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Stuart Wilson
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Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography
Bit Of A Blur: The Autobiography
by Alex James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Giraffe boy grows up, 18 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The blithe and gilded youth of Blur bass player James. I think annoying sexy-giraffe-boy Alex was one reason I took against Blur way back when (“I’m Alex and I’ve got a big biiiiiiiig bass” – arghhhhh): “Just because they’re good-looking,” says the homely Coxon mournfully in an interview somewhere – Albarn of course being the other part of the they – , “Doesn’t mean they have to get all the attention.” But young Alex got loads of attention – including, he hints, from royalty – and writes about it wittily and very well. He is warm to guitarist Coxon throughout, less so towards Albarn, “domineering” and ”controlling”. He never quite addresses the fact that with two bottle-heids like himself and Coxon in the band a bit of controlling dominance might just be required to get the wonderful songs out to the world. The fact that it is Damon off somewhere on his tod with a Bontempi and a bleeding heart that funds his Rio six-way, Groucho shenanigans, cars and planes, is never really acknowledged. And so the whistling Blur shag-master prances through the pop world, switching addictions with Bambi-like cheerfulness, while, of course, a sad beautiful girl waits. Appalling men always have sad beautiful girls waiting. This one waits in vain as it turns out, being patted out of the picture as a fresher, younger beautiful girl arrives on the scene just in time to be married. Anyway, in the end, James make a(nother) fortune with a football song called Vindaloo, which I still haven’t had the guts to google, and, buying himself a farm, transforms overnight from a 20-year vegetarian into bird-slaughtering meat-eater. Yippee!


Avengers: Age of Ultron [DVD]
Avengers: Age of Ultron [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Offered by Bartlett's HiFi
Price: £9.75

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the past to life, 29 Mar. 2016
One of the few good things about being a middle-aged guy these days is that I get to see my comic-reading childhood brought to life in a series of ridiculously entertaining films. I read some lukewarm reviews of Ultron - and I remember the 1960s issue that introduced him, with some startlingly brilliant artwork by Barry Smith - but, heed them not, this is a whole bunch of fun. Witty script, action that thrills and , for once, hero downtime that doesn't bore but actually fleshes out the relationships - funny, though, to see Black Widow warming up to the Hulk rather than Cap or (not present of course) Daredevil. Older readers, meanwhile, will enjoy the bit where Vision catches Wanda in his arms. Joss Whedon, you've made a slightly grizzled Marvel fan extremely happy.


Gotham - Season 1 [DVD] [2014]
Gotham - Season 1 [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Ben McKenzie
Price: £12.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who’d have thought that boy Batman’s secret weapon would be…, 2 Jan. 2016
… Robin? It is of course Lord Taylor’s delicious performance as the young Penguin that really gives Gotham its bite, but there’s a lot of good work going on around him too: Jada Pinkett Smith as a ferociously pantheresque ganglady, Sean Pertwee as a decidedly more thuggish than usual Alfred, David Mazouz intense and troubled as Bruce Wayne. I’d have preferred a different actor as Gordon, someone a little wilder, skinnier and tougher, like Dan Stevens in Walk amongst the tombstones style. But some nice storylines too, such as the Balloon Man and the Darwinian businessman who prefers Fight Club strategies to interviews… Gotham has managed to avoid so far the soapier clichés that ruined Smallville and hamstrung Arrow (though they seemed to fit in quite well with the flashy fun of Flash). An excellent surprise.


Ryba - Czech Christmas Mass
Ryba - Czech Christmas Mass
Price: £12.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure joy, 20 Dec. 2015
For such a relatively small geographical area, what we now call the Czech Republic has produced such a marvellous bounty of music, just thinking of Mahler, Martinu, Janacek, Dvorak, Smetana... And then there is this little choral jewel by Ryba, a robust, joyous, beautiful retelling of the Christmas story through the eyes of the shepherds, as perhaps befits a composer who spent most of his life as a teacher in small country towns. While this particular work – he apparently turned out a huge number of compositions, most of them unrecorded – would eventually go on to become one of the most performed at Christmas in his native land, Ryba himself died a suicide: it would be interesting to know something more about his life - a fine subject for a film, one would think. But this thrilling and melodic piece remains and deserves a place in every music lover’s library.


Fortitude - Season 1 [DVD]
Fortitude - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sophie Grabol
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Snow go., 12 Dec. 2015
This review is from: Fortitude - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Unbelievably bad. As if some poor hack had been hired, they said, look, we've got to jump onto this Nordic noir thing, we have money to waste on a bunch of good actors, can you throw together some sort of script? Not one decent line in the whole thing - well, the whole thing that I managed to watch, at least. As for the actors - well, really, don't they have any sort of quality control at all? Is it just enough to work? Did they say to Tucci, look, we have Gambon, and vice-versa? Maybe they fed Sophie the scripts one by one, like in the Killing, and she kept desperately hoping there would be some sign of improvement? Poor lass. A lack of guts all round, anyway.


Nashville - Season 3 [DVD]
Nashville - Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Connie Britton
Price: £14.53

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Soap oprey, 1 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Nashville - Season 3 [DVD] (DVD)
Well, let's be serious about this. Nashville is quite fun. The writing is, in this, the golden age of TV drama, merely passable. The songs were much better in the first series. It is terribly soapy - soap oprey?? ok, someone else must have got there first. If there's nothing better on, it passes the time.A fine bunch of actors do their best, if I'm not mistaken most of them actually can sing and play, and Charles Esten, previously unknown to me, is excellent. And that's about it. A real series or film about the making of music remains to be made.


Songs To Play
Songs To Play
Price: £9.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I stop for petrol, and I stop for Dylan", 1 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Songs To Play (Audio CD)
Perhaps, if he reads his critics – and he really should, because they’ve been exhilaratingly favourable this time around – Forster allowed himself a wry smile to see his latest album trouncing, in the pages of Uncut, the new efforts by venerable dinosaurs David Gilmour and Keith Richards. His own position in the Pantheon is assured, but, despite a gloriously rich body of work both with the GBs and solo, has always been slightly off-centre, so it’s unlikely that Songs to play will outsell Dave and Keef. But it really should. Forster’s albums and songs often resemble their creator – angular, sharp, elegant, with a slight whiff of eccentricity and an occasional dead-eye Glasgow hardman stare. They are lean, without flab, never banal. Listen and love the roll and snap of Robert’s voice around his lyrics, reflecting the roll and snap of the instruments beneath, the little biting guitar runs and twanging bass. Lines fly out at you in a way few lyrics do these days – the one I’ve used to title this review has been buzzing in my head for days, so typically Forsterian, curiously oblique, strangely perfect. Songs to play has that invigorating freshness of the moment at the end of the shower when you smack the handle to cold and the whole world wakes up in your skin – how excellent it is to have an album that you play all day and the very first thing you want to do next morning is put it on again. And sometimes, one would like to think, Dylan must stop for him.


The Unlucky Lottery (The Van Veeteren Series)
The Unlucky Lottery (The Van Veeteren Series)
by Håkan Nesser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Lesser Nesser, 25 Aug. 2015
Nesser has never really managed to leap into the same class as other Scandanavian authors (the usual suspects, Larsson, Mankell, Indridason, Fossum etc) but his books generally offer a certain quiet satisfaction, though I for one would be hard put to remember any one of them as individual works, and I have never liked the strange Euroworld fantasy land he has chosen as his setting. This particular offering is about his worst so far though, despite the usual touches of wit and not uninteresting characterisation - the plot relies on far too much incompetence on the part of the police, shows no originality whatsoever and lurches sluggishly from one unlikelihood to another. One to skip in the Van Veeteren series.


Heartware
Heartware
Offered by Disco100
Price: £18.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Not regrets!, 3 July 2015
This review is from: Heartware (Audio CD)
I not regret! Cd contain many joyful music includes excellent wonderful My pleasure maybe Jan's homage to Larence of Arabia I do not know but sure a very zippy and exciteful track of sound and also much fine other pieces oh yes also the beautiful Firenze which I think Italian for Florence and Dancing in chains but there is lots of nice stuff to listsen into here a very good album from Mr Jan!!!

Stuart
Schottland


Outlander - Season 1 (Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Outlander - Season 1 (Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Caitriona Balfe

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Soft-porn tosh for the lassies, 3 Jun. 2015
I quite enjoy time-travel stories as a rule, but here it's just a frail female-fantasy pretence to hurl the heroine back in time into the arms of her hunky Highlander. And that's about it, really. The production company has flung a bunch of good actors at it, some with weirdly skewed Scottish accents, and the scenery is pretty. Tobias Menzies, an excellent actor, does his best as the beastly baddie and abandoned husband. But the story lacks sophistication: would any man really burst in on his wife, about to be raped at knife-point by a slavering sadist, and come out with something like, "I'd be kindly asking you sir to unhand ma missus?" I suspect not. And better writing, for instance, would have moved the knife-using lesson to an earlier point in the series. The main characters get their kit off at regular intervals by candlelight etc. But there is one exceedingly bright point in all the nonsense, and that is Catriona Balfe's gritty and sincere central performance, without which the silliness would have foundered pretty quickly. A stepping stone to much, much better things in the future.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2015 2:32 PM BST


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