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J. Simpson (Somerset UK)

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Withnail & I
Withnail & I
by Kevin Jackson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...there may be something living in there..., 3 Aug. 2016
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This review is from: Withnail & I (Paperback)
One for Withnail completists. There's no need to add to the comments of another reviewer other than to say that this book doesn't really cut the mustard when compared with Maisie Robson's 'Withnail and the Romantic Imagination: A Eulogy'.


Withnail and the Romantic Imagination: A Eulogy
Withnail and the Romantic Imagination: A Eulogy
by Maisie Robson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars They're selling hippie wigs in Woolworth's, man., 3 Aug. 2016
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Given the huge number of Withnail enthusiasts out there, it is very surprising that no-one has left a review of this marvellous book until now. It is essentially an academic analysis of a film which has depths that I believed must exist but it has taken the expertise of Maisie Robson to reveal the complexities and nuances of this great work of art. I would go so far as to say that no other book I've read that discusses this film comes anywhere near the standard set by her systematic evaluation of it. Compare it, for example, with the BFI publication by Kevin Jackson.

No-one should be put off by any idea that this book has been written in language that only academics can understand. There is an explanation of anything any non-academic (such as myself) might not understand in the way of unusual words, references to periods of English literary history etc and Ms Robson's writing style is so easy on the eye that I could hardly put the book down.

The one area in which I would like to have seen more detail is on the subject of intertextuality i.e. references in the film script to other works of art. In the short section on intertextuality, Ms Robson didn't offer any analysis of claims made by other writers who have seen Shakespearean references in the script, that is those other than the obvious quotations from Hamlet. Another Shakespearean reference in the film script that appears to have been overlooked is Monty's direct quotation ('we three') from Twelfth Night, a dark comedy with which Withnail & I shares much in that both deal with time and the passage of time, the loss of youth, and both end leaving behind a pervading sense of melancholy. Coincidentally, Richard E Grant plays Sir Andrew Aguecheek in the 1996 film of Twelfth Night directed by Trevor Nunn.

The book is illustrated with photographs taken in 2010 of various locations including Sleddale Hall which was then also showing the effects of the passage of time. More recent photographs to be found online show that the building has since been renovated.

I highly recommended this book to anyone with an interest in or passion for Withnail & I.

Jim Simpson


HARROGATE - CD / DVD / Blu-ray Media Storage Shelves - Oak
HARROGATE - CD / DVD / Blu-ray Media Storage Shelves - Oak
Offered by Watsons on the Web
Price: £94.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It could do with more holes!, 23 July 2015
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This unit is a very handy item for storing large numbers of cds/dvds/Blu-rays. However, just another pair of holes at each end of the existing rows of holes would provide much more flexibility in arranging the shelves for storing dvds upright, which I prefer. Extra holes would allow for another two shelves to store more dvds upright like books, rather than two cd-sized shelves which means lying some cases down flat. Even so, it's an elegant piece of furniture that comes flat-packed with full assembly instructions that are easy to follow. A word of warning - it's delivered in a parcel weighing 31 kilos - that's mighty heavy!


DVD Wide Sargasso Sea - BBC - Region 2 - English Audio
DVD Wide Sargasso Sea - BBC - Region 2 - English Audio
Dvd ~ Rafe Spall
Offered by MMRSALES
Price: £7.78

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A BBC TV adaptation of the novel by Jean Rhys, 9 Jan. 2015
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This is an enjoyable BBC TV adaptation of the novel by Jean Rhys. It's an import from Europe with an English soundtrack and Dutch subtitles which can be switched off on most modern dvd players. The packaging says that the film runs for 120 minutes but in fact it runs for just over 1 hour 23 minutes (83 minutes). Although another reviewer observes that the packaging synopsis is in German (it's actually Dutch), it isn't difficult to find a precis of the story on-line; it's even possible to read the novel first - or simply enjoy the film!


The Beckett Country: Samuel Beckett's Ireland
The Beckett Country: Samuel Beckett's Ireland
by Eoin O'Brien
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beckett Country: a revelation., 7 Aug. 2014
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This book consists of dozens of photographs of people, places and landscapes either associated with Beckett or alluded to in his work. The photos are accompanied by a well-researched and knowledgeable narrative with appropriate references to the relevant texts.

The book accurately pinpoints Beckett's life in Ireland and his memories of that country as revealed throughout his work, and also includes a chapter on his time with the Irish Red Cross in St Lo after the war.

For anyone seeking to understand the numerous references to Ireland that are woven into the fabric and structure of Beckett's work and which are illustrated here by scenes of the topography, locations, personalities and some of the events that inform his writing, this excellent book is one of the best places to find many of the answers. It really is superb and cannot be recommended highly enough.

Jim Simpson


For Your Enjoycement : the Removal of Paddy Dignam: Loosely Based on Episode Six of Ulysses
For Your Enjoycement : the Removal of Paddy Dignam: Loosely Based on Episode Six of Ulysses
by SeŠn Lennon
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat for Joyceans, 16 July 2014
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This is artist Sean Lennon's brilliant take on the Hades episode from James Joyce's 'Ulysses'. It's essentially a tour of Dublin following the route of Paddy Dignam's funeral from his home in Sandymount to Glasnevin Cemetery, illustrated by superb drawings and accompanied by witty commentary.


Godot Go Deo: Waiting in Beckett's Dublin
Godot Go Deo: Waiting in Beckett's Dublin
by Sean Lennon
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars One for Beckettians everywhere, 16 July 2014
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This is a gem. Dublin artist Sean Lennon's superb drawings and commentaries recreate scenes from Beckett's life and work accompanied by Barry McGovern and Johnny Murphy et al and the whole thing is brilliantly done. Snap one up while you can.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 9, 2015 3:23 PM GMT


Obscure Locks, Simple Keys: The Annotated 'Watt': The Annotated 'Watt' (Samuel Beckett) (Journal of Beckett Studies)
Obscure Locks, Simple Keys: The Annotated 'Watt': The Annotated 'Watt' (Samuel Beckett) (Journal of Beckett Studies)
by C. J. Ackerley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent set of annotations, 16 July 2014
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Another excellent set of annotations from Professor Chris Ackerley. Written in his erudite and yet engaging and witty style, Professor Ackerley's book unpicks the many difficulties and problems of Samuel Beckett's story, including those of publication and those contained in the novel itself.

A non-academic, I first read 'Watt' some time ago and found it very hard going, taking three attempts to finish it. Trying to understand 'Watt' was akin to Moran's study of the dance of the bees. If I'd then had 'Obscure Locks, Simple Keys' to hand, much would have been revealed, and without most of the head-scratching.

However, I've now re-read 'Watt' in parallel with these annotations and on this occasion it's been like revisiting an old friend. If you can't afford the time to deconstruct Beckett's novel yourself but want to learn more about it, then I can't recommend Professor Ackerley's splendid book highly enough.

Just one caveat - the page references are given for the Grove Press and Calder editions but not for the 2009 Faber edition, which happens to be edited by Professor Ackerley.

Jim Simpson


Demented Particulars: The Annotated 'Murphy': The Annotated 'Murphy' (Samuel Beckett) (Journal of Beckett Studies)
Demented Particulars: The Annotated 'Murphy': The Annotated 'Murphy' (Samuel Beckett) (Journal of Beckett Studies)
by C. J. Ackerley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endon's Affence at the M.M.M., 1 July 2014
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Although a long-time enthusiast of Samuel Beckett's first novel 'Murphy', I have found that many of its references are obscure even if their intent is usually obvious. It is a delight to find that 'Demented Particulars: The Annotated Murphy' by C.J.Ackerley provides illumination to the mysteries contained in 'Murphy'. Not only that but it is written in a way that complements the novel's comedy and wit.

Erudite and extremely funny in many places, the annotations are a pleasure to have at hand while reading the book, though be aware that the page references are 'keyed to the Routledge and Grove Press editions (...) also giving the Calder and Picador pagination' but not that of the Faber 2009 edition.

There are literary witticisms to be found - amusing references to 'The House at Pooh Corner' and 'Finnegans Wake' are there, as well as jests, puns and a good visual joke about aposeopesis. Great stuff.

A couple of unfortunate errors spotted in the annotations suggests that there may be more - unless these too are scholarly jokes or 'phrase-bombs'. In annotation 114.6, Professor Ackerley, based at Otago University in New Zealand, has described the advancing and retardation of clocks for daylight saving purposes as that experienced in NZ, rather than in the UK where the novel is set. He appears to have missed the fact that the seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres are reversed, with the consequential effect that has on when in the year the hour is added or subtracted (when the clocks in the UK go forward, those in NZ go back, and vice versa, while still conforming to the mnemonic Spring Forward, Fall Back). The second error is in annotation 241.1, where Beckett's late prose piece 'Ill Seen Ill Said' is referred to as 'Ill Seen Ill Heard'.

Never mind, this hasn't spoilt the spirit of Professor Ackerley's book, which has given me such pleasure that pleasure is not the word.

Jim Simpson


A Simple Plan [DVD]
A Simple Plan [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Paxton
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite all it's been cracked up to be . . ., 19 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: A Simple Plan [DVD] (DVD)
In the blurb on the back cover of this dvd, The Express reviewer claims that "It's Shallow Grave meets Fargo but better!". I would suggest that both those films are far superior to this one. Although they have some aspects in common with this film, at nearly two hours duration A Simple Plan is too long by at least half an hour. Some plot strands are highly implausible but can almost be excused given that it is at heart a morality tale. However, the moral is driven home without any of the black humour that makes Fargo so appealing. So, although it's not a bad film and provides a couple of hours entertainment, there are better ones to watch e.g. Blood Simple and the above-mentioned movies.


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