Friday, July 20, 2007

The Week In Review(s)

I guess summer must be upon us, because it seemed to be a remarkably light week, in fact something happened that I thought could never happen, for two days I was actually out of books to review. This is pretty much unheard of!

I rooted around and eventually had to relieve Jan of a book that she has been 'reviewing' for the last couple of months From Hearst To Hughes by Donald Lunde. This is the memoir of a forensic psychiatrist and in it he details some of the high profile court cases he has been involved in, Patty Hearst, Howard Hughes, The Hillside Strangler, etc. This is a fascinating book, I was really impressed with it. Dr Lunde makes a very convincing case that Howard Hughes was 'a couple of slices short of a loaf' in his later years. I have not actually written the review yet for this book, guess I really should.

Damien Lewis of Cobra Gold fame sent me two more of his books mid-week. I am a little over half way through Bloody Hero's and a cracking read it is. The original version was released in 06, late last month the paperback version came out. This book details some of the activities carried out by the British special forces in the early days of the Afghan war. Damien is relatively unknown in North America, yet is a best selling author, and well known war corespondent in the UK.

Bloody Hero's has just been optioned by a movie house so keep your eyes peeled for this one at your local theater in a year or so. In fact I believe that Cobra Gold is also destined for the big screen.

I had a great interview with Gerrie Hugo about Africa Will Always Break Your Heart. If you have not read this book, you should. It sheds a very interesting light on South Africa during the apartheid era, and maybe just as important the post apartheid years. Although this may seem distant history to most of us, Gerrie shows that although it may be gone in practice, it is still alive and well in mentality. I normally try to keep an interview under 1200 words, this interview went 4000! I ended up having to split it into two parts, part 1 and part 2.

On the music scene I managed to score a copy of The Strawbs latest CD. This may not be a band that is very well known this side of the pond, but are well worth seeking out. They have their roots in the electric folk movement of the early 70's and then transitioned into prog rock. This was one of my favorite bands of that era. Although they are somewhat older now, they are every bit as good as I remember. The leader of this merry band is Dave Cousins, and it transpires that he is just about to release a solo album which I am trying to snag a copy of it.

On the subject of prog rock, who contributed most to this genre of music? Well in my mind it would have to be Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. This wonderful piece of electronica was at the heart of all of the best prog rock. Alas the veritable Moog is now just a museum piece, but it's proponents still celebrate by holding an annual MoogFest. Without doubt the high spot of this DVD was seeing Keith Emerson (as in ELP) do his mad scientist impression on a full size tricked out Moog.

What would a week be without yet another Johnny Cash DVD, I swear that there is more Cash now than when he was alive! The Man - His World - His Music is a most entertaining documentary. When Jan opened this package her eyes glazed over and she muttered something like "....oh good, another Johnny Cash DVD, I think I'll go lay down....".

I rounded out the adventures in music with some classic 80's, Echo And The Bunnymen. There is a new DVD of one of their concerts, Dancing Horses is a lot of fun.

Well, that's it for the week folks!

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