Book Review: The Shock Of The Fall By Nathan Filer

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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I have finally read enough to realise the type of books I like. By that I don’t mean the genre, I’m still a firm believer in not condensing yourself into one specific group or another, it is such a rich and imaginary world that it seems beyond foolish and narrow minded not to keep your eyes open to it all. Rather, I have realised that I like a novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. I like a story that feels in motion and in which A leads to B and concludes with C.

When it comes to choosing a book to read you can obviously place weight onto recommendations from friends, previous works you’ve read or simply looking at the “best seller” charts to see what’s popular. And sometimes you just have to judge a book by it’s cover. That’s exactly what I did for The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer. I’d never heard of it but it seemed popular and well received online. It’d won the 2013 Costa Book Of The Year Award and more importantly, of course, there was something about the cover that grabbed my eye. Read more

Book Review: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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Hugh Laurie went from quirky British treasure to international superstar thanks to House MD. A programme into which I fell completely. I rowed every episode and still, to this day, have a complete soft spot for the characters, actors and anything related to it. It’s therefore, unsurprising, that I have an unfaltering faith in Hugh Laurie as a result, if he suggesting jumping, I take note and look to see if he’s dictated how high.

It’s this interest in his celebrity endorsement that firstly lead me to read The Night Manager by John Le Carré, a book I must admit I hated, but it was while putting together my review of it for this blog that I discovered that Laurie, has in fact, written his own tale of fiction – The Gun Seller. And so, with blind, and untainted faith, I put it in the “to read” pile of my ebook collection and waited for it to reach the top. Read more

Book Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest By Stieg Larsson

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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After I read The Girl Who Played With Fire I went out and I purchased the original Swedish film version of Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I wanted to see how the second and third books had been turned into films (Hollywood as of yet has only tackled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), I wanted to relive the story. But this gave me a problem. I hadn’t read the final part. If I watched the films I’d spoil the last book, and while I could watch the opening pair, taking me up to the point I’d read, I didn’t know how the films compared, and/or how much story cross over there would be. I could unwittingly be unlocking the plot without knowing it.

I decided therefore that the only thing to do was to sit the films on the shelf, and read the final book first. To learn how the story ends and then watch the trilogy in its whole. So that’s what I’ve done and while it’s taken me a little longer than planned to complete Lisbeth Salander’s tale, I now have and I now cannot wait to watch the films. Read more

Film Review: Amy

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I saw Amy Winehouse live twice. And while not technically accurate, I surmise it as: once when she was sober and once when she was drunk. To say there was a marked difference between the two would be an understatement. When Amy Winehouse wanted to sing, you stopped and you listened whether you liked Jazz music or not. Talent overrules all else.

I don’t mind Jazz from time to time and so was already drawn to her music, but with the media frenzy that hounded her very public battle with drink, drugs and mental illness you couldn’t help but be sucked along on the implosion that was her life. I can still clearly remember seeing her first ever appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks with her hair down and friendship in her eyes, a million miles away from the transformation to beehives, tattoos and eyes that held contempt that is now the image of her held in statue. And I will, for the rest of my life, remember working at my kitchen table when Radio 1 interrupted their schedule to announce she’d died. Read more

The 15th “Fly Trap” : G-CEGG Flight Report

Posted on by 5WC in G-CEGG, Hot Air Ballooning
G-CEGG - 9th July 2015 - Flight Track

People often joke about how a hot air balloon, especially when landing, appears “out of control”. Talk often turns to how landing in a balloon is essentially, crashing and how it is nothing more than a planned accident. That isn’t true, however, because whilst balloons travel with the wind, going where it blows, you can use the subtle variations in direction at different heights to steer a balloon’s general track (see my previous flight report for an example of extreme change in wind direction at varying altitudes) and of course, we have millimetre control over the height, and rates of ascent and descent of the balloon throughout.

All this means, that we can decide how and when we chose to land. the choice of site thought out and planned long before we ever touchdown. Is there livestock around? Is it arable crop? Where is the nearest road? How easy is vehicle access for retrieval? All questions answered before we arrive back on terra firma ensuring that everything should be simple, safe and with the minimum of disruption for the landowner. The perfect end to the flight. Read more

From Rugby To Golf : G-CEGG Flight Report

Posted on by 5WC in G-CEGG, Hot Air Ballooning

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since my last flight report. And in fact, the last aircraft I flew was actually of the fixed wing variety. The reason for this is very simple. Read my website and it’ll become clear that I am fighting, and winning, a battle against anorexia. An illness that demands control, and when ballooning is essentially all about giving up that control, things don’t lie easily. Unfortunately anorexia also has an ally in keeping me out the sky – PTSD – the result of a number of flights combining where landing sites and angry farmers left me feeling so panicked and anxious about being in the sky, I would end up shaking and petrified at the prospect of what lay ahead before I’d even got near a launch site.

And so I’ve shied away from it. Routine times for breakfast or dinner, acceptable excuses to miss flying slots and stay away from the sky. I’d sit there and munch through corn flakes or slicing up steak while the sun shone, the trees lay still and my heart and head went to war with each other. I was desperate to fly but distressed by the thought. So I stayed on the ground.

But things change, minds rewritten and desire can overcome fear. So with the weather looking good and the chance to fly from a new launch site over a town I know intimately I decided to set the alarm clock for 4.15am and go for a flight. Even if I did come very, very close to cancelling it the night before. 4.15am really? Read more

Book Review: Hyperion By Dan Simmons

Posted on by 5WC in Book
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He speaks fluent French, took one of the most rewteeted selfies of all time, and happens to be one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, in both the looks and property department. There are many, many reasons that you can dislike the apparent perfectionist talents of Bradley Cooper. And now he is turning his attentions to conquering the small screen, as he helps bring to life Dan Simmons’s award winning novel Hyperion.

I must confess, until I heard that Cooper was attempting this feat, and the ensuing discussion as to whether there is actually anything that Cooper cannot do, I’d never heard of Simmons or his story, but because the discussions around Cooper’s choice of source material seemed to suggest that this was something of a quality book, commanding almost cult status which would be a challenge to bring to life I was intrigued. I wanted to read it, to see what story Cooper was attempting to relay. Read more

Film Review: Minions

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It’s currently 32ºC outside, so why moan that it’s “too hot” as a table fan stutters depressingly left and right almost audibly sighing as it stirs nothing but warm air, when you can be blast chilled in a cinema, avoiding both the mid day sun and popcorn munching, always talking children, while watching Minions?

Why? Because it’s not very good.

The minions were destined for their own spin off film from the minute they stepped foot in Gru’s lair 5 years ago. And that’s my problem. Minions feels rushed. It’s been 2 years since Despicable Me 2 and for an animation of the scale of Minions that really isn’t very long. As a result, it doesn’t feel like a film that has had time and passion spent creating it, making it as polished and perfect as they could, instead lacking that little spark needed to make it into a classic and give it longevity. Read more

Film Review: Mr Holmes

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Currently Hollywood loves the comic book and every character imaginable is being rolled out into a franchise. But to ensure we never lose sight of those who lead the way, and to keep them fresh, we’re being treated to their “origin story”. A simple idea of taking a well loved and popular character and instead of unleashing them again in another formulaic adventure that would get lost in the saturated genre they now inhabit, we are given their background, their beginnings. Telling us how they came to be, showing us the person behind the mask as it were.

Recent examples include: Batman, Spiderman, The X-Men and even James Bond and whilst origin stories are traditionally kept to the superhero genre, as Bond showed, the trend is starting to leak out into the surrounding subsets and the latest attempt to expand a well loved character out beyond their natural territory, is slightly surprisingly, Sherlock Holmes. With the post investigatory mumblings of Mr Holmes. Read more

Film Review: The Longest Ride

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks novel, I don’t even think I’ve seen a film adaptation of his work and if I’m honest I slightly wish that I could still say that is the case. Unfortunately, his latest cinematic offering – The Longest Ride – while not looking overly impressive didn’t appear too bad either and with Meercats, cheap day ticket offers and my Mother meandering towards wanting to see it, a combined trip to the cinema of less than £10 seemed a reduced enough risk to take to finally take the plunge into the world of Nicholas Sparks.

Sparks writes romantic dramas, but according to a few critics, he actually writes the same drama over and over again. The romance of a girl, meeting a boy, from opposing lives; falling in love falling out of love, before the epiphany and realisation of the fundamentals of true love whilst, apparently, someone always dies. The End. You just have to look at the film posters for the novels brought to life to see the standard theme of a boy and girl kissing in front of a golden sunset to know exactly what I’m on about. And The Longest Ride continues that trend without error. Read more

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