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Christopher McIntosh

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Rocky Foundations
Rocky Foundations
by J. L. Gordon
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Discovery, 26 May 2013
This review is from: Rocky Foundations (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed J.L. Gordon's Rocky Foundations on many levels. Imagine the precision of Proust's microscope focused on the life of John Gerard, lapsed Catholic and Oxford graduate, who has given up a teaching job to seek his fortune with a pop group called Crabapple. The era is the early 1970s. As the story opens, John's intensely pious mother has recently died, although her spirit still seems to hang heavily over the atmospherically ramshackle house in Cambridge where he grew up and is now once again living. John's childhood memories, touched off by the house and its contents, intersperse the main narrative involving the pop group and his stormy love affair with Sarah, who shares his Catholic background. We follow the pop group as it struggles to achieve a break-through, while the love affair suffers under the strain.
I found the story touching, poignant and in places hilariously funny - as when John unwittingly eats a cake laced with hashish while on a train to London, then wanders through the streets hallucinating wildly. Gordon's style is a joy to read - eloquent, lively and vivid.
I am delighted to have discovered J.L. Gordon's fiction. This novel forms part of a quartet, and I am now eager to read the sequels.

Morris: A Life With Bells On [DVD] [2009]
Morris: A Life With Bells On [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Derek Jacobi

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb celebration of Morris, 12 Jun 2011
As a Morris dancer myself I found this film an absolute delight - a wonderfully affectionate, brilliantly amusing and at times moving portrayal of this beautiful English tradition. I take my hat off to writer and producer Charles Thomas Oldham, who is marvellous in the lead role as the innovative dancer Derecq Twist. The idea of the mockumentary works wonderfully well, and the numerous caricatured types in it had me laughing my head off. I've already seen the film three times and will certainly watch it again.

Stanley: Africa's Greatest Explorer: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer
Stanley: Africa's Greatest Explorer: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer
by Tim Jeal
Edition: Hardcover

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dramatic life of a towering figure grippingly told, 9 Mar 2007
I have rarely read such a riveting book as this one. The story of Stanley's life is extraordinary and dramatic enough in itself, and Tim Jeal tells it with the vividness that we are accustomed to from his earlier superb biographies of Livingstone and Baden-Powell. But the book is not just a gripping read, it is also an eye-opener. Having had access to previously unused documents, Jeal gives us for the first time a full picture of the real Stanley, who emerges as a towering figure of enormous significance in the history of Africa. Jeal's account of his involvement in the Congo, for example, vindicates Stanley from the charges that have often been levelled against him. While we are shown his warts, Stanley comes across as fundamentally decent and likeable human being. This is a book to which I shall return.
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