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Book Review

Mott’s CD review

Book Review: Islam

by Lang Reid

In today’s troubled world, there is another unfortunate schism appearing within the world’s religions, resulting in two apparently opposing sides - Islam and non-Islam. It is beyond the scope of a book review to analyze or postulate all the reasons for this, but current middle-East conflicts and separatism in the South of Thailand are obvious examples.

Islam (ISBN 81-7436-056-5, Rolli and Janssen BV, first impression 1998 and third impression in 2004) has been written by eminent sociologist Azra Kidwai, a woman who has spent many years both as a participant within, and as an observer without, of the Islamic religion.

The book begins with a chapter called Genesis (sounds familiar?), followed by four more covering Expansion, Customs and Beliefs, Sufism and finally Arts and Creativity. Each section has text and excellent illustrative colour plates.

The book describes the beginning of Islam and its relationship to the Bedouins, tribes geographically between the opposing Byzantine and Sassanian empires, with their religions of Christianity and Zoroastrianism respectively.

Muhammad was born in 570 AD in Mecca, but he was an adult before he realized that he was the messenger of God. He then preached allegiance to Allah and proposed a community based on common faith, not on the ties between clans or tribes. This took him away from Mecca and the religion of Islam really began to take hold in Medina. Finally, he took Mecca by peaceful means, bringing the inhabitants into the Muslim community.

It has gems of information, such as where the crescent moon came from in the Islamic world (it was originally the emblem of the Sassanian Empire) and details the origins of dancing dervishes. Even the Islamic calendar is not equivalent to that used in the West, despite the fact that it has 12 months. Based on the lunar year, it is eleven days shorter than the solar year, resulting in the Islamic century being three years shorter than a solar century. Confusing perhaps, but not to the followers of Islam.

It was also of interest to read that in the Muslim world, Baghdad was once the centre for science, with the great scholars from around the world gravitating to Baghdad to author scientific material in Arabic. There have been some unfortunate changes in the ‘new world’ order. Having a familiar ring to it is the belief that the prophet Muhammad was born on the 12th of Rabi ul Awwal (March) and died on the same day. There appears to be more than one reason to beware the Ides of March!

The only disappointment for me was the lack of an index and bibliography. The book deserved their inclusion, there is such a wealth of detail between the covers. This book reveals a fascinating insight and many world leaders would have benefited from reading this before commencing on irrevocable courses of action.

The review copy came from Bookazine and had an RRP of only B. 450. For a large hardcover book, in colour, and authoritative, this has to be a real bargain. It is offering the non-Muslim reader an insight into this very important religion, one professed by one fifth of the world’s population.

Mott's CD Reviews: Marillion - Misplaced Childhood

Mott the Dog
via Ella Crew

1/2 Star

To think that back in 1985, when Marillion released their third album ‘Misplaced Childhood’, the unsuspecting and gullible public had still not cottoned onto the fact that they really were a mere imitation Genesis band. Why they did not just get up on stage and play ‘Supper’s Ready’ or the whole of ‘Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’, is a mystery to me.

At least proper tribute bands try and mimic their heroes honestly. However, not Marillion. Oh no, they claimed that they were writing new stuff that just happened to sound a bit like another progressive rock band. (They even got themselves signed to the same record label, Charisma. It must have been like deja vu.)

Every song on this album sounds like a reject from one of Genesis’ Peter Gabriel era albums. Now when Genesis came out with albums such as ‘Nursery Crime’ or ‘Foxtrot’ in the early seventies, they were indeed original. Although the band went on to reach even further heights in their career later, the classic lineup of Genesis most people considered then was with Peter Gabriel on vocals (he also wrote most of the lyrics and used to add a bit of flute in between, wearing all sorts of different costumes on stage to emphasize the songs stories); a young Phil Collins on drums (he previously had been a child actor before stepping into the spotlight at the front of the band and building his own separate solo career as one of the world’s top drummers); Steve Hackett, a slightly eccentric lead guitarist; Tony Banks with his banks of keyboards and the studious one of the group; and then on bass and filling in the gaps was Mark Rutherford (he added the Ringo element before forming Mike and the Mechanics in his spare time and being in two of the world’s most successful bands simultaneously).

Now, if you take these five very talented musicians and get five cheap doppelgangers you get Marillion. But everybody fell for it (for a while anyway). The album roared up the European charts. Three tracks from ‘Misplaced Childhood’ were released as singles and all reached the higher reaches of the Top Twenty (the Americans never fell for the Marillion ruse). They even had a singer with a funny name: “Fish”. I would of thought his real name of Derek Dick was funny enough.

Of course, within a year the game was up. You can only fool some of the people some of the time, never all the people all the time. “Fish” managed to bail out before the ship went down, retaining some dignity. He was replaced by a person simply called “H”. With “H’’ on board the others have soldiered on to this very day, each album selling less and less to their diminishing crowd of anoraked fans.

‘Misplaced Childhood’ has been re-released with all the necessary trimmings, like digitally re-mastered, etc., but, cruelly, they have added on yet another disc which runs at over an hour. It contains demo versions of the original songs, plus a clutch of songs deemed not good enough for the album in the first place. So why unleash them on the listening public now? This means we have to put up with ‘Kayleigh’ three times and all of the other songs again, only in a slightly different running order, and mixed in are the songs not good enough to be recorded for an album.

The only way that Marillion would sound half way decent is if you had never heard anything by Genesis. But if you want to hear the real music, better get one of the brilliant original Genesis albums, and give this bunch of wannabes a miss.

Fish - Vocals
Mark Kelly - Keyboards
Ian Mosley - Drums
Peter Trewavas - Bass Guitar
Steve Rothery - Guitar


Disc One - The Original Misplaced Childhood
Pseudo Silk Kimono
Bitter Suite
Heart Of Lothian
Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
Lords Of The Backstage
Blind Curve
Childhoods End
White Feather
Disc Two - the Bonus Disc
Out Takes etc.
Lady Nina
Kayleigh (alternative mix)
Lavender Blue
Heart Of Lothian (extended mix)
Album Demo’s
Pseudo Silk Kimono
Bitter suite
Lords Of The Backstage
Blue Angel
Misplaced Rendezvous
Heart Of Lothian
Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)
Passing Strangers
Childhoods End?
White Feather

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