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Tony Roach

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Ask Me If I'm Happy: An Actor's Life
Ask Me If I'm Happy: An Actor's Life
by Peter Bowles
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing memoir, 11 Jun. 2016
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A lively canter through the life of popular actor Peter Bowles, who writes in a refreshingly candid, self-effacing, jaunty style which keeps the reader engaged throughout. Like all good autobiographies the book is peppered with amusing, pithy anecdotes and an appetising measure of name-dropping. By turns funny, poignant, intriguing and even, at times, downright disturbing (his encounter with his own stalker is genuinely unsettling) three recurrent themes emerge.

First, Peter is an enduringly creative "ideas" man; eager to pitch new projects and concepts which sometimes come to glorious fruition and on other occasions are stymied by circumstance or even pinched from under his very nose. Secondly he is blessed with a healthy measure of resilience and takes life's disappointments in his stride with good grace and an unassuming humility - he is brutally honest with himself, unwilling to delegate blame or to engage in self pity when things go awry, all of which is both admirable and warmly endearing. Thirdly, despite this unflappable image and his natural sangfroid he is certainly no pushover: a modest but self respecting actor, tactful and tolerant up to a point but courageous enough to tackle bullies and injustices head on when confrontation becomes unavoidable.

He deftly unveils the snobbish dichotomy between the worlds of theatre and the TV sitcom, and having been a huge and proven success on both sides of this "divide" his insight carries much weight and wisdom. Having explained from the outset that he prefers to draw from memory rather than refer to his detailed diaries, a few doors are left tantalisingly ajar and the occasional reminiscence tends to drift into limbo, but overall this is a thoroughly entertaining and very enjoyable window into the world of Peter Bowles. Reading the book it is impossible not to both like and to admire the man.


A Deadly Diversion
A Deadly Diversion
by David Barry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Explosive thriller, 15 May 2016
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This review is from: A Deadly Diversion (Paperback)
Where David Barry's enthralling book "Muscle" leaves off, this dark, explosive sequel gets started. Charismatic protagonist Freddie Weston, now a fledgling Private Investigator, lifts the lid on a poisonous vipers nest of truly heinous crime, with each successive twist plumbing a new depth of wickedness whilst adding another baffling layer to the mystery of just who is behind it all. There are enough shocks and jolts along the way to keep the reader riveted and craving more. A terrifically entertaining thriller.


Muscle
Muscle
by David Barry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment, 26 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: Muscle (Paperback)
A vibrant page-turner, with cleverly paced momentum which ebbs and flows between each mounting crisis and hollow triumph on the rollercoaster ride that is the day to day life of shady security co-ordinator Freddie Weston. With his compelling back story - driven by a burning obsession and a need for answers - and surrounded by the terrifically fleshed-out and all too believable characters (from his neurotic family to the grotesque zoo of villains and knuckleheads from whom he cannot escape) there really is never a dull moment. I found it impossible not to root for the beleaguered central character. Freddie is a loveable rogue operating on the fringes of legality but with his own dubious moral compass guiding him from one close shave to the next.

What pushed this from four to five stars? All of the above, plus a revelationary twist towards the finale and the expertly overlaid strands of grim humour, menace and high risk, bum-clenching beat-the-clock drama woven into a pretty spellbinding web of intrigue. You really will find yourself in Freddie's corner and needing to read that next chapter whether he is playing off sinister crimelords, treading the eggshells of dealing with a hormonal daughter and a suspicious wife or setting up bent journalists. It's a really engaging, classily written book which I have no hesitation in highly recommending.


Tales from Soho
Tales from Soho
by David Barry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting gem, 21 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Tales from Soho (Paperback)
Welcome to a darkly colourful kaleidoscope of greed, humour, wickedness, hope, sex and skulduggery. Described by the author himself as a "Playground for adults", Soho has for generations been a rich potpourri of larger than life characters frequenting curious establishments and that fascinating tapestry is superbly reflected in this captivating page turner. It's easy to pick up but very hard to put down. Spread over different decades each story stands alone yet all are linked by their location within this bizarre square mile - a bubbling melting pot populated by various fictional wheeler dealers, dreamers, crooks, poets, victims and villains; all ducking and diving their way in and out of the real life bohemian watering holes and dark alleyways which form their labyrinthine stamping ground. Written in the author's wonderfully fluid, incisively absorbing style some tales will titillate, disturb or amuse, others will haunt you - all will keep you spellbound.


Castle Ghosts of England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland [DVD]
Castle Ghosts of England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland [DVD]
Offered by TVserieshop
Price: £29.99

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 2 July 2010
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I must strongly disagree with the only other reviewer (so far) of this wonderful collection, which succinctly covers unnerving tales from some of the spookiest castles from all corners of the British Isles. It thankfully avoids the tedious, noisy, "crash bang wallop" approach of modern, repetitive ghost-hunt type "investigations" (ego trips, more like) and instead serves up a cosy but creepy blend of real life, eye-witness interviews and engaging reconstructions to give a well-rounded appraisal of each haunted location. Presented and narrated by the marvellous Robert Hardy, this is a fascinatingly eerie and thoughtful selection of true life ghost stories.


Fortean Times: It Happened To Me vol.1 MagBook
Fortean Times: It Happened To Me vol.1 MagBook
by Fortean Times
Edition: Paperback

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read for the open minded..., 5 Feb. 2009
This little book contains some eerie and fascinating first hand accounts of strange and inexplicable events. Perusing its pages is a great way to spend an hour by the fireside on a cold winter evening, but be warned, once started, it is rather difficult to put down again...


The Conversation [DVD]
The Conversation [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gene Hackman
Offered by Disc-uk
Price: £6.86

15 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Like watching paint dry, 23 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Conversation [DVD] (DVD)
The slowest, dullest, most overrated (critics love it) movie I've ever sat through. At least watching paint dry isn't confusing. Dense, turgid, plodding repetition bury any seed of a plot there may have been. With an infuriatingly obtuse ending, thin, mumbled dialogue and baffling dream sequences, it is the only bad (no, TERRIBLE) film I've ever seen Gene Hackman in.

No doubt it is technically very good in terms of direction, a masterclass in acting technique, a superb character study etc. but it is horribly inaccessible, boringly indeed excessively layered, like some technically brilliant but esoterically contrived pretentious piece of avant-garde rubbish that the snobs/critics argue you're not supposed to "get".

If you fancy a bit of intelligent entertainment, give this dreadful movie the widest possible berth. If you want to be "challenged" try a Rubik's cube or mountaineering or something else designed to be challenging rather than entertaining. This tortuous film is strictly for the masochists.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2010 1:34 PM GMT


The Beatles - Archival Treasures -1964-1971 [2007] [DVD]
The Beatles - Archival Treasures -1964-1971 [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Beatles
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £14.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely dreadful, 3 Feb. 2008
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You can't give an item a zero star rating, or I would have done; one star flatters this "product".Sadly I bought this in good faith without checking it out properly in advance. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID. Forty odd minutes of drivel including static shots of the Magical Mystery Tour bus as it is today, an interview with Alan Parsons (??????)a guy who painted his car up to look like the yellow submarine, crowd shots at a Beatles festival and some film of John Lennon's old settee....DIRE!! The packaging, comprising a metal cover, colour booklet and reproduction concert ticket promises great things...alas the title "Archival Treasures" is very misleading; I was expecting interviews and rare film clips from the TV vaults, but there is absolutely NO footage of the Beatles whatsoever. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.


Britain's Haunted Heritage
Britain's Haunted Heritage
by J.A. Brooks
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best ghost books, 12 Dec. 2007
This lavishly illustrated region by region round up of British hauntings is the perfect book for those winter afternoons and evenings by the fireside with your feet up and a hot mug of tea. The true life and often very creepy anecdotes are very well written, accompanied by many beautifully atmospheric, sumptuous colour photographs and line drawings. I would have given this five stars but for the fact that London, inexplicably, is notable by its absence, and there is only a fleeting mention of Edinburgh, one of our most splendidly spooky cities. Nevertheless a glorious selection of provincial hauntings, with some little known cases besides the more celebrated ones.


Beatles:From Liverpool To San Francisco [DVD]
Beatles:From Liverpool To San Francisco [DVD]
Dvd ~ The Beatles
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.27

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tattifilarious!, 19 Oct. 2007
A bargain - worth the price for the Beatles vs Ken Dodd interview alone. This is the full, unedited 1963 Late Show Extra Gay Byrne interview with Doddy and the fab four...very rare and a great laugh. The rest of the disc features little seen interviews and other seldom shown footage. Don't be put off by the rather cheap looking packaging.


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