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"R.E.M.": Fiction - An Alternative Biography
"R.E.M.": Fiction - An Alternative Biography
by David Buckley
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stranger Than Fiction, 14 May 2003
It says at the start no side-projects will be discussed - so no critiques of Michael Stipe’s film projects or photography books and no detailed analytical breakdowns of Peter Buck’s moonlighting with just about every other Athens, Georgia band on the go throughout R.E.M.’s existence - and so is a very straightforward look at each record made by the band so far, from their 1981 debut single RADIO FREE EUROPE up to 2001’s REVEAL album.
Each record is looked at in the context of things going on in the band’s life during the making of it and how they may have affected or impacted upon the album itself. The passages which record the making of 1985’s FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION, for example, spend as much time detailing the band’s unhappy time in London making the album, with cramped living conditions and slowly self-destructing inter-band relationships dragging everyone’s state of mind down, yet making for strangely compelling reading nonetheless.
Author Buckley also rings another refreshing change within the circle of biographers and sycophants that R.E.M have managed to pick up during their twenty-plus year existence – he’s not afraid to criticise where necessary. The OUT OF TIME album, for example, generally accepted by all sundry as being one of the band’s masterpieces (AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE being the other one) is here taken apart song by song, with most songs coming across here as underdeveloped or, occasionally, poorly executed. While never unfair in his taking R.E.M. and their “distiples” to task, Buckley is always even handed, dishing out praise where it is, in his opinion, warranted and giving the band and their music a good, rigorous going over at all times. This is how all music books should be written

Extreme Ways
Extreme Ways
Offered by adrians_records
Price: £15.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful light cover shot, beautifully dark song, 21 July 2002
This review is from: Extreme Ways (Audio CD)
Moby's first single from the "18" album, "We Are All Made Of Stars" was a poppy, breathy little number, generally full of the joys of life. "Extreme Ways", the second single, is its flipside.
Driven along by a solid drum section and mutedly funky baseline, Moby almost groans out semi-confessional lyrics, being interrupted every so often by a chorus of "I won't stand in line for this". This is a deliciously infectious song, more in line with "South Side" than, say, "Go" or "Honey", in its description of a very black mood. One is left wondering what Moby won't stand in line for. Another beating from a lover? Another slagging off from the media about his Christianity and veganism? He never explains, definitely a good thing, as it allows one to draw one's own conclusion as to what this beautiful song may be about.

When You're Smiling: The Illustrated Biography of Les Dawson
When You're Smiling: The Illustrated Biography of Les Dawson
by Mick Middles
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moving account of a very funny man, 1 Jun. 2002
Tracing much-loved Northern club/TV Star Les Dawson's career from early days until his death in 1993, journalist Mick Middles weaves family and professional photographs into a text which provides a fascinating insight into Northern Club history and also a strong argument for the ultimately inclusive nature of the comedy world (illustrated by a photo of Dawson and John Cleese at the start of their respective careers in comedy). All this is ably backed up by moving accounts from the Dawson family of Dawson's lovingness and generosity towards them.

Conversations with Billy Wilder
Conversations with Billy Wilder
by Cameron Crowe
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous book for a tremendous guy, 1 Jun. 2002
ALMOST FAMOUS and JERRY MAGUIRE writer/director Cameron Crowe goes back to his journalist roots here, with a loving memoir to his boyhood hero Billy Wilder. Over the course of the book's 376 pages, Wilder, the man behind such classics of cinema as THE APARTMENT and DOUBLE INDEMNITY gives his thoughts on working in Hollywood over nearly fifty years, always entertaining and only shying from the truth when it's too personally painful to reveal. This book is both a fascinating insight into one of 20th Century cinema's most enduring icons, penetrating look into the functions of cinema itself, as both entertainment machine and weapon of attack on the establishment.

Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles (15th edition)
Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles (15th edition)
by Jonathan Rice
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain's healthiest looking 25 year old, 25 May 2002
This new edition brings the book's chart coverage up to December 2001. As it's the 25th Anniversary edition, there's a page for every year from 1977-2001, with an interview from a major chart star of the year, a concise summation of the years' events (1989, for example, details Salman Rushdie getting a fatwah and the Berlin Wall coming down)as well as giving us a single and album of the year. The sections are well laid out, with attractive typefaces and colour schemes, emphasising, the text - being a good backing band. Interspersing features with the main body of the text means this book can be read many times over, for pure enjoyment, as much as to aid completion of the NME crossword. Other new sections in this edition are "Pop Quiz Top Tips", for pub quizmeisters and bored coffee shop staff and "Statistics 2000" which lovingly details who sold the most in 2000.

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