Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Big Big Train performing Judas Unrepentant



Big Big Train are one of my favourite groups of recent years.  They to me define current British Prog Rock - steeped in the 70s - much of this songs rhythm and style remind me of Gentle Giant - anyone remember them?

This is my favourite song of theirs which has as it's lyrical inspiration the definitely off beat topic of an art forger - Tom Keating actually who was able to churn out a number of "great masters" that fooled many of the art world.  Anyhow this is a very rare live outing for the band earlier this year... enjoy



Monday, 16 November 2015

Book Review - Where my Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks

I've really enjoyed Sebastian Faulk's books in the past.  Engleby is actually somewhere up there on my "everyone should read this book list" without any doubt.  I'll cut to the chase Where My Heart Used to Beat is potentially in the running for that list too.

As with many of his works it is a study of life, love, the meaning of being but more importantly about love and how some people experience a really stunning moment of love in their lives - although it may be all too brief.  In this way it follows on from the theme in his last work - A Possible Life - where he covered love in a series of short stories.  Here we have a single hero character - a psychiatrist.  Someone who has worked his life to understand mental illness and how to help those with it to a better life.  Dr Robert Hendricks lost his father to WWI and himself fought in WWII.  Set initially in the early 80s we find a 60 something Hendricks reviewing his life - aided by some others who somewhat set this up as it were.

Faulk's does introduce Dr Hendricks in a manner whereby for many you may feel he is a man of little integrity and honour and then rebuilds that.  Only again for that to be questioned by actions that are revealed from his past.

I think this is a terrific novel - like many of Faulk's work it isn't a jolly read, it isn't for the feint-hearted and may if you are passed the top of the hill of your life like me make you a little uncomfortable in terms of considering exactly what have you achieved in life.  However it does show again how people's life and love are so moving and important to us. I totally recommend it.

Very rarely awarded but this the second time Faulk's gets one (the other was for Engleby) Two Thumbs up with a Grin

* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Book Review - Career of Evil Robert Galbraith

Despite it is all long out in the open about Ms Rowling's alter ego she continues to write as Robert Galbraith in the latest instalment in Cormoran Strikes life.  I'd really enjoyed the first two books in the series and looked forward to this one.  On completing it I have to say - I'm a little deflated and disappointed.

Whilst the continuing character exposure of the two main characters in the book, namely Strike himself and Robin his enthusiastic assistant continues I feel that in some ways the main plot line was purely a complete vehicle for that exposure.  In the first two books it was clear there was a deep, dark secret in Robin's past in this book that is pushed firmly into the open.  That is the major reveal of the book but is somewhat too early in the narrative since after that we're playing out the rest of this plot that you feel was mostly there to simply reveal that secret.  The frisson within Strike and Robin's relationship continues with her continuing engagement to Matthew the guy you really want to just bugger off out of the scene - no disrespect Matt but you just are getting in the way of what we can all see if the relationship we all want to see... oh he does look a complete shit at one point as well which helps you dislike him more.

Where however this book fails to be as enthralling and engaging as the previous two is that the case Strike manages to solve again under the noses of the incompetent Met Police is all about him.  A ghost from the past is stalking him and wanting to destroy him.  This again is a vehicle to expose a bit more of our hero's past but frankly I feel less engaged than when Strike was working to show up a major injustice in someone else's story as the first two were.  He lost some of the Robin Hood shine that kind of role gave him - having him pitted against the Met over threats to himself just doesn't seem to fit as well as an engaging plot line.  As I say I just feel the author felt the need to expose some points about him and Robin in particular and wove the investigation about that which just left me a bit flat. 

If you've read the first two and enjoyed them and intend to stick with the series read this.  If new to it - read the first one and then decide.  I do feel after the next volume comes out this one might seem unnecessary reading frankly.

Two Thumbs horizontal (just!) on the FTUBRS*

* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb down,
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded