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Simon Bourke (Ireland)

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Look Who's Back
Look Who's Back
Price: £0.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome, 11 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Look Who's Back (Kindle Edition)
Mildly amusing for the first ten pages or so, this joke quickly wears thin. The novelty of Hitler living and breathing in modern-day Germany is not enough to hang an entire story on, and the lack of any real narrative or character development make this a wearying read. In addition many of the references will go over the heads of non-German readers.

Among The Thugs
Among The Thugs
by Bill Buford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the greatest book about fandom, and the culture of fandom, ever written., 7 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Among The Thugs (Paperback)
I have read several books detailing the heydey of football hooliganism, but none come close to Among the Thugs. As others have stated what makes this book stand out is that it is written from a neutral perspective. It's hard to think of someone so removed from the British working-class as Bill Buford, a scholar and an academic from Louisiana. And it is this 'fish out of water' factor which makes Among the Thugs such an enjoyable read. Buford inserts himself into scenarios and situations in which he has no business being in, often with surprising results. The notion of him running through the streets of Turin with Manchester United fans as they 'take the city' is so ludicrous as to be comical, but his accounts of what he saw unfolding before him are far from humorous. He reports on the violence in a visceral and vivid way, not dressing it up like the hooligans themselves might have, but instead focusing on the human element. Throughout the book we share his abject horror as he watches these 'little s***s' inflict misery upon the lives of innocent, law-abiding members of society, all in the name of England or whatever town or city they hail from. At times Buford digresses a little too much, and his departures into the sociological factors at play are overly long and and somewhat long-winded. But those minor missteps aside this is an incredible piece of writing from start to finish and one that I'd whole-heartedly recommend to anyone with an interest in football hooliganism or indeed, the lives of the young, working-class males of Britain during the Thatcher years.

How I Got Over
How I Got Over
Price: £5.60

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maturing like a fine wine, 10 July 2010
This review is from: How I Got Over (Audio CD)
The Roots cement their place as the finest hip hop group of all time with this their follow up to the dark and broody Rising Down. Given that Rising Down's predecessor Game Theory was also a quite bleak affair it's heartening to see Philadelphia's finest in more upbeat mood on their latest release. From the off it's clear that the focus is on catchy hooks and haunting melodies rather than the stark production seen on the last two albums, for whatever reason The Roots seem to be in a good place in 2010 and How I Got Over is all the better for it.
Some may complain about the direction that the group has taken with this album but the days of Illadelph Halflife are long gone and a group of men fifteen years older and wiser can't be expected to stand still as the musical landscape changes around them. The Roots diversity and willingness to change is what has enabled them to have such longevitiy whilst maintaining a ridiculously high quality of output over the years.
How I Got Over is almost dreamlike and ethereal in it's vibe and I found myself listening to it in a dazed stupor of joy, however don't be fooled into thinking they've gone all soft because ?uestlove's trademark production is present and correct here. There's some classic Root's bangers in situ that will have you shaking and jiving in the manner that only a Roots track can!!
It's impossible to state where this album rates in relation to other Roots albums as in my opinion each and every release of theirs is a five star classic and stands on it's own as a work of genius, I actually don't think it's possible that they could ever release a poor album because there's just too much talent and ingenuity in their legendary crew.
Once again The Roots have shown why they are the last bastion of hope for hip hop and I personally expect to be still excitedly awaiting their new releases for years to come.

The Roots Present [DVD] [2009]
The Roots Present [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ The Roots
Offered by A1-Media
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Legendary Roots Crew, 30 Jan. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first thing to note about this dvd is it's duration, it is in actual fact 89mins long and not 175mins as stated in the product details. However 89 minutes spent with The Roots and 'their special guests' is ample time to enjoy the finest live act in hip hop today. This live performance was filmed in New York in 2004 just before the release of The Tipping Point and the majority of the songs on offer come from that album which some would argue is The Roots' weakest work to date. However as any Roots fan will know The Roots don't really do weak albums and an average release by their standards is still head and shoulders above almost everything else in hip hop.
The aforementioned 'special guests' are as follows; Skillz, Jean Grae, Young Gunz, Dice Raw, Martin Luther and Mobb Deep. Upon seeing that list you'd automatically assume that the guest performances take up a large part of the dvd and you'd be correct. Roughly half of the show is taken up by these artists but thankfully each and every one of them is backed up by the Roots band led by the dynamic ?uestlove. Most of the guest acts are excellent with Dice Raw and Mobb Deep being the standout performers, Mobb Deep in particular manage to rouse a hitherto apathetic crown who seeing as they were privately invited should really at least pretend to appear like they're enjoying themselves.
All in all this an excellent live dvd from The Roots and is a must buy for any hip hop fan but I can't help wishing it had been recorded either a little bit earlier or a little bit later so that the content would have been more centred on their iconic albums. Then again the beauty of The Roots is that everyone has a different favourite album so some will argue that they wouldn't change a thing about the setlist. Speaking of setlists here it is in full;

The Roots - Web
The Roots - Boom!
The Roots - In Love with the Mic
The Roots - I Don't Care
Skillz - Nod Factor
Skillz - 2003 Wrap Up
Jean Grae - Clap
Jean Grae - What would I do
Young Gunz - Friday Night
Young Gunz - Can't Stop, Won't Stop
The Roots - Proceed
The Roots - Stay Cool
The Roots - Lessons Part III
Dice Raw - Do what I like
Martin Luther - Daily Bread
The Roots - Break you off
The Roots - Don't say nuthin'
The Roots - The Next Movement
Mobb Deep - Bum
Mobb Deep - Shook ones pt.2
Mobb Deep - Got it twisted
The Roots - Clones

The Wackness [2007] [DVD]
The Wackness [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jonathan Levine
Price: £1.49

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wack, 29 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Wackness [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I really, really wanted to like this film but, despite its killer soundtrack and a consistently brilliant performance from Ben Kingsley, I was left counting down the minutes to the end credits. As a premise it seems ideally suited to anyone who's a fan of mid nineties hip hop, and I looked forward to seeing a traditional coming of age film set against the backdrop of a New York which was in the midst of a revolution in terms of this genre of music.

Unfortunately when the main protagonist and his love interest are two of the most annoying characters committed to celluloid it makes enjoying this film an impossible task. Josh Peck gives one of the most overwrought acting performances I've ever seen and at times I almost felt embarrassed for him, with his simpering attempts at being a moody lead it's clear that he's spent a bit too much time watching his acting heroes rather than concentrating on creating a style of his own. His opposite number Olivia Thirlby is, if possible, even worse and her attempts at engaging in hip hop vernacular are as stilted and cringeworthy as your grandparents attempting the same.

Cameos from Method Man, who is saddled with the most ludicrous Carribbean I've ever heard, and Mary-Kate Olsen do little to lighten the mood and are if anything even more painful to watch than the two main actors. Thankfully old hands Ben Kingsley and Famke Janssen are on hand to rescue the day and save this film from being a complete disaster, the scenes which they share together are easily the best in the film.

This film is in my opinion a great opportunity missed as it really could have been something special, but thanks to some terrible miscasting and a shoddy script it ends up being nothing more than another throwaway rom com of which they are scores every year.

Lay It Down
Lay It Down
Price: £10.07

5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome, surprising return to form, 18 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
It's something of a rarity in the music industry when a musician who's golden era has long passed manages to release an album of anything other than middling quality but the Reverand Al has done it here. Aided and abetted by the genius that is ?uestlove from The Roots this album evokes Green's golden age from the 70's whilst still maintaining a modern, fresh feel.

One minor criticism I have with 'Lay it Down' is the amount of guest vocalists on the album but I suppose thats acceptable given Al's advancing years. All in all a brilliant album which makes you wonder why more of music's vintage artists don't call in for help like Al does here, there's no doubting the excellence of Green but this album wouldn't have been so great without ?uestlove's productio

Mm...Food (W/Bonus Dvd)
Mm...Food (W/Bonus Dvd)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Mm Brilliant, 18 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Mm...Food (W/Bonus Dvd) (Audio CD)
Arguably Doom's best work which is really saying something considering the sheer volume of work created by the Metal Fingered one.

The man's a genius simple as that. This is real hip hop for people who are tired of posturing meatheads with their phoney braggadocio. As long as Doom continues to make music then hip hop will never die.

Here, My Dear
Here, My Dear
Price: £6.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvin's best album, 18 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Here, My Dear (Audio CD)
Often overlooked in favour of the rightly regarded classic "Whats goin on", this album pushes the aforementioned quite close in terms of creativity and pure brilliance. Where this album differs though is in its duration, it clocks in at over seventy minutes and this may be part of the reason why it wasn't so well received upon its release. Its the kind of album that gradually draws you in to its wondrous delights so don't expect instant gratification on the first listen.

This is also Marvin's most musically diverse album with multiple genres being borrowed from throughout. Any review of this album can't go by without a mention of the source material, this basically being an album about Marvin's turbulent marriage to Anna Gordy sister of Motown founde Berry Gordy. Every aspect of their troubled time together is well documented throughout this album and really gives extra gravitas to an already stunning piece of work. Marvin Gaye once said that this album was the one he was most proud of and after listening to it I can fully understand why.

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