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Suzy "zuzmara"

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The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson
The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson
by Michael Bush
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for MJ fans, but fantastic read even if you aren't so much, 29 Dec. 2013
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When I first heard about this book I wasn't very interested. That's because I'm not really a clothes/fashion person so even though I like Michael Jackson's music and dance, reading about his clothes did not seem that interesting. Then a friend of mine bought it and sang praises about how beautiful this book is. So I decided to order a copy. When it arrived I was immediately impressed and pleasantly surprised. I somehow did not expect it to be this big and it is really beautifully done. Great pictures, quality work.

And now I read it too. It's an absolutely amazing book, one of the best I have ever read about MJ! It made me laugh and (the last chapters) cry. It isn't just about clothes, it's about Michael and his art. After all these clothes are a part of his creative vision, a part of his artistry and legacy in ways I have not really realized and appreciated before reading this book. As we learn from it Michael's clothes weren't thought out by some PR team or a team of designers who decided about what should be his image. No, that's not Michael Jackson! His clothes were mainly based on his own ideas and his creative visions - and then Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush helped to realize them, often adding their own ideas, but it was always MJ who was the driving force behind them.

Michael wanted his clothes to be trademark, yet always wanted to come up with something new, something larger than life, something magical. And he did. Many of his clothes are breathtakingly beautiful, others are funny - as bringing humor and a tongue-in-cheak attitude into it was important for MJ too. He was a true artist in every sense of the word, always creating in every way, and that wasn't just limited to writing music or creating choreographies, but also to creating his trademark and fascinating wardrobe.

From this book we learn about the creative process behind many of the clothes we have seen on Michael over the years. However it isn't just a story of the clothes, but the book also has lots of stories about Michael, it gives an insight into what kind of person he was: driven and creative beyond belief, demanding, sometimes annoying, but also fun and funny and had a golden heart, wonderment and a childlike personality in the most positive sense of the word.

It also tells the story of two very talented craftsmen who became true artists under Michael Jackson's guidance because he always challenged and pushed them to think outside of the box and to be creative. As much as the book is a tribute to Michael Jackson it is also a tribute to Dennis Tomkins (who died in 2011) by Michael Bush.

I think this book is a "must have" for Michael Jackson fans, but it's also a great read if you are not really a fan, but you are interested in clothes and costumes which are unsusual and outside of the general fashion trends or if you are interested in showbusiness and larger than life entertainment and how the creative mind of such a genius of an entertainer ticked. Absolutely stunning book!

Moscow Case 1993: When King of Pop Met the Soviets [DVD] [2012] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Moscow Case 1993: When King of Pop Met the Soviets [DVD] [2012] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £3.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As much about Russia'93 as about Michael Jackson, 16 July 2013
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This is a Russian documentary (dubbed in English) about Michael Jacksons concert in Moscow in 1993 and the surrounding events. I actually first watched it online and I found it so fascinating that I bought it. I don't think it's everyone's cup of tea, but I like the fact it's not your usual pop/rock documentary. It's at least as much about Russia'93 as about Michael Jackson. It's more about West meets East than about anything else. I too grew up in an Eastern Block country, so maybe that's why I'm so fascinated with this aspect.

The documentary itself is pretty simple - basically Russian people (organizers, journalists, Russian pop stars, fans) talking about Jackson's 1993 visit, concert and the surrounding events. There is also some footage of Michael from that visit, but not very much. Also the documentary doesn't have Jackson's music in it - obviously because of legal reasons. It's not an official MJ release.

1993 was a time of big political, economical changes in poor and depressed Russia. This was around the time when the former Communist country started to open up for Western culture. Michael Jackson was a kind of mythical figure from that point of view, an almost surreal being. There was a certain kind of wonderment with that Russian people looked at him.

The concert itself was doomed from the very beginning for many reasons:

1) Russia was a very poor country at the time and there simply weren't many people who could afford buying tickets. It's said in the film that the cheapest ticket cost a full monthly salary of a person. Reflective of the poverty is also the fact that when soliders helped with the building of the stage, they did that just for food and cigarettes.

2) The concert was organized by basically amateurs. At the time there weren't yet professional concert promoters in Russia. They were just learing Western style concert promotion. They did not even know how to welcome a big superstar, how to behave with him etc.

3) There were certain forces (rivaling Russian "promoters", maybe certain political circles) which tried to sabotage the show. This included spreading rumours that the concert would be cancelled - actually this "news" even was published in Russia's most read newspaper at the time, but it was completely false -, or that it's not Jackson himself, but an impersonator who would perform. There were even attempts to artificially provoke rain for the time of the concert (ie. cloud seeding).

4) Whether it's because of that or not, but it eventually DID heavily rain during the concert. The organizers did not want to disappoint Jackson that they could not fill the stadium, so at the end they gave away tickets for free to the army. So most of the audience was made of soliders.

The organizers were worried that Jackson would cancel the show under those circumstances but he did not. Despite of the circumstances and the rain, the slippery stage and everything he did perform the show. But I guess if Jackson was a surreal figure to Russians at the time, Russia must have been just as surreal to him.

The highlight of the documentary to me was Michael's visit at an orphanage for handicapped children. That footage is a treasure. On the down side I have to mention one of the talking heads in the documentary called Art Trotsky. He is described as a "music guru" whatever that means. His commentary is just judgemental and narrow-minded and most of the time absolutely unnecessary and it doesn't add anything to the narrative of the story. For example, who cares that Trotsky thinks that Jackson died as a virgin? Or who cares about Trotsky's amateur psycho-analysis of Jackson? The guy was so full of himself, he was really annoying. Trotsky's comments are basically why I could not give 5 stars to this docu, despite of the fact I liked most of the film.

Get It Together (Rmst) (Rstr)
Get It Together (Rmst) (Rstr)
Price: £7.38

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most underrated J5 albums, 6 May 2013
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The album was released at a time when the group was in a decline as they grew and started to lose their child "cuteness". Also times changed in the music industry and bubble gum soul didn't sell that well any more, while the funk/disco era kicked in. So this album is the group's first attempt to go into that new direction. And actually it's a very good attempt.

The Jackson brothers were still under the Motown label, so the songs were still written by Motown songwriters and the brothers still did not have creative control, but there are some gems there.

There's some "experimental" stuff, such as Hum Along and Dance and Mama I Gotta Brand New Thing Don't Say No, but I can understand if some people feel these tracks are too long (more than 8 and 7 minutes long respectively).

My favoite songs on the album are: Get It Together, Dancing Machine, You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You) and It's Too Late to Change the Time. Dancing Machine is of course a classic and it was first released on this album, although it was the remix version that was released a year later on the Dancing Machine album that went #2 on the Billboard Pop Charts.

Michael was 15 years old at the time of this album and I love his vocals on this album. He doesn't have his small kid voice any more but it's not yet his fully adult voice. But it already has that MJ-like smoothness and warmth in it that he had as an adult. (I personally prefer this voice to his voice on earlier Jackson 5 albums.)

I'm Ready
I'm Ready
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The boy with the Golden Voice, 22 April 2013
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This review is from: I'm Ready (Audio CD)
This might sound like a hyperbole, but I think Tevin Campbell was/is one of the most brilliant singing talents of popular music history. He was discovered by Quincy Jones at the end of the 80s and Jones also co-produced Tevin's first solo album T.E.V.I.N in 1991. I'm Ready is Tevin's second studio album, which was released in 1993. Tevin was about 16-17 years-old when this album was recorded and his vocals were absolutely amazing! And his live performances that you can find on YouTube show that it wasn't just because of studio tricks. He had phenomenanl vocal control, a great range - he simply was/is a fantastic singer.

But this album isn't only worth owning because of Tevin's vocal talents. The songs are great too. Well, you can't go wrong if your album is written and produced by people like Babyface and Prince(among others), can you?

My favorite tracks on this album are Can We Talk and Paris 1798430.

Can We Talk was one of the album's biggest hits: it reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B charts. It was written by Babyface and Daryl Simmons. And it's still Tevin's signature song that people STILL sing along with him wherever he performs (yes, he still sings).

Paris 1798430 was not a single, but it's my other favorite song of the album. It's such a funky uptempo song. Prince wrote and produced it, and you can tell it, since the sound is so typical of him. He also sings background vocal on this track. There are three other songs written and produced by Prince on this album: The Halls of Desire, Uncle Sam and Shhh. They all sound like typical Prince songs, but spiced up with Tevin's great vocals. One can also put it this way: all the uptempo songs of the album are Prince songs (Halls of Desire, Uncle Sam, Paris 1798430).

Besides Can We Talk the album also contains Tevin's other big hit, I'm Ready (written by Babyface).

Tevin still sings and based on his performances that I saw on YouTube I think he still has it (even though, naturally, his voice changed somewhat since being 16). I hope he can make a comeback. He has more talent than most people on the charts these days.

Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £6.35

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more attention!, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: Live (Audio CD)
A couple of weeks ago I saw a video in which the famous movie director Quentin Tarantino was asked about the music that he had on his iPod. Much to my (pleasant) surprise he said this album and then he went on to talk about it enthusiastically. My surprise came from the fact that not many people know this album. Which is a crying shame because it deserves more attention and praise.

And it's the only Jacksons concert album officially released (I'm talking about The Jacksons, not the Jackson 5). It was recorded in the fall of 1981 on the Jacksons' Triumph Tour. It features songs from the Jacksons' Triumph and Destiny albums, and also from Michael's first solo album as an adult, Off The Wall. Plus the inevitable Jackson 5 Medley, for old times' sake.

Michael sings lead vocals on all songs and he is in absolutely top form vocally. I especially love his performances on ballads, such as I'll Be There, Ben and She's Out of My Life. I love the band on this tour as well.

Michael Jackson fans for years begged for a release of a concert CD by Michael, which was finally heard when in 2012 a live CD of the 1988 leg of Michael's Bad World Tour was released (as a part of the Bad 25 boxset though - not as a CD that one can buy seperately). I love that too, but this isn't any worse (I'm tempted to say the band is actually better on this one). It complements the Bad Tour CD very well, because here a different set of songs is performed - with focus on Off The Wall era material (including the two Jacksons album mentioned), while the Bad Tour set list focuses, of course, mainly on the Bad and Thriller albums.

So I wish more people would discover this gem. Another secret wish of mine regarding this material is that someone would find film reels for a Triumph Tour concert and it would get a release on DVD/Blue-Ray!


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An R&B classic, 10 April 2013
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This review is from: Destiny (Audio CD)
I am a Michael Jackson fan of 25 years. As a kid and teenager I was more into his mainstream material - his solo albums and singles. It took me a while to discover the Jacksons, which also has to do with the fact that you could not get Jacksons albums where I live. So my first copies of Destiny and Triumph were VERY poor quality copied cassette tapes. No wonder I did not listen to them much. That was many years ago and by now I have both Triumph and Destiny in original and good quality. And that allowed me to discover how great these albums are! And they are the type of albums those get better with each listening. Right now they are my favorite albums (along with Dangerous by Michael), which I keep playing on repeat.

After leaving Motown and the two Philly albums, Destiny was the first album where the Jackson brothers got full creative control. Out of the album's original eight songs (if you buy the 2009 release it has ten songs, with two additional remixes) the Jackson brothers wrote seven (the only exception being Blame It On The Boogie) and they produced the full album.

I would group the songs on Destiny into two categories: feel-good dance songs and songs which are about much deeper subjects. Subjects which were the recurring themes of Michael's whole oeuvre and life: loneliness, alienation, yearning to be loved and accepted, confusion, fear, being misunderstood, being used and abused. It's pretty revealing and heartbreaking at the same time that Michael had those feelings even at such a young age.

By the way, I don't think you can learn tenth as much about Michael from so-called "biographies" (many of which are full of demonstrably untrue claims about him) as from his songs. If you are willing to open your ears to his lyrics you will find that he's surprisingly honest and revealing in them (later in his career as well).

Out of the eight songs of the album I put the following songs into the feel-good category: Blame It On The Boogie, Things I Do For You, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) and All Night Dancin.

Written by Michael and Randy, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) was the biggest hit single of the album reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #4 in the UK. Michael continued to perform it until his Bad Tour in 1987/88 and today the song is considered a classic. It was sampled and performed by numerous artists in concerts, including Prince or more recently Justin Timberlake.

Blame It on the Boogie was the the album's other hit single - and the only song on the album that was not written by the Jackson brothers. It's also the only song of the album that has a video.

Things I Do For You is another song that Michael continued to play in concerts until the 1987 leg of his Bad Tour. It's a fun song as well as All Night Dancin.

As much as I love the dance songs on the album, to me the more intriguing material on Destiny are the other four songs: Push Me Away, Destiny, Bless His Soul and That's What You Get (For Being Polite).

That's What You Get (For Being Polite) is about a character called Jack.

"Jack still cries day and night
Jack's not happy with his life
He want to do this, he want to do that
You want to be kind, but ends up flat for love
For love


Jack still sits all alone
He lives the world that is his own
He's lost in thought of who to be
I wish to God that he would see just love
Give him love


(Jack still) Don't you know he cries
(Jack still) Don't you know he's scared
(Jack still) It's often for his love, yeah, yeah
Don't you know, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know
Don't you know, don't you know, don't you know, don't you know
He cries, he cries because there is a lack of love"

The song is credited to Michael and Randy and I'm willing to bet the lyrics were written by Michael and that Jack is actually him. The song seems to echo Michael's eternal yearning for love and acceptance. But of course, it's not just about him - it's about all of us who ever felt that way.

Bless His Soul is a precious gem. It starts with the verse:

"I try to do what's right for me
But no one sees the way I see
And then I try to please them so
But how far can this pleasing go"

Then later in the song:

"Sometimes I cry 'cause I'm confused
Is this a fact of being used
There is no life for me at all
'Cause I give myself at back and call"

The song is credited to The Jacksons, but once again the lyrics seem to describe Michael so well. On this song Michael shares the lead vocal with Jackie and they complement each other wonderfully. The highlight is when the bridge kicks in with Michael's awesome vocals:

"The life you're leading is dangerous
It's so dangerous, dangerous all
The life you're leading is dangerous
Doggone dangerous, dangerous, dangerous"

The title track, Destiny is about yearning for a simple but happy life and about finding who you are. Also about escapism - which is another recurring theme in Michael's songs and vocabulary.

"I want Destiny
It's the place for me
Give me the simple life
I'm getting away from here
Let me be free, let me be me"

Push Me Away is a love song, but when it comes to Michael romance isn't something light-hearted and uncomplicated either. As you can guess from the title of the song, the lover turns him down - pushes him away. Once again he feels rejected.

To summarize, this album is an R&B classic. And it becomes even more intriguing in the hindsight, knowing about Michael's struggles in life. I don't know if people at the time of the original release of the album realized how deeply personal these lyrics are, especially to Michael, but in the hindsight it's not difficult to realize.

Michael Schumacher: Driving Force
Michael Schumacher: Driving Force
by Michel Comte
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is too much a picture book, 24 Dec. 2005
The pictures in this book (taken by Michel Comte) are beautiful, no doubt about it. Yet to me they are a bit too many compared to the words. This book is supposed to be an official biography of Michael Schumacher and indeed there are some areas (e.g. family) where this book gives a deeper and more authentic insight in his life than any other book before.
But I think the book is not so detailed in the racing department which is a bit of shame as Schumacher is a racing driver after all. I mean I have read a couple of biographies on Schumacher, the racing driver but I would have loved Schumacher to tell his story in his own words - from his childhood to his titles with Benetton and Ferrari with all the famous stories from his point of view, but we don't really get it from this book.
Still I can recommend it to all Schumacher fans, it's a good read, but could have been a bit better too.

Schumacher: The Life of the New Formula I Champion
Schumacher: The Life of the New Formula I Champion
by Timothy Collings
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Schumacher I've read, 24 Dec. 2005
This book may seem to be a little outdated (the story of it finishing at the end of the 1995 season) but it's still the best book I have read on Michael Schumacher, the multiple Formula One world champion (and I have read a couple of them - including Christopher Hilton's book).
I think the best way to get to know a sportsman is always to ask the opinions of people who have met or worked with him. And that's exactly what Collings is doing in this book. You have first hand information on Michael's childhood and youth from people who've known him then. You also get an insight into his Mercedes years through people's memoires like Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Jochen Neerpasch or Jochen Mass.
You too get a view on his F1 entry with Jordan and then the sudden change to Benetton as people like Eddie Jordan, Trevor Foster or Neerpasch tell it. (I have never read such a detailed interpretation of this interesting story as in this book.)
And of course you can see Schumacher's rise from F1 rookie to a double world champion through the eyes' of teammates, team leaders and rivals.
I have just ordered Collings' "Team Schumacher" book on Michael's Ferrari years and I hope that book is just as strong as the "first part" (this book) was on his pre-F1 and Benetton years!

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