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J.D. Chaplin (East Anglia, UK)

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Autobiography (Penguin Modern Classics)
Autobiography (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Morrissey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Fellow Unfairly Maligned, 30 Nov. 2013
This memoir is surprising in so many ways. Morrissey shows far more of himself than one would expect. I imagine his fans will be beside themselves with this.

There are many revelations that, whilst not always explicitly stated, are inferred in the folds of the narrative. What is quite brilliant about the book is how Morrissey says so much without once threatening to shatter the mystique he so carefully cultivates around his persona. It's all part of his life's work.

Morrissey shows himself to be susceptible, vain, self indulgent, malicious, sensitive, repressed, passive aggressive, bitter, caring and endearingly infuriating. But in the course of a lifetime aren't we all?

It is his emotional intelligence then (and honesty) that is his his strongest suit. This is ultimately why he matters so much to so many surely?

This book needed an editor to finesse the design and structure. A miss though so tantalising near.

It left me reassured that the man's heart is in the right place and that, after all, is all that matters.

Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £4.88

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Infinite Sadness..., 9 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Helplessness Blues (Audio CD)
An emptiness falls through,

Dropping heavy against the chill.

Snow flakes tumble as blown

Moments spiralling quietly,

Memories burning, ever brighter colours.

Times re-imagined, passing,

A sense of loss, what has gone.

The infinite sadness, whispered,

Inhabits the breeze.

The warm embrace of family endures,

Through fading embers,

Youthful passions trembling.

Before the ice that wastes.

Till now an empty stage stills,

Winter's chill succeeds to complete,

Retreating towards the silence,

Icy, the curtain falls.

Parlour Flames
Parlour Flames
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £5.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whimsical Psychedelic Gem, 3 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Parlour Flames (Audio CD)
What really hits you after the first few plays is the subtlety of the instrumentation. Lovely details abound, leaving this listener at times thinking of Loves 'Forever Changes' (and sometimes the jauntier moments on 'Village Green Appreciation Society'). High praise indeed...

It's to the listener's pleasure that such care has been taken realising every track. The opening 'Manchester Rain' states the intent. Big hearted lyrics and anthemic yet under-played guitars. Every track has been beautifully pieced together. Repaying repeated plays, these songs inhabit an Englishness: a wry, wistful nostalgia for the seventies or maybe just lost youth? Parlour Flames convey humour, melancholy and hope, sometimes in a single verse. Be assured this is songwriting of the highest calibre.

This band will surely only build on this debut and I for one look toward to seeing them play live.

Who would have thought that Paul Arthurs would have collaborated on the best post Oasis album, but he has.

The Messenger
The Messenger
Offered by Meganet France
Price: £9.17

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imperious Indie Shaman Delivers..., 13 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Messenger (Audio CD)
With each play these songs give up more and more of their treasures. Utterly modern yet deferring knowingly to the past, early triumphs deftly referenced with a ringing chord sequence here, chiming layers of guitars there.

A melodic charm so effortlessly sublime but just why is Johnny Marr's music so beguiling?

'Genius' is a word much devalued these days, too often bestowed on the unworthy or insincere. The simple truth is Johnny Marr really is far more gifted as a musician and songwriter than everything that word can signify. This beautifully crafted record testifies to a keen musical intellect, a uniquely breathtaking talent that he, to his everlasting credit, is entirely faithful to and wears with a modest grace and swagger.

There is a deep and dark magic at work in the mesmeric folds of these songs. Something ancient and mysterious is channelled, yet vitally present and potent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 22, 2013 2:38 PM GMT

Rod: The Autobiography
Rod: The Autobiography
by Rod Stewart
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life's not a dress rehearsal................................., 1 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Rod: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
This is a lovely book, written with a winning candour throughout.

Rod Stewart has produced an autobiography full of great annecdotes, joy, regret but most of all an unquenchable thirst for life. One can only bear witness and applaud the way he takes full advantage of all that fame and fortune brings his way. What makes this book so entertaining is his refusal to judge or comment on the behaviour of his former selves. He merely sets out the story and asks the reader to make up their mind.

I challenge any man having read this to not thereafter ask himself in many a situation 'What would Rod do?'.

What is especially touching is his love for his wife Penny and large family. This is a sunny book and if ever someone's life epitomised the benefits of not taking things too seriously or analysing things too much it is Rod's.

Frankly you come away wanting more. I hope he writes in more detail in the future, particularly on the sixties and seventies with The Faces.

He didn't get to where he is today without meaning every word if it...

Tyrannosaur [DVD]
Tyrannosaur [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Mullan
Price: £2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appearances can be deceptive...., 9 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Tyrannosaur [DVD] (DVD)
This beautifully shot and directed film examines the elliptical nature of British society, it's gaze unfaltering, the actor's performances unflinching.

Peter Mullan, who is at his best playing morally ambiguous characters, gives a powerful and charismatic performance at the film's centre. Joseph is a man of contradictions whose unkempt appearance betrays his alcoholism and sell loathing but whose house is immaculately tidy and clean. A former wife beater who angrily kicks his pet dog to death in the opening scene but who displays increasing compassion and warmth as the story unfolds.

Olivia Colman as Hannah is the catalyst for this, her performance a revelation, carefully charting the fear and eventual anger she feels at the treatment by her abusive husband. The climatic scene where her emotions erupt in a sustained crescendo of mounting rage is powerful and great acting. It is to BAFTA's long lasting discredit that Olivia was not nominated for this performance.

This film is about the past and how the weight of memory can impact and stifle lives. The Tyrannosaur of the title we learn was Joseph's name for his now dead wife. Perhaps Paddy Considine is trying to say that though extinct our past lives on in us and through it we sometimes create so much pain for ourselves. It is also about bullying in all its forms and physical violence as a response that though sometimes cathartic does not offer redemption. Only through kindness is Joseph eventually redeemed.

Jeeves and Wooster - Complete Collection [DVD]
Jeeves and Wooster - Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen Fry
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £23.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have!, 26 May 2010
This is a must have for any serious collection of DVDs, vital for those days when one is absent through illness or just stuck for something exceptional to watch.

For me this is Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie's finest hour.

The production values in this are phenomenal, down to the last detail. They were clearly born to play these parts and these episodes exude a consistently comforting appeal, even after all these years.

My particular favourite is the episode where the level of farce escalates, leading to a scene involving an orchestra of minstrels (including Martin Clunes) playing ukuleles. Priceless!

The Trial (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Trial (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Franz Kafka
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abject Frustration Leads on Paranoid Android, 26 May 2010
....What also shocks is that the reader is often more distressed than K. by his many hostile experiences. One becomes aware that Kafka is creating an ironic distance between himself and his alter ego K. Hence K. often acts with a calmness to infuriating circumstances. As Bradbury (1989) comments;

"Yet Kafka also sought to see himself from outside, creating an internal seperation, an ironic view of himself. He was becoming not quite "I" but "K"."(p.284)

K. is apparently on trial for living, for life itself. Living means being in a natural state of guilt. It is therefore incredibly poignant that K. says to the priest in Chapter Nine.

"But I can't find my way out alone in this darkness,"

What is perhaps most shocking about "The Trial" is that the possibility of human interaction seems ultimately to be negated.

K.'s quest for justice is a terrifyingly lonely experiemce. The ironic distance between the author and K. echoes K.'s alienation from a world that is as Jaffe (1967) suggests "beyond him, figuratively and actually."(p.73)

The novel's pervading atmosphere of uncertainty is partly bound up with the relationship of K. to reality. Kafka deliberately produces an ostensibly respectable modern hero to make the arrest and K's. subsequent involvement with the law all the more inexplicable.

K's. life previously had been a steady routine. The narrator reveals in Chapter One the way he spent his days during that Spring. He would stay at the office till nine at night and then take a short walk alone or with colleagues. He would then proceed to a beer hall where he would stay till eleven o'clock. There were exceptions since he would sometimes accept invitations from his manager and once a week he would visit a girl called Elsa. It is the exactitude of these activities and their frequency, even that of the alternatives, that suggests a dedication to and need for regularity that is redolent of normality...

New York Is Our Home
New York Is Our Home
Offered by BestSellerRecordshop
Price: £15.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Bunch of Blue Note Tunes, 25 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New York Is Our Home (Audio CD)
This is a great round up of some great tunes. In my opinion you cannot go wrong with Blue Note jazz. The Rudy Van Gelder remasters are awesome, not least for the liner notes that in my opinion make them worth owning as CDs as opposed to downloads.

The cover of this album is a particular favourite, mainly as it pairs two of my favourite colours, turquoise and yellow, in an abstract design. I also like the place the photgraph is located.

The liner notes by Dean Rudland are a knock out. As a sample I would quote the following in relation to the final track, Johnny Griffin's "The Congregation":

"...It was from this background that he gained his reputation as one of the mighty blue drenched blowers of the 1950s. A man full of back to the church soul, he was often dismissed for a lack of finesse, a dismissal that seems a little weak as he was one of the few players to be asked back by Thelonious Monk."

Thats the way to do it!

Touching The Void
Touching The Void
by Joe Simpson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Look Down, 25 May 2010
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
I read this and in due course watched the film/documentary (the latter a great way through to reading the book but no substitute in my opinion).

The book for me explores, sometimes inadvertently, so many aspects of being young with nothing to lose.

So from one perspective we see youthful folly, arrogance and egotism, all bound up in extreme competitiveness.

Where the book really shines for me is once the decision is made. Much has been written and said about whether it was the correct decision to cut the rope (an act I understand that is deemed in mountaineering circles by some to be tantamount to sacrilege). To me that debate is irrelevant to this book and should sit outside any readers encounter with the text.

The decision sets in motion a personal odyssey that is at once terrifying and inspiring to witness. If the book demonstrates anything it is the strength of human spirit and determination.

I for one was floored by the outcome and would recommend this cautionary tale to anyone.

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