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D. R. Jacks (Hawarden, Flintshire UK)

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10 Rillington Place [1970] [DVD] [1971]
10 Rillington Place [1970] [DVD] [1971]
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough
Offered by Springwood Media
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing but brilliant. A timeless classic., 19 July 2014
10 Rillington Place is more than a classic film. Ludovic Kennedy's quest for justice which led to its creation is frequently referred to whenever the call for the death penalty is made in Britain. The hanging of Timothy Evans, an immature half-wit, for the murder of his wife and child when it is almost universally accepted that they perished at the hands of John "Reg" Christie, is one which will always haunt the British legal system. When Christie was found guilty and hanged as a serial killer of women, the body of Evans was exhumed and reburied in consecrated ground but this did nothing to hide the embarrassment of those who support the death penalty.

The film itself is a dark and brooding masterpiece which depicts life in post-war London perfectly. The grim, dirty, rain-washed Rillington Place in Notting Hill was a seedy side-street which housed poor but respectable families going about their mundane lives. John Christie had moved down from the North to find work in the capital but ill-health and a penchant for petty crime prevented him from being successful. He had been a special policeman in the war and had learned the rudiments of first aid; skills which he would use to convince his victims that he was able to assist them medically. His treatment of the poor, subnormal Evans (John Hurt) and his beautiful but foolish young wife, Beryl, (Judy Geeson) was centred around their desire for an abortion - illegal in the UK until the late 1960s.

John Hurt is a superb choice to play the hapless Evans (although his Welsh accent needs refining). Interestingly, although he is the innocent party, he is not portrayed as a likeable person at all. He is depicted as a liar, an uneducated, simple little man who argues loudly with Beryl whenever he does not get his way. He is naive and dwells in a fantasy world in which he sees himself as successful and wealthy. These are character flaws which the cunning Christie would exploit mercilessly.

The key to appreciating 10 Rillington Place is to accept that there is no gore or heart stopping shocks. The villain is quietly spoken and mild-mannered; Richard Attenborough plays the downtrodden but curiously arrogant Christie to perfection. He maintains control of his inner demons and his murderous urges for lengthy periods. He is hen-pecked and boring; he is physically unimpressive; truly the bloke next door who would never be suspected of being a serial killer. Yet, this is what makes the Christie case and this film so fascinating.

Po Selected Mondri Ring Tea Coffee Mug with Silicone Ring, Porcelain Silicone White, 7.3 x 7.3 x 11 cm,  Yellow/ Red/ Blue/ Black
Po Selected Mondri Ring Tea Coffee Mug with Silicone Ring, Porcelain Silicone White, 7.3 x 7.3 x 11 cm, Yellow/ Red/ Blue/ Black

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Attractive, iconic but impractical, 5 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This mug looks superb, of course, with the iconic Mondrian design. My stepson pinched one of mine to take home as soon as he saw it, he liked it so much. Cool to the touch, yes, but there is one oversight: you can't tell how hot the liquid is until you put it to your lips. Now, call me old-fashioned but that's important. Frankly, I'd buy a couple of these just to display in the kitchen as they look so great. You decide if the hot/cold thing is a deal breaker.

Malice in Wonderland
Malice in Wonderland
Price: £6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different approach, same class, 5 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Malice in Wonderland (Audio CD)
Following the hard rock majesty of No Mean City (in my opinion one of the finest British rock albums ever and therefore a very hard act to follow) this album certainly shocked me when I heard it in 1980. Tommy Vance played the grinding "Turning A New Leaf" on the Friday Rock Show and I thought, OK, that sounds like the Nazareth of old and went ahead and bought the LP. It turned out that none of the other tracks were like anything Nazareth had recorded before. Yet, with repeated listens and ignoring the sniggers of my mates who thought the album was c£$p, I grew to like it immensely. Jeff Baxter (a brilliant guitarist in the early Steely Dan days) brought a bit of gloss to Nazareth's traditional earthy sound with his production without any causing any damage to the band's credibility in much the same way that Mutt Lange had done no harm to AC/DC a year earlier on Highway To Hell. It's OK to polish the diamond sometimes, Nazareth had been an honest, hard rock band for years and had little to prove in that area. Lyrically, the album is superb and most of the credit for this must go to Zal Cleminson who wrote the startling Heart's Grown Cold, as raw a song about drug addiction as you'll ever hear, possibly inspired by Thomas Hardy's use of the same phrase in a poem about watching his body slowly decay. Maybe, maybe not, just a thought. Zal was also responsible for Talkin' To One Of The Boys, Big Boy, (written in Zal's SAHB days and included on the SAHB Without Alex album "Fourplay" in 1977 but given a reggae sound for Malice) and the excellent Showdown At The Border. I'm afraid that when Zal left to join Elkie Brooks' touring band (yes you read that correctly), Nazareth lost a major talent and never achieved this artistic peak again. Of the band-written compositions, Fallen Angel is a very fine song indeed, achingly plaintive and heartfelt. Holiday, is a wonderful pop/rock song but also a clever and tongue in cheek look at fame and fortune. The band is as tight as ever and McCafferty's grizzly growl on No Mean City is tamed somewhat for a wider audience. Yes, there are one or two lower points (which is why I give it 4 stars) ie Fast Cars and Ship Of Dreams, but this reissue makes up for them with a fantastic selection of live tracks. All in all it works and Malice is a great album. I loved it in 1980, the weird cover, the message ("no malice intended PAL")to Paice Ashton and Lord on the back who had previously released an album of the same name three years earlier, but mostly I loved the skill and creativity of the multi-talented and versatile Nazareth.

No Mean City
No Mean City
Price: £6.81

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 3 Nov. 2012
This review is from: No Mean City (Audio CD)
1979 was a dreadful year for music and a sad way to end a fantastic decade of innovation and classic rock. Anderson and Wakeman had left Yes, Ozzy had left Sabbath, Dio had left Rainbow, the best selling artists were Leo Sayer and Barbra Streisand. Turn on the radio and all you heard were the Bee Gees, Abba and Blondie. But 1979 was also the year in which Nazareth released an album so monumental that it has not dated one iota in the decades since and remains a cornerstone of British heavy rock. No Mean City is a dark chronicle of grime expressed by the raucous, gritty (but always controlled) vocals of Dan McCafferty and the crunching guitars of Manny Charlton and Zal Cleminson, complemented perfectly by Rodney Matthews' iconic album art. Ex-SAHB member Cleminson was an inspired choice as the second guitarist and contributed the stunning "Simple Solution" and co-wrote the title track. McCafferty's voice is an acquired taste, of course, and I know several friends who only listened to this album once, so impenetrable can that voice be to the untrained ear. But I would argue that McCafferty's delivery is perfect for the sagas of groupies, street whores, drugs, crime and "the one on the cross", giving the sometimes shocking and brutal lyrics an extra texture of sleaze. Light relief is provided by "Whatever You Want Babe" and the stunning "Star", in which McCafferty's roar becomes a plaintive wail for a lost love. The power chords which precede the chorus still give me goosebumps after all these years. This particular edition offers the single version of "May The Sunshine" and a good but unremarkable instrumental. When that single was first released the reviewer in Sounds sneered, "Are they really trying?" Yes, mate, they were, and Nazareth succeeded in producing an album which has not only stood the test of time but is really an essential album to have in your collection if you have any interest at all in honest British hard rock music.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2016 5:56 PM GMT

The Who By Numbers
The Who By Numbers
Price: £7.24

5.0 out of 5 stars A superb album, a rival to Who's Next, 25 July 2012
This review is from: The Who By Numbers (Audio CD)
I wasn't going to write a review for this album as the ones which have appeared thus far are so thorough and are clearly written by genuine fans who have taken the time to listen to By Numbers closely. With one exception. No need for names but someone has declared that "Roger Daltrey (is) largely pushed into the background" ? Sorry, mate, that is so wrong. Daltrey delivers some of the finest performances of his career on Imagine A Man, Slip Kid, How Many Friends, In A Hand Or A Face. Yes, this is Pete spilling his guts (Daltrey refused to sing However Much I Booze as it was too personal to Townshend) but it's Roger who supplies the passion and adds blood and sweat to the poetry. By Numbers lacks the rock power of Who's Next (but to compare any work to that landmark release is unfair) but it is still a fabulous, indispensable album. All four members of the band are given the freedom to express themselves; the bass, drums, vocals are of the highest standards and the band is as tight as a duck's backside. This is NOT a Townshend solo project, please do not be misled by those who say it is. Do not live another day without this album in your collection.

Top Of The Pops 1972
Top Of The Pops 1972
Price: £15.44

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the whole, a bold and interesting selection of songs, 22 July 2012
This review is from: Top Of The Pops 1972 (Audio CD)
Sadly, 1972 will be remembered for the massacre at the Munich Olympics and power cuts and strikes at home but I also recall it as my favourite year for music. I was eight years old and vividly remember the excitement generated by the bands of the era. The seventies are often sneered at (usually by people who weren't around at the time) for the hairstyles and the clothes but musically, this decade has never been bettered. When I saw that a compilation of songs from 1972 had been released I scrolled down to inspect the selections and was very pleasantly surprised. As a rock music fan I would have left out Shirley Bassey and Hurricane Smith; Without You by Harry Nilsson is on my list of songs I never want to hear again (the "Lady In Red" list) but I accept that the compilers wanted to give an overview of musical styles and the rest of the choices reflect the quality of 1972 pretty well. ELO's innovative and daring 10538 Overture and The Move's hellraising California Man are inspired and often overlooked. Roy Wood is featured again as the leader of Wizzard with the brilliant Ball Park Incident. The inclusion of Fireball by Deep Purple is also a bold inclusion on a pop/rock cd. I was delighted to see All The Young Dudes by Mott The Hoople, a fine and talented band, who, with a David Bowie song written in 20 minutes in a bid to revive Mott's flagging fortunes(and the man himself on backing vocals), delivered the release of the year. I can still see Ian Hunter on Top Of The Pops delivering this supreme song in his cool, understated style. Ultimate praise must go to the person who decided to feature Burlesque by Family, not a song which casual listeners will recall but Roger Chapman's unique vocals helped to make this song a stunning piece of music. Of course, anyone who appreciates rock music will own the best of these songs already but this release serves as a good introduction for those who think the 70s were all about The Carpenters, The Osmonds and disco. The lack of any Slade, who had four major hits in this year, however, is a massive and rather curious oversight, (Slade were everywhere in the early 70s and were fundamental to the musical landscape) as is the omission of Alice Cooper who broke through commercially in 72 and gave an exciting American edge to the British dominated music scene.

Overall, this CD is an excellent place to start if you want to get a taste of the energy and creativity of 1972. Imagine listening to the chart countdown on a Sunday evening, waiting to hear which of the many rock classics released that year were also major hits. It will never happen again. Use it as an introduction to the music of early ELO, Family and Mott The Hoople, it's worth buying just for that reason.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2012 1:33 PM BST

Steepletone Push Button Retro Trim Phone - Black Base / White Handset
Steepletone Push Button Retro Trim Phone - Black Base / White Handset
Offered by Joe-Audio
Price: £32.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great retro style phone, 31 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've wanted one of these retro phones for a long time and am very glad I bought one recently. The main reason for the purchase was so that my elderly mother-in-law can use it as she has difficulties with all the buttons on modern phones (and they are too small for her to see). The buttons on the trimphone are large and very easy to use. She is confident with this phone and now has access to the outside world again. As the previous reviewer stated, it is light and tends to move when the receiver is raised (hence 4 stars not 5) but this was solved with a bit of blutac between the base and the table! The ring tone is loud and clear and is the authentic 70s sound which I remember from my childhood. A very good product which I am delighted with. It's also pretty cool to have one of these; it does get noticed and has plenty of admirers.

Back To Earth
Back To Earth
Price: £9.66

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag but well worth a listen, 16 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Back To Earth (Audio CD)
To compare any of Cat Stevens' post 1971 work to his classic trio of albums (Mona Bone Jakon, Tillerman, Firecat) is almost pointless as he did, as an earlier reviewer mentioned, peak early. However, I listen to this album regularly and think it has been harshly judged. Just Another Night, Daytime, Father (which features an exquisite bass riff by Bruce Lynch), Randy (which is so raw and heartfelt it gives me goose pimples) and Never (what a magnificent song to say farewell) are among my favourite Cat Stevens songs. Just Another Night and Daytime were played by Cat at the Year Of The Child Concert in 1979, his final appearance on stage for 30 years, so I think it's fair to assume he was proud of these songs. Of course there are fillers too, even pointless instrumentals, but I could argue that Izitso wasn't exactly full of classics and I have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to Foreigner. Also, let's remember that mediocre by Cat Stevens' standards is still not too bad.

Maybe I'm being nostalgic for Cat Stevens at his peak but there is a vulnerability in his voice, a deep sincerity in the lyrics of the 5 songs mentioned and a confidence in the music that make me wonder what might have been achieved if he hadn't been in such a rush to reject stardom and become a Muslim. It is a pity that the harsh reviews for this album have concentrated too much on the poor/average tracks and have ignored those which are truly excellent.

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