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csiedmo (Bradford, UK)

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What Was Lost
What Was Lost
by Catherine O'Flynn
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a title, 3 Jan. 2011
This review is from: What Was Lost (Paperback)
If you only read one book in your life, then let it be this.

The first 14 chapters is the getting-to-know-Kate section of the book. She is truely beguiling, I'm seldom felt on author make a character so alive.

The middle section is based around the shopping centre, where Kurt works as a security guard and Lisa works in a record store. The scenes in the music store are hilarious. Anyone who has ever worked in retail will readily indentify with all the music shop vignettes. The part of the book where many readers seem to struggle is around Kurt and his life as a security guard. For this the pace slows right down, but this just reflects the tedium of his life. I guess the author makes us feel his pain a little.

From chapter 36 through to the end, please don't be alone when you read this. I cried like a baby though most of it, so make sure you've got someone's hand to hold.

Compared to any other book I've read, What Was Lost is in a different league. I'm not usually a quick reader, but I rifled through this one in two days, I just couldn't put it down.

Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow
by Peter Hoeg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a title, 3 Jan. 2011
I had been quite looking forward reading to this book, as I'm familiar with Copenhagen, but it was so putdownable that it took me 2 years to wade through it. The plot was sufficiently intruiging to make me keep coming back to it, but no more than that.

We don't really get to know many of the characters that well, but it makes little difference as each one seems as despressed and wearysome as the next. I felt the same ambivalence towards Smilla as I did for the other characters.

The plot unfolds at a snails pace and continually breaks off to ply the reader with technical descriptions. Deleting about a third of the text would have improved it a great deal, including the unnecessary and cringeworthy graphic sexual encounters.

Peter Hoeg seemed to get bored of writing it too - either that of his publisher walked in and told him that he had got 10 minutes to finish it off. Even those who love this book seem to agree that the ending is stupid.

All in all this is quite possibly the most tedious book I've ever read.

Trout Mask Replica
Trout Mask Replica
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £29.99

4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It really hasn't got a title, 3 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Trout Mask Replica (Audio CD)
I'm at a loss to understand why rehearsing a performance of 28 songs for 14 hours a day over a period of serveral months in order that when recorded live in the studio the songs sound as xenophonic as possible, and then dubbing the vocals without reference to the music, why this makes it some work of musical genius. It at best makes it interesting art (although I'm not sure that imprisonment and physical, verbal and mental abuse have any place in art).

Vliet was a very versatile vocalist with some avant garde ideas about how new music might be created. He wasn't a musical genius. He barely knew a B-flat from a flat tyre, the evolution of his sound was proportional to the evolution of his ever changing band and their willingness to endure his tyranny and the particular musical inclination of his producer. Emma Bunton is at the mercy of her band and her producer, but nobody's calling her a musical genius.

I appeciate that some works take some acclimatising to. That has been true of many of my favourite albums, some of them I really hated "n-times round", but there has to be something that draws to back to give it another try. There are thousands of avant garde albums out there. Why should I persist with TMR instead of persisting with albums by Andrew Hill, Ornette Coleman, LSD-era Coltrane, Eric Dolphy? There's isn't sufficient spare time in people's lives to endure all of these experiences that might well lead to nought.

Its manifest that if I had the time and inclination to listen to TMR 101 times I'd start to like bits of it. I'm even starting to grow fond of the sound of my gas boiler vibrating against the wall after all these years. So if you're looking for some real musical genius keep your eyes peeled this summer for my new "Household Rattles" CD.

So it gets two stars because (i) it amuses me that Vliet's voice on Frownland sounds like Elvis Costello and (ii) it doesn't offend me in slightest, so I can't hate it.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2014 6:15 PM GMT

Waterloo Lily
Waterloo Lily
Price: £7.53

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It really hasn't got a title, 3 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Waterloo Lily (Audio CD)
The one weakness of this album is that the band are audiably pulling in different directions. Although the band's jazz direction is only represented by one track (the Nothing At All suite) it sounds out of place alongside the rest of the tracks on the album and as jazz works go its pretty mundane.

There rest of the album though contains some of the bands finest moments. Waterloo Lily (a funky tale of a rotund call girl) and The Love In Your Eye (an excellent attempt to carry on from where For Richard left off) in particular are wonderful, but my favourite song didn't even make the album: that's bonus track Looking Left Looking Right, another funky number that sounds as fresh as the day it was made. If only that song had made the album instead of Nothing At All, this might have been my favourite Caravan record. As it is its my second favourite behind If I Could Do It Again...

If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You
If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It really hasn't got a title, 3 Dec. 2010
I'll be honest, when I first heard this album I wasn't impressed at all. There were too major stumbling blocks. Firstly I found the title track to be incredibly annoying and I still do to this day, but this is easily solved by starting the CD at track-2. Secondly, I was playing it too quietly while cooking the dinner. I've never heard another album with such a gulf of decibels between the quiet bits and the load bits. Obviously you want to hear the quiet bits, so the load bits are going to blow your head off. If you have neighbours, stick to playing it in the car.

Musically it's nothing like the psychedic-pink-floyd-ness of their first album, nor is it anything like the prog rock of their third album. Its not really like anything else at all. It certainly has a late 60s pastoral feel, but its coupled with loud manic grooves in odd-legged time signatures, which puts in somewhere near the Soft Machine's current album at the time Volume Two. There's certainly much more of a jazz element than you get on most Caravan records thanks to some prominant horn performances from ubiquitous guest Jimmy Hastings. Vocals are very much buried under the music as everyone is fighting to have their instrument the loudest in the mix.

There's quite a lot of coupling together of songs: Some of these songs simply wouldn't have worked as stand alone performances, for example, Don't Worry by itself would be a fragment, its just two verses over a riff, there's no musical journey at all. Yet, its the perfect conclusion to the preceeding And I Wish I Were Stoned. What's more, the two songs are linked by an all too rare Pye Hastings guitar solo.

Of the bonus tracks only A Day In The Life Of Maurice Haylett is worth mentioning. Following a quiet two verse song it drops into a groove somewhat reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Careful With That Axe Eugene. The remaining bonus tracks are early versions of tracks that made it to the album, but don't really add anything new.

So now, dispite my initial strong reservations (with the proviso that I start the CD at 2) this is definately my favourite Caravan album.

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