Those who burned, those still aflame, and the countless unnamed...
This earns five stars thanks to the mindblowingly good 'Co-Dead Language' - the writThose who burned, those still aflame, and the countless unnamed...
This earns five stars thanks to the mindblowingly good 'Co-Dead Language' - the written version of Saul's 'Coded Language', found on his first album Amethyst Rock Star. If you haven't heard it, or seen him read the poem, head over to YouTube now and give it a whirl.The rest of the book is also really good, and i'd hate to understate this, but seriously, this one poem in particular is just so damn good that it overshadows the rest, as good as it is.
You never, ever do what you want. You just get swept away.
This is a decent collection of Sartre's short fiction - each of the five pieces differ in sYou never, ever do what you want. You just get swept away.
This is a decent collection of Sartre's short fiction - each of the five pieces differ in style and length, enough so to make them all worth reading. The Childhood of a Leader and The Bedroom are the two weakest works, but what they lack in quality, the other three (The Wall, Herostratus and Intimacy) more than make up for. Sartre the novelist is often overlooked in favour of Sartre the philosopher, but at the end of the day, the man produced some brilliant works of fiction. This collection serves equally well as a primer for newcomers to his work as it does to those who have read his more famous pieces and are hungry for more....more
The ancient philosopher Socrates (fifth century B.C.) thought that, when it comes to the Ultimate Questions, we all start off as dummies.
I found thisThe ancient philosopher Socrates (fifth century B.C.) thought that, when it comes to the Ultimate Questions, we all start off as dummies.
I found this to be an interesting read and would recommend it to people who are looking into the world of philosophy for the first time and have no clue where to start. Tom Morris looks at the key questions that philosophers have been asking for a very long time, and does so in a way that's easy to follow and comprehend.
The downside for me is that certain areas are passed over with very little attention, simply because the author doesn't agree with those ideas himself. You sometimes get a sense that he could offer more time to things he disagrees with out of duty to the reader, rather than using the space to put forth his own viewpoints.
Whilst it's not as balanced as it perhaps could be, it's a decent stepping stone into this complex world that will suit newcomers well....more
I ought to warn you that the author of this sick little play, Dario Fo, has the traditional, irrational hatred of the police common to all narrowmindeI ought to warn you that the author of this sick little play, Dario Fo, has the traditional, irrational hatred of the police common to all narrowminded left-wingers and so i shall, no doubt, be the unwilling butt of endless anti-authoritarian jibes.
I've never seen this play performed, but from reading it i got the impression that it would be a fantastic mix of tone, being both a serious critique and a hilarious satire about police corruption and incompetence.
The events of the play are very cleverly done, with characters pretending to be other characters in turn pretending to be another, leading to the comic effect of utter confusion among the police officers. The core message is deadly serious (it was based on a real life event), but at times it borders on farcical.
The double-bluff ending is a great touch, too....more
At one point it had really felt we could've changed things, but with his suicide it was finally proved to me, irrevocably, this is what happens when yAt one point it had really felt we could've changed things, but with his suicide it was finally proved to me, irrevocably, this is what happens when you try to fuck with the system.
Everett True was - pretty much - there from the start. Working for Melody Maker at the time, he was the first journalist in the UK to delve into the music scene of Seattle and the surrounding area. He travelled around the world with Nirvana, performed on stage with them multiple times, spent hour after hour with them, becoming the rarest of things: a trusted journalist. Who introduced (albeit indirectly) Courtney Love to Kurt Cobain? Everett True. When Cobain was brought on to the headlining stage of Reading festival in a wheelchair in 1992, who was doing the pushing? Everett True. When Cobain died, who was the only journalist welcomed into the household? Everett True.
After so many books, biographies, bootlegs and blogs about Nirvana, it's difficult for anyone to get a clear sense of what it was like at the time, what the band was about, what they meant...all that sort of stuff. It's hard not to have memories distorted by so many differing accounts. And so, it's about time that a book like this came out - a genuinely definitive book on the subject of Nirvana. This is the only one you need. Others have proved interesting reads, but have always been suspiciously angled. Charles R. Cross' Heavier Than Heaven, for example, has some wonderful anecdotes...but if you dig a bit deeper, at times it's worryingly biased in favour of Courtney Love, no doubt a result of her 'endorsement'.
True offers us a hands-up-in-the-air, as-honest-as-can-be account of the few years in which Nirvana changed nothing by changing everything. At times he goes into an obsessive amount of detail, with interviews from pretty much anyone and everyone that played a part in the band's rise to stardom, with the main exception of Courtney Love. It's difficult to gauge whether the two are still on good terms, but judging by the lack of fresh input from Love, you'd assume not. Fortunately, True has a veritable library of interviews that he conducted with her over the years to draw from.
The main reason this is the definitive Nirvana book is that it doesn't pretend to be definitive. So many stories surround the band, with conflicting reports from all quarters on every 'important' event. True always points out the different sides of the stories, noting quite rightly that half the time, you just can't be sure what the truth is. 'Kurtney', as he puts it, made up so many things in an attempt to throw people off the scent of their real selves; truths were refuted, myths became reality.
It's Everett True's position as an insider that makes this book what it is. Without it, he'd be just another writer trying to capture what made this band and their music so special, and he'd be ten years too late in doing it, too. Instead, we're taken into the eye of the storm; a maelstrom of smashed guitars, world domination, passionate love affairs, and, ultimately, self-destruction.
N.B. I never knew Nirvana was in Berlin the night the wall came down....more
This is a decent book on travel photography, and indeed on photography in general. It's full of great advice on how to go about shooting fantastic imaThis is a decent book on travel photography, and indeed on photography in general. It's full of great advice on how to go about shooting fantastic images around the world, all within a small book that's perfect for sticking in your camera bag whilst on your travels.
The only downside is that for someone like myself, who only deals with digital photography, too much time is spent discussing film photography, which sometimes gives the impression that the book isn't quite as up to date as it could be....more
Any action, in the fullness of time, sinks to nothingness.
The various quotes of critical praise that adorn the back of this novel compare it to DostoyAny action, in the fullness of time, sinks to nothingness.
The various quotes of critical praise that adorn the back of this novel compare it to Dostoyevsky, Bret Easton Ellis etc. I can't help but feel that such a claim is a huge insult to those writers.
Almost all of the characters have a certain characteristic or trait that serves virtually no purpose other than to help you remember who is who. Without this, they'd all blend into one, a sign of how two-dimensional they really are. The narrator - Richard - is particularly lacking in personality. The only good thing about having him narrate the story to us is that it allows us to see things in the way he did - fragmented, confused, seemingly surrounded by secrecy.
Sadly, as the novel progresses and revelations come to the fore, they're really not that revelatory after all, just anti-climactic. When a novel begins by telling you one of the main events - the death of a character - it's crucial that the events leading up to that add something to it, or at least that they're told in an interesting way. Unfortunately, that's not the case here.
Finally, it's several hundred pages too long. There's a worryingly large number of minor characters and half-arsed sub-plots floating around that add absolutely nothing to the novel and really should have been chopped out.
So, why two stars rather than just the one? Well, even though the content of the novel leaves something to be desired, Donna Tartt's writing is actually not that bad, or at least, it's much better than that of other authors i've read recently....more
The FBI is still refusing to release the 45,000 documents it holds on Malcolm X.
From Tutankhamun to Saddam Hussein, via the Blood Libel, PhiladelphiaThe FBI is still refusing to release the 45,000 documents it holds on Malcolm X.
From Tutankhamun to Saddam Hussein, via the Blood Libel, Philadelphia Experiment, JFK and countless more, this book offers short summaries of just about every conspiracy theory you can think of. Some of them are just plain crazy, whilst others have been proved to be true. All of them are interesting, whilst leaving you feeling worryingly paranoid about every aspect of your life. A great read for people who want to discover the basic ideas behind the world's many conspiracy theories, the book also has a fair amount to offer those interested in general history. ...more
This is effectively an autobiography, detailing the author's horrifically off-the-rails life growing up throughYou grow up fast living on the streets.
This is effectively an autobiography, detailing the author's horrifically off-the-rails life growing up through the foster-care system, into the world of the gangster, and spiralling down into hardcore drug addiction.At first i was hooked, but it soon became frustrating, as time and time again i thought to myself that she was just so damn stupid to do the things she was doing.
Even more annoying was the relatively breezey way in which she skipped through the end of the book (where she gets her life back together), which, after everything that had happened to her, just seemed way too easy. It has taken me several months to finally finish this book - every time i picked it up i read a few chapters, swore i'd already read them before, and put it down for another few days. It never really grabbed my attention or elicited my full sympathy, and ultimately failed to offer any real inspiration. ...more
Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
A prodigiously brilliant thinker who sharply challenged the beliefs of his age,Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
A prodigiously brilliant thinker who sharply challenged the beliefs of his age, the political and social radical John Stuart Mill was the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century. Regarded as one of the sacred texts of liberalism, his great work On Liberty argues lucidly that any democracy risks becoming a 'tyranny of opinion' in which minority views are suppressed if they do not conform with those of the majority.
Written in the same period as On Liberty, shortly after the death of Mill's beloved wife and fellow-thinker Harriet, The Subjection Of Women stresses the importance of equality for the sexes. Together, the works provide a fascinating testimony to the hopes and anxieties of mid-Victorian England, and offer a compelling consideration of what it truly means to be free....more