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Steve T

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  • 18
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  • 16
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Read this and weep for the NHS

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-08-18

Some reviewers (outside of Audible) have mentioned how funny these tales of a junior doctor's lot are - and there are some moments when out-loud laughing is the result, for sure. However my overriding feeling after listening to this is of deep sadness and anger at the perilous state of the NHS. Of course, stories of strange things shoved up orifices, encounters with clearly stupid patients and heart-breaking stories of suffering and death, help paint the day-to-day picture of life as a doctor. But strip these out and what's left is a damning condemnation of successive governments and the appalling failure to support a vital service. The author's frank and honest story further highlights why we must heed the warnings about the dismantling of the Health Service with some urgency lest we lose it forever. Did I enjoy it? Not strictly speaking, it's hard to enjoy something like this. Am I glad I listened to it? Definitely. I think everyone needs to know more about the pressures on the service and particularly the pressures on our doctors, nurses and carers and to realise the very real sacrifice so many are making, selflessly, on our behalf to deliver a health service. Read it and weep for sure; read it and write to the Secretary of State demanding change - definitely.

Thous shalt eat well!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-07-18

Somewhat amusingly, Jay Rayner might well be described as the 'Marmite' of food writing. Now, I like Marmite, so listening to his books has always been pleasure. His irreverent approach and uncompromising views on all matters culinary are enlightening, provoking and usually very funny. Ten (Food) Commandments is not long enough in my opinion - but then I am a glutton for Rayner's Rants (maybe that's his next book title..?). Throw in some very nice recipes too and what's not to like? Excellent.

Fascinating, engaging - a great listen

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-06-18

Anyone who listened to Serial and became hooked on the investigative podcast, ought to like this. A fascinating delve into the story that shook West Cork and an in-depth look at the key people who are still involved in the hunt for the murderer. Did he? Didn't he? I still don't know what I think! Fabulous, and I hope the two authors do this sort of podcast again.

A sea of sorrows indeed...

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-06-18

Having enjoyed, mostly, the two previous Alien audio dramas, I had hoped that this third instalment might bring something new to the battle to conquer XX121 story. Sadly it does not. Episodes one and two may well have milked the franchise, but seemed, somehow to get away with it. Or was I just more forgiving, not least of all as the voice of Ellen Ripley sounded so much like Sigouney Weaver as to suspend the disbelief just enough. So I had modest hopes for Sea of Sorrows which turned out be misplaced. The plot, per se, is not so bad - it's the awful, toe-curling, turgid script and stilted performances that ruin this drama. The sound design is a straight lift from the previous episodes and this does manage to maintain some sense of suspense. However the woefully cliche-laden dialogue just wears the listener down after a while and the predictable (but sometimes fun) game of 'who gets sprayed with acid next bingo' fails to make up for it. Without offering a spoiler, the ending is, of course, left wide-open for a follow up. I just hope it's better written and better performed than this sorrowful effort.

Toast on good form

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-06-18

If you liked the TV series, then this is for you. From Clem Fandango's favourite voice over artist, Stephen Toast gives an insight into his incredible career. Might not be for everyone - personally I really like the character Toast - and could be referred to as Marmite-like...in that some like it on Toast, some don't (see what I did there?). Anyway, had me chuckling most of the way through, apart from the bits that weren't funny and there are not many of those.

Possibly the best non-fiction book of 2017

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-11-17

If you only read on non-fiction book this year, then make it this one. Elegantly and touchingly opened (and closed) as a letter to his dead father, it rolls out as a incisive look at how we, in Britain, have ended up with the mess we are in. The answers may surprise some; others may be shocked; some may deny his reasoning. Whichever side of the fence you sit, it is well written, well argued and, while self-flagellating at times, fairly strident in its conclusions and very interesting suggestions of how we might fix our broken system.

It is, though possible essential reading for anyone who is wondering: 'How did we get into this mess?'. I'd go as far as to say that any every teenager approaching their GCSEs should be made to read it - not least of all so they might not make the same mistakes when they come to vote and decide how our country is run. The section of how big money funded the very clever data-crunching to inform the use of social media in the Brexit leave campaign is with the cover rice alone. Read it and weep at mass manipulation by clever people with oodles of bits of data - it does make you stop and think about how our democracy is being eroded bit by bit.

Having not previously been a fan of Peston's broadcasting voice, I was deeply disappointed that he only narrates the opening and closing. That said, Luke Thompson does a brilliant job with the bulk of the book.

It might be seen as Peston's manifesto - and fair one it is at that. Some of the ideas for solutions in final chapter would do well to be be discussed at Govt level. I am now going to listen again to take in the bits I missed. For me, it's one of the most impactful and thought-provoking books I've read this year. I think I'm becoming a Peston fan...and I've changed my mind about his voice!

14 people found this helpful

Very revealing and honest biography - excellent

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-08-17

What made the experience of listening to Not Dead Yet the most enjoyable?

Phil Collins has been a figure of ridicule for the media and snobbish music fans for years. He certainly was ubiquitous at one point and did make the odd dodgy disc, no denying that.

However his own telling of his side of the story is a fascinating insight into the man - indeed at times the fragile emotional boy that lurks inside. Collins' delivery is as cheeky-chappie as you could imagine and you can envisage sitting by a fire with him, pint in hand, listening to him tell you his story, one-to-one; it sounds that personal. Great narration and soul-searching honesty made this a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

I have been vacillated about my liking of his music, from thinking he did good job taking over from Peter Gabriel in Genesis (until it all went a bit Brit pop later on) and some of his great solo work writing great hook-lines and hum-along tunes, to really disliking some of the overly sugary outpourings that reflected his roller-coaster emotional life.

It was also interesting to hear how the media stories about his various relationships were, if we are to believe him, very wide of the mark. The Live Aid stuff was fascinating too, though having listened to his take of the nightmare that was the Led Zep 'reunion' debacle, I watched the footage on You Tube (including the interviews afterwards) and it didn't seem to reflect exactly his telling. But then I wasn't here so who knows.

I came to the end of this book wanting to revisit some of his older solo work and at the same time feeling sorry for the man who is now challenged by physical impairment and searching for some peace and contentment. Overall a very enjoyable book and excellent delivery from Mr Collins.

Excellent, buy not for the faint hearted.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-17

What did you like most about Becoming Johnny Vegas?

So often autobiogs are shrouded with a gloss that protects the author. So often they contrive selectively to share enough bad or embarrassing bits to make you feel you have seen the real person. Here though, in giving birth to 'the voice in his head', Johnny Vegas, Michael Pennington reveals far more about himself than you might expect and, at times, perhaps more than necessary. That said, it is refreshing to listen to what amounts to a deep and honest, heartfelt confessional that doesn't hold back.

What about Johnny Vegas’s performance did you like?

In reading his own words, Pennington adds another dimension to the story. The vocal inflexion invokes anger, pity, sorrow, regret, joy and embarrassment which, in my opinion, creates greater impact and understanding of the complex character beneath the Vegas veneer.

Any additional comments?

This book is brutally honest at times and, for at least three chapters, the graphic references to 'self-gratification' might put some people off. Do persevere though. It's at times an intruiging insight into the issues of multiple personalities and the consequences of reliance on alcohol. By the final chapter I was exhausted but left with a respect for Pennington, whose cathartic use of this book may well be his attempt to shed the control and hold that his stage persona has had over him. The story ends too soon (yet the book felt quite long) and his marriages, children and life more recently is missing, which is a shame as I reckon Michael Pennington is a genuinely nice and funny chap who has more to say.

Think carefully before you waste your time...

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-01-17

What disappointed you about The Child?

If you like well-crafted stories, thoughtfully and creatively written, then this is NOT for you. If you like well thought out characters that draw you into the story, this is not for you. This over-long, convoluted story, has so many plot holes I lost count. Clumsily written (or maybe, to be fair, badly translated), it is full of incongruous references and badly used similies. Rupert Penry-Jones plays his stock in trade: an angst-ridden legal eagle, laden with self-doubt and an emotional (cliched) back story. Emilia Fox is as vacant and shallow as she is in Silent Witness. The premise for the story is, to be fair, quite hard-hitting, it's just so badly written. How this was made to stretch out to over six hours is a mystery. I have listened to a few dramatisations on Audible and generally enjoyed them, but this was, frankly, poor.

What could Sebastian Fitzek have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Mr Fitzek obvious has his fans - otherwise why so many books. I can only assume that the translation does him no favours. However, based on this outing, it would have been made more enjoyable had the story simply been better written. It was dreadfully clumsy.

What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

Narrator was fine - Robert Glenister does a good job with the material he was given

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Child?

Rather than try to re-edit, I'd start again.

Any additional comments?

My first and last foray into the work of Mr Fitzek. I also cannot believe so many reviews that give it four/five stars and glowing reviews. By the same token, I am sure that others will think my review completely at odds with their view and, perhaps, even harsh.

2 people found this helpful

Highly entertaining

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-16

What did you like most about A Life in Questions?

He may come across as a grumpy old man, but he is far from it. A nice insight into the man - though he chooses to omit any very personal details, so no big tabloid revelations here. If you have any interest in journalism and broadcasting it's an informative read. I liked his rants and honesty about all manner of subjects and all presented, of course, in his inimitable style.

2 people found this helpful