BOOK REVIEW | CHAPTER AND VERSE: NEW ORDER, JOY DIVISION AND ME BY BERNARD SUMNER [GOODREADS]

Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Division and MeChapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Division and Me by Bernard Sumner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A frank memoir from the musician who was an integral part of two of the most influential bands ever viz. Joy Division and New Order. Sumner comes across as down-to-earth and amiable and tries to be as candid as possible about difficult issues – like the suicide of Ian Curtis and the break up with Peter Hook. Easy to read and an essential book for fans of these legendary bands.

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REEL TO REAL : BASED ON A TRUE STORY [REVIEW]

By Yong Shu Hoong

First of all, a declaration: I might have been slightly in love with Eva Green ever since she graced the big screen as Bond girl Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale (2006). So despite some bad reviews plaguing Based on a True Story, I decided to watch this latest film of hers, which is billed as a psychological thriller and directed by Roman Polanski (perhaps a name you’d resist, given the current #MeToo climate). Oh, and it’s in French too, so you’ll get the chance to watch Green act in her native tongue.

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GEEK OUT!!! STAR TREK : DISCOVERY – “WHAT’S PAST IS PROLOGUE” [SPOILERS]

There was a moment – the briefest possibly – where it seemed that the writers/producers behind Discovery were going to reboot the entire series using the escape from the Mirror Universe as the plot device.

Perhaps then Discovery would exist in a reality more aligned to the original series (which is supposedly a decade away from the events depicted so far.

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PoP20 | PoP LEGENDS : ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE VENUS 3 – GOODNIGHT OSLO (2009)

ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE VENUS 3 Goodnight Oslo (Yep Roc)

It is my firm belief that by and large, solo singer-songwriters do their best work when backed by a semi-permanent band. Good examples include Bob Dylan (& The Band), Neil Young (& Crazy Horse), Bruce Springsteen (& the E Street Band) and Elvis Costello (& the Attractions).

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BOOK REVIEW | FIRE AND FURY : INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE [GOODREADS]

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White HouseFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Fire and Fury” so named as a reference to Trump’s rant against North Korea, is a White House tell-all that is somewhat spoiled by the fact that most nobody reading it would be surprised by its revelations. Though it does confirm the fact that White House is a mess, populated by predatory ego-maniacs out to outdo each other in manner recalling Game of Thrones-like scenarios. Strangely enough, the main character of “Fire and Fury” does not seem to be Trump but Steve Bannon – with the book ending with an ominous characterisation of Bannon’s own Presidential ambitions.
But considering how events seem to have overtaken Bannon with his quick decline in fortunes since the book was written, Wolff seems less prescient and relevant. Still, a rollicking read that does nothing to dispel the common negative connotations about politics.

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BOOK REVIEW | PoP LEGENDS : BILLY JOEL BY FRED SCHRUERS [GOODREADS]

Billy JoelBilly Joel by Fred Schruers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The biggest question when thinking of Billy Joel is – why hasn’t he released a new album in 20 over years? This biography does not seem to answer that question satisfactorily. This makes the final third rather difficult to get through as it covers the period where Joel becomes an oldies act basically – living off the glories of his past. But before that the book is riveting – providing details during Joel’s successful time as a singer-songwriter/recording artist. For fans only, though.

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PoP20 | THE NEW ROCK N ROLL : FLEET FOXES – S/T (2008)

FLEET FOXES Self-titled (Sub Pop)

This is probably one of the toughest reviews I’ve ever written. Ever since I first listened to this debut full-length from Seattle’s Fleet Foxes, I’ve been wondering how in the world I would be able to string together a couple (or more) sentences that would do justice to this masterpiece! For a band to be able to meld the rustic melodic beauty of Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks’ Smile and the heartfelt echoes of 70s singer-songwriter movement, is almost unbelievable.

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PoP20 | PoP LEGENDS : BOWIE – A BIOGRAPHY BY MARC SPITZ [REVIEW]

BOWIE: A BIOGRAPHY by Marc Spitz

An assertion that David Bowie (nee Jones) has been the biggest influence on new bands and new music of the last four decades, would not draw much objections from rock scholars. But is that enough to fill a voluminous biography of the great man? The simple answer is “yes”, but writer Marc Spitz goes a little more deeper, inserting the impact that Bowie has had on his personal life as well.

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PoP20 | POWER POP ROCK N ROLL : PLASTICSOUL – PEACOCK SWAGGER [REVIEW]

PLASTICSOUL Peacock Swagger (Self-released)

A little bit of pop trivia before we begin. “Plastic Soul” is of course, a term originally coined by an unknown black musician to describe Mick Jagger. Paul McCartney cited it as an influence on the album title of Rubber Soul. Whilst David Bowie described his excursions in soul and funk with the Young Americans album also as “plastic soul”.

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