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Mr. D. L. Hames

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Alexandria: City of the Western Mind
Alexandria: City of the Western Mind
by Theodore Vrettos
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor history, 11 April 2012
Sadly, this is a shoddy piece of history, full of inaccuracies, baseless inferences, loaded language, and bias. The 'Soul of the City' chapter, on which I'm able to comment given my research on Cyril of Alexandria, was particularly bad.

1. The works of Hypatia were not destroyed by Cyril and his monks- this is not attested in any ancient sources.
2. It's unclear why Ammonius should be described as a 'fanatic' monk for throwing a stone at Orestes, while those who capture him and beat him to death are called 'brave citizens'.
3. Constantine did not make Christianity 'compulsory for everyone in the empire'.
4. The Serapis was destroyed during Theophilus' episcopate, not Cyril's- so it was not 'Cyril and his monks' trying to 'destroy everything pagan' who did it. In fact, Cyril had no apparent agenda to destroy pagan buildings and tradition.
5. 'Cyril and his monks' did not kill Hypatia. Such a statement is a gross reductionism.

There's basically a thinly veiled hatred for the shallowly caricatured Cyril, a general disinclination towards ancient Christianity, and there's little to commend this book as anything beyond mere historical fiction.

Lovegig Album
Lovegig Album

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great effort from new artists, 18 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Lovegig Album (MP3 Download)
Put together by a dedicated crew of Durham University students, the Lovegig album is a showcase of some formidable young talent. Having been performed and produced without any of the finance or gloss of a commercial release, it's a window into the world of grassroots singers, songwriters, and musicians which would be a worthy addition to any record collection.

From the stirring opening anthem 'Wind in These Sails' to the haunting rendition of 'Amazing Grace' at the close, the album is characterised not only by its exploration of a wide range of musical genres, but also writing which deals with a depth and variety of themes with candour and humour. Adam Baring's lyric, 'I saved my four favourite chords/For the one I most adore' ('Candystore') delivered in his lazy drawl can't fail to raise a smile, while Jack Champness' deliciously crisp vocals lend real poignancy to 'One Who is Strong'.

A definite highlight is Jake Wanstall's 'Bethan's Song': a brilliantly well-crafted and beautifully sung piece, with moments akin to Radiohead's 'Creep', it perhaps best shows-off the production quality the record boasts. Similarly, Jo Hobson's reworking of the hymn 'My Song is Love Unknown' acts as a wonderfully moody and atmospheric centrepiece of a kind. Samuel Crossman's 1664 lyrics meditate on Christ's act of sacrifice in laying down his life for those he loved- and while never pressing or proselytizing, the Lovegig album deeply marked by the artists' experience and conviction of this love.

So all in all, this is certainly an album worth buying, and a list of names to look out for in future. The songs will move you (some emotionally, some in the toe department), the quality will reassure you that the X-Factor isn't all there is to say about music in the UK, and perhaps you'll even find that the artists have some really good news to share with you. Buy now!

Heavier Things
Heavier Things
Price: £5.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 6 April 2005
This review is from: Heavier Things (Audio CD)
The first I ever heard of John Mayer was the track "Daughters". I liked it a lot. Then a friend of mine realised I had no John Mayer CDs and forced me to buy one.
I bought "Heavier Things" with no real expectations and played it. Instantly catchy, musical integrity, obvious talent, sharp lyrics. My dad and I agree: it's one of those albums that you come across just a few times in life where each track is absolutely cracking.
While the songs are singalong friendly, and no doubt the singles were huge on radio, there are some beautifully deep moments too "How come everything I think I need always comes with batteries?". This isn't throwaway pop trash, but it's not dreary and dry either.
If you want an album of quality musicianship, shrewd songwriting and a set of tracks that won't let you down; this is it. It's a classic.

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