About a quarter of this bio is a really good, super interesting read. Unfortunately once Bill Tarmey’s life catches up to when he takes the role of JaAbout a quarter of this bio is a really good, super interesting read. Unfortunately once Bill Tarmey’s life catches up to when he takes the role of Jack Duckworth on Coronation Street it becomes Jack’s biography and hardly includes anything else from the rest of Bill’s life.
Instead we get a complete breakdown of Jack’s adventures and follies on The Street. How many episodes he was in per year based on appearance charts, which cast members, left the show or died or were added. How he and Vera’s volatile on screen marriage was holding out. Basically it’s a rundown of Coronation Street for the past 31 years. I will admit that these behind the scenes moments and story synopsis became way more interesting once it got to the point that I started watching the show and knew the characters and storylines. But still, I wanted to read more about Bill Tarmey not the character Jack. I guess I should have surmised from the title “JACK DUCKWORTH and me (the “and me” is written in tiny letters) that this was going to be a bio about a fictional character. Shouldn’t I? Anyways.
Born in 1941 in a rented terrace house in Manchester England, Bill’s early life was one of poverty, food rationing, tragedy and a close knit family that all lived a stone’s throw from each other. His biological father was killed in 1944 while serving as an ambulance driver in the Second World War and Bill has no memories of him. What I found interesting here is that despite the adversity of his childhood, he only has happy memories of the time. Everyone was in the same boat. Young widowed mothers, air raid sirens and playing in bombed out buildings were the norm. You were often hungry and there was no time to be idle, everyone worked at what they could which often included factories. He admits to being hopeless in the classroom but gifted when it came to music. This entire early section really took me into postwar England and the struggles the country faced.
“There was never a turkey for Christmas lunch. It would be a chicken and most of the breast would go to my dad because he was a working man and needed to keep up his strength. For me, whose only experience of meat was corned beef or Prem (a cheap version of Spam) a chicken wing was a real treat.”
Bill met Alice, the woman he would spend the rest of his life with at the age of 14 and married her at 18. At the time of their marriage in 1962 he was working as an asphalter and had .37p in his pocket. There is very little insight into his marriage or personal life, except for his children being born, but it seems to me like theirs is a real love story.
Bill talks a lot about his singing career which started in the church, and continued into the pubs and club scene. It’s my opinion that this is the career path he would have preferred and his true passion. His real life eerily mirrored that of his alter ego he played on screen, with lurches into fortune and fame and just plain luck. “I feared that some new producer would recognise my failings and wonder what Bill Tarmey was doing pretending to be an actor. I could never relax because I always thought the bubble was going to burst at any moment. I’ve had a wonderful time playing him it’s just that for a long time I felt a bit of a fraud.”
Sadly The Cobbles lost Bill Tarmey (Nov 10/12) and with his passing Coronation Street loses a true legend. I will miss Jack Duckworth; his last Corrie episode still brings tears to my eyes, as he dances with his Vera. Cheers Jack! 374jb3. ...more
Opening Line: "November 12, 1975. A cold night in Philly."
So, a little known (and completely unnecessary) fact about me is that I’m huge fan of the RoOpening Line: "November 12, 1975. A cold night in Philly."
So, a little known (and completely unnecessary) fact about me is that I’m huge fan of the Rocky movies. That’s right Rocky Balboa is my hero. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen the movies over the years but I still cheer along every single time and get all caught up in the struggle, heartbreak, training montages, music, love story and that final 15 round, blood splattered, go for glory, give it all ya got, fight. I’m actually at a loss as to explain why they move me so much? Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved an underdog and this is the story of the ultimate underdog; a man whose whole life centers on a million to one shot. It’s also about going the distance and in the case of the original movie losing but winning the girl anyhow.
When Rocky Balboa came out a few years ago my fan-girl status piqued and I hunted down all the novelizations. I’d been hoping that I might find something new in the novel, some in depth characterization or at least some scenes that weren’t in the movie because honestly just how in depth can Rocky be? He’s a pretty simple character. Anyways there are a few gems here but for the most part this was just an okay, somewhat clunky read that didn’t really add anything to the experience. In fact it often read more like the original screenplay than the novelization it was meant to be. “Adrian was visibly upset. She walked across the room. She turned the light on.”
Rocky’s relationship with Gazzo is better developed here, while his relationship with Micky is less so and there is a great scene with Balboa nervously riding up the elevator to Apollo’s office when he still thinks he’s being sought after as a sparring partner. The final fight scene which is so spectacular in the movie is kind of lack luster here and the actual ending is different with both Rocky and Adrian being carried overhead by exuberant fight fans after the final decision is announced instead of Adrian sneaking under the ropes and telling Rocky she loves him as the decision is announced. The one here felt very awkward and I’m glad Stallone changed it.
Anyways I’m still rockin my Italian Stallion t-shirt on the weekends and have quit questioning why I’m such a fan. One day I’ll make it to the natural history museum in Philadelphia and run up those steps. It’s on the bucket list. Cheers. ...more
This was pretty freaking awesome, my very first graphic novel and what an introduction. Like many others I picked thiOpening Line: “This is not good.”
This was pretty freaking awesome, my very first graphic novel and what an introduction. Like many others I picked this up because I’m obsessed with AMC’s The Walking Dead and wanted, well I just wanted more. I was also curious about the graphic novels, I’d heard they were good but I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting much, I mean they’re comics right, how engaging can they be?
However DAYS GONE BYE captured my attention from page one and managed to hold me hostage for the entire hour it took to read, giving me a real sense of sense of anticipation, anxiety and fear. I think what makes this so good (besides all the awesome zombie ass kicking) is that Kirkman has managed to capture the human story so well, which I didn’t expect. I found myself really caring about the outcome of the characters even the ones I didn’t know because they hadn’t made it into the TV series.
On that note probably the most fun for me here (and purists will hate this) was comparing the graphic novel to the TV series. What they used, what they changed, how the characters look etc. The outcome of this book is very different to the end of season 1 and surprised the hell out of me. And while the dialougue can be kinda corny the black and white artwork is awesome; detailed, -you can see their breathe when it gets cold, realistic(?) What I mean is they don’t look like superheroes all muscles, tiny waists and huge boobs. The zombies are seriously disgusting and the kill shots (on both sides) are amazing. Yup this was a great read and very, very addictive. Looks like I’ll be splurging on The Walking Dead Compendium after all. Cheers
Volume 1 follows officer Rick Grimes from pre apocalypse shootout through waking up alone in the abandoned hospital. We then trail him as he meets bicycle girl! the flat end of Morgan & Dwayne’s shovel and starts to adjust to life in his new zombie filled world, before setting off to Atlanta in search of his wife and son. No tank scene there but he rides that ill-fated horse and gets rescued by Glenn who takes him to the encampment and other survivors.
Opening Line: "Captain's Personal Log Stardate 6324.09"
A while ago I caught the classic Star Trek episode All Our Yesterdays on late night TV and gotOpening Line: "Captain's Personal Log Stardate 6324.09"
A while ago I caught the classic Star Trek episode All Our Yesterdays on late night TV and got sucked right into the story, as well as just how awesomely cheesy the original series is (I really have to watch it more often) Anyways, I happened to mention the episode to my long time Trekkie Mum who found this tie-in book tucked away on a dust covered shelf (amongst hundreds of others)
YESTERDAY’S SON is a continuation of sorts to that original TV episode, playing on the "what-if" scenario that Spock and Zarabeth’s little indiscretion 5,000 years ago (due to Gateway Time travel) resulted in a child. (It seems Starfleet doesn’t issue condoms)
Spock goes back to the planet Sarpedion and using the mysterious time portal meets his 5,000 year old son. Time travel is so much fun, anything is possible, and while this is way out of the realm of what I usually read, I have to say that I enjoyed it. It’s a well written, clever story, capturing the essence of the original series perfectly while giving us a peek into the minds of our favourite characters.
The author obviously knows her Star Trek, managing to include mention of several other episodes along the way which will have Trekkies smiling. There’s a good amount of action involved here including a strategic space battle with the Enterprise outnumbered by the Romulan fleet Go Scottie! and some good old fashioned hand to hand combat too. We also get a ton of Vulcan history - is there like a bible of this stuff somewhere?
All the characters are represented in one way or another, remaining true to form. Kirk in all his Captainly awesomeness, Bones who is less grouchy then I remember, taking on a more father like role here and Spock who I honestly didn’t like very much. His character is cold, heartless condescending and frustrating. Yeah I know he’s Vulcan and emotionless but he’s also an a-hole. We also get a glimpse of some doomed red-shirts and spend just enough time with Scotty, Uhura, Chechov and Sulu to make it feel like a real episode.
Speaking of Sulu, he has one of my favourite lines from the whole book which is only ironic now 20 years later. He and Uhura are discussing how much Zar and Spock look alike
"Have you ever looked into Zar’s eyes?” Uhura leaned forward a little, lowering her voice.
“No--other men’s eyes don’t do anything for me, I’m afraid” Sulu grinned.
Ah yes, the science of Star Trek. Cheers. 285jb4...more
Opening Line:"It was October. The trees of the cemetery had turned a decayed brown, and a cold breeze had whistled in, replacing the stifling heat ofOpening Line:"It was October. The trees of the cemetery had turned a decayed brown, and a cold breeze had whistled in, replacing the stifling heat of the Virginia summer."
For some reason I went into Volume 2 of this series thinking it was going to be told from Damon’s POV. Yeah I know it states quite clearly in the title “Stefan’s Diaries” but the photo of Ian Somerhalder on the cover threw me. Anyways, we are again in Stefan’s head, joining him directly after the end of Origins The Salvatore brothers are attending their father’s funeral in Mystic Falls and trying to come to terms with the fact that they are now vampires. Catherine is gone (never to reappear in this book) and the Civil War rages on.
I should mention that while this is based on author L.J. Smith's original characters and historical flashbacks from the TV series it’s not really connected to either and reads just fine as a stand alone. I would especially recommend it to historical romance fans and the fact that it’s YA isn’t really an issue here either.
Stefan is embracing his new powers as a vampire although his additional strength, speed and ever present hunger are going to take a while to get used to. Damon on the other hand has all but given up, refusing to feed and hating what Stefan has turned him into. Before long the brothers are discovered and chased out of town, hopping a train bound for New Orleans they're looking for safety and a new life. Stefan begins to experience bloodlust and manages to drain several passengers before they arrive while Damon continues to hate everything about his new existence especially his brother.
The majority of our story takes place in the New Orleans of 1864. The Salvatore brothers are at odds and soon separate with Stefan going on a killing spree before being adopted by a “family” of Vampires. Under Lexi’s guidance Stefan is quickly taught “how to be a better vampire” existing on animal blood and flexing his powers of mind control.
Meanwhile Damon gets caught by a vampire hunter and sold to a circus, shackled with vervain he’s forced to perform in fights to the death. Despite it all a bond still exists between them and Stefan soon devises a plan to rescue his brother, he just didn’t expect to fall in love in the process.
The epilogue of this instalment is fantastic, setting things up perfectly for the future Salvatore brothers we’ve come to know. Cheers...more
Opening Line: "The day my life changed started out like any other."
So I have to admit this was surprisingly good. Surprising because I’m not anywhereOpening Line: "The day my life changed started out like any other."
So I have to admit this was surprisingly good. Surprising because I’m not anywhere near the demographic the book is aiming at. For starters I’m far (far) from being a YA (although admittedly I do sometimes still act like it) I’ve never read any of the books from L.J Smith’s original series and I’m only a casual fan of the TV show. (Oh, but those Salvatore boys are yummy to look at) However Stefan’s Dairies was a great read and stands perfectly fine on its own, completely separate from either series, except of course for using the same characters and town setting.
Based on historical flashbacks shown briefly in the TV series, here we get to go back to the “origin” of the Salvatore brothers, set during the civil war before they became vampires. The writing is simple but the story is complete and very good with elements of suspense and romance throughout; Stefan trying to live up to his fathers expectations, young love and the jealousy yet unbreakable bond between two brothers as they vie for the same mysterious woman.
I wouldn’t have any trouble recommending this to anyone (of any age) who enjoys historical romances as it can easily be read as a stand alone without ever having seen the TV show or reading the original series. However it is pretty nice to be able to use Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder as visual references :)
Its 1864 and seventeen year old Stefan Salvatore has just proposed marriage to a girl he doesn’t love. As his overbearing father grooms him to take over the family estate his wayward brother Damon returns from the still raging Civil war and a beautiful girl named Katherine moves into the carriage house. Recently orphaned Katherine is everything his betrothed is not; seductive and mischievous she also harbours a grave secret and has fully captured the attention of both Salvatore brothers. When strange killings begin to occur within the town, Stefan’s father organizes a lynch mob to track down the killers. It seems there be vampires in Mystic Falls. Cheers...more
Opening Line:"The entire platoon came under attack near a tiny French town called Maroueuil; the planes flew in low and quick, though the drone of proOpening Line:"The entire platoon came under attack near a tiny French town called Maroueuil; the planes flew in low and quick, though the drone of propellers served as a warning and sent everyone running."...more
Opening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:”
This is one of those modern classics on everyoneOpening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:”
This is one of those modern classics on everyone’s “to read” list and while it wasn’t my first Nick Hornby book it is the one that everyone talks about so of course I went into this expecting to be awed. I guess I should mention that I haven’t seen the movie (what! I know) so I knew nothing about the storyline, not that that would have influenced me I just went into this blind.
And, well I wish I could say I loved this (since that would make me one of the cool kids) but honestly the best I can come up with is under whelmed. Of course the writing is wonderful and it really is laugh-out-loud funny in places but I also found myself alternating between skim reading (because the story wasn’t going anywhere) and all the 80’s pop music references and top 5 lists got to be a bit much. But then I'd catch myself rereading and marking numerous passages because they were just genius, describing exactly how I felt/feel.
I should tell you that the music references are somewhat dated now and anyone under the age of 40 will be scratching their heads especially if you live in America as this involves British pop music and Indie bands.
I think one of the main problems for me is that our protagonist Rob isn’t a very likable character. It was hard to have any sort of compassion for him or for that matter even want to read about him. I actually found myself preferring any of the sections that placed him with other people because when we were alone in his head being all introspective I got bored. Rob is immature, selfish, self-absorbed and depressed, stuck in a job, apartment and relationship that have all gone stale. He has zero self confidence yet at the same time is so full of himself that he expects everything to revolve around him, which of course it doesn’t and this in turn makes him lash out at his friends, parents and girlfriend to feel better about the state of his life.
Rob is a bit of a loser; a thirty-something music junkie he spends his days running a near failing record shop and reminiscing about the 80’s when he was semi successful DJ. Rob’s life has stalled and he can’t see a way out so he compiles top 5 lists of his favourite bands, songs, episodes of Cheers etc, insults his equally lost friends and plots ways to kill the guy who lives in the flat upstairs and stole his girlfriend. Along the way Rob manages to grow up, (some) and realizes change might not be so horrible. ...more
Opening Line:"Charlie St. Cloud wasn't the best or brightest boy in Essex County, but he was surely the most promising"
I read this a few years ago butOpening Line:"Charlie St. Cloud wasn't the best or brightest boy in Essex County, but he was surely the most promising"
I read this a few years ago but after recently seeing the movie I was reminded of how much I’d liked this story and decided I had to revisit Charlie St Cloud and his little brother Sam. Even though I knew the big reveal this time through I was still able to immerse myself completely in this magical, moving journey from death back to life.
With a story and writing style reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks this is an easy, beautiful and somewhat tear-jerking read that I would recommend to fans of his. There is of course a touching love story here but to me this was more about brothers, letting go of the past and embracing life.
Sherwood also manages to also bring the seaside town of Marblehead Massachusetts to life with quaint and intriguing secondary characters and a unique yachting theme. There were times here when I could actually smell the sea breeze, feel the salt spray on my face and really see his descriptions of clouds and setting suns. So much so that despite the movie being filmed some 50 miles from my (Canadian) back yard I still had the urge to visit New England. I think what I liked most here though was Sherwood’s comforting take on the afterlife; giving us all hope that our departed are with us, all around us and waiting for us.
As a teenager Charlie St. Cloud died in a car accident, brought back after a few minutes by the paramedics his younger brother Sam wasn’t to be so lucky. During those brief moments before Charlie was returned to life he made a promise to his brother that he would never leave him, and he never has. Now 13 years later Charlie is working in a cemetery, he’s still full of guilt over the accident however by some twist of fate he can now see the dead walking amongst the tombstones and every night at sunset he meets Sam in a secret grove where they play baseball together in a Field Of Dreams sort of way. Charlie’s never missed a single sunset with the fear that his brother would fade away if he did, in this way though neither of them has been able to move on. The cemetery almost becomes a character of its own here, no longer feeling like a creepy, sad place but one of magic and adventure.
Tess Carol is about to embark on a solo sailing trip around the world so meeting someone like Charlie is definitely not in her plans. Yet despite his odd habit of disappearing at sunset she can’t help but fall in love, these days he seems to be the only one who really “sees” her. When Tess’s boat is lost in a storm Charlie is faced with the ultimate choice between death and life. In joining the search party he chooses love and a future full of possibilities yet in doing so he’ll also break his promise and risk losing his brother forever. ...more