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Trevor Newstead

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Broken Vows: Tony Blair The Tragedy of Power
Broken Vows: Tony Blair The Tragedy of Power
by Tom Bower
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars The left goes wrong, 13 May 2016
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Coruscating critique of the last elected Labour Prime Minister. Tom Bower, originally a supporter, soon becomes disillusioned with the government. A lot of ministers Blair appointed were not up to the job and Blair finds it impossible to make the changes the way he desires. A toxic relationship develops with Gordon Brown, the Chancellor (correctly) stands his ground on not entering the euro but saddles the government with an unaffordable tax credit system that hampered the development of a modern Welfare State.

After the controversial invasion of Iraq , the Labour Party is in disarray. With a lack of proper planning and disagreement among many of the people involved with the war. the situation spirals out of control. Blair's moral and political decisions come under severe scrutiny and his reputation is permanently ruined.

After Gordon Brown and hos cohorts forced Blair from office, he resigns to built a lucrative career, funded by by some morally cirrupt private individuals and government leaders while his successor presided over a failing economy.

A modern tragedy for Blair, his party and country, leading to an underserving Conservative likely to be power for a long time.

and his reputation is beyond recovery.


He Who Dares
He Who Dares
by Del Boy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Diamond Geezer's story, 13 May 2016
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This review is from: He Who Dares (Hardcover)
No real-life author is credited with this work I think it is safe to assume that John Sullivan's, son who is a also a comedy writer, put it it together after a trawl through the Only Fools and Horses archives.

The book adds a few new details to the early life of Derek Trotter, before entering familiar ground during the main part of the book. The final pages take us through the years from the last show to Del Boy's 70th birthday in 2015.

It recreates many of the funny moments from the legendary Peckham comedy and the book is a useful addition to large collection of material available about one of the great comedy series.


Eurovision Song Contest Stockholm 2016
Eurovision Song Contest Stockholm 2016
Price: £8.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds of annual May songfest., 5 May 2016
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Alll forty-three entries are on the double CD. Thirty five are wholly in English, five are bilingual and three in a foreign language. Surprisingly the Austrian song is performed in French.

According tto the bookmakers Russia and France have the strongest two entries. I envisage the Russian entry doing well but less sure of the French bilingual offering. . Australia have entered the contest for the second time and their song, Sound of Silence performed by Dami Im is my idea of the winner. A song with a strong chorus always has a good chance and this could be hard to beat. Ukraine has a highly political entry. Although called 1944, it's message is pertinent to today and will appeal to a large number of voters. Netherlands has a similar type of song to its entry that came second in 2014 and should finish high up. I also like the entries of Azerbaijan, Denmark and Sweden. UK's song performed by Joe and Jake is a good and should give us our best position since Andrew Lloyd Webber's composition.

If the right songs get through to the final there should be a good contest on May 14th. The two horror songs come from Montenegro and Georgia and hopefully they will be eliminated in the semi-finals. The new voting system will make the evening more exciting and people buying the double CD can watch the show with an increased interest.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2016 10:40 PM BST


GOOD EVENING, EVERYONE!
GOOD EVENING, EVERYONE!
by A. J. Alan
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Topping mystery stories., 30 Mar. 2016
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A J Alan was one of great radio broadcasters of the pre-war years. His short stories were enjoyed by millions of listeners and when they were repeated many years later I become a fan. This book contains fifteen of his stories broadcast between 1924-28. Told in a rather upper middle class colloquial fashion the stories often involve young ladies in distress and many of the stories have a twist in the tale with the author daring you to believe what happened actually took place. My Adventure in Jermyn Street , his first broadcast is the opening story. My three favourites are The Diver, Charles and My Adventure in Norfolk. The last story The B.B.I. has a rather dubious morality but the unique style of the writer allows him to get away with it.

A J Alan was a the nom-de-plume of Leslie Harrison Lambert, a member of the Magic Circle who worked for the Foreign Office and later at Bletchley Park. He took a long time to produce his stories and only made four or five broadcasts a year. There are just two volumes of original stories,, this volume and the appropriately named, A J Alan's Second Book, published in 1933. A J Alan died in 1941.

An entertaining set of stories, a number could be adapted for television where the stories could gain a wider audience.


Dark Sky Island
Dark Sky Island
Price: £10.39

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Ireland's best., 20 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: Dark Sky Island (Audio CD)
Seven years after her previous CD, And Winter Came, Enya finally produces produces further examples of her music. The style is very as before with the familiar multivocal and keyboard recording techniques. There are fourteen songs on the deluxe edition, most in English , but Latin and Loxian lyrics can also be heard. My favourites are track 5, Echoes in Rain and track 8, Sancta Maria. Not many of Enya's songs have memorable titles but she does produce music you want to hear again. She is a timeless performer and I hope there is not another seven year wait before her next record.

I have a quibble with the tightness of the packaging. Many CDs are likely to be broken getting them out of the holder.


The Brothers: Complete Series Two [DVD]
The Brothers: Complete Series Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jean Anderson
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £16.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Driving on., 20 Mar. 2016
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The second series featuring the emotional and business upheavels of the Hammond family.

In this series Glyn Owen has been replaced by Patrick O'Connell in a softer portrayal of the eldest son Edward. In additional to the returning family members, we have a pre-Taggart Mark McManus, with a questionable Australian accent, playing the role of Harry Carter whose business merges with Hammond Brothers. This contributes to industrial troubles giving a realistic feel of life in the 1970s.

The series starts slowly but builds in an interesting manner and it is good to see a traditional wedding ending the series.

I hope series 3 is released on DVD to see how the story develops..


Grave in the Cotswolds, A (Cotswold Mysteries)
Grave in the Cotswolds, A (Cotswold Mysteries)
by Rebecca Tope
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Middle England mediocre murder mystery., 5 Feb. 2016
After a promising start an original story becomes dreary as the regular sleuth, Thea Osborne plays an increasing role in the story. The tale is narrated is by undertaker Drew Slocombe, who becomes the main suspect after a character he recently had an altercation with is found murdered. The others suspects are the family and friends of a middle-aged woman he buried the day before the murder.

I managed to guess the killer but there was a lack of excitement as there was no sense of a developing police investigation and married father-of-two Drew is also worried about his developing relationship with the widowed sleuth Thea. I believe this relationship develops in later stories.

The 400+ page novel should at least 150+ pages shorter as much irrelevant information and views, slowing down the pace of the plot.

I have read one of Rebecca Toye's Devon novels and this Gloucestershire-Somerset is downwards move in quality , even if not geographically.


Horses in Training 2014
Horses in Training 2014
by Richard Lowther
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Horses for Courses., 21 Jan. 2016
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The yearly book that's a welcome addition to the library of any horse racing enthusiast.

My only gripe is with the listing of trainers. It would be better if the Irish and overseas handlers were shown separately, rather than included with their British counterparts.


And Winter Came
And Winter Came
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £7.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Enya's Wonderful Winter album., 21 Jan. 2016
This review is from: And Winter Came (Audio CD)
The ageless enigmatic singer. returns with her best album since Watermark.

After the instrumental title track come eleven songs encapsulating the themes of winter and Christmas. The music while reminiscent of past recordings is sufficiently original to merit attention. My favourite track is the hummable and haunting Trains and Winter Rains, One Toy Soldier is a song that makes a deep impression and an impressive Gaelic version of Silent Night completes the CD.

Enya produces music infrequently, but when she does it always worth listening to again and again.

A rare artist, in more ways than one.

A rare artist in more ways than one.


Shut That Door - Larry Grayson At ITV [DVD] [1972]
Shut That Door - Larry Grayson At ITV [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Bruce Gowers
Price: £12.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Likeable Larry - good but not great comedy performer., 9 Aug. 2015
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Larry Grayson was a one-off and this DVD enables fans to watch the comedy shows he made for ITV.

The three discs comprise the first two appearances he made on Saturday Variety, one episode of his Shut That Door chat show, a brief interview on Anglia Television, both of series of The Larry Grayson Show on LWT, an Hour of Stars special. a 60th birthday special presented by Janet-Street-Porter, a performance a the London Palladium and The Unforgettable tribute programme screened after his death.

Starting with his Saturday Variety comedy spots there is a marked improvement from week one to week two. Best as a stand-up comic his limitations are shown in sketches where he is often outperformed by his fellow actors. The filmed sequences in the first series are embarrassingly poor and away from the stand-up needs the rigfht support to be funny. The ventriloquist Neville King is outstanding in his sketch and Rod Hiull and Emu brought out the best from Larry, but other e sketches were of a very variable quality.

He always finished with a sentimental song before telling his audience he loved them.. On one occasion when he had a elderly backing trio, a comic edge was added to the song and it is surprising the three ladies were not used again.

Larry had a long slog to become a star, but I think it is fair to say that if Bruce Forsyth hadn't given up the Gemeration Game in 1978, he would have returned to relative obscurity, rather earlier in his career


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