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Ian P. Stevens (Dunblane ,Scotland)

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Phoenix from the Ashes: The boat that rebuilt our lives
Phoenix from the Ashes: The boat that rebuilt our lives
by Justin Ruthven-Tyers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The human side of sailing ........, 15 April 2012
I am not a sailor but like many people have had dreams of sailing away on a wooden boat or preferably finding a hidden enclave and using the boat as a cocoon from modern life....This is not an escapists manifesto however but a well written mix of narrative and character portrayal.
I especially enjoyed getting an insight into the subculture of those that spend their lives on or near boats ; dreamers, pedantic obsessives, loaners , the selfless acts of generosity and the cultural differences between parts of the UK and France.
There are terrifying tales of Justin's previous trips and one that haunted me was his description of riding down huge waves in the lee of a gale . In the midst of this terror his father 'appeared' by his side and when he recounted the story his father had dreamt the event.
For the most part however I learned a great deal about commitment to a dream or a vision...the tenacity of learning sufficient craft skills to build a boat to exacting standards and the enormous amount of things that can and do go wrong on and off the water.
I enjoyed the characters I got to know in the book -those living at the edge , legally and socially were the most memorable and perhaps this is because they contrast greatly with Justin and Linda (who you would never imagine throwing in a bail of 'grass' into a furniture container or escaping from some custodial sentence).....
The sailing is not the main thing in the book so it kept me interested throughout . I liked the fact that Justin is an acute observer of life near to home and relished the prospect of finding warmth humour and interest in a Cornish or Argyle winter rather than an easier warmer retreat .
A good first book and I hope he writes a few more.

Early Wood
Early Wood

5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic achievement, 14 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Early Wood (Audio CD)
I love this album and I hope its the first of many.
The most sublime moments are in Calums own compositions, especially the "looking at a rainbow" which gets replayed a lot in an effort to learn it .
Unlike a lot of break neck efforts I think the album is often restrained and highly emotive, however Calums more obvious talents are highlighted in the complex virtuosity (to my ear at least) of Tullochgorum.
Its great to hear a reply to the dominance of Irish musicians (particularly where the flute is concerned) and also to listen to both contemporary compositions and older Scottish tunes played with such brilliance.

Price: £12.56

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when's the next one coming out!?, 28 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Wired (Audio CD)
Mikes two albums, numerous trips to Celtic Connections and playing them over and over encouraged me to learn the flute.....The playing ranges from hypnotic and reflective to 'go for it' dance music.....Occasionally I run with music and if I am flagging its impossible not to smile and just let go like a lunatic when the first few bars of Hillsbrook reels come on.Conversely , 'strange journey' is simply a fantastic haunting tune which transports me to places that mean a lot ...the infusion of jazz with the flute adds to the whole experience.The first track and the story behind the Honesty Bar sums up many of the people in trad music that i have met and I love it. On 'Famous last words' there is the looping tabla playing creating a great effect and I like the 'world music'influences. The last track Desert Road is a fitting tribute to Mike's skills and passion....uplifting,reflective and haunting.
I don't think many people would be disappointed by either of these albums and I hope he makes another one soon!

The New Shoes
The New Shoes
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: £14.37

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars flutes,whistles and a few songs ......, 11 May 2007
This review is from: The New Shoes (Audio CD)
If you like 'Celitc' influenced music than this will be a very worthwhile buy . If you love wind instruments , particularly flute music than this will not disappoint . There are some eloquent reviews on Nuala's website . Instantly I loved the opening and closing tracks which were largely Nuala's compositions . 'Pink Flamingo' with the perfectly matched playing of Claire Mann is my own favourite --the track should hopefully make you smile and fill you with energy for the rest of the day ! The Breton tunes were hypnotic , the singing poignant and the blend of musicians and musical influences were perfect . A brilliant first album.

Suburban Shaman: Tales from Medicine's Front Line
Suburban Shaman: Tales from Medicine's Front Line
by Cecil Helman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mosaic and overview of medicine, 13 April 2007
I don't agree that there is a 'knocking' of hospital medicine in this book . Helman looks at life and medicine with the wide lens that an interest in academic and practical anthropology offers .

Once you are immersed in a medical system the inherent dualism and specialism (which is obviously relevant in many areas of care ) becomes the norm in which all of lifes problems are interpreted . Helman offers a mosaic of stories which seem to me to put the heart back into the complexity of dealing with people .

Many of the practices of 'healing' whch are often ridiculed are given due respect when they are understood in their culural context . Some of the characterisations of 'techno medicine' v's 'holistic' medicine may seem a little polarised but it seems fair to say that there needs to be a balance , which in many situations is surely lacking in the current medical landscape (why would people seek help in Complimenatary medical care etc if this was not the case?)

I enjoyed many of the stories which ring true -- chemically dependent relationships, the miraculous 'cures' when a sick line is obtained and the relief and health improvement that occured once a buried story had been revealed.

The book is well written and the stories and anecdotes will stay with you for a long time if you are at all interested in people or medicine . I agree with Helman ,there needs to be a greater value placed upon the arts and humanities when understanding people .

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