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

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Live: P Funk Earth Tour
Live: P Funk Earth Tour
Price: £6.00

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The day I went crazy, 3 Aug. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Live: P Funk Earth Tour (Audio CD)
... was the day I read a review of this in New Musical express some time in 1977. And that was it. The writer was nuts, and it was a disease and I caught it and I still have it, thank God.

I fell in love with George Clinton the minute I saw the classic photograph of him with that stupendously, absurd head dress with rabbit fur and whatever it was, sunglasses, gloriously BLACK (I'm white by the way, but working on it) with the title GET FUNKED and I thought, THIS MAN KNOWS MORE THAN I DO and that was enough.

I was on board.

I got to Hull and found Virgin records and got hold of it, a live piece of vinyl, two pieces no less, one of which didn't play properly on my old autochanger, and started to take the packaging to bits, a T-shirt transfer, a poster of the same madman, strange other bits, and so on.

The music was from the other side of the universe, a take on humanity and love and rejoicing and warmth and the feel of the human I had never heard before, no, had never tasted; and it was wonderful.

I was listening then to Chopin and Berlioz (who may have understood Clinton far, far, more than you may have ever thought at first), and I was already a bit of a stranger in the up and coming world of the Stranglers, X-ray specs, Television, all the punk bands from way back then, but I knew I had found something wonderful, and I had.

What helped greatly was the discovery, piece by piece, of the general territory of black music. Oh my, could I never have heard this before? It reached into my soul so deep I thought a touch could never go so far, not that I thought as having so much depth in me; I discovered Sly stone, Al Green, James Brown, The Drifters, Charles Mingus, Barry White for pete's sake, and countless others.

All there. All so alive and hurting and rejoicing and shouting.

George Clinton is reckoned to be the most sampled musician of all time, but more than that, he is a monster, an inventor, an innovator, a man who synthesised his own insanity and used it to forge a kind of warm link between and beyond for goodness knows how many kids like I was then.

The music essentially inherits some of the substance from James Brown, but more than that, Gospel music, Sunday Morning, or better still, Wednesday night prayer meeting in the mission centre of the rainy city, the kind of stuff you used to hear in church, when the choir is singing Swing low, sweet Chariot in the tabernacle, and there is this great lady singer giving it her all, and the choir swaying and chanting, and Clinton morphs this to something coming from the black liberation era of the Panthers, the faith and steadfastness of the slaves in the South, the wild recklessness of Sly stone, and I don't know, Frankenstein's Monster, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, They Came From Out There, Funk from a galaxy near you, laid on man child to heal the wounds of the world.

It's all good news, look to each other for healing, we are all together, all broken, all fallen, all alive, all looking for love for that night, I'm more crazy than you, we shall all be changed, Clinton incarnated as a multiform, multicoloured Black Pied Piper, leading the children away.

And I'm still following...

Good Will Hunting [DVD] [1998]
Good Will Hunting [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Robin Williams
Price: £2.71

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, very good...and..., 8 Jun. 2007
This movie has provoked a huge amount of discussion in our house. It's quite popular, but I do tend to agree with angry Northerner. Whatever you might say - the film has the noblest of intentions, that's for sure. That scene where Robin says "it's not your fault" is perhaps one of the most moving scenes of any film that I may ever have seen; it's all driven by our need for forgiveness and grace and that is truly a beautiful, beautiful resonance. It absolutely moves me to tears every time.

But despite this, you do the feeling that the story was really delivered far too readily and dutifuly unto the usual Hollywood Editing Churn Machine, and the result is that yes, that relationship appears out of nowhere and there is no real support... it's too pat; too easy. In fact you could say the same for the other relationships in Will's life as well; they all hang, really, on threads which in the real world are way too thin. Of course it launched Matt Damons career, that's an easy one. And Williams is a freaking undisputable genius!

But I'm not sure that this sounds like a STORY with the sort of integrity that would have made it what it should have been. One glaring, awful problem at the end, of elephantine proportions, in fact, is what Will actualy ends up becoming; after his extraordinary insights into US economic and military history, what does he imagine that he is finally buying into? And is that final parting, again, so VERY moving (I am such an old soft sad case), where his old buddy realises that he is never going to see him again... really and truly... what should happen?

I know some people still on that building site, as it were... and they are marvellous, complicated people with rich characters and great stories of their own. Whatever it is that we choose, it's just not quite that simple. Where has Will REALLY gone? Is it going to be enough? Does that final fade out with the car signify the end of all his problems?

Hmmmm. Now there you go. As Mel Gibson's character says in Lethal Weapon, life gets complicated all by itself...

Dyson DC08 Origin Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner Silver/Yellow
Dyson DC08 Origin Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner Silver/Yellow

25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Dreadful!, 4 April 2007
Let me put in detail what we found with this... machine.

The head design is very problematic. It became blocked very often; sometimes some 2 or 3 times in twenty minutes. The mechanical suspension for the rotating brush is based on losely coupled plastic parts, and if the head is ever blocked for long, parts of this plastic mount MELT and the result is a mixture of dirt and melted plastic welding the two parts together.

Our experience was tht after two months of careful use, the turbo head was completely unusable.

From this point it gets much worse. The hose is fairly stout, and the straight section of pipe that connects the head to the hose is made up from three telescopic segments that have latches (to stop it from telescoping). The latches broke after a few days, and as a consequence, the pipe as such is completely unusable. The connection of the hose to the main body of the machine is good, but the air path splits into two very thin sections before it reaches the vortex chambers, and each path has a very small cross sectional area - some six square centimetres each, and NOT particularly curved... there are many sharp edges; and these allow rubbish to block these apertures easily. They are very difficult to clear out.

The worst of all is the actual vortex chamber, a dual design. The levers that release the bottom of these chambers is easily confused with the release lever for the whole chamber. It means that little kids can readily flick this lever in a moment and dump the entire contents of the chambers all over the floor. And cleaning it is very difficult indeed; ironically it doesn't completely disassemble, and accumulates dirt very quickly, particularly at the top, where the air flow comes in. It can take a long time to poke around and extract various bits of rubbish from this narrow space.

But in any case, the whole idea of these chambers is that filters are not necessary; the length of the vortex filiaments (the streams of turbulent air) is probably in excess of the actual chamber length, so in fact dirt passes in great quantity to the actual filters.

And of course, these are very small, and clog up fearfuly quickly.

The original concept of the Dyson cleaner was truly visionary; we would have been lost without our original; but this model is an example of truly awful engineering design. It DESPERATELY needs to be re-engineered.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2011 12:00 AM BST

National Treasure [DVD] [2004]
National Treasure [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Price: £1.26

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather nice if you're in the right mood, 8 Oct. 2006
Remarks about freemasons notwithstanding, I found this very entertaining and in places, very endearing. I am surprised to see Nicholas Cage doing so well as a soft spoken hero, he does a good job being quite different from Harrison Ford in similar roles, which is refreshing.

What I really enjoyed about the stoy was the constant commentary on the founding of the USA and it's origins, which is a subject that I am engaged with very much at the moment. There is little in the way of engaging action, but much in the way of character exposition and story telling. It is certainly suitable for quite young kids too, which is a big plus in our household.

I wonder how much about the details regarding the Freemanson is really true. This is, again, an interesting subject to get tickled about....

The Pacifier [DVD]
The Pacifier [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vin Diesel
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.19

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes real risks... brings off the whole thing marvellously, 6 Oct. 2006
This review is from: The Pacifier [DVD] (DVD)
I liked this movie, but my younger kids adored it. That was the difference. We talked quite a lot about it both immediately after the movie, that we saw at the local multiplex, and some six months afterwards. The film certainly made a deep impression on MY kids, that is for sure.

Vin Diesel is actually perfect for the title role, and in fact his very clumsiness that has been observed here, far from being ineptitude, is in fact carrying the whole point. This is far from being a "cute" movie. It deals with terrible events in the life of a family; again, the loss of a parent (a common theme these days, "Land before time", etc), and Vin Diesel's best intentioned and often tremendously slapstick take on the whole thing works well at the kind of level that joyously takes you away from the pain. I think the guy in the role of marine becoming hard and love-at-any-cost parent is a wonderful thing, and as finely done as I have ever seen.

But the undercurrent of the film - not obvious perhaps until you leave the cinema and it hits you some time later - is that Diesel's character in a way is hosting the Dad who we hardly see. He has been invisibly present throughout the film, and the family's love and coherence is a testimony to the integrity of this man, who has gone. The little dance for the small boy is the perfect vehicle for this rememberance. At this point I realised that this film was nothing more than a sincere and moving homage to fatherhood itself.

You might well miss this; but the cinema was dead quiet at that point. And like "Uncle Buck", if you have the eyes to see it, this film holds a tremendous and warm message; a love letter addressed to anyone who is a daddy; very remarkable.

I thoroughly recommend it.

Blues For Allah
Blues For Allah
Price: £5.94

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe it, but there it is..., 15 Sept. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blues For Allah (Audio CD)
This is so good, it may be impossible. The Dead bundled into a studio and turned out a masterpiece. And on an eight traack too by the rumours. And these were days when the recording engineers were wise and knew their craft well. Days of yore.

And truly it is; remarkably, for in fact very few of their studio recordings sounded even remotely like the live recordings, some of which shook the walls of the city, but for some reason, the Dead and Robert Hunter somehow contrived what up to that time had simply never really happened.

One thing that this recording contains is an example (and a very, very good one at that) of their famous transitions - a sudden movement from one song to another. This, coming between Help on the way, Slipknot, and Franklins Tower is amazing, not that though, scintillating and brilliant. Never have I witnessed anyone listening to this without breaking out into a broad grin; it is a beautiful music joke that any of the classical composers would have recognised at once. For any of them may have fallen silent and smiled like we did, infamous Cheshire cats, dancing in defiance, all together, unfallen. And all is rainbow and splintered, defying geometry, measure and syntax. The music lasts so long, but time is undermined and betrayed somewhat.

Next time I'm not drinking that stuff before I write a review and I don't care. I've worn out 4 copies of this, so here we go again...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2008 3:46 PM BST

Schindler's List - Special Edition [DVD] (1993)
Schindler's List - Special Edition [DVD] (1993)
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.89

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 15 Sept. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I only discovered that I was jewish very late in life. Mind you, I had been horrified by the holocaust when I was very young; perhaps far too much. But of course, no real identification within it all... It was also strange that in time, this was not so very long ago when I was born and yet was documented as though it was very old and far away.

Speilberg does us great service by, although shooting in black and white, making it seem very contemporary. It is about one man's terrible need to choose and his wonderful choice.

It makes no-one safe from the shock of what really happened. You can't watch without being utterly horrified. Knowing what it means to be jewish and the congruence with death is very present.[...]

The film greatly illuminates... and is a great achievement.

Groundhog Day (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2002]
Groundhog Day (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Bill Murray
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just can't accept that this film is that good - but it IS!, 31 Jan. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
How many films do you know start with a premise that is outrageously impossible, undoubtedly reducing the cast to hysterics, let alone the audience, and yet have such a deep, no, forget that, DEEP message. This film wants to teach us so many things. I can't believe that it made me laugh so much, while in a way, slapping me hard around the face in doing so...

I bear tribute to the skills of the madman that brought this into being.

Essentially, what happens, is that a bored weatherman drops inot a provincial (real) town called Puxatawny, not realising that his life, as he knows it, is about to be turned upside down. He slowly realises, to his horror, that he somehow cannot help but re-live this one day over and over... and over again.

Boring? Forget it. Bill Murray is hysterical; after seeing this the fifth time or so I ached all over; I needed a hankerchief, I laughed so much. Bill is like me so badly that I can't look at this straight without getting at least six sevenths paranoid. So how does the director KNOW ME SO WELL?

Well, I think that he knew Bill Murray, who plays the part amazingly well, veering from smart and savvy, impossibly funny, to lost and scared, to cynical (the incident with the police car just cracks my eldest son up totally).

Then it gets dark; Phil gets lonely and morbid, and it is odd to see just how far this is played by Murray, seemingly prepared to follow a dark path with a very bad destiny. But no, it isn't to be that way; he finds, or is shown... a way out.

This is frankly when I get a bit shaky. When bill/phil finds that the way out of misery and despair is ... to truly love ... then my knees start to knock a bit and I need the tissues again. Because this is truly the touch from heaven, whether it is mentioned or not; certainly the touch of the Almighty (who does not appear on the credits especially. But he's there).

This is where the film gets epic, and the miraculous is right there in front of you; Everything bill / phil touches suddenly is set alight; people live better lives, or simply don't die that day; one old man is saved a lonely death; quite a lot of amazing things in fact. I have to say that the film at this point is truly transcendent, and unlike almost anything else; it becomes simply astonishing, and lights up with tremendous power and beauty.

The ending is, of course when Bill/phil is no longer thinking about himself. It ends unapologetically on a truly happy note that perhaps never could happen in real life. Or could it? It's too good to be true - it's ridiculous, but by then you don't care because the better half of you knew that it was impossible from the beginning, but that is no excuse - who cares? What matters about the impossible if no one else is watching? It's brilliant - more than it should be - almost like being in love?

I need a run around the block now. That's quite enough...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2008 4:53 PM GMT

Uncle Meat
Uncle Meat
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £14.99

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was very fortunate to have found this... now so long ago.., 9 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Uncle Meat (Audio CD)
I was simply amazed. It was 1977, not really so long after I had, with considerable trepidation, found and bought "one size fits all", which I was relieved to discover had no rude lyrics. You see, I had little choice in this, like some kids in the 70's, I lived in a happy, though somewhat strict home. The cover for THIS one though... I sneaked in the living room and bolted upstairs and tucked it into the usual hiding place.
Then put it on. I reckon you shoud have been a fly on the wall. I just about went nuts. Two whole sides, no, nix that, four ENTIRE sides of the most astonishing music I had ever clapped my ears on. Oh, I don't know.
If I could have written something along the lines of discovering a secret garden, I would. I had secretly hoped that music like this would exist, and suddenly there it was - the crazy musique concrete (that I used to listen to at full volume with headphones on), the strange childrens music with vibraphones and xylophones, telling stories about a land with mysterious golden arches, and what else? I don't tell, though I dreampt about it once.
The most amazing thing is that while I write this, just the memory is making goosepimples appear on the back of my neck. Alas for days gone by, what wonders!
Dog breath in the year of the plague.... Fuzzy dice? Bongos in the back? To a kid in Yorkshire, uncertain and suspicious, this just seemed like dada, stimulating and weird... Fuzzy Dice? Great! That's just about exactly what a song about dog breath SHOULD have in it. Well 30 years and older and wiser, this is a love song no less, a fond reminiscence about days gone by with a clapped out chevrolet, sunny days driving to the middle of a hot nowhere with friends. And of course, it makes sense, it ISN'T dada, it's someones rosy tinted, dewey eyed, utterly unapologetic, terribly sentimental memories. Hooray for the heart! So what is the music - this altered state of woodwinds and something that sounds like ....
I'm still digesting the fact that Zappa wrote this and countless woodwind trios and strange things that, well, maybe NEVER will see the light of day in the studio. While other stuff was happening, while the 24 track Scully was going. A feat of the impossible, driven by necessity, doing what he simply had to do.
I'm just beginning to get the ideas straightened out for my own stuff now. 30 years. Uncle Meat is part of the formative tapestry that made my life that particular colour, that will always confuse me and make me believe that part of my past was somewhile in Laurel Canyon, that none of it was particularly serious, and that it's all vague and wonderful.
I used to think that I encountered Ligeti and Xenakis because of Zappa, now I don't know, they'll all the same, they all knew each other, none of them met each other, they all inhabit the state of surprise and wonder.
I say, join the ship. Leave this feeble place alone. Get out there, or wherever you can. Write about it! Do it! And buy this album RIGHT NOW!
Right, I want another beer pronto.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 16, 2013 7:00 PM GMT

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 3 [DVD]
Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lee Bergere

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite astonishing - and that's after so many years..., 16 Dec. 2005
How I miss them. James Doohan, Deforrest Kelly.... Now gone. I miss them as though they really were part of my family.
It used to be that there was a running joke in the UK about the five year mission having overrun into repeats, and count it, by the time the seventies were halfway in, Star Trek was HISTORY, already old, and then there was the endless, and that stage, pointless speculation about what may have been, the endless fan meetings, TrekCon, everywhere, little things happening, but really seeking a dead end. Or so we all thought.
Then it all exploded in glory and we were all back on the Enterprise with all our old friends a decade and a half later, countless extra worlds to write stories for, it was as though it was limitless and in fact, far too easy to simply overdose.
What a contrast. Insane really; at least from the point of view of a history of the phenomenon. What a strange thing, then that I was watching the actual, original series so closely this month - and being truly surprised.
Well the first thing is the music; written by a number of people of remarkable and quite astonishing ability, the series has a unique atmosphere, forged by a late 20th century tonality of surprising depth and colour, only really comparable to Richard Strauss and Varese.
I remember these odd thoughts when I was in my late teens, something along the lines of "gosh, that was good... can I findf something that sounds like that elsewhere". But alas, that search was very hard indeed, because the practitioners of that particular art are rare. The orchestra that was actually used was huge; the conductors' score so large that they can't even be lifted safely; and all jealously guarded. I would kill to see some parts - there are moments in the music which to this day I have no idea about means to accomplish the sounds, you could say the "how". Everyone knows the "why"; it's about jealousy, rage, love, anticipation, dread, and just the inexplicable.
For a last season reputed to be highly uneven, the third season contains some episodes that may be the best ever produced. Day of the Dove, which is arguably the encapsulation of the worst nightmare possible, an endless night in all senses of the word; The Cloud minders, a passionate exposition in sympathy for badly paid and exploited workers; All our yesterdays, a tragedy and a character study; Let that be your last battle field, a shocking drama warning in the most emphatic terms about the dangers of unforgiving hearts and minds; and Requiem for Methuselah, which contains perhaps the saddest ending for Kirk that was ever written, looking like forbidden planet, to which all this is unconscious hommage (arguably), but which contains an utterly beautful piano piece that indeed, sounds like Brahms. That piece is so haunting, and so... I don't know really... it takes real effort for me to wrench myself back into the rest of the story.
It is so hard to believe that this series was indeed marred by arguments and personal disputes. I know nothing of these in detail, but they have appeared as reports from time to time. But it's been a long while to recall such things, and like memory fading, perhaps they too will get yellowed and worn. But this look likes it was filmed yesterday. and it's magnificent. A real testimony to the genius of the writers, the actors, the musicians, and you just don't want it to stop, the idea is unbearable.
Very much recommended.

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