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E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough)

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Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain
Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain
by Tom Watson
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth Can Be Stranger Than Fiction, 7 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been following the Leveson enquiry on and off for the past few months, and can vividly recall the events surrounding News International and the Murdochs during 2011. So, I was glad to read this account about what had really been going on for these past few years until the phone hacking emerged last year.

Reading this account, I felt as though I was reading a Cold War thriller. But, this was not about the cold war; this was about the ever increasing power and corruption of a news media corporation instigated by a group of powerful people who had manoeuvred themselves into a position where they really believed they were above the law and could get away with anything.

What is astonishing though, why did it take five years for the phone hacking scandal to become public knowledge when Scotland Yard had evidence as far back as 2006? Someone, somewhere, has a lot of explaining to do.

This book is very well detailed, although not an academic study, account of what power can actually do to people who spent years hacking private telephones, mobiles, rummaging through celebrities dustbins; carrying out surveillance of people who may have a story to sell. And all this was to just to sell newspapers to the general public under the pretence of the "public right to know."

Moreover, it also highlighted the ever increasing power maintained by the Murdochs in attempting to secure totally the newspaper and broadcasting industry. I have always felt though that it was too much of a coincidence that the phone hacking scandal emerged just as Rupert Murdoch was on the verge of paying £7.8 billion for the remainder of the BSkyB shares. It seems to me that the authorities became all too aware, and they should have acted sooner, the broadcasting industry being controlled by one company is detrimental to democracy itself.

This book does raise a lot more questions which need answering. I have little doubt that further material will be published once the facts become more widely known. It may well be that many of the key figures mentioned in the book, Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks, James Murdoch, and possibly Jeremy Hunt could be facing further serious charges in the future. This does explain why more information is not forthcoming owing to the fact it could be prejudical during the ongoing criminal investigations.

A lot, lot more to come yet. This book is not the end of it by any means, it is only the beginning.

Britten: War Requiem  (DECCA The Originals)
Britten: War Requiem (DECCA The Originals)
Price: £12.08

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only Version of this Monumental Work Worth Listening To, 27 Mar 2012
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I first heard this version during the late 1980s on LP and was very impressed with not only the recording, but more importantly the performance. Now recognised as a classic work of a great composer, this version can never be surpassed. I have also heard another version recorded by Sir Simon Rattle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Elisabeth Soderstrom, Robert Tear and Thomas Allen being the soloists. This dates from 1983. I enjoyed the performance, but the recording was terribly unbalanced with the soloists being too far forward and the orchestra barely audible at times. This version, produced by John Culshaw is wonderfully balanced throughout, with the soloists being clear and the orchestra and chorus sounding just right, never too loud, or too soft. It is an extraordinary work, profoundly moving at times, depicting the horrors of war, rather than glorifying it. The poems of Wilfred Owen, who was killed in action barely a week before the armistice in November 1918, bear the testament of a lost youth, 'My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the Pity. . . .All a poet can do is warn.' Supreme words indeed.

Benjamin Britten in his wisdom, had composed a work of genius by interspersing nine poems of Owen along with the Latin text of the Requiem Mass, thus creating one of the great choral works of the 20th century.

The Frightened City [DVD]
The Frightened City [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Price: £9.70

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British Film Noir Classic From The 1960s, 23 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Frightened City [DVD] (DVD)
A year before he achieved international stardom as THE James Bond, Sean Connery appeared in this British film noir classic made in 1961. He plays Paddy Damion, a petty criminal who has already served time in prison. He becomes involved in a protection racket which was prevalent in London during those times, and this was the era when the Kray twins and the Richardson gang were already establishing their presence within the criminal underworld.

Accepting a job from a local gangster, Harry Foulcher played by the wonderful character actor Alfred Marks who is already in league with another gangster, Waldo Zhernikov, played by Herbert Lom, Paddy gets deeper and deeper into organised crime with little hope of redemption. When a friend is killed by Foulcher, Paddy swears vengeance.

As Paddy goes after Foulcher, the police seem helpless in attempting to break up the protection racket owing to lack of evidence. The story builds up to an exciting climax though and Paddy does find some kind of redemption at the end.

There are many stars of yesteryear who grace this film. Amongst them, John Gregson, John Stone, and Yvonne Romain who plays a gangster mol. Directed by John Lemont, and photographed by Desmond Dickinson who's influence by the American Style of Film Noir is apparent here.

Some viewers may find this a little dated, and also little talky in places, but there is no doubt it is a fine example of the sort of crime thrillers which were quite common in those days. It stands alongside another British classic, Hell Is A City. The film score is provided by Norrie Paramor. The theme tune became a hit for The Shadows, and can be heard during the opening sequence and just before the final credits.

Picture quality is very good, with decent mono sound.

Mahler: Symphony No 6; Strauss: Metamorphosen
Mahler: Symphony No 6; Strauss: Metamorphosen
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £22.94

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monumental Mahler and Strauss, 6 Feb 2012
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First things first, I first heard Strauss's Metamorphosen quite a few years ago. This version was in a box set of Richard Strauss music conducted by Karajan. I recall being particularly impressed by this music, and the performances and recording. However, I had not heard it for quite a few years since I rarely play my old vinyls.

This version, by Barbirolli, certainly made me sit up and listen. It is a wonderful performance, beautifully recorded, and I do not think it could be bettered.

And now for Mahler's 6th Symphony, the so-called "Tragic". I first heard Bernstein's version during the late 1960s and have always admired it, believing it could never be bettered. It is still available by the way in a box set of Mahler symphonies by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. Listening to Barbirolli's version, I was immediately struck by his much slower tempi than Bernstein. The first movement, the marching rhythms seemed very sluggish. But, once the second section began, the so-called "Alma" theme, which is easily recognisable as soaring strings, the tempi quickens slightly, and sets the pace for the rest of the movement. I found the performance, and the recording of this particular movement very good indeed.

The second movement, Andante Moderato, which has been recorded as the third movement in some versions, following on from the Scherzo, is one of my favourite Mahler compositions. It is a beautiful piece of music, very pastoral in its nature, and no matter how many times I have heard it over the years, it never fails to move me. Barbirolli's tempi in this case is about right. I was particularly struck by the final bars of the movement, the music building up to an exciting climax. The scherzo is also wonderfully played, quite exciting at times.

The biggest challenge for conductors and orchestra alike is of course, the final movement, lasting some 31 minutes in this case. Barbirolli takes a slower tempi as usual, but allows the music to flow naturally, broken occassionaly by the hammer blows of fate, three in all, and the final one makes you jump out of your seat.

Despite my reservations about the slow tempi in the first movement, I must admit, I enjoyed the overall performance and recording. It certainly must rank of one of the great Mahler 6th. The recording is bright, clear, extremely spacious, and with full blooded sound in the final movement, especially the hammer blows. This is a worthy purchase for any Mahlerian.

The 13th Day
The 13th Day
Offered by The13th Day
Price: £13.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Film, 28 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The 13th Day (DVD)
Being a non-religious person who enjoys a good mystery, I am well aware of the events of Fatima which took place during the summer and autumn months of 1917. I have researched the events over a period of years and even now, still find it hard to comprehend what actually happened on that extraordinary day, October 13th 1917. It is clear that 70,000 people did see something in the sky; people with great religious faith believe it was a spiritual experience; non-believers take the view that it may have been a cosmic event, or even a close encounter with aliens. Whatever it was, it did change many people's lives from that day on.

As for the film itself, I found it quite absorbing. Of course, I had to keep an open mind as to the events being shown on the screen. Filmed in black and white, albeit in soft focus, in order to enhance the spiritual nature of the film, and with colour inserts during the actual visitations by the Lady in White. Acted by largely unknowns, skilfully directed and edited, with very good special effects, it is a film which everyone should see, even if you have doubts about what happened in 1917.

Viewing this film, I found it to be a rewarding experience, although I should add, that my non-religious views have not changed.

Ben Hur
Ben Hur
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Musical Celebration of A Great Film, 19 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Ben Hur (Audio CD)
Ben-Hur has remained for years one of my all time favourite films. One of the most expensive ever made, gaining 12 Oscars, it has remained to this day one of the most popular films of all time, judging by numerous releases on DVD and now, Blu-Ray.

This two CD set consists of more than two and a half hours of music, composed by Miklos Rozsa, with 43 tracks on Disc One, and 45 tracks on Disc Two, it follows the story in chronological order. It is well performed and recorded, with well balanced sound. Film buffs and music lovers will enjoy this musical extravaganza. Well priced and highly recommended.

Holst: The Planets / Elgar: Enigma Variations
Holst: The Planets / Elgar: Enigma Variations

5.0 out of 5 stars Boult Makes This Music Come Alive, 19 Dec 2011
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I first heard Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations during the 1980s. Unfortunately, that particularly version was woeful, slapdash and poorly produced. It certainly did not put me off the music though since I was aware even before I heard it that it has been a universally popular piece since its first performance in London in 1899.

The music conveys a series of musical pieces, fourteen in all with 'Nimrod' being one of the highlights. Because the work is so popular, it has been recorded no less than 60 times. It does take an exceptional orchestra and an exceptional conductor to make this music come alive. And so it is, under Boult, for this music is a masterpiece. I doubt if anyone will have heard a better performance of 'Nimrod' than the one here. It is an extraordinary piece. Beautifully played and recorded.

During his long career, Boult recorded 'The Planets' at least five times. I first heard a version conducted by Boult on a budget label in 1963. Although the performance was fine, he was let down by a poor recording. Thankfully, recording techniques have improved no end since those far off days, and I am pleased that this version is still available.

Recorded in 1978, it is a first class performance and recording. I cannot say whether this is the very best version available since I have not heard others recently, but I would imagine it would not be far off, and would be difficult to surpass. From the opening, bombastic 'Mars', the peaceful and serene 'Venus', the jollity of 'Jupiter' and the slow and solemn 'Saturn' it is a musical experience. I recall years ago hearing Stokowski's version of 'The Planets' recorded in Los Angeles. Stokowski introduced a "Hollywood" style version which had little to do with Holst's score, Stokowski adding instruments and even what sounded like a chorus at the end of 'Saturn'!! The mind boggles at this absurd tinkering of this popular music. Thankfully, Boult plays the music as it should sound. A wonderful interpretation by Boult, one to treasure.

Price: £9.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Ms Jenkins Back On Form, 19 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Daydream (Audio CD)
After Katherine Jenkins disappointing previous album, "Believe" I was relieved upon hearing this album, her latest, is so much better.

Consisting of thirteen tracks, Ms Jenkins delivers a variety of different songs, some of which are "Can't Slow Down;" "And This Is My Beloved"; "Ave Maria" (new version) and it also has a bonus track "Abigail's Song" from last Christmas edition of Doctor Who, 'A Christmas Carol'.

I particularly enjoyed listening to this CD and was pleased that she is back to her best form. Well recorded with a nice balanced sound. Recommended.

Price: £9.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Sung and Recorded, 19 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Paradiso (Audio CD)
I must confess that I have not heard much of Ms Westenra's singing during the past few years. Encouraged by positive reviews by critics and fans alike, I decided to purchase this CD since I have always liked Ennio Morricone's music.

I was pleasantly surprised to say the least for it is a delightful album. Ms Westentra has a fine singing voice, not a strong one, but pleasant, with much charm. Of the tracks listed, I particularly liked her rendition of Gabriel's Oboe (The Mission) this is beautifully sung; Once Upon A Time In The West(my favourite); I Knew I Loved You,(Deborah's Theme from Once Upon A Time In America) and the delightful Amalia Por Amor.

Enhanced by a very good recording, well balanced and clear, although on occasions, the lyrics can be hard to hear since the orchestra sometimes does overwhelm Ms Westenra's voice.

Well recommended.

Kaspersky One Universal Security (5 Multi Device, 1 Year subcription) (PC/Mac/Android)
Kaspersky One Universal Security (5 Multi Device, 1 Year subcription) (PC/Mac/Android)
Price: £60.30

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently Good Kaspersky Product, 23 Nov 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have used Kaspersky products for a few years now and always found it reliable. It never causes my PC to slow down or even crash. Now, with more advanced threats to PCs and Laptops bearing in mind the huge advances in technology, it is essential to have reliability software to protect your hardware.

I had no hesitation in installing this software even though I had about 75 days to go before the current system expired. I discovered that installing both on Laptop and Desktop, once the activation key was inputted, the current software would continue to run until expiry, when the new one would continue automatically without any prompting. Well done Kaspersky!!

The software continues to run in the background and never interferes with any programme running. Of course, experience users would still remain cautious, opening suspicious email attachments for instance, and visiting websites which may be of a dubious nature. If any threat does arise, the software immediately blocks it with a warning.

I have learned from experience that it is wise to use the same make anti-virus and PC security software on a consistence basis, and so it is in this case. Highly recommended to do so.

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