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David F (Tokushima, Japan)

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Cold Reading: And How to be Good at it
Cold Reading: And How to be Good at it
by Basil Hoffman
Edition: Paperback

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars redress, 12 Dec 2008
I feel someone should make the point here that reading scripts in audition that you have not prepared or seen before IS known as 'cold reading', and the book may or may not be a good set of advice on that topic. It is quite clear about its subject matter on the cover.

It's wrong for it to be saddled with one and two star reviews on the basis that people misunderstood its title. If you buy things on line without doing more than glance at a tiny thumbnail of the cover, then giving the book a damaging one or two stars is grossly unfair. Anyone looking at this page should disregard those ratings.

(I have absolutely no connection with the book.)

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials)
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials)
by Philip Pullman
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eventual satisfaction, 20 May 2008
Some of the reviews of 'His Dark Materials' seem to show disappointment that a promising Potter-esque fairytale concludes with a fractured essay on existence. For me, it has the opposite effect. 'Northern Lights' was OK, but it never really grabbed me. I kept going because I trusted that the series would eventually say something, and it did.

'The Amber Spyglass' is a wonderful meditation on the nature of life. It is healthily anti-theist without ever making its message obvious and preachy. The chapters concerning Mary Malone's stay in a bizarre parallel world could have been an irritating diversion, but they're the most beautiful, convincing passages of the whole trilogy. If they ever get round to filming it, they'll have a tough job converting it into a family-friendly Christmas movie.

Easily the most satisfying book of the three.

Want One
Want One
Price: £7.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars helpless victim, 23 Dec 2003
This review is from: Want One (Audio CD)
This is not funny anymore. I am listening to 'Want One' on a continual loop. My other CDs are caked with dust. I am not a well man. THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY EXISTENCE. On the rare occasion I stop listening to this album, it is only because I'm listening to Track 4, 'Movies Of Myself', on individual repeat. The lyrics have burned themselves into my brain and sneak irrelevently into my daily conversation. I don't understand how this happened. Wainwright's previous album contained a few gorgeous tracks, but nothing to suggest such relentless, hypnotic beauty. One minute I was happily filling my albums-of-the-year list with crunching guitar sounds and electronic weirdness, and then suddenly WHAM, I contracted a dose of 'Want One', and that was it. Soaring melodies and luscious strings have turned me into some kind of of Big Girl's Blouse. I'm 28 and I LIKED FOOTBALL, for goodness' sake. If you respect the rest of your CDs, I beseech you, do not buy this album. Do not bother downloading it for free as I initially did, because it carries a gypsy curse and you will feel compelled to go out and buy a proper copy anyway.

The Juliet Letters
The Juliet Letters
Offered by Themusicmaestro
Price: £14.97

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars point of principle, 22 July 2003
This review is from: The Juliet Letters (Audio CD)
In retrospectives of Costello's career, this album always seems to be on the end of an ill-deserved kicking. It's certainly not accessible to the casual listener, and maybe hardcore fans find it too different from the new-wave norm, but this is a record that needs defending. The presence of a string quartet unlocks Elvis imagination and he's never been so lyrically on the ball. Once you've cracked the code, it's impossible to stop playing this CD. The Brodsky Quartet is awesome, punctuating the sarcasm and spite, and lifting the poignancy to new levels. Against this backdrop, it becomes clear just how emotive the singer's voice really can be. 'This Sad Burlesque' stands out, but no song is dispensible. The melodies roll unpredictably over weird and wonderful key changes. 'Taking My Life In Your Hands' is an aching ballad, though I have a soft spot for 'Damnation's Cellar', a song that ten years on, I find myself humming on the train even when I haven't heard the record for months. Don't believe the stubborn old punks. This is a brave and gorgeous recording, jostling with 'Imperial Bedroom' and 'Brutal Youth' as the man's best.

Trust (Expanded Edition)
Trust (Expanded Edition)

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars trust, 22 July 2003
Although not a classic Costello work, 'Trust' contains enough cunning chord changes to keep up the listener's concentration. I first bought this on cassette at university, and it soundtracked many a grim trek through the middle of Manchester. 'New Lace Sleeves' is the biggest delight here, and was a joy to rip off in my first band, while 'From A Whisper To A Scream' once had the power to hoist me from a sticky personal trough. All of Costello's weaker albums (mainly from the mid-80s, before his 90s run of form) include a few minor classics. When he misfires, it is usually through sterile production rather than bad songwriting, though 'Trust' is perhaps the one album where the puns and metaphors become a little too clunking and obvious. I don't want to end on a negative note, so I won't. This is a good album by most standards. The quality never dips below good, and sometimes touches on excellent.

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