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Mr. Omnibus Biscuit "O.B." (London)

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Its the Dogs..!
Its the Dogs..!
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.46

5.0 out of 5 stars A true celebration of Britpop circa 1995-6, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: Its the Dogs..! (Audio CD)
As far as I can see, this is the best collection of Britpop around. There is barely a dud track on here, brilliant from start to finish.

The Invention of the Jewish People
The Invention of the Jewish People
by Shlomo Sand
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old lie belies an ugly problem, 16 July 2014
Why read this book? Because the Israelis treat the Palestinians like animals. They're walled in, their lands are routinely confiscated and 'settled upon' and whenever Islamic terrorists cause trouble, which admittedly they do, they attack, kill, and maim the civilian population as retribution. If any other country did this, America would send in the 82nd airborne. Why not Israel? Because of the Jewish-American vote, and the fact that Israelis have a 'right' to be there, because the land of Israel is by rights, the land of the Jewish people.

Well, turns out, that's bulls***.

An academic work which seems to be as rigorously researched as it is readable. If like me you see rights and wrongs on both sides of the argument, Israel vs Palestine, this work will teach you why it's important not to forget that though most modern Israelis were born there and have as much right to remain as any other 2nd generation immigrant anywhere, their arrogance, violence, and bombast in pursuit of their sole claim on the land is reprehensible, racist, and should be revealed for the ugly lie that it is.

Offered by WaldieEnterprisesLTD
Price: £8.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slick, Dark, but lacking something., 2 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Burials (Audio CD)
So I'm going to review this because the other reviews are atrocious.

With burials AFI have produced an album which has a very similar tone to sing the sorrow while at the same time having a much more mature, polished, and in some respects electronic sound. This is both good and bad. We all know AFI can write songs, so there's no problem there. the sweeping melodies and rousing emotive choruses are plentiful.

So if this album has a flaw it's that, while they have played all the strong cards they were holding during the sing the sorrow era, this record lacks something they had then, something difficult to put ones finger on, energy, urgency, I can't quite figure it out. In order to produce a brooding, darker, more gothic and atmospheric sound, some of the tracks do lack the urgency that was so ceaselessly self-reinforcing throughout that aforementioned record. Burials also has flawless and slinky production values which take the edge off somewhat. On top of this, the record is scattered with noticeably light sounding tracks. It is perhaps these that detract from the whole.

But in many ways those production values and electronic additions have added to the sound, and were probably recquiresd in order for the band to move forward. They aspire to a big sound, and these additions are what it takes to get it. (think Frank Delgado from the Deftones). One certainty is that this is a vast improvement on the mostly forgettable post-offspring college rock of Crash Love. A while the tone of Burials is similar to STS, I would argue the songwriting and production bring it closer to decemberunderground, it has the same pop sensibility in terms of song structure and dynamic. But pleasingly, it is a darker record.

So, all the darkly epic AFI stuff is here, it sounds lush and big, and in general holds together pretty well. It doesn't batter the door down the way STS did, but it presses almost all of the right buttons. It gets four stars, but its a stong four stars, because no-one does this stuff as well as they do.

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
by Francis Fukuyama
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough, clearly mandated and well executed work of scholarship, 20 Jan. 2014
Exploring the history of political systems throughout the world, Francis Fukoyama seeks to elucidate how governments emerge, why they work or don't, and the basic human tendencies, such as paternalism and tribalism that political systems throughout the world struggle to escape.

This book taught me so many things that I did not know, and elucidated further many things that I did. A few reviewers have criticized the author for waffling and being repetitive. I think this is more a case that the history repeats itself. And possibly the most important message within the book is that humans work in such a way that and political systems fall foul of these most basic tenets of human nature to reproduce similar results time and time again.

While this book may not add much to established political theory, is does bring it all together, or at least to me appears to do so. If you watch the news and ask yourself upon seeing reports from certain middle-eastern and African nations, 'why can't these people just get on with it a set up a decent government?' this book explains why. It explains why the anglo-saxon model is so successful, but why it is also frustrating, often appearing ineffectual. But ultimately I came away feeling that the politics we all complain about again and again, really can't be taken for granted. You can't build it, you can't buy it, and you can only rarely import it, you just have to look to history to see how you can incrementally improve it.

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945
by Tony Judt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Near perfect, 12 Nov. 2013
I don't know how this book could be better. It seems to me to be a near perfect synthesis of events and their causes since the second world war. It covers the whole history of postwar Europe, and discusses with poise and gravitas matters cultural, economical, political, bellicose and humane. In places the sheer insight and scope of this one man, his researches and fervor for explaining this complex and important history literally took my breath away. At times it brought me to tears. It is brilliant.

Price: £8.37

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Someone went and made an important metal album., 13 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Sunbather (Audio CD)
For too long has the heavier side of guitar music been dominated by angry men with long hair and black T-shirts. This is something new, something chimeric, something serious.

This record takes the sound, and unique technical aspects of melodic death/black metal, and integrates it with the wall of noise/soundscape elements of post-rock/punk bands like My bloody valentine, and sonic youth, and in doing so seems to have created a new cultural footprint. The result is utterly refreshing. There are bands; alter of plagues, wolves in the throne room, - who seem to be moving melodic black metal away from the tedious and angsty gothic-cabaret of bands like COD and Dimmu Borgir(whom I enjoy, but not without a hefty pinch of salt and regular bursts of belly laughter)but none I know of who have eschewed the cultural aesthetic of metal entirely. Which is why deafheaven and esp. sunbather is so exciting. It is not envisioned within the dogmatic confines of the heavy-metal subculture, it is expansive, unrestrained, and unapologetic about it.

The name too is apt, the music is the sonic equivalent of staring at the sky through closed eyelids on a hot cloudless day. You feel bathed in sound, it is at once aggravating and cleansing, combining the cultural literacy of post-rock with the aggression and catharsis of heavy metal. Seriously good stuff.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2013 4:03 PM BST

Infinite Jest
Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new benchmark in American literature, 20 May 2013
This review is from: Infinite Jest (Paperback)
American culture, or rather, as it seems to be now, western culture, the whole of western society, is not the nurturing medium that humans think it is. And here, David Foster Wallace seems to be telling us an intertwining series of stories that describe in each case how 'the culture' has failed the individual. How the culture has failed to provide the food they need.

The characters: Some have nothing but sport, some drugs, some alcohol, some a desperate drive to right political wrongs, but beneath each story there can can be heard the desperate cries for meaning. A want of something more. Something they are not getting, something we are not getting.

And so as a means to illustrate the extent to which 'the culture' provides us with distractions from the longing and nothingness we might well feel if ever we were to take a moment to step back and consider our own existential crises, David Foster Wallace creates 'the entertainment'. A piece of film so engulfing, so entertaining, that once seen the viewer can never escape the desire to do nothing but watch it over and over and over again; to be distracted by it forever. 'The entertainment', a source of distraction so perfect that its 'victims' become instantly and permanently catatonic.

Even if the novel hadn't managed to scale the heights of its vaulting ambitions(which in my mind it does in almost every respect), it is still full of the the most wonderfully hilarious, descriptive, moving and thoroughly post-modern prose I have read, a truly new brand of writing which seems simultaneously to be informal and conversational but which retains a rich complexity and eloquence, and which draws you almost longingly into the worlds of the characters, the rooms, the places, the people, the smells.

This is truly one of the greatest books I have ever read. In 1200 pages, almost nothing happens, and yet I remained gripped throughout. I was sad to say goodbye to the characters and the places, I feel I could have read on forever, but ultimately I left them feeling I knew so much more about myself and the failings of the society we live in; our own failings.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2014 11:00 AM BST

by John Lanchester
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bland, badly written, artless., 17 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Capital (Paperback)
The prose reads like it was written by a GCSE student, not even a good one. The characters, as almost everyone has noted, are two dimensional and obvious stereotypes of... well, you and I.

I couldn't read on. The tedious descriptions of people, the complete absence of any degree of elegance in the language, the obvious, bland, childlike and artless way the sentences are structured. The patronising way the characters' feelings on simple matters are made clear to us.

I really wanted to read a contemporary book about the issues affecting modern Britain, esp. London(as a Londoner), but this will not be that book. I took it back to the shop after reading the first 70 pages.

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Price: £10.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, 30 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Shadows (Audio CD)
Popfemale led Punk. The songs are great and punchy and the melodies roll beautifully across the surface of the shimmering and pounding guitar.

It reminds me of 'the organ' but with more balls, perhaps more like the distillers reflected in a gloomy Swedish puddle. Totally excellent.

The Pregnant Widow
The Pregnant Widow
by Martin Amis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can everyone give Mr. Amis a break., 7 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Pregnant Widow (Paperback)
I find the majority of criticism about Martin Amis frightfully tedious.

This book is hilarious, and gripping, (even though very little happens) and ultimately highly moving and sad. You realise that for all the sexual tension, the male leering, the slapstick and the jokes, it's actually about something quite important.

Reading comments about Amis here and elsewhere, one gets the impression there is a large number of people out there who can't enjoy a literary novel unless they agree with characters' actions and motives, their politics and feelings, as if the purpose of literature is to serve a social agenda. This is REALLY not the purpose of literature.

Martin Amis is not a chauvinist pig, though there are elements in this book that could have you believe that, and it is written from the point of view of a man in the 70's, a time when I get the impression many, if not most men were chauvinist pigs, so I don't think any apology for this is needed.

That said, Martin Amis is no longer, I believe, writing with the pugnacious and biting humor of his heyday (London Fields, Money etc), but he is still very very funny, intelligent and utterly cool, and I think this is a brilliantly realised and stylised novel.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2014 1:46 PM BST

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