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disco_daveuk (Southampton, UK)

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Leon and the Place Between
Leon and the Place Between
by Angela McAllister
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars A Teacher's dream, 13 May 2014
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I used this book as the basis for a short topic in a year 4 class... long story short, the book was such an amazing stimulus (along with experiential learning that was planned) that the quality of creative and descriptive writing in my class has been skyrocketing ever since. Buy it, read it, enjoy it, teach it.

Year 4 (100 Literacy Framework Lessons)
Year 4 (100 Literacy Framework Lessons)
by Sue Graves
Edition: Paperback
Price: £35.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 100 Literacy Lessons, 30 Sep 2012
This book is not awful, but by no means is it particularly great. With so many schools now adopting the creative curriculum approach, what books like this need to provide is a skeleton of lessons and sequences that cover the objectives in a logical order but leave themselves open to easy adaptation to suit a range of topic needs. Suggested contexts might be useful, but this book especially tries far too hard to tie itself to the prescribed QCA topics - putting lessons in a range of contexts (such as WW2) that may not be any use to you. As suggestions these would be fine, but the lessons are so intrinsically linked to the topic that if you are not using that theme then you may as well not bother with this book.

Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years
by Sue Townsend
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully more 'Years' to come..., 7 Nov 2009
It's been quite the experience for readers following Adrian Mole; no longer the pimply-faced 13 and 3/4 year-old we once knew, he is now on the cusp of forty with yet more turmoil on the horizon. As someone that has snooped in his diaries since I was a young boy, this latest novel is a very emotional read; not least because the previous story seemed to finish so happily. The journey it takes you through is, at times, a touch predictable with the world-weary amongst us spotting the the trends very early on; but the way in which it is told is eholly engaging nonetheless. Indeed, Sue Townshend writes the character with very obvious affection and rightly so, guiding the reading delicately and humourously through this latest chapter in his life and the battles that come with it.

It's just a shame that Ms Townshend seems a little less concerned by the canonicity of the series,this addition failing to correct some inconsistencies that have arisen; Adrian's age being one of them. When the writing is this good, however, it can be forgiven, and no doubt the hordes of Mole fans around the world will already be clamouring to see if she puts the cliffhanger we're left with here to rest... I know I certainly am!

Cheltenham Town FC: 50 Greats: 50 Great Players
Cheltenham Town FC: 50 Greats: 50 Great Players
by Jon Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.85

5.0 out of 5 stars flawless read, 29 Feb 2008
A book packed full of information even the most ardent of supporters may not be aware of, this is undoubtedly a must-have for any fan of the club that is written with great passion and knowledge. Buy it.

Black Gold
Black Gold

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where in Time is Stephen Mason?, 2 Jun 2006
This review is from: Black Gold (Audio CD)
The arrival of King Biscuit Time's full-length debut is one of the year's most anticipated musical happenings. The pet project of ex-Beta Band frontman Stephen Mason and his first foray back into his artistry since the band split in 2005, 'Black Gold' should mark a magnificent re-invention and re-introduction.

Yet it has had the rug pulled from under it with Mason seemingly announcing his departure from music and calling time on his latest venture, before the album has even been released. Sure it could all be a shoot; a cunning ploy to get the momentum behind the record but even the most cynical of critics would cast that notion aside as quickly as they conjured it. So we are just left with why? A question that becomes even more poignant when you consider that this opus could be Mason's masterpiece.

Throughout its entirety, the album is a hypnotic fusion of country-tinged trip-hop, acoustic folk and lush electro/acoustic ambience, a testament to the imagination of the creator. What it lacks in direct accessibility it more than compensates for with a playful and effortless eclecticism, and a richness that rewards the listener with new layers and emotion each and every time. A prominent example being one of the albums highlights, 'Impossible Ride'. Initial listens present a beautifully atmospheric acoustic track, diverse in instrumentation yet cloaked in such amazing subtlety you barely realise how intricate it truly is until you hear it over again and look inside the layers Mason has crafted so lovingly. You cannot fail to be thoroughly absorbed by the collision of simplicity and experimentation exhibited, and yes that is a challenge!

'Kwangchow', on the other hand, seems to look back to Mason's days with the Beta Band. Superbly showcasing his unique vocal against the percussive style that typified his former group it will certainly stir the memories of BB fans, whilst progressing the sound by possessing that simple pop-hook the Beta Band often seemed unable, or unwilling to unleash.

In short, 'Black Gold' is an incredibly accomplished effort and move forward for Stephen Mason, soaring melody and intricacy stamping his name all over the inevitable "Best of 2006" lists. So what did he see wrong with it?

As he pleads for the listener to "Come with me/lets run away" in 'Rising Son', you can't help wondering if this is just an interim chapter in his career... and if so, what in the name of all that is musical can we expect next? Exciting, isnt it?!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2012 8:56 PM BST

Dance Dance
Dance Dance
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Falling out of line, 2 Jun 2006
This review is from: Dance Dance (Audio CD)
Multi-platinum album? Check. Debut top ten single? Check.

Countless magazine covers? Check.

Well, it would seem that Chicago's Fall Out Boy were, without question, the breakout stars of 2005 and are now a band on the cusp of world domination. So why doesn't 'Dance Dance', the second single to be lifted from major label debut album 'From Under The Cork Tree', make me need to throw serious Emo shapes all over the nearest dance floor?

The reality is that it simply lacks the crossover pop hook that sets the band apart from the countless, bland 'hipsters' that populate the current Emo scene. Though 'Dance, Dance' is altogether more frenetic and packs a punkier edge than much of their latest material, this nod to their roots can seem labored and is "Ultimately weighed down with words/too over-dramatic" to quote the track itself... more of a nod toward ironic convention than innovation.

However, this is certainly not a track without merit, and will no doubt be a hit with the thousands of kids that adore them.

It's hard not to be taken in by the sheer earnestness that Fall Out Boy convey through their music, a stunning mix of both sweeping melody and freak-out vigor that cannot fail to rouse a reaction, but get up and dance? Not this time.

No matter what though, I can hear the Grammys calling next...

He Wasn't
He Wasn't
Price: £11.01

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So close..., 19 April 2005
This review is from: He Wasn't (Audio CD)
Having conquered Blink boy consciousness with generic pop-punk drivel such as Sk8r Boi, it was looking like Miss Lavigne was going to be a one-trick pony...I certainly hoped so.
Yet here we are two years on and her second album, Under My Skin, is poised to go double platinum in the UK and she is about to embark on a sold-out tour of Australia. Has the music buying public truly lost it?
'No' is the simple answer. Despite the past, Avril Lavigne has seemingly evolved into a far more mature songwriter, capable of tugging at heartstrings as well as slashing at power chords, whilst never compromising her unapologetic style. Which is what makes this choice of single so disappointing.
'He Wasn't' seems like a sad regression back to the poorly executed gang choruses and predictable riffs that characterised her first album.
Although the sickly sweet sing-along and teenage rebellion will have its admirers, this isn't Avril at her best. Still, not bad when you listen to a lot of what else is available!

Offered by SourceMediaUK
Price: £10.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Supreme, 19 April 2005
This review is from: Micropolitan (Audio CD)
2003/4 was a time of anti-climaxes for music, industry hype arguably being severely misplaced with only The Killers, Hope Of The States and Auf Der Maur justifying their column inches. Nevertheless, shift your focus from the over-polluted mainstream scene and take a look at the UK's indie labels and their acts. In particular, Seriously Groovy's Jet Johnson.
The Oslo-based trio may have the name of a wannabe punk band, but with their debut opus 'Micropolitan' they have established their own honey-sweet anti-pop for the populist. Combining delicate guitar parts with evocative, Bjork-esque vocals, Jet Johnson are a three piece capable of crafting a wave of sound of such fusionic depth and diversity that the image of a group twice the size can be conjured. Enormous in its simplicity, the depth is not always betrayed by the sound, but that just adds to the pleasure of the listen as it emphasizes the creativity and multiplicity of intent within the band.
Preceding single, 'Donnie' is a particular highlight of the record and showcases the whimsical lyricism yet undeniable musical focus that characterizes the group but will never pigeonhole them. With a sound allowed the liberty to seem free of the bands control, the breezy, ethereal and, without question, beautiful music of Jet Johnson will change your views on music. Pick up 'Micropolitan' and your senses will certainly thank you for it.

Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £5.27

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No doubt, this is only part one..., 19 April 2005
This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
It's been 13 years since a lycra-clad Take That first stormed the charts, scoring an earth shattering number 38 'hit'. Sure, they ended up having a pretty glittering run but, to use Noel Gallagher's words, "could you really have seen the 'Fat Dancer from Take That' surviving in a sphere of musicality where lip-synching live to a vocal track is tantamount to admitting to liking the remake of The Avengers?"
It is undeniable that Robbie Williams' foray into solo stardom was initially met with more than a touch of trepidation, but 19 top ten singles, 5 number 1 albums and global album sales in excess of 32 million can't be argued with.
Cataloguing the journey from boy-band oblivion to all conquering supreme, Greatest Hits is required listening for any pop fan. Opening the collection is lads anthem Old Before I Die, one of many high standards from the infancy of Williams' solo career, immediately followed by classic-in-waiting Angels, which will no doubt be the highlight of the album for many buyers.
One of the biggest problems facing Greatest Hits' compilations is keeping the release fresh, hence so many artists now include a new track or three to get the interest flowing and Robbie is no exception. Latest number 1 Radio is a hint towards a new era in Williams' evolution with it's darker edge and electronica, and with new track 2, Misunderstood, featuring in the latest Bridget Jones movie this collection surely can't miss! Standout tracks would definitely be Lazy Days, Let Me Entertain You and Kids, Robbie's duet with Kylie Minogue, and though not all tracks are as strong, Williams is an artist who weaves his soul into each release and such honesty alone makes every track deserving of your attention.

Ruin Johnny's Bar Mitzvah
Ruin Johnny's Bar Mitzvah
Price: £8.54

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Also do baptisms, 19 April 2005
You all know the deal with live albums. You're lucky to find one that isn't either a contractual obligation or a ninety-minute session of fret-board onanism. If you're truly cursed you might stumble across one that is both, which is where Me First And The Gimme Gimmes intervene.
Never followers of convention, the self proclaimed 'greatest punk cover band in the world' have not only pulled off a coup of live album quality, but have done it in the most unlikely of settings... a brave young fan's passage to manhood, his Bar Mitzvah! Led by neo punk legend Fat Mike, the Gimme Gimmes here race through a gloriously riotous set of 'brand new' cover versions, no doubt delighting (or horrifying!) the guests gathered for Jonny's big day.
Among the tracks given the MFATGG re-imagination are Blondie's Heart Of Glass, Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven and The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever, even Hava Nagila is given the treatment... to the tune of Felix Navidaz! Although it sounds like it was recorded in a tiny function room, no wait, it WAS recorded in a tiny function room; there is a hugely infectious energy ready to catch you off-guard and that is the genius of the Gimme Gimmes. They may not play any of their own tunes but they infuse everything they do with a tongue in cheek charm and vigour that makes the tunes recognisable but instantly the newly acquired property of the band. Blitzing through their set but never losing any of their studio tightness, MFATGG may well be the new family function phenomena, and I'll bet those gathered never knew being Jewish could be so much fun.

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