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A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar)
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MPLA [VINYL]
MPLA [VINYL]
Price: 14.41

4.0 out of 5 stars Budget quality., 8 Jan 2014
This review is from: MPLA [VINYL] (Vinyl)
This roots classic was a big record in the UK in the punk,era, and it's nice to have it on vinyl. However, you get what you pay for, and at under 8 quid, there have been a few corners cut -,the vinyl's thinner than a 7" , and the sleeves of birhthday card quality.


How to Babysit a Grandad
How to Babysit a Grandad
by Jean Reagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and warm, beautifully illustrated., 4 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sometimes, your parents need you to look after Granddad when they go out. It's a tough job, but this book gives you loads of ideas about what he'd like, , from making ice cream and cookies to building a pirate cave.

A funny story, but what really makes the book are the wonderful illustrations by Lee Wildish. A nice little gift for the Granddad in your childs life.


Expo 58
Expo 58
by Jonathan Coe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Lighter than the usual Coe, though.., 28 Dec 2013
This review is from: Expo 58 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Mr. Coe has previously written novels about the social and political climate of the 1960s and 1970s, and now its the 1950s turn, with this gentle comedy which knowingly channels Ealing Studios movies, Hitchcock, Graham Greene and other iconic popular culture of the era into the tale of Thomas Foley, a civil servant lifted out of suburban tedium when he is chosen to run Britain's contribution to the 1958 Expo in Brussels. High jinks ensue as our hapless hero gets involved with espionage and exotic ladies.

Some reviewers have dismissed this 50s pastiche as as too fluffy, but I think what Mr. Coe is doing is contrasting the escapist pop culture of the period with the grim reality of life in the post war era, , and given this the book reveals a more serious purpose. For myself, I enjoyed it just as much as I have all of his other, both as an an excellent pastiche of British culture of the era and a serious look at what we have gained and lost as a nation since then. Recommended.


Ella's Kitchen: The Cookbook: The Red One
Ella's Kitchen: The Cookbook: The Red One
by Ella's Kitchen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well designed and written., 28 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A really well considered, thoughtfully done children's cookbook. The recipes work well both for when the toddlers are 'helping' in the kitchen and and work for older children cooking more independently. Children will enjoy the colourful presentation of the book and all of the little extra activities like stickers and colouring, and parents will enjoy the fact that the recipes are all made of cheap, universally available kitchen cupboard staples. I like the fact that the book doesn't shill the companies products, too. Thoroughly recommended.


I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)
I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)
by Chuck Klosterman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.80

3.0 out of 5 stars Baffled, to be honest, 27 Dec 2013
For myself, there are two reasons to read Chuck's gloriously unfettered prose: the way he can spend an entire essay going all over the shop before coming to a surprisingly obvious conclusion (as in the Batman/Death Wish essay herein) And the way that you can be nodding along with him before realizing you haven't actually agreed with anything he's said. in other words, i -enjoy reading the dude without necessarily agreeing with him all of the time.

But with this book, he's lost me. A shortish collection of meditations about how Chuck defines 'villainy' which he sees as 'knowing the most and caring the least' it is hamstrung , as least as far as I can tell, and as other reviewers have noted, by not distinguishing those acting a role and those genuinely evil: doubtless that was his intention, but at the same time you've got to question a theory that encompasses Chevy Chase and Hitller in it's remit. The fact is, even after reading the book twice, I've honestly got no idea what he's getting at.

One problem is that he's writing exclusively for an American audience, so the parts abut US sporting figures will mystify non-Americans, and I imagine unsporty Americans. but at the same time, he displays an ignorance about the wider world - when Writing about the Blur vs Oasis chart feud of 1996' he assumes that because Blur were seen as a marginal hipster band in the US, they were seen as the same in the UK. And again with Black Sabbath, who he accepts as some sort of embodiment of evil intent in the US but were actualy seen as a bit of pantomime in the UK.

But I digress. Comfortably his worst essay collection, buy the ones pre 'Eating The Dinosaur' if you want the good stuff. if your a fan, I think it's overpriced and I'd wait till it get's cheaper.


There's A Dream I've Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966-71
There's A Dream I've Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966-71
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 65.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unpopular pop., 23 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lee had been around since the 50s, a prolific songwriter, producer and recording artist who could turn his hand to any style. In 1965, he broke through internationally with 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' and the 'Nancy& Lee' album, which encouraged the record industry to bankroll the LHI label, which for five years released Lee's tears-in-my-beer country psych-pop albums together with a motley selection of LA pseudo-psychedelic acts and oddballs. None of which sold bugger all, and after which Lee went off to live in Sweden and sank quickly into obscurity. By 1985, the year that Sub Pop records first mooted rereleasing the LHI back catalogue, he was almost forgotten.

The appeal of this set, then, is hard to describe. It has been theorized that Lee, already 40 by the time LHI was formed, didn't quite grasp the new sounds, and it's this dysfunction between band's intentions and Lees autocratic management and production that make these records fascinating - really good pop records that were ,however, understandably not that popular - Gram Parsion's ISB aside, approximations of psychedelia, cod C&W and LA sunshine pop that never quite get there and are all the more interesting for it.

So, whilst it's difficult to claim Lee as an important or influential figure, and whilst a great deal of his work could fairly be described as throwaway, nevertheless this is five hours of delightful, off- kilter 60s pop, beautifully packaged and annotated.

What you get:

Hardback cloth bound 300x300 book, with photos and interviews
4x CDs. The four albums Lee recorded in the period and a selection of LHIs output. - 100 songs or so. (The deluxe version contains 400 songs)
Facsimile of Lee's LHI business card.
Flexidisc of studio banter.
DVD od 'Cowboy In Sweden' a sort of extended music video.

Definitely the nicest box set I've ever bought.


Blind Baby Has It's Mothers Ey
Blind Baby Has It's Mothers Ey
Price: 13.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest rock band of all time., 23 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Les Rallizes Denudes had their roots in Japanese experimental theatre, but became a band in1967. basing their sound on western acts like Blue Cheer. They ended up making The Stooges sound like The Archies, 25 minute long vocal and feedback freak outs underpinned by purposely simplistic and repetitive rhythm patterns. Les Rallizes Denudes were never signed by a record company and never released a record, so this like all their stuff is a bootleg, though perhaps the nearest bootleg to a 'first album' in their available releases.

In another universe, records from Japan were more widely available in the West in the 60s, and 'Blind Baby' became as important as the first Stooges album and 'Dark Side Of The Moon' combined. I like that universe.

(On the other hand, theres something about this release that's a bit odd. The record company don't seem to have a website, and though the packagings nice, a sticker claims it's [part of a numbered limited edition, but the copy itself isn't numbered.)


GQ Eats: The cookbook for men of seriously good taste
GQ Eats: The cookbook for men of seriously good taste
by CONDE NAST INDEPENDENT MAGAZIN
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 18.60

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does hit it's demographic, so.., 28 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I couldn't really describe myself as a GQ man, finding a cologne that reflects my personality not being that high on my agenda, but whenever I do pick it up in the barbers it always seems to be like a portal to an 80s retroworld of hairgel, matt black furniture and listening to Sade in terrible provincial winebars. And the initial impression the book gives - it's cover the black of a packet of JPS Kingsize left in the glovebox of a souped-up Hot Hatch, the photos of the dishes done in that big white plate/small pile of food way from way back in the Nouvelle Cuisine days - does reinforce the retro feel.

Inside though, it's more of a fairly common contemporary cookbook idea, a collection of recipes from different celebrity chefs and food writers: Mainly pretty good and well chosen, actually, and erring towards the robust and hearty end of modern cuisine.

However, do be aware that this isn't a cookbook for absolute beginners, but if you know your way around a cooker most of the recipes are pretty accessible, though there is the odd obscure ingredient.

But it does strike me that, just as the average GQ reader probably doesn't actually drive an Aston Martin or wear 1200 quid Kilgore & Trout suits, The average buyer of this book won't actually cook much from it, it being more of a 'lifestyle accessory' that will be placed on a glass coffee table which itself will be between a black pleather sofa and an oversized TV in order to impress lady guests. And it will do that job very well.


Orla Kiely Home
Orla Kiely Home
by Orla Kiely
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 27.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Mid-Century Modernism Resource, 28 Nov 2013
This review is from: Orla Kiely Home (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a big fan of modernist design from the early 50s to the mid 70s, a time before austere minimalism when furniture could be both futuristic and cosy, both practical and fun: It's one of the few 'designer' looks that can be effectively achieved on a tight budget, given a severe enough bootsale habit and access to [...]

So I ordered this to add to my collection of sourcebooks, expecting it to mainly about textiles, Kiely mainly being known for her contemporary updates of 1960s fabrics. However it's much more than that - a beautifully produced, hefty coffee table book filled with lovely photos of moderne homes around the world, as well as her own home. Very inspirational if you're going for the look yourself,but any fan of design /architecture would enjoy this, and the very high quality of the presentation makes it a great gift. Thoroughly recommended.


The Double (Spero Lucas 2)
The Double (Spero Lucas 2)
by George P. Pelecanos
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.91

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Mysterious Case Of the Midlife Crisis, 14 Nov 2013
As with all of Mr. Pelecanos' protagonists, the character of private investigator Spero Lucas is reinforced by the author's obsessive reportage of their cultural tastes and social background: But whereas Nick Stefanos' hardcore punk or Derek Strange's 70s soul were convincing aspects of their personas, it's a bit more challenging with Lucas, ex-military hardman and shagmeister who somehow has the tastes of say, a middle aged hipster crime author.

Lucas is supposedly a fan of modern crime fiction, obscure reggae and rock music, and 1960s auteur film directors, but he's obviously a bit too busy with the shagging and punching people to actually do any of that stuff, so Pelecanos thoughtfully uses his writing powers to give us what amount to checklists: Lucas drops off a box of books at a Veteran's hospital, and Pelecanos lists the works of contemporary crime authors within: Lucas considers buying a DVD, so we get a list of the 60s crime movies he's watched recently. He seduces his love interest in the book by reeling off the names of a great number of Southern US rock acts he's into (which is a failsafe way to chat up a woman, obviously). When he does begin a relationship with her, she brings him a new 70s reggae album on every date.

Whilst the clumsy way all these references are shoehorned into the text is bad enough, the real issue is that they don't really illuminate Lucas' character in any way - whilst there's no reason whatsoever an ex-army keep-fit fanatic hardnut shouldn't be into Lover's Rock, there's no reason why he should, either, and Pelecanos doesn't do anything to connect the dots between what are fairly obviously his own tastes and his character. The overwhelming impression is of an author in middle age trying to convince himself he's still hip.

Once you've got all this and the extended sex scenes out of the way, and the long descriptions of various cycle trails around DC (I'm assuming Pelecanos has started mountain biking) there's not really that much of a book left, a fairly standard procedural with Lucas chasing around a trio of Leonardesque petty hoods around in search of a stolen painting.

I buy all of Mr. Pelecanos books on the day of publication, and will continue to do so, this is comfortably his least good book. If your new to him, start with the Derek Strange series instead.


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