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Book Review: Guinness World
by Lang Reid
Published in May this year, the Bantam Books paperback
edition of the Guinness World Records 2003 (ISBN 0-553-58636-X) is here
now. It bills itself as "the most complete, authoritative and
exciting guide to every record, statistic and feat of human endeavour and
natural wonder imaginable."
The book is divided into sections, with "every
record, statistic and feat of human endeavour and natural wonder"
some of which are definitely of interest, whilst others are merely public
Human achievements are first off, and while I was
enthralled by some of the feats of endurance such as Vesna Vulovic who,
without a parachute, survived a fall of 33,000 feet, or the real life
actions of heroes and lifesavers; but the fact that B. D. Tyagi of India
has 4 inch long ear hairs or that Thomas Wedders of the UK has a 19 cm
nose, has me totally underwhelmed.
Other categories include nature, society and politics,
objects, planes, trains and automobiles, buildings, military service,
technology, entertainment and sports. Being interested in dinosaurs, I did
glean some new facts, including the fastest dinosaur could lope along at
an amazing 40 kph, and that researchers had found some 160 million years
old dinosaur vomit, which shows that you should always clean up after
yourself, you don’t know who may discover it!
In the entertainment section I was interested to find
that John Lennon recorded and produced music under 15 pseudonyms during
his lifetime. Unfortunately the book does not tell you what they were.
In the pure science section is the data surrounding the
two chemicals ethyl mercaptan and butyl sereno-mercaptan which smell of a
combination of rotting cabbage, garlic, onions, burned toast and sewers.
And you think you’ve got halitosis!
However, for most readers, it seems that the fact that
a Kim Goodman can pop her eyeballs out 11 mm, and other such non-events
are the most fascinating. Oh dearie me!
The review copy was made available by Bookazine and had
an RRP of 350 baht. Whilst I have no intention of getting into a fight
with the Guinness World Records people, there would be those who would
claim that Vanessa-Mae, the "Youngest violinist to record both the
Beethoven and Tchaikovsky concertos" is Thai and not from the UK, and
the largest car engines of 13.5 litres in vehicles which were built in
1912 are not all that exciting, according to Automania’s Dr. Iain,
considering the 1902 Panhard-Levassor also had an almost 14 litre engine,
and all of them are eclipsed by the 21 litre Metallurgique of 1910.
However, the book says that if you think you’ve heard
it all, you probably haven’t heard that the world’s fastest computer
can do 35.6 trillion calculations every second. What it doesn’t tell you
is how many times it crashes every day or carries out an "illegal
operation" and shuts itself down.
The 2003 edition of the Guinness World Records remains a tribute to
lunacy, so if you want to know what the nutters of the world were up to
last year, this is the definitive book for you! But not for me!
Movie Review: The Matrix Reloaded
Another sequel - we seem inundated with them at the
moment - moviemakers must be lost for ideas. Although I have to say once
again this is a great sequel providing you enjoy a lot of action with not
too much of a story.
Matrix Reloaded begins where the first film left off:
Neo (Keanu Reeves), now known as ‘The One’ is searching for the
correct path he must take to liberate humanity from the machines which
enslave them, using them as an energy source. Neo learns that in order to
achieve his destiny, he must find a man called the Keymaker (Randall Duk
Kim), who will lead him to his destiny. The Keymaker is being held hostage
somewhere inside the Matrix, and it’s up to Neo and his companions
Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) to find him
and lead him to safety.
Of course this is no easy task and there is a lot of
kicking, punching, shooting, and exploding before he achieves his goal.
One of the highlights of the movie is when Morpheus and Trinity must
protect the Keymaker not only from a pursuant group of agents but also
from a weird pair of albino looking dreadlocked twins (played by Neil and
Adrian Rayment) who are ghosts of some sort. Carrie-Anne Moss returns as
Trinity. Her fights and stunts were great, especially a crazy motorcycle
ride during a freeway chase.
Directed by Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
Keanu Reeves ... Thomas A. Anderson/Neo
Laurence Fishburne ... Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss ... Trinity
Matt McColm ... Agent Thompson
Jada Pinkett Smith ... Niobe
Monica Bellucci ... Persephone
Lambert Wilson ... Merovingian
Hugo Weaving ... Agent Smith
Harold Perrineau Jr. ... Kain
Harry J. Lennix ... Lock
Clayton Watson ... The Kid
Daniel Bernhardt ... Agent Johnson
Christine Anu ... Lazarus
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Andy Arness ... Police Officer #2
Steve Bastoni ... Captain Sorren
Nona M. Gaye ... Zee
Lachy Hulme ... Sparks
Roy Jones Jr. ... Captain Ballard
Mott’s CD review:
Aerosmith - Permanent Vacation
by Mott the Dog
***** 5 Stars
In 1984 Aerosmith had gone from being one of the
biggest bands in the world to a complete Rock ‘n’ Roll disaster area.
Sales had hit an all time low and live performances were erratic to say
the least; the results of living the life of Riley to the max. The last
album by the original lineup had been a patchy affair ("Night in the
Ruts" 1979), after which both guitarists, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford,
left the band to eventually be replaced by Rick Dufay and Jimmy Crespo.
Both were very talented musicians, but their own lifestyle was never going
to be a good influence on frontman Steve Tyler.
The band staggered back onto the road and even managed
to produce an album, ‘Rock in a Hard Place’ in 1982. Perhaps the least
said about it the better, it included a version of the easy listening
classic ‘Cry me a River’, which was so full of pathos it nearly
But by late 1983 things had got to the point where some
band members were sleeping on friends’ floors, Joe Perry’s solo career
had gone off the rails big time, Brad Whitford’s new band with Derek St.
Holmes had released one album to commercial indifference and critical
ridicule, what remained of the band was in tatters.
Then old time fan and managerial genius Tim Collins
came along and picked up the reigns. Bridges were built and at the first
meeting of all the original players and management team, it was decided
that if things were going to be put to rights it had to be done properly,
in other words straight. A period in rehab was diagnosed after which even
alcohol was banned in the studio or backstage at the concerts.
A new recording contract was signed with Geffen Records
and the band went out on the road to get used to being a band again. The
first new release from the band, "Done with Mirrors" 1985, was
not a success, a good album, but somehow missing that Aerosmith spark. So
yet again Aerosmith were written off.
Fate dealt Aerosmith a wonderful hand when American Rap
stars ‘Run MC’ asked Joe Perry and Steve Tyler to join them in the
studio to record a Rap version of one of Aerosmith’s earliest hits
"Walk this way". Once this was released and was a huge hit
single worldwide on the back of massive airplay from MTV, Aerosmith had
one more chance. However, they knew it was now or never.
The whole band relocated to the Little Mountain Sound
Studios in Vancouver. The management brought in a new producer to replace
Ted Templeton. Richard Fairbairn was first choice and accepted the job.
Richard Fairbairn was really hot at the time, having just come off
producing the multi platinum "Slippery when Wet" for Bon Jovi.
Desmond Child and Jim Vallance were also brought to the studio to help out
with the songwriting side of things.
This time Aerosmith fired on all six. Preceded by a hit
single in the band’s own right "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
which again got heavy MTV play listing, the album "Permanent
Vacation" was a massive hit worldwide - the boys were back in the
This is Rock ‘n’ Roll at its best, make no mistake.
Right from the opening song "Hearts done time" when Bradford and
Perry’s guitar battle it out mid-song, to all the hit singles, including
the power ballad "Angel", which still has enough grungy Perry
guitar riffs to not make you feel too wimpy as you sing-along. Steve Tyler’s
"St. John" is probably the sleaziest song ever recorded by the
band. If this song doesn’t make you swagger, nothing will. The one cover
version is a storming version of ‘The Beatles’ "I’m Down",
which thunders out the speakers with Tyler contributing a marvelously over
the top piano solo. Throughout every song Hamilton and Kramer lay down a
rock solid groove, which carries you along from one to the next without
skipping a beat. Album closer "The Movie " is a Joe Perry
instrumental, broody and atmospheric, every home should have one.
From this point on there was no stopping Aerosmith, but
it was close to disaster - talk about living on the edge.
Steven Tyler - Lead Vocals, Harmonica, and Piano
Joe Perry - Guitar and Background Vocals
Brad Whitford - Guitars
Tom Hamilton - Bass
Joey Kramer - Drums
Hearts Done Time
Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
Girl Keeps Coming Apart
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