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Reviews Written by
Chris M. "Bowhill_Books" (Eye, Suffolk, UK)

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The Wibbley Brothers Go Weird
The Wibbley Brothers Go Weird
Offered by Trubshaw's Astonishing Records
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great to see on CD at last, 5 Sept. 2015
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Go Weird has for years been an under-the-radar classic, only available on vinyl as released back in 1982. In truth, it's a bit hit-and-miss, with a degree of 'public school humour' that doesn't always translate, but the weaker tracks are outweighed by the likes of Golden Moments, The Wonderful World of Terry Wibbley, I Am The Pope and so on. Having made my own CD (from my vinyl copy) years ago, I was hoping for more in the way of sleevenotes rather than just reproductions from the original sleeve, but maybe the original duo are trying to maintain the air of mystique that surrounds them - don't worry guys, I won't let on (in case anyone 'Askes').


X-15: The World's Fastest Rocket Plane and the Pilots Who Ushered in the Space Age (Smithsonian Series)
X-15: The World's Fastest Rocket Plane and the Pilots Who Ushered in the Space Age (Smithsonian Series)
by John Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to this landmark aeroplane, 9 Jan. 2015
I've had a lingering obsession with the X-15, ever since (in the early '70s, if memory serves) it was denied the air speed record in the Guinness Book of Records either because it was air-launched or not airbreathing. So, er, 6600 feet per second not fast enough then? I've seen books about it which, in places, go into excrutiating detail about the flight programme and the science behind it, but this book is geared more towards the general reader and as such serves as a fine introduction to the X-15. Though something of an Anglocentric Englishman, I'm quite happy to put forward the X-15 flight program as one of America's 'finest hours'; a project that had no military objectives, no political motives, and one that achieved all its targets. Yes, purists might quibble over the lack of detail, and occasional repetition of photos, but this is a really nice book - I particularly liked the potted biographies of the pilots. For more pictures, get the excellent Hypersonic Scrapbook.


Modern British Posters: Art, Design & Communication
Modern British Posters: Art, Design & Communication
by Paul Rennie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Nice Book, Let down slightly by . . . ., 8 Dec. 2014
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. . . . the potentially misleading title, and the curiously flat choice of image for the front cover. In the intro, Paul Rennie makes it clear that 'Modern British', in the context of the title, alludes to 'mid-century' British painting, the book's scope spanning 1915 to 1970. That being the case, I think a suitable subtitle for the book would have been appropriate, otherwise it would be fair to assume the book covers the period from around 1950 to 2000 (that's my definition of 'Modern'). The cover image, by Kenneth Rowntree, is an odd choice, given that many of the posters within are much more startling, and beautifully reproduced it must be said. Another slight disappointment is the absence of an index. Let's be clear though, this is a really nice book, entirely illustrated from the author's own collection and accompanied by a scholarly text.


Unashamed Artists: A Celebratory Miscellany of Advertising Art
Unashamed Artists: A Celebratory Miscellany of Advertising Art
by Ruth Artmonsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Artmonsky Mini-Masterpiece, 22 May 2014
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As I've said in a previous review, Ruth Artmonsky appears to have a natural curiosity for long-overlooked art and artists, and this book sees her continuing along this (sometime lonely) path. The 'Unashamed Artists' featured here are best known to afficianados of poster and other forms of commercial art of the 1930s to '60s, and include the likes of Austin Cooper, Frank Newbould, Gregory Brown, Tom Purvis and (representing the post-war era) Tom Eckersley. As with all of Ruth's books, the design is excellent, with illustrations complimenting the text throughout. From a personal point of view, it would have been nice to have seen more photos of the artists themselves, and here it may have been worth a trawl through 1930s and '40s editions of 'The Artist' magazine, where the likes of Newbould, Purvis and co were featured in the monthly 'Artists of Note' articles, whlist Brown and Cooper wrote articles on poster designing. All in all, this is an excellent book on a neglected subject area.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2015 10:37 AM GMT


Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above
Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above
by Katy Whitaker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Complete Picture, 26 April 2014
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As a former Aerofilms Librarian (actually the last one!) I awaited this book with considerable anticipation after it was first announced. The end result is interesting, but ultimately I cannot help feeling the authors have been forced to sex up what amounts to a company history (and let's be honest, company history books are often very boring and hopelessly uncommercial), albeit one with fascinating photos. The authors have been particularly crafty in bandaging over the seven year gap in the company's existence (i.e. WW2, when the staff were dispersed into the war effort) by going slightly slightly off-piste into the realms of wartime photo-interpretation, which was based on RAF survey photography, not Aerofilms'. There's also (in my opinion) a bit too much of the 'gung-ho', 'magnificent men in their flying machines' angle. I bet that flying up and down the land might have been fine for the pilot, but spare a thought for the photographer behind, in a gusty open cockpit manhandling a heavy glass-plate camera -something of a slog no doubt.

Over the years, Aerofilms' photos were used to illustrate numerous books on landscape history (e.g. W G Hoskins' 'The Making of the English Landscape') and it's rather disappointing that the authors have missed the chance to show some of the key changes in interwar Britain, such as ribbon development, and those fantastic geometrically-planned housing estates that appeared during the 1930s.

I'm sure that I (and indeed every Tom Dick or Harry) would have come up with a different choice of photos for this book, and maybe a different approach, but as it stands this is a good start to English Heritage's commercial exploitation of a valuable archive.


Cream: How Eric Clapton Took the World by Storm
Cream: How Eric Clapton Took the World by Storm
by Dave Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid biography - but godawful subtitle!, 24 Mar. 2014
Dave Thompson’s book is a good, solid biography of a band that somehow never quite fulfilled its potential. It’s a complex tale, and to some extent the author doesn’t quite nail it, despite at times brilliantly evoking the times during which the band found themselves.

The subtitle is a particular bone of contention to me. For one thing, the author doesn’t tell how ‘Clapton took the World by Storm’ and for good reason – he didn’t. Cream were big in the UK and US, but made little impact beyond, at least during the band’s lifetime. If Clapton did anything in the five years after after Cream, it was to sink into near-mediocrity and drug addiction – hardly taking the world by storm! Cream was a meeting of equals, no-one was more important than the others, so to somehow imply it was a vehicle for Clapton is extremely misleading. Doubtless this lousy subtitle was the work of the publishers. The author is blameless, as his book is faithful to the facts. I particularly liked the appendix giving potted biographies of 'what they did next', not only Bruce, Baker and Clapton, but also the people vital to the Cream story, including Pete Brown, Graham Bond, John Mayall, Felix Pappalardi et al.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2015 9:13 AM BST


Stagg SH-SM12R Splash Cymbals
Stagg SH-SM12R Splash Cymbals
Price: £35.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Mine thinks it's a China!, 20 Aug. 2013
The jury seems to be out on Stagg cymbals. There are a number of demo videos on Youtube which make them out to be really good, but at the same time, some retailers are offering a slight premium to 'hand pick' you cymbal from stock, implying quality varies from cymbal to cymbal. I bought my Stagg 12" medium brilliant splash off Gumtree for a tenner, and whilst I was expecting a miniature 'crash' sound, I ended up with a cymbal that has distinctively 'china-like' tendencies, a sort of 'splashy trashy crashy' sound. I love it for that (plus the incredible loudness for its size), but suspect if I bought another it would sound completely different!


Paiste PST 3 18" China · Chinese-Cymbal
Paiste PST 3 18" China · Chinese-Cymbal
Offered by Rockem Music
Price: £51.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, sounds . . ., 20 Aug. 2013
This is a very heavy cymbal with an interesting look, but frankly the sound isn't up to expectations - it sounds just like a large heavy disc of metal, but a china cymbal? I think not. It can't be £55-odd quid for no reason; you get what you pay for. If you want a 'proper' china sound, look elsewhere!


Zildjian ZBT16C Crash Cymbal - 40.6 cm / 16 Inches
Zildjian ZBT16C Crash Cymbal - 40.6 cm / 16 Inches
Price: £76.30

3.0 out of 5 stars More like a crash-ride, 30 July 2013
I agree with other reviewers that this isn't a classic crash cymbal. In fact its characteristics are more ride-like, including a great bell. Luckily I bought mine secondhand for less than half the rrp, so not overly disappointed!


Rumours
Rumours
Offered by westworld-
Price: £11.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Rumours Review (2004 2CD edition), 13 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Rumours (Audio CD)
After reading some negative comment about the packaging of the 2013 3CD edition (in fiddly digipack, some with gluey discs!) I decided to plump for the 2CD 2004 edition. Not much point in commenting on the music as that's been done with abundance elsewhere (though having just listened to 1969's 'Then Play On' I realise that the 1960s Fleetwood Mac had BALLS - the same can't really be said for the 1977 version!). One minor criticism is the decision to put 'Silver Springs' smack in the middle of the original running order. Despite praise for the track on the 'Classic Albums' documentary, it's a bit of a weak track, and ought to have been demoted to the second disc which for the most part contains close-but-not-quite-the same versions of the finished album tracks. It all boils down to choice. If you want the album only, get a single-disc edition or a download version. If you want a bit more, go for this (2004) one, and if you want much, much more, get the one from 2013.


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