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Mott’s CD review
Book Review: Thailand Nature and Wonders
by Lang Reid
early for Xmas is the theme this week. Having been in the situation where the
express postage on last minute gifts has outweighed the value of the present,
one should start thinking about gifts now.
My local Bookazine shelves have various language editions of
the series Nature and Wonders, and the comprehensive “Thailand” looked
interesting enough to open its pages. It also interested me as a publication to
show friends and relatives back home the wonderland in which we live -
To say that this is an international book is not putting too
fine a point on it. Printed in China, published by Asia Books in Bangkok (ISBN
8-540-0102-3), written in Italian (but translated into English), with the
majority of the photographs from an Italian photographer.
The book divides Thailand into various areas, including
Bangkok and the Central Plain, the North and the Golden Triangle, the South and
the Islands and the North-East. It also comes with an index and photographic
credits, though most were taken by Livio Bourbon, through the White Star Photo
Library in Italy.
It is not just a photo book, even though it does have many
glossy full-bleed photographs, some spanning two pages. I would classify it
more as a descriptive book with abundant photographic illustrations.
The book begins with a history of Siam and its morphing into
Thailand in the last century. The Chakri royal lineage from Rama I is
explained, and due reverence is paid to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s
longest serving (and most adored) monarch.
Some of the descriptions tend to be somewhat “sugary”
and reek of travel brochures, rather than incisive, investigative journalism.
For example, it describes the Akha people as sweet and gentle, the opposite of
how I see this unique ethnic grouping. Again, describing Pattaya’s beach as
“dazzling” is stretching credibility a little, unless the reviewer came at
night and was bedazzled by the lines of pulchritude along Beach Road! I would
also take umbrage with the description of Tiffany Show as being “dubious”;
however, I believe this reflects the fact that the original text was in
Italian, and shades of meaning get twisted in translation. But then again, if a
heavyweight is what you want, you don’t buy books such as these.
The various areas are reasonably well covered in this 126
page book, other than the North-East (Isaan) which only received one page of
text and a smattering of photographs to very inadequately cover a huge area of
Thailand that is home to 20 million people (and seemingly an equal number of
itinerant bar workers).
Having been published in 2004, the section on the South
obviously depicts the pre-tsunami picture, but it is nice to remember its
At B. 450 it is a reasonably priced book to send overseas, and if you take
my advice and post early via puff-powered junk, the costs in shipping and
delivery are small. It does also give your friends a more than passing glimpse
of the ‘nature and wonders’ of Thailand, something we all tend to take for
granted after living here for a while.
Mott's CD Reviews: Concert for George
DVD - by friends of George Harrison
Mott the Dog
DVD concert never comes across as a sad memorial concert for the late great
George Harrison, more of a celebration of the life, love, music, and most of
all faith of a wonderful human being.
During George Harrison’s tragically short life he touched
many people. Obviously he was one of the lovable Moptops from Liverpool, whose
music and attitude changed the world as we know it. He also started the charity
music culture with his concert for Bangladesh in 1971. (Would there have been
Live Aid, etc., if it had not been for George Harrison’s groundbreaking
concert a decade before?) He almost single handedly made the world aware of
whole new cultures from Asia.
In his solo career, he was, at first, the most successful
Beatle to go solo; his first releases back in 1970 went to Number One all over
the world with his magnificent triple album “All Things Must Pass”, and the
single taken from it “My Sweet Lord’’.
George also formed Handmade movies which saved the
masterpiece “The Life Of Brian” by Monty Python (George actually has a walk
on part as the mayor if you look closely). The world would definitely be a
sadder place without that little Python masterpiece.
This double DVD package has the first DVD devoted to the
whole concert in it’s correct running order, so that all of us that were not
able to be there on that magical night at Albert Hall in London on November 29,
2002 can get an inkling of what was going on.
The second DVD gives you snippets of the concert
interspersed with interviews from George’s friends, rehearsals and backstage
footage; interesting and sometimes hilarious stuff. There is over 2 hours and
twenty minutes of material on DVD Two, whilst the concert on Disc One lasts for
nearly 2 1/2 hours.
There are too many musical highlights to mention them all.
But before I list the group of friends that turned up to celebrate George’s
life, and what songs they decided to play, I shall try to point out a few.
The concert starts out with a specially composed piece by
Ravi Shankar written for George, ‘Arpan’, where what I can only call a
blend of Asian folk/orchestra meets western influences. The results are quite
stunning. Ravi’s daughter plays the sitar as beautifully as she looks, and
she is very beautiful, matching Eric Clapton when he joins her on acoustic
The Monty Python team gets on stage for two songs. The
wonderful irreverence of the songs would have had George rolling around the
aisles in laughter. Notice also Tom Hanks having the time of his life as a
Mountie in the chorus line.
Eric Clapton does a wonderful job as musical director as
well as contributing some stunning guitar work, especially in recreating his
solo from “My Guitar Gently Weeps’’ from the Beatles ‘White Album’.
Poor Ringo barely keeps his emotions under control whilst singing
‘Photograph’. It is also the first time that Paul McCartney, Billy Preston
and Ringo Starr have all performed on the same stage together since a certain
legendary roof top concert over thirty years ago.
Although the concert would not have been the same without
Paul McCartney, he for once does not dominate proceedings, leaving plenty of
room for others to shine, and shine they do.
George Harrison’ son Dhani, himself a fine musician, is
often allowed center stage. George Harrison’s old mucker Joe Brown brings the
concert to an emotional climax. The set from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in
the middle of the second section is simply stunning. Tom Petty was in George
Harrison’s other group, the Traveling Wilburys, with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne
and Roy Orbison.
Look out for the guitar solo from Albert Lee during “Honey
Don’t” - it raises the Albert Hall Roof a few inches higher. The singing of
Sam Brown and Gary Brooker are, as ever, highlights of any concert.
This DVD delivers in every possible aspect and would not
disappoint anybody with even a passing interest in the life and times of George
Harrison. There is also a double CD of this concert which is nice to have
whilst driving the car, but you get so much more with the DVD.
George Harrison’s Friends
on this movie are
Eric Clapton, Musical Director
Featuring Joe Brown, Eric Clapton, Jools Holland and Sam
Brown, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy
Preston, Ringo Starr and...
Dave Bronze – Bass
Gary Brooker – Keyboards
Jim Capaldi – Drums
Ray Cooper – Percussion
Dhani Harrison – Guitar
Jim Horn – Alto Sax
Jim Keltner – Drums
Katie Kissoon – Backing Vocals
Albert Lee – Guitar
Andy Fairweather Low – Guitar
Marc Mann – Electric Guitar
Tessa Niles – Backing Vocals
Tom Scott – Tenor Sax
Henry Spinetti – Drums
Chris Stainton – Keyboards
Klaus Voormann – Bass
Arpan: Composed by Ravi Shankar, conducted by Anoushka
Shankar, Boys’ and Girls’ Choir courtesy of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, English
Chamber Choir London Metropolitan Orchestra, strings conducted and arranged by
The Monty Pythons: Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Neil Innes,
Terry Jones, Michael Palin, & Carol Cleveland.
The Mounties: Malcolm Abbs, Mark Brown, Michael Clarke,
Tom Hanks, Bob Hunter, David Porter Thomas and Fred Tomlinson.
And the songs sung
1. Sitar Solo-Your Eyes – Anoushka Shankar
2. Arpan conducted by Anoushka Shankar
3. The Inner Light – Jeff Lynne and Anoushka Shankar
4. Sit On My Face And The Lumberjack Song – Monty Python
5. I Want To Tell You And Give Me Love – Jeff Lynne
6. Old Brown Shoe – Gary Brooker
7. If I Needed Someone and Beware Of Darkness – Eric Clapton
8. Here Comes The Sun And That’s The Way It Goes – Joe Brown
9. Horse To The Water – Jools Holland and Sam Brown
10. Taxman and I Need You – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
11. Handle With Care – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers with Jeff Lynne and
12. My Sweet Lord and Isn’t It A Pity – Billy Preston
13. Photograph and Honey Don’t – Ringo Starr
14. For You Blue and All Things Must Pass – Paul McCartney
15. Something and While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Paul McCartney and Eric
16. Wah Wah – Eric Clapton and Band
17. I’ll See You In My Dreams – Joe Brown
To contact Mott the Dog
email: [email protected]