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Reviews Written by
Mark Grindell "Mark Grindell" (Driffield, East Yorkshire)

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Amplified Bible-AM: Mass Market Edition
Amplified Bible-AM: Mass Market Edition
by Zondervan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What, never thirst again?, 12 Sept. 2013
No, never thirst again, and I woke this morning and needed two cups of tea, and suddenly felt the need to pray; and this morning felt that I was both needy, and rich, and wretched, and poor (it was like most mornings when it was hours before anyone was up to tell me off about having forgotten pyjamas) and yet fabulously wealthy.

It's all quite ridiculous.

I made planetfall some 53 years ago and what this is, and how I came to deserve it, I cannot tell; the free gift that I have been given is more than I have ever seen with my eyes, let alone able to relate. Salvation, God's free gift, was at first a word, a hymn, several of them, vague notions of a kingdom and a throne. Many years later, feeling shabby and worn and knowing far more. And I wonder what the thing is? God loving us exactly why?

The question pushes, needles, gently asking. Why, after all the stupidity, error, and, well, sin?

Then you realize what those hymns were actually saying - that you are not alone in asking that question, yeah, many thousands have asked that question, and the question becomes itself praise, worship and thanksgiving, why leave his throne for a bunch of losers? How can HE gain? What ARE we to him?

Indeed. Wrath? Judgement? THAT makes sense; everything torn, bleeding, hungry, and all because of greed, cruelty, the dark side. The whole place, a mess. He should be angry. The state of the place!

The answers are amazing though. His great love, wonderful character, and compassion. Somehow, wrath averted, mercy triumphed over judgement, my guilt covered by his love.

Bleeding wounds, received in a dreadful place, plead for me. And all is now life.

And splendour; and joy.

No; never thirst again.

Sherlock Holmes [DVD]
Sherlock Holmes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dominic Keating
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily bad, 3 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] (DVD)
Some of the most convincing and terrifying drama I ever saw happened on a virtually bare stage with actors who had a degree of conviction that would have raised the dead. These long years later, it's still there, lighting the dark recesses.

The problems with this production is not that the scenery is poor, or the budget low. Or that the extras are sparse and badly drawn characters. Frankly, it must be murderously difficult getting ANY kind of backing for a film that inevitably comes across as coming from nowhere - or almost. I do wonder how even in this case, the mundane jobs of financial management given these kinds of strictures must take on quite scary proportions.

The real issue? It's the fact that there is not one shred of conviction from beginning to end. Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd is the one exception; he does a very good job with an abominable script. But apart from this, the flaws are enormous. The music shows no evidence of being matched to the actions of the plot, or indeed, any drama that the viewer actually sees at all. It sounds like around 300 bars of music were actually composed and performed (and it's synthesized, as far as I can tell).

I think this would have stood an EXCELLENT chance at success if

(a). the casting had been done thoughtfully
(b). Readthroughs had been done with all members of the cast
(c). Lighting, music, etc had been done properly.

I think there was great potential for comedy here; but either it was aimed too high, too low, or was completely unintentional. None of these can carry on for long without the film as a whole failing entirely.

but in a strange kind of way, I'm glad that they did it. Maybe it will help some small scale stage production work out what NOT to do...

Laborintus II
Laborintus II
Price: £12.27

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another view of the elephant, 21 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Laborintus II (Audio CD)
Back in the days when London was not the cultural hard vacuum that it is now, there was a time when this strange piece would be periodically performed, and I think it was in 1982 when I saw it no less than three times. I had had the original Musique Vivant recording since late 1979, when there were a bunch of us reading underground comics and eating some very hot curry in some den somewhere in Gloucestershire. Now it all seems so dreadfully long ago. With my student Grant (yes, we once were that much 1st world back then), I managed to get a slightly scruffy score at a considerable discount, and tried to decode what was going on.

The score is a work of art, worth looking at for it's own sake. What it says and what the Musique Vivant stuff DID are not exactly the same. Which makes me wonder... sometimes Universal Edition work over the penciled, precious original scores into different typesets, physical outlines, and some of the editions actually change; "Points on the Curve to Find" is an example of this.

The score and the music are fairly precise, at least compared with Stockhausen's "Aus den Seben Tagen" (an extreme example), but far looser than say, Lutoslawski's Prelude and Fugue for 13 solo strings. The notation alternates between five line staves and a looser notation meant to indicate only approximate registers - this is a THREE line stave, and sometimes only one line. One just cannot help wondering how much of the occasional conversations with Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead paved the way for this strange act of faith in the act of performance; I had a (very) brief conversation with Berio about how he felt about this kind of notation, and he said that his opinion had indeed changed somewhat over the years since Laborintus was written.

What IS very precise is the indication of vocal expression. Berio's fascination with infra semantics peaked at around this exact time, and so the procession of compositions from this era reflects this hybrid of theatre in a way that is very distant from opera, but continually begs comparison.

What has Mike Patton done with all of this?

I must say that I do like the overall result rather. I've noticed that many performances skid over the very hard but beautiful lyrical sections in the first part. This does not occur here, and should not really happen; while Berio gives unusually specific directions about the position and staging of various instruments, it usually is a problem working with actual halls with specific acoustics, and there is always the difficulty with getting a good sound picture; the two harps in particular are handled well.

Significantly, Patton seems to understand the bilateral nature of this work; the calm recounting of a strange, and comforting vision of things in heaven, and the terror, panic and uncertainty that seems to be the internal voice of the speaker (I'm assuming to be Dante) with some sort of terror of the pre-enlightenment earthly world of wolves, darkness and latent violence.

The speaker, who moves from one side of the vision to the other, appears, in his state of anxiety, to seek resolution amongst a variety of religious and iconographic poles, none of which truly offer a coherent explanation of the very real vision that appears to have been nothing but calm and beauty. When I say that Patton understands this, it's also a reflection of the virtuosity of the players to work with the rather exotic harmonic and melodic written parts (especially the flute and harp parts).

This is worth listening to. Whether the score literally stands in the geometric median point of all possible performances, and should be used as the absolute gauge for each of them is a question I cannot answer; but certainly Patton has shown a glimpse of this strange, ancient world of beauty, terror, and faith, clothed in Berio's distinctive 20th century voice.

Altogether, a most excellent piece, and a tremendous performance.

The Painted Veil [DVD]
The Painted Veil [DVD]
Dvd ~ Naomi Watts
Price: £3.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably powerful, 11 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Painted Veil [DVD] (DVD)
This appeared on the BBC IPlayer. I wasn't expecting anything, really; I half recognized Edward Norton, and it took me quite a long time to realize that he was the main protagonist from Fight Club; how very distant. I was astonished by this.

I honestly can't write, cannot explain, cannot do justice to this. It's about the true nature of love, the consequences and nature of unfaithfulness, but more than that, how love really does heal and mend and provide so much more.

The ending is so sad. I don't have the words. I can't write any more.

Very much recommended.

Dynasty Superior Magnetic Whiteboard W1200 x H900mm Aluminium Trim plus Pen Shelf and Fixing Kit
Dynasty Superior Magnetic Whiteboard W1200 x H900mm Aluminium Trim plus Pen Shelf and Fixing Kit

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly good..., 16 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having done SOME teaching, and worked many lessons with whiteboards that frankly, you spent more time erasing stuff already there than writing your own stuff, I found myself reluctant to buy one at all. After all, wasn't there computerized stuff out there?

My wife bought this. She didn't even tell me, and I am immensely grateful for that; what followed was complete surprise. The surface is quite different from what I every encountered teaching; I'm taking into account wear and tear and all of that; this is FAR better. The thing is solid. It's very easy to mount (and I'm remembering doing this on a crumbly wall that was hard to drill accurately) and it still works well.

BUT. What I did not anticipate was what happened next. My kids spelling has improved - over ONE WEEK - to levels that I could not have imagined. I use it. The kids use it. The kids OWN IT and, realizing this, I got another one and I am very grateful to the company for this product, because it's cheap and smart and ridiculously useful.

Do check the thing when it comes, it's easily dented in a big van with other parcels, but it's strong and once you get it delivered, you'll never damage it unless you jump on it!

So, what can I say? VERY HIGHLY Recommended.


Torchwood: Mr Invincible (BBC Audio)
Torchwood: Mr Invincible (BBC Audio)
by Mark Morris
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good vehicle for quite a good story, 27 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am now wondering if this is the last we will hear about Torchwood altogether; it seems to me that after the quite excellent audio stories, we have now entered a phase where the whole Torchwood project is petering out somehow. There have been some outstanding writers and producers on the Torchwood scene, but here, something is certainly missing; it's as though everything has been mandated to occupy as little time as possible. Sometimes this works very very well; try listening to "Old Soldiers", a story abut Sontarans, if you doubt me; but here, the stage itself is compressed. Somehow, the single voice does not work well here (although Tom Price is a fine reader). I have to say (with great respect) that this is not really showcase production and more thought should have gone into it.

BUT... having said all of this... It's a good story. It has unexpected turns and as is often the case with Torchwood, a sense of dignity into which tragedy is omnipresent; the very lack of glamour in the story accentuates the humanity and gentleness of the characters involved. And you realize that it's good writing after all.

So all in all, although it's flawed and dreadfully short, I do reccommend it; it's illuminating in it's own, unique way.

Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain
Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain
by Tom Watson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vile natures exposed, 9 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Al Capone was finally nailed on tax evasion. The man had led an appalling career of bloodshed and left a wake of great suffering; one can only hope that the communities that he affected eventually recovered.

I scarcely know what to say about this book. Oh, it's good, extremely well written, I earnestly recommend it; but it's a worry just writing this in any form.

This is the built in problem with this book; the book itself documents so much bad behaviour dished out to eveyone and anyone who tried to shine light on what was going on, that reading it, you think "I can't review this", but here you go; I'm going to try.

Someone, a long time ago, said to me (and he wasn't particularly political) that Murdoch's real triumph in Britain was convincing the generation that had fought Hitler (and won magnificently) that a culture that was completely and irrevocably foreign, and absolutely at odds with the ideals that underpinned the nation at that time - that that detestable culture was in fact THEIRS and always had been.

If you look at Britain in the post world war state, you can see a rather murky haze that may have partly explained how this could happen; Britain financially was in a dire state, having had to pay punishingly high war reparations to the USA, and so on; food was scarce for some time; and the hardships of the immediate post war period still fresh in people minds when Murdoch launched into tabloid journalism.

In saying this I am in real danger of being the devil's apologist; I don't like that. But the truth is, some three generations later, the appalling things that were published found a most willing audience. That audience gave Murdoch great circulation and great power, and he may have still been hosting the News of the World had not some exceptionally brave souls stood up.

What actually transpired and what was done by the individuals involved, and the terrible consequences, are covered very well in this book. For something so vile, you actually desperately need a cool objective account; well done fellows; this is exactly what you get here.

The law in Britain is in a very strange state as regards much of this. It may be, (and I would like to know more about this, but it's expensive to research) possible to prosecute people who hound other people into states of total despair and suicidal depression; there should be such laws, but how they would be framed is a difficult affair.

But what remains true is that all this was done, and many times over. The actual lawbreaking, of course, people largely assumed was not actually present until the very end; this book makes it perfectly clear that the law was broken, and badly so right from the beginning.

I could make a remark here; there was supposed to be a very restricted and censored press in Russia before the end of the cold war. This book has made me speculate that in fact the damage done by Murdoch in the name of press freedom exceeds by far any damage done by censorship in the USSR.

Reading the book further and more deeply, you realize that Murdoch has done more than corrupt the kinds of characters who wander into the local chip shop and read the Sun; he has reached far into the seat of Western democracy and destroyed, or at least, damaged a great part of it. With what representational democracy we have is so tainted by what this man has done, and the consent he has operated with, it is hard to imagine us winning a war like that one that ended in 1945.

The people who buy these horrible publications may not now have the equipment to make important moral decisions at all; that is the ultimate horror; but there is wishful thinking in hell (as CS Lewis once remarked), and as long as some people are prepared to do that work that these authors have done, there is most certainly hope.

The darkness cannot prevail; eventually the most evil deeds will be exposed for what they truly are.

Most highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 23, 2012 7:11 AM BST

The Time Machine [DVD] [1960]
The Time Machine [DVD] [1960]
Dvd ~ Rod Taylor
Offered by ycousins2
Price: £30.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is magnificent, 26 Jun. 2012
Watch the bit where the traveller meets Philby; where he is mistaken for the fellow who he has lately had dinner with; but it's his son.

Watch this again; then play it again, and LISTEN. The music for this part is the most beautiful piece. It's absolutely heartbreaking; lovely; I never know quite where to look.

This film is the product of a genius, but who it was who added this touch, and then this, and this again, we might not know nor never will; the credits tell you something about the main players, but there was a fire and a brilliance and a heart in this whose origins are perhaps a perpetual mystery.

This is an incredible film. I absolutely recommend it.

Novello Manuscript Book 16: A3 Landscape
Novello Manuscript Book 16: A3 Landscape
Offered by PlayRecord Net
Price: £8.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars, but.., 22 Jun. 2012
I really NEED something which is A2!

The difficulty is this; a long time ago, there was a company called Panopus that producd very closely packed score paper - a LOT of staves. But they've gone now. To get something bigger than this, you would need a gigantic A2 printer and do it yourself!

I'm writing some pieces for orchestra that need quite a lot of string parts; this particular paper is very good, but I would very much like to know where I could get something with 40 staves or so.

But I reccomend this; it's clearly printed, and the paper, (importantly) does NOT fall to bits if you are hauling this kind of thing around on bus or train journeys, which where I end up writing quite a lot of music...

Worth the price, very definitely.

All the Colours of the Town
All the Colours of the Town
by Liam McIlvanney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Distinct, fascinating...., 17 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm glad this isn't Ian Rankin. Scotland has not really been represented so well in terms of thriller writers; would it not be a marvellous thing if we had someone like Dennis Lehane?

In some sense, I think that the general air of this book, that describes so very well a dangerous, quite terrifying morass of a city, has been successfuly re-planted into places like Chicago, New England, virtually everywhere that there has been evidence of the great diaspora from the Celtic parts of the UK.

I recommend this because McIlvanney has an authetic voice very different from the books that now (unjustly) are piled up all too often at second hand sales. Yes, I am thinking about Rankin, another great writer; My hope is that this magnificent novel is not the last one.

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