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Very comprehensive, though attracted later criticism for including pre-release or proposed entries that were subsequently shelved. A lot of the information was apparently sourced from John Peel's record collection, so maybe some of the rumoured-to-exist records actually do exist in some form.
The entries are for worldwide releases, though the majority are from English speaking countries. Honorary mentions are given to most of the important proto-punk bands. Each page has unique doodles/art to fill in blank spaces and maybe helps to take the strain off your eyes. Every so often you get a page crammed with pics of record sleeves.

If I can remember correctly volume 1 of this book was fairly slimline and had a red cover (all entries duplicated in this volume 2).

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Cinema:
Plane (2023)
Review by zabadak
Independent review (with trailer) :read:

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the concert was brilliant: it's over fifty years now, but there's an image - much more than a mind's eye camera shot - that's forever etched in my most-valued memories:

central hall, purpose-designed concert venue for full orchestras, well-designed for the audience, mostly too, steeply inclined so everyone has clear sight-lines down to the stage; but this does mean you have to step carefully on the way down to the bar at the interval...

the lights had gone down after the end of one number, and the dim shapes of the figures of the band leaving the stage in the dark, and roadies moving instruments or mikes to their accustomed resting places for the musicians to pick up again after the interval, had all gone, so everything on stage'd stopped moving, and people in the audience were standing up, some starting to move down the steps of the aisles before the house lights are brought up, to get to the bar that's underneath the concert hall level before the queues start, a little buzz of conversations beginning...

- and the notes of a very simple repeating figure start from just one line on one guitar being played on the darkened stage...

- and - most - people slowly hush...

- and the guitar figure continues - and it's simple, but beautiful - and i don't think many people realise what it is, they're just mostly enchanted -

- and stood there, those as'd got up, or even onto the stairs - frozen, spellbound -

- and steve winwood's voice comes in, again, very, very simply:

- ''i'm looking for a girl who has no face, no name, or number...''

- and steve winwood's holding the entire audience spellbound, with yr hmbl srppnt. amongst them all, to the very last word, and the very last note of the guitar figure of single notes that he's been repeating, one after another without fail, or error, or change in rhythm or timing, or emphasis...

- and for maybe a clear minute - an entire clear minute - there isn't a sound. even from the bar.

- total silence.

- and then, initially very, very quietly, you can hear people begin to breathe again.

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Magazine:
Kicks (2012)
Review by Richard Vollin
Review pending

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Magazine:
Kicks (1979)
Rated 10/10 by Richard Vollin
Kicks magazine was a short-lived phenomena.
Each issue was a stuffed-to-overflow Farmer's Almanac of informative articles and interviews, from a revolving door of regular contributors, and free lance writers. It's focus ran the gamut of all things American Rock 'n' Roll; Hillbilly, Rhythm & Blues, Rock-A-Billy, Doo-Wop, Surf and 60s Garage music.
Sophomore issue #2 cemented it's place at the dawn of the 1980s by disseminating the apocrypha celebrating the sounds and gyrations of juvenile delinquency, teen-age pregnancy and high school drop-outs to twang, reverb, fuzz and distortion. 87 page tome of essential reading from cover to cover. Obtain immediately - at any cost!

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Cinema:
Babylon
Rated 7/10 by alexlincs
This review will be uploaded to Imdb and contains spoilers

Babylon (obvious nod to scandal book Hollywood Babylon) is a very (post)modern take on old Hollywood. Lavished with profanity, many gross-out scenes and occasional moments of beauty. It's an uneven mix of style over substance. This film has all the elements and many great bits, but as a whole it is coherent, but bloated and not as clever as it should be.

Diego Calva play Manuel Torres, a young Spanish man who seems to be a sort of fixer for rich people, from this slow start he becomes a runner on Hollywood films after befriending a drunken Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) at a party. At the party he meets Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie) a young woman from the sticks with big ambition to become a star.

The film is about Hollywood actors not being able to make the transition from Silent film to the Talkies which was a real problem at the time. There's a Pygmallion inspired plot with Nellie LaRoy being taught how to speak proper. This subplot would be more tragic if it wasn't played for laughs. Jack Conrad being Hollywood's hot property and a raging alcoholic; a sort of hybrid of Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and echoing Charlie Chaplin (who famously wasn't as successful in Talkies). It's nice to see Brad Pitt given a chance to test his acting chops with something meaty. Sadly the character is underwritten and always feels a bit one-dimensional, he has a divorce and a marriage within 30 minutes of screen time. When the emotional gut punch arrives, we could spot it a mile off.

Margot Robbie as Nellie LaRoy is one of the multidimensional characters along with Diego Calva as Manny Torres. She's sort of Mildred June, Greta Garbo, Theda Bara and of course Louise Brooks - all of which get referenced. More interestingly I was reminded of recent starlets like Courtney Love and Lindsay Lohan. She's a woman who is possibly a victim of her own actions as well as her upbringing and ultimately we learn she never learns. Diego Calva is Oscar worthy for sure with a surprisingly understated performance amongst many which are deliberately larger than life. A man who fixes other people's mistakes and manages to get recognised for doing it, but ultimately gets dragged down by Nellie.

The film is sort of a patchwork quilt of old and new. As mentioned the deliberately profanity laden script, pop culture references were most characters could be from any era of Hollywood. One highlight was Manny being chased through a series of tunnels in LA's A-hole which was blatantly a reference to Dante's Inferno and possibly the film Irreversible. The real star of the show is the cinematography (a gorgeous palate of browns, reds and burnt oranges) and jazz soundtrack. Even the soundtrack had a modern twist featuring on one track which I suspect used an electronic drum beat. There's also been a recent trend of shock elements in drama and this film has it in spades - a man getting sprayed with elephant dung immediately followed by the last days of Rome party scene: there's a dwarf on a phallic shaped pogo stick spraying white foam into the crowd, a reference to Fatty Arbuckle and a young girl, champagne bottle up the Aris' and later on we have projectile vomiting and some gory scenes. Much like how non-horror films took elements of Slasher films and put them in thrillers we have scenes that wouldn't be out of place in a gross out teen comedy or even a porn film in a mainstream big budget release and I'm not a prude, but you need a strong stomach to get through this one.

I'm a huge fan of films that are "the American dream gone wrong" and I recalled films like Sunset Blvd. and L.A. Confidential both better films. Another meta reference was Manny watching a film in the 1950s, immediately reminding the viewer of Cinema Paradiso (a much better film) and that summed it up. While the film is clever in places and knowing there's not much heart and soul to it. While it is more fun than Silent-era homage "The Artist" it never rises above feeling like its beating the audience over the head with a canapé tray to get the message across rather than being subtle. Quite what the message is supposed to be is open to interpretation: Hollywood is a mean place that will steal your soul, but look at the escapism and artistry on offer.

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Cinema:
Tár (2022)
Review by zabadak
WhyNow review :read:

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Annotation:

The author has compiled brief accounts of attacks on 75 famous persons, providing a 'police blotter' report of the facts (date, time, place, weapon, assailant, injuries) followed by a narrative of the event, as well as the outcome and disposition of the case (and assassin). The four pages on John Lennon present an accurate, fact-based description of the Beatle's murder, a stark departure from other sources that too often tend to the maudlin or sensational. The three pages on the attempt on George Harrison's life in 1999 include a discography (although there is not one for Lennon) and mentions Harrison's fear of a 'copy cat' attack following Lennon's murder, although the chapter is silent as to the disposition of the case against his mentally ill assailant. Disturbing reading to be sure, but Spignesi gets the facts right and the book is a good source of basic information.

From a popular culture standpoint, it is of interest that of the 75 victims featured in the book, which include presidents and other political figures, religious leaders, a radio talk-show host, an artist (Warhol) , a designer (Versace), and even an assassin (Lee Harvey Oswald), only President John F. Kennedy and John Lennon are represented in photographs on the cover (literally in the 'crosshairs' of the lens of a high-powered rifle - get it?). This, along with Lennon's name also being in the subtitle (with Julius Caesar) is surely intended to make a statement, although this writer is not entirely sure what that statement might be.

Melissa Davis

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Bought this yesterday from HMV Chester. I already had this concert on a bootleg tape - then burned onto a CD. Typical bootleg quality which was good for the time [1971] ..
Great setlist.
Gave this a spin this morning and found the quality not that much improved from the tape I bought at a record fair in the late 1970's.
However Free were in fine form and you could picture Paul Rodgers strutting his stuff on stage in front of the other band members.

Strictly for Free fans I would suggest.

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Cinema:
Tár (2022)
Review by zabadak
Guardian review :read:

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Damn! all bands sound the same, KO.S.S.T. throws in a ballad, but the punk songs are very similar to each other, the same kind of melodic pop punk. 6 bands 21 songs i got a bit bored too soon. wishing it could end. Best tracjk Vittring, best band The Man In The Moon they saved this album, i will listen to them again.

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Pure magic!

(Another one off my: "To read" list - Really read a lot this last year, which surprises even myself!)

In essence, this is to The Lord Of The Rings as Wind In The Willows is to The Hobbit...

...In that, as a tale told from the point of view of anthropomorphised animals (we do seem to like this literary tradition in England!), The Wind In The Willows and the Hobbit, are comparatively light reading smaller books, aimed at the younger reader...

...Whereas he Lord Of The Rings, and indeed this, are both chunkier volumes with more advanced, epic themes and scope, more suited to a slightly older reader (and adults! :) who have perhaps graduated from reading those earlier works.

It is a grand story of a journey, taken by a handful of rabbits, to escape the destruction of their warren by man and his machines, to find a new home in some far and distant, and as yet unknown land, and who's outcome is uncertain (very Moses like!)

The journey is perilous, as the rabbit is the natural prey of a multitude of enemies, both wild and tame, as well as man-made, and there is danger and adventure at every turn.

At the centre of which is a very close and intimate portrayal of the rabbit characters, and their relationships, giving it a certain warmth, as well as being interspersed with rabbit mythology in the tales of the Black Rabbit, and the Rabbit "Gods" and heroes in the form of the stories they tell each other in their more subdued moments (Rabbit Culture), which really lend the work an air of mysticism and legend (in the same way that LOTR does).

It deals, rather matter-of-factly with certain realities of the lives of wild animals, in kind of the same way that a nature documentary does, but deftly avoids being too graphic or lurid about them.

It may, for this reason, as well as both the more advanced language, and the sheer size of the book (487 pages!) be a little too much for 11 year olds (as per comments below) but young adult, say only year older or so, at 12-13 years may be a better able to grasp, understand, and appreciate it fully, as well as being slightly less disturbed by some of the concepts and scenes here.

(Any Brits reading this will remember, and appreciate how personally devastating watching the animated movie adaptation at such a young age was! - burned into our brains from that moment on!)

But this is a richer experience than the movie version, and carries you along effortlessly from first page to last with it's incredible magical charm.

(Another book I read some time back along these lines (I forget the author) of a story told as from a Fox's point of view, is Hunter's Moon - well worth seeking out if you like this.)

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Cinema:
Till (2022)
Review by zabadak
WhyNow review :read:

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Hyper stylised, stark, black and white fever dream.

One I have gone through life thinking I'd seen but turns out, I hadn't!

This is a very odd film.

Not massively long, or epic really, which is surprising, given that this is essentially an art-house movie by Francis Ford Coppola, rather a more intimate tale centred around Matt Dillon's "Rusty James" character, a gang leader wannabe, living mainly off the reputation of his strange, soft spoken and sensitive (flaky) older brother's reputation as some kind of local legend: "The Motorcycle Boy" (Rourke), but who has long since dropped out of this gang world, and gone awol, as has Rusty James' dad (Hopper) - a ten-bob barfly, and local drunkard "philosopher" type.

Rusty's trying to live up to the hype, of a life his brother left behind, and both his brother and father seem to have a perspective on life he can't understand.

What's weird about this movie is that it has a note of the woozy unsettling tone that is induced in the viewer by Apocalypse Now, through the stark contrasting black and white giving the visuals (accompanied by the shot set up) a hyper natural emphasis... and punctuated by the odd moment of colour in the fish...

(You have to see this to understand it, but it amounts to a device to say there's a world we an see, but those characters cannot, even if it's right before their eyes - Rourke's character even says: "I wish I could see the Colours" while they're right before the audience's eyes.)

In addition to this. the assembled cast of brilliant accomplished actors, give almost caricature performances, - over emphasised, and almost hammy, like Coppola asked them deliberately to act badly, or slightly worse than we all know they can... and bizarrely, the most subdued performances comes from Nicholas Cage, and a cameo from Tom Waits!.

So to begin with, I just wasn't buying into it, as it felt like a monochrome, music-less West-Side Story affair, done by a local am-dram society, but as these are great actors, it feels almost like they're taking the piss out of the audience... But by degrees, I found the story more engaging, and was drawing me in, so by the end, it turns out to be not such a bad film after all... even a good one.

For this reason my rating began from a low point of about a 3, or 4,and gradually crept up as the film went on, landing finally on a 7. Had, perhaps, I'd known what this was going in, I might have stared a bit higher to begin with, or maybe if this was a bit better made, it might have a higher overall score.

So in terms of ratings, this film feels like a 6 or 7 out of 10 movie, with an 8, 9, or even a 10 out of 10 movie trapped inside it, trying to get out. I t might possibly be one of those that grows on you over time, but first viewing leaves you only barely whelmed.

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This Is Local London review :read:

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Bit of a monster this book!

I have the 1992 restored text version, that runs at over 600 and some pages...

...But this is a monster in more ways than one, as, in taking it's central premise of a "Man from mars" (frequently referred to this throughout the book), who is in fact, the illegitimate human child of a couple of expeditionary astronauts sent to Mars to engage "diplomatically" with native Martians (No other, underlying exploitative agenda, of course - ahem - (Avatar vibes?!), who is brought back to Earth, having been raised as a Martian, according to their ways, and as such, is a Human, who is also an alien on this planet, and viewing earthmen, and their ways through the un-prejudiced lens of a visitor to this planet...

...And how very strange we are, in our ways!

But here's he crux: This book is basically an protracted excuse for Robert Heinlein to critique human society (as he fond it then, and as it, in many ways, remains) by looking at as an outsider would... so the Man from Mars acts as a device through which he can do this, having a perfectly naïve figure who can ask the kind of uncomfortable questions usually forthcoming from human children to their uneasy parents (chuckle) and at the same time, adopt the persona of the Man from Mars' mentor, adviser, and guide, in the shape of Jubal Harshaw, a world weary old professor type, and cipher for Heinlein to set the world to rights and hold forth on every aspect of human strangeness with lecturers, monologues, acerbic asides and biting cynicism, having had the Man From Mars provide the excuse to do so, through the posing of these questions.

As such, it's more of a "talky" science fiction book, or like the philosophy of Plato and such, who used this basic device of fictional meetings of functional characters, leading to dialogues in which the philosophy is found.

(If Plato were alive today... he'd be writing Science Fiction! - for these are our modern philosophers)

For this reason, I can see why a lot of it was originally cut out, in order to cut the book down a bit, as there is, perhaps a lot of "banging on" here, but none of what may have been cut (I haven't read the cut version, so don't know what they did remove) is necessarily flabby, excessive, or superfluous... there's just a lot of it!

But of course, the other (Perhaps, main) reason to cut a load out of this, is that it is extremely radical in it's thinking, beyond what any would dare today, much less, at time of publication, in questioning every moral construct, idea, institution, faith and religion, social convention, basis of human relationships and moral boundary you can think of...

...There is free love, polygamy of sorts, atheism, pantheism, cannibalism as a notion of an accepted normal social and "religious" practice (on Mars), the formation of a cult, or commune, and it savagely represents a deeply cynical view of politics, organised religions, media, and individuals in their habits and conventions, as they all scrabble to get a piece of the visitor for their own ends, or to make him go away...

(So as not to call into question their own positions - don't want the ordinary folk thinking too deeply about stuff, do we now?)

...And so, if you are not the kind of person who would find this funny, enjoyable, and eliciting a kind of cheerleading response to what it has to say, you would most likely fall into the category of "everyone else", who will find this almost universally offensive on every point, even (especially?) today.

You could not publish this today, I feel, as a new book, as the angry villagers, and worse, would be on your doorstep the very next day!

(As, funnily enough, happens in the book itself :)

And for all these reasons, it's well worth reading.

((Just maintain perspective, and don't get too carried away with it, or else you may take it as a cue to start your own cult, or "religion", and thank goodness that hasn't happened yet! (...er.....))

But then, what do I know, for in the words of the man from Mars himself:

"I Am Only An Egg."

(You Grok?)

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I saw the write-up about this book in a monthly railway magazine and was intrigued.
A few weeks later whilst shopping, I noticed it in a hobbyist transport shop in Birmingham UK, and looked at the first couple of chapters but couldn't make up my mind whether to buy it (or not)..so I left it..

A couple of months later I was in the same shop, had another look at it, and then decided to buy.
Wish I'd bought it earlier as it's the very best railway fiction book that I've ever read. I couldn't put it down over the last few days, and when I had finished reading it I actually dipped into one of the (separate) chapters and read it again. It was THAT good!

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Annotation:

Several disparate reviewers have congratulated this work. Beatles-Unlimited magazine (May/June 2004) wrote: "written in an easy and pleasant style [ ... ] a useful addition to the collection of the avid Beatles fan." The New Statesman found it "full of fascinating quotations from those fusty Americans" (12lh April 2004), as did Publisher's Weekly (January 19,2004): "the book does offer many fascinating details." Others found it entertaining, intelligent and revealing: "a breezily intelligent biography [ ... ] perhaps the first serious Beatles history to have a truly happy ending" (Entertainment Weekly, February 6,2004); Bookpage in February 2004 wrote: "magic blows through the book, past delightfully obscure anecdotes and insightful reflection." However, this writer remains unmoved. Perhaps it has something to do with the author's writing style or perhaps it is because the work does not appear to have a point. Goldsmith's rather recycled tome seems to be lacking in depth, especially given the monumental task provided by the book's rather unfortunate subtitle.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Annotation:

At over 300 pages, this informed, opinionated, yet expansive ranking of the 100 'best' songs by the Beatles came out in time for the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' first visit to America. One read will have those of us who hate such lists spitting feathers.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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it might be worth a ''9'', but yr hmbl srppnt.'s only read it the once, and definitely does *not* desi^W wish to read it again. it's very well thought out & through, very well written - and *horrible*.

in an all too-near future, a cult is arising, centered upon the work of a charismatic, self-publicising ?research? ?psychiatrist?, prizing and preserving the wounds received in car crashes as a reflection of the damage received by the drivers' cars, and similarly prizing and preserving the damage received in those crashes as a reflection of the wounds received by their human occupants, and glorifying - and finding erotic arousal, and perhaps ecstasy, from both.
- as the cult spreads and it, and its values, become increasingly accepted into our social mainstream, it also becomes increasingly difficult to discern or define any aim for life separate from the aims and inevitable objective of achieving increasingly horrific car/self-inflicted crash injury and - ultimately - the glory(?) of a gory mechanical death.

- as we make our creations and our constructions more intelligent and - arguably - more human-like, do we not make ourselves more construct-like and more inhuman:

- and is this inevitable ?


- gave a whole new meaning to ''auto-erotica'' -

- and arguably invented ''auto-necrotica'' as humanity's highest aim.

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Annotation:

This is a surprisingly dull and lacklustre piece of writing ill-befitting Tony Barrow. The brief text (less than 150 pages) carries a 'McCartney Then and Now' premise whereby Barrow looks back on McCartney as he was 'then', recycling much of his own previous materials to offer an account of life inside the Beatles camp of the mid-1960s. The 'now' part of this book is drawn from Robin Bextor's exclusive interviews with Paul McCartney during which he talked 'candidly' about his private life and his life as a singer, musician, composer and 'businessman'. This information is not without interest, but its level of subjectivity is oddly bland. Sadly therefore the text is rather uninspiring and not really recommended.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Category: Small book with a disproportionately large reputation.

I've been meaning to read this since the early nineties...

(When of course, Apocalypse Now hoved into my consciousness - this being the prime source material, and inspiration)

...And I've got to say, it's one of those books that has a massive reputation that ultimately disappoints.

As with Catcher In The Rye, the first thing that you notice is how tiny a book it is, with a little over a hundred pages there...

(I felt inclined to pick the book up by the spine, and give it a good shake, to see if more words fell out of it that I might have accidentally missed - "Is that it?!!")

...And like Catcher In The Rye, it's had such a huge influence on later renditions, either of the story itself, or versions of it, and better, and more refined, that the true original can't really live up to those iterations of the central idea.

In this case, it's the whole "going up river" "Into (of course) the heart of darkness", spiralling into insanity deal.

Here though, it's fairly tame, and a bit, dare I say, uneventful compared, at least, to Apocalypse Now - Granted, this is largely an effect of the times in which this was published, compared to the times that movie was made, in terms of what could be presented to an audience (shifts in morality, taste, public de-sensitisation to graphic material, images / ideas etc.

But even if this is so, The nutbag at the end of the pain-bow (Kurtz) is often spoken of, as in the movie adaptation, in order mythologise him, and make him grow in our minds with dread and anticipation, but even when we finally meet him here, nothing much really happens, and he is rather underwhelming... so much so, that you wonder what all the fuss was about in telling the tale leading up to it.

As this is the tale told by a seaman to a new crew on a boat for seafaring expedition, about a previous experience, it has the feel of a ghost story being told, and the writing, in this regard, is really great, and with the essential bones of the story, and the concept of the character of Kurtz being a very powerful one until the let down of meeting the reality, you can see the powerful inspiration of an idea for Francis Ford Coppola to make the movie he did.

What is worth while in reading this is the uneasy comparisons, and unspoken statement of the original with Apocalypse Now, in that he equates, and finds parallels between 60s America, and a late nineteenth century colonial power, exploiting, and attempting to subjugate an "inferior" people (commercially / politically motivated racism at it's best folks!), by sending one group of people into a more... "primal" setting that the layers of "Civilization" cannot cope with, or understand, once peeled away, layer by layer... and causing the disintegration of the artificial modern social and moral constructs to precipitate insanity in those that venture there.

So a good companion piece to the movie, or curio, but in this case, the movie wins, hands down, so you wouldn't be missing much by not reading the source text.

Apocalypse now makes all these points, more graphically, effectively, and thoroughly.

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Annotation:

This is a moderately interesting piece of work from the owner of club-land properties in Liverpool's Mathew Street, site of the Cavern Club where the Beatles and many other groups played. Adams was involved in establishing the New Cavern (following the demise of the original Cavern club in the early 1970s), plus the clubs, Revolution and Eric's, at the same premises on that famous Liverpool side street. Following the demise of Eric's, Adams opened the short- lived Adam's Club in Wood Street (in the newly-developed Ropewalks area of the city). The text is illuminating for its insight into Liverpool's nightlife and 'gangster' fraternities, but is in all likelihood of only passing interest to Beatles collectors. It is of far greater use to the researcher of Liverpool's varied popular music scenes, which informs the reader of the intricate web of property holdings and alliances in Liverpool's city centre (irrespective of the actual club operating on the premises) that have always had a great bearing on the music purveyed and performed in the area over decades. However, overall the work is (sadly) rather poorly written, and required serious rewriting and sub-editing. This lack of proofing causes it, at times to be a little unrewarding and repetitive: this is a pity, for much is to be learnt here.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Annotation:

Aronowitz, who died in 2005, was a maverick journalist of some repute and introduced Bob Dylan to the Beatles on 28th August 1964. According to his own journal entries, at this meeting he brought along marijuana (reportedly the first 'pot' smoked by the Beatles); the book is a compilation/re-write of these journal entries. However, by placing himself at the centre of this narrative, Aronowitz ensures that this work is curiously monotone. This is a great pity for it seems that the so-called authenticity of rock journalism, here, gets in the way of historicity. Authorhouse, formerly known as 1st Books, is a self-publishing company based in the United States providing 'vanity' press services: Aronowitz would have probably paid for this re-publication occurring just before his death in 2005 when he was unable to secure a publishing contract; as such there is something of the desperate about this.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Annotation:

This companion text from Wane features photos taken outside EMI Studios between January and April 1967 while the Beatles were recording the famous album. The photographs are actually very interesting from a fashion perspective as they show the group arriving dressed in their psychedelic finery (and leaving in the early hours of the morning). Many of the shots have been accurately dated and are accompanied both by comments from the fans who waited outside of the studios and by details of the relevant recording session. Also included are articles written by observers at the 'Pepper' recording sessions. This is a good example of how photography can be described as a vernacular art - unwittingly capturing seemingly ordinary occurrences for posterity, but also revealing a great deal of contextual information. The text contains approximately 40 previously unpublished colour and black and white photographs.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Annotation:

This volume contains a compilation of photographs taken outside 7, Cavendish Avenue, London throughout 1967 by the fans who devotedly waited outside of Paul's house for a glimpse of the Beatle. The photos show McCartney arriving and leaving his home, chatting with fans and posing for photos. This is an interesting collection of photographs depicting Paul from the 'Sgt. Pepper' era through to the 'Magical Mystery Tour' period. It is accompanied by several recollections from the fans who gathered there as a sort of unofficial palace guard, aka 'Apple Scruffs' (so christened by George Harrison in a song dedicated to them on his 1970 release, All Things Must Pass). The book is hard cover spiral bound with 60 pages and approximately 50 previously unpublished colour and black and white photographs.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Independent review from 23/12/22 :read:

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To love, to lose, and love again...

To me, this is a near perfect love story movie, in being more than just about love, it's a grief story too.

We join Nina (Stevenson) at the beginning of the movie, having already lost Jamie (Rickman), and finding it impossible to get over the loss... she goes about her daily routine as usual, barring the massive gap his absence has created in her life, a chasm which she is constantly, acutely aware of, and she is not doing well, in spite of her friends and family's efforts to keep moving her along.

But then, one day...

...He's back.

Without going into the metaphysical, or Hollywood style shmalz of afterlifery...

(Ghost did come out at almost the same time as this, and effectively stole the show, as you'd expect - not that that's a bad movie, just too Hollywood compared to this, more simply told, everyday, direct examination of ghost-ness)

...No reason why, no real explanation, he's just there again!

So Nina, the only one who can see or touch him, has a second chance of a life with Jamie in their house / apartment, while all around are bemused at the sudden upturn in her demeanour.

But really, this is a study of life, death, grief, and ultimately about letting go, and how these things affect our memories of the person we lost.

It is (was?) a stage play style that would at least, be perfect for a theatrical production, and I've got to say, it gets me every time.

And as if you couldn't love Alan Rickman any more than you already did, this break out role for him is still among his best, with, not only the personal relationship between his character's and Stevenson's at the centre of the movie, of course, but the lightly handled surreal and absurd comedic element of when he brings some other ghosts back to the house to watch movies all night.

It's better than Ghost, and more personally devastating , but in a way that leaves you feeling, not depressed, but warm, and even elevated by the end.

I rank it as a must see, small slice of perfection.

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Cinema:
Nitram (2021)
Review by zabadak
Guardian review from 01/07/22 :read:

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Guardian review from 25/01/22 :read:

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Guardian review from 02/01/22 :read:

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Well, what do you know about that... a dud from Tarantino!

I vaguely remember this being released alongside Planet Terror as part of that Grindhouse double bill, and it struck me at the time as being a "side-project" for Tarantino...

(I remember distinctly feeling this was a self indulgence for both him and Rodriguez given as a reward by the studios for having done so well for them with previous works, and that these chums decided to relax a little, and make the crappy films of their respective adolescent fantasy dreams)

...And so it is, as I only finally got around to watching it the other day, having found the DVD cheap, and so thought I could cross that final Tarantino movie off my "to watch" list.

Basically, it's a homage (more like a creepy love letter from an overly obsessive fan!) to those bizarre, cheap horror / thrillers of the seventies, and perhaps eighties... the Hitcher, and that Stephen King "monster-lorry" affair (the one with the green goblin face on the front of the truck)...

..With Kurt Russell's Stuntman Mike driving around in his creepy death machine - a suped up stunt car modified to become supposedly "Death proof", as you can survive any impact or crash in it and walk away... a fact he tests for inexplicable motiveless reasons against a couple of groups of fantastically annoying young women as a death wish / death defying weapon.

The problem is, firstly, Kurt Russell is just too charming, charismatic, and likeable to play such a character type, so well defined by other movies, their anonymity of person as well as backstory, making them so effective (like a Terminator type), then the girls / women are not sympathetic characters, and you don't really care about them...

(Obviously, designed around the old horror trope of the stupid, virginal victim fodder that gets you screaming in frustration at them)

...But they are horrible people, nasty, and vindictive, so I assume that the idea was to make you root for Russell instead, which doesn't come off, as the idea that Kurt Russell is "Such nice man" doesn't chime with what he is doing, or what he is... a nutcase killer.

...And also, it gives you, the audience member, the very uncomfortable feeling this is coming from a place of misogyny... almost a blueprint for some kind of incel manifesto.

(This effect is even more troubling as it's a Weinstein production, featuring Rose McGowan... yikes!)

But anyway, moving swiftly on....

... The film is divided basically into two parts, each focusing on one of two groups of women he is targeting, with the vast majority of each piece of time devoted to each following these girls in their social environment, meaning that around two thirds of the film is devoted to the chit-chat / dialogue of these characters, and this is the major failing of the film, as uncharacteristically, Tarantino's dialogue is boring, tedious, pointless, and bland... and so lacking in the fundamental reasons his other films work, in being able to sell otherwise unpalatable ideas, scenes, characters, and action (at least they are funny, interesting, intriguing, or arresting)...

...No, this leaves a rather sour taste in the mouth, unusually for a movie of his, to the extent that you might well believe these first two thirds of the film were written by Weinstein himself, with only Tarantino coming in the last third for what is, admittedly, an enjoyable car chase finale... But an hour of shit to get to half hour of fun is a long way to go, in my book... too long.

Additionally, Tarantino has over-indulged in the "make it look like a crappy cheap movie" aesthetic by covering the screen with snow and other cheap film stock effects, bad jerky editing with a lack of continuity in the camera changes and all the rest of it... except this joke doesn't sell for the simple reason that Tarantino is too good a movie maker to be so bad (And those movies he loves, which are so "bad they are good" are so, unconsciously and unintentionally - bad movie makers who thought they were better than they were, and trying to be brilliant... and failing - whereas he is a master movie maker knowingly, and intentionally trying to be less than he is, and it wears thin very quick, to the point that he even gives up the joke part way in, in favour of more competent practices.

(Oh, and the actors are all too good at acting, which jars against this aesthetic and idea, and so fails to sell it).

Well, at least he got this one out of his system, and moved on to bigger and better things!

(Except Hateful Eight, which also largely sucks...ahem).

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Hi, how are you?
So, I’ll make a little critic on the album shown here. I’m going to parts diving them in Cover, and Arrangement. Let’s begin.
Cover: so I’ll be quick. The cover is very interesting and nice, having a cartoonish style, as the Disney one, with the blue bird from the song and the song tittle and album in the top of all. At the end of the road there’s a mountain and a sun. Maybe it’s represents the 12 songs. I give it 6 of 10
Arrangement: after listening this album, I thought a lot of things.
“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” is a slow and gospel tune, in my case giving me the creeps, but not of fear, of excitement and the creeps of loving this tune.
“Why do lovers break each other’s hearts?” Is a good redemption to Frankie Lymon and The Teenager’s tune “why do fools fall in love?” The first time I listened to this I thought it was a good tune, but when I listened to Frankie Lymon’s one and again the Powers-Greenwich composition i thought it was such a good thing, like a redemption well done.
“Let the good times roll” is a good one, playing very the horns and the drums, with a good lyric. Truly a good one, but not the best.
“My heart beat a little bit faster” is a good tune by Darlene love, and I must admit that the slowness of it makes perfect. I would classify this as one of my less favorite truly, but for you it may be something lovely and pleasant.
“Jimmy baby” is a good one. I would put it under the third one, but coming from the pen of Jackie DeShannon, it deserves a few listens to love.
“Baby (i love you)” composed by Spector, I would put this one as a gospel be, but not at the level of the first song of the album.
“The white cliffs of Dover” is truly a good redemption/cover by Bob B Soxx and the blue jeans to Vera Lynn’s song. Having a fast tempo, as a country style, this one feels magic and catchy, with the horns at the instrumental break and at the end, makes it the best, far away.
“This land is your land” sounds like a kid’s song, very joyful and giving the message of sharing and living together for making a peaceful world, as I may see it.
“Dear (here comes my baby)” is the best compositions of Spector alone, truly, a good twister and a lovely story, knowing a girl and having good time with people, while in the real world you can dance it as if there’s no tomorrow.
“I shook the world” is again, a good one from DeShannon, having good vocals from Darlene Love, which a good rhythm. A good one.
“Everything’s gonna be fine” is a good slowly one. I put myself at a smoky bar, a jazz cafe in the dark, with someone singing this with pain in himself. I think the backside is the same arrangement as in “Harry and Milt meet Hal B” instrumental track.
“Dr. Karla;’s office” is like a Halloween tune, with screams and horns over there, and trumpets, playing like if you were crazy. I think is a good way to think your psychologist after very much sessions.
So… my ending pointing is 8/10. A i could say, a good album under the Philles Records label.

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Finally read this...

(And discovered the idea behind all that mysterious nonsense they had us rehearse in cub-scouts)

...Having found a copy in the charity shop (not this edition), and straight off the bat it has to be said:

This isn't for kids!

...Well, not very young ones anyway, as Disney it ain't!

It is, through the prism of Rudyard Kipling's own upbringing in colonial India, and extended metaphor of various social structures (of the time), and ones place in it through the parallels of Jungle life, ultimately encapsulated in the background / sometimes referenced Law of the Jungle,

...An extended fable, or parable to create a myth loosely placing itself alongside Aesop and such, the effect of which is greatly enhanced through the use of semi-biblical / old testament style language: Lot's of Thou and Thus, and Thine-ing, but deftly, and poetically handled by a man who understands how to use it to great effect.

Of course, it has the essential tale of Mowgli...

(Pronounced like: Cow- gli ("Ow", not "Oh") "we are actually informed by the author himself... so you've proabably been saying it wrong all these years, as I have! :)

...At it's centre that we all are familiar with, at least from the Disney film, but it's more primal and quite grim, even brutal at times, as Mowgli goes to war with the tiger Shere Khan, who's out to eat him, and with the help of Baloo, Baghera, and of course, Akela learns the tricks of survival and the ways of the jungle in order to bring the tiger to a rather sticky end.

(He ends up skinning Shere Khan and dumping his hide on the Wolf-pack centre stone (like the town square for wolves).. so happy nightmares kids! :D

But rather than just leave off here, the main narrative follows Mowgli through many adventurous perils as he faces new adversaries, and other adversities on his way to becoming a man, when he ultimately seeks to return to his human societal origins. These narrative chapters in his life are, however, interspersed with other "Jungle books", or stories, from other kinds of Jungles, form the tale of a Household mongoose named (er...) Riki-Tiki-Tavi, as he fights to protect a human family from a couple of poisonous cobras, the story of a white Seal in arctic wastelands, another tale of a human Elephant herder, and even an Inuit tribe looking for seal meat (Yup, healthy dose of seal clubbing here too folks!).

You can see just how sanitised the Disney animated version is (And altered - Kaa, the giant python, is indeed deadly and disturbing, but also an ally to Mowgli, not a villain), and I can well imagine that many a parent has found this book, and thought: "Oh how sweet, my kid loves this film, I'll take this home and read this to my little cherub!" - only to draw breath at the more mature horrors lie within, and abruptly throw this in the cupboard.

Just know what you're getting into, is the thing, with this.

As a fabulous, proto-mythological tale read by a more adult reader though, I found it all the more brilliant because of it, rather than the sweet kiddies book I had been expecting, and for this audience, I highly recommend it.

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what happened to the children of hamelin afterwards? who was the piper, and what did he do with them - what did he have in mind for them when he led them away, seduced by the magic of his music - if he had anything in mind at all ?

and can any of them succeed in escaping him - whilst any of them yet survive ?

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publishers have categorised this novel as fantasy; jane lindskold sees it as near future sf - but she's only the author, and what do authors know?

set in the present day, more-or-less, the central character is at least technically mad - she talks and listens to what her small rubber dragon has to say, after all (and to walls, and other inanimate objects) - and, not entirely deliberately, when her home is closed as a result of budget cuts, she embarks on an adventure - a rather scary adventure that might be called ''real life'' in ''the real world'' by some, involving not always friendly gang members; and it begins to look like someone may want to kill her - but why ? . .

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Film very noir.

Too close to the release of Joker to say that this is probably the film that won Joaquin Phoenix the part, but this is every bit the towering performance the equal of that one.

A grim, dark, grimy movie set in a grim, dark, and grimy world of the darkest extra-curricular activities of grim, dark, grimy politicians... child sexual exploitation to be exact.

Until one senator's own daughter goes missing, Phoenix's despondent, broken, and menacing hit-man type is called in, off the books, to find her.

Quote:

"I hear you're brutal?"

..."I can be".

Very much like a "scandi-noir" but extremely violent, grim, and graphic in places, it's a slow burner, and as much a character study of a guy who is never really all there, as it is a modern film-noir private investigator type of movie.

Tone wise, both in story, feel, and look, probably sits alongside the likes of Se7ven, but without the reliance on twists and big set pieces... more a mood piece version of something like that...

...A grim mood piece, a dark mood piece, and indeed, a grimy mood piece.

Seems to be becoming a forgotten minor masterpiece too, as it doesn't seem to pop up much in film chatter anymore, even though it's only been a couple of years since release, but well worth seeking out.

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Quite disappointed with this...

... I mean, it's good, but after all the hype following the (In my opinion, unmerited) derision of the first attempt at Suicide squad-ery, where this was hyped to be the saviour of this sub-franchise;
Helmed by that Gunn dude, as it is, and therefore correcting one of history's great DC movie mistakes with some miraculous redemption in the shape of this movie...

...But actually I found this rather tedious, even boring, in spite of it's over the top level of ridiculousness (A giant sodding starfish for God's sake!?!!).

It tries the Deadpool formula, of being very graphically violent, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, knowing self deprecation and self cynicism, in a very renegade film making style, but frankly, the humour is predictable and juvenile, as is the plot, and a couple of the gags it relies on fell a bit flat for me (A long a way to go for a cheap laugh).

The production design is spectacular though, very colourful and well shot, but this doesn't cover the fat that the action feels dull, and pedestrian, and is little more than an excuse to dress Margot Robbie in some colourful outfits once again for the indulgence of a bunch of Harley Quinn / Robbie fanboy fetishists, and at the risk of some kind of movie fan blasphemy, I've never been convinced by Idris Elba as a leading man actor, or seen the appeal of him beyond some kind of eye candy for the ladies.

But, I suppose it's just another walk through of an original concept first, and best laid out in The Dirty Dozen, but for comic book fans.

(I'd save myself some time, and just watch that instead if I were you).

You've got to feel sorry for Margot Robbie though, this is, what, her third attempt to make this character work, mostly at the behest of, or to appease horny male DC fans, but probably just best to call it quits, and admit defeat.

Blasphemy number two comes from the fact actually, the first / earlier Suicide Squad is a better made film, in my opinion, as well as a better watch... But then not being a mega DC nerd, I have no expectations of what film for this franchise should be, or look like.

Given the state of DC movies, and their intergalactic prezel mess clusterf%*k of a brand industry, the idea that Mr Gunn is at the helm to save the day (And probably the Warner / DC studio enterprise on the strength of it's success or failure) doesn't inspire me with confidence, on the strength of this movie.

So basically, an overhyped, and over done movie here which people probably wish to believe succeeded more than it actually did. Too violent and graphic for kids, too moronic in it's "wit" and humour for anyone over the age of twenty, who has seen better elsewhere, and so perhaps, best suited to the sweet spot of gangs of horny male teenagers with low expectations and are easily pleased.

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Cinema:
Unholy Ground (2016)
Rated 5/10 by alexlincs
Unholy Ground is a bizarre one. The merging of gory horror and pornography is nothing new. Anybody who has seen Porno Holocaust or Texas Vibrator Massacre can attest to that, but those films are nowhere near as dialogue heavy and while all three are sincere, Unholy Ground seems serious.

To be honest I missed the finer point of the plot. In an unnamed Austrian village the townsfolk are struck down by what appears to be the plague and some of the villagers summon the devil in a ritual.

The film is not sex heavy with not much other than a bit of topless nudity happening for 20 minutes. The sex on offer is hardcore with explicit oral sex, penetration and money shots. We've seen it all before in La Bête (1979) and the masturbating with a crucificx would be shocking if it wasn't done better in The Exorcist and the uncut version of The Devils.

The gore on offer is also very graphic with tongues being ripped out, skin peeling and heads being chopped off. Definitely wouldn't be out of place in the slew of straight to video horror put out in the last decade.

The acting is straight out of a LARPING or amateur dramatics society. Despite German not being my native language you can tell it is straight up bad for the most part; coupled with a dry script it makes the dialogue scenes a chore to sit through, but I suspect most viewers will fast forward them. This film would have been shocking about 40 years ago, but with mainstream films featuring explicit sex and a ton of much more disturbing and equally gory horror films like The Terriffier coming out this is a largely tedious, two hour endurance test.

I can't recommend it, but it is a strange curio and gains an extra point for a surprisingly dour ending.

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Annotation:

This is a 48-page hard-backed monograph, part of a series of books concerned with the families of well-known personalities. It is of little-no interest to Beatles researchers, but might be of some value to the completist collector.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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Cinema:
Love Actually (2003)
Rated 7/10 by zabadak
Independent critique :read:

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Annotation:

Geoffrey Ellis was a boyhood friend of Brian Epstein from Liverpool who became the latter's personal assistant in October 1964. He then became Chief Executive of NEMS Enterprises in 1965 and co-director of Dick James Music Ltd. following Epstein's death in 1967. Such close proximity suggests an interesting window into the day-to-day decision-making at NEMS. We are, however, disappointed - Ellis evidently cared little about what went on around him - or else has forgotten - not necessarily a great starting point for writing a memoir.

Undoubtedly the 'swinging sixties' has been grossly mythologised, however Ellis certainly appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time for most of the time. For example, regarding the 'Sgt. Pepper' release party he states "I went to bed and to sleep quite early [...] There were twin beds in the bedroom, and I woke to find the late comedian, Kenny Everett, in the other bed. We had no conversation as, by the time I left the house, he had not yet surfaced" - wow, how interesting.

Such writing led the music journalist of The Times Caitlin Moran to describe the book as "so bad it's good". Indeed, despite there already existing many utterly terrible Beatles books available by the time of this publication (2004), one should regard I Should Have Known Better as the Plan Nine From Outer Space of Beatles' texts. There are occasional moments of interest for the Beatles' researcher, but the author's personal wrath obscures any context. For example, Ellis evidently hated John Lennon. He mentions, but does not deliberate, Lennon's "scorn of the fans, his sharp tongue and his conscious nurturing of his 'working-class hero' image"; according to Ellis, Lennon was, apparently "too clever for his own good" and "unkind" to Cynthia. "I cannot overcome my distaste for his memory", he states - but why? We never find out. Utterly awful; could Geoffrey Ellis actually be the 'Ed Wood' of Beatles writers? I should have known better and left my money in my wallet.

Michael Brocken

Source: The Beatles Bibliography: A New Guide To The Literature - Michael Brocken and Melissa Davis (The Beatle Works Ltd., 2012), with acknowledgement, and used here with permission from the authors for educational and historical purposes only.

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This is one of those recordings you never tire of. I think I found my first copy in a library sale about twenty years ago. I played it over and over in the car and grew to love every song. The first track is a stand-out brilliant song, dealing with the anger and bitterness of a break-up, asking that question that we all when someone leaves us. Are you happy now? Did your life get better now that I'm out of your life?

Another great song is all about buying a truck (a Kenworth) and thinking it's going to make you happy forever because it has all the style and paintjob you've ever dreamed of. Those are just two though, and every one is its own little bit of genius.

I've since bought it again so that I can enjoy it again - I lost the old copy years ago but remembered how much it meant to me then. I was not disappointed!

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