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MonsterMunch (London)

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Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like I used to listen to albums, 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Brothers (Audio CD)
I'm late to the Black Keys, and this is the only album of theirs I yet own. I'm in the process of remedying that.
I know from reading other reviews that many regard it as being over-produced, and prefer the older material.
I'll be in a position to judge that soon.
But for now: Brothers.
I can give this album no higher recommendation than to say that it is the first album in perhaps a decade that I have listened to over and over again, in the way (pre children) I once did.
It reminds me of the sound you might achieve if you could blend Neil Young, Spiritualized, Billy Bragg and Al Green.
Where once I'd no doubt have been rocking out at the front of trheir gigs, in my mid-40s I simply find this great, late night music for being alone with a glass of wine, low lights and my thoughts. (Or my wife, who likes the album nearly as much as I do.)
Very, very good indeed.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly obvious?, 22 July 2011
The idea behind this book is that people don't always behave rationally - and that this exposes the faultlines in classical economics. The title slightly gives the game away by suggesting that this is 'predictable'. It is - no economist really believes that all people act rationally (ie always in their own interests, all the time).
That said, it's a good rattle-through read and certainly a good way to pass a couple of hours. It's just that Tim Harford and others are better.

Destination Disaster
Destination Disaster
by Paul Eddy
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not one to read as you step onto a DC10..., 22 July 2011
This review is from: Destination Disaster (Hardcover)
...though I don't suppose many of them are still in service.
Actually, the fault that caused this crash - the first modern widebody jet disaster - was quickly found and cured, and this book is in fact much more than just a history of that terrible incident; it's most about how these things happen generally, when money and timing and engineering and carelessness coalesce to produce a freak outcome which could have been predicted, but wasn't. That's not just a DC10 problem, sadly.
The authors take us through the history of McDonnell Douglas, and the creation of the DC10 - a race with Lockheed to produce the 'airbus' needed for short and medium haul flights for which Boeing's 747 was not suitable. In the end, Lockheed's TriStar and the DC10 were both born and effectively killed each other, and Boeing and Airbus Industrie picked up the pieces. Fascinating and well-written.

It's Your Time You're Wasting: A Teacher's Tales of Classroom Hell
It's Your Time You're Wasting: A Teacher's Tales of Classroom Hell
by Frank Chalk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragi-comic masterpiece, 22 July 2011
It's a hard thing to write a book about modern British state schools at the lower end of the scale and make it funny, but Frank Chalk has pulled it off. It's enlightening, too - though anyone who has ever taught in a bog-standard comp, or followed the news of rising numbers of assaults on teachers, or wondered why so many staff walk away from what is, in many other respects, a dream job - won't be surprised.
Like a lot of teachers, Chalk is compassionate (though not falsely so - if he dislikes a child, or a parent, he says so) and enthusiastic about kids - he gives extra lessons to those who are struggling, for instance. But like a lot of teachers also, he is clearly ground down by the reality of the job: when it becomes less about imparting mathematics and English and more about keeping order, and when the SMT and higher authorities will not support you, it is hard to stay upbeat and engaged.
As he says, lots of state schools are excellent; the tragedy is that there are those which are not, and the children going through those schools are having their lives ruined - literally - by their experience. This is the source of his anger and frustration.
If you have kids at school or about to be at school, DO NOT just take the first place you are offered. Read this book, and think on!

Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities Vol.1
Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities Vol.1
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Gift for any Northern Soulie, 18 May 2011
As per my other reviews, it's worth checking first to see if the intended recipient already has more than 50% of these tracks in their collection somewhere; however, unlike with all those interchangeable 'Wigan 70th Anniversary Keepin The Faith Where's My Beer Towel Vol IX' compilations, unless he or she is something of an anorak they probably won't, and absolutely certainly not in their original format.
This one has real variety.
There are one or two oddities (Barbara Redd is country and western, basically, though good for all that) and some very well-known classics (eg Mr Soul, The Imaginations) but the overall picture is fresh, from gentle slowies like The Rockmasters to the amphetamine-paced Pat Powdrill, and from the foundational early 60s R&B of The Diplomats to the smooth 70s of Unique Blend; pretty much every track is a winner.
Karmello Brooks is my favourite track, oddly; oddly because it's by no means the best song. But it's the back story to the recording - young contract jazz singer allowed to record what she wanted on the b-side of some unlistenable jazz drivel - that I like.
If you want to pick up a CD which gives you an idea of the sort of 20-track set which might feasibly be played nowadays - in 2011, not 1974 - at a reasonably progressive northern soul night, look no further.

Bose® around-ear headphones - Black with  - Silver accents
Bose® around-ear headphones - Black with - Silver accents

5.0 out of 5 stars Great audio quality, 18 May 2011
I can't get on with 'in ear' headphones, and moved a while ago to around the ear jobs. These Bose 'phones are the best I've had yet. They're not cheap, but in the scheme of things they're not expensive either.
Mine are a year old now and still fine after what must be close to a thousand hours of use. (I use them pretty much every day for at least a couple of hours and often a lot longer.) Some reviewers have complained about build quality; that's their experience, and is obviously valid, but I run, walk, cycle and ski wearing mine, I don't have the most delicate of fingers and I can't complain.

Down By The Jetty
Down By The Jetty
Price: £10.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Home Should Have One, 17 May 2011
This review is from: Down By The Jetty (Audio CD)
Wilko Johnson on guitar, Lee Brilleaux on vocals... it doesn't get much better. Tragic that Lee died so young, though in a way it's better that we remember him as he was.
Fans will almost certainly have seen it, but in case someone reads this who hasn't do check out Oil City Confidential - the best rockumentary ever, for me.

When Money Dies: The nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-Inflation
When Money Dies: The nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-Inflation
by Adam Fergusson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 17 May 2011
A gripping and fascinating account of a bizarre period; we've all heard the stories of people carrying their money around in wheelbarrows (and this wasn't a good thing), but this reprinted title explains how and why it actually happened.
Clear, concise and well-written.

Sick Notes
Sick Notes
by Tony Copperfield
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, funny and revelatory, 17 May 2011
This review is from: Sick Notes (Paperback)
This book achieves the difficult job of taking a fairly complex job and rendering it onto the page in a way that informs and entertains the lay reader (me). It would be quite easy to lose me in technical jargon, but Copperfield manages to keep things at just the right pitch - there's enough detail that I feel I'm learning something, without there being so much that I have to make notes in the margin.
He clearly feels for his patients - the old widower with his Airfix models, the lady whose loo he fixes on a home visit, the child who dies of meningitis. He isn't quite so keen on timewasters - for instance, people who book literally hundreds or even thousands of appointments when there's nothing wrong with them (by definition - if there was, they'd be dead) or those who book and then DNA (do not attend). He's not massively keen on bureaucracy, and for me the funniest parts of what is actually quite a serious book are those which deal with the insanity of the system. Copperfield is clearly a defender of the NHS - he just doesn't believe it's being run perfectly at the moment. A really good read, thoroughly enjoyed.

The Northern Soul Story, Vol. 4: Wigan Casino
The Northern Soul Story, Vol. 4: Wigan Casino
Price: £3.99

10 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Northern Soul compilations: The Golden Rules, 9 May 2011
My sister bought this for me as a birthday present, along with another similar CD, and as I said in the review for that one, I suspect that she fits the target market perfectly: well-intentioned but ill-informed present-buyers.
To anyone out there who is browsing for a birthday gift for someone who likes northern soul, I say: Do not buy this CD for them.
Here are the Golden Rules for the uninitiated who want to buy northern CDs for friends or family:
1. Do not buy anything with the words 'Wigan' or `Casino' in the title. This was just one of around 100 northern all nighters; it was great in its day, but its day was 30 years ago.
2. Do not buy anything where the sleeve notes are compiled by Russ Winstanley. He is 98 years old and stone deaf.
3. Do not buy anything which features a clenched fist as part of the artwork. This is a cheap and lazy cipher of a piece of artwork and indicates a lack of imagination which will be repeated in the music.
4. Do not buy anything that contains any of the following tracks: The Snake, Ski-ing In The Snow, The Joker, What, Tainted Love or Do I Love You (Indeed I Do). Any CD compilation featuring these tunes will be a terrible representation of northern soul.
5. Do not buy anything called Northern Soul's Greatest Hits. The whole point of northern soul is that there were no hits.
Now, some constructive advice: there are better compilations out there. Anything on the 'Kent' label is worth looking at because the people who run Kent know what they are doing and are steeped in northern soul.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 28, 2014 11:21 PM GMT

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