Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's
Profile for Michael Farman > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Michael Farman
Top Reviewer Ranking: 35,779
Helpful Votes: 125

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Michael Farman (PALESTINE, TEXAS, US)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
pixel
Vaughan Williams: Composer, Patriot, Radical - A Biography
Vaughan Williams: Composer, Patriot, Radical - A Biography
by Keith Alldritt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pilgrim's Everyday Progress., 21 Jan. 2016
This is the most detailed and comprehensive biography of VW yet. As such it will be a welcome source of information about his life. I have to say that, as a lifelong lover of his music, I can't be more enthusiastic about it because, in spite of the author's credentials and his apparently meticulous research, there are errors, omissions and inclusions that betray some loose writing and lack of rigour in editing. His descriptions of the major works hardly do them any favours: his far too frequent use of the word "delicate" for example, is not a term that one would associate with much of VWs music, but he uses it in describing the Sea Symphony, Flos Campi, Five Tudor Portraits and the Ninth Symphony, among others works. He describes the Tallis Fantasia as having "two ancient introductory themes". Where is the second?
Edmund Rubbra, a friend of VW and fellow composer, appears briefly only twice, both times referred to as "Edward Rubbra" although his first name is given correctly in the index. T.S.Eliot, on the other hand, gets mentioned eleven times, although there is no evidence that VW ever met him or even read his poetry. The only common factor (as far as I know) was that they both knew Bertrand Russell, a Cambridge friend of Ralph; later Russell was friendly with Eliot and had an affair with his first wife Vivien. I am suspicious that this author included these references to Eliot solely because he has recently written a book about the "Four Quartets."
I agree with another reviewer that there is little attempt at in-depth analysis of VW's character, which is a pity, because it would be good to understand better how this wonderful music came to be written by such a "normal" person. There is certainly an attempt to set his life within world events, but I suspect there are currents in his psychology that could be material for another more probing book.
I was pleased to see, however, that Adeline was given more sympathetic treatment than some other commentators have manged. She seemed especially kind to Ursula and accepting of the notorious menage a trois.
It could be argued that the faults I refer to are minor ones, but they seem to me symptomatic of haste and don't inspire confidence that other inaccuracies are not lurking within these pages. Nevertheless I would still recommend this biography for those who would like to know more of the everyday facts about VW's life.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2016 11:58 AM BST


The Little Red Chairs
The Little Red Chairs
by Edna O'Brien
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.20

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine achievement from Edna O'Brien., 9 Dec. 2015
This review is from: The Little Red Chairs (Hardcover)
Not much point in detailing the story......other reviewers have done that, and anyway I believe that the purpose of a review is not to give away the plot, but to say what you think about the book. Well I think highly of this book, not because it's an easy read, but because the author manages to deal with horrifying events revealing extreme bad, but some good, in human interactions in the aftermath of those events. I have to say though that the bad outweighs the good, which is after all a realistic view of humanity. I didn't expect that Edna O'Brien's fluent graphic style would be sufficiently sombre to embrace such a subject, but I was wrong. By direct description of the shocking bits without sentiment or embroidery, she covers them admirably and leaves us at the end with a sense of hope, however slender. The book left me with the feeling that small kindnesses and support for the less fortunate are the only redemptions possible for most of us. I found that, like most very good novels, it lingered with me long after finishing reading it, and I strongly recommend it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2016 10:23 AM GMT


The Spire: With an introduction by John Mullan
The Spire: With an introduction by John Mullan
by William Golding
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.97

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Golding's Folly?, 10 Jun. 2015
I have to declare a particular interest because I was a pupil of Golding's when he was a humble schoolteacher at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury(known to the boys as "Scruff"), some years before he wrote and published "Lord of the Flies" and became famous. He had just returned from naval service in WW2. Our school was situated in the cathedral close, and our form room, Room F on the first floor, had a window with a fine view of the cathedral and spire. At that time the top section of the spire was being dismantled and rebuilt; our interest in the activities there, with tiny figures swarming about the spire, meant that Golding's lessons may sometimes not have got the attention they deserved. I am convinced that the work on the spire gave him the germ of an idea for this novel, although it took years of gestation and the completion other novels before Golding was ready to write it down. His restless involvement in activities within the ambit of the cathedral: singing in a choir, playing the oboe in a scratch orchestra, local dramatic society productions and the school Founder's Day celebrations, ensured that he became deeply familiar with the cathedral, its architecture and he clearly knew of its construction flaws.

The characteristics particular to Salisbury cathedral and its spire are certainly used in the novel: in reality, the spire is just over 400 feet high, with a slight lean. It is constructed from wafer-thin stone blocks supported by steel hoops; an internal octagonal wooden framework was probably erected later. The spire was added as an afterthought many years after the rest of the cathedral was built. The foundations are on marshland and the four pillars that support the tower and spire are bent. All these things are featured in the book. The city of Salisbury is also clearly identifiable from some street names. Of course these details found in the novel are simply the foundation for a great flight of the imagination that could in no way resemble historic reality. The real master builders must have been working with wide experience gained from other spire projects both in England and Europe.

Golding thus uses Salisbury cathedral as the scaffold for his novel, but the story, although written from a third party viewpoint, is seen through the mind of Dean Jocelyn, whose apparent divine revelation has set all the events in motion. The extremities and confusions in his mind are conveyed by a sometimes overwrought, gnomic and broken language where confused meanings have to be teased out. This seems to me to be both a triumph and a limitation, but I think it does convey the essence of Golding's fable, which I take to be that great human enterprises, however divinely inspired, carry with them a burden of misery and corruption. Jocelyn allows, without acknowledging this to himself, ritual sacrifice, murder, adultery, blackmail and dereliction of duty, driven always forward by the "angel" at his back. The spire is finally built, and stands, but at what cost? Of course,in the end he has destroyed himself as well as others.

Is this Golding's greatest novel? I can't begin to judge. I think it is a flawed enterprise, like the spire itself, but it is a very compelling read. The ladders which lead up to the spire and also to Golding's scaffolding, begin, as Yeats also understood well, "where all the ladders start/ In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart."


LONG HANDLED NAIL SCISSORS
LONG HANDLED NAIL SCISSORS
Offered by Gadget Planet
Price: £5.79

1.0 out of 5 stars I do not recommend these., 9 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: LONG HANDLED NAIL SCISSORS
The blades are too coarse to enable cutting toenails properly. I do not recommend these.


The Innocent
The Innocent
by Ian McEwan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Yarn, 18 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Innocent (Paperback)
McEwan in fine form, doing what he does so well. Without giving too much of the plot away, I will say that at the heart of this novel he provides an acute, detailed, unflinching analysis of how two ordinary people try to cope with an extreme situation. Not for the squeamish, but a very well-crafted story nonetheless.


Seiki 32" Inch HD Ready LED Digital Freeview With USB PVR Recording / Pause / Rewind Live TV (ref 22 24 26 32 37 39 42)
Seiki 32" Inch HD Ready LED Digital Freeview With USB PVR Recording / Pause / Rewind Live TV (ref 22 24 26 32 37 39 42)

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 11 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So far I am very pleased with this moderately priced TV. Excellent picture. The sound is not exactly hi fi, but it works for me because I am a little deaf and the prominent high frequency means I can hear better and don't have to rely on subtitles. There are sockets galore on the back for all kinds of extras, including one for a plug-in memory to enable record/replay, but I haven't yet tried any of them.


Solar Powered Light Up Chinese Warrior, Terracotta Army
Solar Powered Light Up Chinese Warrior, Terracotta Army

5.0 out of 5 stars Garden Guardian, 11 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very fine little statuette. I have located him close to a brick wall, where the shadow cast at night is about three time the height of the figure! The battery's charge runs out some time late in the night, but who would want to see it at 4 am?


Iron Stop 1305-6-8 15cm Small Sun Classic Wind Spinner - Silver
Iron Stop 1305-6-8 15cm Small Sun Classic Wind Spinner - Silver

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looks great when the sun is reflected by it, 11 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Looks great when the sun is reflected by it. It rotates slowly, so the term "spinner" is a bit misleading.


Solar Powered Light-Up Garden Venus Statue
Solar Powered Light-Up Garden Venus Statue

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nocturnal Venus, 11 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fine statuette, well made. I really like the night light. The only slight problem with it is that the arms prevent the light reaching the face.


Ceramic Mexican Tile - 5cm- Handmade and Ethically Traded by Tumia LAC - individual tile
Ceramic Mexican Tile - 5cm- Handmade and Ethically Traded by Tumia LAC - individual tile
Offered by Tumi Latin American Crafts
Price: £1.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These tiles are very nicely made, well worth the modest price!


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6