Friday, 24 August 2012

Rush - Clockwork Angels: A Review from the UK

It will go without saying that I was eagerly awaiting Clockwork Angels. Thirty two years a Rush follower, with Moving Pictures probably my all time favourite album, and I could hardly have said anything different.

Highlights from first few plays? Tricky one. It’s the perennial problem of only being able to find the time to listen to a new album on the road. The overall quality stood out a mile, a well thought out blend of traditional and modern. One particular passage of fast driving rock from “Headlong Flight” reminded me of By Tor And The Snow Dog – and that’s a 37 year old song. “Caravan” was familiar as a new song first played on the previous UK tour.

But what of the report that this was a concept album? No way to work this out when behind the wheel of my car. I had to find the time for a throwback to days gone by, when I would make a serious effort to sit down with the lyrics and the CD player and avoid all other distractions (save for the Chilean chardonnay)…

And then it suddenly all fell into place. The independent free thinking central character who has been brought up to believe (BU2B) in the received wisdom of the Watchmaker makes his mind up to leave his village behind and see it for himself. He evidently finds Chronos Square and the Clockwork Angels not entirely to his liking – yes, I was recalling 2112 by now, a definite echo of the Temples of Syrinx.

So off he goes on his further travels after the Anarchist’s rhetorical question “What do you lack?” The passing encounter with the travelling circus is partly related through a gem of a ballad in the form of “Halo Effect”, a prelude to the harder sound of the following triplet “Seven Cities Of Gold”, “The Wreckers” and the By-Tor echo of “Headlong Flight”. Back off the travels to the philosophical “Wish Them Well” – if only it was that easy to address personal demons that way – and a return home to tend the garden (literally) in the final song. A distinctly happier ending than 2112 – no threat of the Clockwork Angels announcing that they had assumed control here – but certainly not one that detracts from the overall force and quality of the album. The UK tour next May will be eagerly awaited.

And the most noteworthy lyric from Neil Peart this time around? Close call, but I’d give that prize to a line from The Anarchist: “A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage.”

Rush – Clockwork Angels. An overwhelming five stars.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Orangeberry Summer Splash: Guest Post - Bob Mitchley

Today I am delighted to be hosting a Ford 99 post from Bob Mitchley, author of "Interview with a Prankster": -

'Martha: “Most of Zeke’s character flaws stem from his father’s side, how, when he was only two years old, his dad would lock him out of the house during the day, putting him in the fenced-in area of the backyard. Zeke had to scrounge for food in the garbage can and go to the bathroom in the garage. Poor kid. I wanted to help. So after the accident happened with his dad, I assumed mothership control over little Zeke.

“What a boy! All boy! I remember this one escapade. Zeke happened on a crippled bird, nursed it back to health, and then took it out of its cage, tying a fishing line around its one leg and setting it free. On the other end was Zeke holding a fishing rod and reel. The bird flew, but wasn’t totally free. He let the bird fly out a ways and then reeled it back. Back and forth this went for a while, until the bird got so tired it couldn’t fly anymore. Finally, he let the bird rest a short time and then once more let it fly, right up into a high tree limb, where it became entangled. Zeke pulled on the line ’til it snapped, leaving the bird there to die. Bird on a line was what he called it. Poor little thing flapped itself silly trying to get free.'

As the author summarises IWAP: "Have you ever felt like this overwhelmed with condemnation? Or maybe you're angry at yourself and the world, not even knowing the root cause or how to deal with it all. In Bob Mitchley's collection of shocking short stories, Interview with a Prankster and Other Shock Stories, you'll discover a man who learned to deal with his own demons the only way he knew how."

Monday, 13 August 2012

Orangeberry Summer Splash: Due Praise

For my Guest Post: We Fancy Books

"It all started with John Locke. Not the philosopher, nor the Lost character. The American author who had almost single handedly turned the world of fiction writing on its head, by taking advantage of yet another way in which the internet had transformed people’s lives for the better. E-publishing....."

For my Book Feature (scroll down): Peace from Pieces

"Injustice. Treachery. Sabotage. Called upon to defend an acrimonious libel action on behalf of an important newspaper client, newly appointed law firm partner Alex Harris never once expected to find his efforts impeded by wanton disregard for ethics and blatant self interest that crossed all boundaries. Not only on the part of his opponents, but also those he should have been able to trust implicitly and without question..."

For my Ford 99: Mommy Adventures

"To have described Thursday 11th March as simply One Of Those Days for solicitor Alex Harris would have been a woeful understatement.

With his newspaper clients’ libel trial only days away, he realises just how dirty a fight his opponents intend to contest, as they pull a last minute rabbit out of the hat in the form of printed apologies to past libel victims that Bill Holroyd, the editor, had been compelled to publish in days gone by. Apologies that are now to feature in the documents bundle that will be placed before the judge and jury, in the hope of poisoning their minds against the editor, regardless of the fact that he was then in charge of a downmarket tabloid, not the same newspaper that is now on trial.

Thinking on his feet, Alex finds a counter-measure to demonstrate that whenever Holroyd decided in his past editorial role to stand firm against a libel allegation and go to trial, he was never defeated. Little did Alex know that this would not be the last dirty trick…"

For my Author Interview: Bunny's Review.

How did you know you should become an author? Creativity with words has always fascinated me. Ever since childhood I have parodied song lyrics, and this developed into general satire in student days when classics, law and Private Eye all came together. Having moved through experiments in travel writing and scambaiting (see below), I dusted off the plot for my long forgotten novel ‘Hatred, Ridicule & Contempt’ when the e-publishing boom took off.

Who are your favorite authors of all time? Robert Goddard. Bill Bryson. Tom Clancy. Michael Crichton. Glenn Cooper.

Who or what inspired you to become an author? A major unforeseen professional affront.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? Took my wife out for a pub lunch.

Favourite music? All time favourite for over 30 years and still going, Rush. In general, British and American rock, 60s to 80s, but my mind is not closed to modern musicians of any type who write their own material and can perform it live without lip synching or other deceit.....

Not forgetting Pandora for the Twitter Blast.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Alliterative Duals: another Orangeberry Summer Splash feature

"Lamenting libel law losers launch lifeline. Partners' petty politics prove paranoid" - Hatred Ridicule & Contempt.

The challenge to summarise a book in 20 words or fewer is not unusual. But I would venture to suggest that the Alliterative Dual - a variation on this challenge to do so in two sentences using alternative alliteration - is entirely original. It might, of course, be entirely pointless too. But I will gladly take the risk in support of the worthy cause that goes by the name of the Orangeberry Summer Splash. Especially as some fellow participants have already provided encouragement and summaries of their own: -

"Gregarious girly girl gives gratitude, giggles, galpal gifts. Fashions funny focus for family, friends, future." Kim Dalferes, I Was In Love With A Short Man Once.

"Travel to transcend turmoil, techniques to transform thinking. Affirmations abound, abundantly authentic!" Keri Nola, A Year On Your Path To Growth.

"Mighty Magnus manages mishaps magnificently. Seemingly saves something, sometime." Jonathan Gould, Magnus Opum.

"Colorful characters careen carelessly, cheering coming century." Dawn Deanna Wilson, Ten Thousand New Years' Eves.

And another Pandora tribute from Kim to finish: "Orangeberry offers outstanding out-of-the-ordinary opportunities. Witty writers wistfully word-smithing wonderful works."

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Another Lulu Discount for Hatred Ridicule & Contempt

...until Friday 10th August. Just click here for the link. Just what we need when the Orangeberry Summer Splash is in full flow.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Orangeberry Summer Splash: Author Interview with Marilyn Holdsworth

Today I am delighted to be hosting an interview with Marilyn Holdsworth, author of Pegasus, her featured work for the Orangeberry Summer Splash.

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
The future.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Robert Redford, Warren Buffett, Prince William, Stephen Hawking, J. K. Rowling.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Toilet paper, sunglasses and books.

What is one book everyone should read?
The King James Bible.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
The Bionic Woman.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Mind Reading.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Winston Churchill.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Blueberry muffin.

Night owl, or early bird?
Early bird.

One food you would never eat?

Pet Peeves?
High taxes, lack of consistency in women's sizes of clothes.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You will be entertained, while learning something new.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I am finalizing my new novel, Making Wishes. I am writing another.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
It was a childhood dream.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Being able to hold my legacy in my hand.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Black Beauty

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don't show your work to anyone until it is finished.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?
Zeus. He was the boss.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Southern California.

What is your favorite Quote?
The block of granite that is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping stone in the pathway of the strong... Thomas Carlyle.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Irving Stone.

Favorite Food?

If you were a bird, which one would you be?
A seagull, like Jonathan.

What do you do in your free time?
Work in the garden and read.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Author

What's your favorite season/weather?

Favorite places to travel?
New Zealand, Ireland, Portugal.

Favorite music?
Piano sonatas.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

More Haikus for the Orangeberry Summer Splash

Continuing from where I left off before: -

Gean Penny, The Lonely Chair The Story: -

Patches fill its cloth
Stories shared between those left
Lonely for Grandpa

PG Forte, Scent of the Roses: -

Scout's homeward bound
To a quirky little town
Where mysteries abound

Rebekah Webb, The Life And Times Of Car Johnson: -

Loser tries to make it big
Makes it odd instead
Cow fetus tea parties rock

Michelle Delisle, Winging It! (Angel In Training): -

Angel wings
Out of reach
For a little bit longer

Caddy Rowland, Gastien Part 1: The Cost Of The Dream: -
Dark drama
When Gastien arrives in Paris
To fulfill his dreams

Lynne Cantwell, Fissured: The Pipe Woman Chronicles #2: -

Jaguar comes between
Naomi, Joseph, Shannon
And Charlie gets fracked.

And finally a tribute for Pandora Poikilos from Kim Dalferes: -

Haiku fun
The Summer Splash comes
Waves of talent and Pandora bliss!