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The Man in the White Suit
The Man in the White Suit
by Ben Collins
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is not always so sweet, 21 Sept. 2010
When Ben Collins was 5 he kicked his Dad's boss in the balls because his Daddy hadn't been given a Jaguar XJS like the one his boss had just ordered for himself. This provided enormous entertainment for the guests at the party. This book seems to be the adult Ben's attempt to do much the same thing to his own Top Gear bosses now but the result is sadly less funny.

Most of the book is quite harmless but very dull for those who are not petrolheads. There is way too much description of his early racing career and army days. There are some interesting snippets about Top Gear behind the scenes but no secrets (one wonders why the BBC bothered going to court over this). His major grievance seems to be that he wasn't allowed to drive in the Le Mans 24 race as the Stig. There also seems to be a curious blurring of identity as he seems to feel that he really is a superhero like the Stig.

It is obviously very annoying as a racing driver to work for 7 years on the world's biggest car show on TV and not to be able to cash in on this or even put it on your CV. A little more sharing of the goodies at Top Gear would have been happier for all concerned. This is not a good book but it is probably at least as good as all the other trashy official BBC Stig merchandise already filling the shelves before Christmas.


Plastic Beach
Plastic Beach
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £5.40

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a Compilation, 11 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Plastic Beach (Audio CD)
I have been mulling over the album long and hard because it's quite an unusual record, even by Gorillaz' standards. The first thing that I thought when I saw the track listing is that 16 songs is probably a few too many, and then I looked again and noticed that only 4 tracks out of 16 on the whole album are Gorrilaz on their own with no one "featuring". To be honest I'm more of an Altenative rock person, than a rap person but I liked how the two blended seamlessly on Demon Days and for that reason put up with it. On this front I don't think Plastic beach can match Demon Days, a lot of the tracks almost feel as if they're trying to fight with each other and I stuggled to get into many of them at all, notably Sweepstakes, White flag and Superfast jellyfish (the latter of which is an advert for a microwave product). Apart from those niggles, though, it's a fairly good album and I think that Broken, Plastic Beach and most of all Rhinestone Eyes (which effortlessly combines Rock and Electro) might be the songs of the year so far, and Stylo is also a good first single from the album.

I feel a bit guilty for giving it only 3 stars, I would give it 3.9 if if I could, but somehow I don't think it deserved 4, although if I was rating tracks the songs I listed above would all be 5 stars.

So to summarise, a good album with individual brilliance, but it feels a bit detached to me, more like a compilation album than a proper release and I think that Albarn should have stuck with his usual crowd a bit more instead of calling on a cast of various artists.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2010 9:14 AM BST


Or Is That Just Me?
Or Is That Just Me?
by Richard Hammond
Edition: Hardcover

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winning despite everything, 5 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Or Is That Just Me? (Hardcover)
Mostly very, very funny with some fascinating behind the scenes descriptions of filming Engineering Connections, a doomed BBC pilot and Top Gear including the live stage version. Hammond writes fluently revealing a surprising emotional sensitivity perhaps heightened since his accident. However, he also has a tedious obsession with becoming 40 and with his clothes and appearance. The chapter 'Falling Apart' is hilarious and should be appreciated by anyone who has ever suffered intimate and humiliating procedures in hospital. With one or two hints that Hammond is far from recovered, there is an interesting sub-text on bullying and social exclusion. Hammond describes a school trip in which he took part in a bullying incident and claims he has never taken part in any bullying since. He also reveals his own dislike of some of the comments shouted out at him by members of the public. He seems happy enough to let his mates on Top Gear Live tease him when they discover he cannot remember the previous year's visit to South Africa but much less happy when strangers question his physical abilities and whether he actually did win the race on his bike across London. With stickers on the front to 'poke fun at the short bloke off Top Gear' you wonder if perhaps being on TV can sometimes feel like being in the stocks. But Hammond is very far from being a victim and shows an amazing ability to bounce back from adversity. He is one plucky Brit who will never finish last.


As You Do: Adventures With Evel, Oliver, and The Vice-President Of Botswana
As You Do: Adventures With Evel, Oliver, and The Vice-President Of Botswana
by Richard Hammond
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The cameramen are the real stars!, 21 Sept. 2008
Uneven but fascinating to get to know the characters behind the scenes and to find out about the real close relationships with the people you never normally hear about. Very interesting about the North Pole and Botswana but peters out later and loses momentum. For true Top Gear fans only.


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