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J. Coyle "rolling stock" (Lancaster, UK)
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Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur
Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur
by Michael Eric Dyson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly pretentious, 21 Oct. 2007
I also found Dyson rather pretentious. I agree that he tries to demonstrate a superior intellect by using long, complicated vocabulary that leaves you reeling. I did actually get a better understanding of Tupac's mentality and beliefs but I found the book confusing. There were virtually no dates in the story, so it was hard to place the events. I agree that he goes too far in his praise of Tupac. It was a bit cringe-worthy in places. Well, quite a lot, really!
I think the trouble is that Dyson is writing in an academic way but the book cover tries to flog it as one that is accessible to all. I find it hard to believe that it was a bestseller (as it says on the jacket.)
Some fascinating bits in there - like the history of the 'n' word and the 'b' word but I'm now looking for a more straightforward biog on Tupac for my purposes (research).


In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr.
In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr.
by Wil Haygood
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An important book about race and entertainment, 21 Oct. 2007
A vital read for anyone interested in the history of race, civil rights and the entertainment industry. It is a hefty tome. To be honest, I found the background, the 'lesser' character - even more interesting than SD Jr himself!
The story of Will Mastin I found particulalry affecting. His story is intriguing. He lived 100 years and maintained his dignity throughout the trials and triumphs of the showman's life. Something that can not be said for Sammy, really, talent though he was.
Wil Haygood writes with authority and feeling. The book is literate, thought-provoking yet not pretentious. I first came across it in my local library and plan to buy it via Amazon.


Michael Jackson Conspiracy
Michael Jackson Conspiracy
by Aphrodite Jones
Edition: Hardcover

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brave book that deserves to become a bestseller., 10 July 2007
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This is a fascinating read, not just because of its subject matter but because the author herself was, like most other members of the media, predisposed to think that Jackson was guilty of at least some of the charges brought against him. She admits to being prejudiced and reveals just how she came to realise that this time the media - including herself - got it very wrong indeed.
Ms Jones has thoroughly researched the book examining witnesses' testimonies, court transcripts, etc, and she reveals how the jury, onlookers and Jackson himself reacted throughout. Yes, you do feel that you are in the courtroom.
The disparity between what actually went on in there and what the media reported is astonishing. And there's some interesting information about journalist/interviewer Martin Bashir too.
The background information about Neverland itself was all new to me. For example, it is only through reading this book that I realised that Michael Jackson's bedroom was not at all like the type of bedroom you and I probably have - just one room. Jackson's was a huge two storey, mezzanine construction - more like a flat than a room. I'm not saying Jackson was wise to have boys staying in his room (nor in his bed) but once you realise just how big this space was it kind puts a different perspective on these sleepovers.
Aphrodite Jones also reveals that jackson himself was not at Neverland for much of the time; it was his home but it was more a social experiment, an escape for children who were sick or poor. It's such a shame it didn't work out. If he had lived elsewhere but just run the place as a separate entity/charity things might have turned out differently. Or if only he'd only Have stuck to surrounding himself with animals rather than other people's children he'd be viewed by the majority as eccentric rather than potentially dangerous or evil.
I found the photographs of Neverland are quite startling. Everywhere is so cluttered - like a teenage boy's room. In fact, Jackson comes across as naive, vulnerable, lonely, somewhat deluded and while extraordianrily generous, lacking in emotional intelligence and 'street' savvy when it came to handling people who had their own agendas.
My only criticisms of the book are that Ms Jones' text concentrates on people's appearances a little too much; sort of implyling that beauty equals truth, and I'd like to have seen more indepth analysis by Aphrodite Jones on the whole affair and its aftermath.
But a brave book. Buy it!


Michael Jackson: History On Film - Volume II [DVD]
Michael Jackson: History On Film - Volume II [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Jackson
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £13.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two hours of genius, 2 Jun. 2007
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From start to finish virtually every film is breathtaking. Particular highlights, though, for dance fans are Billie Jean from Motown 25; the gravity defying moves of Smooth Criminal; the stunning 1995 MTV Awards; Scream and, of course, Thriller and Beat It.

However, one of my other favourites is Blood on the Dance Floor. Unlike other reviewers I love the Refugee Camp remix and there's something different about Jackson in this video (and I'm not talking about the cosmetic surgery!) He looks better for not being stick thin, he looks more relaxed and the video oozes slinkiness!

The drumming on They Don't Care About Us is hypnotic while Stranger in Moscow is a stylish, touching film in which Jackson takes more of a back seat. The only clip I don't like is Liberian Girl - it feels dated.

Also there is a lack of information in the DVD case itself - it's very basic.


Off the Wall: Special Edition
Off the Wall: Special Edition
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.66

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning, timeless album. A must-buy., 30 May 2007
Have to agree with the previous reviewer - this rivals the magnificent Thriller, and in places, surpasses it. The introduction, MJ's spoken voiceover, to Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, (The force... it's got a lot of power..")is spine tingling. No music lover should be without this album; it provided a template for decades of (others') music to come, in my opinion. The various croonings, the backing vocals and Michael's "Oohs" are sexy too! The music presents the perfect balance of light, funky and seductive.

The contribution by British songwriter Rod Temperton must not be overlooked either. The sultrily sung 'Rock With You', the joyous 'Off the Wall' and the quirky 'Burn This Disco Out', were all penned by this man who went on to write the track 'Thriller'. Neither must the fanatstic percussive elements that are the hallmark of this album.

The Paul Mcartney penned 'Girlfriend' really suits Jackson's voice and youth at this time while She's Out of My Life has become his very own 'My Way. 'I Can't Help It', written by Stevie Wonder, is a delicate jazzy number that showcases Jackson's voice superbly. This album won only one Grammy at the time (for best r n b vocal, I think) but its worth has stood the test of time and become a favourite with music critics.

I can't recommend this album strongly enough. I'm passionate about it!


Leave Me Alone
Leave Me Alone
Offered by Global_Deals
Price: £29.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodic 80's pop that's still worth buying, 24 May 2007
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This review is from: Leave Me Alone (Audio CD)
Great video that reveals MJ's feelings about being in the public eye for nearly 25 years - and he was only 29 or so back when this record was released. I love the dogs in their overcoats. Great lyrics, fantastic harmonies, superb melody.

But don't stop at 1987 - check out his later singles and the albums too. Yes, they are a bit patchier but his voice just gets better and better with age. And you'll be missing out on some cracking songs if you don't visit Dangerous, HIStory, Blood on the Dancefloor and Invincible.


Jam (Collectors Edition with Video)
Jam (Collectors Edition with Video)
Offered by Quality Music UK
Price: £13.60

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic song and a neat CD, 20 May 2007
The first track on the Dangerous album is worth buying in single form for the additional dance remixes and the ravey version of Wanna Be Startin' Something. None of these remixes actually improve on Jackson's orginal versions BUT they provide a diverting new dimension to his sound. And I absolutely love the cover.


The Trials of Michael Jackson
The Trials of Michael Jackson
by Lynton Guest
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough book, 20 May 2007
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I've re-read this book a few times now andit improves on each reading. It's packed with facts - really thorough, well-researched book written by a man with what appear to be respectable journalistic credentials. There are a few instances where he trips up facts-wise but I think I can forgive him that! I was particulalry intrigued to read that Lynton Guest used to be in the band Love Affair!
On first reading I found the book a little plodding in places and there are long asides and explanations to work through but this is better than wild conjecture.
Guest maintains a cool head when talking about Jackson. He is certainly no fawning lap dog, mentioning that during the 1990s the star was overtaken by his own ego, yet he conveys warmth and sympathy for Jackson's plight.
Guest's analysis of the main players in the case is interesting. He makes some pertinent points about Martin Bashir's role in 'cornering' Michael Jackson - and the fact that Bashir has never really been been taken to task over this. Guest, rightly, in my opinion, has no time for him.
The details he provides about Sony, and the entertainment business in general, certainly hammer home the fact that showbusiness, pop, rock, whatever you want to call it, is no bubblegum business. It's a very dirty business indeed.
A good read for anyone who wants to know about the machinations of the music industry.


On Michael Jackson
On Michael Jackson
by Margo Jefferson
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent study of this living phenomenon, 10 May 2007
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This review is from: On Michael Jackson (Hardcover)
I wish I'd given this book 5 stars when I first reviewed it as since then I find I return to this book time and time again - it's so thought-provoking. This is a very well thought out book - musings - on the life and work of Michael Jackson. It is especially fascinating on child stars and what we ask of them.
Worth reading by anyone interested in fame, our celebrity culture, race and gender. I would recommend this as THE book to read for anyone who is interested in, puzzled by or even repulsed by who they think Michael Jackson is. This book goes a long way to explaining what the man may be all about. It is a book for the open-minded, or those who wish to explore this subject in an intelligent way. I'd imagine that some MJ fans won't like this book but while Ms Jefferson's language and conclusions may seem harsh in places, on reflection, she does Jefferson does come down on MJ's side in the end.
I heartily recommend On Michael Jackson.


Moonwalk
Moonwalk
by Michael Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some insight into the mind of an enigma, 15 April 2007
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This review is from: Moonwalk (Paperback)
This book was written nearly 20 years old but is well worth reading for any newcomer to Michael Jackson's world - and there are still some of us! It has a very easy, conversational tone and I laughed out loud quite a few times. He has an engaging manner. However, it doesn't go far enough - you feel he skates over a lot of stuff, events, especially with regard to his private life. I'd loved to have heard more. He sounds on much surer ground when discussing the music - right from the early days with his brothers up to Bad.
I would advise anyone who's curious about MJ to read it - but also read J. Randy Taraborelli's book Michael Jackson: The Magic and The Madness, to fill in some of the gaps.
I did feel sad reading Moonwalk. He sounds so sincere, so hopeful in his wish to get married and have "about 13 children". He kind of got what he wanted - but not in the way he hoped. And he couldn't have imagined the trials and traumas that lay ahead.


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