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T.M.G. (England, UK)

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A Thorn in the Flesh: Selected Poems
A Thorn in the Flesh: Selected Poems
by Eddie Linden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Eddie the eagle, 18 Aug. 2016
A fascinating glimpse into the multi-faceted life of the one-time Aquarius editor, musing on a number of themes. Poetry for the soul here.

Orchestral Concert
Orchestral Concert
Price: £3.16

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor vinyl transfer with tracks incorrectly split!, 24 May 2016
This review is from: Orchestral Concert (MP3 Download)
Very noisy transfer of Track 4 (the one I downloaded), but I also think they haven't split the tracks in the right places. "La Valse" sounds like it has the final minute of the previous track, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" at the beginning. After that, it then sounds like the piece should. This explains why the track length doesn't match what it should be. You could have at least made some effort with this one, Hallmark.

It Doesn't Matter Anymore (Single Version / Mono Version)
It Doesn't Matter Anymore (Single Version / Mono Version)
Price: £0.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Wrongly labelled, 8 Dec. 2015
It says 'mono' and 'single version' yet plays stereo. Get your act together, Universal...

Cath A Falling Star
Cath A Falling Star
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Catch, not Cath..., 25 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cath A Falling Star (MP3 Download)
Pretty good transfer of a track unavailable elsewhere. Seems to be a re-issue of a Dutch Philips EP. This track was issued as a single on Philips in 1958. Difficult to find CATH A Falling Star by Wally Stott, perhaps someone could correct this?

The Dictionary of Labour Quotations
The Dictionary of Labour Quotations
by Stuart Thomson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars From Benn to Blair, a goldmine, 25 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Brilliant stuff! I bought this after perusing a copy at the Blackwell's Labour Conference stand (where it was a bit pricey, so I passed it over). I then remembered a quote by Frank Dobson from it but couldn't find said quote online. Therefore I decided to buy the book. Stuart Thomson has done a great job, although there's a few I'd like to add if he decides to update it. The Corbyn section seems relevant at the moment! Yvette Cooper is on the preceding page, Andy Burnham pops up too, but no Liz Kendall alas. "I'm interested in what works" - that could go in! Very easy to use, lots of entertainment if you're into history, politics and the Labour Party.

Hit Parade, No. 2 (feat. Wally Stott and His Orchestra, Wally Stott Chorus) [Mono Version]
Hit Parade, No. 2 (feat. Wally Stott and His Orchestra, Wally Stott Chorus) [Mono Version]
Price: £1.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Bassey only on track 4, 25 Aug. 2015
All four tracks aren't by Shirley Bassey.
1. The Kaye Sisters - Alone
2. Ronnie Carroll - April Love
3. Frankie Vaughan - Kisses Sweeter Than Whine
4. Shirley Bassey - Tra La La

From a French Philips EP "Hit Parade No 2". I don't know why BnF didn't list the artists, or why Amazon won't let users submit this information.

Bonnie Scotland
Bonnie Scotland
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Great album marred by substandard re-issue, 6 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bonnie Scotland (MP3 Download)
While the world of digital downloads has opened up new avenues for easily finding 'vintage' pop music, this has been a mixed blessing. Here we have Kathie Kay's 1959 MFP LP of 'Scottish Ballads' under the title 'Bonnie Scotland' and a cover that doesn't resemble the original at all. The tracks have been re-jigged around from their original playing order too. All this I could deal with, as it turns out to be a lovely set of songs by the vastly underrated Kathie Kay. The problem is that each track seems to start a bit too abruptly, as if a second has been lopped off the start. If you have the one track that had already been issued on CD, "Suddenly There's a Valley", compare the start and you will see what I mean. To add to this, whilst it is a decent enough transfer of the old LP, the surface noise from the vinyl is often audible, making you wonder if anyone bothered to do any 'restoration' on the recording. I do hope someone issues more of Kathie's recordings in GOOD sound, with the tracks complete and unclipped. In the meantime, don't bother with this (unless you don't care about any of the above, and just want to hear it anyway). Why is there no way to contact the record company responsible for this re-issue?

The Lost Diaries
The Lost Diaries
by Craig Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Part genius, part passable, 16 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The Lost Diaries (Paperback)
I was dismayed to read the following comment in a one-star review of this book:
"Clearly I have missed the whole point of the book but not being a member of the N London Media Lit brigade, it went over my head."

However, having now read the book, I can appreciate what the reviewer meant. There are simply too many names that will only be identifiable to a certain kind of reader. A great deal of the subjects in this book were people I had never heard of - and I doubt Joe Public would know of. This is where Google came in handy, as I had no idea who W.G. Sebald was. Or Roy Jenkins, Sir Nicholas Henderson, VS Naipaul, George Steiner, Annabel Goldsmith and Lord Runciman.

The trouble is that to be familiar with everyone in this book, you'd need to read every newspaper avidly on a daily basis. And most people are only familiar with their own sphere: therefore those who know what Katie Price writes like will not really appreciate the Thomas Hardy parody. Even once I'd looked up who certain people were, that still didn't inform me what their writing style was.

The best advice for reading this book is not to try it from start to finish. Just dip in and out, and only read entries by those you are familiar with; or try one entry by someone you are unfamiliar with. And if you don't find it amusing, ignore the rest for that person. I found this worked for me, especially as the joke is milked dry in many cases: Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens to name but two. The Richard E Grant parody becomes incredibly tiresome the third or fourth time.

All this said, when Brown gets it right, he is side-splittingly funny. I suppose we all have our favourites, and for me, he is a genius when parodying the upper classes. I'd never read Clarissa Eden's work before, but now I don't need to. The Mitford ones (Deborah Devonshire and Diana Mosley) are bang on; when someone has defended Hitler as briskly as these two ladies have, they set themselves up for satirising. The John Gielgud entries had me chuckling very loudly - alas, I fear the original letters he parodies aren't nearly as funny! His letter complaining about the Second World War is perfect. Brown also works wonders with that curious breed: the Royal Biographer. The sycophancy of Messrs. Brandreth, Shawcross and Vickers is spot-on.

And when people like Germaine Greer, Yoko Ono or Lady Antonia Fraser take themselves as seriously as they do, Craig Brown's work is absolutely vital. His satire is the perfect antidote to pomposity and pretentiousness.

However, the book I would really like to buy is the collected Diaries from Private Eye; it is a tragedy that some of these are simply consigned to history once the next issue comes out. But, alas, I don't know if I will ever read his brilliant parodies of Joan Collins, Margaret Rhodes or Yasmin Alibhai-Brown ever again. Publishers, take note!

The Margaret Lockwood Collection [DVD]
The Margaret Lockwood Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Margaret Lockwood
Price: £15.46

112 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ITV DVD honours Britain's 1940s box-office queen, 6 Jun. 2011
I feel I ought to add my twopenneth in, as one of the other reviews is a little unfair. For what it is, this Margaret boxset does a pretty good job. Alas, she's largely forgotten, unlike her Hollywood contemporaries, but for about five years she reigned as Britain's box-office queen, from 1943 to 1948. ITV DVD, who own the Rank and Gainsborough catalogue (she was under contract to these studios) have given her the great honour of a boxset collecting some of her films - to date, the only such collection.

The boxset is designed very well, in an attractive way, though I do take issue with the photo used. She was only blonde in one film, Cardboard Cavalier, and that isn't even included. Amazon don't mention the films included. They are:

The Wicked Lady (1945). Still Britain's all-time ninth biggest "bums on seats" cinema attraction, it raised eyebrows with the revealing Regency costumes worn by Margaret and Patricia Roc, and the (by the standards of the day) racy dialogue. A classic romp, this one, and guaranteed to make you a fan!

Love Story (1944). Not widely seen today, but another major box-office hit of its time. A classic weepy, with the superb Cornish Rhapsody. This one will pull at your heartstrings!

Bank Holiday (1938). The one that made Margaret a star in Britain. A fairly simple but stirring drama, most effective as a portrayal of pre-war Britain, when the country shut up shop for bank holidays at seaside resorts like Brighton and Blackpool. A slightly different Margaret from the Gainsborough Girl image.

The Lady Vanishes (1938). Margaret was a Hitchcock girl - and she wasn't even blonde. Another classic, she makes a great comic team with Michael Redgrave. Great vintage entertainment here.

Give Us the Moon (1944). Bit of an acquired taste this one. I enjoyed it, but some may find it a bit silly. Margaret is some kind of Russian heiress.

Highly Dangerous (1950). This is the dud of the set really. Highly Awful, in my opinion. This was her last film under contract to Rank, and no wonder. It's just too silly, but this one is meant to be a dramatic spy story. One loses the will to live!

As a bonus, we get an interesting 20-minute documentary first broadcast on Carlton Cinema in the 1990s, profiling Margaret's film career, with contributions from directors and academics. It's certainly better than nothing, although it would be wonderful if someone did a feature-length one. And all the films have lovely picture galleries.

In summary: don't let the other review put you off. Margaret was a true star, and there's at least four examples here of why. The other two serve to show how poorly served she sometimes was by the British studios. Kudos to ITV for releasing this set! If only they'd do another one...
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2017 4:41 AM BST

Cara Mia: David Whitfield Story
Cara Mia: David Whitfield Story
by Alan Michael Britton
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and straightforward, 5 Jun. 2011
David Whitfield, one of Britain's biggest singing stars of the 1950s is largely forgotten nowadays. Having heard whispers about his character being a bit dodgy, but being unable to find out any details online, I ordered this book. I feared it would be a total hagiography, but I was pleased to see it wasn't - presumably because it would be impossible to gloss over some of these stories when writing his life story.

It does have the look and feel of a small-run publication: the book is printed like a school textbook! It is relatively easy to read, but considering the author is a former teacher, it leaves a bit to be desired. Grammatical errors are there, and the style of writing borders on informal at times. But of course, this was never going to be reviewed by the national press, so who will notice? There are also a few errors, such as the classic mistake writers make of being unable to read chart books correctly. Answer Me was not #1 for thirteen weeks: that's how long it was in the charts! The discography is also not as good as it could be; I'm sure recording dates and matrixes were available.

The writer doesn't make much attempt to analyse David's character, or go into great detail about certain events: the facts are simply stated, and it's on to the next bit of news. Towards the end it simply amounts to summarising his touring itinary! I'm surprised that David's last album, recorded in the mid-70s isn't mentioned at all. The comments from fans who remember seeing David provide an interesting insight into what made him a star and why he was so popular.

I read the book in about a day. Maybe one day there will be a thoroughly detailed biography of David with a proper narrative structure and closer examination of his career and off-stage persona. Until then, this is a decent 'thumbnail' biography which has answered a few questions I had, but also left me wondering about others.

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