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Duncan (Nottingham, England)

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Young, Dumb and Full Of.... [Explicit]
Young, Dumb and Full Of.... [Explicit]
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best kind of brassica about, 24 Jun. 2017
Raw energy and organised chaos. Politically driven lyrics with a clear nod to the likes of the Dead Kennedys, the Fall and New Model Army. The best kind of brassica about.


Die of Shame
Die of Shame
by Mark Billingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rose without thorn(e)s, 17 Jun. 2017
This review is from: Die of Shame (Paperback)
Reading some previous reviews, Mark Billingham has a similar problem to Ian Rankin and other authors when they try to branch out beyond their regular central character. So no Tom Thorne for (most of) this novel, which focuses on a small group of recovering addict, and a few fans are obviously going a little cold turkey at missing their hero.

Like Rankin with his Malcolm Fox character, Billingham has tried to make his detective here, Tanner, as far removed from Thorne as possible, her 'by-the-book' approach being at odds with Thorne's 'problem with authority' archetype. An intriguing character for me and it will be interesting to see her working with Thorne in the next novel (previewed at the end of the paperback edition here).

Billingham works the narrative well between the 'then' and 'now' chapters and builds up the story, with a few sub-plots, at a decent pace (didn't find it too 'slow' as some have done). Good to see Mark trying something just a little different and the London locations are well used too (obviously it helps if you know the area well - having two characters meet in the Crocodile Cafe in Muswell Hill brought back memories). So another solid 'stand-alone' novel from Billingham, but we can get our fix of Thorne now the new novel is out.


Darktown
Darktown
by Thomas Mullen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 10 Jun. 2017
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This review is from: Darktown (Paperback)
An excellent read. While the plot is fairly routine, Mullen uses it well as a vehicle to show the state of his home city, Atlanta, back in 1948. A scary, menacing place for our two main heroes Boggs and Smith with its endemic racism and a sense of perpetual threat; the first in what will hopefully become a long running series.


The Leveller Revolution
The Leveller Revolution
by John Rees
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out-Cryes of Oppressed Commons!, 8 May 2017
I remember the late Tony Benn used to regularly name-check the Levellers, alongside the Chartists and others, in his frequent evocations of the English dissenting tradition. Here, John Rees has produced an exhaustive account of one of the more radical currents of the 17th century Civil War/English Revolution (Rees prefers the latter term). While many readers may know the outline of the Levellers' rise and fall - their leader John Lilburne, the 'agitators' of the New Model Army, the Putney Debates and their final defeat at Burford etc, Rees cannot be beaten for sheer detail and the wealth of information about the fevered political atmosphere of the 1640s. As well as 'Freeborn John' Lilburne, the likes of Elizabeth Lilburne (John's wife and steadfast supporter), William Larner, William Walwyn, Richard Overton and Katherine Chidley are all raised from undeserved obscurity.

To anyone who mainly knows this period as 'Roundheads vs Cavaliers', the complexity of the rapidly changing political landscape will be quite an eye-opener. The main struggles outlined here are more about the break-up of the broad coalition that fought against the King and the struggle over what form of government should replace Charles's absolute monarchy. For example Oliver Cromwell's maiden speech in Parliament was a call for the release of John Lilburne from jail where the King's government has placed him for distributing 'seditious' ideas; later on Cromwell himself, now ruler of England had Lilburne thrown back into prison for more or less the same reason; meanwhile Edward Sexby, who fought alongside Cromwell in the army's 'Eastern Association' ended up involved in a plot to assassinate him, as he believed that Cromwell had betrayed those who he had earlier leaned on for support. Rees draws the conclusion that Cromwell wished to be 'neither pushed back nor forced forward' and came to see his former radical allies eventually as a 'danger that had to be faced down'.

Rees does, to be fair, sometimes assume his reader has a fairly sound knowledge of the basic historical events of the Revolution and perhaps it should not be the first book you read about this period if you're a 'beginner'; a basic timeline and 'who's who' section and a little robust editing might have helped (as other reviewers have already pointed out). Overall though this is an engrossing read on a fascinating historical era.


The Plea: Eddie Flynn Book 2
The Plea: Eddie Flynn Book 2
by Steve Cavanagh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Plea-se more..., 14 Aug. 2016
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I read 'The Defense' and 'The Plea' back-to-back having run out of Michael Connelly novels to read; Cavanagh's premise reminds me of Connelly's Micky Haller books - a likable, if slightly dodgy, lawyer engaged in a cleverly written courtroom drama/action/conspiracy plot. 'The Plea' has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing (though I did see a major narrative tweak coming quite early on) and Cavanagh is developing his lead character Jimmy Flynn effectively to sustain along running series (like Connelly has with both Haller and Bosch), ably supported by regular cast members such as straight-laced FBI agent Kennedy, long-suffering estranged wife Christine and enigmatic underworld fixer The Lizard. Look forward to reading the next installment.


Schumann - Symphonic Studies
Schumann - Symphonic Studies
Price: £16.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuoso piano!, 30 April 2016
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Unpublished during Schumann's lifetime and consequently not exactly amongst his best known work. This is a pity as this is compelling stuff, brilliantly performed by German pianist Ragna Schirma - Schumann's reworking of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony deserves a wider audience.


1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear
1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear
by James S. Shapiro
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel to '1599', 15 April 2016
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I read Shapiro's '1599' some time ago and enjoyed the way it wove Shakespeare's works into a lively narrative taking us through a single year (an idea that seems quite in vogue at the moment). Shapiro's latest is at least the equal of his earlier book and skillfully places Shakespeare among a large cast of early Jacobean 'characters' that are brought to life by making the most of the historical sources available. Amongst others, we meet Lancelot Andrewes whose two contrasting Christmas sermons (of 1605 and 1606) are a useful guide to mood of the times, 'John Johnson' (captured on the brink of committing a spectacular act of terrorism) and King James himself - keen to bring about a political union between his native Scotland and his new kingdom of England. Shapiro also does a fine job of making plain the key conflicts and issues of the day- from the ongoing power struggle between Catholics and reformers to the ever-present fear of the plague. Always an accessible read too, so has to b e a five star rating.


Fabulous Frogs 2016 Calendar
Fabulous Frogs 2016 Calendar
by David McEnery
Edition: Calendar

5.0 out of 5 stars We get this every year; the late David McEnery ..., 1 Jan. 2016
We get this every year; the late David McEnery has been called 'the world's funniest photographer' and you can see why...


The Burning Room (Harry Bosch Series)
The Burning Room (Harry Bosch Series)
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars His best 'Harry Bosch' novel, 19 Dec. 2015
His best 'Harry Bosch' novel? No. A page-turning police procedural with Bosch (and his lethal new partner 'Lucky' Lucy Soto) encountering more corruption in high places? Yes. Harry still has some mileage left in him yet.


My Heart Skips A Beat
My Heart Skips A Beat

5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Toy, 4 Nov. 2013
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Surprised no one has reviewed this in the six months or so it's been out (same goes for last year's debut album). This EP consists of its title track, taken from said album, a couple of new tracks and a BBC6 session version of 'Kopter', also from the album. Anyway, they're well worth seeking out; takes me back to ancient indie acts like House of Love 20 years ago. 'She's Over My Head' is a stand out here...


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