by Lang Reid
such a ‘come in’ title, how could any parent pass this up? This is the
latest offering from local publishers IQ Inc (ISBN 974-8845-97-4) and is
one of the books in their ‘Prodigy Programme’. The promise inside, and
repeated on the back cover, is “Parents conversant with the many
dietary, environmental, physiological and psychological components that
can help expand and inspire intellect during the early years when so much
is possible, can potentially increase their children’s growth by an
exponential degree.” It also promises that it’s never too late because
“you can boost IQ at any age.”
Rather than just read this book from the point of view
of a literary reviewer, as the subject matter is very medical, I passed it
on to our medical writer, Dr. Iain Corness. Here are his words.
“The book does have a challenging title, and I must
admit I was interested to see just how the promise would be fulfilled.
From the outset, I should also point out that I am a conventionally
trained western doctor, and all my experience is in that sphere.
“I was immediately very pleased with the first few
chapters, where the author(s) used the conventional yardsticks to express
IQ, and the fact that they stressed the difference between
‘intelligence’ and ‘education’. This was done with enough of the
scientific basis, but kept completely readable.
“The anatomy of the brain and the dominance of the
left or right hemisphere is also well described, though I can imagine a
few of the women’s libbers getting annoyed at the (cerebral) anatomical
differences between the sexes being described, and ascribed to history!
“I was impressed with the depth of research in each
chapter, with references, and the pr้cis with ‘tips’ at the end.
The book manages to take parental ‘wisdom’ and give it a scientific
“I also enjoyed the ‘Kid and Dad’ sections, where
two of the authors related their thoughts on various parts of their
growing up together, from their individual points of view.
“My only reservation lay in the osteopathy section,
this being a field outside my ken, and I felt in some ways running contra
to the section on the advantages of ‘natural’ birth. However, I feel
that conscientious parents can make up their own minds, when presented
with the facts.
“The book also does not leave those parents whose
child is just ‘average’ as if the child is then of no importance. It
shows any parent how to raise their children in the best possible way, and
by doing so, maximize their children’s chances of a successful and happy
life, something I do agree with.
“Finally, they should have found a better photograph
of Einstein. He should have shot his hair stylist!” (Dr. Iain.)
As I wrote in the beginning, how could any parent pass this up? It
seems that the advice gets the medical nod of approval, and the advice can
be easily followed. Perhaps your offspring will become talented enough to
keep you in the manner to which you would like to become accustomed! Good
Ripped apart by
Mott the Dog
Endorsed by Ella Crew
After an apprenticeship as stunt guitarist for Frank
Zappa, followed by terms with David Lee Roth’s solo band and
Whitesnake, four critically very well received, but commercially
unviable solo albums followed. (Just because you can get your guitar to
sound like a trumpet, may be quite amusing in concert, but on record who
cares? You may just as well be listening to a trumpet.)
Steve also made a stunning acting debut as the
devil’s guitarist in the movie ‘Crossroads’, where Steve hams it
up hilariously in the final guitar showdown between good and evil. Worth
the price of admission on its own.
At this point Steve decided to do another solo album,
but this time with his hard rock tastes to the fore. The album ‘Fire
Garden’ was released in 1996, and is split into two phases stretching
out over seventy-four minutes. The first phase is mainly instrumental,
but for the first time on record, the second phase features vocals from
Opening the first phase is ‘There’s A Fire In The
House’. It starts out with the sound of a nuclear bomb detonating and
is followed by wailing sirens and howling wolves. This is topped off
with some phantom of the opera style keyboards. As the music reaches
fever pitch, it’s not till one minute fourteen seconds that Steve Vai
picks up his guitar and tears into the melee, slamming down riffs and
peeling off licks in the style of a Rock ‘n’ Roll guitar slinger; a
mini five minute guitar blitzkrieg with all the guitar pyrotechnics you
could possibly desire. One of the best openings to an album ever.
Unfortunately from this moment onwards it all goes
distinctly pear shaped. The remaining instrumentals are all very mundane
with only ‘Blowfish’ showing sparks of real inspiration, and
although the doff of the hat to Steve Vai’s love of Thailand is nice
on ‘Bangkok’, it’s not exactly breaking new musical ground, while
the title track would cure insomnia. Sure there are some stirring guitar
solos, but it all becomes a bit ‘when you’ve heard one guitar solo,
you’ve heard ‘em all’.
In phase two things go from bad to worse. It consists
of a collection of seven songs (clocking in at forty-eight seconds,
‘Deepness’ can’t be counted as a song) of the most boring
‘Plod-Rock’. Steve Vai is just not good at writing - verse, chorus,
verse, chorus - rock songs.
The second half of the album is not a musical
adventure, more a musical listening endurance. As for the guitarist’s
singing, well let’s just say that his singing is as bad as his guitar
playing is good. The vocal sound bites that join each song are
Without doubt Steve Vai is one of the world’s
greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitarist, which became specially apparent
during his spectacular appearances on the 2001 and 2003 G3 albums and
DVD’s, where he teamed up with Joe Satriani on both tours, and Eric
Johnson on the first, and Yngwie Malsteem on the second.
On stage Steve Vai is nothing short of brilliant.
However, whenever he goes into the studio for solo work (except the
opening track), it all seems to fall apart. There is no one else to
blame but the man himself seeing that Steve Vai writes all the songs and
plays all the instruments himself. Not to mention the singing again.
Nice album cover though, shame about the music.
Steve Vai - Everything
There’s A Fire In The House
The Crying Machine
The Mysterious Murder Of Christian Tiera’s Lover
Hand On heart
Fire Garden Suite
All About Eve
When I Was A Little Boy
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