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reviewed As The Dark Wave Swells. December 12, 2010
posted in Music Matters
As The Dark Wave Swells
"Croatian instrumental surf rock combo" - the first descriptor that shows up on a Google search - tells most people all they'll ever need to know about this band, I dare say.     Any …
reviewed TRON: Legacy. December 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tron Legacy
Tough gig, you would think, reprising a film that sank almost without trace 28 years ago. But Tron sank in heavy seas: it was released within a month of Stephen Spielberg's E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial …
reviewed Biyang OD-8 "Changeable Chip Set" Ove.... December 04, 2010
Biyang OD-8
This is a superb product, particularly for the price.     To be clear: this pedal is designed to emulate the sound of a mildly, naturally overdriven tube amplifier. It isn't a distortion …
reviewed The Next Three Days (2010). December 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Next Three Days
Is it too much to hope that, when a studio has the wherewithal - and budget - to pull together such cinematic luminaries as Russell Crowe, Brian Dennehy and Liam Neeson, that it won't insult its audience's …
reviewed The Design of Business: Why Design Th.... December 03, 2010
The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the
This is a short book with some big, and very good, ideas. The problem is, it could have still been shorter - the concept I felt I'd got from the first chapter, and very little is done with it. This is …
reviewed Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Chri.... December 03, 2010
Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, The
I've read a number of retellings of the central Christian story recently: C K Stead wrote a fascinating and surprisingly faithful (irony intended) secular retelling from the eyes of Judas Hiscariot; I …
reviewed Our Tragic Universe. November 10, 2010
Our Tragic Universe
Every reviewer (and I'm told, particularly me) is a frustrated writer. I'm occasionally taken to task for professional (although in my case call it amateur) jealousy in criticising writers who have the …
reviewed Lights Out in Wonderland. October 25, 2010
Lights Out in Wonderland
Wow. What a blitzkrieg.     As the last ripples fan to the edge of the pool, and DBC Pierre's "loose trilogy" bids the world adieu, you wonder whether he's not having trouble letting …
reviewed Despicable Me. September 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Despicable Me
I'm definitely over this ridiculous fad for 3D. I'm also over the Pixar-induced infatuation Hollywood seems to have with animated 'kidult" movies: predictably enough, even as the digital wizardry has …
The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and
A philosophy lecturer of mine once remarked that the recently converted make the most passionate fundamentalists. Eric Siblin, a professedly retired rock critic (I'm not sure how one "retires" from a …
reviewed A Canticle for Leibowitz. September 12, 2010
A Canticle for Leibowitz
A fascinating book, A Canticle for Leibowitz is both a rich treasure of fine writing and a difficult assignment: in many ways, as a conventional novel, and even as a science fiction one, it fails on many …
The Death of Bunny Munro: A Novel
Nick Cave novels are rare birds: his last, to my knowledge, was a mud-soaked piece of Southern Gothic depravity from 1989 called And the Ass Saw the Angel, in itself a brilliant, unhinged piece of writing …
reviewed Knight and Day (2010 film). August 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Knight And Day (2010)
I'll freely admit I enjoyed Knight and Day - in which master criminal-cum-cop-cum-spy Tom Cruise embarks on an intercontinental gallivant, having (literally) stumbled into winsome, dippy and adorable …
reviewed The Last Airbender. August 30, 2010
The Last Airbender (2010)
If for no other reason, The Last Airbender will bomb in British cinemas for a very childish one: someone forgot to research local playground slang.    At a moment of critical plot …
reviewed Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish .... August 19, 2010
Autoglym SRP500US Super Resin Polish - 16.9 oz.
In recent years I have come to suspect my children of being acidic reptiles of some sort, with uncommonly greasy hands, for they have a the ability that no other human I have encountered does, of leaving …
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
One of the biggest mysteries in Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy (perhaps the only one which won't be revealed by the end of this doorstopper of a concluding part) is just what it is about the series …
reviewed Stagg C542 Full Size Classical Guitar.... August 13, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Stagg C542 Full Size Classical Guitar - Natural
Arriving in rural Brittany for my precious one week's summer holiday, I let out my usual sigh of regret that we didn't have space in the MPV for a guitar - usual because, no matter how much space we do …
Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga
Stephen Davis' mid-eighties account of the rise, antics and fall of Led Zeppelin is a famously scurrilous affair, cutting a track that a string of copycat efforts concerning the likes of Motley Crue, …
The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It
Brian Arthur's treatise is somewhat ponderous in its beginning (and in truth, throughout) but all the same is most encouraging in its epistemological disposition - assuming as it does the recursivity …
reviewed Line 6 Echo Park. July 04, 2010
Line 6 Echo Park
I am a big fan of Line6 gear: I owned an original version 1 POD, a Line 6 Floor Board, I upgraded to a rack-mounted POD Pro and I currently use Line 6 Amp emulation software on my Mac with Logic and the …
Gene Vincent: There's One In Every Town
I picked up a copy of this book in the second-hand book stall of the local village fair. It's very short - excluding the discography, shy of 200 pages, and they're small and scantily populated with text. …
reviewed The Killing Moon. June 19, 2010
The Killing Moon
I was awarded this book after many attempts to snag a book in the LibraryThing early reviewers feature. It promised big, and ironic humour - "Mad Max meets The Road in Northern England", so the cover …
reviewed Affluenza. June 17, 2010
Affluenza
You could sum up most that is of any value in this book with that bon mot from Life's Little Instruction Book: "no-one said, on their deathbed, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office'."    The …
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
I've made the observation before that scientists - especially biologists - tend to make lousy philosophers, and it doesn't take long to see Professor E. O. Wilson - one of evolutionary biology's most …
Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your
In my private life I have long been entranced by the potential of the collaborative internet (387 reviews in, this shouldn't come as a big surprise) and have, as a result being trying my darndest to evangelise …
Fool's Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and
I've now read no fewer than seven excellent books detailing the financial atrocities of 2007-9. Each takes a different spin.     British broker Philip Augar covers the historical perspective; …
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Michael Lewis is one of the most gifted and entertaining writers today - anyone who has read his reputation-forming Liar's Poker will know this (if you haven't, and you aspire to a career in finance, …
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
Cassandra was a beautiful Trojan princess who Apollo blessed with powers of clairvoyance but, when she rebuffed him, he cursed her by ensuring no-one would believe anything she said. Thus, her admonitions …
reviewed Sunshine (2007). April 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Sunshine (2007)
What a marvellous, but flawed, piece of cinema. Flawed in a good way, like a flawed hero: flawed in a way that makes it all the more necessary to see.    Sunshine, like the name of …
reviewed Beowulf. April 03, 2010
Beowulf (Director's Cut) (2007)
When I was but a callow freshman my mother, an archetypal Danish monster*, meaning well, made me sign up for a Mediaeval English Literature class. At the time this aggrieved me, but despite myself I enjoyed …
reviewed On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop.... March 22, 2010
On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse
Disclosure: The author was once my boss, although there is no prospect he'd ever have known that. I was a mere halfling among 25,000. Consequent additional disclosure: by dint of said employment, once …
reviewed Moon (2009 movie). March 07, 2010
Moon DVD
If ever there were a debut with an elephant in the room this is it. And, here, it's an elephant which no-one seems to want to acknowledge: not the director, not the marketers, and curiously, not the critics: …
reviewed Beat the Reaper: A Novel. March 07, 2010
Beat the Reaper: A Novel
What a terrific novel. Josh Bazell fuses a most unlikely collection of plot drivers: medical procedural; lowlife mob escapades, witness protection; starcross'd and doomed lovers and, most unlikely of …
Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall
Amazonian reactions to this book seem to fall into two buckets - on one view it's the definitive account of the investment banking crisis of 2008; on the other it is a slapdash, hastily thrown together, …
reviewed Isaac Newton. February 01, 2010
Isaac Newton
James Gleick certainly never lets you get bored. This biography of Sir Isaac Newton - a man who lived an improbable eighty four years and in that time invented much of mathematics, classical physics and …
reviewed Avatar (2009 film). January 24, 2010
Avatar
Someone once, unkindly, described the last, doomed Pink Floyd album in which a Roger Waters-free band tried forlornly to recapture some of their band's former spark without the genie who created it, as …
reviewed Parable of the Sower. January 11, 2010
Parable of the Sower
Post-apocalyptic literary scenarios have been a dime a dozen since well before Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and these days it takes something quite remarkable - like Cormack McCarthy's sublime The Road …
reviewed American Gods. January 06, 2010
American Gods: A Novel
The premise is brilliant: America, the immigrant nation, where old Gods had to be imported by the poor huddled masses because there were none already here, finds it has grown new Gods after all - styled …
reviewed Blood's A Rover. January 06, 2010
Blood's A Rover
Whatever your view about James Ellroy, his Underworld USA trilogy is quite a piece of work and Blood's A Rover, its culmination, is one hell of a way to go out. He may have had the indelicacy to say it, …
reviewed Greatest Hits (CD+DVD). December 20, 2009
posted in Music Matters
Greatest Hits (CD+DVD)
If you want a Blondie greatest hits record to collect the classic tracks in one place *as you remember them from back in the day*, steer well clear of this record: The remasterer has been at work, and …
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