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John Brooke "Dr John the Day Tripper" (Reading, Berks, United Kingdom)
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The Pickwick Papers: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Penguin Classics)
The Pickwick Papers: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Penguin Classics)
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.46

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improves on re-reading (and it was entertaining before), 18 April 2008
I read the Pickwick Papers a long time ago, followed by quite a few other of Dickens' novels and then moved on to other things. Then an accident with a blocked drain, a high pressure hose and an internal drain cover led to my entire collection of Dickens novels being rendered aromatic and unreadable. Casting around for something to read recently I decided it was time to start rebuilding my collection, and thought Pickwick would be a good place to start.

I was not wrong. In many ways I appreciate Dickens' humour far more nowadays, and the illustrations of the collection of grotesques that people this epic work really emphasise it. I particularly love the picture of Mr Tupman dressed as a brigand to attend a fancy-dress dejeune (which costume Mr Pickwick considered him to be too old and too fat to wear). Some of the embedded tales I find a bit intrusive (and play to the Victorian love of melodrama - "he fell back - dead!" type of things) but one forgives Dickens that since he was, after all, writing a part-work and needed to keep the punters coming back by giving them both something complete in each edition, and a continuing narrative. It's amazing, in fact, that it hangs together as a novel, given its origins - but it does, and a very funny one at that. You can clearly see Dickens' narrative skills coming together that come into full flower in his later novels that were written as novels.


Prophetic Attitude: Le Concert Impromptu & Bossini Play Frank Zappa
Prophetic Attitude: Le Concert Impromptu & Bossini Play Frank Zappa
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 39.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just beautiful, 10 April 2008
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I've recently been buying quite a lot of Zappa interpretations and I have to say this is one of the best recordings I've come across. It really brings out the latent beauty in Zappa's compositions - which, of course, all ardent Zappaphiles knew was there anyway, but sometimes gets obscured in his own recordings. For those not familiar with Zappa's work, this is very accessible whilst also warranting multiple listens just to appreciate the intricacies of the compositions and arrangements.

Essential listening.


Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
Price: 21.23

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting take on Zappa's music - recommended, 27 Mar 2008
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I recently bought several big-band takes on Zappa's music (this, Colin Towns/NDR and Le Bocal) and of those I bought this is perhaps my favourite. Probably that's because the arrangements and the playing are the closest in spirit to Zappa's originals.

This may just be a personal bias, but I generally find that the "classical" interpretations of Zappa's music are better (Ensemble Moderne or Ensemble Ambrosius, for example) - the big band/jazz interpreters tend to treat his music in a more jokey fashion, and despite FZ's satirical side, I think that the majority of his music - certainly the compositions that show up on these various albums - deserve to be treated with respect, as many are beautiful and benefit enormously from talented musicians who can play the complex arrangements and shifting time signatures.

But this one is a great effort and I highly recommend it to any FZ lovers.


The Triumph of the Political Class
The Triumph of the Political Class
by Peter Oborne
Edition: Hardcover

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly depressing but all too recognisable, 22 Nov 2007
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I read some reviews of another book of Oborne's (The rise of political lying) in which a number of reviewers complained about his right wing bias. However, I think this misinterprets Oborne's position, which I believe is essentially a libertarian position.

This book is a damning polemic that illustrates how, over the course of the last two decades, all of the institutions that underpin our civil liberties and the mechanisms of good governance have been subverted by a political class who are, essentially, career politicians who use their position for their own ends rather than the public good. Oborne is unsparing in identifying all party and machine politicians, whether of left, right or centre as members of this political class (whilst occasionally identifying the odd maverick who still seems to have the best interests of the world outside at heart).

If you want a cartoon depiction of the difference between a member of the modern political class and the old Establishment, it would be that if you put the two of them in a queue, the new political class would be pushing to the head of the queue, shouting "don't you know who I am?".

This is a profoundly depressing read for anybody who cares about the way we are governed and about the continual encroachment on civil liberties that seems to be endemic in this country nowadays. But it should nonetheless be read before these fools and charlatans turn the whole country into a police state and start burning books like this because their opinions are subversive.


Lost In Space
Lost In Space
Price: 7.96

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this album, 10 Nov 2007
This review is from: Lost In Space (Audio CD)
Before I listened to this, I'd never really listened to Aimee Mann at all. Reading some reviews on the amazon.com site, I was intrigued, so I took a punt and bought this (some time ago now). From that moment on, it was literally the only thing I played for quite a number of months. It also drew me into listening to some of her other albums, which I found to be rather an unpredictable experience. I liked Bachelor No 2 nearly as much as this, but found other albums such as "I'm with Stupid" and "The Forgotten Arm" to be rather mundane fare.

I still play this on a regular basis, which, considering it's probably 2 or 3 years since I bought it, is pretty good going.

I believe the late Tony Banks, MP was a fan and friend of Aimee Mann. Obviously a man of impeccable taste, as well as being one of the last upholders of the idea that MPs ought to represent our interests, not jus tbe there to earn a salary.....


Making Money (Discworld Novels)
Making Money (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, 15 Oct 2007
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I've said elsewhere that I think that the opening chapter of "Going Postal" is one of the finest pieces of comic writing I've read, on a par with anything P G Wodehouse or Evelyn Waugh wrote (I doubt you'd have read anything by Wodehouse about a hanging, although it might well have fallen within Waugh's range). So I had high hopes for the second appearance of Moist von Lipwig. My first impression was that this wasn't really all that good; the golem subplot seemed to sit awkwardly with the rest of the book, the old acquaintance threatening to expose Moist seemed a little superfluous, and I felt sorry for Cosmo rather than seeing him as a threat. It still seems a bit that way after a second reading. But having said that, there are still many parts of this that made me laugh immoderately, especially the scenes involving Mr Fusspot and his new toy. And Vetinari seems to be getting fleshed out nicely as a character nowadays.

If you're a devotee of Discworld, you'll forgive the flaws and maybe knock off a star. If you're not, then the best place to start is somewhere in the 20-30 range, where the writing and plotting has matured, and Terry has got into his philosophical and satirical stride. (I've never understood those people who want him to return to writing books like "The Colour of Magic", which has always seemed to me to carry far too much fantasy baggage. It didn't take long for him to get over this though - Pyramids, Mort, and Wyrd Sisters are all fine pieces of work).


On An Island
On An Island
Price: 12.51

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tails off rather, 3 April 2006
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This review is from: On An Island (Audio CD)
I'd heard David Gilmour talking about this album on Jonathan Ross' radio show and it sounded intriguing. I wasn't disappointed for the first half-dozen tracks and then it seemed to get a bit samey; nice, but not particularly memorable. But overall, a worthwhile listen. And to all those who complain about it not being a Pink Floyd album - I think Mr G is trying to break with his past, judging by the interviews he's given recently, so perhaps you shouldn't be surprised....


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