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P. F. Gartside (London)

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The Violence of Financial Capitalism (Semiotext(e) / Intervention) (Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series)
The Violence of Financial Capitalism (Semiotext(e) / Intervention) (Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series)
by Christian Marazzi
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars comically inept translation, 22 Aug 2012
The worst translation job I've ever come across renders this all but unreadable, whatever the merits of the argument. Sad to say: avoid
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2013 1:09 AM BST

A Christmas Cornucopia
A Christmas Cornucopia
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 4.65

14 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NO!, 17 Dec 2010
This review is from: A Christmas Cornucopia (Audio CD)
From the ugly faux-Victorian cover, to the comical obviousness of the choice of songs, to Annie's constipated and incongrous soul-vocals, this a christmas dog, a yuletide abomination. Annie expresses her love for the british folk tradition by doing for/with it what Mike Oldfield did with/for the Blue Peter theme. She reflects the heartfelt communality of christmas by multitracking her own voice and basically communing with herself. And some children. If only there was a duet with Bono, my Xmas would be completely spoilt. No stars.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2011 4:43 AM GMT

Apple iPod 30GB Video/White (5th Generation)
Apple iPod 30GB Video/White (5th Generation)

15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ...and then it died, 22 Mar 2007
Just how do Apple get away with making consumers love them for marketing something that just dies after a year or so?

I'm livid. At myself. For allowing myself to be suckered into the whole 'cool brand' nonsense. Look: it looks and feels nice, and it works and you feel all warm about it like the reviewers here...and then it Stops Working. That's not cool. It's not accceptable. You wouldn't accept it in a car or a TV or a fridge or a radio. And it's not just me - these things conk out with a regularity you would not accept in another product.

Somehow, despite sort of knowing this - who doesn't know that the batteries are rubbish? -, we carry on buying them anyway. I almost admire Apple for the brilliance of this confidence trick. But I don't. The Guardian newspaper voted the ipod the Worst Consumer Product of the Year for 2006, because it costs a lot of money, but soon it will just stop working. Be cleverer than me. Buy something else

The Motorcycle Diaries [DVD]
The Motorcycle Diaries [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gael Garcia Bernal
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 4.01

7 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ho-hum, 25 April 2005
This review is from: The Motorcycle Diaries [DVD] (DVD)
The film looks pretty, but, really, it's paper thin, sentimental stuff. I haven't read the journals on which it's based, but it's hard to believe they can be as corny and formulaic as this 'coming of age'/making of a revolutionary/buddy film.
Che sets off with his mate on a long gap year trek around S America. They meet some beautifully photographed poor people. They run out of money. They help out at a leper colony (for a whole 3 weeks!) and for this Che is given the kind of farewell you'd expect if he'd, well, found a Cure for Leprosy, rather than - Princess Diana-like - just touched a few lepers.
Che also reads some books. We see him reading them. Hmmm - he's a thinker, see? We don't get to see what these books are, nor does he discuss them.
Oh and, you guessed, as Ernesto meets the poor and dispossessed, his beard grows, and he starts to look ever more like...the iconic Che.
Che (or is it Salles?) seems to end up espousing a sentimental Pan-American indigenous primitivism...and you (I, at least) wonder how he got from this to revolutionary Marxism. The 'coda' which tells us Che was assasinated 'with the backing of the CIA' in Bolivia is presumably designed to add some spurious radical political edge to what is actually a very conservative feelgood film.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2013 1:27 PM GMT

What's the Matter with America?: The Resistable Rise of the American Right
What's the Matter with America?: The Resistable Rise of the American Right
by Thomas Frank
Edition: Paperback

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's right on the button, 15 Oct 2004
Not as majestic as his last - 'One Market Under God' - but that's a hard act to follow. Frank's latest has a slight feel of his publisher demanding something else, quickly. It's less satisfying than OMuG, but he's right on the button again, nailing the political malaise that effects the World's Only Superpower: Hobson's Choice between Moderately Conservative and Full-on Conservative. Frank uses his home state of Kansas - once, surprisingly, a hotbed of 'socialist' political movements as a case study - and charts the con the Cons have pulled to convince working people that free-market, pro-business, Republicanism represents their interests. Frank ascribes this puzzling shift to the disappearance of economics from political debate in favour of 'culture wars' over unwinnable issues like abortion, evolution and a fixation on a conspiracy of 'liberal' east-coast/hollywood/media, latte-drinking, abortion-loving, intellectuals (the latter a REALLY dirty word). Franks shows these culture wars to be nothing but useful fictions around which to rally the disgruntled authentic folks of the 'heartland'.
Franks ends with a critique of the Democrats' sell-out under Clinton. Equal blame lies with the Democrats' abdication from the debate on economics (taxation, public services, regulation) in favour of business-friendliness. Sound familiar? New Labour learned a lot of what it knows from Clinton's 'tiangulations'.
It's also worth saying that Frank can REALLY write: never a dull sentence or a pat phrase. I was dismayed to discover he's still in his 30s. Far too clever for his own good. Buy, read and begin to understand how Dubya got where he is today.

Inside the Dream Syndicate, Vol. 1: Day of Niagara, 1965
Inside the Dream Syndicate, Vol. 1: Day of Niagara, 1965

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars beware!, 17 April 2002
perhaps it's more or less interesting as an artefact-relic, but the recording is so poor you have to wonder whether this is a hoax. The radical drone I was expecting is rendered so thin and reedy it sounds like a detuned transistor radio down a lift shaft. Really not worth the search, the wait or the money

Flight Of The Behemoth
Flight Of The Behemoth

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars uncanny, 16 April 2002
This review is from: Flight Of The Behemoth (Audio CD)
This just doesn't work like other music. A wall, a wail of feedback, a lava ooze of distorto-sludge. Almost no drums. Certainly no tune - unless you count the demented mechanical plinkyplonk on track 4 (I think)...and yet, it's great like great music is. For comparison, it's even 'better' (whatever that means) than OO Void. Exhausts powers of description. It's exhausting, claustrophobic, and then it soars. It's a gas. Try it.

Ways Of Hearing: A User's Guide To The Pop Psyche From Elvis to Eminem
Ways Of Hearing: A User's Guide To The Pop Psyche From Elvis to Eminem
by Ben Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't do what it says on the tin, 11 Jan 2002
Disappointing. I've quite liked Thompson's pop reviews in the past and I'm always interested in anyone taking on the mad task of trying to write about music and the blurb/reviews on the book suggested I might have found a winner. I hadn't.
Thompson's own 'Mission Statement' sets a smart alec-y, postmodernish tone that soon grates. The reference to John Berger's 'Ways of Seeing' is both nonsensical and facetious (and I don't particularly defend Berger's pieties). Thompson is occasionally funny, in a mordant, English kind of way and he's demonstrably an enthusiast. But he just can't get the tone right. He's not properly opinionated, because any time his neck sticks out and he starts to say something interesting, or - heaven forbid - intelligent - he has to let us know, in a footnote or an arch remark, that he's not taking anything too seriously here. As if real passion for ideas is just, like, un-cool. I raised myself on early 80s NME - Paul Morley, Ian Penman etc. They were both more serious - pretentious, even - and much, much funnier. And they got the balance between their devotion and the absurdity of what they were doing just right. Perhaps it's Thompson's joke - I couldn't laugh, I'd bought the book - that he has no intention of delivering what his introduction promises.
The self-consciously quirky structure seems, in the end, a way of dressing up/selling a collection of thoughts without any organising argument beyond the hardly novel idea that pop is both serious and fun(ny), and that those who prize 'authenticity' are generally mirthless puritans, or po-faced sociologists. Theodore Adorno is a very soft target, if you're determined to caricature him. The later sections get progressively more fraudulent, loose and silly. A prize to anyone who can tell me what unites the disparate musings in the sections 'Psychedelic Ear' and 'All-seeing Ear'. Thompson has his enthusiasms and, doubtless, a big record collection, but then so have I. Good books on popular music are very thin on the ground. Thompson mentions two: Lester Bangs' Psychotic Reactions and Julian Cope's Head-On. Both are madder, angrier, funnier and far better at capturing what Ben Thompson and I both love about music and the people who make it.

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