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J. D. L. Bailey (Paris)

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Two a Penny [DVD] [1970]
Two a Penny [DVD] [1970]
Dvd ~ Cliff Richard
Offered by me-2-u
Price: 15.97

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all!, 27 April 2007
This review is from: Two a Penny [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
For someone who never had any formal training as an actor / singer, Cliff puts in a decent performance in this little-known, late 60s gem. He'd already been in a few other films by this time (Expresso Bongo, Summer Holiday and some other film which I haven't seen yet - the title of which escapes me). This film, "Two a Penny" is by far the most interesting out of all the Cliff films I have seen. I actually quite like it - and no I'm not a die-hard Cliff fan!

I was particularly interested in seeing "Two a Penny" to see how realistically Cliff plays the role of "bad guy" Jamie Hopkins, who is involved in theft, drug deals, violence and, almost, attempted rape. This type of character seems so remote from "Cliff" it must surely need some real acting? I would be lying if I said I found his portrayal totally convincing - there are moments in the film where he tries too consciously to sound more working-class, and this seems slightly at odds with his middle-class "Cliffiness" which shines through. Compare the way Jamie speaks to the way his mother (excellently played by Dora Bryan) speaks and you will notice a class inconsistency that is slightly too wide.

Though at times a little theatrical, Cliff's acting is far from hammy. He was a very good-looking guy with presence and a very distinctive voice, and I can imagine at the time would have made him a real hearthrob. It is easy to see why Cliff, like the protagonist he plays, is not "Two a Penny." The character of Jamie Hopkins is essentially a lovable rogue, a cocky, colourful cad who aspires to higher things in life. Cliff portrays him very well, perhaps due to the fact that he shares the character's ambition???

It's important to judge films in the context of the era in which they are made, and, for its time, "Two a Penny" is quite innovative, daring even, in some of the storylines and issues it raises. It is very "new wave" and evokes the exciting mood of central London in the swinging 60s.

All in all this is a great little film that I am pleased to have in my collection. One thing I particularly like about this film is that there is no huge moment where the bad guy suddenly sees the light and turns into a saint. Jamie gets more or less disowned by his mother, and appears to START to repent his ways.....or does he? Watch it and decide for yourself!

The Wicker Man (2 DVD + CD Collector's Edition)
The Wicker Man (2 DVD + CD Collector's Edition)
Dvd ~ Edward Woodward
Offered by lightningdvd
Price: 16.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Classic!, 14 April 2007
The Wicker Man is an amazing film! This release gives you the opportunity to see the Director's Cut, compare the different versions and learn more -which is great!

I personally love the scene where there is a big close-up of two snails squelchingly intertwined in the moonlight whilst Willow McGregor and Ash Buchanan are having sex! Very symbolic, and very clever.

Robin Hardy was clearly a very talented director and I wonder why he did not do more. His direction gives this film a lingering, quiet creepiness which is more unnerving than a full-on horror film. The creepy imagery is often quite subtle - like that creepy, swaying woman in the graveyard with the egg in one hand and the baby in the other, and that weird candle shaped like a hand that Willow uses to put Howie to sleep. The climax of the film is particularly chilling and visually very effective. Like many good films (including Get Carter) The Wicker Man only got the recognition it deserved after many years. Great cast. Great music. A film stains your brain. A film that is hauntingly poignant and far more than the sum of its parts.

Urban Hymns
Urban Hymns
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.39

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Album!, 14 April 2007
This review is from: Urban Hymns (Audio CD)
It's hard to believe that a whole decade has passed since Urban Hymns came out. Where has the time gone?!

Whilst so much has changed since then, this albums sounds great just like it always did. "Lucky Man" has to be the best track for me. Just that one song alone is enough to counterbalance the darker, brooding quality of many of the other tracks - which are also excellent. Whether Urban Hymns was Ashroft's "finest hour" or not is debatable. It's certainly what The Verve are best remembered for. I am still checking out their back catalogue.

This album reminds me of my first job. It reminds me of Princess Diana's passing. It reminds me of seeing The Verve live at the Haigh Hall in Wigan. I always remember everyone on the train on the way to the concert was listening to this album. All that mattered was music, and everyone was cool with everyone (not in a hippy way). It was amazing!

For a few years before The Verve's "Urban Hymns," Oasis were appreciated for bringing a refreshing and honest integrity with well-crafted songs, intelligent lyrics, great melodies. The Verve did all of this too - with style! Love this album. Highly recommended.

Teach Yourself Lithuanian Book/CD Pack (Teach Yourself Complete Courses)
Teach Yourself Lithuanian Book/CD Pack (Teach Yourself Complete Courses)
by Virginija Stumbriene
Edition: Paperback

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 14 April 2007
This course is truly amazing. I went from not being able to speak a single word of Lithuanian to being up to GCSE level in less than 3 months.

The course is well-structured and you can learn at your own pace. The audio CD's complement the excercises in the book and make learning interesting.

Poor Cow [DVD]
Poor Cow [DVD]
Dvd ~ Terence Stamp
Offered by DaaVeeDee-uk
Price: 15.99

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rough diamond of a film!, 14 April 2007
This review is from: Poor Cow [DVD] (DVD)
"Poor Cow" is my favourite Ken Loach film. In fact, it is my favourite film of all time. I only discovered it 2 years ago and it has a very personal connection for me. I have since read the novel that inspired it and can state that it is a very honest and faithful dramatisation of Nell Dunn's text. It is a film about a side of London life to which many will be oblivious, and, of course, many will not.

Carol White is superb as Joy, whose first name is not as ironic as it may seem. Her life may well be a vortex of poverty, squalor and unhappiness, but White (through her acting) and Loach (through his direction) portray the character with compassion and strength as someone who is sassy and fun. This same compassion shows through in all the other characters too. There are quite a few bright moments that shine through. The scenes of Joy with her little son, Johnny, are particularly touching and very, very well-done. The location filming around Wales is visually stunning, as indeed is the opening sequence! (I will say no more about this!)

Terence Stamp is also amazing in this film, as are all of the supporting cast. Watch out for John Bindon who somehow steals the show with his brilliant-but-awful acting in his début performance as Tom Steadman!

The theme song, specially adapted and performed by Donovan, is haunting and in a way, ironic, for John Bindon's life ended early at the age of 50, as, for that matter, did Carol White's.

This film is a real rough diamond and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I am grateful to Ken Loach for having the guts and tenacity to bring to this film to life. Poor Cow documents the lives of the underdogs and is an important and interesting piece of cinema that will always have a special place in my heart.

Bronco Bullfrog [DVD]
Bronco Bullfrog [DVD]
Dvd ~ Del Walker

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Quadrophenia - but BETTER? !!!, 14 April 2007
This review is from: Bronco Bullfrog [DVD] (DVD)
I'd read that this was something of a cult film, and, being a fan of 60s "kitchen sink dramas" I thought I'd give it a go. I was really impressed by the naturalistic performances delivered by a cast of non-professional actors.

The film serves as something of a time-capsule, evoking the feeling of a bygone era of working-class life in East London - a world so different to today - a world without the mobile phones, credit cards and creature comforts. It is interesting that the issues this film deals with are still prevalent in today's world, in fact, moreso.

I would describe "Bronco Bullfrog" as an early Quadrophenia à la Ken Loach. Its style puts me in mind of "Cathy Come Home" and "Poor Cow."

It's got a real 60's "mod" feeling to it. The main character is (like Jimmy in Quadrophenia) frankly quite ugly, but totally believable.

The storyline is thin but nonetheless compelling. The random improvisation that often comes over as rough in other films works extremely well in this film.

The violence and activity in "Bronco Bullfrog" was, I am told, quite shocking at the time - possibly even delaying the release of the film by up to 2 years. Compared to modern films it seems almost laughably tame. In fact, the film has an undertone of innocence about it which adds to its charm. As a piece of social commentary it is interesting and excellent. As a piece of entertainment it is excellent. As a British film it is excellent. "Bronco Bullfrog" transported me to a whole new world that was before my time. This is, to me, what film is all about. If like me you enjoy "new wave / mod" films you will almost certainly like "Bronco Bullfrog." It's got more realism than Hollywood has silicone!

The Rules of Work - A Definitive Guide to Personal Success
The Rules of Work - A Definitive Guide to Personal Success
by Richard Templar
Edition: Paperback

42 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Common sense meets "pseudo phsyco-babble.", 1 April 2007
Here is your recipe for success at work: Take one cup of common sense, one cup of smarminess, a tablespoon of hypocrisy and a tub of margarine.

Whisk them all intensely until you have a nice froth - et voilà! You now have success at work, and, in Richard Templar's case, a nice little money-spinner of a self-help book! How wonderful! Buy this book and you will see that my nutshell summary really is not far off the mark!

With so many rave reviews, there has to be some substance to this "international bestseller," and indeed there is. But it's not all it's cracked up to be, and I feel compelled to offer my own critique to counterbalance the sense of undulating admiration that seems to surround this book. So here goes!

If you are obsessed with achieving status through your work but are ignorant of the subtleties / game-playing of everyday office life, " The Rules of Work" may be for you. If your career is being dogged by your own social ineptitude, The Rules of Work" may give you 1 or 2 pointers.

Templar does indeed make some valid points, however it is all little more than common sense and pseudo-psychology that should be OBVIOUS to anyone with a modicum of insight and basic social inteligence!

Templar states that "carrying out the Rules requires honesty and integrity" yet betrays this by encouraging practices which are anything BUT honest. One example of this is where he mentions how you should never get angry at work unless it is "staged" to achieve a specific purpose.

Erm...HELLO Mr Templar.... do you not realising that if you are "staging" emotions and behaviour to achieve your own ends you are NOT displaying honesty and integrity?! You are being DEVIOUS and FAKE!

Templar does this yet again where he states that "you do not have to sacrifice your own identity..." Yet during a passage of blurb about "fitting in" (page 113) he makes the following interesting little statement:

"You don't have to buy into the corporate culture - you don't have to believe in it - all you have to do is fit in. If they all play golf, then you play golf. I know you hate golf, but you will play golf - if that's what it takes to fit in." Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

The whole book is peppered with these funny little anomalies that betray hypocrisy, deviousness and manipulation. I won't point them all out to you - you will have so much fun discovering them for yourself!

Oh but be sure to check out Page 131: "You don't need these things, they're for the sheep. You are the wolf. Think independent, wolfish thoughts." That sums up his attiude rather nicely.

This book has an undertone of "American-ness" about it which seems somewhat at odds with one sentence which begins with the words: "We British like to..." therefore implying that the author is British.

I wouldn't mind betting my apartment that the same passage in the version printed for America reads something like: "We Americans like to...." - all part of Mr Templar's wonderfully clever and cunning masterplan to hoodwink people and get them on side!

You have probably gathered that I do not like this book and what it represents. You are right. I despise it. Yet I know that a lot of what it says works. I have worked in many offices and seen first-hand all his little tips put into practice by people who were clearly only our for themselves. Personally I choose to have a LIFE. I am polite and respectful to people at work, I present myself well and yet I speak my mind. I stage nothing for nobody. Everyone in my office loves football. I hate it. I don't play it. And they know it! NO PROBLEM! This has never impeded my progress, and therefore I disagree with the EXTENT to which Templar suggests you should be tactical for your own benefit.

I will not concern myself with soft-soaping people to achieve favour from people who, frankly, do not matter. My world does not pivot around work!

The Rules of Work is "common sense meets obsessive, pseudo psycho-babble for the Big Brother generation."

Mr Templar appears to believe he is being SO clever, but his facile, often curious and spurious logic ("Loose clothes talk of quality and elegance, tight clothes of poverty and cheapness." Page 32) really fails to impress or fool me. Give it a read if you want a laugh. Oh and see how many typing errors you can see! Muahahahaahahahaha! Jajajajajaja!

Laterz friends ;)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2013 10:36 PM BST

Nouvell Vague
Nouvell Vague
Offered by Cardboardstore
Price: 7.00

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well ....what can I say???!!!, 9 Jan 2006
This review is from: Nouvell Vague (Audio CD)
It's not often that listening to a music CD leaves me speechless, but this is exactly how I felt when I first listened to this. What on EARTH had I spent my money on? Hehehe!
Listening to this album was like the listening equivalent of eating a sherbet lemon! A bit hard and sugar-coated on the outside, but a little patience and a bit more sucking (listening) led to a pleasant fizzing sensation on ma tongue,(in my soul) daaarling!
The 1960's saw the rise of a musical phenomenon known as "the concept album, which led to many interesting and experimental albums / album formats being produced. This Nouvelle Vague CD has something of the "concept album" about it. With even the name of the band "Nouvelle Vague" a witty knowing wink (or a clin d'oeuil as they say in France)at a predominently 60's cinematic trend, this album has a distinctly retro pop-art feel to it that works really really well. The "concept" of this album is quite original: Take some gritty, rocky songs largely from the 80's, and give them a 1960's retro shine along with a suave, sophistcated and sexy European twist - et voilà!
This album won't be to everyone's taste, but Nouvelle Vagues' concept in cover version somehow borders on sheer brilliance!
The song "Too Drunk..." described by another reviewer as "crass" and "dissolving into a screech," is undoubtedly the highlight of this CD. It had me falling about with laughter!
That is the key to this CD. It is FUN and obviously doesn't take itself too seriously. Think Hall and Oates meets The Frank Popp Ensemble. It kind of basks in its own "mock mod" blend of old, new, and urban cool. This CD will surely get your toes tapping, and I thoroughly recommend it!

An Englishman in Paris: L'education Continentale
An Englishman in Paris: L'education Continentale
by Michael Sadler
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Un Vrai Classique !, 28 Mar 2004
Think of a water biscuit - a table water biscuit. It's dry, delicious and well-rounded. It has a little crunch and a little bite that's just enough for one mouthful, alongside a sip of fruity red wine, of course! Imagine reading somebody's diary, and finding it zestier than a basket of freshly-grated lemons, and with as much sharpness to boot! This is very much how I found this book. It is truly excellent! A veteran academic from some little village in England finds himself catapulted into a Parisian cutltural crossover, a whirling, swirling vortex of elegant women, culinary discovery and comedic capers - kind of like a French "Dynasty" meets "Crossroads" meets Alan Bennett meets William Shakespeare! I read through the whole book in one go, finding it one of those rare gems that just compels you to do that. To say it is light reading would be fair, but it has an insight that gives it guts - and depth. Sadler's perception of Paris life - with its funny little pretensions and piquancies is observed with a wry eye. This book is a tapestry of little mini-sagas all interwoven. Each story a poignant little vignette, a bit like a whole tray of water biscuits, darling! Each one with a different and unique topping.

Very best of
Very best of

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The album title says it all ..., 26 Feb 2003
This review is from: Very best of (Audio CD)
This really is "the very best" of The Moody Blues - a band that created some of prog rock's finest music.
Justin Hayward's voice has an exquisite quality about it, a resonance that carries the emotion of the song in a very personal way. "Forever Autumn" has to be one of my favourite songs of all time. Everything about it WORKS - the simple yet profound lyrics, complemented by a fantastic arrangement. The first few seconds conjure up that calm, melancholy autumnal feeling in a way that nothing else can.
This is an album to have even if you're not into prog rock in a big way, because if you appreciate the artful craft of songwriting, you'll understand how well these songs are put together.

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