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Profile for Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw (Midlands, UK)

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How to Write a Damn Good Novel II
How to Write a Damn Good Novel II
by James N. Frey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for more advanced writers, 9 April 2003
Hard-hitting, no-nonsense advice that does the job. This gives excellent guidelines for writers who find writers' guides sometimes a little basic. Truly invaluable and eminently usable.

Pig Lib: Limited Edition
Pig Lib: Limited Edition
Price: £11.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising return to form, 31 Mar. 2003
Malkmus has never made a duff album - but as a solo artist and as part of Pavement his last three (Brighten The Corners, Terror Twilight and Stephen Malkmus) have sometimes disappointed high expectations.
So it's something of a shock to find that, entering those normally Middle Of The Road years of an artist's career, Malkmus has produced a gem that harks back to the unpredictability of early Pavement albums.
Pig Lib is an album with real spark - very much influenced by Captain Beefheart and Zappa, with stop-start rhythms, hooky riffs and a number of occasions where the band explore a melody, Television-style. This creates both occasions where you joyfully sing along, and sublime hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck moments. If Malkmus can release an album this good (the guitar playing in particular is amazing at times), this late on in his career, perhaps we haven't seen the best of him yet.

The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City
The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City
by Jennifer Toth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into human instinct, 27 Mar. 2003
On the surface this is a book about homeless people who live or spend much of their time underground, to varying degrees. But Toth manages to go beyond simple reportage to a valuable investigation of how people relate to each other in this situation, how they survive, and even why we view the 'underground' in the way that we do.
Most interesting of all is the epilogue, in which Toth begins to assess her own relationship to what she has seen, and the sides of herself she perhaps wouldn't have thought existed.
The stories here alone should shock us (those dismissing them as "urban myth" should check the references) - but beyond that shock value, and more valuable, is the genuine humanity that comes through.

Slanted and Enchanted (Luxe & Reduxe 2CD Edition)
Slanted and Enchanted (Luxe & Reduxe 2CD Edition)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still sounds fresh, 27 Mar. 2003
Is it really a decade since this was released? In many ways this sounds fresher than Pavement's later albums - a pick n mix of ideas being thrown together, always surprising, sometimes touching.
This was the first of Pavement's 3 classic albums (along with the less erratic Crooked Rain and Wowee Zowee) and is a must-buy. 'Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17' is still a great pop song, while 'Here' is truly beautiful. Packed in with the original album are a collection of Peel Sessions, live tracks and b-sides - the cream of which has to be 'Secret Knowledge of Backroads', a sparse and surprisingly touching song.
Worth going back to.

History Of The Siege Of Lisbon (Panther)
History Of The Siege Of Lisbon (Panther)
by Giovanni Pontiero
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mature love story, 24 Mar. 2003
A typically compelling and unusual tale from Saramago that tells the seemingly innocuous story of a proofreader who makes an intentional mistake. Material for a 300-page novel? Somehow Saramago mirrors a mature love story with the siege of Lisbon, and pulls it off beautifully.
Being an earlier work, this doesn't quite match the masterpieces Blindness or The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, but is still a wonderful read from a master at work.
Written in Saramago's customary, comma'd-dialogue style, this gives the tale an urgency to match a sweetness that is reminiscent of Marquez' best love stories. We switch between reality and imaginary history and hope the good will out. Unlike the rather bleak Blindness, this does leave you feeling pretty good about things.

Stephen Malkmus
Stephen Malkmus
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £5.96

1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss, 20 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Stephen Malkmus (Audio CD)
Responsible for some of the best indie pop and rock of the last decade, this solo debut cannot help but be disappointing. It's not that it's a bad record - this still shows glimmers of tenderness and pop nous - but with Pavement Malkmus built a reputation that he would always have difficulty living up to.
Almost unerringly, this album goes from great to average in alternate songs - Black Book, Jo Jo's Jacket, Pink India, Trojan Curfew and Deando all raise hopes, only for tracks following to dash them. As a result it's an average-ish album that will only have you pulling out early Pavement albums to get real satisfaction.

Moving Up Country
Moving Up Country
Price: £2.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grower, 20 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Moving Up Country (Audio CD)
For those mellow evenings when you're maybe feeling a little down, or a little knackered - this is the ideal calmer. Laid-back, alt-country that isn't quite morose but certainly not upbeat - in some ways almost jazz-like. The album is worth buying if only for the majestic and melodic Tender To The Blues. Wonderful.

100th Window
100th Window
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for Massive Attack completists, 19 Mar. 2003
This review is from: 100th Window (Audio CD)
Witness the law of diminishing returns: fewer members, fewer guest vocalists, and the poorest Massive Attack album to date.
Essentially, this is Mezzanine repeated - the same sound, the same laid-back feel. Nice enough, but nothing new, nothing worth shelling out for. Mezzanine benefited massively from the likes of Liz Fraser - on 100th Window, Sinead O'Connor is no replacement; in fact, she sounds bland and faceless.

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, 19 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Hate (Audio CD)
Despite a Mercury Prize nomination way back when, the Delgados have been generally overlooked. But this only makes their work more precious.
'Hate' develops their fragile, often extremely catchy sound further. 'All You Need Is Hate' is that rarity: a funny pop song; Coming In From The Cold is one of their best songs ever; 'Favour' and many others have you singing along from the first listen.
Some of this album takes more than one listen, but still a worthy release from a gem of a band.

The Clay Machine-Gun
The Clay Machine-Gun
by Victor Pelevin
Edition: Paperback

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is this book real?, 18 Mar. 2003
This review is from: The Clay Machine-Gun (Paperback)
One of the strangest books you're ever likely to read, this manages to combine a thriller about mistaken identity with meditations on metaphysics. Pelevin achieves the near-impossible by generating extremely philosophical dialogue in a way that doesn't sound at all unnatural or forced. And there is a tension and mystery about the characters and situation that keeps you reading.
The story? Well, it begins in 1920s Russia with a murder and a chain of events that the central character is unable to stop. The plot then switches to present-day Russia and an asylum, and between the two you start to wonder what exactly is real and what imagined.
Not as good as the amazing Life Of Insects, but better than the disappointing Babylon.

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