According to the back cover, this is not a new book, having
been written initially in 500 years BC. Axiom Publishing claim the copyright
for this new edition (ISBN 1-84013-512-3), which was printed this year, though
the initial English translation was apparently published in 1905. As part of
its credits, the book was supposedly used by Napoleon to conquer Europe, having
been brought to Europe from China by the French in the first place.
However, the book is not being promoted as the best Xmas
present you could ever send to George W. Bush, but as a manual for success in
every competitive situation, whether it be war, work or politics. A big ask!
The book begins with a 40 odd page introduction, with a cast
of extras that reads like the Beijing phone book, with an assortment of names
to be assimilated such as Ho Lu, the king of Wu, Tzu-hsu (aka Wu Yuan), Sun Wu
and Tzu-Chang. Sun Tzu, it is revealed in this introduction, came to prominence
by executing two of Ho Lu’s favourite concubines because they had not
executed an “About Turn” order properly during drill. Life was obviously
tougher in Sun Tzu’s army!
The 13 chapters which follow are all short and have numbered
concepts for you to follow. These cover laying plans, waging war, attack by
stratagem, all the way through to the attack by fire and the use of spies.
Probably the most salient point came with “If (our army is) quite unequal in
every way, we can flee from him.” This is probably the origin of legging it,
now an art form in Thailand after road accidents.
The review copy of the Art of War was supplied by Bookazine
and is available from their outlets and other major bookstores. It has an RRP
of 450 baht. For a student of ancient Chinese history this is probably a
cracking book. For someone whose entire knowledge of ancient Chinese history
revolves around the fact that Chicken chow mein originated in America and not
in the land of the Mandarins, I found this book a cracking bore. When applied
to ancient battles, perhaps such as the Ghobi Desert Storm, then Sun Tzu might
have been right on the ball; however, I have my doubts that Stormin’ Norman
Schwarzkopf would have used this as his battle manual in the early 1990’s.
Most of the book I found incomprehensible and if you harbour doubts, try
this, “The e SSU K’ U CH’ UAN SHU (ch. 99, f. 1) remarks that the oldest
three treatises on war, SUN TZU, WU TZU and SSU-MA FA, are, generally speaking,
only concerned with things strictly military - the art of producing,
collecting, training and drilling troops and the correct theory with regard to
measures of expediency, laying plans, transport of goods and the handling of
soldiers - in strong contrast to later works, in which the science of war is
usually blended with metaphysics, divination and magical arts in general.”
Sorry, you’ve lost me, Sun Tzu. You lost Napoleon too, otherwise he
wouldn’t have ended up on the isle of Elba!
Naomi Watts plays Rachel Keller, a reporter for the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer who follows the trail of her niece’s
mysterious death. Her son Aidan (David Dorfman) tells her that his cousin
told him that she would die. Investigating further, she learns that her
niece and some friends found the video in a wood side cabin, and that they
all died exactly one week after watching it. The cabin itself holds
nothing out of the ordinary but the caretaker did find blank videotape,
which he assumed the departed teenagers left behind.
Rachel discovers the video in an ominous hotel and very
bravely decides to watch it. Things start to happen that force her to
believe that the tape really is a killer, especially after a small
girl’s voice whispers eerily into the phone, “You have seven days.”
This leaves her only a few days to find an answer before she too will die.
She calls on her ex boyfriend to assist her. In the meantime her son’s
teacher is worried about the weird drawings the child is doing in school
and his strange moods. When questioned his answer is, “She told me
This movie is a remake of the Japanese cult classic “Ringu.”
Gore Verbinski has managed to create exactly the right atmospheric mood
with the music and surreal quality of the film; the storyline of the movie
makes little impression in comparison.
A spooky supernatural film lacking the usual blood and
gore in horror films today.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Naomi Watts ... Rachel Keller
Martin Henderson (I) ... Noah
David Dorfman (I) ... Aidan Keller
Brian Cox ... Richard Morgan
Jane Alexander ... Dr. Grasnik
Lindsay Frost ... Ruth
Amber Tamblyn ... Katie
Rachael Bella ... Becca
Daveigh Chase ... Samara Morgan
Shannon Cochran ... Anna Morgan
Sandra Thigpen ... Teacher
Richard Lineback ... Innkeeper
Sasha Barrese ... Girl Teen #1
Tess Hall ... Girl Teen #2
Adam Brody ... Male Teen #1
***** 3 Stars Rating
Bit of a strange one this, catching Ian Hunter in a bit of a
flux in his career. Having just completed touring the highly successful “Ian
Hunter” album (Ian’s first solo work) all over Europe and America, and
having the hit single “Once Bitten Twice Shy” reaching the upper reaches of
the singles charts, Ian Hunter’s side kick for the previous eighteen months,
that Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsy Mick Ronson, decided to take his guitar and
production talent off and join Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder tour (Ronson’s
work on that tour can be heard on the fabulous “Hard Rain” album), so Ian
disbanded the band and moved lock stock and smoking barrel to America, where he
still lives today. Hence the title to this his second solo work.
The completed album was built thematically around Hunter’s
move. Recorded over three weeks, several of the tracks were first or second
takes, all the material was written, arranged and produced by the man himself.
Unusually most of the lyrics were written in the third person, and it appeared
that the move Stateside had made him look towards Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, and
possibly another English Exile John Lennon for some of his inspiration. Hunter
had also become infatuated, it seemed, with the mythology of America and the
excitement he had discovered there, giving the album new creativity and
maturity. He certainly didn’t play safe with the subject matter of this
discerning and at times somewhat disturbing record, as Hunter tackled subjects
as diverse as Britain, America, Young Love, the Mafia, Rapists, Anti-drugs,
Political corruption, Rock ‘n’ Roll life styles, and God. All head on.
Lyrically this is the most mature and potent record in the Hunter Canon, each
and every track deserving careful listening.
So 5 stars rating for lyrical content, but the slight
stumbling block is that although Hunter had assembled a glittering array of
session musicians around him to record the tunes they never had the chance to
become a band or sound like one, and here lies the problem, all the players turn
in a polished performance, but that is exactly how it sounds: very smooth, but
also somewhat clinical and sterile. Most Ian Hunter albums sound as if the band
are running through a prospective live set, with a beginning, middle, & end,
whereas this is just a good set of songs laid down in any old order. Even the
only rocker on the album “Restless Youth” (the only track heavy enough on
the album you would dare to request in the famous Tahitian Queen’s Rock
‘n’ Roll Happy Hour on Friday) sounds as if everybody is frightened to
actually let rip in case they offend someone.
Nevertheless the album does have some of Hunter’s classic
songs on it. The opening number, “Letter To Brittania From The Union Jack”,
a lovely lolloping song that would have been better off as a center piece to the
album, was a song Ian addressed to his homeland. Sounding a slightly discordant
note of national pride and a plea for England to “Get Its Act Together”. He
was at the same time critical of the country of his birth, but also sorrowful of
the state the country had got itself into.
“Irene Wilde” was a song to a girl from Hunters youth, a
poignant fragile ballad of unrequited love, which has remained in his live set
to this day. His teenage dream girl rejects him in this autobiographical true
story of a “Barker Street Station non affair”, which pushes him on towards
ambition and stardom, away from his hometown of Shrewsbry.
Hunters previous band Mott the Hoople had done two tours of
both the States and U.K with Queen as support so it is nice to hear them adding
backing vocals to the hymn like “You Nearly Did Me In”.
Ian Hunter “All American Alien Boy” was released in June
1976, as Hunter did not tour the album. And since label C.B.S. gave only minimal
promotion (no obvious single to promote) the album sunk more or less without
trace, although it remains Hunter’s own favorite amongst his solo work.
But just around the corner the “Overnight Angels” were
Chris Stainton - Piano, organ, mellotron & bass on
Jaco Pastorius - Bass & guitar on “God (Take 1)”
Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
Gerry Weems - Lead Guitar
David Sanborn - Alto Saxophone
Dominic Cortese - Accordion
Cornell Dupree - Guitar on “Letter To Brittania From The
Don Alias - Congas
Arnie Lawrence - Clarinet
Dave Bargeron - Trombone
Lewis Soloff - Trumpet
Ian Hunter - Rhythm guitar, piano on “All American Alien
Boy” and all lead vocals
1. Letter To Brittania From The Union Jack
2. All American Alien Boy
3. Irene Wilde
4. Restless Youth
6. You Nearly Did Me In
8. God (Take 1)
To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]