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Shane Slade (Sevenoaks, Kent, England)

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The Old Boys' Network: John Rae's Diaries 1970-1986
The Old Boys' Network: John Rae's Diaries 1970-1986
by John Rae
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Rae's any interest, 4 April 2009
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I suppose I had hoped that this diary might throw some penetrating insights into the philosophy of education or give details of the school curriculum or perhaps disclose a personal journey of the author's development over the years. Unfortunately it does none of these. Westminster School it appears is a sad hothouse for students whose parents have too much money and very little sense.

Mr Rae I fear was well aware of this throughout his time there and of the limitations of this type of schooling. His diary is heavy with the twaddle of daily life which betrays his boredom and ennui. But I suppose he asked himself, "how can one resign from such a "prestigious" post? That is his tragedy I suspect. He freely acknowledges his limitations as a teacher and headmaster which seems to reinforce this conclusion

I think that a diary of an average dustman or plumber in his daily exploits and his exchanges with the public would be immensely more entertaining.

This hothousing then prepares a student for the "rewards" of Oxbridge.Mr Rae records without the faintest hint of criticism that a student at his Oxbridge interview is asked:-"what was the role of masturbation in the Middle Ages?" Is this really the type of schooling that a caring parent would want to inflict on a loved child?

I suspect that this review will receive strong disagreement given the reaction to the last critical review. It is perhaps though the very persuasive arguments of John Taylor Gatto in his book "Dumbing Us Down" (also available on Amazon)that urges the distinction between education and schooling. The hothousing techniques are not conducive to producing well rounded people with lively and free thinking minds. I suggest readers of this review spend some time schooling themselves with the ideas of Mr Gatto before responding negatively.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 12, 2010 10:51 PM GMT


Movie Favorites for Harmonica
Movie Favorites for Harmonica
by Bobby Joe Holman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.61

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Stars, 24 Mar. 2009
Having acquired a chromatic harmonica to supplement my diatonic playing I wanted to start by practising some well known pieces.I bought this book as it contains the theme from Midnight Cowboy which I have always loved along with some other familiar film soundtracks. The tablature is provided for both chromatic and diatonic in respect of each piece although the arrangements suit the rich tones of the chromatic very well. The book provides some very quick returns and I loved playing the octave drop in D over the words "stormy weather" in the tune of the same name. I recommend this book with one caveat. Some of the pieces are arranged solely for a Chromatic 64, that is those chromatic's with the octave below middle C. But there is still plenty here for the eager novice with the Chromatic 48 or the diatonic.


Economics in One Lesson
Economics in One Lesson
by H Hazlitt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ecomomics for the Everyman, 24 Mar. 2009
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For most of my life I have paid little attention to theoretical economics and I suspect this is true for most people. However the current disastrous financial dilemmas awoke my interest. I quickly came across the Austrian school of economists and Hazlitt can be classed with them. The writing here is succinct and non technical and full of common sense, a quality missing from almost all economists and politicians.

The economic theory advanced here is illustrative of a persuasive broader philosophy which argues against the interference of the state in our daily lives. I suggest that if this book is to your taste you explore his other works which (in the absence of availability on Amazon) can be obtained at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute in America with the other Austrian school writers.


Super Conciousness: The Quest for the Peak Experience
Super Conciousness: The Quest for the Peak Experience
by Colin Wilson
Edition: Paperback

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Strange Case of Colin Wilson, 23 Mar. 2009
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When the writer-philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre died in 1980, thousands of mourners followed the cortege through the streets of Paris. It is impossible to believe that here in England the death of any writer would inspire the same reaction. Perhaps we simply lack that intellectual turn of mind that appreciates writers of ideas. This explains the sad neglect of a great writer in Colin Wilson. He is much more popular abroad and has regularly lectured all over America.

He burst onto the literary scene with his first book of ideas "The Outsider" in 1956 which was universally received by the establishment as a work of genius. His second book was universally panned and despite a large body of substantial work since he has been ignored. It almost seems to be a tacit agreement between reviewers to neglect him.

Why then is Colin Wilson important? He has one central idea. He has always instinctively felt that the quality of our daily consciousness is very limited. It leads us to feel passive and vunerable and the victim of circumstances. The artists of the Romantic movement and the early 20th century were says Wilson the classic victims of this contradiction of an awareness of man's potential and the contrast of his everyday experiences.

In his works he has analysed the history of literature philosophy music and the arts against the backdrop of his philosophy. To use his terminology he has used an existential critique to examine all previous ideas expressed in artistic or literary forms to ascertain whether they raise or lower man's status in the universe. If this sounds abstract and dry do not be deceived. Reading a book by Colin Wilson is an extremely positive and exciting experience. His thirst for ideas is infectious and even if you disagree with him he will leave you a new and fascinating perspective.

It is Colin Wilson's research into the sciences that has supported his theories and pointed the way forward. In rare moments we are all capable of "peak experiences" ( a term coined by the American Abraham Maslow)which are indicative of the the vast scope of our mental potentiality. This potentiality is evident in many phenomena ie second sight, synchronicity, idiot savants and the occult.

Also scientists have demonstrated the existence of the "right" and left" sides of the brain which perform quite separate functions. We are compelled to live our daily lives in the left side which controls our reason and logic whilst the right side is associated with the more subliminal levels. It is the understanding of the linkage of the two sides of the brain and how to use it to induce peak experiences that Mr Wilson feels will lead to Super Consciousness. This book neatly summarises many of his central insights.

To call Colin Wilson "well read" is an understatement and he can be enjoyed on the simplest level as an educator in the fields of literature science philosophy and art.

He has also written many novels which are well crafted and fascinating reads and which illustrate his ideas. He has created many memorable characters which will live in the readers memories.

Buy this Book!


Rudolf Steiner: The Man and His Vision
Rudolf Steiner: The Man and His Vision
by Colin Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shaft of Light on Steiner, 13 Mar. 2009
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Colin Wilson gives the lie to the idea that the expression "an English Philosopher" is an oxymoron. I rate Mr Wilson as being one of the most important writers of his generation although he has almost always been ignored or treated with contempt by the literary orthodoxy.

This slim volume is consistent with Mr Wilson's high standards and convincingly interprets a "difficult" author for the interested layman. Mr Wilson argues that Steiner as a deeply spiritual man used his oeuvre as a protest at the scientific materialism and reductionism of his age. Steiner's more esoteric assertions says Wilson should not distract readers from his singular vision of the spirituality of man. The esoteric writings may have been partly necessary to attract the public following and also as a method to advance the more central message that man should work to become more aware of his spiritual being an extend his spiritual vision.

Wilson encourages the reading of Steiner's Autobiography and his Goethe's Theory of Knowledge as more direct and accessible works demonstrative of Steiner's essential meaning.


Howard Levy: New Directions For Harmonic - Expanding Your Technique [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Howard Levy: New Directions For Harmonic - Expanding Your Technique [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Howard Levy

5.0 out of 5 stars Dont let the dodgy haircut put you off!!!, 13 Mar. 2009
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I strongly recommend this DVD for all you diatonic harp enthusiasts.Howard demonstrates the versatility of the "humble" diatonic and sets out to show how it can be as fully versatile as a chromatic ie, playing anything in any key. The DVD shows a slightly "dated" Howard in terms of hairstyle and dress but his music examples and teaching style are very apt. My note bending improved almost immediately and the DVD is packed with useful playing tips. He also encourages you to advance your music theory knowledge as this will assist in developing your playing skills. The accompanying booklet is first class in illustrating his lessons. After viewing this disc I was encouraged to invest in "Music Theory for Dummies" (available on Amazon) which on brief acquaintance looks extremely informative.


Sex, Lies And Videotape [DVD] [1989]
Sex, Lies And Videotape [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ James Spader
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £10.00

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex on the Brain, 20 Feb. 2009
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Despite the title and a few erotic scenes this film's principal appeal is its cerebral qualities. The script and acting are superb. It tells a well rounded and entertaining story. For me there is something that is subtlety "anarchic" about James Spader as an actor. He shares the quality with George Segal. Their various directors seem to have recognised this and used it productively. The film bears many viewings and I recommend it.


Sunday, Bloody Sunday [DVD]
Sunday, Bloody Sunday [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Finch

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Fine Film, 24 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Sunday, Bloody Sunday [DVD] (DVD)
This film was something of a novelty at the time of its release in that it tells of the love triangle between a bisexual young man and his contemporaneous relationship with a women and an older man. The story of the pain and disillusionment of this menage is convincingly told against the fascinating backdrop of London life in the 1970's. The "forbidden fruit" of relationships that only exist in stolen moments is movingly portrayed. The acting is superb as is the script by Penelope Gilliatt. It is a very special film and I strongly recommend it.


Harry's Game The Complete Series [1983] [DVD]
Harry's Game The Complete Series [1983] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ray Lonnen
Price: £5.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time has not withered it........., 23 Jan. 2009
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I was very pleased to secure a DVD of this TV film from 1983. The setting is the troubles in Northern Ireland and it captures in a well crafted story of a British agent in the Ardoyne the daily horrors of the conflict and its effect on family life. It is interesting to be taken back to a time when the conflict was still in the daily news and to learn of the political intrigues on both sides. This is a gripping film which I strongly recommend. The haunting title music from Clannad strangely captures the poignancy of the torment and loss and which leaves many scenes fixed in the memory. A classic.


Hidden Agenda [DVD] [1991]
Hidden Agenda [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Frances McDormand
Price: £7.57

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forces beyond our control.........., 23 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Hidden Agenda [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
This film has stood the test of time perhaps because its lessons are timeless. It is a convincing and entertaining portrayal of the political complexities that often prevail where ideologies conflict. In this case the setting is the IRA conflict but the subtleties of political wrangling are worldwide. If this makes the film seem dry and uninteresting then accept my assurances it is not. It is a very human story that is well told and acted. It is a well aimed punch at the solar plexus and it makes its point. Buy it!


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