LISTENER

Colin

  • 109
  • reviews
  • 813
  • helpful votes
  • 116
  • ratings

One of the best...

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

Reviewed: 16-03-20

Where to start? This is easily one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to. Bryan Cranston has had a fascinating life and his way of grabbing every opportunity that comes along keeps the story rolling and the listener engaged throughout.

Example: Cranston opts to work one summer on the holiday island of Santa Catalina, where his day consists of taking luggage to and from various hotels in a golf cart. Whilst there he befriends the local pastor who conducts weddings on the beaches. One day the pastor comes to Cranston in a panic, saying he is double-booked the following week and suggests Cranston become ordained so that he can cover for the pastor. This is apparently a fairly quick process in the USA, and the following week Cranston flies to the mainland to conduct a wedding that takes place in an aircraft at 5000 feet. The roar of the plane is so loud that he has to yell the service at the top of his lungs. He is 20 yrs old.

As the title suggests, each chapter deals with a role he plays in life; Brother, Son, Friend, Father, Witness, etc, and each story just rolls along. As you could expect Cranston is an excellent narrator, and keeps the listener engaged throughout.

Very highly recommended

Just not grabbing me

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

Reviewed: 16-03-20

The first audiobook I bought was 'Midshipman Bolitho' (can't remember the author's name). It was on two cassette tapes (late 70s) and it grabbed me from the very start and never let go. I enjoyed it immensely.

Sadly, this book just isn't doing that for me at all. The story is predictable, and with the author saying "Hornblower would look back on the event over the coming years" you know that, no matter what predicament he seems to be in, Hornblower survives.

The author also seems to delight in showing off his technical knowledge, with references to Poop Rails, Futtocks and Mizzen Masts that mean nothing to me and add little to the story.

Christian Rodska is an excellent narrator, but even he struggles to bring any life to this text.

Just not for me...

"Been There, Done That...."

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

Reviewed: 01-07-19

It’s probably fair to say that most people outside of the music industry won’t know who Kenney Jones is. And it is equally fair to say that most of these would, at some time, have found themselves dancing to a record bearing his trademark, solid drumming.

Kenney Jones has had a remarkable musical career. He left school in the East End of London aged just 15 to take up an apprenticeship, only to find himself only two years later a bona fide popstar as drummer in the successful group, The Small Faces. The band remained successful throughout the 60s, and when lead vocalist Steve Marriot left the band in 1969, Jones and the other remaining members joined forces with a young blues singer called Rod Stewart, and the rest is history.

Even during his time with The Small Faces, Jones was finding his no-nonsense style and solid, danceable grooves in demand, and despite him not being able to read music, he became a sought-after session player, playing for Joan Armatrading, The Who, Andy Fairweather-Low and many others.

In the late 70s Rod Stewart left the Faces to concentrate on a solo career. Initially he asked Kenney to continue in the drum seat, but after much soul-searching Kenney realised that this would be a path to obscurity, as he slowly became just a part of a backing group with no say in what the band were doing. He wasn’t out of work for long; following the untimely death of The Who’s Keith Moon, the band asked Kenney to take over the role of band drummer. He jumped at the chance, but it soon became evident that this request had not been unanimously agreed, with singer Roger Daltrey being especially frosty. After a few years in the band, the end of the road came when Daltrey insisted Kenney be fired. A difficult time followed, during which contractual obligations forced the band to put on concerts and attend publicity junkets while Kenney ‘worked his notice’. This situation was made more awkward by the band being asked in 1985 to play Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, and Kenney being asked if he could drum for them, “just one more time”. Daltrey was NOT happy at Kenney’s involvement, and watching the video today on YouTube, his anger is plain to see.

Unlike many of his contemporaries Kenney has always been careful with money, and this has enabled him to make lucrative investments outside of the world of pop music, most notably his polo club at Hurtwood Park in Surrey, UK.

He also speaks openly and frankly about his cancer scares and how he managed to survive the treatments and months of recovery that followed.

Narration by David John is first-rate and keeps the listener engaged throughout.

Highly recommended

2 people found this helpful

Hepworth Strikes Gold, Again...

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

Reviewed: 17-05-19

This is the 4th book on music by Hepworth that I've listened to, and yet again he strikes gold as he traces the history of the Long-Playing record from the mid-60s up to the 80s and the introduction of the CD.

I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment of this book, and never once had the urge to fast-forward. His delivery is enthusiastic and informed, and his insight excellent. We all recognise the part the Sony Walkman played in allowing us to take our music everywhere with us, but Hepworth points out that what this event also did was move the act of listening and enjoying music from a social experience, shared with friends in front of the stereo, to an insular, private one.

Very highly recommended, as are all of Hepworth's books

An Unexpected Gem...

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

Reviewed: 17-05-19

Being a big fan of the Charles Parris series I bought this title purely on the strength of Bill Nighy's unflappable charm and poised delivery. I was not disappointed.

As a man in my 60s I could totally relate to the premise of the story (meeting an old love and finding the flame still burns) and how both characters cautiously approach the idea of 'being a couple' at this late stage of their lives.

The banter between Nighy and Calder-Marshall is wonderful and the crisp dialogue just canters along. The challenges they face as their relationship rekindles (first kiss, where and when to meet, weekends away) are beautifully handled, with the episode at the village mums and babies group being especially enjoyable and moving at the same time.

Highly recommended

3 people found this helpful

A Brutal peek into the world of modern pop music..

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

Reviewed: 09-04-19

I read somewhere that when young school-leavers are asked about their career aspirations, the most popular choice, especially amongst the girls, is “To be a Celebrity”. I think if they read Lily Allen’s book they may think twice.

This is a stinging account of how the pursuit of fame can bring with it serious and unwelcomed outcomes. There’s the media, who pretend to be her friend and then scrape every barrel they can to find a story, even to the point of fabrication, and to hell with anyone who gets hurt in the process. The fallout of this was that Lily became increasingly wary of where she went and what she said, and when the stories kept coming, she became suspicious of her friends and entourage, puzzling over who could possibly be feeding the press their gossip.

As time goes on, her run-ins with the press escalate, and she is openly betrayed by friends and, especially, her first real boyfriend, who dumped her via telephone when she was a struggling nobody, only to re-emerge after her first album became a worldwide hit, and sell his ‘kiss-and-tell’ version of their 18-month relationship to that bastion of truth and fair play, The News of the World.

Whilst it may seem attractive to be followed by photographers everywhere you go, Lily Allen soon shows how this gets old, real quick. If she’s seen with a cigarette in her hand she’s castigated for not being able to quit; If she has a drink, she’s an out-of-control alcoholic; and every male friend she’s seen out with is automatically labelled ‘Her Latest Lover’.

All of this, plus way too much time left on her own in planes and hotel rooms, pushes Lily over the edge, and she decides that if this ‘cartoon Lily’ is what the papers want, then ‘Cartoon Lily’ she will be, and she sets off on a destructive journey fuelled by illicit drugs, drinking and casual sex.

But then she finds she has a stalker, a dangerous mentally-unstable man who has professed he intends to kill her. To her amazement, the papers aren’t interested in this aspect of her life, and worse, the police treat it as a simple robbery escalated by an over-indulged pop star.

A harsh glimpse into the world of paparazzi, glamour and instant fame. Should be mandatory reading in every school…

16 people found this helpful

Never Lets Go...

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

Reviewed: 05-02-19

This is my second outing with the world of Cormoran Strike, and I have to say I was not disappointed. The story kicks into high gear from the very start and never lets the reader go, as what seems like a straightforward case of suicide opens up avenues into the surreal world of fashion and the culture of celebrity.

Robert Glenister’s narration is first class, keeping the story moving and the characters real and alive. I’d definitely buy another title featuring him.

As with all good mysteries, the ending is unexpected and yet, when explained, seems obvious, as you realise all the clues that you missed along the way.

Highly recommended

Quite a disappointment...

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

Reviewed: 11-12-18

I had more than a few problems with this title, and will admit one of them was me. I have not read many of the Jack Reacher series before, and so my only point of reference for the character are the Tom Cruise films. Consequently, every time the story has the hero doing heroic stuff, all I can see is Mr Cruise, and something just does not ring true. My wife, who has read a number of the novels, maintains that Cruise casting himself as Jack Reacher is one of the worst mis-castings of all time, as the Reacher in the stories is 6ft plus and built like a tank.

My second issue was with the actual story, which takes forever to get underway (I am pretty sure it is not until around chapter 25 that things start to warm up) and worse, when they finally do reveal what the main story is, it is way more than a bit far-fetched, even in this day. (I cannot say anything else without spoiling the surprise)

But my main issue was with the narration, which is truly awful. The narrator has a habit of always going up at the end of his phrases, so that everything sounds like a question, or like he is explaining a point to a child. And then, he has this thing for putting pauses where they do not belong. For example, instead of saying 'Reacher crossed the street, got into the car, started the engine and then drove out of town forever' his take would be 'Reacher crossed the street (pause) got into the car (pause) started the engine (pause) and then drove out of town (pause) forever', with each short phrase rising at the end. It is very distracting and after a while really grates. It is almost like he is trying to do a bad Jack Nicholson impression. I am aware I am in the minority on this point, as the narrator has done a number of the Jack Reacher series, and has many positive comments from listeners on this site.

Just give the sample a good listen before you buy, that is all I can suggest.

A Fantastic Read, Highly Recommended

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

Reviewed: 03-12-18

I bought this title purely on impulse, because I wanted to listen to something different. Well, this title is certainly that. As a young college student, Miss Hadeed starts cleaning peoples houses to make some cash, and before she knows it she has more work than she can handle on her own, and so she takes on an extra pair of hands to help out. And then another, and then another, and before too long her little part-time money earner has turned into a fully-fledged business, with all the aches and pains that entails. And almost at every turn, she goes left when she should've gone right, she zigs when she should've zagged.For example she secures a business loan so that she can expand her business, buy materials, take on some more staff, but the first thing she does is throw a wild party for her staff to celebrate how well things are going, only to find the next day that the party has used up a huge percentage of her loan.

And yet, she somehow survives, learning from her mistakes and growing as a result, as do her very loyal staff.

Highly recommended...

More Gold-Dust from Mr Hepworth

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

Reviewed: 03-12-18

This is the third title by David Hepworth that I've listened to, and I have to say he has retained the energy and pace that made the previous titles so enjoyable.
In this title, Hepworth revisits articles that he has written in the music press over his long career, and every one of them is a gem. Being a drummer myself, I especially enjoyed the chapter called 'It's All About The Drummer' in which he very accurately defined the drummer's place in the overall musical scheme of things.
Each chapter is very well observed and written. 'Seven Things To Tell A Young Band' was so accurate I wish someone had told me, years ago.

A must for any music lover

2 people found this helpful