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Frances Lynn "Author, Crushed and Frantic"
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A History of Facelifting
A History of Facelifting
by Duncan Fallowell
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This before the World Ends, 31 May 2011
If the world is about to end and you need cheering up, this beautifully written novel is a necessity. Duncan Fallowell is not only an original and exquisite writer, his deadpan prose is laugh out loud funny too. His foil of a heroine unwittingly infiltrates a self-sufficient dysfunctional family in the midst of an unspoilt England. Fallowell's fictitious countryside seems archaic and somewhat mythical, and although his unique story is set in the near future, one could easily imagine the novel's premise is set in the pre World War II era. With names like The Conkers of Galadriel thrown into the mad but feasible plot, "A History of Facelifting" is hysterically poignant with roller coaster twists leading up to a surprising denouement.


Bump 'n' Grind
Bump 'n' Grind
Price: £13.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic Rock, 11 Aug 2010
This review is from: Bump 'n' Grind (Audio CD)
When Bump N Grind first came out in the early 70s, Lee Jackson informed me I was the inspiration for the track 'Public Romance', and gave me the album on vinyl which I still have. I haven't played the album for years as I don't possess a record player anymore. So, I was thrilled to see Bump N Grind has been remastered on CD. Besides the personal connotation, this classical album is indicitivate of superb 'pogressive; rock music of that nostalgic pre-punk era.


Try Me by Farah Damji
Try Me by Farah Damji
by Farah Damji
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.62

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Confessional Memoir Which Shocks and Rocks, 16 July 2010
This review is from: Try Me by Farah Damji (Paperback)
"Try Me" is am exquisitely written Memoir by Farah Damji, whose explosive prose makes me think this ingenue author is a female Jean Genet in the making. Her literary bravery should be congratulated as she unselfconsciously bares her soul, unrelentlessly recapturing her dynamite fused life which includes a cocktail of Transatlantic society glamour and self-destruction. Damji's DNA of privilege leads to sex, drugs and blatant notoriety with a c.v. boasting imprisonment , all deliciously delivered in a poetic hardboiled writing style. The mixture of her bad girl adventures beautifully dished up in her distinctive and original prose both succeeded in enthralling me so much, I couldn't put the book down. I was gripped and the book's inevitable denouement of redemption made me instantly want to read Farah Damji's next Act of her 'colourful' autobiography.


You Can't Always Get What You Want: My Life with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates
You Can't Always Get What You Want: My Life with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates
by Sam Cutler
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Rock Noir, 25 Aug 2009
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a gripping rock 'n' roll saga which should appeal to anyone who is intrigued by authentic 'I was there' memoirs. Sam Cutler's book is not your usual press clippings cut and paste job from a rock journalist, or a fan. It's the Real Thing, lucidly and well written from a Napoleon styled tour manager's point of view.

Cutler was illegitimately born, but was rescued from his orphanage by his adoptive Communistic parents when he was three. They always had music in the house and Sam was raised on 'union songs and paeans to Stalin and the Red Army.`

'One would reasonably think that after countless acid trips and the experiences of the drug-fuelled sixties, the words of obscure political songs would fade from my mind, but to this day they remain eerie reminders of that distant country which is my past,' Cutler reminisces.

Sam Cutler's disabled father died when he was eight and when his mother remarried, he was re-located to their new home in the suburbs where in was his own words, he became a 'typical teenager', listened to music and dreamt of going to California. Instead, he became a teacher, ran a folk club and played the guitar.

'I wasn't interested so much in being a performer as in organising shows. Production is a bit like being a general - if you're going to attack Russia, you need a decent plan!'

When Sam emigrated to London, he quickly became involved in the city's psychedelic music scene. After working on the Pink Floyd's and Blind Faith's free concerts in Hyde Park, the Rolling Stones asked him to be their tour manager after their Brian Jones' 'memorial' concert in the park, and according to Cutler, 'the largest free concert in England.'

Fortunately for the reader, Sam Cutler has total recall of his life's events, as well as conversations with his R.I.P. friends like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia.

After Cutler was anointed the Stones' new tour manager, he went to Los Angeles with the band.

'It's a massive responsibility, looking after people like the Rolling Stones. There are people out there who want to get in bed with them and give them the proverbial cuddle, but there are also people out there who may want to hurt them. So there are security issues, plus making a nice home base in a foreign country.'

When Sam got on stage at the LA concert, and famously introduced them as "the greatest rock and roll band in the world", he was using reverse psychology, trying to goad them into actually believing it. After that, Sam used that intro for the rest of the tour, and they are the first words heard in "Gimme Shelter".

Sam Cutler is a humorous writer and manages to consistently portray himself as an un-egotistical, selfless and a fair-minded character, unfazed by the antics of the legendary musicians, whose touring lives he looked after twenty four hours a day.

Cutler's responsible job consisted of him having had to deal with the tour that involved riot police, the groupies, drug dealers and dubious hangers-on. Sam even bought a gun to protect himself while he was forced to deal with the FBI, the CIA and Mafia figures all on three hours sleep a night.

After the disastrous Altamont concert, the Stones escaped in a helicopter leaving Cutler to be the scapegoat, and to deal with the Hells Angels whom he hired to provide the stage's security.

There has never been an official investigation into what actually happened at Altamont but Cutler matter of fact records it all for posterity.
What is also fascinating about Cutler's gripping rock noir autobiography is that after the Stones dumped him, he worked with the juxtapositional Grateful Dead. Incredibly, when the Dead asked Cutler to act as their tour manager, they were in such deep debt, their dire financial situation threatened to end the band.
Cutler ended up with a bleeding stomach ulcer from the stress and hard work, supervising the sprawling band's tours twenty-four hours a day. He was responsible for them becoming wealthy and internationally renowned, so when Jerry Garcia ultimately didn't appreciate his heroic efforts, working on the Dead's behalf, Sam wished them 'Good luck,' and walked out of their lives.

This perfectly illustrates how self-centered musicians can be in spite of their hippy credentials. Despite this, the selfless Sam Cutler who's a fascinating raconteur about a revolutionary slice of rock culture doesn't seek revenge via his compelling prose, but tells "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as It really was. He was Out There!


Sun Of God: Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything
Sun Of God: Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything
by Gregory Sams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun of gOd: Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything, 21 July 2009
Sun of gOd, which logically states that the Sun is a conscious living organism, should definitely be taught in schools and universities all over the globe. It is an educational tome, especially for blinkered people, who are indoctrinated to believe from an early age that organised religions is the be all and end all of the human race's very existence. Even people with a broad viewpoint on the puzzle of consciousness, the Big Bang and its eventual consequential explosion of humanity, which is now evolving into the futuristic state of Artificial intelligence, should study this philosophical and enjoyable, thought provoking book.

Greg Sams, the author who brings our 'solar benefactor in from the cold in which it was forcibly cast out by today's dominant religions', writes in a humorous and accessible style. His coherent prose illustrates in my mind that the our three main 'modern' religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity have a tendency to act as a stranglehold on their fundamentalist followers. However, cynical secular scientists, especially those who believe in the multiple universes theory, which incidentally Sams articulately disputes in his book, are not the only people who will enjoy reading this fascinating book. Curious scientists would certainly benefit from reading Sun of gOd's religious theme which focuses on our universe as a consistently expanding 'whole'.

Sams' sensible rhetoric, backed by illustrations, comments and quotes from historical sages should sway even the most boxed in brain that one could benefit in part from a pagan viewpoint on life and our very existence. And yes, after reading Sams' philosophical book, I am convinced that the sun possesses intelligence and consciousness, which as the star at the center of the Solar System not only bestows life on our planet's inhabitants and all forms of nature, but also on all substances.

Sun of God is not only educational for people who have never stopped to deeply think that the universe is 'brimming with intelligence', but also for people who are already aware. As Gregory Sams puts it, 'the ancient Sumerians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, the Maya, Inca and Aztec, and the early Nordic, Celtic and Native Americans cultures have known something that we do not.'

Sun of gOd works on all levels, not only as aen enjoyable and fascinating book about the mechanics and mysteries of our galaxy and beyond, but also as a reference book to be dipped into time and time again. Recommended!

Sun of gOd: Discover the Self-Organizing Consciousness That Underlies Everything
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2009 8:30 PM BST


Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 750GB  External Hard Drive
Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 750GB External Hard Drive

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 750GB External Hard Drive, 17 Mar 2009
I've had my Seagate External for three days now and today it died. The drive is completely dead. Luckily, Amazon are going to give me a refund. That's not much of a compensation though as I'm in the middle of a deadline and don't need this hassle. I'll go back to LaCie.


Starstruck: Fame, Failure, My Family And Me
Starstruck: Fame, Failure, My Family And Me
by Cosmo Landesman
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starstruck: Fame, Failure, My Family and Me, 24 Nov 2008
Cosmo Landesman, who moonlights as The Sunday Times film critic, has written a fascinating and very funny memoir about his fame-obsessed parents. Fran and Jay Landesman, now both in their eighties have eternally been on the periphery of international fame: they hung out with the leading lights of the Beat Generation in New York, and when they moved to Swinging London in the Sixties were close friends with the Scene's stars like John Lennon and Peter Cook. Jay Landesman, especially, was always conscious of being the least famous people in the room.

Cosmo Landesman professes to have been embarrassed by his self-obsessed parents' `bohemian' behaviour all his life. For example, he was especially mortified when they had a well-publicised open marriage.

The actual story of the Landesman family is gripping stuff, and the author illustrates his family saga with periodic journalistic styled prose about today's version of fame: the Celebrity Me generation, who believe it's their right to be famous for at least one minute.

I would have thought that Mr and Mrs Landesman would have been horrified by their son's 'Parents Dearest' account of their fame hungry lives, but apparently they are delighted that they are back in the limelight.


Angus McBean Portraits
Angus McBean Portraits
by Terence Pepper
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angus McBean Portraits, 24 Nov 2007
This review is from: Angus McBean Portraits (Hardcover)
Angus McBean Portraits, illustrated with full-page reproductions won't be out of place on any coffee table. Terence Pepper is the Curator of Photography at the National Portrait Gallery, and has managed to find rare stills of McBean's unusual work for this gorgeous looking book. Pepper's fascinating text about this original British protographer is insightful. He has even included intriguing extracts from the photographer's unpublished autobiography which makes for riveting reading. Angus McBean was an iconoclastic photographer who was visually ahead of his time, proof of which is illustrated by the extraordinary repros of his work in this glossy book. Besides his original portraiture work of stars like Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and Margot Fonteyn to name just a few, McBean concentrated on stage production pictures including the rare ones of Vivien Leigh in "A Streetcar Named Desire" which feature in the book. Born in 1904, Angus McBean's career was revitalised in his later years when he photographed Sixties icons including the Beatles. He photographed them for their first EP and several of their albums: he took the famous photographs of the Beatles leaning over a balcony. Terence Pepper interviewed Sir Paul McCartney for the book, who reminisces about working with the iconoclastic photographer. 'Perhaps if I ever go down in photographic history, it will be as the man who took the picture of Audrey Hepburn in the sand .....' is one of McBean's quotes in the book. Seeing surrealistic portraits of legendary actors in unusual settings is historical and interesting. Angus McBean Portraits would make a marvellous Christmas gift - in fact it would make a marvellous gift full stop!


The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How to Do It Frugally)
The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How to Do It Frugally)
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Edition: Perfect Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Frugal Editor: Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success, 5 Jun 2007
I used to think I knew everything about grammar until I read "The Frugal Editor". If I'd read Carolyn Howard-Johnson's new book (her previous one was the invaluable "The Frugal book Promoter") before I edited the manuscripts of my novels, it would have saved me a lot of time and anguish.

If I had read this tome before attempting to edit my last manuscript before submission, I would have avoided making several glaring hyphenation mistakes, which Carolyn writes about in depth. 'Quick test for Hyphenating double adjectives,' she headlines. Similar to a lot of the topics in her book, her helpful text is backed up by a relevant link for further in-depth details.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that "The Frugal Editor" doesn't focus on the craft of writing or revision. She assumes that all authors have done revision before they edit their books.

'A good editor will help a writer to find her voice, remain true to it and still move the manuscript from a tough rock to a polished gemstone,' she says.

She even gives practical advice on how to find a good editor, like asking professors in the writing department at one's local university to recommend a good one. And to always ask for references in order to avoid charlatans.

I thought it was particularly interesting that Carolyn edits every document as if it were a manuscript. She stresses it's imperative to carefully edit query letters, cover letters and book proposals. It makes sense as these documents are sent to agents and publishers.

For writers who are confident they know everything about grammar, the book also acts as a useful grammatical refresher course. Howard-Johnson is practical and advises authors not to lose any sleep if a writer doesn't spot a typo or a grammatical mistake. Even experienced writers make glaring grammatical mistakes, so Carolyn gives practical and humorous advice on how to search for 'gremlins', especially adverbs in one's manuscript.

'You may have wondered why in the world-of-writing I would want to search for adverbs, which we all know are perfectly good parts of speech used frequently by the most scholarly among us.

They're ugly, that's why. They're often redundant. They cloak weak verbs. In fact, they are probably first cousins to the gremlin you usually want them out of there. The good news: You can use your Find Function to root them out.'

Carolyn explains each grammatical point in explicit detail. She is also a humorous writer which makes her advice seem entertaining. For instance, she talks about 'gremlins' as 'very clever guys bent on a writer's destruction.' Her nonfiction prose is full of gems like, 'editing your adverbs is like mining metaphor gold. Death to Gerunds, Participles and Other Ugly ings, Gerundings can keep you from laughing all the way to the bank and Participle ings are not a gerund's twin.'

'I want you to learn from this book,' she says, 'but I'd also like you to enjoy the editing challenge.'

She gives useful tips on Revision, Editing, Line Editing and Proof reading and insists that your editing will go more smoothly if you've thoroughly revised your manuscript first. Her invaluable book is about making the editing process easier and gives innovative tips on how use both manual and electronic techniques (like the Find Function) for eliminating errors.

She also advises the reader to get useful reference books like "The Chicago Manual of Style", and "Garner's Modern American Usage" (Hardcover).

"The Frugal Editor: Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success" is worth buying alone for the numerous links, especially those of the literary agents who 'care enough' to comment on the submitting process.

This is an invaluable book for writers, aided by a comprehensive Appendix to help the reader focus on vital information like battling those dreaded gremlins!

Authors will do themselves a disservice if they don't have Carolyn Howard-Johnson's bible within reaching distance of their desks. If nothing else, it will (re)educate them about the English language.


Tales of Brother Goose
Tales of Brother Goose
by Brett Nicholas Moore
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Tales Of Brother Goose, 20 April 2007
This review is from: Tales of Brother Goose (Paperback)
I bet Mother Goose is turning in her grave. Brett Nicholas Moore, who is a quirky and original writer has written a sophisticated and humorous book called "Tales of Brother Goose," a clever modern day satire on Mother Goose's late seventeenth century stories and rhymes.

Brett is the Prince of the denouements. His story's ultimate twists are superb. He's such a good short story teller that I paradoxically never wanted them to end, but also couldn't wait for them to finish so that I could discover his unpredictable endings.

I loved his post climax in "Puss in boots". Most of the old fairy tales have an evil protagonist and the violence is dealt in a simplistic manner. Some of the action in this story is explicitly lurid to suit today's reader's jaded palette for gruesome deaths. I hope I'm not giving away too much when this story has a postscript happy ending, a theme reminiscent of the old tales when the good character(s) wins.

All Brett Nicholas Moore's stories are top-notch, but I preferred the ones with human characters to the animal ones. It's hard to decide which tale I liked best in the book, but one of my favourites has got to be "Cinderella". It's a salacious hoot! (Like in all his stories), just when I was led into a false sense of security, Brett shocked me into laughing out loud with idiosyncratic nuggets of displaced 21st century life. He really knows how to startle the writer, especially when he uses modernistic slang and lingo, incongruous in his faithfully parodied old fairy tales.

Brett is an incredibly clever and inventive writer, proved by his hilarious and individualistic "Tragedy of Errors." This Old Worlde spoof about the political backstabbing in the court of a king and queen is so unique, it's worth buying "Tales Of Brother Goose" alone. Buy it, but not for the kids.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2007


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