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My Friend Jack

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  1. Gosh... I think I must have nodded off! I am currently re-reading the Pentecost Family books by Eric Malpass. Very light reading, but entertaining. Almost finished the 3rd, "Fortinbras Has Escaped." When travelling, I am listening to Robert Jordan's "Eye of the World" (unabridged). Having read the book twice, I am now starting to pick up on some of the important points that I missed on those occasions.
  2. I'm not sure it's got anything to do with Dolby as such, more the volume control. Dolby just removes hiss, IIRC.
  3. One of the great things about BGO over the years has been the number of books I've read on others' recommendations that I would never have otherwise even considered. I would be interested in your list of 43, Dan...
  4. Excellent review. It's Shankly, not Snakley or Skankly. But an excellent review.
  5. A few to be going on with... Stephen King (The Dark Tower saga) Terry Pratchett (Discworld) Ian Banks (Rebus) Alan Dean Foster (Spellsinger) Christopher Priest (everything I've read of his has been outstandingly different, even when he was using HG Wells as his starting point) Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time saga) Frank Herbert (the Dune saga) Stephen Donaldson (Thomas Covenant) John Steinbeck (Cannery Row was just post WWII)
  6. When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin' - Slade
  7. Almost any of Joel Whitburn's American Record Research books. It's not just the information they contain, but the sheer quality of the presentation and the books themselves. Mind you, they do have a price that matches! On this side of the Pond, I'm very much looking forward to a new book, due out next month, that lists the UK's weekly top 30 selling 78s from 1940 to 1952. These charts are compiled from data provided by the record companies on wholesale shipments from them to shops (rather than retail shops to consumers).
  8. Circular needles? For knitting circles?
  9. And me! So I looked it up and discovered that "literary fiction" is also known as "mainstream fiction." And "mainstream fiction" is anything that sells well. So... have you tried Helen Fielding, David Walliams or Jeff Kinney?
  10. Ah, the Daily Mail. One could be forgiven for thinking it's the only paper that prints crap, scare-mongering, reds-under-the-bed, sexist, anti-immigration, misogynist articles. I suppose the problem is that it employs writers who use longer words and sentences. It is crap, but have you seen the Sun, Mirror, Express? Can't comment on the Star, I'm afraid. In defence of the Mail, Martin Samuel is one of the best sports writers around, and I have to confess that I only read newspapers by starting at the back and making my way forward until I reach the racing pages - then I stop. If I look at anything else, I only read the headlines, roll my eyes and move on. As others have said, internet porn is the issue to be tackled. Don't hold your breath.
  11. I completely agree. I've made a start on book 8 in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga, Path of Daggers. It seems to pick up at a point about 2 hours before book 7 ended but with a different set of characters, which means the reader knows what's about to happen, but not how it will affect the people involved. A clever device which (unusually for Jordan) means there is incredible tension for the reader right from the start.
  12. One of Hornby's books is called "31 Songs" where he writes about his favourite 31 recordings. At the top of his list is Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road" which, at the time I read the book, I'd never heard. It's now one of my all-time favourites. Another of his books is "Fever Pitch" in which he describes watching football from behind the goal at Elm Park (the then home of my beloved Reading FC). Sadly, Hornby went on to become an Arsenal fan! And yet another of his books is "High Fidelity", where the characters are forever compiling lists of favourite records under certain headings. Of all his books, though, "Slam" is the one that has stayed with me the longest. I can't think of a single book of his that I didn't enjoy.
  13. Here in Sussex, we seem to get a ridiculous number of power cuts (ridiculous, on the basis that we are only 30-odd miles from the centre of London). I was only thinking a few days ago that it's got much better recently, and (inevitably) we had one yesterday evening. It lasted all of 5 seconds. We had a BT Broadband outage a week ago and I rang the number to listen to the list of areas suffering from problems. I was fascinated to hear how many parts of the country (including Aberdeen, 9 dialling codes in the Manchester area, and many others) were listed as having problems. Our area was not mentioned, however.
  14. I've read numbers 1, 3 and 4. I don't agree with the comment that the entire list could have been populated by Stephen King, as I don't regard many of his books from the last 20 years as Horror, but "IT" certainly is, and it's a damned fine book as well.
  15. We decided a year ago to move our eldest boy - part-way through Year 9 at the time - to a school further away from home as we were not happy at the way his school were handling bullying issues. The council were extremely helpful, as were the new school and the move was all sorted within 3 to 4 weeks. On what was supposed to be his penultimate day at his old school, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, so had to start at his new school after half term whilst just getting used to self-injecting 4 times a day. I must admit, I was very dubious about moving him to a new school, but I have to say it was the best thing we could have done. The school he is at now is so much better than the old one in so many ways. The staff are excellent - not just the teachers, but the admin people who keep an eye on our boy's visits to the medical room to check his blood sugar. Best of all, the standard of his school work and his attitude towards it has changed more than I would have believed possible. Our younger boy started at the same school last month and is well settled already, again with a much improved attitude to homework (a major, major issue in his final year at Primary School!). Although we've lost the benefit of the free school bus which was available to the old (closer) school, I can drop the boys off on my way to the office and Mrs MFJ picks them up in the afternoon. Things have worked out far better than we could have expected.
  16. Finished it this morning. Mmm. I think my problem with this book is that I like football and so all the impossibilities and improbabilities get in the way of a good yarn. First problem - Scottish teams playing in the FA Cup! OK, I will suspend belief (but why would you write this in?). Second problem - 30 non-league teams in the 1st round proper (actually, if it were just Celtic and Rangers from Scotland, and if they were entered in the 1st round rather than the 3rd (when the top 44 English clubs enter), then it would make sense - but this is a mathematical issue - the second round must produce 20 clubs to add to the top 44 to make 64; therefore the 1st round must contain 80 clubs, comprising the 48 from the 3rd and 4th tiers plus 32 non-league sides who have won through from the qualifying rounds - are you still with me on this?). Third problem - a non-league side would need to play in 8 rounds-proper, not 5. Fourth problem - Sinderby's opponents were Hartlepool, Leeds, Aston Villa, Glasgow Rangers and "Manchester"! If you're going to stipulate which half of Glasgow is involved, why would you not do the same with Manchester? As I say, these are all issues for me because of my love and knowledge of football. Put those points aside and it's quite good fun. I found the style of prose somewhat reminiscent of Lemony Snickett. I loved the illustrations. I enjoyed the hinted-at-but-never-fully-explained problems that the narrator had endured not long before the story commenced. Worth reading, but more likely to be enjoyed if you don't know much about football.
  17. I've read a grand total of 4 of those - Viz, Private Eye, Lady Chatterly and On The Road. In case you're reading this, David, Private Eye is better than the other three! I've read a few Beanos as well, but not from the 1950s...
  18. New York's A Lonely Town - The Trade Winds
  19. One thing that's needed is consistency. If Spurs supporters are to be prosecuted for using the word "Yid" then I would think it correct that black rappers who use the word "Nigger" should be as well. I'm not comfortable with either scenario!
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