heavy guitar bridge complimented with a narrative voiceover.

Portage – Sailor song feel. You can feel them straining to pull the boat across land.

Cursed be Iron- Medieval sound, but I don’t know what its doing on this album. The lyrics don’t really fit in with the journey. Maybe they’re getting themselves some new swords from a blacksmith.

Fields of Gold- A whiff of whimsical Irish trad. The fields of gold are actually Ukranian wheat fields visible from the river. There’s a nice touch with the ominous choral drums to underline that they are now far away from where they started and heading to an unknown future. I can imagine them rowing below high bluffs on both sides of the river when these drums kick in.

Jarslief- A well earned night on the town before they get back on the river. Slavic accordian trad feel.

Five hundred and one- Haunting piano at the start followed immediately by rough shouting voice but it works. This is brilliant. The lyrics don’t tell us exactly what’s going on here. We are expected to read between the lines and its easy enough if you have listened to the songs that have gone before. They’re not fresh anymore, they’ve been through a lot, come a long way and Hakon’s getting second thoughts about pushing on to Miklagard and considering an offer by ‘ new friends last night’ to do something else while knowing that they only get one chance to run the rapids before having to wait till next year for the ‘favourable’ conditions to come again . The organ builds up the tension when he considers this. In the end after running everything through his mind including what they’ve been through so far, he decides to stay the course and the roll call is emotional because he realises the bond he has developed with these men on the journey and because they’re about to embark on the most dangerous part. So five hundred and one get back out on the river instead of five hundred.

Dniepr Rapids- The most evocative track apart from possibly Miklagard Overture.. The thumping guitars and choir for the rapids and the way they wind it down at the end to convey that they’ve made it through to the calm. The choir was a great touch here.

Miklagard Overture- One of the best things I’ve ever heard. The combination of melancholy verse and rough chorus vocals. And again the choir take a bow. The teasing guitar/synth bit conveying both the euphoria that they’ve pulled it off and the reward of the sight of a city that towered over any settlement they had ever seen before. .The lyrics describing the city. ‘ Astonishing colours.’ ‘The Greatest of the Times.’ The city was no longer that by the time it fell a few hundred years later but it had served its purpose and this song combines a mesmerising description of it in its heyday and the sense of achievement of the Northmen upon reaching it and the awe they felt upon seeing it.


White Heat: 30 Hits
White Heat: 30 Hits
Offered by wmdservices
Price: £14.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 19 Sept. 2011
This review is from: White Heat: 30 Hits (Audio CD)
Icehouse to me were for years that one hit wonder Australian band who did that catchy song Crazy. I also had memories of a catchy song called Hey Little Girl but didn't know it was them. Looking up the Crazy video on youtube earlier this year, led me on to other songs that I had never heard and I couldn't believe how good they were. Iva Davies was I found out, the fulcrum, Mr Icehouse. His talent is enormous.

Listening to White Heat at times it seems like a few different bands because the style kept changing over the years and Iva Davies voice sounds different at different periods. There are thirty songs on two discs. I wouldn't say the first four songs on this sound like The Undertones. Its just what I think of. The simple yet brilliant angsty new wave thingy. No it doesn't sound like anybody else but its part of that genre. Can't help Myself is Australia's Teenage Kicks except its better. This was absolutely butchered on the dance remix album I got for want of nothing better at the time, so after listening to the proper version on you tube I was delighted I could get hold of it on a cd when White Heat came out. The intro to the song is fantastic with some kind of I don't know, keyboards? I just love the sound of this.

Its followed up by We Can Get Together. The dance remix version did its best to conceal what a brilliant song this it. The keyboard thing in the background reminds me of Kim Wilde's Kids in America but that came out in 1981 and this was on a 1980 Icehouse album I think. Walls is more of the same kind of angsty punkish tunefull. Icehouse is a kind of creepy effort that creeps up on you after a few listens. Two more fantastic songs.

I can't believe I had never heard Love in Motion before seeing the video on yt. It is one of the best pop songs ever. The soft keyboard thing all the way through is genius. Great Southern Land has a lovely keyboard intro and great verses showing off Iva Davies vocal range. Its an epic song- about Australia I understand. Street Café. How was this not an enormous worldwide hit? Especially with the video they made. You look at the garbage that sells by the bucketload these days. The keyboard intro combined with the lyric ` If there was no tomorrow, if there was just one more chance I'd take it again' is haunting. The powerful guitar that kicks in with the chorus is haunting. The oboe piece halfway through is even more haunting, especially with the images that accompany it on the video. I wouldn't say this is more sophisticated than Can't Help Myself because that was a very sophisticated song in its own way. But they're showing here that Icehouse want to keep moving forward.

And they changed the mood again with Don't Believe Anymore. Again, how did I never here this before. It is one of the best low tempo songs of the eighties with a haunting synthisiser background growling beneath the brilliant saxophone playing. Dusty Pages is uh, haunting. I've got to stop using that word but it is. Iva Davies voice sounds very different on this to any other song here I think apart from maybe Taking This Town which is a catchy upbeat number. I love Dusty Pages which seems to be about a man trying to keep a dying relationship going.

No Promises is a sort of epic ballad that works very well. Disc one ends with Mr Big which isn't quite as good as what went before and Disc two was always going to have its work cut out to follow all that up but it doesn't do a bad job at all, starting very strongly with Cross the Border and Crazy. Lots of stuff happining on Cross the Border, powerful vocals,clever vocal interchanges, East West Points to the Nation ( love that ), a powerful beat, nice guitar bit halfway through and Crazy has got lots of layers of pure brilliance such as the guitar hook, the diving synthisiser bit and you've got a ribbon of rainbows. Other favourites of mine here are Man of Colours a nice ballad, Jimmy Dean, a powerful sort of epic thingy, Touch the Fire, a good rock pop song and Nothing too Serious a very clever high tempo song, especially the bit at the end. Miss Divine and Anything is Possible have got guys singing along in the background to a catchy tune. The second cd kind of peters out with Big Wheel and Satellite which aren't bad but not great either and a female vocalist version of Love in Motion. Thirty songs, many of them brilliant. Great value.


His Last Duchess
His Last Duchess
by Gabrielle Kimm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, 11 Mar. 2011
This review is from: His Last Duchess (Paperback)
I found the characters quite engaging though I couldn't really figure out what was wrong with Alfonso. Its good on detail with regard to the fresco painting and the castle in Ferrara but we don't get a feel for the city of Ferrara or for Tuscany. Of course most of the action takes place in the Ferrara castle and the start setting the scene in the Tuscany manor house in high summer is very good. The duchess character is well fleshed out and sympathetic which does make you care and that's important. This is a kind of a feel good effort. All the major characters apart from Alfonso are nice people, many of whom come together to make things better. Don't regret buying it. I got through it quick enough and it picked up a little halfway through.


Guitar Town
Guitar Town
Price: £5.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 12 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Guitar Town (Audio CD)
This is a top drawer record with a mainly American country sound and some great songs. My favourite song is Fearless Heart. Other standouts are Guitar Town, Goodbye is all we got left to say and Hillbilly Highway. You can listen to the whole thing. There's no filler here. This guy is a great songwriter and carries the songs with panache in a strong American country voice. The songs are about ordinary life in flyover country. The bonus live cover of Springsteen's State Trooper is a nice way to end it, a real energetic version. You don't need to be a country music fan to enjoy this.


The Shadow Rising: Book 4 of the Wheel of Time: 4/12
The Shadow Rising: Book 4 of the Wheel of Time: 4/12
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good as it Gets, 15 Jan. 2010
I think this is Robert Jordan's masterpiece. After the three excellent opening volumes which were characterised by their break neck pace as Jordan drove the story forward, this book had a distinctly different character. It offered the best of both worlds, the richness in depth of the later volumes and the relentless driving of the plots that made the first three books page turners.

The fifth book is similar in this regard but not quite as engaging as The Shadow Rising and from book six things started to slow down, the plots started to move sideways reaching a complete nadir with book ten.

Jordan encourages the reader to figure a few things out themselves by reading between the lines. Thats one of the reasons this is such a success. Little details that may be significant in the later books so you've got to pay attention. An example is a lowly whitecloak officer staring at Perrin 'with regret for some reason.' Will this guy come back later on? You should also have figured out who Luc is and who his alter ego in the dreamworld is. Another thing to pay attention to is the chapter icons which very rarely offer hidden clues to what's going on beneath the surface in the chapter. The chapter icon when the merchant Keille appears on the scene indicates who she really is. But its easy to miss.

Jordan does a brilliant job creating a sizzeling atmosphere of intrigue in the stone of Tear after its fall. You can feel its the hotbed of the world at the particular moment in time.

He unveils more of his world by introducing us to the seafolk and aiel societies and develops his three lead characters, particularly Rand. This is where you notice that he's starting to change to beyond recognition from the farmboy at the start of the series. The contrast between the book's three main theatres, the harsh Aiel Waste, the verdant two rivers and the city of Tanchico works to keep you turning the pages as the scene switches. There's also another eventful ending.


Under the Eagle (Eagles of the Empire 1)
Under the Eagle (Eagles of the Empire 1)
by Simon Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough Guys, 15 Jan. 2010
This is very well done. The English book has Romans using modern day colloquilisms but if it was to be really authentic it would have to be written in the Latin of two thousand years ago. Roman soldiers are more interesting because of their wider range of weaponry. They've got shields, javelins and short swords and their logistical organisation is fantastic. There's plenty of action here and the politics of the legion's hierarchy is well handled. I was surprised he didn't mention the difference between the centurion's helmet and the legionaries though. Macro and Cato are no Sharpe and Harper and its just as well. Cato's education makes him a character that can be used in a much wider range of situations. Macro isn't very well developed here, I suspect that will come in the following novels, but he's still engaging enough, not quite as shrewd as Sharpe but just as tough and less of a chip on his shoulder which I like. Looking forward to reading more of these books.


Azincourt
Azincourt
by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.83

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deja Vu, 10 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Azincourt (Paperback)
This is Bernard Cornwell's take on Agincourt and its fairly educational but if you read the grail quest series it can feel a bit repetative. Nick Hook is the protagonist, an archer who fights in King Henry Vs army during his 1415 campaign in Normandy and Picardy. The book gives an educational account of the battle which amounted to a lot more than the English archers wiping out the French in a hail of arrow fire. We find out that the English Men at Arms had to do their stuff and the archers also had to engage in hand to hand combat.

Cornwell is very vague about what part of England Nick Hook comes from. In fact we have no idea. I know the siege of Harfleur went on forever but Cornwell reflecting this in the book makes you feel relieved when its finally over and done with.

Henry V puts in a few appearances, one on the eve of the battle that may have been inspired by the Shakespeare play or a scene from the Kenneth Brannagh film of Henry V. He's a Christian zealot in a big way. He sacrifices his soldiers for what he believes is his annointed birthright and fights in the battle. I'd prefer him and his brand of leadership and self interest to those of the politicans of today when you weigh everything up.

I read the Kemp novels by Daniel Hall set in the Crecy era which are very similar to this in the sense that they follow an English archer who fights in France. I thought Hall's two books were slightly better because Kemp was a more engaging character. I don't really care about Nick Hook. Crecy seemed to be a very similar battle with the larger French army shadowing the English before they fought each other with a similar outcome. Overall this is entertaining but maybe Bernard needs to move on now from the 100 years war. A few books on the War of the Roses might be interesting.


Foot Of The Mountain
Foot Of The Mountain
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £9.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Foot Of The Mountain (Audio CD)
Paul Waaktaar is back on song with this album. Magne Furuholmen had to do most of the heavy lifting on Analogue which was bloated with Waaktaar's fillers. This album has just ten songs and there's no waste. I really like the beat on Mother Nature goes to Heaven. Start the Simulator gets better after a few listens. Foot of the Mountain I knew from the Magne F album. Didn't think much of the new chorus at first but the whole song grows on you.Its a great catchy pop song. Shadowside is a powerful emotional song especially towards the end when Morten sings the chorus in a more desperate tone and the synths build up into a crescendo. This actually ranks with their best work ever. Riding the Crest,Nothing is Keeping you Here, Sunny Mystery and What There is are catchy slices of pleasant pop. The Bandstand has a nostalgic melancholy feel. Check out the live version at Engheln Castle in Germany. Its brilliant. Real Meaning sounds like a dud at first but it grows on you. Apart from Shadowside and The Bandstand, there's nothing here that ranks alongside their greatest singles and album tracks. But the whole album is forty minutes of uninterupted quality and I can't stop playing it.


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