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All reviews - Movies (2) - TV Shows (1) - DVDs (1) - Books (2) - Music (3)

White lips, pale face, breathing in snowflakesโ€ฆ

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 19 December 2012 04:34 (A review of A Team (Single))

I first came upon The A Team by Ed Sheeran on Spotify, it was listed at the number one in their UK Singles chart for the week a fortnight back - and still remains there. And so gave it a listen.
In one sense a likely number one - tuneful and romantic. In another sense an unlikely number one - acoustic, introspective and unsentimental.
I knew nothing about Ed Sheeran before writing this post and assumed he was one of the latest batch of Reality TV Popstars - The A Team did not quite feel Indie. And so was expecting the lyrics to be unremarkable fare - sweetly romantic at best.
I was wrong on all counts. Ed Sheeran has never been near a Reality TV Show instead coming to wider attention via the more traditional ways of touring clubs and releasing singles and albums to mostly indifferent audiences.
And the lyrics pack a punch - a crafty one at that - more of a kick than a kiss is pulled.
As on listening to the lyrics more closely it became clear this was no straight-ahead love song or introspective meander - lines like 'Long nights, strange men', 'And go mad for a couple of grams' followed by 'And in a pipe she flies to the motherland' then 'Or sells love to another man' - almost as if his soft and warm voice had seduced this difficult content into the ears hearts and minds of its listeners and hoisted it up to the number one spot.
And then a most unlikely but welcome number one.
Ed Sheeran's 'The A Team' is about a woman whose dreams not so much crashed to the ground as never took flight.
The angel of his song is fallen and stuck, selling her body for sex and using most of the proceeds for drugs. 'Dreaming of the motherland' could suggest she is a migrant from Russia or Eastern Europe, dreaming of happier times back home, but could also mean a more general drugged out escapism.
A lot of the lyrics are elliptical and poetical leaving us to draw or project our own meaning.

The chorus:

And they say
She's in the Class A Team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since 18
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries
is memorable as are other lines and couplets like 'It's too cold outside for angels to fly' and 'Call girl, no phone'.
The lines 'the worst things in life come free to us' followed by 'Cos we're just under the upperhand' are a striking couplet.

The video for The A Team is shot in black and white and directed by Ruskin Kyle. It plays a faithful narrative to the lyrics - starting with her sleeping and then waking up on a park bench in a cold early morning London, later selling The Big Issue and yet later begging for money. In the evening we see her soliciting for sex and a kerb-crawler picking her up in his car and after having sex and getting paid she uses most of the proceeds towards purchasing grams of heroin. Last scene is her returned home alone using the pipe to smoke the heroin before falling back upon her bed to dream, to fly.
The actress who plays her is Selina MacDonald.
The A Team is a sour pill in a candy coating. Well worth the taking.

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Introspective review

Posted : 10 years, 5 months ago on 27 October 2010 08:34 (A review of Introspective)

I was expecting to the point clever pop songs and instead I got long aimless electronic treatments. Too much Lowe too little Tennant.

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1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (1001 Must See Before You Die) review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 14 May 2010 01:09 (A review of 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (1001 Must See Before You Die))

I would have preferred this to be a coffee-table style book with pages double the size here but a great print collection of paintings both known and unknown to me.

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Armageddon Trade, The review

Posted : 11 years ago on 6 April 2010 12:27 (A review of Armageddon Trade, The)

A real page-turner, even for a laborious reader as I! A movie or 24 style TV show in the making.

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Carousel review

Posted : 11 years ago on 2 April 2010 08:58 (A review of Carousel)

What an unpleasant lead role Billy Bigelow is. And then there is the wooden dialogue but the songs at least save this film most of all 'You'll Never Walk Alone' a rousing agnostic spiritual.

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Pure videos, but not enough

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 11 February 2010 01:39 (A review of Destiny's Child - The Platinum's On The Wall [2001])

This is a no thrills collection of their videos but unfortunately only up to their first LP. This collection is long overdue an update to include videos from their second album and subsequent singles.

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Posted : 11 years, 11 months ago on 2 May 2009 07:40 (A review of Barbra Joan Streisand)

An underwhelming collection of covers - if your hearts not in them Barbra why bother?

She lacks in the modern parlance a lack of emotional intelligence - merely content to show off her vocal gymnastics whether this is required or not.

Her version of the James Taylor classic 'You've Got A Friend' where even the outro was given a pointless xerox attempt I found the most laughable moment of the entire collection.

A version of John Lennon's 'Love' was the collection's only saving grace, and that just barely.

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Click review

Posted : 13 years, 3 months ago on 25 December 2007 05:31 (A review of Click)

Agree with Scott - a 21st Century 'It's A Wonderful Life' - a tale still worth telling - even if you probably get to see the Frank Capra film every Christmas anyway! - and at no point did I want to fast-forward (sorry!) the film though feel it could have made more of the remote control idea and technology generally.

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Posted : 13 years, 6 months ago on 12 October 2007 08:22 (A review of EastEnders)

This show must have had cast of thousands by now.

I don't watch Eastenders very much these days though I used to watch it regularly.

It is well written - if Charles Dickens was alive now he would have probably been one of their leading script-writers! - and well acted and was a departure from many British Soaps such as Coronation Street which again though well written and acted are located in a bubble without much base in reality. Eastenders is in a bit of a bubble too -no-one reallys live in a place like that do they where no-one owns a washing-machine and spend all their spare hours and cash in one pub! - but was more gritty dealing with life has most of us experience it. Another soap out at the time it started, Brookside, dealt with similar topics but was even more doom-and-gloom and over-the-top tragedy than found in Albert Square.

But now I feel it has become formulaic spinning out the same old stories and tragedies - especially tragedies! - and I have lost interest in the show and its characters.

I like the quote that most of now live in a world where our friends are Friends and our neighbours are Neighbours! And well I no longer wish the inhabitants of Walford to be my friends or neighbours.

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