Focus - Focus 3
by Mott the Dog
Star Rating - ***
Focus were certainly the best band to come out of Holland in the Seventies. (Don’t give me Golden Earring, “Radar Love” was a great song, but what else did they have in their biscuit barrel?)
Focus were formed in Amsterdam in 1969 and they became a major concert attraction in Europe, playing extended songs with lots of classical bits thrown in. Over the years their music matured and some would say peaked with 1972’s Focus 3.
Some great guitar, keyboard and flute work disguised the fact that none of them could sing or even speak English. As a substitute there were lots of blood curdling screams, orgasmic groans, triumphant shrieks and choir-like choruses.
Focus 3 starts off with the sprightly jazz tinged “Round Goes The Gossip”. This was followed by six, short, well constructed rock songs including the band’s biggest single success in the riff laden “Sylvia” (the Bizarre Hocus Pocus complete with manic yodelling coming from the previous album “Moving Waves”).
But it’s the second half of this CD where the songs are extended up to 27 minutes and the band members are allowed to come into their own, kick off their clogs and go for the solos.
The interplay between keyboards, flute, guitar and even a rocked out penny whistle is absolutely mesmerizing, with each musician pushing the other to the limit.
The only thing that puts the old tail between the legs a bit is the over long bass and drum solos at the end. This Dog always thinks that drum solos are to allow the rest of the band a break (drummers don’t need them). Therefore, on record they become a little tedious, especially when listening to them for the second or third time round.
For this culpable sin, I deduct 2 stars from the otherwise true Forgotten Classic
1. Round Goes The Gossip
Thijs Van Leer - Keyboards, Flute, Penny Whistle
Bridget Jones’ Diary (from the best-selling novel by Helen Fielding) tracks our title character for one year. She’s 32 years old and has spent most of her life doing menial work and spending too much time drinking, smoking and eating. She is continually depressed at her lack of a meaningful relationship and her weight. Renee Zellweger has clearly and bravely gained the 20 requisite pounds to play the chubby-cheeked Bridget, who repeatedly resolves to get her life in order - and manages to make a complete mess of it every time.
The two men in Bridget’s life are her rakish boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and her childhood friend Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Oddly, while Bridget professes romantic woes, she soon finds herself with the two men to choose from. This then causes the dilemma, and hence the need for a diary.
Hugh Grant’s role as her scoundrel of a boss is quite brilliant, showing us some of his inner rogue that we saw in some of his previous roles. Firth, on the other hand, is meant to be a rather stiff antithesis to Cleaver’s carefree character, making us believe him to be an unlovable, boring character leaving us to wonder what Bridget would ever see in him.
There are some very funny scenes, e.g., she shows up as the only one in a hooker costume at a “tarts and vicars” party and she runs through a snowstorm in leopard-print panties.
A very funny movie but what else could you expect from the people who brought us Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill? Bridget Jones’ Diary was written by Richard Curtis, produced by Tim Bevan, Jonathan Cavendish and Eric Fellner and directed by first-time director Sharon Maguire.
Renee Zellweger plays a brilliant part making you laugh and cry with Bridget, a movie well worth seeing but unsuitable for children.
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.