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The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain
The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain
by Douglas Carswell
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The True Way Forward, 8 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's curious to see in politics how most people regard the Left wing as having a monopoly on 'being progressive' & that anything the Right wing offer is reactionary & sending the country in the wrong 'direction'.

Though this may be somewhat true in the areas of social equality, it is manifestly not true in economic progress & devolving power. In these fields the old maxim of 'small is beautiful' holds true, although the tendency of many 'progressives' is to centralise power & expand the role of the state.

Which is why this book is such a breath of fresh air. Normal political treatise want more regulation, more centralised power & greater spending on government (e.g. New Britain - Tony Blair). This book calls for quite the opposite & is a clarion call against the ratcheting tendencies of centralisation & in favour of a policy of 'localism' & a small state.

Essentially the idea of the book is based on the 1994 'Republican Contract with America' where the Republican party wrote a manifesto of only two to three pages (printed as Appendix B in the book) promising a fixed list of policies they would enact in the first 100 days in office. So it is with this book, where all the ideas could be instituted within 12 months of a new Government (printed as a detailed & practicable Appendix A in the book).

Within its main pages there are excellent, good-sense ideas for almost every field of government, from the NHS & education, through to our policy towards Europe (which now writes 84% of the legislation that goes through parliament). Each time, the arguments of the opposition are taken to task & the authors cite what other countries have done in similar areas of government (e.g. the US benefit reforms, Denmark's education system & Singapore's Healthcare).

I found each argument to be compelling, pithy & full of in-depth research &, although I did not agree with all of them, I do wish that the government would at least give some of its highly sensible policies a go.

A couple of criticisms though.
First off, I got the distinct impression that Daniel Hannan wrote the vast majority of this book & that Douglas Carswell barely got a look in (with the exception of the areas about Parliamentary sovereignty). As Hannan often praises people such as Tony Benn & Enoch Powell, I fear that this book may be like so many prophetic voices - lost in the wilderness, rather than building consensus within the corridors of power.
Second, two huge major areas of government are missing: taxation & debt policy. US Commentators such as Glenn Beck have suggested that excessive borrowing is the route to impoverishment in America, yet it doesn't even get a mention here (even though the UK is 20% poorer than it was in 2000 owing to this problem).
As for taxation, surely having the longest tax-code in the World (& the most accountants per head) should suggest that our messy tax system should be cleared up but, again, not a mention.

All that being said, I implore people to read this book & form their own opinions. You may not agree with its findings, but I feel it is on the right side of most of the arguments &, crucially, is on the side of personal freedom & liberty against our increasingly overbearing and overweening state, which now consumes 51% of our National Output.


Upwardly Mobile
Upwardly Mobile
by Norman Tebbit
Edition: Paperback

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before it all went to his head..., 8 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Upwardly Mobile (Paperback)
I read an article by Norman Tebbit recently which seemed to consist of him glorifying his work at the department of Employment & calling the Trade Union legislation of the 1980's 'the Thatcher-Tebbit Union reforms'. Admittedly Tebbit played a big role in taming the unions & was a key part in their downfall. However, since losing power he seems to have become more backward looking & less in contact with the popular mood.

The glorious thing about this book is that it was written only 2 years after he had left office in 1987 & so retains a great deal of his good sense without the self-glory of later years. It is also a document of its time, with the Labour party still in disarray & Britain still enjoying the boom of the Thatcher years.

Starting off in his early years in North London (Ponden End to be exact), there is surprisingly little mention of his father, or of his biking around for work. The story then proceeds through his years as a journalist & with BOAC, which prove surprisingly insightful as to the state of the airlines pre-privatisation.

The really interesting material comes from Chapter 4 onwards, where Tebbit moves into politics. As someone interested in the workings of parliament & politics generally, I found the material about back-bench tactics (e.g. keeping a minister up late & asking the same question over & over) very interesting indeed.
It was also a first hand account of all that was wrong in the 1970's with both Ted Heath (Chapter 6) & Labour (Chapter 7), before moving on to Thatcher's extraordinary victory in 1979 & his time in the Cabinet.

In a similar way to Blair's memoirs, I found the chapters that followed (8-10 & 12) provided real nuggets on how good policy is worked out & what is worth considering & discarding. To see how the old & poor systems were upgraded to modern, sensible government was genuinely fascinating & I found the nuts-and-bolts explanations compares favourably to Thatcher's more broad-sweep grandstanding approach in The Downing Street Years.

And then there is the Brighton Bomb (Chapter 11). Though the cover leads you to expect great things, there is still much to be learnt by reading through the difficulties he experienced & how life was never the same again for him or his wife.

And although the bomb lead to his crowning achievement in the 1987 General election victory, one is left genuinely saddened that such a talent had to prematurely leave office to care for his wife. In the words of my fellow reviewer 'David Meacock': "One of the greatest Prime Ministers the UK never had."

I have to admit that I had some trepidation in picking up this book & feared that it would be outdated & be a dry read (I found it selling for 30p in a jumble sale). I am happy to report though that this book is both well-written & interesting, with a genuine Thatcherite passion for putting this country back on its feet, and without the hubristic I-told-you-so attitude of later books of this sort.

P.S. If you still aren't convinced & you think that this is going to be a difficult read, then there is one vital element in the book that I forgot to mention: humour. It seemed that almost every page he was cracking jokes & you can see how such a tough minded individual was so popular as his humour is quite disarming.
For example, in hospital after the Brighton Bomb, Tebbit is asked if he is allergic to anything, to which he responds "Nothing... no wait - possibly bombs!"


The Mighty Boosh Live - Future Sailors Tour (Unabridged)
The Mighty Boosh Live - Future Sailors Tour (Unabridged)
Offered by Audible Ltd

4.0 out of 5 stars The Scenery is *still* better in your head, 31 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm a Big Boosh fan & love their TV material but always find that their audio material is better and more creative. Sadly they haven't done any Audio material since The Mighty Boosh [Audiobook], so I thought I'd try this one on audio.

The Good news is that the Boosh still have the gift of creative wit and I genuinely laughed-out-loud at some of the routines and their unique way of seeing the world.

***

This performance is split into two CD's and two parts.

The first part begins with Howard and Vince bantering on stage, including two very funny routines where Howard 'pauses' the show to warn Vince of his wit ("There is no Savlon for the mind!") and a Crimping routine about the Sugarpuffs Honeymonster.
The rest of the first half is a Canterbury Tales-like run through of all the main charactors, including:
Bob Fossil (and his school of Dance, with moves like "Where the **** were you last night?"),
Naboo & Bollo (Naboo: "This is how we roll..." Vince: "What - like a Bollywood Kiwi fruit?"),
the Moon (much funnier than in the TV show),
Tony Harrison (Vince with a rubber swimming hat on),
Krakow (an incomprehensible Lithuanian charactor),
Crack-Fox
and, of course, the Hitcher.
Although the intro is a little long, it is funny and includes some ad libs added in by the cast (which occasionally makes Vince 'corpse'/laugh out of character).

The second part is the actual story, and is made up of Howard's own script (about him being a Messiah for Environmentalism) being swiftly high-jacked by Vince & Bob Fossil in the guise of Sandflash (From the Future) and Booblay (an intergalactic Pleasure-bot).
Again there are some hilarious bits, such as when the actors go off-script and Howard physically whips them back onto it, as well as the ad libs Booblay does.
The story ends fairly quickly with two songs about the two characters, followed by a long bit of crimping about Ice Cream. Following this there are three encore bits, with Bob Fossil doing a song as 'Eleanor the **ore', a punk song (too rude to quote here!) and a song to finish about Charlie.

***

Sadly there is bad news.
The first thing is that the Boosh have lost some of their brilliance and don't bring a lot new to the table other than a few stories about the characters and Sandflash & Booblay.
The second thing is that there is a lot of filler on this CD and little in the way of a story. Half the show is a funny but lazy run-through of the characters and the other half gives the impression of a short 'Messiah' story stretched out to fill time, with 3 songs (the last of which is rubbish) added on to make up a full performance.

In spite of these criticism's, I still think the Mighty Boosh are better and funnier than most other audio material out there & (unlike their comedic competition) are consistently good at coming up with new material.

I suppose it is still worth hoping that they will one day go fully back to audio but, for now, I'm just happy that they can successfully do both.


Frost On Saturday [DVD] [1968]
Frost On Saturday [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ David Frost
Price: £12.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE - this is a Lemon!, 31 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't normally like doing negative reviews as most people don't like to read them and, to be honest, I don't blame them. However, I take exception with this product as I ignored the other, less than glowing reviews and bought it on the basis of its cover and because Frost's stuff from the 60's is usually amazing.

Big Mistake.

This DVD is poorly produced and shows minimal signs of editing (e.g. one of the American guests gets up and loudly complains about the lack of Air conditioning). There are no extras and the two DVD's consist of 7 drawn-out interviews, without the benefit of other guests and with few decent songs or distractions to break up half-an-hour of inane questioning.

Of course, you might still be persuaded by the guest-list, which includes John Lennon, Yoko Ono, George Best, Frankie Howerd, Bob Hope, Edna Everage and John Betjeman. From what I saw and hear of these though, it didn't strike me that Frost got the best out of his interviewees and the interview with John & Yoko was truly one of the most boring bits of TV I've ever seen (John Lennon seemed stoned and Yoko Ono was nervously showing off her 'art' - consisting of a broken Teapot & a 3 minute film of a man's face stretched out to an hour).

The problem is that most episodes of Frost on Saturday were binned in the same 1970's archiving disaster that wiped out most of Doctor Who. What we are left with is a load of episodes lazily thrown onto a DVD when really they should have been edited into a short best-of.
Anyways, if you're expecting 'That Was the Week That Was', or any of Frost's excellent 1960's comedy, then this is the wrong place &, indeed, you will not find these released at time of writing.

That said, if you're looking for good interviews starring David Frost, then there is always the original Frost Nixon interviews. If you are after his comedy though, then the only place I've found it so far is on two tracks of this: Best of British Comedy (incidentally these are the best two tracks on the album IMHO).

If anyone knows of anywhere else that decent Frost material can be found, please feel free to leave a comment or write a List, as it'd be interesting to know. Do not buy this, though, as it really disappoints.


Last Citadel: A Novel of the Battle of Kursk
Last Citadel: A Novel of the Battle of Kursk
by David L. Robbins
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.12

4.0 out of 5 stars I actually rather enjoyed it..., 30 Dec. 2010
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I read this book about a year ago now & liked it enough to lend it to a friend to read. Although it hasn't got Bernard Cornwell's skills with a historical narrative or the thrilling pace of Conn Iggulden, I still found it had the ability to surprise with its dramatic action (even if it did seem at times like an instruction manual/ teaching aid for writing historical fiction, rather than an actual novel.)

Many have pointed to the wooden charactors & the fact that the German's are all 2 dimensional & evil, whereas the Russians are almost always heroic & good. To be fair, this is very true of the evil SS tank commander (Luis Ruiz de Vega) & generally for the Russians, but most of the other charactors have a little more personality to them & are more believable.
(As an example, the tank driver Dimitri Berko is slightly eccentric & there is also a double agent in the form of Colonel Abram Breit, who makes the story a little less Black & White & provides an interesting ending to the book).

I'd also chip in that Robbins does have some of Cornwell/ Iggulden's abilities with dramatic battle scenes, such as chapter's 7 & 21 when our heroes take on the German's blitzkrieg thrusts & there are also scenes from the German perspective showing how easily crushed most the Russian efforts were and how regrettably superior German armour was.

And last thing to say is about the final battle sequence, which I found one of the most memorable of ALL the ones I've encountered in the Historic novels I've read.
Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kursk will know that the German's did actually breakthrough the elaborate Russian defences, only to have an entire tank army thrown at them. This particular scene is depicted (as my fellow reviewer 'Joseph Haschka' points out) in a field of sunflowers. Although you might know what is going to happen, the narrative is a masterpiece of its kind, showing the calm before, the chaos in between & finishing with a suitably dramatic sequence.
It was the moment in the novel that it ceased to be a lesson in novel writing (David Robbins lectures on the subject) & became a first-rate novel.

Now, as the novel is a little predictable & does have some flaws, I can't say it's a masterpiece. However, as it covers the biggest tank battle in history (which is oddly overlooked in the Western world) and is also fairly well-written, I have no hesitation in recommending it as worthwhile reading.
It should always be remembered that, as The World At War shows, the Germans were humbled not just by Britain & the USA, but mostly by the bravery & tenacity of the Russians (Britain & the USA lost less than a million people, while the Russians lost at least 20 million).
Though this tribute may not be perfect, it is tribute nonetheless.


For A Few Dollars More (Morricone)
For A Few Dollars More (Morricone)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly' (IMHO), 29 Dec. 2010
Of the three films of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly trilogy, my favourite is For A Few Dollars More, closely followed by the title film. I'd also say the same of the title tracks although, when it comes to the soundtracks as a whole, I'd say the opposite (i.e. that the Good, the Bad & the Ugly is a better soundtrack).

I really wanted to see this soundtrack as a classic, but there are two things that prevent it being so.
First, there is the number of tracks - eight, which totals to an unbelievably poor 15 minutes of music.
Second, track one is almost identical to track 8 (based on the music that the baddy's pocketwatch makes) & so you get even less bang for your buck & are basically left with track 1/8 & track 6 ('Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu' - the title track).
For comparison, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly soundtrack has over 30 minutes of music, has the title track & The Ecstasy Of Gold AND also has a rich tapestry of music among its 9 other tracks.

So, although the title track of this album is one of Ennio Morricone's finest compositions, I would recommend getting The Good, The Bad and The Ugly soundtrack first, or the double album of For a Few Dollars More/Fistful of Dollars, which includes music from A Fistful Of Dollars.
As one last alternative, if you're not that into soundtracks & just want the three title tracks off of the three films of the trilogy, then get a copy of this: The Very Best of Ennio Morricone, which has the three & other music besides.


The Lords of the North (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 3)
The Lords of the North (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 3)
by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars After a Second reading... Definitely my Favourite Novel of all Time, 29 Dec. 2010
I've read a fair few novels and generally find that three things make for a great story: surprises, an educational/ spiritual message and believable characters who you can idolize.
These three may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I find that this novel had all three & much else aside.
And this is highly unusual in a series as, often, one of the first 2 is the classic & the third one is a dud (e.g. with James Frey's books or Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia). However this book proves more than a match for the other two, despite the limited historical material it has to draw on.

Basically the plot sees Uhtred (a Lord of the North - deposed ruler of Bebbanburgh/ Bamburgh to be exact) going North to finish a plot feud with Kjartan (Lord of Dunholm/ Durham) & to take back Bebbanburgh Castle from his usurping uncle. The novel has many surprising twists and turns and ultimately, Uhtred is mostly successful.

In the process we are treated to a view of the historic North of England (which is often overlooked), including interesting details in the form of the various rulers of the North, the curious blending of Dane & Saxon, Christian & Pagan that was going on at the time and the complex politics that arose.

Best of all, we are given a full view of the most gruesome aspects of the Viking era: Slavery. As three of the main charactors (including Uhtred) experience being slaves, we see what a barbaric institution it was & how it was frowned upon by the West Saxons even then.

And last thing to mention is that, even if you're not into History or learning about how Britain came to be, this book still has one of the best plots I've ever encountered, taking full advantage of Cornwell's experience writing the Sharpe novels. The way the plot jinks back and forth is simply breathtaking and the thoughts, fears & triumphs of Uhtred are so vividly written that you think and feel them yourself.
Cornwell also has the storyteller's touch in making Uhtred's reality congruent with his pagan beliefs. As an example, before being enslaved, Uhtred witnesses a particularly bad casting of the rune sticks (which we would see as superstition, but to Uhtred would be real). He also takes Thunder and Lightning during a battle as a sign that Thor is on his side. These details may seem irrelevant, but they do help immerse you in a novel far more thoroughly than lesser books...

So, if you haven't read this book then I encourage you to start off with The Last Kingdom (Alfred the Great 1) and The Pale Horseman (Alfred the Great 2) to understand the context of the series
If you've read them already however, then this is the best one to try again as it includes all the most interesting bits of the series and is a gripping read.
It's a pity that its brilliance didn't continue much into Sword Song, but this novel is all the better because of it.


Bill Hicks : One Night Stand [HBO] [1991] [DVD]
Bill Hicks : One Night Stand [HBO] [1991] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Hicks
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.16

4.0 out of 5 stars Bill Hicks: Light & Breezy, 19 Dec. 2010
Recently I watched American - The Bill Hicks Story & went off on a tangent from it by exploring what Bill's twin comedian - Dwight Slade - had been doing (the guy who used to be Hicks's stage partner at the age of 15).
Curiously enough Dwight Slade has just released a double DVD called 'Right & Raunch', which has one DVD that is "TV-clean, family friendly set that you can show your grandmother" and another which is "uncensored and fun! (Best to put grandma to bed...)". In other words one good, one evil.
It made me think that, if only we could do this with Bill Hicks, then we could have one DVD of stuff on drugs, smoking & 'Just a ride' that would make good, light introductory material and then another to introduce new fans onto the full-strength stuff later on.

Unfortunately Bill wasn't like this & even his lighter stuff had dark stuff threaded through it. However, this DVD is the closest approximation to the good side of Bill and contains the clip that forms a key part of Human Traffic ("This is not a very popular idea; you don't hear it very often, but it's the truth: I did drugs and I had a real good time.")

As well as this, this DVD has an excellent start (with Bill stuck in an airport) and some fairly easy on the ear routines on smoking and drugs.
Admittedly there is a small dark-patch towards the end of the DVD where Bill talks about Judas Priest (who allegedly wrote satanic messages in their music) and Pornography (which he graphically illustrates is no different to advertising), but these are more than redeemed by the ending ('We Live in a World/ The Vision' routine).

So, there you have it - a Bill Hicks DVD with good stuff either side & only a little dark stuff in the middle. As they say in the army: it's a poo sandwich!
The one regret I have is that this DVD isn't longer (25-30 minutes). However, I think this is in a way a blessing since any longer routine would be likely to veer towards the ad nauseam tendencies of the Relentless DVD or Bill's other Chicago performance - the infamous Heckler incident.

In all, this DVD is worth watching although (if you have a region 1 DVD player) it may be better getting 'Bill Hicks Live - Satirist, Social Critic, Stand-Up Comedian' from Amazon.com, as this includes this routine, the Relentless one PLUS the Totally/ Dominion Theatre DVD.
If you haven't then this is required watching for the evolution of our species...


Bill Hicks: Totally Bill Hicks - It's Just A Ride/Revelations [DVD]
Bill Hicks: Totally Bill Hicks - It's Just A Ride/Revelations [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Hicks
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £6.11

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Original & Best Bill Hicks DVD, 18 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
About 10 years ago, my first experience of Bill was this DVD. It made me see, for the first time, that there were still Prophets in the World who spoke out & challenged the status quo & made people sit up & think about what life should be like - kind, compassionate & filled with truth.
As I've now read, seen & heard almost everything ever made about or by Bill, I thought it was a good time to go back to the start of many people's journey's and see if this matched up to other potential starting points in the form of American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story & the new film: American - The Bill Hicks Story.

Happily it does & it is surprising how insightful this DVD can be, despite the fact that its contents have been widely diseminated across the internet (e.g. the 'It's Just a Ride' routine on Zeitgeist).

***

As an example, the documentary 'It's Just a Ride' provides many interviews & perspectives which have been forgotten with time. One curious thing I found was how unequivically praising Jay Leno was of him & how many times he featured as a commentator (given that Bill regularly did an infamous routine satirising Leno & imitating him blowing his brains out).
Also in this documentary are comments from Bill's dad (who passed away before the latest documentary) & also many comments by contemporary comics & critics who have faded into obscurity now but help place Bill in his proper context.
There are also some very interesting observations, such as that Bill didn't want to be Lenny Bruce but was more looking to be Jesus (during his angriest moment at the Temple).

Moving on from the documentary, there is Bill's performance at the Dominion theatre in London, which was almost undeniably his finest performance. Whereas Bill always seemed slightly unwelcome & at odds in America, he always seemed on top form when in the UK (e.g. Salvation - Oxford, 11/11/1992. This performance is no exception & the British audience seems to inspire Bill to bring out his best material & be most at ease on stage.

There is also the fact that this was (barring TV performances on Letterman) Bill's biggest ever live audience &, rather than being dwarfed by the set-up (as he feared), he seems to make it his own.

The first thing after the documentary is a short intro video to his live performance about how Bill was born in 1961 & always wanted to be a cowboy ("Fighting corruption & speaking out against truth and justice"). Irony is that apparently Hicks couldn't ride a horse, but the set-up is still very well executed.

As Bill walks on stage following the intro to the sound of Jimi Hendrix, he is seen silhouetted against fiery flames in a black cowboy hat & coat.
To give you a flavour of what's on the DVD, here is a tracklist of what's on here (as one doesn't seem available elsewhere):

Track 3 ('LA & the Weather') is about Los Angeles & its 'hot & sunny weather' & also his routines about the LA riots.
4 ('Arming the World') involves his normal routines about 'smoking' but this time with the twist that he's just quit.
Track 5 ('Arming the World') covers George Bush & how sold weapons to the Koreans in an attempt to win votes in the 1992 election & also about him selling the Iraqi's "machine-tools" which, as if by magic, were converted into weapons. (e.g. the 'flame throwing rake'!) This bit includes his oft-quoted Shane routine.
Track 6 ('JFK') is Bill's routine about the JFK assassination & the assassination museum & how, if you could go up the window, you would notice how impossible it would be for Oswald to have killed him.
7 ('Christianity') is Bill's satire of Creationists & his discussion with them about Dinosaurs.
8 ('Grassy Knoll') is based on Bill's observation about 'Christians and crosses' & then continuing with a further routine on JFK & the gunshot heard on the Grassy Knoll.
9 involves how to top the stunts in Terminator 2 in other films using an ingenius new method...
10 is another famous routine featuring the bit where Bill says about "Anyone without advertising or marketing... Kill yourself!".
11 ('Basic Instinct') is Bill's opinion on one of the 90's biggest films & how it is in fact a piece of s**t.
12 ('Goat Boy') is the most infamous routine of all, involving Bill acting out his alter ego 'Randypan the Goatboy' whose only purpose is to give women pleasure.
13 ('British Porn') follows on from the Goatboy routine about how British porno's used to have blue dots covering the *ahem* best bits.
14 ('Smoking Pot'): Actually more of a routine on rednecks & how there are too many people in the World.
15 ('The Playground in the Sky'): Children on airplanes.
16 ('Good & Bad Time on Drugs'): Another famous routine about God leaving pot & mushrooms growing everywhere on the planet to facilitate our evolution.
17 ('Suckers' of Satan'): Bill's bit about Vanilla Ice sucking Satan's *ahem* pecker in order to attain fame.
18 ('Positive Drug Stories'): About how he never hears positive drugs stories on the news. Also includes the 'Just a Ride' ending (the best ending to any comedy routine...err... ever.)

***

Two downsides with this DVD.
First off there are no extras on the DVD. Admittedly this is because 1994 was still a year or VHS videos & so Extras didn't really exist (on DVD's, the documentary would usually be part of them). However, it would still be good to see some on here (though this is compensated by the 5 hours of extras on the new film).

Second, there is an outright lie on the cover of the DVD. When I first saw it, I hadn't noticed it as I thought it genuinely was true. In hindsight - it isn't "Hick's last live performance", however much we might want it to be.
(Hicks' last live performance was at Igby's in Houston, Texas, ending with a bearded Hicks yelling along to Killing In The Name by Rage against the Machine.)

All being said though, this is still the best DVD/Book/CD around on Hicks, covering all his usual material but with a confidence & clarity that is just not seen in any of his other complete sets (though the edited CD's do capture some of it).
And if this DVD is on your shelf gathering dust or has been scratched to hell, then I think its time you looked into it again too. It may now be 16 years old, but still Bill Hicks remains unsurpassed.


Tim Vine - Live - So I Said To This Bloke [DVD]
Tim Vine - Live - So I Said To This Bloke [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tim Vine
Price: £3.25

5.0 out of 5 stars I normally like Dark Comedy but..., 18 Dec. 2010
In the opinion of the ever-controversial Bernard Manning, clean jokes are all well & good but it takes a really dirty joke to make an audience give you a side-splitting gut-laugh. To some extent this is true but I think Tim Vine proves the exception to the rule in being a very clean comic who can also be outrageously funny.

As an example, there is his surreal sketch where 'Flag Hippo' walks on stage (with a flag poster) to a song sung by Vine & the audience, with the added irony that Flag Hippo doesn't in fact know which country goes with which flag!
There is also the oft mentioned routine about 'Pen behind the ear' where Vine tries to throw a pen to make it land behind his ear. As a mate of mine said, it's hilariously funny but you're never quite sure why.

Added to this there are a myriad of one-liners from a man who used to hold the world record for the most jokes in an hour. Now, I'm not sure if this is just my appalling memory but I found most of these gags hard to remember, although occasionally they pop-up in context. For instance, there is the one where he says "and now for the big highlight of the show" before showing the audience a massive highlighter & his jokes about animal testing "What about testing how long it takes to get a Kangaroo into a wetsuit?"
Besides this, the puns tend to be hit & miss, with usually one out of every two being funny & the odd one being exceptional.

So, despite what the likes of Bernard Manning say (who I'm not a fan of by the way), it is perfectly possible to have a hilarious comedian who has you in stitches with clean jokes alone.
Although some of the lines are Cringeworthy, there are more hits than misses & I thoroughly recommend this DVD to all & sundry, but especially to those whose usual diet consists of Bill Hicks & Frankie Boyle.


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