Archive for May, 2009

Escala’s Debut Album: “Escala”

Posted in Escala, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on 28 May, 2009 by Nicola

Have I ever mentioned that I hate self-named albums?  It’s lazy, it’s boring and it makes the titles of my articles particularly awkward.  It’s not on.  Especially when it’s such a crap name for a band, anyway.  Scala is a very good name, and I’m not without sympathy that they had to let it go, but as coincidences have it, I have been a big fan of the “obscure Belgian choir” (as a tabloid described them, hey, they have only released seven albums!) that had first dibs on the name for a few years, and so I’m siding with the choir on this one (have you heard their rendition of ‘Teenage Spirit’?  It’s bloody creepily fantastic, check it out here).

So, after changing their name from Scala, to eScala and then finally to Escala, they finally released their debut album.  It kept being delayed but common sense tells me they wanted to release the album on the week of the Britain’s Got Talent live shows for maximum impact on sales, which has worked tremendously.  After their live performance on the show, they ranked number one on the Amazon charts the next day above Eminem.  I was expecting a modest but respectable top 30 album if I’m honest.  I knew such an album would sell but not that well.  It demonstrated the impact that Cowell’s shows have on the music industry. Continue reading

Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Boleyn Inheritance’

Posted in Books, Philippa Gregory with tags , , , , , , , , on 13 May, 2009 by Nicola

This is only my second outing with Philippa Gregory, and it took me a while to decide that she was worth my time.  The Other Boleyn Girl, was, of course, my first and I had mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I though Philippa a beautiful and intelligent writer, on the other, the content and characterisation irritated me.  Gregory as often stated that her books follow fact but only fills in the gaps where facts are either unknown, uncertain or speculative.  She chooses to fill in these gaps with the most outrageous theories that she can possibly find about these historical figures.  It’s a little bit annoying. 

I can’t quite forgive the heavy hints she made in The Other Boleyn Girl that Anne Boleyn did commit incest with her brother.  That did not make good reading, it made it offensive.  Offensive to Anne’s memory and a mockery of all the historian’s that have found that Anne was executed solely on trumped up charges.  Only the other day I read on a message board from a reader asking if Boleyn really had sex with her brother.  I despair that someone even has to ask that question. Continue reading

Trudi Canavan’s “The Magician’s Apprentice”

Posted in Books, Trudi Canavan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12 May, 2009 by Nicola

I do like a bit of escapist fantasy, and when I want to read a good fantasy book, I know that turning to Trudi Canavan is a good idea.  Her narrative is not perfect, and her habit of italicising characters thoughts is actually very grating and something I am still not used to.  But who cares?  Canavan is creative and knows how to tell a story.

The Black Magician trilogy is the only story other than Harry Potter to make me cry at the loss of a character.  This is not a ‘boo-hoo-character-died-closed-book-and-forgot-about-it’ type cry.  No.  It is a loss that puts a nasty unsettling feeling at the pit of your stomach that could go on for as long as three days.  Sad, isn’t it?  Yes, it is, but do you know how satisfying it is to become attached to a character in such a way?  It is what makes a good read into a great read and only the most talented writers that specialise in characterisation that can acheive such a feat. Continue reading

Stephen King: Hates Stephenie Meyer, Loves J.K. Rowling

Posted in Books, J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer with tags , , , , , , , on 6 May, 2009 by Nicola

After reading this article of Stephen King praising J.K. Rowling and slagging off Stephenie Meyer, I have to say, I became rather more positive about the state of the world.

To make sure I would stay happy forever, I was cheered by this article that had a poll between Harry Potter and Twilight, and Harry has over three quarters of the vote.  I have to admit that I was worried that people would forget just how great Harry Potter was now that it is all finished and dusted, and with the Twilight series still very much in the lime light.  But I needn’t have worried.  Not to mention that the quarter of people that voted for Twilight are probaby fourteen year old fangirls.

The human race.  I have faith in you yet.