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Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975) – Ken Sharp, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons

Having just read three Kiss books I was unsure what I could possibly gain by reading this book but I have to say I really enjoyed it. I was attracted by its size and the short timespan it was covering. Overall however the pace we really good. There was one point before it moved on to the making of the second album where I got bored of all the touring comments however in general there was great insight into this crucial period for the band and their label Casablanca. The book is based on interviews of those involved and it gave a great insight. It is well worth the read. There is no way a band like Kiss could have made it today and it makes you wonder what great bands the world has missed because of this situation. On the other hand perhaps bands being able to finance themselves has also allowed them to survive. I suspect survive is the key word though. There are few bands with the rewards bands in the 70’s could achieve.

Look Wot I Dun: Don Powell of Slade – Don Powell, Lise Lyng Falkenberg

It is quite some time since I have read a book on Slade so this was a good if a little odd read. It was not really by Don and it was not written as if it was by Don. Lise use Don’s diaries (which he has kept since his car crash caused a short term memory dysfunction) and interviews with other artists. At times it was a little tedious read how nice Don is all the time but overall it was quite informative gave me a perspective I would otherwise be unaware off.

Don clearly is a nice guy as the book doesn’t knock anyone but it also doesn’t really give too much insight into the other members of Slade. From memory I preferred Noddy’s book but it seems I didn’t write a review for that so I can’t be sure.

Kiss Trilogy

I have just completed reading a trilogy of books on Kiss. At Christmas I got

Face the Music: A Life Exposed – Paul Stanley

Paul has always been my favourite in Kiss and I was particularly impressed with his Autobiography. I believe it was ghost written by Tim Mohr and he has done a really good job. I particularly loved the prologue which superficially tells the story of applying the make-up while stating an outline for the book. It also reveals something I had no idea about with Paul Stanley; He is deaf on one side as he doesn’t have an ear. The story is very frank and inspiring. Towards the end I felt Paul was trying to get the praise he felt was overdue and I also picked up on the fact he only seemed to mention people if it was to have a moan. Overall I thought it the best of the three books I read. I was so inspired I decided to tackle

Kiss And Make-Up – Gene Simmons

I have had this sitting in my bookshelf since 2003 and surprisingly have never found time to read it. I do remember taking it on Holiday once but I didn’t get very far into it. This book was interesting but not as good as Paul’s book. The two characters are extremely different and it was interesting to counter-balance interpretations of the same events. Some of the events were told the same ways a Paul did so I wonder if they are true accounts or if they have repeated them some many times they are in agreement with each other. In both books it was fascinating how love caught them. Especially so with Gene Simmons who was very anti-marriage.

Having completed these book I had one more Kiss book on my shelves:

Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup – C.K. Lendt

This book has apparently sat in my bookshelf since 1997. I have no idea why. With all my years of illness I would expect I would have had time to get to it but apparently I didn’t. This was in no way a standard biography. It was an account of the business manager of the band from about 1975 to 1988 when his company was let go. As such the band had just made it big when he first met them. The author seems to have a good memory for clothing and food so often “big meetings” had a lot of surrounding detail. He also gave an excellent description of his first concert. Clearly the music wasn’t to his normal tastes and so it makes an interesting read. By about 1/3 through I was a little disappointed with the lack of information on the band itself and the characters within it. However once the band peaked in their success and then started to slip again I got very engrossed in all the behind the scenes explanations and difficulties of keeping a band on the road and the relationships of booking agents, promoters and merchandisers. If was a fascinating read if not quite what I was expecting from the title. There was probably more on Kiss’ marketing activities in the other books. Paul saying Gene took credit for a lot of it but not doing an awful lot and Gene definitely trying to take a lot of credit. This book suggests something between the two.

These books were a nice distraction and Paul’s and perhaps Gene’s to a lesser extent were quite inspiring.

 

Uli Roth – The Railway, Ipswich – 9 Sept 2012

I am very much into my hard rock bands but I am not big on guitarists as a rule. Last night at The Railway, Ipswich. I got to see someone that I figure is in my top 5 of guitarist that I just love to hear playing Uli Roth. (Others that spring to mind are Carlos Santana, Victor Smolski, Steve Morse, Tino Troy)
Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
I saw Uli was going to play Ipswich about a month ago and even though I am not sure about all of his solo work I had to go along. I wasn’t sure what he would play and boy was I in for a treat.
Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
He came on about 9.15 and played a set of about 50 minutes. The set was an interesting mix of music that he likes (I can’t think why else he did Deep Purple’s Mistreated), Hendrix (who was always his inspiration, Electric Sun (his 80’s band), Scorpions (the main reason I knew of him) and an Ian Gillan track I didn’t realise he had played on.
Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
I just loved watching his fingers move and the passion with which he plays. I was very satisfied.
Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
Then at 10.30 he returned for a second set. This mainly consisted of “Tokyo Tapes” era Scorpions tracks. I was in heaven. I only appreciated who Uli was when I saw him on a German Hendrix tribute and loved his playing. It made me realise what had happened in the Scorpions. I love most eras of the Scorpions except the 80’s albums they are most liked for (Lovedrive and Blackout in particular leave me cold). For me they become a typical rock band and live their set never included much from my favourite era. I assume the reason is Uli created much of the sound of the early Scorpions and his replacements had different styles. Being in Ipswich last night was like seeing Scorpions as I had always wanted them to be. The sound from my position directly in front of Uli was dreadful. I couldn’t hear the vocals but I didn’t care much as I was able to add them inside my head. More importantly though I was just lost in Uli’s playing. My recent album experience of him was that he had moved into playing the upper range of his guitar but last night he played the full range which meant he was down in the lower registers again and I was hearing him as I loved him.
Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
I have had “Tokyo Tapes” since 1980/81 and my favourite track is “Fly To The Rainbow”. We didn’t get a full version of it last night but we got the bit that for three decades I have wanted to see. Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
The track starts as normal and then going into a quiet section with Uli Vocal and great feeling on the guitar. This is where we started. It then builds up and ends in a great feedback solo. Over the years I have played it loud so many times. It always moves me so to see it live and be stood just 2 feet away from the action I couldn’t have asked for more. It was fascinating seeing how it was done.
Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012
I felt the crowd was a bit disappointing in numbers but someone associated with Uli said he wants to get more regular UK gigs going as he is just so passionate about playing. I hope he will make it back into area again soon.
Uli didn’t leave the stage until about 11.45. He was really accommodating and friendly on and off stage. A really great night

Uli Roth Ipswich 9 Sept 2012

Update: As I wrote this I had a sense that I had missed any important guitarist but I couldn’t place who. It was Tony Iommi. I have always loved his solos. Especially on the likes of my favourite album “Technical Ecstasy”.

It also occurred to me that I totally focused my review on Uli and failed to say anything about the band. It is perhaps hard for me to comment on them as I was so lost in Uli but I think I should give special praise to the Bass Player/Singer. I would love to have heard his vocals clearly as I think he had a great voice and an interesting interpretation. He is certainly a fun guy to watch. I was also impressed buy the second guitarist who I believe was only 16. On twin guitar parts he seemed very in sync with Uli and clearly has a good command of his instrument. It would have been nice to hear who these people were but sadly I couldn’t.

Karnataka – High Barn, Great Bardfield – 26/1/12

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

Firstly, praise for the venue, a lovely 14th Century barn. It is a great setting for a gig with good acoustics. As you drive to it, you wonder where a crowd will appear from as it is in the heart of Essex with only villages around it, but Karnataka still managed to draw a good crowd. Some were fans of the band, a lot seemed regulars of the venue.
The last time I saw Karnataka was in Rotherham in May 2004. Of course since then there have been massive changes, a new album with a new line-up and subsequently another big split. Based on tonight’s performance the band’s name and music are safe in the hands of Ian Jones, the band’s founder.

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

My first big surprise was the band is now a six piece. I see the website doesn’t list the drummer, and I couldn’t catch his name but the member who surprised me was Colin Mold who plays violin and guitars. This adds a nice extra dimension to the band and one that I look forward to hearing on the next album. Hayley Griffiths has a pure voice and handles Lisa Fury’s and Rachel Jones’s songs wonderfully. She is already delivering the lines with her own phrasing.

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

Enrico Pinna is excellent on lead guitar and was very enjoyable to watch.

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

Cagri Tozluoglu on keyboards had an interesting role as there is quite a bit of difference between the “old” Karnataka keyboard role and the “new” one. I wondered if Cagri would add more notes to the old songs to make the original material more like the modern style, but my initial impression was he played them as they were.

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

The set list was a good combination of old and new, and we had about 2hrs of music spread over two sets. When Hayley announced the second set was almost over after only 30mins it felt too short but the last song was “Heart of Stone” and the encore was “Into The Gathering Light” both lengthy songs. The second set also started with two tracks from Hayley’s solo album. These were very good tracks as performed last night. I am interested to hear if anyone has heard them on CD and if the arrangements are as good. I was also pleased that “State Of Grace” was played live. This is my favourite track from “Into The Gathering Light”.

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

I assume this is the second gig for this line-up, and if there was one weakness in the performance last night; for me, it was the lack of interaction between members on stage. The stage was a tight squeeze so perhaps there wasn’t enough room for movement, but Enrico did look like he was interested in interacting with the others but this didn’t happen last night.
My wife’s comments were that Hayley could use a tambourine for the moments when she on stage but not singing and that her favourite band was back. We are both keen to catch another date on this tour and if like me, you haven’t been to see the band in a long time I recommend you get along to a gig soon.

Karnakaka - High Barn - 26/1/12

Claydon High School Trip to Einsiedeln 1980

Having seen my page on Claydon High School receiving its first computer. Darren Rampley got in touch with me and sent me the booklet we received for the 1980 school Trip to Einsiedeln, Switzerland.

I have some photos so I am sharing them back

It was interesting to read who went. Also some of the comments in the booklet such as “Show the shopkeepers that you are aware of the bad reputation English School Parties have for Shoplifting”

Party Members were:
Mr G.R. Chapman
Mrs M.J.Peel
Mr D. Barthorpe

Errol Brown
Jean Cordle
David Cuff
Andrew Davies
Sara Dixon
David Ellis
Martin Farnan
Richard Handel
Bridget Harvey
Jonathan Hinchliffe
Cynthia Hume
Susan Hurren
Andrew Ingram
Suzanne Jackson
Paul Jackson
Mark Kemp
Jeremy Laws
Victoria Leggett
Catherine Marshall
Lee Mathews
Andrew Moss
Karen Oxborrow
Thomas Pinkney
Terry Pointer
Darren Rampley
Paula Roberts
Graham Smith
Teresa Spendley
Tracey Stammers
Sandra Taylor
Christopher Whitting
Steven Wilson
Jennifer Woodward

The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird

One day I was getting the lawn mower out to cut the grass and my mind puzzled over the lead which was as usual knotted. Normally I just pull it through end to end but this time I was convinced there was a better way of doing it. I remembered reading something about counting loops to discover if something was knotted or just looped. I could not remember the detail so I searched the internet. My search lead me to this book in digital highlights form and I enjoyed reading it so much I ordered the book.

I have always been a “maths” person and not a “language” person and I loved glancing through this book so much that I have ended up reading it cover to cover. I didn’t read all the exercises but the ones I did were really well constructed and gave me a better understanding than just reading the text.

The book covers a lot of topics that I had never learned about before such as whether infinity is always the same size, rubber sheet geometry, fractals and chaos it also covered topics I had covered before such as statistics and codes. I found them all really well explained and enjoyed the authors approach. I have to say there were topics I expected in the book from pure maths that weren’t such as integration and while I missed remembering this area I am not sure it would have fitted in the book. If it had I am sure it would have been a very interesting read as all the topics were so interesting in their real world connections.

I have often been amused at my journey from a Maths/Computer Programmer to a Language/Hypnotherapist but this book highlights a lot of the thinking that makes me a successful hypnotherapist. It always takes things back to basic principles. It takes a complex problem and looks at what we do know first. It avoids assumptions. It look for patterns and then expand our understanding. It emphasises over and over the importance of taking a guess and trying things out. It doesn’t matter if we are wrong. The new information we gain helps us gain more understanding. These are exactly the principles I aim to get across to all my clients. Life is simple when you know how to look at it.

I am not sure what person would want to read this book without studying for a reason but I highly recommend it as a good read and an important growing tool for all problems in life. Have fun with it!

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen By Christopher McDougall

One of my clients recommended this book to me when I mentioned I had a knee problem running. I thought the concept of Barefoot running sounded really odd and although I enjoyed the film “Chariots of Fire” I have never had interest in watching running or reading about running. I just love running. So I started reading this book in a rather un-plused. It was not my normal reading area or my normal interest. This in fact can often make a good read for the modern me and I found I was soon engrossed.
It has to be said I didn’t like the writing style of the author at first. It is written like modern TV, constantly teasing you with what is going to happened next. Having said this I got used to the structure and the diversions from the main story and I shared the authors passion for running. Towards the end of the book I found I just wanted to keep reading. The author tapped into something in me I didn’t know was there.
I have significantly improved my life with ME/CFS/PVFS (Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome) and moved from being a mobility scooter user to becoming a runner again but it didn’t occur to me how much I really loved running.
At school I was told the history of the Marathon and how it came to be 26miles and of course you hear of Marathons all the time. It never occured to me that people would create and run 100 mile races. This really intrigued me.
As did the whole concept that modern running shoes have not helped reduce injuries but possibly added to them. The logic explained by McDougall seemed quite sound to me. I even have parallels in my life in the fact that I was on Painkillers for 15 years. Once I stopped taking them I was forces to correct my tired backs posture and within a week I was actually more comfortable off painkillers than when I was on them. The concept therefore that cushioning our feet could be causes us to do more damage to our legs therefore seems highly plausible.
I have already started experimenting with running Tarahumara style and while I don’t suppose for a minute I am getting it right I have found my speed over 2.5miles has improved at least 30seconds and my knee is not causing as many problems. I am looking to try some Barefoot shoes and she what that does for me.
In the meantime I recommend this book to anyone especially if you vaguely enjoyed the film “Chariots of fire”.

The Polio Paradox – Richard L. Bruno H.D., Ph. D. (reviewed again)

I first finished reading “The Polio Paradox” in 2002 and have always held it in high esteem. Since finishing the book a lot has changed in my life. I have trained as a hypnotherapist and used my training to help myself move from being a mobility Scooter user to being runner. I have come a long way with my M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome but there are also parts I have yet to make progress on.
After a very useful discussion about helping other ME sufferers in the 25% ME Group I found my Hypnotherapist ideas had, in the eyes of others, put me into a camp I have never associated myself with. IE one that believes ME/CFS is all in the head.
From the first time I was diagnosed by Dr Elizabeth Dowsett in 1994 I have always found her theory of M.E./C.F.S. to be quite believable and have never seen any reason to change that view.
The reason I loved this book was it backed up Dr Dowsett’s views with a different illness and lots of research.
I am currently studying the countries first degree in Clinical Hypnosis and part of this degree will require me to be more critical of research. I am not at that point in the course but I am becoming more aware of the body and am able to be more critical of psuedo-facts. In fact I believe less and less in pure fact as everything has so many perfectives. EG it could be correct to draw a tyre as a rectangle or a square.
Given my new perspective on life and ME/CFS I chose to read this book again and I am very glad I did.
It wasn’t until I was half way through the book I read my first review again. I was struck instantly by the fact that again I was wanting to discuss this book almost chapter by chapter with my partner (who is now my wife). Also I noticed my recommendation to read the ME/CFS chapter first. Since I was struggling for context so I therefore proceeded to do this. This was a great help and enhanced my understandings for the rest of the book.
Another thing I noticed was that I now loved the section I originally hated on the “Biology” of the illness. This was very useful to me.
The book is written in a very easy to read style. From an acedemic point of view I would have preferred numbered references for each point in a chapter but each chapter does at least list the references chapter by chapter so when I am wanting to looking into ME/CFS in greater detail I will have a wealth of references.
I must say I particularly liked the subsection headings. Quite often their seemed to be a certain amount of playfulness and fun in them.
The chapter I found less essential this time was the one on “The Pest House” which quoted a lot the awful things Polio patients were subjected too. I think it is quite educational so I would leave it in the book but at times I felt subjective quotes from individuals didn’t necessarily provide good science.
The chapter do provide some clues as to why Polio survivors tend to be more highly educated than the general population. This is something mirrored in ME groups hence when I first become ill the term “Yuppie flu” was still being used. The virus causing the problem didn’t pick on particular social groups. It is just that suffers became ill and people often felt they were faking tiredness etc. In order to prove they were not and that they were “normal”, the sufferers often worked harder and despite difficulty with “brain fog” and general fatigue they proved they could still pass exams and become “normal”.
This has led Dr Bruno to observer that a far great proportion of sufferers are of “Type A” personality IE hard-driving, time-conscious, driven, self-denying, perfectionist, overachieving nature.
As I mentioned this time around I was far my interested in the biology of what was happening. I was interested that Enterovirus’s can enter Neurons and damage them. That if only 40% of Neurons are left Paralysis of a limb can occur for a time but then the existing Neurons link to parts of the dead Neurons’s structures and cause recovery. The difficulty is that years later as these overworked Neurons age and are mis-used they start to fail again and then Paralysis and weakness become a problem again.
This has disturbed my sense of recovery. So has reading about the problems that I am still facing and the explanation for them. My running has currently taken a set back as I have a knee problem. At present I am having to consider if I have moved myself forward so far I am doing myself damage or whether the book is just playing with my head. As a Hypnotherapist wanting to help ME/CFS sufferers I need to get a balance on helping themselves gain the most from their lives while not encouraging them to do damage to themselves in the long term.
I am pretty disappointed that the government bodies looking into ME/CFS still don’t seem to accept a Viral Model for ME/CFS. A recent PACE study has compared Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Graduated Exercise Therapy, adaptive pacing therapy (APT). CBT and GET were found most effective but many ME/CFS sufferers have had little improvement and even some bad effects from them.
I have discovered with my own efforts that elements of these work. I have also discovered roadblocks in recovery for which I have now been given a road map. EG My Brain fog could be caused by the brain having damaged Neurons which reduce the amount of Brain-activating Hormone ACTH released. I have not had this thought to play with before so now I can focus on suitable images to see if I can get my brain to increase it production of ACTH. If Dr Bruno is wrong about this it won’t really matter because I now have an idea of a positive image where as before I just couldn’t remember what it felt like to have a lively brain.
This book is plausible and should be considered when looking for ways to help ME/CFS sufferers.
I recommend all ME/CFS sufferers or their close partners/families read the book. It doesn’t provide the miracle cure but it does provide a way of maximising the body you have. The book recommends ensuring you get enough protein early in the day. I haven’t managed this yet but it is something to look at.

The more educated you are on the subject  the more you can educate your GP and specialist and hopefully progress research into important areas that don’t just affect CFS/ME sufferers but possibly sufferers of other illness too.

Claydon High School in the Papers in 1981

I was looking in my old Scrapbook and came across this newspaper article. It is from the Evening Star in April 2 1981. The School was just receiving a Research Machines 380Z and thus was effectively the first time I got interested in Computers. For the next year I hogged the 380Z before and after school and during most breaks!
Claydon High School recieves its first computer

I don’t think I have connected with Joanne Malinowski yet. I wonder how she is now.

I should thank Mr Winkworth as Maths was always my favourite subject and I am sure he was the only Maths teacher I had.