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Book Review

Mott’s CD review

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code

by Lang Reid

With all the “shock, horror” being put about over the Da Vinci Code film (which I believe was fuelled by Sony pictures to get more bums on seats at the movie houses), I felt it was worthwhile repeating my review of more than two years ago, so if you want to read the book before the movie, then read the review first.
The Da Vinci Code (hard cover) by Dan Brown was released by Doubleday publishing (ISBN 0-385-50420-9) as a whopping 450 page epic.
The story begins with an American symbologist in Paris, Robert Langdon, who becomes the chief suspect in the murder of the curator of the Grand Gallery of the Louvre, the home of Da Vinci’s famous painting of the Mona Lisa.
The French police begin tracking Langdon, who meets up with a deciphering expert, a Ms. Sophie Neveu. Ms Neveu works for the French police, and is the estranged granddaughter of the murdered curator.
On the other side of the story is a fanatical sect of the Catholic Church, willing to stop at nothing to get their hands on the Holy Grail, a mystical chalice that is looked after by the murdered curator, the successor to many who have looked after the secret for centuries.
As the story unfolds, more people are dragged into the search, some on the side of protecting the knowledge, and others on the side of destroying its information. Throw in some modern day bounty hunters, a knight of the realm, a combination of hundreds of years old logic and modern computerized web crawling, and you are starting to see the bones of the plot.
Plot and sub-plot, twists and turns, it is all there with an amazing turn of events at the end which may leave some readers stunned, others disappointed, but nobody will have been able to guess the ending. The butler didn’t do it – but he almost did!
Other authors and critics have given this book plaudits such as “pure genius”, “the finest mystery”, “fascinating”, “perfect for history buffs, conspiracy nuts, puzzle lovers, or anyone who appreciates a great riveting story.” What can I say, other than that it is a damn good read.
This book is a historical who dunnit without peer. The writing itself is superb, with author Brown dropping hints at the end of chapters that make you turn the next page, just to follow the thread. He alternates between short chapters and longer ones, just to keep the story going from all the viewpoints of the different characters who are introduced in the novel. Technically excellent.
However, the ability to weave fact and fiction into an extremely credible yarn is what makes this book outstanding as far as I am concerned. The problems that have occurred come from the situation that some readers cannot distinguish between the two. It was the best thriller I had read for many years, but beware, it is more than a trifle similar to his previous book Angels and Demons. The RRP of the hard cover was B. 695, but this book was worth every last satang!

Mott's CD Reviews:  Pink Floyd

Atom Heart Mother

5 Stars *****

Mott the Dog

Atom Heart Mother (1970) is a bit hard to describe really. The first track is the title piece taking up 24 minutes; it’s an amazing collection of musical themes in a classical arrangement (this is why at first it was known as the Amazing Pudding. Get it. Collection=Pudding. The Amazing Pudding is still the name of Pink Floyd’s most famous fan club). The band had various riffs and themes, but hadn’t really put it all together, and with an imminent American tour coming up and a recording contract to fill, with the band not really in agreement what should be done, they brought in mutual friend Ron Geesin - the avante garde producer.
Roger Waters and Nick Mason went in the studio to lay out a rough rhythm section for him, which was a bit ragged as both were a little tired, so it speeds up in some places and rather alarmingly slows down at others. With this the band clears off to America leaving Ron Geesin with the instructions to over lay something grand; you know, heavenly choirs, brass fanfares, whatever you like really, get on with it Ron we’re all rather busy actually. Oh, have it ready for us when we come back in June, etc.
So completely without supervision Ron Geesin took Pink Floyd’s rough rhythm track and turned it into a musical masterpiece, bit of luck really.
When the members of Floyd got back from tour they were well impressed, so they decided not to bother re-recording the bass and drums. But Gilmour and Wright went back into the studios to lay some mercurial guitar and keyboard solos onto our Atom Heart Mother.
The piece is broken up into six sections, but it all gels perfectly into a whole. Gilmour and Wright really come out of the closet with their dynamic soloing, whilst all of Geesin’s work fits perfectly with the band.
The brass section riffs are monstrous, whilst the violin playing is executed with total abandon. The choir is in fine voice, especially with its forerunner to Tubular Bells voices that rampage through the closing sections. The SoundBits are also tastefully used with a motorbike roaring away with the band and orchestra when they first come in together. As the music builds to a false climax towards the end a voice booms out, “Here is a loud announcement” whilst at the musical climax another voice calls for “Silence in the studio” to no avail. With time constraints, touring, and Ron Geesin only coming in half way through, everything was against it being a classic, but it is.
The other four tracks are also little gems, but in their own special way. Again not much band cohesion. But maybe they just worked better this way. The next song is a lovely Roger Waters song called If, showing Waters’ ever increasing interest in the human brain. Gilmour supplies some exquisite electric guitar to accompany Waters’ acoustic guitar and vocals.
The lyrics are amongst Waters’ most uncomplicated (like later when he tried to educate us all with ‘The Wall’ in 1979).
‘If I were a swan I’d be gone,
If I were a Train I’d be late,
And if I were a good man,
I’d talk to you more often then I do.
If I were asleep I could dream,
If I was afraid I could hide,
if I go insane,
Please don’t put wires in my brain.
Richard Wright’s contribution, Summer 68, is a nod to the past, showing off unashamedly its Syd Barrett influences, with its catchy chorus and mid tempo verses, all tied up with some rollicking barrel house piano, and the return of the brass section at the conclusion. David Gilmour then contributed Fat Old Sun, a wonderful little dirge that is a complete rip off of The Kinks song released the previous year as Lazy Old Sun, but that does not make it a bad song, and anyway Ray Davies never sued.
The last piece on the album is exactly what it says it is, Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast. The song’s title refers to one Alan Stiles of Pink Floyd’s road crew in the Sixties and early Seventies. What you get is the sounds of Alan getting up in the morning and coming downstairs to cook his breakfast, all rather noisily, with the band jamming some breakfast type themes over the top in places. Often they just leave Alan scratching away solo. A rather odd end to the album, but as with the rest of the music, rather effective.
Atom Heart Mother was released at the back end of 1970 and was the first Pink Floyd album to top the British charts, and crack the American top fifty. So job well done. Mind you when Pink Floyd released their greatest hits double CD Echoes in all its one hundred and fifty minutes, they could not even find time for one little excerpt from this album. The cow pictured on the front cover of this album is called Lulubelle the third. I hope she got her royalties all right, because for a little while there, she was the most famous cow in the world.

Pink Floyd
Roger Waters: Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, and Vocals
David Gilmour: Lead Guitar and Vocals
Rick Wright: Keyboards and Vocals
Nick Mason: Drums

Atom Heart Mother (Father’s Shout, Breasty Milky, Mother Fore, Funky Dung, Mind Your Throats Please, Remergence)
Summer 68
Fat Old Sun
Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast (Rise and Shine, Sunny Side Up, Morning Glory)

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