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Concerned father "daddy_p_buckley"

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The Magical World Of The Strands
The Magical World Of The Strands

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 30 Aug 2003
When it came out, this album was for a while the one I considered my favourite ever. The lilting melodies of each song took a time to take hold, but like the X that hits the spot, I was soon addicted. The highlight for me is 'Something Like You', a track I disliked at first, thinking the strings were somewhat cheesy. But like the best of 'What's Going on', it lifts you to an emotional height almost classical. The best acoustic album ever.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Penguin Classics)
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Penguin Classics)
by Laurence Sterne
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book ever written, 29 Aug 2003
The augustan enlightenment period of English literature is one of my least favourite; I do not enjoy Dr Johnson, Thomas Gray, and Defoe isn't a great novelist. Which is why I was so surprised by this 'novel', bursting at the seams with a restless comic energy - and it was written by a clergyman! This is the bawdiest of the bawdy, but not low brow in any way. Sterne reinvents the novel as a sea of possibilities, exploiting even the forms limitations. He is a master of illusion, and constantly mocks the reader in good spirit, playing with time scales and propriety. Anybody who likes Swift will be knocked out by this; Sterne outdoes the master of satire at every turn.
The central irony of the novel is that the narrator is meant to tell us his life story, but does not even get born until the fourth volume, as he digresses further and further from the starting point of his conception. This novel embodies the creative process, and is most probably the most creatively 'free' work ever written. Sterne destroys all preconceptions, and sets limits only where he can go no further.

Monster's Ball [DVD] [2002]
Monster's Ball [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Halle Berry|Billy Bob Thornton|Heath Ledger|Sean Combs
Price: 2.94

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising quality, 26 Aug 2003
This review is from: Monster's Ball [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
First of all, I totally disagree with the idea that the sex scenes are gratuitous and intended to sell the movie. The scenes with Vera the whore start off comic, purely functional, but in both cases reveal something about the Ledger and Thornton characters. It is quite touching when Ledger, in particular, asks her if she wants to get something to eat afterwards, craving a more emotional involvement.
In the Halle Berry and Billy Bob scene, I think that it is quite a 'real' scene, depicting the two characters need for someone, and the way the power relations shift, from Thornton's recognisable quick bang to Berry's taking control, in need of satisfaction, is effective. The cuts to the view through the door and window serve to remind the viewer of the prejudices lying outside of the temporary haven.
Thornton's character is as honest as they come, which makes him hard to like at first, but he grows on you with an excellently subtle performance. When he puts his father in the home, there is something heroic in the way that he responds to the nurses statement, "You must love your father very much". "No, I don't, but he's my father".
The actors make this film, and prove themselves actors rather than stars. Even Puffy puts in a good turn as the condemned man. When it was over, there was something magical in the last image you are left with, Berry and Thornton sitting on the porch looking at the stars. The film consistently reinvests perhaps 'cliched' situations with real gravity, and is a triumph. Bears comparison with the Coens' last film, 'The Man Who wasn't there'.

Lyrical Ballads: With a Few Other Poems (Penguin Classics: Poetry First Editions)
Lyrical Ballads: With a Few Other Poems (Penguin Classics: Poetry First Editions)
by William Wordsworth
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Edition, 22 Aug 2003
I had previously read the poems that appear here in their final forms, but to read the collection in it's first form was a true revelation. It has passed into poetic lore, the revolutionary nature of this poetry and the driven 'Preface' that appeared in the second edition. Here however, perhaps more is revealed about the true character of valid revolution; a simple advertisement preceeds the poems, and a current of uncertainty runs throughout.
The advertisements claim that these poems "were written chiefly as an experiment" reads like a disclaimer, while invoking the authority of the enlightenments Sir Joshua Reynolds' view that poetry can only be judged after intense protection all seem like self-protection on Wordsworth's part.
This uncertainty, which is the most charming feature of this edition, runs through all of the Wordsworth poems. 'The Female Vagrant' "thus her artless story told"; 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill', we are told, is a true story; 'Lines left upon a seat in a Yew-Tree' - it is as if Wordsworth is reluctant to take any credit for the compositions, fearing a critical backlash. Which is perhaps why he collaborated with Coleridge here; it is easier to hide between two names and the uncertainty of the specific writer than to set out on your own revolution.
The same device that seems meant to protect Wordsworth seems to have freed Coleridge; two of his poems start the collection, in the most avant-garde fashion. The disorientating, sequential non-sequitirs of 'The Rime of the ancyent marinere' does something new with English poetry; it confounds the search for meaning, a la David Lynch, which paired with the supernatural themes of the poem is very magical. In it's first edition form it is free from textual glosses, which surprisingly, doesn't detract from the poetry in any way. 'The Foster-Mothers Tale', a "dramatic fragment", frustrates in a similar way.
The collection ends with Wordsworths 'Tintern Abbey'; do you need any more recommendation?

Transmissions From the Satellite Heart
Transmissions From the Satellite Heart
Price: 5.32

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Near Perfect Pop, 20 Aug 2003
This album is a real grower. With each extra listen, the songs that at first seemed weaker reveal themselves as great. 'She Don't Use jelly' is by no means the highlight.
In the Lips canon, this is probably not the album to start off with, but fans of their other stuff will find a lot to appreciate here. The highlight is album closer 'Slow Nerve Action', a gloriously frazzled guitar line making way for the quietly melodic verse, which seems like listening to the music of space. It is one of the best songs ever, put simply.
It is also hard to begrudge a small affection for 'Chewing The Apple of Your Eye', its slight nature recalling great moments like the final track on 'The Velvet Underground'.
This is hwat American 'alternative' guitar badns are all about; experimentation that never gets in the way of melody and a sense of fun. The Lips are one of the great bands of the last ten years. Buy this album.

The Savage God: A Study of Suicide
The Savage God: A Study of Suicide
by A. Alvarez
Edition: Paperback

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting, 19 Aug 2003
There are a lot of expectations going in to reading this book. You might expect a self-conscious act of catharsis, with Alvarex trying to exorcise the facts of his own failed suicide attempt. Fortunately, it is a literary quest through the attitudes, myths and mystiques that have been built around this intensely personal act from the time of the Greeks to the sixties 'extremist' poets, as he calls them; Plath, Hughes, Lowell.
The points of interest are mainly in the historical information he produces; before this I was unaware of the frequency of artistic suicides. Moving from period to period, this book is invaluable as an overview of changes in the English Literary tradition, all the time tied to the act of suicide.
So we are treated to chapters on Donne, Chatterton, The Romantics, and most interestingly for me, the Dadaists. The only low point comes in the very last chapter, when the writer becomes all 'confessional' regarding his own suicide, and seems to neglect some of the points he has made in treating other peoples attempts. Still though, a surprisingly relevant and informative book, of interest for anyone who has read the poetry of the last 400 years.

Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton
Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton
by John Lahr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography, 18 Aug 2003
This is perhaps the best literary biography I have ever read. Lahr's writes with integrity throughout; the first chapter deals with the facts of orton's death as if to despatch with any tendency to sensationalism or melodrama. He also approachs Orton's work with due caution, not a writer to sell his subject's talent through biography. What emerges is an engrossing story in itself, of the 'other side' of sixties life.
I was never much of a fan of Orton's work before this, but as a man he interests me hugely. He has seemed to have gained a misplaced reputation as a cutting edge sixties sexual revolutionary, but Lahr's Orton is a throwback to the days of Coward and leisure class decadence. At one point Lahr relates how Orton was against homosexuality being legalised or accepted into the mainstream; he was excited by the exclusivity and secrecy of it. He was more wannabe aristocrat than liberal revolutionary.
This book is hugely entertaining, thanks in a large part to the richness of Lahr's source material, Orton's diaries, which serve as a useful companion volume to this. Not just as a treatment of one man's life, but as an evocation of the sixties as a period of transition and one man caught in the middle, this book is essential.

Simulacra and Simulation (The Body in Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body in Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
by Jean Baudrillard
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.91

26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Provocative, 18 Aug 2003
Baudrillard is indeed modern philosophy's equivalent of Nietzsche, but in this work at least does not live up to that great man. Be prepared for a struggle if you want to read this book; the writer's arguments are painstakingly condensed to the point that it is hard to tell whether he has really justified his observation with evidence.
While the chapters on Clones and Holograms are very interesting, inherently suited as the subjects are to the books concern, in other places the subject matter and arguments do seem the result of whim rather than an attempt to locate truth.
So while this book contains a lot of value, and will certainly change the way the reader interprets the world, Baudrillards style of writing forces the intelligent reader to approach his claims critically and selectively.

Metamorphosis and Other Stories: Works Published In Kafka's Lifetime (Penguin Modern Classics)
Metamorphosis and Other Stories: Works Published In Kafka's Lifetime (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Franz Kafka
Edition: Paperback

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Writer of the twentieth century?, 15 Aug 2003
This book has been taking up space in my cupboard for a few months, since I had to read metamorphosis for my English degree. Yesterday I picked it up again, having graduated, and have only put it down since to write this.
Kafka is perhaps the most brilliant writer of the last century in perception and the way he can imaginatively express his ideas. 'Metamorphosis' is the most famous tale here, using the central metaphor of a man who awakes to find himself transformed into an insect, but the other stories have just as much to offer.
I was particularly surprised by the early 'Meditations' that appear here. The Editor notes that Kafka told his publisher to stop printing them, embarassed by what he saw as his early failings. This view is not born out by the shorts that appear here, each one taking a situation, observing the human behaviour taking place with humour but sympathy. Kafka makes the reader aware of the absurdity of his characters actions, but at the same time we are led to inherently understand the reasons for them. He never sacrifices a basic humanity.
'The Judgement' and 'The Stoker', the latter of which is the first chapter of the uncompleted novel 'Amerika', are strikingly effective stories. Any fans of Ishiguros 'The Unconsoled' should read these to see where that writers style comes from.
Kafka seems to be able to render the uncertainties, and lurking terror in the commonplace situations that take place in the modern world, in a light which every reader can share in. He expresses the inexpressible, instinctive doubts that anyone can feel at certain times. The unlikely situation of the one page parable, 'The Sudden Walk', is perhaps my favourite, as he depicts the sudden euphoria of taking action, in however small a respect. Again, we see the slight absurdity of the feelings this arouses, but see the subjective truth in them.
This collection has reinvested my faith in the sublime quality of literature that appears too rarely these days. I will definitely be reading the novels. A necessity for all literature fans.

A Maximum High
A Maximum High
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 5.00

0 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Epitomises britpop excess, 13 Aug 2003
This review is from: A Maximum High (Audio CD)
Shed Seven should be the figurehead band of Britpop in retrospect. A mediocre, slightly tuneful, in it for the money kind of a band who found popularity in the proliferation of the Britpop label policy. On Standby, and Bully Boy are reasonably good pop songs, but elsewhere the band seem weighed down by a sense of their own importance, as on the title track. The excessive good will of those years obviously extended to the charts, where people began to attribute these average records with inappropriate monikers like 'classic', and ruled Shed Seven to have, like, 'talent'.
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