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John Fareham (England)

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History of the Southern Railway
History of the Southern Railway
by Chapman Frederick Dendy Marshall
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A lawyer and the railway, 13 Sept. 2013
This is a mild update of a classic that was in my Father's bookcase in the dining room when I grew up.

I used it to aid my own work The History of Waterloo Station also kindle The History of Waterloo Stationand was quite surprised that I ended up using it more for the early history of the constituent railways. The author was trained as a lawyer and therefore thwere is a fascination with the process by which the Southern emerged and as a result copious references to statute.

It was fashionable to decry this book (and others of the era) with additional comments that it contains many errors. In fact those who have been tasked with re-issuing it have often-times recorded they could only find six minor errors and the book deservedly is reinstated as a classic.

The written style sometimes resembles a brief rather than high literature and may lead some to believe that this book is more of a reference book. Actually, even allowing for the inevitable lack of linear progress, it is an enjoyable read cover to cover as well.

Had the title been a trifle more accurate this would have rated 5 stars


Elvis: That's The Way It Is (Original Edition) [1970] [VHS]
Elvis: That's The Way It Is (Original Edition) [1970] [VHS]
VHS

5.0 out of 5 stars The original and in some ways the best, 16 Aug. 2013
Right let's get the worst out of the way - the embarradding convention "tribute" scene - thankfully lost in later versions.

The good side is this version still has versions of songs later dropped - inexplicably including "Just can't help believing" with the whole thread of nerves about forgetting the lyrics; a song reduced to the menu on the DVD.

The quality of the DVD is better as of course is menu selection so that, if you want, you can skip straight to the concert scenes (yes excluding Elvis saying "D-n" and the four microphone issue. However i still keep the VHS copy for the bits that were later lost.

I saw this when it came out on the big screen - the magic never fades and somehow, even though the DVD version has it's advantages, this takes you back to what people saw at the time.


Austin A40 Farina from 1958 (Olyslager Motor Manuals)
Austin A40 Farina from 1958 (Olyslager Motor Manuals)

5.0 out of 5 stars Dependable middle-order knowledge, 16 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is part of a series of motor manuals which were well-written and had for the time quite above average illustrations and would nowadays be called "accessible".

It is informative and if you are restoring a car it is not enough to do that from (nor ever intended as such) but usefully augments and provides a well -written narrative.


Workshop Manual for Vanguard - Series III. 4-Cylinder and 6-Cylinder Models.
Workshop Manual for Vanguard - Series III. 4-Cylinder and 6-Cylinder Models.
by STANDARD VANGUARD.
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Tolerably rare, 16 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Standard Vanguard Six was the last of the phase III Vanguards and the last car branded with that badge in England with manufacture ceasing around 1963 if memory serves. In terms of volume there were not that many built in comparison with the average Ford of the era, but my Father had one XHR 390 on which I learned to drive.

I have been looking for a Vanguard I can afford ever since and bought this manual ready for that day. It is/will be invaluable - the more so because the Haynes Manual has not yet been produced and therefore one may deduce, after this passage of time, may never be so.

I was lucky to get a crisp clean copy but frankly had it the usual oil stains it would be worth the price


The Waterloo and City Railway (Oakwood Library of Railway History)
The Waterloo and City Railway (Oakwood Library of Railway History)
by John Graham Gillam
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars The Drain - unplugged, 16 Aug. 2013
Like all Oakwood Press publications (my late Father had a standing subscription) this is masterly and authoratative.

I have always been fascinated by "The drain" since my early days at Waterloo. A stand-alone "underground" line that for nearly all it's existence was not part of the Tube network and used to appear on maps as dotted lines with no colour, the line serves two stations and is entirely underground.

I used this book to augment my own researches in the archives for my own book on Waterloo Station The History of Waterloo Station. The author writes well and the layout was pleasing which makes it well worth the eye-watering price.


Austin A35 & A40 Owner's Workshop Manual 1956-1967
Austin A35 & A40 Owner's Workshop Manual 1956-1967
by John Harold Haynes
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Dependable, 16 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Far from the first Haynes Manual I have used and unlikely to be the last however this one really is a gem.

There were indeed some personal tips that contradicted the "by the workshop manual" approach and they certainly helped.

As ever with Haynes the index leaves a lot to be desired but familarity with the ouevre means after a while you largely ignore it.

Cannot restore an A40 without a Haynes manual unless you really are a skilled mechanic


Elvis: Prince From Another Planet (Deluxe Version)
Elvis: Prince From Another Planet (Deluxe Version)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £26.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory, 16 Aug. 2013
This was eagerly awaited to be sure. The news that film clips were now available was stunning and of course gives a whole new lease of life to a product over thirty-years old.

Imaginatively packaged with an appropriate homage to the original packaging I slightly regretted the storage of the discs in little cardboard envelopes. DVD box sets generally manage this better and frankly one of those packaging systems would not only be better but also protect the discs better.

The clips are tantalising because 8mm film reels were so short back then. The quality is of course grainier than we are used to on TV now but not poor for the era - especially as most cine film readily available was not especially geared for use in low light. This production has been synced to the vocals in a way that would not have been possible once and that makes for amazing authenticity. Shivers down the spine seeing Elvis live for the first time decades after he has died!

The percentage of visual footage to concert is low and perhaps the black screen inbetween was not the best idea but this is a minor quibble. The sound is good although my equipment is not high-end spec where that opinion may be challenged.

The extras are useful if slightly wasted - a lot of people saying Elvis was a legend/entertainer/star/performer adds little to our sum of knowledge. Like many i have seen the stills from the press conference, itself a major event since Elvis did very few, but these clips (for it is not the entire event) show the incredible amateurishness of either Elvis' organisation or the media. From the unalloyed corn of introducing Vernon Presley "who has a friend coming out", to the fact Elvis cannot see one questioner so bobs up and down in his seat to see him (slightly sending it up but still showing poor arrangements) it reeks of amateur hour and you feel sorry for Elvis having to do it.

So what of the show? Well we have all heard the album. I vary from some who say Elvis' shows dipped from "Aloha" Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite (Legacy Edition)he was already coasting in terms of performance. The arrival on stage shows the enormous charisma of the man but also reveals he knows he doesnt have to work at it any more - literally standing there with the cape on display and the huge smile. The later clips of the performance show stylised poses and little evidence of the coherent performance oputting across songs that was clear in "That's the way it is".

However the songs show Elvis still on top of his game. Varied in tempo and genre, with vocals still conveying the lyrical ethos Elvis showcases the wide range of his influences and ability to deliver. Of course being Elvis he puts his imprimateur on the material ("An American Trilogy as done by Newbury was almost a rejection of the American way but Elvis treats it as he did the single - which blew Newbury's away in the charts - a huge celebration of America and the American way). Why not? Elvis was the American dream - from dirt-poor to millionaire celebrity.

Was I disappointed? No way! You can niggle - and boy everyone has an opinion but few try and implement them - and I have myself; however get with the programme! How many other artists get this sort of treatment after a death longer than their career. It took me back to buying the LP on a wet rainy day in Boots at Bracknell and going home to my box-room bedroom in suburbia and knowing that somewhere out there Elvis was making life fun. It inspired me then to believe, it still does now and is worth every penny.


British Rail 1974-1997: From Integration to Privatisation
British Rail 1974-1997: From Integration to Privatisation
by T. R. Gourvish
Edition: Paperback
Price: £59.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial (again), 16 Aug. 2013
I say again because I reviewed the first volumeBritish Railways 1948-73: A Business History with an equally high rating.

I also used this book for my own on Waterloo StationThe History of Waterloo Station because quite simply there is no better comprehension in secondary material of the business arguments leading to privatisation and the failures that allowed the option to come forward.

Gourvish, I resist the temmptation to familiarity despite him helping me out on a point of detail, writes well and we are left in every doubt his own view on the topic: this is an historian should be. To be so neutral and learned must have required great strength of will at what is revealed in this book. Again the author had key access to much data and he mines it well. Other accounts of privatisation have emerged such as All Change: A History of British Rail Privatisationand whilst valuable for reflecting the role as they saw it they are not necessarily as commanding (or neutral) an overview.

Again my own preference is to have this in hardback as it is a key reference book, but frankly it is worth getting in any version. If memory serves Terry Gourvish is at the LSE and it is no wonder with this quality of work. I live in hope of a fourth volume - he deserves it and so do we


British Railways 1948-73: A Business History
British Railways 1948-73: A Business History
by T. R. Gourvish
Edition: Paperback
Price: £44.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial, 16 Aug. 2013
This book, and it's companion volumeBritish Rail 1974-1997: From Integration to Privatisation are amazing works of scholarship.

I used them as in-depth detail for my own bookThe History of Waterloo Station and the author was kind enough to place his erudition at my service and to answer a query I had based on an illegible signature at the archives in Kew.

This is not a book for the casual reader, the length alone, is daunting but I can think of no better book on the topic than this (and companion). Maintaining a balanced view despite the considerable follies revealed, the author writes well which greatly aids comprehension. The style is not dry as dust it is actually flowing English, and for those of us using the railways at this time the book answers many questions which seemed uninetelligible then.

The material, and the author had unprecedented access to files, is well used and fills you with alternating despair and admiration at the battles fought over transport policy in general and the railways in particular.

Accept it, if you buiy this you need the follow-up and although the price may seem eye-watering it truly is worth it.

For myself I would, wherever possible, recommend the hardback if only because it must be durable - anecdotally I am told the illustrations are better also.

We owe a debt of thanks for the labour of love here and I for one am happy to praise this book.


Escape To Athena [DVD]
Escape To Athena [DVD]
Dvd ~ Roger Moore
Price: £6.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Rog out acts the scenery - just!, 16 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Escape To Athena [DVD] (DVD)
Kalithea/Rhodes is the stunning setting for this light bit of froth so much less than the sum of its parts but still an enjoyable romp. Considering it has music by Lalo Shifrin, and stars such as Roger Moore, David Niven, Savalas, William Holden (cameo), Stefanie Powers, Elliot Gould, Anthony Valentine, and er Sonny Bono the film is disappointing in that it should be so much better. Had it been full of people nobody has heard of it it would probably have been very good, but we expect more from such talent.

The incomparable Roger Moore plays "the enemy" (it's ok - stay with me! Breathe! Rog is actually an Austrian not a German and secretly sympathetic to Niven et al - but who could ever resist Niven?). Anthony Valentine is the bad German and it is inescapable to see the similarities with his Colditz performance.

The plot is thin (looting antiquities), but we get a rather good motorbike chase, a few rockets and some action. The Stefanie Powers role is a complete waste of space, Elliot Gould is OTT enough to be an extra in a Clint spaghetti western, and the scenery is stunning but ultimately beaten into second place in the acting by Roger Moore's eyebrow which just shows more life than the antiquities and the ruins!

All in all this is worth watching but it will be a "once every two years" film not a staple in anyone's collection
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2013 1:10 PM BST


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