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Colin

WATFORD, United Kingdom
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  • Past Tense

  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Jeff Harding
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 986
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 900
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 905

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Past Tense by Lee Child. From number one best seller Lee Child, the thrilling new blockbuster featuring hero Jack Reacher. Reacher, the eternal drifter, happens by chance on the small New Hampshire town he remembers his father was supposed to have come from. But when he starts looking for his dad's old home, he finds there's no record of anyone named Reacher ever having lived there.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jack Goes Back to Basics!

  • By Simon on 06-11-18

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.

  • Permission to Screw Up

  • How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong
  • By: Kristen Hadeed, Simon Sinek - foreword
  • Narrated by: Kristen Hadeed
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78

The inspiring, unlikely, laugh-out-loud story of how one woman learned to lead - and how she ultimately succeeded, not despite her many mistakes, but because of them. This is the story of how Kristen Hadeed built Student Maid, a cleaning company where people are happy, loyal, productive, and empowered, even while they're mopping floors and scrubbing toilets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My new go to resource on humane & effective leadership

  • By Familyhrguru on 06-11-17

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...

  • Nothing Is Real

  • The Beatles Were Underrated and Other Sweeping Statements About Pop
  • By: David Hepworth
  • Narrated by: David Hepworth
  • Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Pop music’s a simple pleasure. Is it catchy? Can you dance to it? Do you fancy the singer? What’s fascinating about pop is our relationship with it. This relationship gets more complicated the longer it goes on. It’s been going on now for 50 years. David Hepworth is interested in the human side of pop. He’s interested in how people make the stuff and, more importantly, what it means to us. In this wide-ranging collection of essays, he shows how it is possible to take music seriously and, at the same time, not drain the life out of it. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More Gold-Dust from Mr Hepworth

  • By Colin on 03-12-18

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

  • Blowing the Bloody Doors Off

  • By: Michael Caine
  • Narrated by: Michael Caine
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160

With over 100 movies to his credit over five decades, Hollywood legend and British national treasure Michael Caine shares the wisdom, stories, insight and skills for success in life that acting has taught him in his remarkable career. One of our best-loved actors Michael Caine has starred in everything from classic British films Alfie, Zulu and The Italian Job to the Hollywood blockbusting The Dark Knight trilogy and much-loved movie favourites Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hannah and Her Sisters and The Quiet American. Caine has excelled in every kind of role - with a skill that's made it look easy.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A charming book that made me smile

  • By Tracey on 21-10-18

Another winner from Mr Caine

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

Reviewed: 03-12-18

I bought this title because, apart from being a fan of Caine's films, I've also very much enjoyed his previous autobiographical books, What's It All About? and Elephant to Hollywood. I am very glad to say I was not disappointed, as this book is simply excellent. Caine recounts stories from his years in the film industry but also weaves in observations about life in general which apply to anyone listening to this.

One good example is when Caine recounts how he used to wake up in the middle of the night, fretting over some past error or harsh words he may have used. As he lay there going over these in his mind, he found it impossible to go back to sleep, and suffered for it all the next day. I'm sure many of us can relate to this. His answer was to force himself to think of the future instead of the past, to plan ahead instead of looking behind. He found this was a different type of energy, which both enabled him to get his plans straight in his head, and then drop back to sleep. I've had my share sleepless nights fretting over stuff I can't change, and so I gave his idea a go, and boy, does it work!

Very highly recommended

  • Breaking and Entering: A Manual for the Working Actor

  • From Auditions to Agents to a Career
  • By: Philip Carlson
  • Narrated by: Philip Carlson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

Philip Carlson was the first agent to sign Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Liev Schreiber, Claire Danes, Idris Elba, Kyra Sedgwick, Adrien Grenier, and Paul Giamatti. He has represented Viola Davis, Kathy Bates, Brian Dennehy, and W.H. Macy among many and gifted others. He shares his practical trade secrets in this extraordinarily comprehensive guide on how to get into show business.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best career workshop you ever attended...

  • By Colin on 26-10-18

The best career workshop you ever attended...

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

Reviewed: 26-10-18

This book is simply remarkable. From the outset, author Philip Carlson grabs your attention and doesn't let go for one second.

Told from the point-of-view of a Talent Agent, the focus of this book is not how to be an actor, but how to approach the business of creating an acting career, which Carlson covers via a series of pseudo-workshops, in which he takes an imaginary group of students through the challenges of working in the modern world of Theatre, TV and Film. He discusses and explains the various pitfalls and strategies to Getting an Agent; How to behave at an Audition; Securing your next Job: Using Social Media; and many, many more.

Every chapter is gold-dust, and although primarily aimed at young actors on the verge of their working life, the subjects covered resonated very much with my 60yr-old actor's brain, and have already made me revise my approach to the whole business of finding work.

His teaching style is direct but supportive, so that even when the student's approach is flawed, he can suggest alternatives to make this more effective without making them feel bad.

If I have one slight observation, it's that this book is almost wholly US-focussed, focussing on New York for theatre, and Los Angeles for TV and film. London theatre gets a mention now and then, but that's about it. That slight niggle aside, this is easily one of the best books I've ever listened to.

Overall, this book really gave me pause for thought, and made me re-assess my current approach to the acting profession. That said, many of Carlson's ideas and strategies translate easily into other industries; Know your market and your place in it; Understand where you want to go, and be honest with yourself; Realise the areas you cannot go and concentrate on those where you can make an impact.

Highly recommended for any aspiring actor or performer

  • Imperium

  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 13 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,075
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 977
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 977

When Tiro, the confidential secretary of a Roman senator, opens the door to a terrified stranger on a cold November morning, he sets in motion a chain of events which will eventually propel his master into one of the most famous courtroom dramas in history. The stranger is a Sicilian, a victim of the island's corrupt Roman governor, Verres. The senator is Cicero, a brilliant young lawyer and spellbinding orator, determined to attain imperium - supreme power in the state.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb story, utterly superb narration.

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-01-17

All of a sudden, nothing happens...

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

Reviewed: 22-06-18

I dunno, I'm really trying to like this book, but it's a real struggle. I'm a big fan of Robert Harris' work (Conclave and Munich are both excellent), and the reviews for this title were universally good. I see the RSC are putting on a play based on this book, so I thought this was a must-read title. But I'm almost halfway through and nothing has happened; There's no tension, no excitement, just nothing at all.

I have to say the narration by Bill Wallis is first-rate ( and spookily similar to John Hurt), I'm just finding the lack of any real meat in the story frustrating. I honestly think I may end up returning this one...

  • The Hanging Club

  • By: Tony Parsons
  • Narrated by: Colin Mace
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 924
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 861
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 862

A band of vigilante executioners roam London's hot summer nights, abducting evil men and hanging them. Sentenced to death is the gang member who abused vulnerable girls, the wealthy drunk driver who mowed down a child and the hate preacher calling for the murder of British troops. As the bodies pile up and riots explode all over the sweltering city, DC Max Wolfe embarks on his most dangerous investigation yet: hunting a gang of killers whom many believe to be heroes....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very enjoyable

  • By tired & cynical on 12-10-16

Really unsettling...

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

Reviewed: 17-05-18

It’s a mark of Tony Parsons talent that his writing engages the reader almost immediately, and pretty much refuses to let go, keeping you hooked right up to the last page.

For me, however, this quality has backfired on this title, as I found the story so bleak, with continuous tales of innocent members of the public becoming the victims of senseless and extremely violent crime, which the police seem powerless to investigate and the courts unwilling to punish, so that the perpetrators literally walk away laughing.

A young father remonstrates with drunken youths who are urinating against his car, and is kicked to death whilst they film it for upload to YouTube; a college student looks at the wrong girl in a club and is blinded by the girl's boyfriend on the dance floor. And all the time, all the young crowd can think to do is film it...

Whilst I’m sure a good deal of the incidents depicted are based on real events, I just didn’t recognise Parson’s dark and dangerous London, filled with street violence and lawless gangs (despite the recent news events of 2018). This isn’t the London I know or have experienced over many decades of frequent visits to all areas. Like any big city London has its problems, but the dystopian world Parson draws would have you too scared to walk the streets, day or night.

I really don’t think I’ll be able to finish this…

  • History of the Groove: Healing Drummer

  • Personal Stories of Drumming and Rhythmic Inspiration
  • By: Russell Buddy Helm
  • Narrated by: Russell Buddy Helm
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

Russell Buddy Helm was classically trained from the age of eight and has performed and recorded with many greats: Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Tim Buckley, Allman Brothers, Frank Zappa, Bethlehem Asylum, Mike Bloomfield, Kinky Friedman, Big Joe Turner, and many others, and also on soundtracks for Ron Howard and other filmmakers. He wrote the Star Wars comic strips for George Lucas.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A very different book...

  • By Colin on 15-05-18

A very different book...

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

Reviewed: 15-05-18

As a drummer myself, I could happily reel off the names of some of the greatest players of our time (Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Chad Wackermann) and be fairly sure the general public has no idea who I'm talking about. I was therefore curious about this book because, despite his undoubtedly-impressive CV, I've never heard of Buddy Helm. Well, I'm more than halfway through and I still have no idea who this guy is.

This is a very strange book, and is no 'Rags to Riches' story of rock 'n roll excess, private jets or hot-and-cold running supermodels. Buddy grows up in the deep south of the USA and becomes a jobbing drummer, touring continuously with a variety of bands from the time (late 60s onward) but, despite this, never actually breaking through to 'The Big Time'. A gun-for-hire he was, and a gun-for-hire he remained. The book is unclear about whether Buddy is a drummer in the traditional sense of the word, (ie: behind a drum kit) or whether he's a percussionist. Either way, the guy never stood still, and the book charts his endless touring, road-trips and one-night stands (in the performing context) that were his life.

I'll admit I'm finding the book fascinating and hard work in equal measures. Fascinating because of the times he lived through, including a tour where it turns out the piano player was an FBI plant, sent there to 'get the dirt on the hippies'. Hard work because the story meanders around a lot, with little overall flow, and Buddy himself has a tendency to mumble. And boy, does he repeat himself, and I mean a lot. If he's told the story about the dinner where the FBI tried to recruit him once, he's told it four or five times. At one point I thought the book had jumped back a few chapters, but no.

Buddy's narration is delivered in a slow drawl, reminiscent of the Tommy Chong character from the Cheech & Chong sketches, and his tempo when he speaks is disjointed and often pauses in mid-sentence, if not mid-word.

Buddy also has that endearing American outlook where everything that's important in the USA 'must' have global consequences, and so consequently refers to Watergate as an event that 'Shook the world', and Dick Clarke (a music presenter of the late 60s) introducing Buddy's band 'to the world'. Yeah, right....

While writing this, I just noticed that the book is only 10hrs long. It feels a l-o-t longer...

  • Speed of Sound

  • By: Thomas Dolby
  • Narrated by: Thomas Dolby
  • Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46

Thomas Dolby's hit songs 'She Blinded Me with Science' and 'Hyperactive!' catapulted him to international fame in the early '80s. A pioneer of new wave and electronica, Thomas combined a love for invention with a passion for music, and the result was a new sound that defined an era of revolutionary music. But as record company politics overshadowed the joy of performing, Thomas found a surprising second act.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome and honest stories from the 80s synth era

  • By Valenni on 18-11-18

An Astonishing Life...

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

Reviewed: 26-04-18

This is possibly the best music autobiography I've ever read. Even if you're not a fan of Dolby's music it's a fair bet you've heard his signature other-worldly, sweeping synths on such tracks as Foreigner's 'Waiting for a girl like you' or Bowie's Live Aid 1985 set.

I'll admit I have a bad habit of skimming the opening chapters of a biography, eager to get to the meat of the story, I don't much care where they went to school or what their pet dog was called. No such problem here as Dolby kicks off with his first 'proper' job in a band, playing for the much-underrated Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club in the early 1980s. This led to a tour with Lene Lovich, which led to a meeting with Foreigner, and away he goes.

But this is no tale of rags-to-riches pop superstardom; far from it. With each success comes a corresponding challenge that leaves Dolby thinking that Fate is out to get him. On the eve of starting a 30-date USA tour to support the excellent "Aliens Ate My Buick" album, his record company (EMI) call to say they're not sure how to pigeon-hole his sound and this is affecting their marketing efforts. Consequently, rather than put some actual effort into solving the situation, they're withdrawing support (and backing) for the tour.

In the mid 1990s Dolby just gives up on the music industry. He's sold millions of albums and yet is still struggling to get by, and so Part Two of the book tells the tale of his venture into the world of high-tech business, and what a roller-coaster that turns out to be.

I've been a fan of Dolby's work since the 80s, and found parts of the story would cause me to visit Spotify to relisten to his music, only now with a far better understanding of what the songs are about.

Dolby narrates clearly and very engagingly throughout, and comes across as a very decent, honest man, swimming against the tides of corporate America.

A highly recommended peek into the worlds of the American music industry and Silicon Valley.

And you are going to love the Stevie Wonder story...

  • Theft by Finding

  • Diaries: Volume One
  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265

For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print or audio.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not what you might be expecting...

  • By Colin on 15-03-18

Not what you might be expecting...

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

Reviewed: 15-03-18

I am a great fan of David Sedaris’ work, both the written and the performances, in which he shows an uncanny eye for finding the ridiculous and absurd in everyday people and events. Listen to any of his books, and you will find yourself smiling, a lot.

Not so with this title in which, through his personal diaries, Sedaris draws a picture of an America far darker and more dangerous than Hollywood ever let on, populated by bigoted and ignorant people who’s only thought is ‘What’s in this for me?’

David is in his 20s, and has relocated from the family home in North Carolina to the big, bad city of Chicago. Financial pressures mean he has to consider every penny when scouting for a rental apartment, and thus he ends up living in a very run-down and dirty part of town. He learns early on that if you want the cops to come to your aid you need to use the word ‘Gun’ when you call them, otherwise they just ain’t coming.

A typical day for Sedaris starts with the physical and verbal abuse he experiences from passing cars or strangers on the street pretty much every time he steps outside, followed by witnessing repeated abuse toward waiters in his favourite diner, then having his possessions snatched from him by vagrants as he walks along. This is then compounded by the dark, awful stories of abuse, addiction and squalor he hears from random people he encounters. A nation of helpless, hopeless people who have given up, and now spend their days with only one aim, to get as high as possible at someone else’s expense. People with nothing, who have nothing to lose…

The writing, and Sedaris’ delivery, is as brilliant as ever, even though I do find I take a deep breath every time I take off my headphones, just to clean the dirt out of my system.

A very different listening experience…

6 of 6 people found this review helpful