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Numan & M.E.: Memories of a Numanoid
Numan & M.E.: Memories of a Numanoid
by Gary M Choppen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Recollections of A Numan Fan, 24 April 2017
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I found this book to be an enjoyable read with very much that I can relate to, and it is probably the only Numan-related book (that I have read) that covers his career right up to the present day, which is great as so many others mainly focus on the glory days rather than the gradual decline, reboot and glorious resurgence!

The matey writing style also makes the book a generally easy and friendly read, although the tone does change abruptly in a number of passages where the author relates various written batterings he has received from other members of the fan forums he has been involved with. These episodes made me cringe and beg the question why the author would keep returning for more and although it's all recounted with honesty and candour, it did slightly mar my overall enjoyment of the book.

That aside though, this is a thorough summary of Numan's career to date, with lots of common memories and opinions shared.

Recommended.


Remind Me to Smile
Remind Me to Smile
by Martin Downham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Comforting Read!, 28 Mar. 2017
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This review is from: Remind Me to Smile (Paperback)
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book very much.

The common experience of Gary Numan's music is not something I'd really ever considered outside of my own social circle but of course as a long-term fan, parallels with the author's experiences are inevitable and the whole story chimed loudly with me.

My own life has been, as you'd expect, markedly different from the author's, yet it has been underpinned by the exact same devotion to the career of this singular musician since that first TOTP performance in 1979...the same total immersion in his music, the same joys and disappointments triggered by the peaks and troughs of his career, and the same feeling of vindication that Numan is still at the top of his game, with his place in history finally assured.

Reading the testimonials from other fans at the end of the book brought it home to me even more that there are countless thousands of fans out there who all share this same special thing...and that I have probably jumped up and down in the same room with many of them (including the author!) scores of times over the years. I'd never thought about that before. Cool.

So, I am not alone...thanks Martin!


Gary Numan, An Annotated Scrapbook: 1977-1981
Gary Numan, An Annotated Scrapbook: 1977-1981
by Paul Sutton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £60.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Paul, this is great…, 7 Feb. 2017
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Printed in colour on high quality paper, this chunky coffee-table type book reproduces a near exhaustive selection of articles, interviews and reviews (both good and bad!) from the era, that not only serve to remind us what a huge star Numan became over this period, but also map the turning of the music press against him and the appalling treatment he received at their pens.
It also gives a great insight into Numan’s motives and mindset as he rose to prominence and tried to cope with the combined pressures of fame and a hostile press.
But for me, the key thing is the wash of memories and emotions that this book triggers. I remember many of these articles first time round and reading them again nearly four decades later reminded me of the excitement I felt say, when the Blue Album was reissued, when Cars went to No.1, when I bought my copy of The Pleasure Principle from Woolworths, or when I saw him live for the first time on the Teletour…oh, the list goes on, there's memories on every page!
It also reminded me of how I nearly burst with pride every time he got a great review, and how angry and defensive I felt when he got a stinker. For someone like me, who was more or less completely defined by being a Numan fan in those days, this is powerful stuff, and I expect that most fans who read this book will feel the same!
Honestly, the only issue here will be the price…this is a high-quality product aimed at a niche audience, so it was never going to be cheap, and I cannot deny that my shallow-pockets did make me hesitate initially…however I have enjoyed this book so much that to me it was worth every penny.
Recommended whole-heartedly to all Numan fans.


Volume
Volume
Price: £24.69

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth The 25 Year Wait!, 8 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Volume (Audio CD)
Chuffed to bits to have all of the early Three Johns material on CD at last...Atom Drum Bop was one of my most played LP's of the eighties, but having been without a turntable since the early 90's, it's wonderful to hear it again now, it's impact utterly undiminished by the intervening years.

For the uninitiated, The Three Johns played spiky, energised political art rock with witty, intelligent lyrics and great hooks...think Gang of Four with better tunes and a sense of humour...and to this day remain unique.

Recommended to anyone interested in music with edge and bite, you won't be disappointed.


Heaven & Hell (Deluxe Edition)
Heaven & Hell (Deluxe Edition)
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: £12.06

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How To Spoil A Classic..., 3 Aug. 2015
NB. The low score given here is for the Deluxe package, not the brilliant music.

I've been collecting all of these mostly superb deluxe editions and despite some negative reviews, have just purchased this one to complete the set.

Wish I hadn't though, it's truly disappointing.

The sound quality of the live material on Disc 2 is pretty rough, but excusable if this was the best source material that could be found, as the performances are strong and let's face it, it's great to have ANY live recordings from this era!

However, what has been done to sound of the mighty Heaven & Hell album on Disc 1 is not excusable under any circumstances. It sounds like I'm listening to it under a duvet, with much of the zip and punch of the original recording now missing. How this could possibly have got past quality control is beyond me, especially when you consider the care that has gone into the re-mastering of the other albums in this series.

So, if it's the extras you want then by all means purchase this edition. But if you just want the classic Heaven & Hell album, then I can recommend the 1996 Castle Communications release, which sounds fabulous. In fact I'm going to go and play that version now, put this 'deluxe' edition on the shelf and pretend I never heard it.


Replicas
Replicas
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And A Star Is Born!, 29 April 2015
This review is from: Replicas (Audio CD)
Coupled with the surprise mega-hit 'Are Friends Electric?' this is the album that catapaulted Gary Numan to fame in 1979. And rightly so, for it is a unique recording that captured his transition from punk rock guitar-slinger to synth pioneer at the perfect time to also capture the record-buying public's imagination.

So compared to the first Tubeway Army album, the guitars are dialled down and the synths more abundant, although certain guitar-driven songs made it through (The Machman, You Are In My Vision, It Must Have been Years), which help give the album it's signature hybrid sound.

Aside from the big hit single, other highlights include the classic 'Praying To The Aliens', live favourite 'Me, I Disconnect From You' and the rather spooky title track. The album also features the epic 'Down In The Park', although for me the studio version is a bit weedy (but checkout the live version from Living Ornaments 79...that kicks ass!)

This re-issue gives you the original album plus B-sides, including the should-have-been-an-A-side 'We Are So Fragile' and 'Do You Need The Service', a song which was arguably Numan's last hurrah as a guitar-hero.

It also contains the three missing tracks from the Replicas recording sessions, which first saw the light of day as part of a series of retrospective EPs in the mid-80's, and demonstrates what a creative roll Numan must have been on, to be able to leave such quality material on the cutting-room floor.

So plenty of interesting stuff for the fans, but if you're new to Replicas don't be put off by all the extras, just relax and let the original, classic, utterly peerless album wash over you. And if you like it, get your wallet ready, because the mighty 'Pleasure Principle' was just round the corner and believe me, you are going to need that too!


Solid Ground
Solid Ground
Price: £30.55

5.0 out of 5 stars No.1 In A Short List of Indonesian Guitar Gods!, 15 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Solid Ground (Audio CD)
Just discovered this lot…oh happy day…after Gugun was repeatedly recommended to me by a friend.

This guy not only has KILLER guitar chops and a soulful, funky blues voice, but crucially he has great songs (so you’re not just waiting for the lead break), which is so often what is missing in the blues genre....he's the whole package, so to speak.

The band are clearly influenced by Hendrix and SRV, but are funkier than both and their music is lively and upbeat, which makes for a real feelgood, air-guitar playing kind of album.

Been playing this to anyone who will listen and getting the same positive reaction from everyone…it just goes to show, it doesn’t matter where you are from, if you really have the blues in ya, they’re gonna get out.

I just hope they get over to the UK soon!


The Jam: Direction, Reaction, Creation
The Jam: Direction, Reaction, Creation
by The Jam
Edition: Audio CD

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than I Bargained For..., 4 Feb. 2015
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Got more than I bargained for here...I was expecting a standard 10 x 6 inch book/box set, but what I actually got is a whopping great coffee-table book, crammed with information and superb photographs of the band, with the 5 CD's safely stored on the insides of the front and rear covers...it even has a dust jacket.

The CD's contain The Jam's five studio albums plus all of their singles and B-sides spread over the first four discs, while disc five features an interesting set of demos and alternate versions. They do not contain any live material, but as I am not a completest this set gives me all the Jam material I could ever need.

In my opinion this makes any other Jam compilation obsolete...why bother when you can get their entire studio catalogue in such a beautifully presented set for such a ludicrously low price?

Highly recommended...just got to figure out where to keep it now!


The World At War - Vol. 1 [1973] [DVD]
The World At War - Vol. 1 [1973] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Laurence Olivier
Offered by westworld-
Price: £14.38

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original is Still The Best., 4 Aug. 2014
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Watched this on TV as a teenager and found it to be a thorough and fascinating document of the horror and the hardship that the previous generation endured on our behalf. Having just purchased all 5 volumes, I'm pleased to report that the impact of this series remains undiminished over intervening the years and once again I find myself gripped and horrified by it in equal measure.

I'm also very glad that I read the reviews of the newer 16:9 edition of the series first, where many reviewers have complained of excessive picture cropping and other 'improvements' that have interfered with the overall feel of the original series. I am happy to confirm that these editions are presented in their original 4:3 aspect with no messing about whatsoever, and look as good today as they did when I first saw them so many years back.

Recommended without hesitation.


Redeemer of Souls
Redeemer of Souls
Price: £8.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proper Priest Album at Last...Nice!!!, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Redeemer of Souls (Audio CD)
Blimey...agree with Mr Ogston, the Priest are back...STONKING!!!!

And I cannot imagine there will be a Priest fan on the planet who will not love this album.

Enjoy.


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