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Reviews Written by
Malcolm Kinnear "Captain Mal" (UK)
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Anaesthesia for the Uninterested
Anaesthesia for the Uninterested
by A.A. Birch
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Legendary & now rather valuable textbook in need of updating, 16 Dec. 2016
I dimly remember this book from medical school & was discussing it with anaesthetist & (female) junior colleague this morning, hence review. The book's brief was to give the uninterested medical student the bare minimum of information about anaesthesia to pass their exams & did it rather well, aided by photographs of young ladies in brief early 70s outfits demonstrating the equipment. We agreed this morning that there might be need for a reissue, with 50/50 photos of semi-naked blokes to redress the balance. Anyone up for it?


Back from Hollywood
Back from Hollywood
Offered by musikdrehscheibe
Price: £36.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic melodic rock from US singer/songwriter who is probably best ..., 5 April 2016
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This review is from: Back from Hollywood (Audio CD)
Fantastic melodic rock from US singer/songwriter who is probably best known for writing 'Stranded' (recorded by Heart) which is one of the tracks on this album. All tracks are memorable & feature impeccable vocal & instrumental performance by Kyle & her fellow musicians, with particular credit to the guitar work. This will appeal (not surprisingly) to fans of Heart, Scandal & other 80s melodic rockers, with touches of REM, Bryan Adams & country music audible at times. Songs such as 'Bed of Roses' & 'Crossing Over' in my view rank among the best recorded in this genre.


Metal Queen Hijack by Rpla (1994) Audio CD
Metal Queen Hijack by Rpla (1994) Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pervy Cult clones, 20 Aug. 2014
Notoriously, RPLA made the cover of Kerrang! briefly in the early 1990s as The Next Big Thing, before being dropped like a hot potato when they revealed they were all gay. I did actually see them live (supported by Two Tribes) in Aberdeen & rather enjoyed the set, but it was about 20 years before I finally got to hear the LP. So, is it any good? In my opinion, not as awful as generally stated. The single Unnatural Woman is almost indistinguishable from The Cult & was a major selling point at the time. Absolute Queen of Pop, part of which featured on the Kerrang! freebie flimsy single, remains very catchy & incredibly bitchy about its unnamed subject, allegedly Morrissey, with whom the songwriter had shared a band before he became famous. High point of the album is probably Last Night a Drag Queen Saved Your Life, which exemplifies typical RPLA dirty catchy guitar riff with Cult-like vocals & slightly pervy lyrics. None of the other songs eg The Bomb & The Gun are awful, & overall the album compares rather favourably with its contemporaries. Overall, RPLA have been described as 'The Cult in suspenders', which isn't far off the mark, & the CD will certainly be getting a spin in my car stereo for some time to come.


Heroes and Zeros
Heroes and Zeros

3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing melodic rock album with one outstanding song., 17 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Heroes and Zeros (Audio CD)
The artist is probably best known for his splendid contributions to the 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure' soundtrack & his work with US band Styx but this album spawned minor hit 'Follow You', the first track, which is a joyous melodic rocker which almost justifies buying the album in itself. Unfortunately, I was less inspired by the rest of the album, none of whose songs quite reaches the same standard. The songs are competent & well performed, but you won't be clapping along & humming them afterwards as you would 'Follow You'. Burtnick has a distinctive slightly shouty & anthemic vocal style which suits his material, & of which I certainly haven't yet tired, but I just don't think his best work is on this album, 'Follow You' excepted.


RIP AND TEAR LP UK REVOLVER 1986
RIP AND TEAR LP UK REVOLVER 1986

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique & slightly melancholy pop rock album from major female vocal talent, 17 Aug. 2014
Karen Lawrence is better known for her earlier work with 1994 & her more recent blues releases, but this distinctive pop rock album is an all time favourite of mine & I continue to look out hopefully for a CD re-release as I only have the vinyl. I struggle to suggest comparisons. It is very definitely a rock album, characterised by melodic & well orchestrated but powerful songs, often with a melancholy tinge eg 'What a Lovely Way to Go' & 'Never Enough'. 'Shoot for the Heart' is probably the best known track as it was anthologised at the time. 'Get It Up, Get It Right' is an uptempo rocker which nevertheless remains consistent with the overall feel of the album, & 'Is This Love' is about as cheerful as it gets. Nevertheless this is NOT goth rock (not that's anything wrong with that from my perspective) & in my view doesn't quite sound like anything else before or since. Great album.
(Track list: Shoot for the Heart, Never Enough, What a Lovely Way to Go, Get It Up Get It Right, Rip & Tear, Is This Love, Wild Heart, Kiss From a Distance, Out of the Blue)


How to be a Superhero
How to be a Superhero
by Mike Leigh
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed guide to becoming a superhero, with many useful tips!, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: How to be a Superhero (Paperback)
I remain amazed that this book has not been reprinted given the explosion of public interest in superheroes in recent years. This is a reacquisition for me, having lost original copy long ago. The book is a detailed examination of the process of acquiring useful superpowers (don't get bitten by the wrong radioactive animal), picking a name, setting up a lair (possibly having a naked dancing hologram of Paula Abdul over the snake pit dates the book somewhat), & doing the needful to your local supervillains. I won't spoil the book by giving away too much, but any geek like me with some basic knowledge of the various superhero franchises will find this a hoot.


Final Reflection (Star Trek)
Final Reflection (Star Trek)
by John M. Ford
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual & moving Star Trek novel from Klingon perspective by major talent, 26 April 2014
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I first read this novel over twenty years ago & this is a reacquisition, having lost my original copy in the interim. The late & sadly missed John M Ford was notorious for never repeating himself & his two Star Trek franchise novels are no exception, his other ST novel 'How Much for Just the Planet' being a broad comedy pitting the Enterprise bridge crew against a sympathetic bridge crew from a Klingon cruiser. 'The Final Reflection' is serious, & told almost entirely from the perspective of Klingon orphan Vrenn as he progresses from a harsh gladiatorial training school through adoption by a senior Klingon admiral to distinguished service in the fleet, with his career taking a strange turn as he is required to escort a Federation diplomat to his homeworld & back, dealing with Federation machinations & meeting several well-known characters from the Star Trek canon. The novel repeatedly references the Klingon game for which the nearest human equivalent is chess, & allegedly had a significant influence on the more sympathetic portrayal of Klingons in the ST:TNG series which was released a few years after this novel. The Klingons are given a distinctive & convincing belief system, & their harsh militarised society & relations with other races such as the Federation, Romulans & Vulcans are rendered more believable. Several space battles are well described & show the influence of Ford's knowledge of wargames systems such as Star Fleet Battles (he also contributed to FASA's ST RPG) . Overall this book scores on several levels - as a story of personal progress & fulfilment, as a valiant attempt to make the Klingon culture comprehensible if not necessarily likeable, as a reminder that the Federation has its own faults, & also simply as a cracking read.


Loud and Clear
Loud and Clear
Price: £9.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic AOR, 23 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Loud and Clear (Audio CD)
I am amazed this had passed me by - rarely have I so immediately taken to a record. This album contains a cracking set of passionate, impeccably produced songs comparable in style & quality with Bad English, Icon, & early Michael Bolton. Second song 'Does It Feel Like Love' is a strong contender for all time AOR top ten & none of the tracks are less than excellent.


Shanghai
Shanghai
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £14.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome CD release of classic pop-rock album, 26 April 2012
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This review is from: Shanghai (Audio CD)
Shanghai, fronted by Amanda Blue, produced this one album of synth-heavy pop-rock. It is distinctively of its time, yet contains memorable songs blending rock guitar, insistent rhythms, lots of synthesiser, & Ms Blue's wide-ranging vocals. Highlights include 'X-Ray Vision' & the delightfully fresh & catchy 'Brand New Boy'. My CD suffers from a hiccup on one track & variable sound levels if listened to on a quality system, which are disappointing, but do not much detract from the joy of having this classic album readily available again.


The Trumpeter of Krakow
The Trumpeter of Krakow
by Eric Philbrook Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.65

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding children's historical novel with unusual setting, 5 Sept. 2011
I loved this book as a child. My mother's family are Polish (well, with a bit of Russian & others thrown in) & it gave me a sense of connection with a lost past, particularly since parts of my family have been long associated with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. The narrative is gripping, the characters believable, the setting unusual & full of detail, including the recondite descriptions of alchemical research. The weaving of the story of our boyish hero's refugee family guarding a hidden treasure (the Great Tarnow Crystal) from villainous pursuers with actual historical figures in 15th Century royal Krakow is skilfully accomplished. Very highly recommended.


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