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a_view_from "a_view_from" (Manchester, England)

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Talking to Architects: Ten Lectures by Colin Ward
Talking to Architects: Ten Lectures by Colin Ward
by Colin Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars But are the architects listening?, 19 Mar 2012
A fascinating book documenting Ward's numerous talks, and attempts to talk to architects, about the people they build for. As many of the dates show these issues had been being discussed by Ward since the 1970s, but we still see precious little of his 'anarchist based' concepts of architecture in practice. His reliance on people to know best is not something the architectural professions seems able to comprehend. A great book, neat, succinct and well edited.

Sony XDRS16DP DAB+/DAB Digital Radio
Sony XDRS16DP DAB+/DAB Digital Radio

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, 23 Aug 2011
A really beautiful little number. Minimum number of knobs and buttons (unlike my last one, that died after 3years). Just does want you want it to; tunes to FM and DAB, easy to switch between tuned stations on DAB rather than using the presets. Easy and pretty.

The Reluctant Buddhist: A Personal Look at Buddhism in the Modern World
The Reluctant Buddhist: A Personal Look at Buddhism in the Modern World
by William Woollard
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the un-reluctant-ted buddhist, 21 July 2010
A superb book. I must admit a bias as I am a practicing Buddhist, but very much a newbie. The friend of mine who introduced me to the 'practice' of Nichiren Buddhism bought me this book after I had been properly practicing for about 3 months. There was immediately something appealing about Nichiren Buddhism but being a logically minded son of an engineer and an architect myself believing it's more "hippy-ish" elements was a real struggle.
Woollard went through this process (and then some!) himself and explores some of the key and most difficult issues of Nichiren Buddhism; mutual possession, oneness of self and environment, karma, myoho, etc. He does this in such a way that really clarified a few serious stumbling blocks for me. His truly westernised view of the practice and his scientific background make him the perfect person to explain the "mystic law" in way the average reason dominated western mind can deal with.
Admittedly it does have some flaws in editing etc, but it is very well produced compared to some other books on this subject. Buddhists are wonderful passionate people, but not always great writers!
This is a wonderful starting point for anyone interested in the practice of Nichiren Buddhism and should probably be followed up by reading Richard Causton's The Buddha in Daily Life: Introduction to the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, a far more involved explanation of the detail of the practice, and the key phrase nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Only, I read them the other way round!

Fearless (The Lost Fleet, Book 2)
Fearless (The Lost Fleet, Book 2)
by Jack Campbell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ... more of the same, 9 Sep 2007
Don't read this book if you haven't read the first in the trilogy. The almost total lack of further character development in the second book means it will lack even the inital promise of the first book.
The prinicples trudge along in the same two-dimensional manner, whilst the invincible fleet of the 'glorious Alliance' jump from one ever more unrealsitic victory to another, losing a handful of ships against the 'evil Syndics' utter destruction each time.
Again the vaugely promising aspect of the story gets hauled along in the background popping up whenever the author can't think of anything particularly fabulous and dare-devil for the great 'Black Jack' Geary to do.
If the third instalment were to end with the classic twist, i.e. the utter descrition of the Alliance fleet at the hands of a mysterious alien force and the death of the disgustingly egotistcal and sexist 'Black Jack' then it might be worth reading, might.

Dauntless (The Lost Fleet, Book 1)
Dauntless (The Lost Fleet, Book 1)
by Jack Campbell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yes, a 1 star review, 9 Sep 2007
Firstly this book lacks anything that can be described as 'character development'. The main actor John 'Black Jack' Geary, the lost war hero, is one of the shallowest characters I have ever been exposed to. He is a most obvious manifestation of the author's ego, and the character's protestations to hate the demi-god status he enjoys are at best a fig leaf the author supplies to justify his self-serving creation.
The female characters are offensively two-dimensional, cast as either 'ice maidens' who melt before Black Jack's glory or naive youngsters who worship the ground he walks on. Whilst the male characters fall into two groups also, the idiots who oppose him, or the intelligent, vaguely developed characters that defer to his greatness.
The plot has one intriguing aspect (that I shall not mention to avoid spoiling the trilogy's few minor graces) but in all other ways is a particularly bland war story, page-turner is not how I would describe this book, 'can I be bothered to turn the page' is closer to it.
The battle scenes so praised are so obsessed with the concept of 'temporal distortion' that they become a lesson in the physics of theoretical space battles and descriptions of ship formations. Battle scenes in which the Alliance (goodies) loses barely a ship whilst the Syndics (baddies, as if it even needs stating) are annihilated to the last man. The Syndics are painted purely as 'bad guys' no attempt is made to discuss their motives or paint them as even vaguely human it is a morally 'black and white' universe worthy of George W. Bush.
If this is "As good as military science fiction gets" as the inappropriately ebullient praise on the cover states, then God help military science fiction. I have bought and will read the second instalment because its there, but the third? I wouldn't waste the 3.41.

Price: 3.00

5 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars about as rock as my grandma, 12 Aug 2007
This review is from: Puzzle (Audio CD)
Does anybody else think this is utter guff! the only two decent tracks are the singles ('saturday superhouse' and 'living is a problem', if you're wondering) i mean in 'who's got a match' the line 'i'm a fire and and i burn burn', and in 'as dust dances', 'there's a man on the corner selling bones, every type of bone, except the one i want', good god! rock?! give me strength! as for 'folding stars', reminds me of Del Amitri. nuff said.

The Menace
The Menace
Offered by johnmciver
Price: 7.43

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sit up, Shut up and Listen . . . . . . . . . . . again!, 22 April 2003
This review is from: The Menace (Audio CD)
Not Elastica, Elastica I grant you but its better than good.
The five-year interlude between that album and Menace shows.
The spiky guitars are still there, but the departure of Donna Matthews and the arrival of new influences are clear. Elastica are now more mature without losing any of their shut up and listen edge.
Track 1, Mad Dog, the only single from this album alludes to the great stuff of the mid 90’s. Whilst Track 3, Elastica Man, with it’s chant of E.L.A.S.T.I.C.A shoves its self in your face shouting “Remember us!” And just when you think you’ve got this album’s card marked Track 11, My Sex, happens. The quiet beautiful voice of Frischmann in this melancholy song of things lost evokes all of the turmoil between 1995 and 2000.
Elastica arrived just when we, and Britpop, needed them most in ’95 and five years later they sign off with an album that means we wont forget their contribution.
In short its great.
Elastica, over and out!

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