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Reviews Written by
D. M. Farmbrough "Dave Farmbrough" (Wisconsin, USA)
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The Age Of Consent
The Age Of Consent

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This album will knock your hat off!, 3 Mar. 2003
This review is from: The Age Of Consent (Audio CD)
This is more than a re-issue of Bronski Beat's debut album, because some remixes taken from the Hundreds and Thousands LP.
Smalltown Boy is a poignant story about a young man leaving home and parents who can't understand homosexuality, whereas Why? is a HI-NRG rant against discrimination and hatred apparently based on the story of one of the band's friends. Ain't Necessarily So is a brilliant re-working of the Gershwin classic, whereas the other, non-single tracks each have enough oomph in them to be singles. Junk sees Jimi using the lower end of his vocal range, and is comparable to Steinski & Mass Media's I'll Be Right Back (popular at the time). The best version of I Feel Love is of course the one with Marc Almond which is inspired in its incorporation of Donna Summer's Love To Love You Baby and John Leyton's Johnny Remember Me.
It would be easy to pigeonhole the Bronskis as a 'gay group' but there is much more to them than that. The superb musicianship of Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbacheck puts them in a class of their own in terms of 1980s synthesiser music, and the crunchy sounding square-waves still sound fresh nearly twenty years later. The lyrical sophistication and idiosyncratic singing of Jimi Somerville lifts this up above its contemporaries, telling a story that needed to be told and still holds up today. Mike Thorne's production also deserves a mention as he hits the right balance between vocal and instrumental prominence. The remixes are just superb, particularly Why, with its kettledrum solo being one of the best extended versions I have heard.
My only regret is that they didn't accept my offer to take over from Jimi Somervile when he left!


Armageddon [VHS] [1998]
Armageddon [VHS] [1998]
VHS
Offered by The App Brain
Price: £5.78

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Explosive fun!, 21 Feb. 2003
This review is from: Armageddon [VHS] [1998] (VHS Tape)
This is quite a clever movie - it's is ostensibly about diverting the course of an asteroid about to hit Earth, but in fact it is about a father and daughter's relationship and the bond between a group of friends who work together on an oil rig. The leads are played well by Willis & Liv Tyler, and the ever reliable Steve Buscemi and Ben Affleck provide great support as a technician and Tyler's love interest respectively. Billy Bob Thornton is also worth mentioning as he adds a touch of class to the star-studded cast.
The large scale effects on the oil rigs are handled exceptionally well, possibly better than the space scenes, although these too are better than average. The story is OK, but a bit sinilar to Deep Impact and the real point of the story is the interpersonal relationships.
Great fun to watch.


The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
by Tom Baker
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncratic oddysey from eccentric Doctor Who actor, 21 Feb. 2003
This is by no means the best work that Tom Baker is capable of. He has an entertaining prose style and is very eccentric in both his language and his story ideas. The problem here is with the story. It is basically a very silly chain of events taking place within a few minutes. In itself that is not a bad idea, but it does have the feel of something that was knocked out in an afternoon. This was written by Tom following his success with his autobiography [...] with Faber & Faber. You'll like it if you like Tom himself, Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, or Edward Lear. Even better is the talking book, read by Tom himself - who can resist that velvety voice?!


Codes and Secret Writing (Piccolo Books)
Codes and Secret Writing (Piccolo Books)
by Herbert S. Zim
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive work on codes and ciphers, 21 Feb. 2003
Zim is the most comprehensive text on codes and secret writing, containing instructions on most common methods of encrypting messages. The book gives a brief history of codes, then goes on to explain the difference between codes and ciphers, writing with invisible ink and using code wheels or other equipment. Useful for children and adults alike.


Licence Denied: Rumblings from the Doctor Who Underground (Virgin)
Licence Denied: Rumblings from the Doctor Who Underground (Virgin)
by Paul Cornell
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining, 21 Feb. 2003
Licence Denied is a collection of articles, cartoons, and other extracts from Doctor Who fanzines produced mainly in the 1980s (there are some from later eras, but the emphasis is on this period).
This is a good book for anyone who wasn't there, i.e. people who came to Doctor Who fandom in the 1990s and afterwards, but it's also good for those of us who were there, as we remember just how funny, clever, or downright silly some of the articles were. My own personal favourites are the do it yourself Pertwee adventures and the Tat Wood intellectual essays about the series.
I found myself getting annoyed with one writer who made assumptions without backing them up in support of a point of view that I profoundly disagreed with. Then I realised that this is the point of these articles, they get you thinking about different aspects of Doctor Who which you may not have considered. You may even want to write your own article to rebut the original.
There is a disproportionate amount of material taken from Cottage Under Siege, however as I missed that particular periodical at the time I was grateful for the chance to catch up.
An informative, educational, and entertaining book.


The Tomorrow People -- The Blue and the Green [DVD]
The Tomorrow People -- The Blue and the Green [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Vaughan-Clarke
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good by any standard, 21 Feb. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
ITV's children's television answer to Doctor Who, The Tomorrow people was a good idea executed with varying degrees of success. the best examples were excellent, the worst were abysmal. Fortunately, this is the best story in the series and is helped by fine performances from the juvenile leads. It's also refreshing to find that there's no reliance on parent figures or moralising in the way that plagued other childrens' series of the time.
Nicholas Young is sturdy and handsome as John, the 'very grown up' one, and Elizabeth Adare is simply gorgeous as Elizabeth. Peter Vaughan-Clarke as Stephen is not quite so good, but better than most child actors of the day. Philip Gilbert's Tim (Their biological/electronic computer) adds a touch of gravitas and Nigel Pegrum's old man character a touch of levity to the proceedings.
The story is about a new pupil at a school who proves to come from an alien planet (just like the first Doctor Who story!) but it's also about Elizabeth and her introduction as a Tomorrow Person, and about labels and prejudices. The subjects are sometimes handled unsubtly, but for the most part intelligently enough to make this enjoyable to adults and children alike.
The DVD commentary is very well produced by Big Finish, and features Nicholas Young, Peter Vauhhan-Clarke (Stephen) and (for the last part only) Philip Gilbert (Who played computer Tim). The commentaries are post-modern and it sounds like the actors are all desperate not to be thought of as taking themselves too seriously. Having said that, their memories are good, and Nicholas Young turns out to be very witty. When asked of Elizabeth Adare 'Did you all get on?' he answers 'Yes we did, one at a time!'.
This should be enjoyable to anyone who saw it at the time, and for any sci-fi fans who didn't.


Look, Touch and Feel with Buster
Look, Touch and Feel with Buster
by Rod Campbell
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Your baby will love this!, 21 Feb. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is full of touchy-feely bits - fur, carpet, curtains, and so-on. The only problem is that a couple of the feely bits are flimsy and will come off and go straight in baby's mouth. So it's one to read with supervision.


One of Us: Life of Margaret Thatcher
One of Us: Life of Margaret Thatcher
by Hugo Young
Edition: Paperback

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative, 25 Oct. 2002
Who better to tell the inside story of Mrs Thatcher's years in power than someone who was there at the time. Hugo Young also has access to Mrs Thatcher's cabinet colleagues, and has evidently also carried out a large amount of research, all of which gives this book credibility.
There are funny anecdotes, revelations and well-worn tales in this book, but the thing that distinguishes it is the insight into Mrs Thatcher's thought processes. The title of the book, One Of Us, is taken from Mrs T's philosophy that people fell into two camps, those who wholeheartedly embraced her ideas and policies, and those who did not. The latter group were considered disloyal or not quite up to it, and could not be trusted with important jobs.
The practical side of Mrs Thatcher however saw that she DID occasionally populate her cabinets with ministers who were not 'yes men', independently minded people like Michael Heseltine or Keith Speed. Here, Hugo Young explains how Mrs Thatcher embraced the complexities of keeping different factions in the conservative party happy. All this contributed to her retaining the reins of power longer for eleven years.
A good companion to Mrs Thatcher's own memoirs, and markedly more objective.


The Doctor Who Monster Book: No. 1 (Target Books)
The Doctor Who Monster Book: No. 1 (Target Books)
by Terrance Dicks
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Great in its day... but now a curio, 11 Oct. 2002
This was when published the definitive account fo Doctor WHo monsters... and just about the only catalogue of the Doctor's adventures to date (apart from the Making Of Doctor Who book). The illustrations by Chris Achilleous are excellent, some bveing done for the book, and others from the front cover of Target's many Doctor Who books. If you are lucky enough to have a first edition, you will also have the free poster of the cover artwork, which certainly does justice to Achilleos's designs.
The book only covers the period to the end of the Fourth Doctor's first year in the role, and can now be seen as a guide to the early years of Doctor Who monsters. It is written for children, but Dicks never patronises, and the book is a joy for adults to read too. This book could well do with an update and I am sure its simple approach would work as a complement to the rather over-researched, retentive modern day equivalents we have seen published since the mid 1980s.


A Kind of Magic
A Kind of Magic
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.03

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant!, 26 Sept. 2002
This review is from: A Kind of Magic (Audio CD)
The album starts well with Highlander theme Princes Of The Universe, then gets going with a terrific bass line from John Deacon on A Kind Of Magic. Pain Is So Close To Pleasure almost sounds like Diana Ross, with Mercury excelling at falsetto while the guys ham it up in a tribute to Motown. Friends Will Be Ffriends is an anthem which now seems to rival We Will Rock You; Queen said this was written to thank fans for being their friends. Who Wants To Live Forever was premiered as being Mercury & May rather than Queen at their 1986 concerts, and featured Brian at the organ. It starts as a melancholy song then soars into the stratosphere thanks to Freddie's powerful vocals. Gimme The Prize and Don't Lose Your Head are more Highlander tracks, rockier than most on this album, which ends with the Live Aid inspired One Vision. The only criticism I have of this album is that there isn't enough of it! Nine tracks just isn't enough! Nevertheless I saw Queen's last concert at Knebworth in 1986 and these songs were the flavour of that concert. This album will always remind me of a truly memorable experience in which I saw the world's greatest showman hold 200,000 people spellbound for two hours!


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