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Ben Ripley (Melbourne, Australia)

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David Bowie Style
David Bowie Style
by Danny Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.09

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable item for Bowie fans., 3 Nov 2012
This review is from: David Bowie Style (Paperback)
There have been many books on both music and fashion throughout the ages but few have managed to be as succinct as this terrifically entertaining tome. Danny Lewis has managed to highlight the essential qualities that have made Bowie such an icon in various fields. Bowie has always been the consummate master of reinvention and a guru to style "fashionistas" across the globe.
Laced with stunning images and terrific insight, 'David Bowie Style' is a must have for fans of individualism, creativity and the Thin White Duke himself. Danny Lewis' prose is both captivating and erudite. He is a man who knows his subject well.

This is Life
This is Life
by Dan Rhodes
Edition: Paperback

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dan's best book to date!, 28 Feb 2012
This review is from: This is Life (Paperback)
I have loved Dan Rhodes' work ever since I read `Timoleon Vieta Come Home'. Whether he writes short stories on the bizarre shenanigans of our hearts, man's relationship with our animal friends or the rare beauties of a human's inherent desire to please through art or suicide museums; I have loved them all. (`Gold' being a particular favourite...)
`This is Life' could be described as the epitome of all that is great about Dan's work. It is hilariously unpredictable, fiendishly clever in its plotting, heartbreakingly sad and also slightly bonkers in places.
A young French art student named Aurélie is so desperate to please her professor and live up to the pretentious minds of her peers, she proceeds with a project beginning with a random act. This small artistic gesture leads her through a tumultuous sequence of events and she endures a week that will change her life forever. All she wanted was to create something beautiful...
This book will force you to question your outlook on art, life and love in a manner must unexpected.
Dan Rhodes should be considered one of the greatest comic writers of our generation. He truly is a genius.
One final thing - if filmed, it should look something like Gilles Mimouni's `L'appartement' or Jean-Pierre Jeunet's `Amélie' and filmed in French (stuff those who can't be bothered reading subtitles!)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2012 1:45 PM BST

Little Hands Clapping
Little Hands Clapping
by Dan Rhodes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Read Rhodes!, 24 Feb 2010
This review is from: Little Hands Clapping (Hardcover)
Dan Rhodes is a master of controversially comedic storytelling, the macabre and wonderfully juxtaposed non sequiturs. Little Hands Clapping is a delightfully morbid story of a depraved doctor, a culpable curator and a museum dedicated to the art of suicide.

Set in Germany, we enter this rather dark environment of a heinous ongoing crime involving the corpses of people who just couldn't go on with their lives and the manner in which our antagonists deal with the aftermath. Throughout the story we are treated to entertaining exposition for various characters' backgrounds. These vignettes, so delicately woven, are reminiscent of European folk tales.

As with all Rhodes' work, there is an abundance of curious characters with foetid pasts and broken hearts. Some pages may make you squirm and others will force you to emit a bellow of laughter, but overall the book will charm you to the core.

Comparisons to the twisted mind of Tim Burton and the bravado of Roald Dahl are absolutely fair and accurate, but Dan Rhodes has a voice of his own too. Unconventional and uncompromising, Little Hands Clapping is a charming yet bizarre delight.

Close To Home
Close To Home

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to Perfect, 6 July 2009
This review is from: Close To Home (Audio CD)
Beverley Craven's eagerly awaited fourth album does not disappoint. The ten tracks highlight Beverley's versatile talent for songwriting and can thrill you one moment and move you the next.

The first track, 'Rainbows' is a superb, uplifting track announcing Beverley's return with a resounding cheer. Track two, 'All Yours' would not be out of place on her third album, 'Mixed Emotions' and has a beautiful rhythmic beat.
'Without Me', track three, is a heartbreaking number layered with hope. Beverley is one of the few writers who can reach this level of emotion without reducing it to schmaltz.

The rest of the album continues to tell stories of sadness and joy. The absolute highlight is the penultimate number, 'Fun, Fun, Fun' which proves Ms Craven has a superbly wry sense of humour as the irony hits the ivories.

Although it has been a long wait, this album is one which remains in heavy rotation and I certainly hope there is a lot more to come.

The Help
The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Edition: Hardcover

948 of 970 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Brilliant, 28 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
When a book makes you occasionally laugh out loud, has your eyes brimming with tears or has you shouting at the pages through empathy and anger, you know the author has a very rare talent. 'The Help' is one such book. I have not enjoyed a tome so immensely since Michel Faber's 'The Crimson Petal and the White'.
The story is told through three wonderfully real female characters; Minny, Aibileen and Miss Skeeter. The location is Jackson, Mississippi and it's the early 1960s - a turbulent time as the civil rights movement thunders along to the chagrin of many bigoted fools. One visionary in the small town defies her heritage and vows to make a difference and with the aid of the local maids, begins a project which will create havoc for those with lofty positions and appalling attitudes. Within the pages of the book, we are privy to scenes of amazing warmth, great humour and delightful characters with whom you'd love to spend time. Kathryn Stockett has also created one of the most venomous villains since Cruella de Vil and at times I found myself cursing this woman as if I knew her personally.
Vital, engrossing and utterly compelling, 'The Help' is a book I'd urge anyone to read.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2014 2:40 PM GMT

Victoria Wood - As Seen on TV [DVD]
Victoria Wood - As Seen on TV [DVD]
Dvd ~ Victoria Wood
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £8.53

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honestly, my favourite TV show ever., 27 April 2007
When I was younger, I wasn't allowed to stay up to watch the show, but my Mum taped it for me to watch the following evening. I still recall lying on my bedroom floor and listening to it through the floorboards.

Victoria Wood is faultless when it comes to building characters and producing witty dialogue and 'As Seen on TV' is the perfect evidence to prove it.

For years I've been nagging poor Vic and BBC Enterprises to release this series in a complete format as 'Best of' videos are just inaccurately titled. How can a 100 minute tape be 'best of' when it's all so fantastic?

All thirteen episodes are featured on this two-disc set and each one is an absolute gem. This DVD has been that elusive Holy Grail for me for so many years and now I have this sense of completion.

If I had to choose highlights, they would be;

The song 'Crush' from series 2 (episode 4),

'Two Soups'


'In the Office'

'Whither the Arts'

'I'm Counting Moonbeams'

and the hysterical 'Happy With Your Wash?'

But, oh, there are so many more.

Thank you Victoria, 2 Entertain and the BBC! You have made me a very happy man!

Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006]
Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Abigail Breslin
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.72

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody pretend to be normal., 25 Jan 2007
This movie was the highlight of cinema releases in 2006.

I went to see it twice at the cinema and have just watched my DVD and I still laughed until I cried.

If someone had told me beforehand that I was going to love a movie about an American dysfunctional family taking a road trip to a beauty pageant in California, I would have scoffed in their faces. I would also have had to eat some humble pie afterwards.

The film works because of so many perfect ingredients.

Firstly, the casting is divine. Toni Collette is an incredibly talented actress, Greg Kinnear does understated comedy so well and Alan Arkin is (as always) a consumate actor.

Paul Dano's performance is subtle and brilliant as the sulky teenager (the most realistic teenager protrayed on screen for years) and Steve Carrell is having his finest moment as wounded Proust scholar Frank.

It has to be said though that Abigail Breslin steals this movie. She is the most delightful, entertaining and briliant child actors for years. Her performance as Olive is the sweetest, most touching and hilarious.

The script is wonderfully polished to the point where each character is so terrifically defined, you come away from the movie wanting to know what happened to each and every one of them afterwards.

The biggest credit has to go to the directors who spent a long time pouring their hearts and souls into this movie, desperately trying to get funding to get it made. And thank goodness they did.

Little Miss Sunshine is one of the most fantastic, heart-warming and cheerful movies to come out of America for a very long time.

As for the extras on the DVD; I would have liked to have had a few behind the scenes documentaries, but the four alternate endings are intriguing and the commentary is very informative.

Maybe there will be a two-disc special edition one day...

Knowing Me, Knowing You...: Collector's Edition: With Alan Partridge (Canned Laughter): Collecter's Edition
Knowing Me, Knowing You...: Collector's Edition: With Alan Partridge (Canned Laughter): Collecter's Edition
by Patrick Marber
Edition: Audio CD

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Abnormally Gifted", 28 Dec 2006
Alan Partridge is, to my mind, one of the greatest British comedy creations of all-time. His ignorance, self-importance and arrogance is shocking yet delightful all at the same time.

This radio series is comedy gold from start to finish. I had originally purchased the individual CDs but was slightly disappointed to discover that they (like their cassette predecessors) had the episodes out-of-order.

So, I took a gamble when I bought this boxset because no where did it give us an episode listing. At least I would be getting a nice box and a fourth disc for my trouble.

I should not have feared, for this collection has all the episodes in the correct airing order.

The fourth disc comprises a spoof documentary set in the offices of 'Peartree Productions' and there is an episode of 'In Conversation with' starring Steve Coogan.

For fans of radio comedy, this collection is an absolute must.

Who can ever forget Simon Fisher, the child prodigy; Conrad Knight and his 'Conrad Knight Socks'; or the tyrannical and offensive Lord Morgan of Glossop?

If I were Tony Hayers, I'd have given him a second series, for sure...

For those interested, here is an episode list:

Disc One:

Programme One: Lawrence Camley, Ally Tennant & Adam Wells

Programme Two: Simon Fisher, Janey Katz & Nick Ford

Disc Two:

Programme Three: Michel Lambert, Shirley Dee & Chris Lester

Programme Four: The Duchess of Stranraer, Steve Thompson & Sandra Peakes

Disc Three:

Programme Five: Conrad Knight, Sally hoff, Bernie Rosen & Jack Carlson

Programme Six: Tony Hayers, Trudy Skye, Yvonne Boyd & Lord Morgan

Disc Four:

Knowing 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'

In Conversation with Steve Coogan

And on that bombshell...

And It's Goodnight From Him: The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies
And It's Goodnight From Him: The Autobiography of the Two Ronnies
by Ronnie Corbett
Edition: Hardcover

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars F.U.N.E.M?, 12 Oct 2006
(I am sure there are some people out there who will get the reference above.)

I was deeply privileged to be allowed to read the manuscript for this wonderful autobiography due to my job in publishing. From the moment I heard about this book at a conference months and months ago, I was just itching to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed in any way!

I have fond memories of my childhood, visiting my grandparent's home and sitting by the fire in my pyjamas and dressing gown watching episodes of 'The Two Ronnies'.

Both Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett were icons to me, not just because of their performances as comedy geniuses, but also because of their warmth and genuine personalities which shone through their bespectacled faces.

In 2005, I was heartbroken to hear the news of Ronnie Barker's death as though a member of my own family had passed away. (My grandfather also passed away that year and I will always have the two men intrinsically linked in my mind.)

Ronnie Corbett's deeply affectionate biography is an insightful, emotional and genuinely funny portrait of two of the most remarkable men in British comedy. Beautifully constructed, the story takes us from their humble beginnings through the remarkable coincidences of their early lives before they even met, onto the success of their time on 'The Frost Report' which eventually led to one of the longest running comedy series in television history, the eponymously titled 'The Two Ronnies'.

For anyone who has had an affection for these two fine gentlemen of comedy, you cannot be unmoved by the chapters concerning Ronnie Barker's illness and eventual passing. I had tears in my eyes as Mr Corbett tells us of the memorial service and the tributes from their peers and friends.

This wonderfully frank volume is essential reading for any fan of British comedy and anyone who would like to know more about the comedy geniuses who are Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker.

This beautifully presented hardback book is illustrated with photographs, both black & white and colour.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2008 4:43 PM GMT

Doctor Who: Complete BBC Series 2 - Limited Edition 'Cyberman Head' Box Set with Lenticular Postcard (Exclusive to [2005] [DVD]
Doctor Who: Complete BBC Series 2 - Limited Edition 'Cyberman Head' Box Set with Lenticular Postcard (Exclusive to [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Offered by jrsteph
Price: £49.00

11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent achievement, 20 Sep 2006
I absolutely adored the first series of the new `Doctor Who' and thought Christopher Eccleston's portrayal was touching, emotional and real. Billie Piper also astonished me with her acting skills.

I did not doubt that David Tennant would make a wonderful Doctor and this second series has proven how the different approach from a new actor can be the strength of the show. How else would it have survived past season three of the original series?

`The Christmas Invasion' is a superb festive piece with lots of fun and action and it certainly is one of the highlights of this boxset. It is credit to Russell T Davies and his cast and crew that the Doctor's `absence' for the majority of the episode is not felt.

Other highlights of this second series include: `School Reunion' which sees the Doctor meeting up with his former companion, Sarah Jane Smith and it is a joy to see Elisabeth Sladen back on screen as her alter ego; also `The Idiot's Lantern' is a joyful, yet creepy episode set in 1953 during the Queen's coronation. The imagery and direction is highly effective and Mark Gatiss' script is full of witty dialogue.

The two-parters in the series are worth noting. The Cybermen two-part story is a dark cautionary tale with some magnificent direction from Graeme Harper, a director whose credits include stories from the original series. `The Impossible Planet' and its sequel `The Satan Pit' take the new series to new heights with stunning visuals and a fabulous ensemble performance.

One episode has had the fans divided and that is `Love & Monsters'. Personally, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was high-concept and great comedy and was a perfect foil to the dark stories which surrounded it.

The absolute highlight for me was the finale: `Army of Ghosts' and `Doomsday'. This stood head and shoulders above the rest and even out-did the series one finale.

Billie Piper has astounded me throughout the past two series and this story is no exception. Her magnificent portrayal of Rose has been pure gold.

The low point of the series for me was `Fear Her'. I was disappointed especially because I love Matthew Graham's work and this did feel a little rushed and was pale in comparison to its (probable) inspiration; `Paperhouse' (Bernard Rose, 1988)

All things considered, a great year and it just leaves us wondering how on Earth they can top these first two series!

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