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Bright Lights Dark Days
Bright Lights Dark Days
by T. G. Gayner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading for music fans, 28 Jan. 2014
I really enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to friends and family.

However, that said, I must explain why I've given only 3/5 stars. Actually, my score would have been 4/5, but a mark was lost due to some poor punctuation and lots of shockingly basic spelling mistakes - I'll come back to that later.

Despite the grammatical errors 'Bright Lights Dark Days' is well written, very easy to follow, and hard to put down. There must be countless similar stories of bands that have almost made it - one such is retold in the book 'This Is Pop' by Ed Jones - but this one is quite unique in narrative.

Although I've never played any musical instruments to any great level I'm a big music fan, across many genres, attended many gigs, and followed many bands, so this book greatly appealed to me. Being a fellow Bristolian there is lots of local interest, with talk of many venues I've attended and places I've been.

Back to the spelling: it's clear there isn't an editor or proof reader employed by the publisher, and it's strange that the simple words are the ones where it has gone wrong.
Here are some examples:
"Jest for life" should be "zest for life" / "too" when it should be "to" (and visa-versa!!) / "defunked" should be "defunct" / "are" should be "our" / "who's" (for a possessive, when it should only be for a contracted "who is") should be "whose" / several words broken up when they should be one word, or hyphenated, like "whatever" and "whenever" / "loosing" should be spelled "losing" / "site" (for looking) should be "sight" / "here" (for listening) should have been "hear" / "it's" (for a possessive when it should only be for a contracted "it is") should be "its" / "heart brake" should have been "heart-break" / "there" in place of "their" / "program" instead of "programme".

This might seem trivial but it really did start to irritate and disrupt reading, and I only started noting them from page 163. The point at which I decided to drop a mark was on page 322, where this paragraph appears:
===
"Graffiti covered every square inch of wall space and it was clear a lot of the artists hadn't made it much past kindergarten when it came to spelling and punctuation."
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Hmm! This in the book that had the worst spelling and punctuation of any book I've ever come across!

I only point this out in the hope that FeedARead Publishing make amends when the Second Edition comes out.

This book. and the story it tells, deserves proper editing.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2014 7:58 PM GMT


The Old Dog and Duck: The Secret Meanings of Pub Names
The Old Dog and Duck: The Secret Meanings of Pub Names
by Albert Jack
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inn teresting read., 15 Aug. 2013
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Enjoyed reading this book. It contains lots of interesting bits & bobs.

There were a few entries I'm not sure of though...

===

1/ "The Bull":
Albert Jack mentions the most likely source of 'a cock and bull story' coming from two pubs in the town of Stoney Stratford. In his book "Why is Q Always Followed by U?", and on his website 'worldwidewords', Michael Quinion dismisses this suggestion.

2/ "Goat and Compass":
One of the many suggestions in the book for this pub name originates in the crest for the Worshipful Company of Carpenters which dispays 3 compasses. Michael Quinion, on his website 'worldwidewords' mentions this and goes further in saying the crest also features a Chevron, which derives from the Latin 'caper', meaning 'goat'.

3/ "The Green Man":
Easter is linked to the pagan goddess Eostre, celebrated at the spring equinox. That is a common suggestion and one put forward back in the 8th century by St. Bede the Venerable. There are other schools of thought though, most notably that Easter (white week) is a mistranslation from German for the plural of 'alba' meaning 'dawn', and therefore 'Eostarum' became Easter. This is explained in more detail in "The Pedant's Revolt" by Andrea Barham.

4/ "The John Snow":
Albert Jack says in this entry that the reason the expression 'good health' is widely used by people having a drink together is because in London in the mid-19th century drinking alcohol was a way of ensuring you didn't fall ill due to the poor drinking water.
This seems a plausible explanation but "wassail" (was hail) meaning 'be in good health' has been around since Saxon times. It is known to have been used as a toast since the 12th century, with the standard reply "drinc hail", meaning 'drink good health'. There are other examples such as the Welsh 'Iechyd da' (yachy da) meaning 'good health'.

5/ "The Star and Garter":
The explanation that it derives from 'The Order of The Garter' is a good one, but in the book there appears to be a discrepancy in time. Albert Jack says king Charles I added an 8-point silver medal, in the shape of a star with a St. George cross at the centre, to the garter in the 17th century. He then states the earliest reference to the Star and Garter as the name of an inn came in 1509, at least 100 years before a star was added to the garter on the 'Order of The Garter'.

===

Despite this, I hope a second volume is published as there must be lots more interesting pub name histories to report.


Frisbee Summer Fun Pack (pack of 3) Hacky Sack and Superball
Frisbee Summer Fun Pack (pack of 3) Hacky Sack and Superball
Offered by Toysafari Worldwide
Price: £7.76

2.0 out of 5 stars Two out of three ain't bad., 19 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
- Frisbee = okay.
- Superball = okay.
- Hacky Sack = poor.

My Goddaughter and her sister have became mad keen on football and now play for their local team. They were saying that they can't do many keepie-uppies, so I thought a Hacky Sack would be an ideal present to practice with.

When I looked through Amazon for Hacky Sacks this pack of 3 caught my eye, as the extra activities added more interest. However, the Hacky Sack supplied with this set isn't as high a standard as I remember from my youth: back then they were 2 panel, made of a tougher leather, which you would soak in water from time-to-time. The one supplied here is much flimsier.

Within an hour of the U8 girls playing keepie-ups the stitching had come loose and the bag was split. Compare that to me being a teenager and never having a Hacky Sack split over years of continuous use.

I've since been back on the Amazon website and notice that the same Hacky Sack, 'Striker', is sold individually by other suppliers, and there are comments in the reviews section to say other people have experienced this Hack Sack breaking after a short time of use.

I contacted the supplier (who, incidentally, supplied a compliments slip which asked for a positive review) on 23rd June, by email, and explained the problem I'd experienced. To their credit I received a reply the next morning to apologise and say that they don't manufacture the product, they purely retail it. The email went on to say they hadn't heard of any issues from previous sales and would speak to their suppliers to obtain their comments and see if they'd had any previous returns or remarks.
Later that morning I responded to thank them and looked forward to hearing back - I've yet to receive any further communication.

Another point to note is that the 'powerball' is basically an ordinary bouncy-ball.
The Frisbee and Bouncy-ball are fine, without being spectacular, but I wouldn't have paid £13.98 for those two on their own.


Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.11

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You want my stats?, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great story, but I have to admit I got bogged down a bit reading it.

I'd seen the film (maybe that didn't help) and really enjoyed it; the book I struggled with.
I've not really much knowledge of Baseball - know the basics - and it was the stats that interested me, as I could compare them was those in cricket. Both sports are bat & ball, and both have a tremendous amount of stats to define performance (Cricket: bowling average, economy rate, batting average, strike rate etc).

I persevered with it, and was glad I did. It might be a book I go back to in a few years and enjoy.
If, like me, you're not too familiar with the intricacies of Baseball, you might find it a difficult read.

If you'd like a comparison between Baseball and Cricket, you can't go far wrong if you try 'Playing Hardball' by Ed Smith.


Northern Soul Connoisseurs Volume 2
Northern Soul Connoisseurs Volume 2
Price: £5.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Northern Soul compilation, 29 May 2013
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This really is one of the best Northern Soul CDs I've seen, and at a really cheap price (£4.37 as I type).

It is stacked full of dancers, and no duplicate tracks with my existing collection. My favourites being:
Joann Garrett - 'Foolish Me' / The Tymes - 'What Would I Do' / Dottie Cambridge - 'Cry Your Eyes Out' / Lorraine Ellison - 'Call Me Anytime You Need Some Lovin'' / April Stevens - 'Wanting You' / The Prophets - 'I Got The Fever' / and the CD ends with two cracking instrumentals: The Righteous Brothers - 'Rat Race' / The Soulful Strings - 'Comin' Home Baby'.

It should be one to add to any collection. Volume 2 has three more tracks than volume 1, and I think the quality of tunes is just a bit better on this edition.


Northern Soul Connoisseurs
Northern Soul Connoisseurs
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Northern Soul compilation, 29 May 2013
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Solid selection of tunes at a really cheap price (£4.37 as I type).

Only a couple are on the standard Northern Soul CDs, so a lot of new tracks for me.
Favourites: Frank Wilson - 'Do I Love You' / Earl Van Dyke instrumental - '6 x 6' / Bobby Hebb - 'Love, Love, Love' / Edwin Starr - 'Back Street'.

Although, if it came down to a toss-up with only one to buy between volume 1 & volume 2, I'd go for volume 2.


Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes
Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes
by Albert Jack
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, but a few question marks., 29 May 2013
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I enjoyed reading this book; there are many interesting origins explained about nursery rhymes.

However, there were quite a few entries that made me wonder if they are true. Some seemed a bit far fetched when they mentioned various kings and queens from yesteryear.
The origin of the word 'Yankee' from the rhyme 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' is put into question if you read Michael Quinion's book 'Port Out Starboard Home'.

My view of the author isn't helped because I've read his book on word origins 'Red Herring and White Elephants'. This book contains the howler that 'Store High In Transit' is an acronym. If someone has got as far as writing a book about word & phrase etymology you wouldn't expect a glaring mistake like this.


Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language
Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language
by Michael Quinion
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, properly researched, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another interesting book from Michael Quinion on word & phrase origins.

The difference to many other books on the subject is that you know the entries are properly researched.

Seek out Michael Quinion's other books, and visit his website <www.worldwidewords.org> where you can find a search function if there are any etymologies you'd like to check.

I'd also recommend subscribing to his weekly newsletter, which you can do via the website.

The 2-star review here 'Non-answers to questions' completely misses the point. My reply to that review was:
=====
I don't buy linguistic works to plough through..." ... bunkum, hearsay and under-researched 'facts & trivia' that appear to be copied from e-mail chains. I want to read books on word and phrase history that provide investigations and give full explanations.

It doesn't matter if we are yet to find the true etymology of a word or phrase; I'm more than pleased to see claptrap from other books disproved.
=====


Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel

4.0 out of 5 stars Sunshine, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Grand Hotel (Audio CD)
One of my favourite releases from 2012.

Super harmonies and melodies. Evokes a lot of 60s sounds, like the Beach Boys.

Give it a spin if you want to turn a cloudy day sunny.


CRYBABY
CRYBABY
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering sounds, 28 May 2013
This review is from: CRYBABY (Audio CD)
One of my top albums of 2012.

I can't really add to the comparisons made in previous reviews, and can't really disagree with them either.

The first 3 tracks were all great singles, but there is much more to the album.
Look the videos up, especially the one for "When The Lights Go Out" with a cuddly mascot wandering around W-S-M.


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