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Davey (Dorset, United Kingdom)

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Byzantium 330-1453
Byzantium 330-1453
Price: £22.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten beauty, 17 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Byzantium 330-1453 (Audio CD)
In the West we seem to have forgotten that the Roman Empire, in it's Byzantine form, lasted until the middle of the 15th century - and this is some of it's music.

The chant has a strange beauty that's very different to "Gregorian" chant, and it's a reminder that what we now hear as "sacred music" is only part of the tradition. A beatifully perfomed compilation that shows some of the range of the music, including some comparisons with "western" music (Dufay) and telling some of the story of the society from which it came.


The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £18.75

5.0 out of 5 stars The bestest of them all, 17 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Grateful Dead (Audio CD)
This is the best compromise between the light 'n' loose live band that was the Dead and the tight 'n' tasty songsters that were the Dead. Freeform jams may have been great if you were there, but have never gone down so well on record. Here, we get a bit of both, but with the emphasis on the songs: great compositions, especially "Wharf Rat", and great covers such as the medley of "Not Fade Away" and "Goin' Down the Road..." and, of course, "Me and My Uncle", allegedly the song they played most in their entire career.

A great album for both Heads and casual fans.


The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test
The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

5.0 out of 5 stars The other half of The New Journalism, 17 Mar 2013
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It is with great appropriatenessnessness that Hunter Thompson, in an S-less state, is mentioned, as the author of "Hell's Angels", as this is the other half of the equation whose solution is "Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas".

A psychedelic splurge of a book, covering the acid-soaked start of the California Counterculture, of a type that the Summer of Love represented an end of, not a beginning. As the half-century approaches, read it and enjoy as the past turns into history - and no, they're not the same thing.


Ravi Shankar - Collectors Edition
Ravi Shankar - Collectors Edition
Price: £15.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A box of delights, 3 Feb 2013
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I'm only part way through this, and there's much more to go. But I want to make a comment here and now on his work with "western" musicians.

Shankar could have played safe and please some listeners by being Sri Classical Sitar... but he didn't. Not every collaboration works, of course; but listen to "Prabhati" on CD 3. Yes, it's based on a raga - but what Yehudi Menuhin plays is also a lament for the suffering of the Jewish people under the Tzars, something his Russian ancestors may have heard ... eventually turning into something that could be a Cossack dance. The result is a true synthesis, creating something that otherwise could not exist. For that, I'll sacrifice some "purity".


Anthony Blunt: His Lives
Anthony Blunt: His Lives
by Miranda Carter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The betrayer betrayed., 3 Feb 2013
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As the Cold War receeds from memory, we're in danger of forgetting the context of what Blunt and the other Cambridge spies did; they betrayed their country, their countrymen, their families and their friends in order to support another country and it's ideology. The danger is that since that country, the USSR, no longer exists, and the ideology only lives on in degraded form in a few places (Cuba, maybe Chavez' People's Republic of Venezuala) where there is a danger of seeing it as almost quaint. This excellently written book (which I've re-read after reading Brian Sewell's autobiography) does remind us of the reality. Yes, much of it concerns art history, but that's what Blunt was - both the leading art historian of his day and a spy.

Interestingly, Blunt was both betrayer and betrayed; his exposure, with (the recently elected) Thatcher giving a statement in the house of Common, was clearly in breach of the agreement to immunity when he confessed. The result was an early example of press villification; as Carter puts it, he "... became a kind of screen on which fiction and fantasy were projected". When he asked his lawyer about suing for libel, he was advised not on to the grounds that he had "lost his good name", and that he "had in effect so defamed himself that no further defamation was possible". Seems all too familiar now.


Outsider: Always Almost: Never Quite
Outsider: Always Almost: Never Quite
by Brian Sewell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Art, Sex and National Service. What's not to like?, 16 Dec 2012
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not due to any love of art, sadly - if someone who doesn't appreciate music is said to have a tin ear, then I have a tin eye (and poor eyesight) - but because of the way he writes of it; he is one of the lucky ones for whom his abiding love and his trade, or craft, overlap. Only Brian Sewell could have written this - there's waspish humour that you have to read twice to be sure "did he really say that?", Latin and foreign phrases abound (so, if you don't know what they mean, look them up - learn something!), we get glimpses into some of the questionable practices of the art world, and I learned a lot more about the sexual mores of boys in boarding schools, National Servicemen and "queer" (his term - he's clearly determined NOT to use "gay"!) men in the late 50's than I ever expected to!


Prog Rocks! Vol. 2
Prog Rocks! Vol. 2
Price: £7.33

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like?, 17 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Prog Rocks! Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
Another couple of CD's worth from the Prog Archives. Sure there's a bunch of these out there already, but this and last year's Vol 1 have several pluses:

1. As well as the classic late 60's - mid 70's stuff, it has Nu-Prog and material from "The Wilderness Years" of the 80's.
2. It has some less well known bands such as the under-rated Hatfield and the North.
3. It restores Roxy Music to the Prog pantheon - and it's the first time I've heard "Ladytron" for years.
4. It has Jethro Tull, but NOT "Living In The Past", and for this, much thanks! Note to compilers of retrospectives - yes, "living in the past", we get it; now move on, please, I really don't need another copy of it!!!


Taverner - Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas
Taverner - Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas
Price: £13.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dum Transisset Sabbatum, 23 Sep 2012
The Kyrie and the Mass are of themselves beautiful, but for me the standout is the Motet "Dum Transisset Sabbatum". A piece of holy week polyphony with sections linked by short pieces of plainchant, the Tallis Scholars' voices soar in a way that gives the long slow phrases of the music both great power and great tranquility.


The Yiddish Policemen's Union
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Michael Chabon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Can I give it six stars, please?, 23 Sep 2012
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This is one of the best books I've ever read - and yes, I'm a reader! OK. I'm biased as enjoy "noir" from Chandler to Rankin and Ellroy; but this just has so much. The characters are great (you love or hate them all) and I just felt that I was there. There's wonderful wordplay in both English & Yiddish (and no, you don't need to know any Yiddish, you can work it out by the context, but it's also fun to look it up) and there's the small matter of the whole thing being to some extent a discursion on Jewish history and what it means to be Jewish - this book is the best demonstration I know of how to be serious without being pretentious.

Oh, and it's a rollicking good yarn as well!


The Wild Places
The Wild Places
by Robert Macfarlane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

18 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Roger Deakin meets Roger Dean. And loses, 23 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Wild Places (Paperback)
This doesn't work for me. Macfarlane seems unable to actually describe anything as such, and each place gives an excuse for a rambling pretentious discursion on the meaning of time, space, reality etc. etc. I realised quite early on, when he refers to being "balanced on an edge of time as well as space", that I'd wandered into a Prog-Rock album ca. 1974. It really should have one of those Yes-type Roger Dean covers.

So not my cup of tea; if, on the other hand, your idea of heaven is stitting in a cafe drinking a tall mochachino with your MacBook Pro open whilst listening to "Tales From Topographic Oceans" on your iPod and Tweeting to your Facebook friends on your iPhone 5, then I imagine you'll adore it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2013 12:28 PM BST


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