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Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N' Roses
Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N' Roses
Price: £9.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive account. No question., 24 Nov. 2016
You'd think there'd be little left to say about GNR. You'd think Mick Wall, especially, would have little left to say, considering his previous extensive chronicling of both the band and Axl. You'd be wrong.
Certainly, the band themselves offer little new insight but Mick has coaxed fascinating analysis and reflections from those closest to the principals. Alan Niven, in particular, and Doug Goldstein, speak frankly to Mick and they make for gripping reading.

The book has many strengths but two, in particular, stand out. Firstly, Mick sets GNR in their correct context, which is as a genuine cultural phenomenon. This would be of value to any reader but especially to those who weren't there at the time. Thus Mick expertly lays out for the uninitiated just what all the fuss was about. Secondly, the book brings the story fully up to date and while the years up to Slash leaving grip, no matter how many times they are re-told, it's possible that the final third of the book is even more compelling than that which precedes it.

It's difficult to think of a better account of the GNR story and this really merits the description 'definitive.' Wall's been on top of his impressive game since his Led Zeop biography and here the purple patch continues. The pace is perfect, the narrative is compelling and it it's all wonderfully well-written. The perfect stocking-filler, in fact. Go buy. It's the business.


Scargill: The Unauthorized Biography
Scargill: The Unauthorized Biography
by Paul Routledge
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars It is no secret that Scargill and Routledge loathe each other but to let that animosity run wild and unchecked in the service of, 8 April 2016
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Sadly, what neither Routledge nor any of the other reviews mention is that all the accusations of dodgy financial shenanigans were proven beyond doubt to be wholly untrue. The central allegations against Scargill and Heathfield - that the former had lifted NUM cash to pay off his mortgage and that the latter had also pilfered miners' cash for home improvements - were proved conclusively to be utter lies.
Regarding the rest of the smears, it was accepted by Lightman QC, who investigated on behalf of the NUM NEC, that these had arisen due solely to the herculean efforts of Scargill and co to keep the miners' cash out of the hands of the sequestrators.
The rest of the biography is a disgrace; spiteful, snidey and without even a shred of objectivity. It also contains many factual efforts which is even more unforgivable. Routledge either did little research, cared even less for the facts or utterly fails to understand the inner workings of the NUM. Whatever the case he repeats the wholly untrue allegation that Scargill denied the miners a ballot, during the strike of 84/85. It is no secret that Scargill and Routledge loathe each other but to let that animosity run wild and unchecked in the service of a biography is disgusting.
Very poor indeed.


Getcha Rocks Off: Sex & Excess. Bust-Ups & Binges. Life & Death on the Rock 'N' Roll Road
Getcha Rocks Off: Sex & Excess. Bust-Ups & Binges. Life & Death on the Rock 'N' Roll Road
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars - in the service of the story and that's what all great writing is about, 20 Jun. 2015
Not so much a sequel to 'Paranoid' (it covers much the same time-frame although starting earlier and finishing later than the period in 'Paranoid.') but almost a second chapter (clearly a third is needed; maybe Mick post-crazy days and crazy nights middle-aged family guy to complete a trilogy?).
Mick sacrifices absolutely everything - even himself, especially himself! - in the service of the story and that's what all great writing is about, irrespective of the subject matter.And make no mistake this is great writing.
Even more irreverent, profane, moving and hilarious than 'Paranoid' this maintains the same high-standard and delivers on every level.
Given the decade-plus between the two books it's remarkable how the narrative voice has been maintained. Indeed it's worth reading 'Paranoid' first if you haven't already and then following straight on with this.
Superb stuff..


THE ENDLESS JOURNEY: 50 YEARS OF PINK FLOYD (Kindle Single)
THE ENDLESS JOURNEY: 50 YEARS OF PINK FLOYD (Kindle Single)
Price: £2.32

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Kindle-only edition is a real treat. It's an ..., 16 Nov. 2014
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This Kindle-only edition is a real treat.
It's an overview/taster/introduction - call it what you will - of the band anchored to the release of the 'new' album.
Unlike said album, which I found underwhelming - it's merely a collection of Division Bell-out-takes - this is charming and entirely captivating.
Wall's prose is rich, sumptuous and expansive and yet, remarkably, remains sharp and to the point.
Typical of the man, even within the tighter parameters of a book this size, he still manages to provide fascinating alternate takes to the received wisdom - perhaps most interestingly in the case of Syd and his mental illness.
At two quid a pop, it's laughably affordable so you are advised to snap it up pronto.
Cracking stuff.


Paranoid: Black Days with Sabbath & Other Horror Stories - The Unexpurgated Edition
Paranoid: Black Days with Sabbath & Other Horror Stories - The Unexpurgated Edition
Price: £1.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celtic folk tales for the needle and pill generation - and other horror stories..., 24 Jun. 2014
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Wall is rightly revered as one of contemporary music's most authoritative commentators but here's a side of his work that all too rarely sees the light of day.

One of my all time favourite books, Paranoid is, by turns, heartbreaking, hilarious, disgusting and inspiring.
Readers desperate for a pigeon-hole might think of Ken't 'Apathy for The Devil' and the work of the late, great Hunter S Thompson. That would be an error, however. Kent, you feel, while probably not faking it, nevertheless fails to bring the sheer energy, feel and power to his work in the same way Mick does. This really is outstanding writing.

Like all the best writers, Mick is concerned only with the story, the whole story and nothing but the story. If that means he casts himself in a dreadful light, then so be it. Brutally honest, unflinching and never less than absolutely compelling, Paranoid is the finest work of its kind yet written.

In this unexpurgated release, we finally get to read those parts that had the book's original publisher blanching in horror and reaching for the garden shears.

The real deal, then. Exactly as the man intended. And as a result, even better, even more powerful and even more essential than its worthy predecessor.


Labour Party Plc: The Truth Behind New Labour As A Party Of Business
Labour Party Plc: The Truth Behind New Labour As A Party Of Business
by David Osler
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 18 Mar. 2014
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Been quite some years since I've read this and on re-reading I was delighted to discover it holds up equally well, years later.
Fascinating and well-researched but, more importantly, beautifully written. There are few writers who do dry understatement and laconic irony quite as well as Osler and this makes for a very enjoyable, entertaining and, often, amusing read.
But this is still a serious work and an essential read for anyone keen to see behind the New Labour mask.


The Dirty Thirty: Heroes of the Miners' Strike
The Dirty Thirty: Heroes of the Miners' Strike
by David Bell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and informative, 18 Mar. 2014
A tiny band of heroic men defying their colleagues and Thatcher. Here, David Bell tells the story of their remarkable year and shows professional and unselfish writerly restraint and allows much of the story to come from the men themselves.
Moving, fascinating and essential for any student of the dispute that largely shaped the Britain we know today. Excellent stuff indeed and well-written.


Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe
Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe
by Mick Wall
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is the truth?, 9 Dec. 2013
Outside of objectively verifiable scientific phenomena, it seems that truth is a much more subjective and ambiguous quality than we might think. Where people are concerned, this is even more so. Thus rock stars are frequently buried under an avalanche of myths, legends and a culturally constructed received wisdom. Rarely does one come away from a rock biography with a genuine feel for the human beings behind the music. It is here where Mick Wall always excels. Of course, having worked with and for the principles, on and off, over a 35-year span, gives Mick a crucial insight unavailable to other chroniclers. Thus we have something here which is fascinating, compelling and thought-provoking.
Rich in detail and with an obvious fascination with the people, rather than with producing a glorified career review, makes this essential for any fan of contemporary music and the artists who shape it.
I should declare an interest; I worked as researcher on this book for Mick and it was a revelation to see dull and prosaic matters of fact brought to vivid life lending fresh insight and awareness.
Few would argue that Sabbath invented mental and now the reader can really meet the men who fashioned an international cultural phenomenon.
Tony Iommi: affable prankster or mean-spirited bully? Ozzy: clown prince of rock 'n' roll or puppet of Sharon? Both? Neither?
Thoroughly recommended. another unqualified winner for Wall.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2014 8:22 AM GMT


AC/DC: Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
AC/DC: Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
by Mick Wall
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell of a trip, 6 Dec. 2012
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Mick continues to mature and develop still further as one of the world's finest chroniclers of rock 'n' roll history, even after 30-plus years in the business. His Zep book, 'When Giants Walked The Earth' is already the definitive work for serious readers and the purple patch continues, following the Metallica opus, with this;the hitherto untold tale of bar-room boogie bad boys made international mega-stars, ACDC.
I have to share Mr McIver's view that it took some balls to so firmly focus on the Scott years. With so little of the book left to discuss Brian Johnson there was a very real danger of the the latter quarter seeming rushed and perfunctory. That it is not, in any way, is a testament to Mick's skill and talent as a storyteller.
Rudd's exit is jaw-dropping and is covered quite unlike anyone else's account, with new insights and information that add to the depth and substance of the work.
Mick has a real nose for sniffing out previously unknown facts and weaving them skilfully into his work and so it has proved here again. You think you know the ACDC story? Trust me; not until you've read this, you don't.
Outstanding and essential reading for any serious lover of 20th century contemporary music.


Paranoid: Black Days with Sabbath and Other Rock Icons
Paranoid: Black Days with Sabbath and Other Rock Icons
by Mick Wall
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the heart, head and hip, 7 Jun. 2012
This stands in the great tradition of Lester Bangs' best work and is easily the equal, sometimes the superior, of anything penned by that pioneering malcontent.
However, this is in no way derivative and, indeed, in many parts goes to places even Bangs would not have dared.
Part-memoir, part-how-to guide and, certainly, how-not-to manual, where Mick Wall succeeds and so many don't is not simply the quality of the writing (always superb, by the way) but that the man has an authentic and distinctive narrative voice. All of his own and one of a kind.
For some rock journos the music is the be-all and the end-all. For Wall, weaned on Hunter S, Bukowski et al, this is great, great writing by a real writer, someone who, almost accidentally, just happened to end up in the music journalism business.
By turns disgusting, heart-breaking, hilarious, pitiful, moving and inspirational 'Paranoid' is the authentic voice of one of rock's greatest writers still going strong to this day. Check out his Zepp biography, for example. Quite simply the standard work on that historic act.
Essential for anyone who claims to love great writing and for those who like their prose to sing.


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