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Steve Wilson, Gods Of Chaos (Godalming, Surrey, UK)

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U2's Achtung Baby (33 1/3)
U2's Achtung Baby (33 1/3)
by Stephen Catanzarite
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful. Astoundingly bad., 15 April 2009
This book has nothing to do with U2 and very little to do with Achtung Baby. Rarely do I find that I've bought something that disappoints as much as this book has. I would even suggest that its product description is bordering on refundably inaccurate! If you want to read a short book about the bible, then go ahead and buy this. Catanzarite doesn't realise that no one actually thinks the bible is true any more - we all know it was made up by men, for the purpose of control. Yes, Bono uses biblical imagery on Achtung Baby, and it's beautiful to behold, like the inside of a Cathedral, but it's still the work of man. The author doesn't even get it right on The Fly, totally missing Bono's phone call from the Devil. None of the stunning lyrical or musical depth of Achtung Baby is explored in this book. Missing is the massive change from what U2 had made before, missing is the intense industrial delivery, the incorporation of rhythm loops, the forays into funked-up indie-dance territory and the evocative words and melodies that make it an all time top five album. Where is Berlin? Where is the Middle East in this book? Where is Ireland for that matter? Where is the guitar-story, a man a divorce and a soundscape that could fill a book on its own? Surely, if this record is about anything then it's there in the mission statement that is Zoo Station - `I'm ready to let go of the steering wheel'. Achtung Baby the album is a headlong dive away from U2's past and into a glorious, hedonistic future of irony, lust, intoxication and love. But this book is a waste of paper.
- Steve Wilson, Gods Of Chaos


Jacob's Ladder [DVD] [1991]
Jacob's Ladder [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Tim Robbins
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.98

14 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jacob's Ladder - A Great Lost Film, 2 April 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jacob's Ladder [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
Jacob's Ladder is a great lost film, appearing in few critical lists but known to the cognoscenti as a totally scary yet thought provoking work of art.
The plot is a long way outside the normal range of film plots. You are meant to work out right at the end of the film that it is about a guy who is dying out there in Vietnam but is hanging on to his life so strongly that he manages to stretch his last few seconds into what appears to be months of fantasy.
This concept is borrowed from William Golding's Pincher Martin of which Golding says, "What can he (man) do at death but refuse to be destroyed? Inhabit a world he invents from half-remembered scraps of physical life, a rock which is nothing but the memory of a tooth-ache? To a man greedy for life, tooth-ache is preferable to extinction, and that is the terrible secret of purgatory, it is all the world that the God-resisting soul cannot give up."
In other words, in Pincher Martin, the dying man extends the last few second of his life into months of inner time, trying to survive on a rock that bears an uncanny resemblance to his last physical sensation - his tongue against his aching tooth.
In Jacob's Ladder Tim Robbins appears to return from Vietnam to two possible lives with either his wife and children or a beautiful mistress. It isn't long before demons begin to appear, as the strain of maintaining these alternative realities takes its toll, and his fantasy is torn to pieces.
The brightest among you, who've already watched the film, will have guessed this a few minutes after the film started. You identify with people who have found an alternative reality. So I say unto you, maybe Schizophrenia is not just the domain of the mad but, like the sand-filled escape lanes you come across half way down a steep road, it is there for anyone to use, in an emergency.
Jacob's Ladder is, on the surface, a film about the use of drugs on troops during the Vietnam war. Underneath the surface it is a strange, sad, sensitive film about what it might be like to die, when you're not ready to.
Steve Wilson - Gods Of Chaos.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2008 8:12 PM BST


Rude Boy [DVD]
Rude Boy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dave Armstrong
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £9.96

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clash=good, Ray=bad, 12 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Rude Boy [DVD] (DVD)
Just watched Rude Boy - oh yes - Clash=good, Ray=bad. Actually some bits are quite a powerful sign 'o' the times social/documentary/70s/pressure cooker/all laid out before you thingy. Worst bits are Ray's acting, even Johnny (surname forgotten) Roadie is a better actor. Direction isn't bad also camera work / shot framing is v professional - its just the script that's poor and Ray's acting. But oh such memories! Clash live, superb, but can tell vocals re-dubbed afterwards - just realised Joe sings through gap in teeth! Ray's clothes could pass muster even today (t-shirt, bike jacket, combats) - its funny how the cars really date it and the lack of mobile phones - Caroline Coon in phone box outside magistrates court in 3 different scenes! Basically a period piece, slow story, bad acting. Try selecting the "Just Play Clash" choice on the menu. The rules are: there are no rules.
- Steve Wilson, Gods Of Chaos


How the Dead Live
How the Dead Live
by Will Self
Edition: Paperback

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “How The Dead Live” is one of the best books ever written, 7 Jan. 2004
This review is from: How the Dead Live (Paperback)
Will Self’s “How The Dead Live” is one of the best books ever written.
And this is why:
There is a great thrill attached to reading as you pass through puberty and into your late teens and early twenties. You experience with intense pleasure the transfer of someone else’s thoughts from the page into your mind, especially when the words you read echo your own feelings and you realise for the first time that someone else thinks like you.
And someone else has actually dared to write down the stuff that, up until now, you’ve kept locked inside.
The thrill progresses as you get older and takes on two new facets. First of all, like the feeling of red wine warming your body, you slowly realise that you are actually beginning to ‘get’ your favourite author’s references. Your literary mind is awakened and the closer those references are to your own cultural jumping off points, the warmer the glow.
Secondly you experience the great pleasure of being led somewhere by a truly great writer, the unfolding of a perfect story, the enjoyment of a perfect plot and the satisfaction of a perfect ending.
But sadly, the road does not continue in a straight line. As you get older things change, the pleasure dulls, something goes wrong.
There are not as many great books as you thought, and you realise you’ve read most of them.
You find yourself recognising repeated or stolen ideas in literature, you begin to know how a book will end, you find yourself not engaging with characters, you stop believing in stories.
And then, maybe once a year, you read a great novel, and suddenly its like you’re back to the first book that changed your life and you experience those pleasures all over again.
This is Will Self’s “How The Dead Live”.
I must have been subconsciously waiting for a book that gave no clue as to where it was going, and was clever enough to prevent me predicting how it would end within the first few chapters, when this one fell into my hands. The sub-plot that Will chops deftly into the main story is superb. And for the first time in many years – I didn’t work out the ending until the last few pages.
It sounds like a cliché, but it felt great.
“How The Dead Live” is brilliant and satisfying, clever and cool.
It is also contains some of the most frightening passages I’ve ever read. Will describes Lily’s death from deep inside her faltering mind, and how he does it without actually having died himself, is truly masterful.
The characters are beautifully crafted and my belief was total.
The humour is excellent and the world of the Dead is fascinating in its strangeness and yet sameness (the Dead have no bodies and therefore can’t eat, but the memory of eating remains, so they go to restaurants to chew food then regurgitate it like Bulimic ghosts).
Will Self’s novel is ultimately three interwoven tales: a life lived large, impelled by humour and anger, a life after death in a world only one degree from this one, and an old/new life that is touching and tragic.
Will Self’s “How The Dead Live” is one of the best books ever written.
- Steve Wilson, Gods Of Chaos


How the Dead Live (Will Self)
How the Dead Live (Will Self)
by Will Self
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars �How The Dead Live� is one of the best books ever written., 20 Nov. 2003
And this is why:
There is a great thrill attached to reading as you pass through puberty and into your late teens and early twenties. You experience with intense pleasure the transfer of someone else's thoughts from the page into your mind, especially when the words you read echo your own feelings and you realise for the first time that someone else thinks like you.
And someone else has actually dared to write down the stuff that, up until now, you've kept locked inside.
The thrill progresses as you get older and takes on two new facets. First of all, like the feeling of red wine warming your body, you slowly realise that you are actually beginning to 'get' your favourite author's references. Your literary mind is awakened and the closer those references are to your own cultural jumping off points, the warmer the glow.
Secondly you experience the great pleasure of being led somewhere by a truly great writer, the unfolding of a perfect story, the enjoyment of a perfect plot and the satisfaction of a perfect ending.
But sadly, the road does not continue in a straight line. As you get older things change, the pleasure dulls, something goes wrong.
There are not as many great books as you thought, and now you've read most of them.
You find yourself recognising repeated or stolen ideas in literature, you begin to know how a book will end, you find yourself not engaging with characters, you stop believing in stories.
And then, maybe once a year, you read a great novel, and suddenly its like you're back to the first book that changed your life and you experience those pleasures all over again.
This is how I felt about Will Self's "How The Dead Live".
I must have been subconsciously waiting for a book that gave no clue as to where it was going, or let me predict how it would end within the first few chapters, when this one fell into my hands. The sub-plot that Will chops deftly into the main story is superb. And for the first time in many years - I didn't work out the ending until the last few pages! It sounds like a cliché, but it was great.
"How The Dead Live" is brilliant and satisfying, clever and cool.
It is also contains some of the most frightening passages I've ever read. Will describes Lily's death from deep inside her faltering mind, and how he does it without actually having died himself, is masterful.
The characters are beautifully crafted and my belief was total.
The humour is excellent and the world of the Dead is fascinating in its strangeness and yet sameness (the Dead have no bodies and therefore can't eat, but the memory of eating remains, so they go to restaurants to chew food then regurgitate it like Bulimic ghosts).
Will Self's novel is ultimately three interwoven tales: a life lived large, impelled by humour and anger, a life after death in a world only one degree away from this one, and a life that is small and tragic.
Will Self's "How The Dead Live" is one of the best books ever written.
- Steve Wilson, Gods Of Chaos


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