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Apologies as I never managed to quite finish certain reviews, they'll come eventually. Currently down in Cornwall doing a further course in mining, cheers for all your messages and comments :D

Reviews written

since 21/02/2005


The Shining - Stephen King 08/03/2007

Shine On

The Shining - Stephen King Being thoroughly refreshed and cheerful following my Misery conquest, an adrenaline rush urged me to stick my nose into yet another King classic, The Shining. Of course, generally when you've seen a certain Jack Nicholson film more times than you care to remember, you start to wonder, why bother? But then you hear how Stanley Kubrick practically threw Stephen King's novel into the fire after a quick skim read and went about making his own super version, makes you pretty inclined to read the novel that made King the bestseller he is today. Initially I was apprehensive about starting the book as I'd heard some negativity surrounding the content of the first few hundred pages. I honestly wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. For a 500 page novel I shot through it in less than a week and enjoyed it immensely, even more so than Misery, King would later revisit The Shining's Colorado location ten years later to write Misery. The first passage of text which I reached when starting The Shining, was a personal introduction by Stephen King, which I assume is only included in the new published edition pictured above. King's lengthy introduction, spanning the first few pages seemed quite self indulgent, although he explains how he hadn't planned on a supernatural thriller, he was planning a domestic father and son relationship type novel. 'In every writer's career, usually early in it - there comes a 'crossroads novel', where the writer is presented with a choice: either ...

Misery - Stephen King 10/02/2007

Tears For Fears

Misery - Stephen King After the arduous ordeal of reading King's novel IT at a rather strenuous length of over 1200 pages, I felt that over the Christmas period I needed a break and chose to read shorter novels such as Down and out in Paris and London, Animal Farm and Ian Flemming's Casino Royale. But it wasn't long until I craved a good horror novel to read, especially at nights when Insomnia kicks in from time to time. It should be said that Misery, although moderately short in length at just over 350 pages, I didn't initially feel too inclined to race through it as I did with King's shortest and one of his best novels, Carrie. As an avid Stephen King fan, I know that too many characters in a novel spells disaster as King often spends the middle of his thrillers by flashing back to the characters pasts. Having have see the film years ago and considering the critical acclaim I was thoroughly looking forward to it, especially as it focused almost entirely on two characters. With the often clichéd survival plot i.e. Cat and Mouse, such as that of the film, The Hitcher. King used the same method that he did in The Shawshank Redemption, patience and hope. Initially in Misery, King doesn't mess about explaining the events that led Paul Sheldon to end up in Annie Wilkes's house in the snowy woods of Colorado. This made me feel a bit apprehensive to be honest, I was half expecting a brief account of how Paul not only ended up in such a predicament but how he crashed his car, feeding my curiosity this ...

Never Say Never Again (DVD) 03/02/2007

You Only Live Thrice

Never Say Never Again (DVD) The one that didn't make the official James Bond collection, yes that would be a rather more apt label, rather than a re-make of the highest grossing Bond film. Never Say Never Again was in fact Sean Connery's seventh and final Bond film which equaled the record of Roger Moore. Funnily enough the title couldn't be more apt, after the poor box office showing of Diamonds Are Forever and his age, Sean Connery did say when the question was put to him, will he play the Bond role again, 'Never Again' being his reply. It seems bitterly ironic that in 1983 it was released at almost the same time as Octopussy (The worst Bond film), but both were notable success. It is a rather enjoyable yet perverse film, by the fact that if it wasn't overshadowed by the classic first five Connery films it would easily have been more successful. You also wouldn't notice your watching a direct re-make of Thunderball, it took me a while as a kid when I was hooked on Bond to recognize any direct similarities. The only similarities that stick out like a sore thumb are the names of characters like Largo, and although being different characters, Fatima Blush and Fiona Volpe from the original are a kin. The trouble with Never Say Never Again is, its enjoyable and a bloody descent film that any avid fan would enjoy, but the credibility is absent, and any shred of retroness and cool Connery had in the original, i.e. I think he got the point, which was the definitive Connery quote throughout his Bond career ...

Great Western - James Dean Bradfield 26/01/2007

Which way to Kyffin?

Great Western - James Dean Bradfield It's like from that film, 'He's merely miss-cast the play, he's got the ability to do anything he wants to do, but he can't find anything he really wants to do.' Those being the words spoken by James Dean Bradfield when asked about the meaning of his song 'The Wrong Beginning', orientated around the musical career of his missing bandmate Richey Edwards. You'd be of course naive to think of The Great Western as a political/protest album with the usual rawness of power chords, menacing solos and catchy rhythms. The Great Western, to me is a reflection, James Dean Bradfield reflecting on his musical career and paying homage to those who made it possible and so unique. Now when I first heard that James Dean Bradfield was going to on a huge nationwide tour I just had to grab some Cardiff tickets, going through enormous lengths to grab the tickets on eBay due to an instant sellout I managed to grab a pair of tickets at a rather snippy price. Up until the night of the concert I was rather apprehensive, I mean this was my hero from my second favorite all time band, The Manic Street Preachers. I didn't no what to expect, if the last manics album was anything to go by then I'd assume it's be an electronic set, and by not knowing any of the solo material I went for the manics songs he's play not for his solo album. That night opened my eyes. After an extensive career you wouldn't expect another cycle of evolution from such an underrated musical legend but the songs I ...

The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger 18/09/2006

A Teenager's Guide To Survival

The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it." The Catcher In The Rye was a curious novel I came across during the hectic time of revising for my fresher's year finals. While becoming completely addicted to my second favourite band: The Manic Street Preachers, I still read a few short biographies of one of my heroes: Richey Manic. His favourite book was The Catcher In The Rye, which inspired a collection of his best written songs. Many of my friends have either read it or been recommended it so I thought I'd discover what all the fuss is about. Unlike most common fiction books for the latter adolescence, The Catcher In The Rye is a hypnotic read, not only does most of the content have a nostalgic feel to it, but any teenager can relate to and sympathise with the main character. I was stunned to lean that the book dates back as far as 1951 as it still remains a highly significant monument in adolescent literature. This novel should be the first book any modern day 'junk food and computer game addict' reads, honestly the book is such a weird and wonderful journey, which any young minds imagination should flourish and thrive upon. The Catcher In The Rye is based upon the life of 16 year old protagonist Holden Caulfield. Something deep and disturbing is troubling Holden, that thing is life itself, his ...

On The Beach [Remastered] - Neil Young 11/09/2006

On The Beach

On The Beach [Remastered] - Neil Young Neil Young is one of the greatest living songwriters to this day. He is often remembered for his large role in the folk rock boom of 1964-1974 producing three of the most famous albums of the genre: Neil Young, After the goldrush and Harvest. Tying close to Bob Dylan with his deep and personal lyrics and supremely yet unique guitar melody's to accompany, Young remains an important influence to modern rock music. I became a big fan of Neil Young through a friend, before then I foolishly dismissed him as yet another brick in the wall of folk rock music, how wrong I was. The greatest hits album was superb and sublime in the way it was created. All the songs were selected due to opinion polls, radio air time and record sales resulting in a fine backlog of Young's greatest hits. I was then recommended 'Rust never sleeps' which was one of the best live albums ever created. Then my curiosity took me into the weird and wonderful 'On the beach' lp. Neil Percival Young was born on November 12th, 1945 in Toronto, Canada. His father was a great talent himself a sportswriter and novelist. He spent the majority of his youth in a small town called Omemee, which he later wrote his hit song 'helpless' on. Tragically when he was six years old he caught a bad case of polio which weakened the left side of his body badly, he still walks with a limp as a result. His parents divorced when he was 12 and he moved back to Winnipeg with his mother and attended the local high school. He ...

The X-Files Movie (DVD) 20/08/2006

Fight The Future

The X-Files Movie (DVD) Growing up in the 90's was a memorable experience, so much was happening, Britpop was just kicking off, the Tory's at last got kicked out of downing street and TV programmes for kids were at an all time high. The days of watching the greats like: Nightmare, Reboot, Aquilla, Out of sight, Round the twist and Grange Hill( before it went crap). It was an extremely excitable time to be growing up in. The days of primary school where we'd collect POGS and footy stickers, shouting the same 'got got got, need' lines at each others sticker collections, and the odd barrage of stickers thrown onto the floor by some lucky bugger that completed his album. One of the most memorable moments of the decade was the cult tv hit show, The X-Files. It all started in 1993, Nirvana's 'In Utero' was enjoying a fine sky rocketing success and Chris Carter's debut episode was aired thus season 1 was born. The first episode was an instant hit where Fox Mulder and Dana Skully first took an X-File case together to the dark woods of Oregon where mysterious abductions are common place. The X-Files ran for a total of 9 season's within a 9 year time gap which was quite gutting when the series finale 'The Truth' was aired in 2003 because you'd wish it would never end. Season 2 was the best in my opinion every story was an epic and the cliffhanger finale was immense. After a fine worldwide commercial success and a whole house full of Emmys and Golden Globe awards, Chris Carter embarked on his idea ...

North Star Grassman And The Ravens, The [Remastered] - Sandy Denny 07/08/2006

North Star Grassman And The Ravens

North Star Grassman And The Ravens, The [Remastered] - Sandy Denny Sandy Denny was perhaps the key figurehead in the folk rock boom rising in post Beatle mania Britain, who had the charisma, enigma and the voice of an angel who made the mould in which many folk bands up to this day were born from. She had the most beautiful and emotional voice I've ever heard from folk and I personally hold Sandy in high esteem when I think of folk or folk rock basically because she played a key role in what was for me the greatest folk song ever: 'A Sailor's Life' by The Fairport Convention. Sandy Denny was born on the 6th of January 1947 in Wimbledon, London. She was a bright light on the scene of the folk rock boom of 1964-1974. While Bob Dylan was making his way into history with his splendid rugged Woodie Guthrie image spawning as well as initiating a collection of fine acts in America: Paul Simon, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, Gram Parsons to name a few, Britain i.e. The most traditionally folk country in the world due to it's marvellous Celtic roots had little to offer. Sandy Denny's Scottish grandmother sung traditional folk songs which sparked an interest in Sandy to sing and play piano. After departing from school she left to start training as a nurse t the Royal Brompton Hospital but shortly after in 1965 joined the Kingston college of art where she joined and became heavily involved in the on campus folk club. Here she met fellow students John Renbourn and Eric Clapton, after singing at a show at Earl's court she was spotted by ...

Pink Moon (Digitally Remastered) - Nick Drake 22/07/2006

Pink Moon

Pink Moon (Digitally Remastered) - Nick Drake As far as solo albums go in the world of folk rock Pink Moon is right up there squeezing it's way in between it's peers. Nick Drake has an enchantingly soothing pitched voice and along with his infamous right hand finger picking guitar style he is held in high esteem among his critics and fellow folk musicians. Nicholas Rodney Drake born June 19, 1948 in Ranhoon, Burma grew up in a small village in Warwickshire, he learnt how to play the flute at the local public school in which he attended. Drake later went on to study English literature at the University of Cambridge while his sister Gabielle Drake was becoming a highly accomplished actress. While a student Nick performed his solo material at local pubs and coffee shops until being spotted by Fairport Convention's Ashley Hutchings. Ashley introduced Nick to various producers including Joe Boyd and fellow folk musicians. With the aid of these peers record company Island records were convinced to offer Drake a three album contract. Five Leaves Left (1969) was Nick's first solo album, had a fairly hypnotic orchestral edge to the quality of Nick's light voice. Bryter Layter (1970), Drake's second album was to be one of the most famous folk rock albums of the time along with his final masterpiece. Bryter Layter had a more upbeat, jazzy quality with a sublime subtle bass string arrangement. Like fellow musician Richard Thompson, Nick began to resent the stress and time consumption of touring to promote his solo ...

Bravery (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Bravery (The) 19/07/2006

The braver they come, The harder they fall

Bravery (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Bravery (The) The bravery are one of the many bands circulating the narrow minded writers of NME and Radio 1 DJ's. The bravery were mostly a newbie band lurking in the back of my mind stuck in the cobwebs perhaps that's where I should have left them although the opening track of this song made me change my mind slightly. Until some one of my mates at Uni. put 'An honest mistake' on the halls bar jukebox one night together with New Orders 'Blue Monday' anthem was a funny coincidence because I couldn't tell them apart to begin with and it later transpired that the opening drum beat from New Order had been ripped off and stuck onto a Bravery song. Although slightly fuming I gave the song a chance and boy I was glad I did 'An honest mistake' is seriously addictive, everytime I entered the bar I slapped it onto the jukebox. Ironic how at the same time I was really getting into New Order and Joy Division perhaps this band played a minor role in that craze. The year was 2005 primarily remembered for the tear braking split of the best rock band of the decade 'The Libertines' many bands were emerging from the New York musical scene prematurely and clumsily, the bravery were one of those bands. Drawing their creative juices from a number of fine bands including New Order, Joy Division, Buzzcocks, The Cure, Depeche Mode and a many more. Post punk-influenced dance rock was all the rage over the Atlantic with the bravery playing a number of memorable gigs and releasing an EP titled Unconditional ...

Peter Gabriel [1] [SACD] - Peter Gabriel 13/07/2006

Waiting For The Big One

Peter Gabriel [1] [SACD] - Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel or Phill Collins the big question of the 1980's musical scene. I've always had a soft spot for Peter Gabriel myself, one of my all time favourite bands Genesis were phenomenal and after Floyd are the best progressive rock band out there. I believe that the driving force and strength of the bands success came solely from Gabriel and since first hearing my favourite Genesis album last summer Selling England by the pound I was immediately hooked into the strange and wonderful world of Genesis and Peter Gabriel. Noticing on ciao that there is a vast empty void needing to be filled in with Peter Gabriel reviews I really had to review an album Phill Collins is taking over the site, no somebody stop him hehe. I first got into Genesis the typical Trystan method browse through my parents vast vinyl collection and this strange record stood out with it's conceptual style artwork. The fact that it's Genesis made me curious to slam it on the deck and crank up the volume and well, I literally got sent to another world, when going to turn the volume down I couldn't, I just literally couldn't. Genesis paint collages into the imagination with the various instruments and progressive rock push to the songs. It's as if each song is an orchestral symphony, the fact that Gabriel had a stunning voice and played a dreamy lovely oboe tranced me 'Firth Of Firth' sums Gabriel's talent up in a nutshell really it's so stunning. Who is Peter Gabriel? Peter Gabriel born 1950 went on ...

Top 10 Movie Villains 11/07/2006

They Always Come Back

Top 10 Movie Villains I stumbled across this villains review on one of my daily walks through the path of ciao cafe sipping a coffee and reading a few reviews and then I thought since I'm a movie obsessive and am addicted to films in general I thought I'd throw my head into the ring. Basically this list could just be based on horror films like Freddie kreuger or Jason Vorhees taking the no.1 spot but I'm making it a rule to only include the odd horror film bad guy. What puzzles me is the definition of a bad guy the worst of them are the unstoppable ones that just never die no matter if you blow them up with a bazooka (cough with the exception of Buffy season 2) or just plain old drilling with a minigun. Those bad guy's that just never die and fill you with an urge to jump into the tv screen and give the guy a good whack across the head haha, if you want a job done properly you've after all gotta do it yourself. Basically this list should be full of James Bond villains because well their the best but it would be unfair to the other villains out there. If I wasn't thinking hard about who to miss out of this list and who to add it would basically just be a list full of X-files/James Bond villains but that might be a bit boring. Although the topic of discussion is the top 10 movie villains I feel that it's alright to add the odd tv series villain but if you disagree that's fine because there's an X-files film along with the series so it's acceptable ha. When reading this review it's important ...

Lifeblood - Manic Street Preachers 04/07/2006

The Second Coming

Lifeblood - Manic Street Preachers I remember the excitable shock I felt when I switched onto Top of the pops one Friday night by chance to watch the top 10 countdown of the week and seeing the Manics at No.2 narrowly missing out on the no.1 spot with their single 'The love of Richard Nixon' and the video was absolute class. After the commercial success of the 90's with both Everything must go and This is my truth tell me yours engraving themselves into the musical membranes of the younger generation the manics hit a brick wall at the turn of the millennium with their least favourable album Know your enemy which in all fairness was quite good. The lethargy seemed to have struck the lyrical mind of Nicky Wire which owed to the lack of lyrical perfection on the album with James Dean Bradfield having to take over to produce the moving tribute song to his Mother 'Ocean Spray'. Just as we though the manics were going to crash and burn and catch the millennium bug of death a year or so later they did what all great bands in musical history do, release a 'Best of' and a 'B-side album'. This break provided the Cardiff based trio with the opportunity to feed their musical think tank with fresh influences and a new fresh album to suit the more glossy musical period of the decade. The greatest hits album of the Manic street preachers aptly titled 'Forever Delayed' was a mass commercial success and the fact that it contained 5 superb unreleased songs make it my personal favourite greatest hits album of all time. ...

Everything Must Go - Manic Street Preachers 06/06/2006

From Despair To Where?

Everything Must Go - Manic Street Preachers I recall renting this album as a tape from the local library those were the days where you could borrow any tape or cd on your library card for 50p or so, I set straight to work on the task of copying it onto a blank tape with the help of my sister and it became my most listened to tape back then pure musical perfection in every sense of the word. I recall this album being on the jukebox inside the climbing wall at Plas-Y-Brenin outdoor centre in Capel Curig I always used to go there because being a member of the Chester Mountaineering Club we got great discounts on the gear as well as the walls. Nothin like having the room to yourself playing 'Australia' full blast traversing around the room to the beat, hell I remember somehow making my way around the fire escape on a 'chimney' type climbing technique. I remember that the song I really wanted to put on was a song i didn't know it's name of so you could imagine my frustration when time after time I put the wrong tune on. This jukebox was absolutely free of charge it was amazing stuff the opening track on the album 'Elvis impersonator on Blackpool pier' starts in with sea waves splashing along the shores as if this refreshed my energy to start the mammoth task of traversing around the 5ft Arc on a monkey like pose man that climb was solid. Nothin like a bit of personal nostalgia to get the review goin eh. Everything Must Go is an album made around the turbulent division of the band when lead lyricist Richey Manic ...

Last Days (DVD) 08/04/2006

Rock and roll will never die

Last Days (DVD) After being such a huge Nirvana fan and fascinated with Kurt Cobains talent as a teenager I was pleasantly surprised when my sister told me there was a film coming out based on the last days of the legend I was jumping for joy and after reading in NME a couple of weeks ago that a film about the life of Joy Division legend Ian Curtis was in production I was ecstatic. Unfortunately after a long and lengthy search and prowling the streets of Cardiff for the lowest price of this dvd it dawned on me it was too expensive to buy so I had to return back home humbled with my tail between my legs. That was until my 19th birthday my sis bought me 'Last Days' on dvd I was hugging and kissing for ages i mean woweee what a present I just couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the day. The basic ideals or plot behind the film are of a unique talent consumed by the rock and roll cliché, a trapped individual who's only wish is to be left alone although no one truly understands himself. You'd be forgiven for taking the assumption that this is a film much like 'The Wall' which certainly parallels similarities of a trapped rock star but 'Last Days' does not follow the life of a burned out rock star slowly growing in insanity but of the last days of one of rocks greatest talents at the height of his career isolating the fame out of his life which is a consequence of his rare talent where success has left him in a lonely place. The film follows the last days of rock musician 'Blake' based ...
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