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Chris M. "Bowhill_Books" (Eye, Suffolk, UK)

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A Photographic and Historical Guide to the Parish Churches of East Suffolk (Parishfinder Series)
A Photographic and Historical Guide to the Parish Churches of East Suffolk (Parishfinder Series)
by Adrian S. Pye
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Effort with a few buts . . ., 23 May 2009
Adrian Pye should be congratulated for wading into territory where some heavyweights have previously trodden. I'm referring to H. Munro Cautley, whose 'Suffolk Churches and their Treasures' (1937 et seq) remains the primary tome on the subject, and Simon Knott, whose phenomenal Suffolk Churches website will be the benchmark online resource for decades to come.

Writing in their shadow, Pye was rather destined to come up short. On the plus side, all the churches are illustrated (ruins included) though it must be said that the quality of the photos, both in terms of colour and composition, is a little variable. Unfortunately the text that accompanies each photo is rather short and often unilluminating, though not without insight. The cover design is a bit 'Microsoft Word' and the spine is dictinctly unappealing, featuring the title in a bold 'sans serif' typeface much favoured by primary school teachers. The impression (rightly or wrongly) is that this is another self-publishing author who could, or should have taken a little more independent advice on content and design. A shame really, as the book is printed on good quality paper throughout and has a reassuringly heavy feel to it.

Having said all this, this is a handy at-a-glance guide which will give the reader a snapshot of every east Suffolk church before venturing out to visit it. A companion volume (for West Suffolk) was published in 2009.

2013 update: This and the other Suffolk title have been spotted 'going cheap' in a Beccles bookshop.


Book of East Anglian Humour
Book of East Anglian Humour
Price: £4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Surpringly Funny, 22 April 2009
Let's be honest, the book's title isn't very original or enticing is it? Nor is it a particularly high quality looking book with its bog standard cover and stapled binding. But delve inside and things look up. The stories here are drawn from the East Anglian Magazine of the 1950s, and include the tale of an old Suffolk woman who was 'visited' in her dream by her long-dead husband. Her interpretation of the dream? "I think it's a sign o' rain." Way back in 1917 a women visited the wreckage of the Zeppelin that crashed near Theberton and commented how "wunnerful" it was that it missed the village and landed "roight inside that ther barbed wire" which the authorities had ringed the wreckage with! The book might reinforce some people's attitudes that East Anglian country folk of yore were a bit dim and/or in-bred, but I think it's reflects well the region's dry and sardonic sense of humour. Worth tracking down.


Sparrow in the Meadow
Sparrow in the Meadow
by Dorothy Presswell
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Well Written Evacuee's Story, 18 April 2009
This review is from: Sparrow in the Meadow (Paperback)
This book will chiefly interest people - like me - who live in or around Eye in north Suffolk, where the Dorothy Presswell was evacuated to during WW2. Civilian war memoirs can be pretty dull and amateurish, but this book is fairly concise, well researched, and keeps the cosy reminiscence under control, the whole backed up by some thorough background research.


Atari Classics - Plug n Play TV Games
Atari Classics - Plug n Play TV Games

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1980 all over again, 2 April 2009
I must admit I asked for this console in order to relive my misspent days, circa 1983-84, playing Asteroids in student bars. Little did I realise that the Asteroids on this console was THE original Atari version, much more primitive and clunky, but still good - and totally TWO dimensional fun! The other games are a very mixed bunch - I'd have liked to see Space Invaders (SI) in there but other 'plug & play' SI consoles are available. Of course, the enjoyment these retro-boxes give is probably miniscule compared to the Wii's of this world, but I certainly have had some fun with this one.


Visions Of The Emerald Beyond
Visions Of The Emerald Beyond
Offered by Squirrelsounds
Price: £12.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore First Impressions AND Play 'Spot the Time Signature', 13 Mar. 2009
When I first heard this album I thought "oh my gawd, what's this?". Evidently a long way from the 'classic' first line up of the Mahvishnu Orchestra, this album amply illustrates the ill-advised drift from jazz-rock to jazz-funk in the mid-1970s. The song titles don't help much (Can't Stand Your Funk, Cosmic Strut etc), hinting at the awkward mix of eastern mysticism and funk on display here.
And yet . . . .

Having listened to this album many times, it's grown on me. The opening two-part 'Eternity's Breath' starts with a killer riff and goes on to feature outstanding soloing from McLaughlin and Ponty, and some complex intertwining melodies on part 2. I agree with others that Lila's Dance is probably the best track on the album, a Jekyll-and-Hyde track that starts with a typical arpeggiated McLaughlin riff before morphing, quite suddenly, into a rock groove with JM attacking his guitar like a man perhaps starting to get a bit frustrated with the musical medium he was finding himself in. This is emphasised on the final track on which his guitar is put through some pretty extreme (and at times dissonant) ring-modulation. If this was meant as some kind of 'worship' for the band's spiritual mentor then he/she/it must have had their proverbial fingers in their ears!

Michael Walden's drumming is powerful throughout, bordering on the frenetic, an adjective that can be applied to several of the compositions. It's no surprise that McLaughlin disbanded the MO soon after to concentate on Shakti, a different group altogether.

Finally, I'd recommend this album to any music teacher who wants to illustrate differing time signatures to students. I'm no expert but I reckon there isn't one 4/4 composition here - there's a bit of 3/4 but elsewhere there's 7/8, 10/8, 20/8, 11/4 etc - no wonder the time sigs have been described as 'insane'!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2009 1:28 PM BST


Jack Beddington: The Footnote Man
Jack Beddington: The Footnote Man
by Ruth Artmonsky
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Credit at last for Shell's Footnote Man, 23 Jan. 2009
The premise behind Ruth Artmonsky's book is the simple fact that Jack Beddington (1893-1959) has so often featured in the footnotes of other books, yet hitherto has never been accorded a book of his own. Beddington is best known for two phases in his life - his period as Publicity Director for Shell in the 1930s, and as Head of Films for the Ministry of Information during WW2. At Shell, he fostered the early careers of British artists by commissioning them to produce artwork for large posters which used to adorn the sides of Shell lorries, and which are now highly sought after; artists included Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, McKnight Kauffer etc. He was also instrumental in establishing, with a young John Betjeman, the 'Shell Guides' to English counties, a series which long outlived Beddington himself. In both these cases, Beddy Ol' Man (as Betj called him) was ahead of his time in seeking to advertise the Shell 'brand' rather than specific products. The famous "That's Shell, That Was" slogan was coined during his watch as head of publicity.

Ruth Artmonsky admits that the book's relative brevity is a reflection of the fact that Beddington 'The Man' was quite hard to uncover, so that inevitably his life is discussed in the context of his achievements. For anyone interested in the marriage of art and industry, or film-making in WW2, it's a recommended read.


Join With Us
Join With Us
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get With The Feeling!, 19 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Join With Us (Audio CD)
I discovered The Feeling from radio airplay and put it on my Christmas list for 2008. First impressions are almost universally good, and to be honest I can't understand why other reviewers crow about the band's obviously derivative quality; a prime example being 'Won't Go Away', which unashamedly nicks the 'groove' of Bowie's 'Modern Love'. And the string quartet tag to 'Conor' doesn't half remind me of something, though I can't put my finger on it. The fact is we now live in an age where genuine originality is hard to come by, with the result that pilfering from the past is largely acceptable, so long as it's done in a stylish way. On that basis, The Feeling get the thumbs up from me - most of the arrangements are superb and obviously a great deal of thought has gone into them. Even their attempted magnum opus 'The Greatest Show on Earth' works, though it's a shame the album ends with the rather lightweight 'hidden track' that follows it.


Instinct
Instinct
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £11.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Comeback from the Original Yes Guitarist, 5 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Instinct (Audio CD)
I've owned this CD for years and it makes me smile every time I hear it. Largely recorded on a portable four-track cassette recorder (so I'm told), any shortcomings on the sonic front are more than made up by Banks' superb guitar and guitar-synth playing, and some great compositions. Most of the humour come from the audio samples that litter the record, many of them culled from old movies or TV programmes. The end result is something that's miles away from the po-faced prog-rock one might have expected.


Casio F-91W-1YER Men's Resin Digital Watch
Casio F-91W-1YER Men's Resin Digital Watch
Price: £6.99

151 of 167 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Timepiece - but watch the strap!, 7 Jan. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been buying Casio F91's for about 15 years. It's the classic 'cheap Casio digital watch' and does exactly what it says on the tin. Makes me laugh that it has acquired 'iconic' or 'retro design' status - goes to show that if you keep something long enough it comes back into fashion! Word of warning though - maybe I'm a bit rough with my F91's, but I usually find the strap breaks after about 3 years of use, so sadly (for me at least) this watch comes with free built-in obsolescence!
Comment Comments (20) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2016 2:08 PM GMT


Jan Akkerman
Jan Akkerman
Price: £5.78

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Akkerman's Best?, 16 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Jan Akkerman (Audio CD)
This 1977 album is quite probably Jan Akkerman's best solo album, though I should admit I haven't dared listen (yet) to any of his output post-1990, for fear of disappointment. After this self-titled album, the quality of Akkerman's recorded work slowly went downhill, as guitar synths and Linn drums began to work their way into his music. My favourite track here is Angel Watch, which starts off dramatically with some wonderful guitar work, before lurching into a thumping disco-beat section with great soloing by Joachim Kuhn (piano, complete with audible whines!) and Akkerman, of course. There's a real sense on this album than Akkerman didn't need Thijs van Leer any more, though by the 80s it was clear he really needed a musical partner of equal or greater stature to bounce ideas off. Incidentally this album sounds great on CD, the sound perhaps being just marginally thinner than the vinyl version.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2015 1:28 PM BST


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