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peter mackie (UK)

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4.0 out of 5 stars the outtakes and demos are great, 23 Oct 2014
This review is from: Rendezvous (Audio CD)
The demos, outtakes are a revelation and show what might have been had this album had better production and song selection. These are powerful songs.Full Moon, left off the original album, is one of my favourites and the version with Swarbrick is superb. Now that the de luxe version is available at very reasonable price, it is recommended to anyone put off by the syrupy strings of the original album. Disk 2 is the real deal even if the great voice is not quite what it was.

My Salinger Year
My Salinger Year
by Joanna Rakoff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book, 29 July 2014
This review is from: My Salinger Year (Hardcover)
I loved this book. I don't suppose Joanna Rakoff is crazy enough to read Amazon reviews of her work but just in case, thank you Joanna. I read it twice in succession once too fast and the second time more slowly. The other reviews say all that needs to be said about the content of the book. I thought it was a stylistic triumph. She interweaves so well these threads of finding out for yourself, acquiring confidence and judgement, working out who you want to be. I thought her critique of Don's novel was very telling ; her style is the opposite of dense. Her approach is to give you the space to be age 23 again. As a result I found myself metaphorically holding my breath right the way through. I thought the fairy story finished three pages from the end when she wakes up from the dream and thinks 'How am I going to end this book?' There are certainly some loose ends around what happened next, but that's life.

For a Brit there are several words/phrases I had never heard of --what are Red Wing shoes for example? I liked that.

I disagree with the reviewer who says this might be one for the girls. Not a bit of it. If you like Alison Lurie and Leonard Cohen and if you once liked J.D. you will like this book.

Lark Rise Revisited
Lark Rise Revisited
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Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars where are mattacks, kirkpatrick and nicol when you need them?, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Lark Rise Revisited (Audio CD)
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Albion Band's Lark Rise to Candleford album, I thought I would give this a go. But if folk rock is your thing it's a bit of a disappointment, lacking the electricity. The best thing is Judy Dunlop's 'Bonny Labouring Boy' which at the current price of the CD justifies the admission fee on its own. How I would love to hear Shirley Collins's version of the same song, three verses of which can be seen on Youtube. Some of the rest is uncomfortably twee.

Roy Jenkins
Roy Jenkins
by John Campbell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what if?, 11 May 2014
This review is from: Roy Jenkins (Hardcover)
A very good, excellently written book. The chapters on his youth and in the war at Bletchley were interesting. After that I thought the book really took off from about 1963 onwards, how Jenkins positioned himself vis a vis Wilson and how he rose from Aviation Minister in 1964 to probably the best Home Secretary and Chancellor of the 20th century for those of liberal persuasion. From then on the story of how he (or Labour) lost the way in the 1970s, the rise and fall of the SDP and the Blair relationship are gripping reading for voyeurs of politics. For me Campbell comprehensively debunks the myth that Jenkins was lazy. A bit like Healey he prioritised life differently, couldn't be bothered to put the time in in the Commons tea room, did not do red boxes till midnight and gave himself the space to talk,listen and think. Bravo. But there was a price to pay.

Campbell also does Jenkins's other lives well, especially the author role. His books on Asquith, Gladstone and Churchill are really classics of their kind and are given due attention. I was hoping for a list of words used by Jenkins not in the averagely well educated vocabulary but that never came.

I didn't really have a different view of Jenkins as a result of reading the book but what it did well was to identify some crucial moments in British politics when life might have gone differently and in several of which Jenkins was involved.How he would have hated the politics of the last decade.Look at the expression on Vince Cable's face and imagine the distaste of Jenkins for the way the system has gone.

The Notes and The Words: A Collection Of Demos & Rarities
The Notes and The Words: A Collection Of Demos & Rarities

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 12 Nov 2012
This is aimed at fans of Sandy who are not completists or missed out on the 19CD set and prefer CDs to MP3. Anyone who has for example Live at the BBC and Who Knows Where The Time Goes will love this and there is not too much overlap.

Disc 1 --- mostly the home recordings from the Dark the Night and Borrowed Thyme bootlegs but in far superior quality and also including great demo versions of She Moves Through the Fair and Autopsy.

Disc 2--- the Fairport and Fotheringay years including new to me versions of Come All Ye, Matty Groves, Winter Winds and Pond and the Stream and the mythical Lord Bateman unaccompanied track.

Disc 3--- covers 1971-3, possibly most overlap of material with the BBC set and some of the bonus tracks from the reissued CDs. Bushes and Briars and No End the standouts for me.

Disc 4 --- 1974 onward, consistently superb, different demo of What is True with Trevor Lucas on guitar, wonderful No More Sad Refrains, Moments with guitar accompaniment just a few of the poignant highlights.

Seventy five tracks--well even if you don't like 10% that's still 68.

Nice photos--is it just me, Sandy seems to have almost as many looks as there are photos! I could agree that the notes are a bit thin and Andrew Batt should definitely have been given two pages per CD instead of one. But the main thing is it is out there, it works and it is great.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2012 1:08 AM GMT

A Walk-On Part: Diaries 1994-1999 (Mullin Diaires 3)
A Walk-On Part: Diaries 1994-1999 (Mullin Diaires 3)
by Chris Mullin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a rattling good read, 20 Aug 2012
Excellent, highly readable and conveys an authentic flavour of those times. I don't believe the editor has 'improved' the diaries with the benefit of hindsight as one reviewer implies. Too much rings true. Example one--- the failure to foresee the landslide in 1997, very understandable because Labour did not improve, the Tories collapsed. Example two-- no evidence here of the TB/GB faultline , Mullin was in no different position from any interested reader of the newspapers. Highlights of the book are the frustrations of the backbencher, the social worker role, the powerlessness when key constituency employers like Vaux Brewery decide to shut up shop. Mullin is interesting on the back story of how policy works in his areas of expertise, the dynamic of informal relationships with Jack Straw, John Major (after 1997). He is perceptive early on the presidential style of Mr Blair, the lack of consultation with the party, sofa government and all that. He expects Mr Brown to be a disastrous Chancellor, will not last two years, only to revise his opinion upwards in 1999. Campbell barely figures but Mandelson truly is the Prince of darkness for Mullin. The importance of family comes across with his daughter Emma, the tiny tyrant (aged two) as possibly the most powerful personality in the book. 'Go to London Daddy'.

Carnegie Chapter Hall 1961
Carnegie Chapter Hall 1961
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Price: £14.99

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars history in the making, 24 Feb 2012
This famous concert given to an audience of 52 on 4 Nov 61 is one of half a dozen must have live performances in Dylan's pre-electric era. It is sometimes said that he sounds nervous and it is true that he wanders on and off mic. But for those who love him as a performer this is of great interest since it portrays the mixture of Leadbelly, Guthrie, Irish, blues and other influences at that point. Some of the styles of singing and playing (eg on Young but Daily Growing and 1913 Massacre) are not heard again even in the Minnesota Hotel tape of six weeks later. If like me you had a really terrible bootleg tape of the first seven songs then the message is that the sound quality is a welcome surprise. I haven't yet got to grips with the words of Talking Merchant Marine though! Now we are waiting for the Festival Hall show from 1964---please.

Champion Redoubtable: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1914-45 (Phoenix Giants)
Champion Redoubtable: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1914-45 (Phoenix Giants)
by Violet Bonham Carter
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fresh and energising book, 26 April 2011
As an afficionado of diaries since being given The Assassins Cloak compendium as a starter ten years ago, I approached the three volumes of Violet Bonham Carter with some doubts since they do not appear in that volume. It is true that they lack the brilliance of style and the memorable sayings of the very best. But for anyone interested in how British society and top level politics evolved in the first half of the C20, viewed from the perspective of Asquith's daughter, Churchill's friend and acute observer of the Liberal Party, this like the other two volumes is a good read. The combination of privileged and radical offers a distinctive vantage point on events. If you enjoyed Nicolson and Channon's diaries, these could be your cup of tea.

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