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MrQuomps

MrQuomps
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Member since: 08.08.2008

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    • Nintendo Wii / Games Console / 185 Readings / 180 Ratings
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      26.09.2009 14:57
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      I should've bought one sooner

      I bought a Nintendo Wii about 2 weeks ago and I am now in love.

      It is absolutely brilliant! It came with Wii Sports which has five basic but fun games to enjoy (Boxing, Baseball, Golf, Ten Pin Bowling & Tennis). Tennis and Ten Pin Bowling are the ones which grab my interest the most.
      You can 'make' funny little characters called Miis, which you can make look something like yourself and then use them to play the games.

      The playability of the Wii is immense. Where other console manufacturers get caught up on having the best graphics and hard disk space etc, Nintendo have gone back to basics and made a FUN games console.

      If you play with the curtains open, as I do, you can look like a bit of a tool to passers-by as you swoop around the room, lunging for virtual tennis balls and things. So beware!

      I have been enjoying the feature of downloading games from old consoles direct to the Wii. I'm going through all the games I used to play when I was 7 or 8 and they still seem great, with a little added flavour of nostalgia they're just as enjoyable now as they were then. Though I must say I was better at the NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1989 than I am now. Well, it's tricky....ok?!
      In order to play these old games you just flip the Wii remote around and use it lthe same as an old control pad. Simple :-)

      Being able to browse the internet and watch youtube and stuff on the tele is another handy feature.

      I've only just started playing against people from all over the world via WiFi...... it seems I'm NOT the expert at Water Warfare that I thought I was, as I keep getting beaten very, very easily. But it's so much fun and quite exciting being able to just switch the Wii on and start playing other users from wherever.

      I paid £129 for my Wii, 2nd hand with a few games. And it has been well worth it. The money I have and will save from staying in rather than going to the pub is very welcome.

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        25.08.2009 23:16
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        Cracking B&B

        Well, me and my little lady just had an absolutely scrumptious few days in Boscastle, Cornwall. The break was made all the more enjoyable by the accommodation being so damn fine.

        Orchard Lodge is perched at the top end of town so you've got a steep hill to deal with if you want to go to and fro the shops and pubs and that. But it's not too far away and has ample parking if you're driving.

        Our bedroom was spotless and decorated by somebody with an eye for these things, rather than the blind dimwit who usually decorates hotels/b&bs. And the bed........... the bed was HUGE and too comfortable to consider getting up from until at least 9am.

        TV and ensuite and a free Orchard Lodge water bottle to encourage us to try the lovely Cornish water!
        Coffee, tea, hot choc and biscuits were all dutifully replenished everyday and the breakfasts were nothing short of exceptionally tasty. Made using local, organic produce. Just the ticket.

        The owners, Shelley and Geoff, are a very friendly and chilled out pair. Chatty and happy to help with anything they can. Never intrusive, always just there if needed.

        Orchard Lodge cost me just shy of £70 per night for the two of us, and I'd say it was well worth it. The best B&B I have stayed at. By some margin. So there.

        Easy to book. Easy to find. Lovely people. Lovely town (village?). I heard a rumour Orchard Lodge has a 5 star rating and I'm happy to give it the same.

        http://www.orchardlodgeboscastle.co.uk

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          03.12.2008 22:21
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          Excellent snack if you can afford them!!

          Mmmmmmm yummy yummy in my tummy!!

          Tyrrells are a Herefordshire based company that make the finest crisps in the land!
          Because their farm is just down the road from me I manage to get lots of free bags from a friend who works there, which is ace because the crisps are fantastic.

          Right, the mixed root vegetable crisps consists of BEETROOT, PARSNIP & CARROT all lightly sea salted. Not a sniff of potato in site!

          The parsnip crisps are the biggest, quite thick and not that 'crispy'. They are sweet and tasty (if you like parsnip to start with!) but they can get a tad sickly after a while.

          The beetroot crisps are a bit smaller, they are thinner and more brittle and taste even sweeter, I was SO impressed with these when I first discovered them - they're great. And even though they're in the same bag as the parsnip crisps they seem to be far less salty.

          Finally, the carrot crisps. They are the smallest of the lot. Almost membrane thin, they melt on your tongue. They too are sweet, but maybe not as sweet as the beetroot.

          The overall salty sweet taste of these crisps is one that I adore. I think of them as something completely different to potato crisps. They aren't so savoury. And wouldn't lend themselves to having other flavours (eg beef & onion) added to them to interfere with them.

          I'm glad I don't pay for mine because they don't come cheap - the best part of £3 for 150g. But, if you haven't tried them it's worth having a go at least once. They're good for putting in a bowl when you have visitors too.

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          • Nightbreed (DVD) / DVD / 147 Readings / 138 Ratings
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            01.12.2008 19:26
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            Clive Barker says it's alright to be a freak

            In Nightbreed (1990) the monsters are the good guys, the humans are destructive, intolerant and violent and in one case a sadistic serial killer.
            The monsters, known as Nightbreed, live in their own underground city, Midian, away from humanity.

            Nightbreed marginalised by society live their lives out of sight of humans. They live by their own rules and are not governed by any outsiders. Humans are aware of the Nightbreed (or at least have heard the rumours) and allow them do as they please as long as they stay within their refuge and do not stray into human territory. This also works in reverse, where Nightbreed allow humans to behave as they wish unless they enter the Nightbreed's territory in which case they will assert their authority and subject the humans to their laws.

            They cannot be a part of a society that has pre-conceived ideas of normality and perfection, a world where to look different means to be treated differently. One of the Nightbreed points out the hypocrisy in the way the humans treat them by saying 'You call us monsters but when you dream you dream of flying, changing'.

            The films' main protagonist, Boone, transforms from human into Nightbreed. He becomes one of the outsiders.
            It is assumed that the Nightbreed are evil and they become scapegoats for the crimes of others. The real villain of the film is Dr Decker, a mask-wearing, human serial killer.

            At the climax to the film the Nightbreed find their sanctuary under attack from humans, they try to defend their home but it is destroyed and so they inevitably become a part of the outside world, the human world. They are liberated.

            Here the monsters can challenge authority and social taboos simply by being in amongst humanity rather than hidden from it. Boone has encouraged them to be proud of their identity and to stand up for themselves.

            This film celebrates difference and community. It is not that dissimilar from Tod Browning's Freaks, where the supposed 'freaks' are shown to be normal, good people and the 'regular' sized circus workers are the evil-minded marginal freaks of the film, they provide the horror.

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            • Peeping Tom (DVD) / DVD / 115 Readings / 111 Ratings
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              26.11.2008 12:24
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              Classic stuff. Everyone should see this film.

              In the film Peeping Tom (1960) the main character, Mark Lewis, spent his childhood being filmed constantly by his father. Mark was an exhibition. His father was studying him sadistically in order to assist him with his scientific research. Mark had a camera scrutinizing his every move.

              Mark's indulgence in scopophilia (pleasure in looking) is evident even at an early age, we see Mark's father filming him while he is looking at a happy couple hugging and kissing each other.
              In his adult life Mark was a professional cinematographer who also did some freelance work photographing women for men's magazines.

              In his childhood he would associate the camera with feeling uncomfortable, unhappy or scared (the scene where Mark's father films the fear on Mark's face when a lizard is placed on his bed gives us a good impression of how he might feel), whereas as an adult Mark cannot bear to be apart from his camera. He is visibly uncomfortable when a policeman has his camera and Helen (a neighbour whom he befriends) comments of his camera 'I don't think I've ever seen you without it'. He loves something which he once hated.

              Mark's childhood involved him being the centre of attention all the time and it seems that he ends his life at the end of the film in a state of 'secondary narcissim' where he again sees himself as all important and the focus of attention. He films his own suicide as a way of completing the work that his father started.

              Between his father filming him and him filming his death, Mark catalogued his actions without actually appearing in front of the camera. Where as a child he was an exhibition, as an adult he is a voyeur, yet in death he reverts back to being an exhibition.

              Mark spends his adult life filming women's faces as he is killing them, though this is not all, as he moves in for the kill he attaches a mirror to the camera so that the victims are forced to watch their own fear-filled faces as they are being murdered. This seems like an attempt to recapture a stage from his childhood where it was him that was being filmed in a state of terror.

              By attaching the mirror to the camera he is forcing the victims to be not only exhibitions but also voyeurs. They are being filmed but at the same time they are watching themselves. This is almost a parallel to Mark's own life where he is both an exhibition and a voyeur.
              We the audience when watching Peeping Tom are also voyeurs, not just in the way we are watching the film but also in the way we see scenes through Mark's camera.

              So we have the situation where Mark's active gaze through his camera at passive women becomes our gaze as we are forced to identify with him and we see exactly what he sees. The film highlights the voyeuristic tendencies in everybody; we are by definition voyeurs by watching the film.

              The way in which Mark behaves towards his camera seems to suggest it is a metaphorical phallus and when he is separated from it he feels castrated. He only kills women, suggesting that he sees them as a threat of castration and so he must eliminate the threat.
              Mark makes women the objects of his perversion and his control comes from his camera, they are at his mercy and he gains satisfaction from that..

              An interesting motif in the film is that anybody that appears in front of the camera visibly suffers or obviously has suffered, that is they either die, faint have bruises or scars etc.

              There are a few dry jokes in the film which acknowledge Mark's voyeurism, at one point he is asked which paper he is working for and after stalling he replies 'The Observer'. Another example is when a colleague of Mark's dead father comments 'You have your father's eyes'.

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              • Hellraiser (DVD) / DVD / 86 Readings / 81 Ratings
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                26.11.2008 11:45
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                It will tear your soul apart

                In Hellraiser (1987) Clive Barker positions the grotesque next to the beautiful and pleasure indivisible from pain. This image of the grotesque, where the body is open, abject or deformed, stands in opposition to the 'perfect' body: the aesthetically beautiful body.

                Barker foregrounds the carnivalesque; he focuses on the body as flesh and on the changing, mutating body. He believes that we, as humans, should not be disgusted by or afraid of our own bodies or of change. Transformation is natural and a part of daily life, it should be embraced not hidden and avoided.
                Hellraiser graphically shows the body of Frank being re-built from blood and flesh, transforming from dust to an almost complete human form. This is Barker celebrating the flesh and presenting the grotesque.

                The cenobites in Hellraiser have a very strong image, they are a picture of sado-masochism, beautiful yet deformed, dressed in leather and latex, snow white skin with flesh pierced, scarred and burnt. They have pushed their bodies past the pain threshold in search of ultimate pleasure and when summoned will take another human life: 'we have such sights to show you' says 'Pinhead' the visually striking (with a matrix of nails protruding from his skull) lead cenobite.

                Although the cenobites are disturbing in appearance they are also beautiful in a way. They represent a desire for the unknown, a yearning for change and for new sensations. The horror lies within this perverse yet enticing lifestyle of the marginalised and the taboo. It is usually curiosity which causes humans to enter their world.

                This obsession with the body, change and mutation is present throughout Barker's work. The making and unmaking of the body is an important part of Hellraiser, where Frank's body is rebuilt we have a juxtaposition of birth and death, a dead body being born from the blood of others.

                Barker has also voiced his dislike for horror films where you do not see the monster until late in the film. In Hellraiser the monsters: the cenobites, are introduced early on in the film. They are not hinted at or hidden, they are clear for all to see and frequently reappear throughout the film.

                Because they are presented completely and early on in the narrative the viewer can identify with the cenobites as the film (and indeed the franchise) progresses.
                Viewers relate to the cenobites being ugly/grotesque because everybody has fears that they will be rejected by society for being/looking different.
                Even though the cenobites are grotesque in appearance they have human qualities that the viewer can relate to (and in a sequel we see 'Pinhead' before he becomes a cenobite as a 'normal' human being).
                Some viewers are disgusted by 'Pinhead' while others sympathise with him or even fantasise about him! (My girlfriend, for one!)

                There is not just one monster in Hellraiser, the cenobites act as a group; there is a sense of community. They act together and have their own codes that they abide by, they also expect a certain amount of loyalty and believe in justice. This creates the question: who are the real monsters in the film, the cenobites or Frank and Julia?
                Frank was a violent, criminal deviant who gave his soul to the cenobites in search of ultimate pleasure through pain. He acted outside the laws of his society and so was subject to the laws of theirs.
                Julia is an adulteress and a murderer, who lures innocent men to her house in order to resurrect Frank, her dead lover.
                These two characters are considered completely immoral within their society, whereas the cenobites behave in accordance with the morals of their world. The cenobites' role is to inflict pain (which gives pleasure) to anyone who invites it by completing the puzzle box. So, we can see that Frank and Julia could be considered as the evil characters in the film and the cenobites are just doing their job.

                Barker sets out to analyze the monstrous, to foreground the grotesque and carnivalesque, to display it for the viewers' consumption. Nothing is left to the imagination; it is all there on the screen to be appreciated.

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                  12.11.2008 13:19
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                  More wintery I'd say (that's a funny joke, that is)

                  Sleazy glammed up rawk n roll.
                  This is a great 'best of' album and I highly recommend it.

                  The Dogs sound is full of rock n roll swagger like the Stones or Hanoi Rocks on a good day. Occasionally Tyla's lyrics get a bit too pretentious even for me! And he's not shy of throwing in a cliche or ten. But mostly I like the lyrics and he has got a pretty kick ass voice. Especially when he croons :-)

                  The guitars sound like Ronnie Wood's playing them. Gorgeous twanging like the Faces or more recently the Quireboys. Tyla obviously loves his Americana even though the Dogs are English, carping on about 'railroads' and stuff is his thang I'm afraid.

                  Stand out tracks for me are the excellent Heroin, I Don't Want You To Go and Billy Two Rivers. But the whole cd is top notch. Go buy it.




                  1 - How Come It Never Rains
                  2 - Kid From Kensington
                  3 - Heroine
                  4 - Satellite Kid
                  5 - I Don't Want You To Go
                  6 - Victims Of Success
                  7 - Lady Nicotine
                  8 - Johnny Silvers
                  9 - Empty World
                  10 - I Think It's Love Again
                  11 - Billy Two Rivers
                  12 - Last Bandit
                  13 - Trail Of Tears
                  14 - All Over Nothing At All
                  15 - Pretty Pretty Once

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                    12.11.2008 00:10
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                    A top band on top form!

                    Another cracking album from Half Man Half Biscuit. Although, a couple of the tracks don't quite match up to the rest of the album, She's In Broadstairs is a bit lame and The Referees Alphabet, though funny, doesn't really stand up to multiple listens but otherwise this is a winner!

                    The boys have got a brilliant sound on this album (for THEM that is, by any other bands standards it'd be rubbish) and the first five songs are all excellent. Them's The Vagaries probably being my favourite if not for the dirty riff then for the line "Bin men, thin men, lexicographers. Squid yes, not so octopuss" Now THERE is a lesson in lyric writing!!!

                    Breaking News has me in stitches every time. It's all about "Operation 'less pricks'", which involves cleaning up the streets and removing unwanted people from society for "annoying the nation". I love the Lisa Riley's inclusion.

                    Thy Damnation, Slumbereth Not is one of those epic lumbering Half Man tunes that remind you what great songwriters they are.

                    The humourous, cynical observations really are at there best on this cd. And with lines like "I'm off to see the Bootleg Beatles as the bootleg Mark Chapman" who wouldn't want this in their collection?!?!?

                    1 - The Light at the End of the Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train)
                    2 - When the Evening Sun Goes Down
                    3 - San Antonio Foam Party
                    4 - Them's the Vagaries
                    5 - If I had Possession Over Pancake Day
                    6 - The Referee's Alphabet
                    7 - She's in Broadstairs
                    8 - Tyrolean Knockabout
                    9 - Breaking News
                    10 - 27 Yards of Dental Floss
                    11 - Paradise Lost (You're the Reason Why)
                    12 - Thy Damnation Slumbereth Not
                    13 - Stavanger Töestub

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                      08.11.2008 19:56
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                      Better than most of the rubbish out there!!!

                      For those of you who don't know, the main men behind The Tears are Bernard Butler and Brett Anderson, the same guys from Suede.

                      Here Come The Tears is far better than the last Suede album, A New Morning. The opening track, Refugees, sounds stunning and reminds you how great these two are when they work together.

                      This album has more than just a couple of good singles though. Most of the tracks are enjoyable. Brett Anderson's voice sounds brilliant and the jingly-jangly, wailing, strumming guitars fit perfectly.

                      Imperfection is a sweet love song with Anderson's trademark romantic/trashy lyrics.

                      The Ghost Of You is genuinely quite haunting and one to get a bit weepy to (if you're a girl....... which I'm not). "The salvation army collected your things, I gave them the jewelry, all the bracelets and rings, your clothes in black bin bags, I gave them away. I tried to move on, but the ghost of you stays"

                      Track 7 - Lovers was a pretty big single off the album. And rightly so. It's a lovely pop song. A lot of the lyrical content on this album is to do with being in a relationship. Mostly in a cute, lovey-dovey way.

                      The album lulls a bit for me for a few songs until track 10 - Beautiful Pain which is a cracking ballady song. In fact the remainder of the album is pretty slow and low-key from here on. Slightly boring in places but mostly pretty decent stuff.

                      I spent a tenner on it when it came out and I still listen to it regularly so if you've any interest in Suede or britrock or indie or any of that kind of thing then I'd say it's worth grabbing a copy for a few quid from somewhere.

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                        08.11.2008 19:20
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                        The best Madness album for years. I reckon

                        The Dangermen Sessions Volume One is a collection of covers recorded by Madness and released in 2005.

                        Artists covered include Prince Buster, The Kinks, The Supremes and Desmond Dekker. Although I think my favourite tracks on this album are covers of Lord Tanamo with their silly happy quirky lyrics and uplifting ska pop music. Shame and Scandal is hilarious.

                        I didn't think a Madness cover of Lola by the Kinks would work very well. I LOVE the original and so I was a tad worried this version would be a load of old pants, but it's actually EXTREMELY good. Suggs' voice really works and I listen to this version on my MP3 player all the time now.

                        Girl Why Don't You?, You Keep Me Hanging On and John Jones all sound fantastic. I even like the cover of The Israelites!!!??!

                        Suggs' voice is also at it's best on Barabara Lynn's You'll Lose A Good Thing. Another great cover and, for me the last good song on the album. The two tracks that follow, Rain and So Much Trouble in The World are slow and quite dull. Then again, I HATE Bob Marley so maybe that has something to do with disliking the final track. The slow reggae songs just don't work as well as the more upbeat ska songs for me.

                        Go check it out.


                        1 - This Is Where
                        2 - Girl Why Don't You? (Prince Buster)
                        3 - Shame & Scandal (Sir Lancelot)
                        4 - I Chase the Devil A.K.A. Ironshirt (Max Romeo)
                        5 - Taller Than You Are (Lord Tanamo)
                        6 - You Keep Me Hanging On (The Supremes)
                        7 - Dangerman A.K.A. High Wire (Bob Leaper & His Orchestra)
                        8 - Israelites (Desmond Dekker & The Aces)
                        9 - John Jones (Desmond Dekker & The Aces)
                        10 - Lola (The Kinks)
                        11 - You'll Lose a Good Thing (Barbara Lynn)
                        12 - Rain (José Feliciano)
                        13 - So Much Trouble in the World (Bob Marley & The Wailers)

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                          08.11.2008 18:36
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                          If you don't mind your punk being glammed and glossed up to the eyeballs, this is for you!

                          Released in 2006, for me this album was a breath of fresh air when it came out. These boys have proper punk attitude, something which has been missing for too flaming long on these shores.

                          If you stuck Appetite For Destruction in a blender with Never Mind The B*****ks this is the kind of album that'd be spat out onto your kitchen surface. Glam punk. Very 80's (complete with big hairsprayed barnets) but not naff sounding thanks to the punky rawness of it all. Although there are some big fat Motley Crue choruses to be had.

                          Highlights include I'm A Rat, F*ck It Up (2 versions are included, both are great but the acoustic one is supercool and gets my vote as the better version) and the outstanding How Rude She Was, which is still the best single I've heard for donkeys yonks, the guitars on this track are gorgeous!!

                          Since this album, the Towers have changed line-up following a bust-up on the streets of Tokyo and haven't really been the same since.

                          Blood, Sweat & Towers is definitely worth a listen if you like any of the bands I've mentioned above. It does have a few 'filler' tracks on it, like Good Times which is pretty lame, but mostly it's a good punk n roll album.

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                          05.11.2008 00:09
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                          If you are a die-hard fan you kind of have to own this, but to anybody else I would suggest you dont

                          Here we have a collection of Wildhearts songs recorded at various live gigs and BBC sessions from 1993-1996. I do not really see the point of this CD. It is produced by the BBC and I'm not sure the Wildhearts themselves actually wanted it released. I think it just exists to make money for the record company.

                          The recordings aren't too bad and the choice of songs included is perfect. But if I want to listen to these tracks I'll go listen to the originals. The handful of tracks from the Reading Festival have a lot of energy and are closer to what the band are truly like live than most of the other recordings on this cd.

                          There is a very enjoyable cover of Elvis Costello's Pump It UP on this album, which is worth checking out and doesn't really appear on any other Wildhearts releases.

                          Here's the full tracklisting, which reads like a 'best of':


                          1 - Nothing Ever Changes But the Shoes
                          2 - Greetings from Shitsville
                          3 - Everlone
                          4 - Shame on Me
                          5 - Love You 'til I Don't
                          6 - Suckerpunch
                          7 - Drinking About Life
                          8- I Wanna Go Where the People Go
                          9 - Sick of Drugs
                          10 - Nita Nitro
                          11 - 29x the Pain
                          12 - TV Tan
                          13 - Pump it Up (Elvis Costello)
                          14 - Everlone
                          15 - Something Weird (Going on in My Head)
                          16 - Liberty Cap

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                            04.11.2008 18:32
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                            Well worth a few quid if you like Elvis Costello, Squeeze, The Blockheads etc

                            My Dad used to listen to Wreckless Eric a lot when I was a kid and a few years ago I got all nostalgic and went out and bought this 'Best of'. I'm glad i did because it is a fine collection of songs.

                            These songs all come from the late 70's when Wreckless Eric was on the Stiff record label and brushing shoulders with acts like Ian Dury and Elvis Costello. He is basically a one man band, singer/songwriter who wrote some witty, snotty, beautiful, nasty post-punk records.

                            The production is pretty lame on some of this stuff but the songs are mostly excellent.

                            Opening track, Whole Wide World is probably the most famous song on the album and it really is a corker. A lovely romantic sentiment but performed with angst and the odd sneer. Wreckless Eric is a brilliant lyricist and you can't help but love lines like "I should be lying on that sun-soaked beach with her, caressing her warm brown skin. And then in a year, or maybe not quite, we'll be sharing the same next of kin".

                            Track 5 - A Pop Song - made some impact in the US at the time I believe. It's a clever little song about writing a song because your record company wants to get a hit out of you. Good stuff.

                            The way Eric spits out the name Veronica on the song of the same name is a joy to the ears. Sweet, romantic lyrics but snarling vocals. Something about that combination works very well.

                            Broken Doll is another great pop song...... so great Cliff Richard had to go and cover it!! Don't be put off though. Cliff may be a raving loon but don't let that taint this version.

                            My favourite song on the cd is Excuse Me which is a genuinely beautiful love song. "Excuse me staring - we catch the same the same train. We've never spoken I wonder if we may" Maybe closer to stalking someone than loving them, but it works for me! It is delicious to these ears.

                            The album closes with the fitting Final Taxi. This is a song about your last car journey...... in a hearse....... to be buried.

                            "Up through the town to the garden of rest
                            Riding in style in a long wooden box
                            No fare on the meter they'll be paying by cheque -
                            This is one fare you won't see up on the clock
                            Riding in style in a long wooden box
                            Some poor soul took his final taxi"

                            I will tell you no more because I think you should find out for yourself. I will be kind for a change and give you a tracklisting though.

                            1. Whole Wide World
                            2. Reconnez Cherie
                            3. Semaphore Signals
                            4. Take the Cash (K.A.S.H.)
                            5. A Pop Song
                            6. Personal Hygiene
                            7. Tonight (Is My Night)
                            8. Hit and Miss Judy
                            9. Walking on the Surface of the Moon
                            10. Veronica
                            11. Let's Go to the Pictures
                            12. Waxworks
                            13. Broken Doll
                            14. Excuse Me
                            15. It'll Soon Be the Weekend
                            16. Strange Towns
                            17. I Wish It Would Rain
                            18. Out of the Blue
                            19. Grown Ups
                            20. The Final Taxi

                            His website is pretty useful www.wrecklesseric.com
                            And you can suss out some of his stuff on myspace and places

                            Pop Song on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u76_YFFgtC8&feature=related

                            Enjoy!

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                              03.11.2008 20:16
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                              If you like observational humour you should like this.

                              Another brilliant album from Birkenhead's finest. Possibly the best album title too.

                              Trouble Over Bridgwater marked a return to form for Half Man Half Biscuit when it was released in 2000. This album is much better than it's predecessor (Four Lads Who Shook The Wirral).

                              The album opens with Irk The Purists which lyrically is basically just a list of band names to the tune of Hosanna To The King Of Kings (with a wonderful parody of Agadoo thrown in for good measure!).

                              Uffington Wassail is a much slower affair and contains the excellent line "Lazy, greedy farmers - pick your own strawberries" amongst other gems.

                              Track 4, Nove On The Sly, stands out because it is a dance track! A bit of a break from the usual folk/punk/rock sound. But, as always, the lyrics are the important bit.

                              After more quirky songs and storytelling referencing 80's band Climie Fisher and BBC sports presenter Tony Gubba we soon arrive at With Goth On Our Side which is a fantastic reworking of Bob Dylan's With God On Our Side. Complete with goth band name-dropping including the line "My overweight girlfriend, she sits and she crimps. Her Mother's convinced she's communing with Imps. Her brother's alright though, he's a good lad is Wilf. Because he's into Placebo and Cradle Of Filth"

                              A big surprise on this album is the inclusion of a Christmas song! Not something you'd expect considering Nigel Blackwell's pessimism about everything. However, It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas is a really upbeat, optimistic and hugely enjoyable song. Complete with choir and bells etc. Nigel has to have a moan, so the way around it with this was to moan about people who moan at Christmas. How ironic.

                              Used To Be In Evil Gazebo and Look Dad No Tunes are both about being in bands. "My life is comfortable, but I don't want that image for my band" being a particularly wry opening line to the latter.

                              Trouble Over Bridgwater closes with the live favourite 24 Hour Garage People. Which tells the tale of a man making purchases from an all night garage much to the irritation of the man serving "You curse my soul cos i don't want petrol. I only came down for a tube of Pringles - Sour Cream and Chive"

                              You get the idea.

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                                31.10.2008 00:51
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                                Underrated album by an underrated band

                                Stiff Little Fingers hail from Northern Ireland and this record lets the listener know just how p*ssed off they were with Belfast in 1980.

                                It's not as hardcore as it's predecessor, Inflammable Material, but it's still very snotty and full of punk attitude. Opener Gotta Get Away sets the scene nicely, you get images of the Belfast youths legging it from the police on a friday night.
                                Wait And See is sticking the V's up to anyone who thought Stiff Little Fingers wouldn't get anywhere as a band. Jake Burns shredded vocals on this track are fantastic.
                                Track three, Fly The Flag, is my favourite on the record. About living in a 'free' Britain. It's a brilliant chunk of punk-rock (pop?).

                                The album continues with the recurring themes of a repressed childhood (At The Edge) and of fighting for your right to do what you want and to be proud and independent etc.

                                The album is broken up by the reggae influenced Bloody Dub and It Doesn't Make It All Right, which is quite a political song....... so it's odd that I like it really. I hate the Clash, but I expect a lot of Clash fans are Stiff Little Fingers fans too. There are many similarities due to them both coming out of the punk era and making thought-provoking angst-ridden post-punk (hyphen-central round here eh?)

                                The album then gets back to the more straight forward 2.5 minute snotty, rough and ready punk songs again with I Don't Like You and No Change before arriving on the biggest single off the album - Tin Soldiers about a young lad enlisting in the army "signing away his youth". And that's your lot, 40 minutes of excellent punk to give you a shake up!
                                A lot of the lyrics on this album deal with the Northern Ireland conflict of the time.

                                Buy it. It is better than the Pussycat Dolls. No, really.

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