Category Archives: Reviews

Night Shift #13 – The Lawnmower Man…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgThe Lawnmower Man tells the simple tale of Harold in his quest (and subsequent hiring) of someone to cut his grass. That’s it. It doesn’t get much more mundane than that, does it?

It’s not a classic set-up for a horror story, but it’s one that will stick with you long after you read it, for reasons that become clear quite quickly, as Harold’s new employee has a decidely strange way of performing his job.

The Lawnmower Man is a very odd tale, but a perversely enjoyable one. It’s a horror story in the very unfiltered way that King presented in the early part of his career. Gory, gruesome, and totally bonkers, this is the author before his journey through life sanitised him and his words.

Recommended ⇑

Potted Film Review: Friday the 13th (1980)…

Starring: Adrienne King, Betsy Palmer, Kevin Bacon

In the slasher horror genre, the Friday the 13th series is about as seminal as it gets, and many of those that you can see today owe a debt to the ninety minutes on display here.

There are countless better horror movies out there – ones that have more creative kills; ones that are more professionally made; ones with a tighter script and finer acting – but this little gem is worth seeing just for the history.

There’s not too much that’s good here, and nothing I would say that’s great, but if you’re interested in the genre at all this movie is required reading.

Recommended (just)

Every Picture Tells a Story…

rod_stewart_3arena_2019_large_1300_630_80auto_s_c1_5

On the weekend The Fianceé© and I went to see Rod Stewart in concert at the new P&J Live Arena here in Aberdeen… Yeah, I know, it’s a terrible name. Fortunately it’s a fantastic venue worthy of the legend himself. We were about ten rows back from the stage, dead centre, so we had great seats.

The only problem was the two women to my left who decided that this concert was the perfect opportunity for them to catch up on their gossip. The girl that was rubbing up against me simply would not stop talking, and in those brief intervals when she wasn’t talking she was checking her Facebook or posting updates. What could you possibly have to say? You are at a Rod Stewart concert and you have presumably paid a lot of money to be sitting next to me, and you don’t even seem to realise he is on the stage performing. For you, you ungrateful cow. And even if for some odd reason you don’t want to be here, those people around you likely do, so if you could just shut the fuck up until Baby Jane finishes, that would be grand.

Suffice to say the guy in front of her turned around and told her to be quiet, and to be fair she zipped it… for about three minutes, before she found the courage to start chatting again. Eventually even her friend got fed up of her and left her on her own, which was all well and good except she then thought she would start talking to me.

There was also a fight that broke out in the row behind us, between two pensioners, for reasons unbeknownst to me. One of the guys was ejected from the arena while the other one stayed in his seat looking smug. While neither of them looked as impressive at their age as Rod does at 74, it’s time for the old rocker to hang up the microphone.

Stewart is an icon – a bona fide legend – and although songs like Tonight’s the Night, Sailing, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?, and (especially) Maggie May, still sound great in a vacuum, and he can still pull it out when he really needs it, the vocals really aren’t there for the most part. A lot of his performance is trading on goodwill and reputation.

It’s fantastic to have seen him again, but I would be happy if he ended his touring days now and lived out the rest of his time quietly, with his family. He has nothing left to prove.

Night Shift #12 – The Ledge…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 6,700

The Ledge tells the story of a man who has fallen in love with the wrong woman – by which I mean she is attached to a local mobster. As a result of this he is blackmailed into walking around the ledge of the building, forty-something floors up.

What the story lacks in action it more than makes up for with good pacing and expertly crafted tension… and of course, a pigeon that doesn’t know when to quit.

The Ledge is a great tale. If I was being picky I could say that perhaps it is overly simplistic in its delivery, and it is possibly a little truncated in places, but the core of the story is very enjoyable, and it is certainly in the top tier of the stories I have read from Night Shift so far.

Recommended ⇑

Potted Film Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

220px-Poster_-_Fast_and_Furious_Tokyo_DriftStarring: Lucas Black, Sung Kang, Bow Wow

Tokyo Drift is the third film in the Fast and the Furious franchise, and while it is decidedly a step up from the catastrophe that was the second entry, it still falls a little short of where it needs to be.

The action is moved to Japan (big surprise there, right?) and the cast is shaken up as well. There’s nobody in this one from the first two episodes… well, except for a cameo at the end from Vin Diesel.

The first half of this is decent enough, with some impressive stunt work – and for the majority of the time Lucas Black (complete with his Texan drawl) is an acceptable protagonist – but the story loses me in the back end and just fails to leave me with enough positive vibes to recommend it.

Not Recommended ⇓

Eagles, Chapter V – Hotel California (1976)

Members: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh

Hotel California is the seminal album in the discography of the Eagles, and even those who are not fans know this one.

With the addition of Joe Walsh and the departure of Bernie Leadon, the quartet that remained had left its country roots well and truly behind, and the Eagles emerged as a very different band.

Hotel California (Don Felder / Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
There’s nothing new left to be said about this song – from its lyrical mystery to its fantastic two minute guitar outro. It’s not only their most famous track, but also one of the defining songs of the seventies. 10
New Kid in Town (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther)
Lead – Frey
I always found this song to be overrated, which is not to say it’s bad, just that it’s the lowest point on an album filled with great material. 7
Life in the Fast Lane (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Joe Walsh)
Lead – Henley
A great rock song with a biting Henley vocal and some influential guitar work from Walsh. 9
Wasted Time (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
One of my favourite Eagles songs, and up there with the best ballads Henley ever tipped his vocals to. This is even more poignant if you’ve let go of a relationship. 10
Wasted Time (reprise) (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Jim Ed Norman)
instrumental
A nice little breather, before…
Victim of Love (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Don Felder / JD Souther)
Lead – Henley
A very good rock track that often gets unjustly overlooked on this album amongst all the classics. 9
Pretty Maids All in a Row (Joe Walsh / Joe Vitale)
Lead – Walsh
The first lead vocal for the newest Eagle, Joe Walsh. Nobody would suggest Walsh has a great voice, but with the right song it can work, and this is the right song. 8
Try and Love Again (Randy Meisner)
Lead – Meisner
This is Randy’s last lead vocal on his final album with the Eagles, and it’s also his best. A beautiful song. 9
The Last Resort (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
This epic Eagles track – the way that it dramatically builds musically, lyrically, and vocally – is one of my favourites. 10

Overall: 90%
I usually love to hold the contrarian opinion, but there’s a reason this album is so highly rated: and that’s because it’s a fantastic collection of songs… and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Night Shift #11 – Strawberry Spring…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 3,700

Strawberry Spring is told as a flashback tale about the murder spree at a college in the late sixties, as experienced through the eyes of one of the students.

This short story surprised me – not with the twist, because I saw that coming a mile away – but with the accomplished manner in which it has been written, given that this was originally published when King was only twenty-one.

It’s one of those stories where it doesn’t matter if you can see you ending before it happens, because predictability is not necessarily a bad thing. If it is written well – and this is – then you just have to stand up and applaud the work, and this is one of the best entries I have read so far in Night Shift.

Recommended ⇑