Profile for Mr. Thomas Thatcher > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mr. Thomas Tha...
Top Reviewer Ranking: 16,532
Helpful Votes: 790

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mr. Thomas Thatcher "Tom Thatcher" (Salisbury, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
pixel
North Star
North Star
Price: £10.69

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done all of you, 24 April 2014
This review is from: North Star (Audio CD)
I'm really very very impressed with this. It's far too good to be a last hurrah from a long-forgotten band, and is genuinely exciting and creative. Sonja and Florian are still there, with some absolutely ace playing from all the band. Paul Sax has a pretty frightening job following Darryl Way and Eddie Jobson, but he stands up loud and proud. Paul's a terrific player, also known for his busking and for other projects with Sonja. Kirby from the Air Cut incarnation easily maintains his fluid rocky style and Chris Harris and Robert Norton on bass and kit are both accomplished in the extreme. This is also a mix of music with some intriguing covers, and Soja gets the notes as well as ever.

Florian deserves a page on his own: he's a truly original and powerful drummer. He's also a deadly timekeeper and he is here.

As somebody else said in another review, this really is in danger of giving prog. a good name.

Seeing them live on Saturday 26th April and can't wait.


sussed!® EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE | hilarious 3-in-1 personality quiz card game | fun figuring out people
sussed!® EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE | hilarious 3-in-1 personality quiz card game | fun figuring out people
Offered by Games to Get Ltd
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting results...., 24 April 2014
The makers of this game have obviously spent a great deal of time on the questions here, because the answers can be pretty revealing and even toe-curling. For example, under "Fear," here are three of the questions under "Which is my biggest Fear?" 1. Upsetting someone. 2. Making a mistake. 3. Being left out out or rejected. Therefore, although it's aimed at a target audience of 8+, the game can easily be played by anybody of any age - if, indeed, it is a "game!" Nonetheless, the disarming honesty of younger people settles well into this context.

It is very enjoyable and easy to play, and not only is it adaptable to any age but it's extremely portable. There is a lot to be said for being able to pack hours of entertainment into your pocket: and being a miserable old git, I am also very pleased to have something fun that isn't based around a screen. Excellent value for money too.


1066: What Fates Impose
1066: What Fates Impose
by G.K. Holloway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of research and imagination, 20 Feb. 2014
I have always been fascinated by pre-conquest Britain and, living near Wilton, Shaftesbury (where King Cnut died) and Sherborne, it would be curious if the incredible history of the area had not rubbed off. Previous literary sources have been Alfred Duggan and various summaries of the times, not least the Domesday Book and the Bayeux Tapestry. What has been frustrating is the inability to picture the actual people of the time and to see them as real actors on a real stage. The huge influence of Denmark, Norway and France on our development as a country is absolutely engrossing.

King Harold Godwinson, successor to King Edward the Confessor who died without children, is the most central figure of this engrossing novel, only known to most people as the king who received an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings. But Mr Holloway, after extensive research, has fleshed out Harold (and the Godwinson clan) and made him very human, especially considering his obvious abilities as a military and political leader, his extraordinary "double" marriage, his explosive and unpredictable family and his overseas connections.

Few realise how widespread was foreign travel in the 11th century and Mr Holloway brings this out very clearly, describing the comings and goings between various European countries. The depiction of William the Conqueror is quite wonderful: he is painted as a brutish, semi-literate oaf, but not without native cunning, a certain charm and forceful leadership abilties. The story of Harold's capture and treatment by Count Guy, and subsequent effective imprisonment by William, was new to me and and helped to flesh out not only the territorial but also the personal antagonism of the two men.

The romance and real affection between Harold and his first "wife" Edyth Swanneschals or Edyth Swanneck is beautifully depicted although the nick-name "Swan Neck" is probably a misinterpretation. The finest part of the novel to my eyes is the "reconciliation" bewteen Edyth and Harold after he was more or less compelled to marry Edith of Mercia - perhaps more of a political alliance than a marriage of love. Nonetheless, the author makes the point very strongly that Edith may well have been easy on the eyes and that Harold put up with the "inconvenience" very bravely!!

The Godwinson brothers are seen as an unreliable and bloodthirsty gang, with Sweyn being particularly unpleasant and probably what we would now call a psycopath. Tostig, who effectively ruled Northumbria, rebelled against Harold, persuading the Norwegian King Harald to invade the North. The result was the Battle of Stamford Bridge, which Harold won conclusively in September 1066. After a forced march back of 250 miles to the south with a depleted and exhausted force, Harold was defeated by William at the Battle of Hastings near Senlac Ridge in October 1066. As the author points out, it was a very close thing: had Harold not been killed after a full day's fighting, it is likely that he would have won. The battles are narrated really well and are truly exciting. These were bloody and violent times, the victor often being the man with the biggest stick regardless of right or wrong, and this point is driven home very forcefully.

I loved this novel and this short review does not do it justice. Some might find some of the dialogue a little too racy and modern, but I did not. As 99% of the speech is speculation, it is the author's choice to decide the words and the tone of them. We know what happened in these extraordinary days in outline form but Mr Holloway has filled in the gaps with remarkable skill.

For the first time in a very long time, I re-read certain parts of this excellent book immediately. There is a lot to take in the first time round and I missed a great deal. Full marks to Mr Holloway for shedding a light on these nation-forming years. Five stars.


Homer And Langley
Homer And Langley
by E. L. Doctorow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book, 21 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Homer And Langley (Paperback)
This is the sort of novel that restores one's faith in writing. EL Doctorow is a master and there are some superb funny and bathetic moments.


Elixir 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Sets Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating - Custom Light (0.011 - 0.052)
Elixir 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Sets Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating - Custom Light (0.011 - 0.052)
Price: £13.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Fine strings, 21 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent strings and ideal for gigging and recording by Isobel Thatcher (see website). Used with a Crafter Windsurfer, a lovely guitar.


Rome: The Coming of the King: Historical Fiction: Rome 2
Rome: The Coming of the King: Historical Fiction: Rome 2
by M.C. Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to love, 7 Aug. 2013
Believe it or not, I picked up this book at a local book exchange not realising that it was by Manda Scott. I read the Boudica series some time ago and did review a couple for Amazon. This is a page-turner and I was very grateful for it in a time of extreme insomnia. It rattles along well, with the fairly unbelievable characters getting into all sorts of scrapes and capturing, er, Masada along the way. One wants to know what happens and the main actors are just about interesting enough to engage the reader.

I found the Boudica books very hard going and, before the end, found this very hard going too. It's probably my fault but I find Miss Scott's style uneasy and produced - which is not to claim that she isn't hugely talented. I just felt an unprompted groan emerge at the first mention of "The Dreamers of Mona," and that stayed with me to the end.

Not at all sorry to have read this Roman thriller, but I will not seek out Miss Scott's books as a priority.


Broken Barricades (40th anniversary series)
Broken Barricades (40th anniversary series)
Price: £8.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best-ever outing by Brooker and Co, 23 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is such a weird album, sounding more like a cross between Cream, Gallagher, the Stones and the Beatles than PH. However, having played Simple Sister live for 40 years now, I have to say that it is one of a handful of albums that is truly indispensible. Brooker's voice is powerful, the lyrics are risque and dream-like and Trower does Trower.

PH were so far ahead of their time that they met themselves about four times coming the other way. I have no idea how this album got written or recorded: 99.9% of bands of any era would have been happy with Simple Sister alone.

Simply better than anything else around and virtually ignored, of course.


Elixir 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Sets Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating - Custom Light (0.011 - 0.052)
Elixir 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Sets Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating - Custom Light (0.011 - 0.052)
Price: £12.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb with a top-class Crafter guitar, as played by Isobel Thatcher on the "Keeping On" album., 23 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Brilliant strings. Clear, ringing without echoing and very long lasting. I would recommend them to anybody and they are great live.


The Road to Harry's Bar: Forty Years on the Potholed Path to Stardom
The Road to Harry's Bar: Forty Years on the Potholed Path to Stardom
by Gordon Haskell
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Mouse that roared, 13 Aug. 2012
Dear old Gordon: this is an absolutely fascinating book for anybody even remotely interested in the pop/rock world and, indeed, for anybody to whom it's new. Gordon doesn't hold back: he developed a cynical view of the world of rock music very early on and retained this view, dare I say it, up to and including now. There are a few things that cannot come out in Gordie's life journey, though! 1. He's an excellent raconteur: I still chuckle to myself remembering his stories about long-lost gigs in the back of freezing vans in places like Aberystwyth: and he could keep a story going for ages and ages until all bladder control was a vain hope 2. He is an exceptional musician. I've seen him in jazz bands on bass, in duos with Mike Wedgwood (see Curved Air) and others and on his own and, lately, with an orchestra in Scandinavia. Do not imagine that the songs on Harry's Bar rose fully-formed from the earth; a lot of life and work went into crafting these lovely pieces of work. You'll hear about it here. Get hold of Hambledon Hill: now there's a CD full of songs of life. Yes, Gordon is a consummate musician. 3. We never quite find out why he and old school pal Robert Fripp fell out so badly. Sorry, Gord, it's a small footnote in rock history, I know, but what did they do to upset each other quite so badly? I hope that's all over now.

I re-read the book in Denmark when my daughter was recording her first CD with Michael Wedgwood, who played a duo gigs with Gordie and recorded some of Harry's Bar. We all watched a CD of G with an orchestra that Mike put on and my goodness, it's lovely.

You'll love the book's section on "punk." For once, somebody has the nerve to say openly how badly the press and the media let the public down by giving a music form that was 99% crap, left virtually no memorable names or music and tried to knock down was was decent and honourable the oxygen of publicity. Clover and crumpets, anyone?

When "How wonderful you are" was an overnight success, various commentators in the press said, "Oh look, here's another novelty record by an unknown got lucky," which really really p***ed me off. It showed, even then, the level of people who call them selves critics, who do not even listen, ever listen. I wrote to the Telegraph and pointed out that Gordie produced that song by being a superb musician, and not by being The Singing Goat, or the Novelty Choir from Dorset or any other such crap. They published it. I am pleased that for once we spoke up and that this lovely man, loyal friend and clever musician at last, at last, received some of the credit and, we hope, cash due to him.


Crusade (Making of England 2)
Crusade (Making of England 2)
by Stewart Binns
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, but why is it all in the historic present?, 7 May 2012
Having just finished this book, I am now wondering how to do it justice and will come back to the review after a second reading. What should have been a four/five star write up has been demoted to three by the constant use of the historic present. "Last week, I get up at six and I am putting on eggs to cook. My wife comes in and she puts on toast. It is raining and I am deciding whether or not to go out: so I walk to the car......." and so on. This is a great, exciting tale, and the opening section about William of Malmesbury's quest is well-told and atmospheric: but the almost constant use of the present gives one the temptation to add "innit?" after every sentence ("So Dave, I'm 'aving a drink, innit, when this bloke walks in, know what I mean? ....") and reminds one of Jeremy Vine, who uses nothing but the present, and that may not be a good thing. The great Julius Caesar only used this tense to describe fierce action, as did Virgil, Ovid, Thucydides, Hesiod and, in fact, almost all the great classical writers. As an occasional device, it's effective: as a constant, it's INCREDIBLY annoying.

Now, having re-read the book, I have warmed to it to some degree. It is very much a work of fiction and speculation and claims to be nothing else. We know very little about Edgar Atheling and the goings-on of that period, and the rather cloying companionship of the main protagonists becomes wearing. Nonetheless, Stewart Binns does capture the sheer unspeakable ghastliness of the first Crusade as best he can. The sheer barbarism of the Christian crusaders, some of whom were inspired by a barking lunatic called Peter the Hermit, is fairly well attested and Mr Binns' contention that the Crusaders were mainly bent on bloodshed and plunder is, again, not without foundation. What we know of the period depicts both sides as equally unattractive: the siege and capture of Antioch is, all agree, a dreadful episode in a time marked by warfare, death, disease, privation, treachery and huge unrest. Stewart's version of Henry 1, usually painted as even more ghastly than his father William 1 and brother William Rufus, is interesting: he comes over as adapting to the regency with a degree of nobility: his unexpected Coronation Charter was a spectacular move towards what we call democracy and deserves some good press.

All in all, a darned good read. However, we have an historical novelist who is largely ignored by today's readers who writes the finest English imagineable and writes a great story with little sentimentality and over-embellishment: his name is Alfred Duggan His depiction of these horrible times, "Count Bohemond," may be one of the finest novels in the English language and, of course, uses the same sources as Stewart Binns. Both are worth reading, indeed, but Duggan's is a genuine classic.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10