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M. G. Pennington

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Bird Watching Guide to Morocco
Bird Watching Guide to Morocco
by Pete Combridge
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bird *Watching* Guide, 13 Jan. 2009
The book does exactly what it says it does and is one of an extensive series covering the same information for various areas. If you want to plan a trip to find birds in Morocco this is an essential purchase. To identify the birds, buy the Collins Guide.

Price: £7.99

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grail Filling but not Quite Overfloweth, 13 Nov. 2005
This review is from: Garlands (Audio CD)
Garlands was the first album from Cocteau Twins and it is very much the sound of a band finding their feet. It is the only album with original bassist Will Heggie and his chugging basslines give the album a distinctive sound. Robin Guthrie, by his own admission, had no idea how a studio worked at the time, but was confident enough in his burgeoning ability to produce. The result is an album, and a guitar sound, with a strangled, constricted range and a dark ambience.In the post-punk world of the early 1980s the influence of Siouxsie and the Banshees and other proto-goths is clear, but the beginning of the trademark ethereal Twins sound is also here, especially in Elizabeth Fraser's curiously addictive vocals.

The songs are simple, repetitive and haunting, with guitar, vocals, bass and the gloriously lo-fi drum machine; usually entering separately and building to a climax, like 'Grail Overfloweth'. Other songs built around a simple repetive guitar refrain, almost Fripp-like in its minimalism, like album highlights 'Wax and Wane' or 'Blind Dumb Deaf.'

Unfortunately, this reissue omits the John Peel session which was probably many listeners first experience of the Cocteaus (it was certainly mine) and this is a shame as it is possibly the best of the early work with Heggie still in tow.

Overall, an interesting album, but not the place to start if you're new to the Cocteau Twins. Its probably of most interest to those who remember the original release, or want to see how the band started out.

Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland
Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland
by Jim Asher
Edition: Hardcover

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best butterfly book ever, 28 Feb. 2001
This book presents the results of the five year Butterflies for the New Millennium project organised by Butterfly Conservation, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Dublin Field Naturalists' Club in 1995-99. However, it is much more than just an Atlas - as well as maps showing distribution and changes of distribution, there is information on flight periods, abundance, population level, ecology and conservation - all presented in a clear, attractive and accurate style. There is also a wealth of background information, putting the survey in context and explaining its methodology, as well as discussing the results and their implications. While 15 species have shown evidence of recent range expansion, some quite dramatic, more worrying is the fact that no less than 29 species (half the British total) have shown signs of range loss in the last two decades. Most of these species are habitat specialists, something that makes their conservation more difficult. However, this book goes a long way towards providing the baseline information and, hopefully, raising the public awareness which are both necessary to start improving the current situation. Overall, organisers, authors, publishers and everyone else involved in the publication of this book deserve every credit. The publishers claim this is a book for everyone with an interest in butterflies, 'from amateur to naturalists to professional conservationist and policy-makers' and they are right. If you are interested in butterflies in any way you must have this book. It is the best book on British butterflies ever published. If it inspires people to take up an interest in butterflies and encourages conservationists and planners to carry out he conservation measures suggested, it could also be the most important.

Secondhand Daylight
Secondhand Daylight
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £36.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten gem, 8 Sept. 2000
This review is from: Secondhand Daylight (Audio CD)
Magazine were a band out of their time, their predicament not aided by frontman Devoto's association with archetypal pop-punk Mancunians, the Buzzcocks. In retrospect they were a sort of post-punk supergroup, but all at a time when supergroups, musicianship and songs which clocked in at more than 3 minutes were an anathema. 'Secondhand Daylight' was the band's second album and although the first, 'Real Life', had pointed in a distictly pogo-free direction, it was still a shock. Dave Formula's keyboards soaked the album with lush sounds, enhanced by Barry Adamson's throbbingly tuneful bass. Latterday Banshee John McGeoch's spiky guitar and Devoto's chilling vocals added the edge, made all the more effective in the melodic cradle created by Formula and Adamson. Opening track 'Feed the Enemy' starts with layered keyboards and a haunting bass melody before Devoto's flat monotone enters, quiet and menacing, describing the aftermath of a plane crash in emotionless detachment. 'Back to Nature' is forced along by a energetic bassline. 'Rhythm of Cruelty' and 'Permafrost' both harbour dark, disturbing lyrics, echoed in the latter track by McGeogh's tortured guitar solo. Critics at the time hated it. Listen to it now and it has a timelessness which only emphasises its quality. The Magazine revival should be starting soon.

Drums and Wires
Drums and Wires

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They were never really a punk band where they?, 8 Sept. 2000
This review is from: Drums and Wires (Audio CD)
One of a whole host of band's who leapt on the punk's new wave only to surf off in a new direction, XTC's second album confirmed that the bondage trousers were never really part of the band's wardrobe. The gentle pop of 'Making Plans for Nigel' opens the album and remains the album's most famous moment but, although 'Black Sea' probably remains the band's definitive 40 minutes, this is a close second. The Beatles fixation and Andy Partridge's increasingly desperate attempts to be the clever man's pop-star were to hold the band back as they continued with an increasingly obscure career in the late 80s and 90s, but here there is a nice mixture of reflective pop, such as 'Ten Feet Tall', spikier tunes or anthemic recordings. The closing crescendo of 'Complicated Game' has always been a personal favourite. But punk? No way.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2016 7:43 PM BST

It'll End In Tears
It'll End In Tears
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £14.95

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fragile, haunting beauty., 8 Sept. 2000
This review is from: It'll End In Tears (Audio CD)
4AD were one of the most influential labels in the alternative 'indie' music scene of the early 1980s. Label owner Ivo Watts-Russell capitalised on the success of his label to record his own albums, under the name of This Mortal Coil. Making early use of the recording studio as an instrument and employing the skills of producer/engineer John Fryer Ivo used his own artists to add flesh to his dreams. The result should be self-indulgent and twee. It isn't. 'It'll End in Tears' is an appropriate title as the album should move you. Highlights include 'Song to the Siren' features Cocteau Twin Elizabeth Fraser forced to the forefront as she had never dared do before and 'Kangaroo', achingly reflective and hauntingly beautiful.

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