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S. S. Smith (Devon)
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Watertown
Watertown
Price: 7.71

4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Album Glen Campbell Never Made, 5 July 2014
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This review is from: Watertown (Audio CD)
Flawed and wonderful. Sinatra is given the song cycle of a sad, middle-aged, small-town guy whose wife has left him. The song-writing is astonishing: lyrical and full of hooks. The sentiment is endearing. Yet Sinatra has to sing across the grain of his own myth and only sounds convincing towards the bizarre finale. The orchestration is sometimes transcendent, at other times lacklustre. 'What's Now is Now' is almost the perfect late Sinatra fanfare, but the song requires a fifth gear no longer at his disposal.


Worcestershire: A Shell guide (Shell guides)
Worcestershire: A Shell guide (Shell guides)
by James Lees-Milne
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Worcestershire La Morte, 5 July 2014
The Shell Guides deserve their cult status, and this is one of the best. Lees-Milne makes Worcestershire sing an elegy of itself. He comments drily on what he finds unpleasant and gives poetic vignettes of those places that inspire him. Of course, this not to be read any longer as a guide to 'real places'. This is an account of the dream Worcestershire that those of us of a certain age caught glimpses of from the back seats of our fathers' Austin Maxis and Ford Cortinas on Sunday drives from Birmingham. The places we were killing on those melancholy afternoons of the Thermos flask. All gone. There are b&w photographs by Edwin Smith and John Piper which will make you weep.

To be read as you would read Aubrey's 'Brief Lives' and venerated as such.


Zeiss 8 x 42 Victory FL Black
Zeiss 8 x 42 Victory FL Black

5.0 out of 5 stars The best binoculars in the world?, 14 Jun 2014
After comparing with Leica and Swarowski equivalents about 6 years back, I felt these won through because of their light-gathering brightness and brilliant image, close focus, ability to illuminate the dusk and robust manufacture. They are still going strong after demanding weekly use and annual journeys to the Hebrides and Scilly.

An old birding pal of mine, since deceased, also had a pair and I asked him why he had not joined the Swarowski army. "I can see into the back of a bush with these," he said.

He was right. Get a pair and you'll be on that Yellow-browed Warbler next October before the Swaroski mob can locate the bush.


Excavations
Excavations
by Peter Riley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars dig it, 14 Jun 2014
This review is from: Excavations (Paperback)
Short paragraphs of prose-poetry using 19th century archaeological notes of ancient burials in the north of England as touchstones.The excavations go beyond these field reports into the lyric of the sixteenth century, but also sieve the idioms of the present to create resonant juxtapositions. Riley's most concentrated meditations: oblique, measured, always surprising. If you get Prynne then you will dig these excavations.


Birds, The (Peter Owen Modern Classic)
Birds, The (Peter Owen Modern Classic)
by Tarjei Vesaas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.01

5.0 out of 5 stars transparent translation, 14 Jun 2014
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There is no-one else like Vesaas and although he is remarkably under-rated in UK/US, it is only a matter of time until he gets his due. It's difficult to pick between this and 'Ice Palace' as his most arresting work - and if you like one you will almost certainly admire the other. His viewpoint in this book is that of a mentally disabled man whose dilemma is that he realises he cannot satisfy the conditions of existence yet finds a lonely revelation in it. The novel gets its impetus from a series of luminous sequences on the lake shores of some Norwegian fastness. The incapacity of his protagonist is really no different to our own, yet its expression is more honest, guileless. Vesaas achieved what few modernist prose writers in English ever did: he brought narrative drive and emotional tenderness to the play of language. The description of the 'roding' flight of a woodcock astonishing. The ending rings so true. This translation serves the text brilliantly. Peter Owen, the publisher, has done us another great service.


No Title Available

2.0 out of 5 stars not the boot they used to be, 18 Oct 2013
I have worn Hunters for 20 years: they fit like a glove, look great and are so much less hassle than walking boots. I used to get about two to three years wear out of them (pretty intensive weekly use).

The last two pairs I have bought have lasted less than three months before the heels have worn through and the rubber to the sides of the bridge have cracked and let in water. These boots are no longer fit for rigorous use. They have become streetwear. It is sad to see an iconic item loose its substance.

Esse quam videre? No way.


Collected Poems
Collected Poems
by R. F. Langley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.65

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Anglo-Saxon hoard found in Staffordshire, 20 May 2010
This review is from: Collected Poems (Paperback)
This is treasure. It speaks with a soft, insistent whisper. The patter of the little syllables. Its roots appear to be in American poetry - Stevens, Olson, Dorn. Like Michael Haslam, Langley recalls GM Hopkins but the language is less obviously `wrought' - having a lightness that nevertheless resonates with allusion and etymological tricks. It has a gentle,introspective quality. No big dramas or sudden epiphanies. The mind catches itself at it ... watching willow warblers in Staffordshire sallows or the light moving in a remote Suffolk church. The long poems, `Matthew Glover' and `Man Jack' are wonderful - and there is nothing else like them in modern English poetry. No-one else writes like this. It deserves a much wider readership.


Company / Ill Seen Ill Said / Worstward Ho / Stirrings Still: WITH Ill Seen Ill Said AND Worstward Ho AND Stirrings Still
Company / Ill Seen Ill Said / Worstward Ho / Stirrings Still: WITH Ill Seen Ill Said AND Worstward Ho AND Stirrings Still
by Samuel Beckett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book at Bedtime, 20 May 2010
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In these spare, eery and memorable last works Beckett strips down the externals of fiction to the simplest form of interior ambiguity: syntax itself. The denser the idiom becomes the less it is able to say. Yet the trouble of narration becomes the event and its struggle creates a hypnotic power. Best read before bedtime. In case it's your last.


Roger Hilton: The Figured Language of Thought
Roger Hilton: The Figured Language of Thought
by Andrew Lambirth
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive monograph on the key British abstract expressionist., 26 Jan 2010
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This is an excellent book - the fullest collection of RH's paintings I've come across and each reproduced in accurate colour and given space to breath on the page (Hilton, after-all, called his pictures "space-making devices"). Lambirth's text has a lucid and engaging quality. He allows the paintings to speak for themselves: which they do with raw directness (especially the early 60s pieces and those late guoaches which are full of a defiance in the face of ruin and death). He gives us the anecdotal detail, too - which is as ripely confrontational as the art. Hilton still packs a punch.


American Winter
American Winter
Price: 12.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listening to the library crying, 19 Nov 2009
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This review is from: American Winter (Audio CD)
The fruits of Harnetty's academic access to field recordings from the Berea College Sound Archives in Kentucky are treated with hypnotic accompaniments from piano, banjo and what sounds like a dulcimer. The snap, crackle and pop of the original recordings is also given the special resonance of an instrumental accompaniment. Some treatments have a minimalist John Adams quality with the ghost of Nancarrow's player-piano in them too. Other sparser arrangements appear to haunt the originals with Cage-like suspensions and modified instrumentation. Harnetty's treatments are never embellishments - the original material is treated as part of the ensemble. The shock of this music - often evident in interruptions and interjections by the original singers and recording engineers - is its humanity. Though this is often foregrounded by the orchestration that Harnetty has imposed, it is never mawkish. In fact, it reveals itself only slowly and builds a cumulative power over the whole recording. It is the sound of something windblown caught up in telegraph wires. In releasing the sadness of these lost voices he does for American folk music what W.G. Sebald did for the European novel.
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