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Music CD Reviews
Book Review: The Summons
Hot off the press, The Summons (ISBN 0-440-29600-5) is the
latest fiction piece from well known author John Grisham (The Client, The Firm
and many others). Like the previous examples, this is another thriller, set
within a legal family, with Judge Atlee from Clanton Mississippi representing
the typical conservative viewpoint of yesterday. His sons, one a law professor
and the other an alcoholic drug addict are shown in their correct positions
within the family hierarchy. However, all good things must come to an end, and
the book really begins with the demise of the old judge, by then a
cancer-ridden shadow of his former self at 79 years of age.
Grisham has the ability to describe life, its circumstances
and the people in it with an amazing accuracy. Attention to detail is one
factor that has made his books so believable, and if you then add in an
exciting plot you have a classic book of this genre. It is no wonder that they
have ended up on the silver screen.
In The Summons, following the death of the patriarch, his
sons appear, the respected law professor and the hopeless alcoholic, with the
latter letting the professor execute the apparently simple division of the
estate. It all goes smoothly for a while until a large amount of money is
discovered. Money that could not have been earned by the normal endeavours of a
The professor has now to attempt to find out just how his
father came by this money. If illegally, it will damn the memory of his father
forever, but if come by legally, and incorporated in the estate, it will be
subject to investigation and tax by the Inland Revenue Service.
With his legal mind, the professor begins to attempt to find
where the money came from. Gambling perhaps? Stocks and shares? The next factor
was to see if any of his late father’s close associates knew of “extra”
money. All this he has to do in a clandestine manner, something which is
foreign to the nature of a law school professor.
When he finds out that someone else knows about the money,
his troubles are compounded. The roller coaster ride starts about now and you
will not be able to put the book down! Believe me!
The review copy was made available by Bookazine and has an
RRP of 350 baht. It is a fascinating story, and not so much of a legal tale, as
most of his previous books, but one that goes much deeper than that. This is
not just corporate crime, or legal manoeuvring, this is examination of
disturbed minds and the reactions of supposedly normal minds. Grisham’s book
shows complete knowledge of small towns, small town legal issues and a keenly
honed insight into small town human psychology. He does this with a dialogue
that keeps the reader turning pages, wondering just what is coming next. The
pace is too fast to attempt to reach your own conclusions, and the final pages
are electric with suspense. A thriller in the grand manner and a damn fine
Movie Reviews: My Big Fat Greek Wedding
When I saw the title of this movie I thought, “great,
sounds like a really stupid movie”, bearing in mind, I was on a plane at
the time and unable to avoid watching it. What made it worse was that for
some unknown reason we could only get it in French, and my school French
is sketchy with the best will in the world.
It turned out to be a movie to make you smile and
anything that can make me smile in economy class in French on a long haul
flight must be good!
Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is thirty years old,
lives with her parents in Chicago and works in the family restaurant,
‘Dancing Zorbas.’ Her father Gus (Michael Constantine) is a staunch
Greek and expects his daughter to marry in true Greek fashion and spend
the rest of her life bearing little Greeks with of course a Greek husband
. Toula begins taking some college classes, puts on some makeup, exchanges
the glasses for contacts and gets a job in her aunt’s travel agency.
Then she meets a man named Ian Miller (John Corbett), who is most
definitely not Greek and things lead to love.
Ian, meanwhile, is about to experience a severe culture
shock, as he is about to be confronted by a family that includes, for
example, twenty-seven first cousins. It gets worse when Ian’s
straight-laced parents enter the fray. “They’re like dry toast,”
Toula’s father complains.
Toula’s mother, Maria (Lainie Kazan) is fabulous, the
character she creates is totally credible, and she’s just a joy to
watch. My favourite line is: When Toula protests her father’s claim that
he is the head of the house and his decision is final, her mother counters
with, “The man is the head but the woman is the neck - she can make the
head turn any way she wants.”
Directed by Joel Zwick
Nia Vardalos ... Foutoula Portakalos
John Corbett... Ian Miller
Michael Constantine... Gus Portakalos
Lainie Kazan... Maria Portakalos
Andrea Martin... Aunt Voula
Joey Fatone... Angelo
Christina Eleusiniotis... Toula age 6
Kayle Vieira... Schoolgirl
John Kalangis... Greek Teacher
Marita Zouravlioff... Toula age 12
Music CD Reviews: Volume 4 - Black Sabbath
***** 5 Stars Rating
As a big “Black Sabbath” fan I have to tell you that, if
you can only own one Sabbath album, then this should be it. Now I’m not saying
that most Black Sabbath albums are not good. (How can anything with Toni Iommi
on lead guitar be bad?) In fact, the first six are out and out classics with
“Heaven & Hell”, “Born Again”, and the wonderful “Re-union”
album joining these ranks. It’s just that Volume 4 has got it all.
Already international superstars upon its release, “Volume
4” consolidated their position as the world’s number one Heavy Metal band, a
position that has never seriously been challenged. (Have you heard Creed’s new
album “Weathered”? Talk about a load of Sabbath Wannabes.)
Whilst recovering from tour exhaustion, Sabbath promised that
their new album would be more experimental, more progressive, and unbelievably
heavier than anything they had ever done before. This was quite a claim from a
band whose last album had been the classic “Masters Of Reality”.
The opener “Wheels Of Confusion” was straight away a
departure for Sabbath, clocking in at over eight and a half minutes. This was
not some rambling heavy blues based jam, but a well structured epic with its
inspiration coming from what was termed at the time as Progressive Rock, only,
of course, played the Sabbath way. It proved that the band had no lack of
inspiration either musically or lyrically. Ozzy singing Geezer Butler’s words
with real menace:
“Lost in the wheels of confusion
Running Thru Valleys of trees
Eyes full of angry delusion
Hiding in everyday fears”
“Wheels Of Confusion” transforms from crunching power
chords into a glorious Sergio Leone pastiche, overlaid with thundering guitars.
Bursting through the speakers after this was the new single
at the time “Tomorrow’s Dream”, the first Sabbath single since worldwide
smash hit “Paranoid”. A song that is about as commercial as Heavy Metal can
Then came the real shock, horror of horror, Sabbath do a
ballad. Not only a ballad, but a piano led ballad that would not have been out
of place on a Barry Manilow album. Fans were always prepared for Sabbath to
experiment with different styles, and after the hard rockin “Paranoid” had
given them a well deserved hit and a following of teenage girls, it is still
frightening to imagine the audience of Radio 2 (Britain’s very staid radio
channel) listeners this song would have attracted, had it been released as a
single and been a hit.
But from here on out it’s pure Sabbath with Toni Iommi
taking the lead and laying down some of his best known heavy riffs. Although
it’s not all just a bunch of loud detuned e-chord riffing, as there are plenty
of subtler moments, especially in the two instrumental Iommi solo spots “FX”
and “Laguna Sunrise”, Vol 4 also catches Ozzy at his outrageous best. You
can almost hear the frills on his jacket bashing together as he stomps along
with the rest of the band in the heads down, no nonsense, mindless boogie
sections of the songs. Geezer Butler not only gives Ozzy some wonderful lyrics
to sing, but lays down some bass work that was going to become the template for
all players of the four string guitar for years to come. Bill Ward is the only
drummer for Black Sabbath. Full stop no argument.
If you are a stranger to Black Sabbath’s Volume Four and
you like your rock music hard heavy with genuine excitement, acquaint yourself.
Tony Iommi - Guitar
Geezer Butler - Bass Guitar
Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals
Bill Ward - Drum
(and Geoff Nichols - Keyboards un-credited)
1. Wheels Of Confusion
2. Tomorrows Dream
8. Laguna Sunrise
9. St. Vitus Dance
10. Under The Sun
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