Vol. II No. 38 Saturday September 20 - September 26, 2003
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Book-Movies-Music
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Book Review

Music CD Reviews

Book Review: Amuzingthaicartoons

by Lang Reid

The review book this week is a slim volume produced in Bangkok which unfortunately has no ISBN number, but try the website www. amuzingthaicartoons.com

It is, as the name suggests, a book of cartoons, with all of them particularly relevant to life in Thailand in general, and some to life in Pattaya in particular.

The cartoons are some of the collected works of UK ex-pat Mike Baird, a man who was regarded as one of the best ‘copy artists’ in the UK, and who had a very successful business producing enormously large illustrated billboards.

The cartoon format was not one that he had previously explored, but after doing his first one, and being heartened by the belly laughs that came from it, began to draw a series.

What Mike Baird has done is to be able to see the funny side of life, while at the same time, make a social commentary upon it. This is what makes his cartoons so good - incisive wit. The first page almost says it all, with a diptych showing a 66 year old man in the UK and here in Thailand. The caption under the UK side reads, “66 years old, wife died, no job, pension, lonely. Family never come to see me, neighbours do not speak, body aches with rheumatism and arthritis, rain 11 months of the year, high gas bills, high electric bills and food bills. Little savings being gobbled up. Crap TV, same old things, day after day. Nobody cares. Just waiting to die.” On the other side there is the same man in Thailand, with a young lady on each arm and the caption reading, “66 years old, widowed, pension, never lonely, what family? Neighbours are so friendly, rheumatism and arthritis has gone, sunshine 11 months a year, cheap gas, electric and food bills, savings last longer, pension goes far, TV great, football, movies, no license, every day’s a bonus, best sex in 40 years, lovely people, Thank You God, Thank You Thailand.”

Another wonderful social commentary is a cartoon depicting an interchange between a customer and a prostitute in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. The lady of the night has asked the punter if he wants some sexual relief. He replies, “Yes, please! Oh, I would like to marry you and take care of any kids you have, plus buy you a motorbike and a house, plus I would like to take care of your family and anybody else you know, plus feel free to tell all your friends that I will lend them any amount of money knowing I will not get it back. Oh, by the way, how much is it for three minutes?” The heading reads, “These guys wouldn’t act so stupid in their own country. Why do it here?” So true!

The book is available direct from the website, or selected Bookazine outlets, with the RRP 350 baht. It is small enough to send to your friends and acquaintances, especially UK ones, and I am sure they will get just as much of a chuckle as you. However, theirs will have a tinge of envy too!


Music CD Reviews: Nutz - Nutz Too

by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew

5 StarZ *****

In 1975, those four wacky lads from Liverpool, England, who make up Nutz, released their second album, amusingly titled “Nutz Too”. What a leap forward it was from their debut album, running like all good Rock ‘n’ Roll albums should. Similar to a live show with a positive beginning, it takes you on a journey all along the roundabout of Rock ‘n’ Roll before exploding in a dramatic climax. Along the way they show off the power of the group as a whole, while allowing each individual member of the band room to reveal his own particular talents.

‘’Nutz Too” was compiled of eleven songs, each short and sharp (average song length four minutes), and each with its own story to tell. Six of the seven songs by lead guitarist Mick Devonport are belting rockers, while number seven is a rather pleasant Zepplenesque acoustic song.

One cover version, included to appease the record company, was released as a single, the poppy rocker ‘Change’s Coming’. And three songs written by front man David Lloyd, one of which is a mid-paced rocker, a clever little number with intricate time changes and one of the most beautiful power ballads ever put down in a recording studio.

This really rather summed up the band. Mick Devonport, the driving force and raw rocker of the band; Dave Lloyd, the looks, soul, and voice; John Mylett, left to prove that he was one of the finest and hardest hitting drummers in Rock ‘n’ Roll (John was constantly being targeted by other bands to join their ranks including ‘’Iron Maiden”. However, he preferred to stay with his mates in the firm believe that one day they would hit the big time. Sadly, as history proved, “Nutz” never became the mega-stars everyone predicted, and John Mylett was tragically killed in a car crash in Greece a year after the band gave up their quest for that elusive big break.); and lastly, Keith Mulholland, who, together with John Mylett, formed an earth shattering rhythm section, and at times put his rockin’ bass upfront like in ‘Knife Edge’.

Opener ‘Nature Intended’ starts with a flurry of descending chords from the guitar of Mr. Devonport before the rest of the band come crashing in with the main riff. This leaves you in no mind that you are listening to a lean mean Rock ‘n’ Roll machine. David Lloyd comes in with the vocals leading into the chorus that brings incredible melody to proceedings; then, after two verses and choruses played at breakneck speed, Mick Devonport takes the roof off the place with one of his trademark solos. It can be said that it is not always necessary to play one hundred notes when ten will do, but I say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”. What is the point of being one of the fastest guitarists in Rock ‘n’ Roll with a flashy technique when you’re not going to use it?

The album opens with a trio of Devonport rockers, before we get the single, which taken in the constraints of the album, does add a little contrast.

Next comes ‘Dear Diary’, which takes a leaf out of the Zeppelin/Jeff Beck school of music. It would have made a fabulous anthem if “Nutz” had reached stadium filling capacity. I can see those tens of thousands of flickering lighters swaying now.

Sixth song up, which would have been the end of side one in the days of vinyl, is an out and out Nutz rocker with some tantalizing inter-play between the lead guitarist and the rest of the band.

Song seven, eight, and nine (one, two, and three on side 2 on the vinyl) are the David Lloyd compositions. ‘Cool Me Down’ is a mid-paced heavy rock number. In these days of politically correct speech we would say that the lyrics promote anger management. R.S.D. is perhaps the most clever song in the Nutz barrel. Switching from an acoustic opening with some more of David Lloyd’s effect drenched vocals, crooning again about self-restraint, before the full electric band breaks back in with some astonishing slide work by Mick Devonport. This was always one of Nutz’s most popular live stage numbers, where they would always astound the audience by reproducing their studio sound on stage. ‘The Love That You Lost’ is one of the most moving songs of lost love ever recorded in a studio. Famous session player Paul Carrick was brought in to play the piano and an emotional intro he gives. David Lloyd sings his own lyrics with passion and power betraying the fact that the song was written through bitter experience. Mick Devonport lays down a delicate solo to show there is heart to his playing as well as explosive bluster; a song that really tugs at the old heart strings.

Then the worm turns and the album crashes out with two pulsating Devonport rockers rejoicing in the joys of living life to its fullest. First up are three minutes of the break speed ‘Sinner’, where you can only marvel at the speed of both David Lloyd’s singing and the band’s playing.

The final song is ‘Knife Edge’, a song “Nutz” always used to save as their encore in their live set, which brings the album to a storming conclusion with everybody being given the space to stretch out musically. Oh, unfortunately they do not make rockers like this anymore.

The artwork for the cover features all four members of the band with fireball eyes captured by a beautiful model (hey, it was the seventies), and the beautiful model was Linda Halpin. Linda is the sister of the world’s most famous Rock ‘n’ Roll photographer Ross Halpin, who took the pictures and did all the artwork for the boys. After all this, do you need another reason to go out and get yourself a copy of “Nutz Too”?

Musicians

Mick Devonpot - Lead guitar and backing vocals
Dave Lloyd - Guitar and lead vocals
John Mylett - Drums and percussion
Keith Mulholland - Bass guitar and backing vocals

Songs

Nature Intended
I Want Never Gets
Take It From Me
Change’s Coming
Dear Diary
Is It All For Real?
Cool Me own
R.S.D.
The Love That You Lost
Sinner
Knife Edge

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]



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