Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Does this review stand the test of time?

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RalphM user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 09:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I found this book review that I posted on Amazon in 1999. It relates to Laura Jackson's 'Queen: The Definitive Biography'. I appear to have given the book a real shafting and I sound very angry. Reading it again now (August 2012), I think that most of what I said is still valid.
'Definitively dull'
Oh, the frustrations of the literate Queen fan. Recklessly, I purchased Jackson's latest Queen-related tome (her third). Verdict: yet another expensive disappointment. Perhaps I should have anticipated it. After all, it comes with the territory. Books for the masses about music for the masses - 'disposable pop', as Freddie might have said.
Perhaps this one is different, I naively thought. A "definitive" biography, no less. Alas, this is nothing more than publishers' hyperbole. Shame on you, Piatkus. The harsh truth is that our "acknowledged Queen expert" has churned out yet another lightweight mix of cliche, received truths and badly researched narrative.
The factual errors are numerous, inexcusable and frankly symptomatic of the sloppy nature of Jackson's approach. Examples? Deacon's near skinhead look was winter '78 not '77. Giorgio Moroder didn't "remake" Metropolis. How could the ALBUM Made In Heaven have kept the SINGLE Wonderwall at Number 2. The image of Freddie "trashing the stage" is an obvious reference to footage shot in Paris on the '79 European tour, not '78.
Still, if I want an encyclopaedic history, I can refer to Jim Jenkins/Jacky Gunn's As It Began. Because even more depressing is the superficiality of Jackson's writing. Lengthy narrative. A dearth of considered comment and analysis. Over-reliance on well-worn interviews. Horrendous cliches ("the gods smiled on them"). A complete lack of objectivity. Truly, this is writing for a soap-opera generation.
What is so desperately needed is a Johnny Rogan of the Queen world to give us a sympathetic yet objective account; yes, to unearth the obscure but also to offer us much more. Someone to detail the downs as comprehensively as the ups, the mistakes as well as the triumphs. Someone to probe, to question, to challenge.
Somebody to tell us honestly about the row with the Sheffield brothers that resulted in the embittered brilliance of Death On Two Legs. And what about the Torpedo Twins, who surely deserve summary execution for their criminal misuse of literally miles of rare Queen footage? And the enigmatic, troubled guitarist who writes lyrics as sensitive as White Man and as crass as Fat Bottomed Girls. The staleness of the We Will Rock You Canada concerts. The dreary quality of the Rock in Rio sound mix on video. The naffness of the Live Magic editing. And so on.
Queen rank as one of the greatest bands in history. There is a balanced story still to be told. They deserve better than this. And so do their fans.

brENsKi user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 09:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

can't believe you feel a need to revisit your own 13 yr old review of a 13 yr old book release...

no one has commented or critcised you recently about this...so it looks like you're trying to garner some QZ fame/acceptance...note your postcount also...

think i'll pass on making any comment on your "review"


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 10:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jesus Christ Brenski you're completely retarded sometimes. You're particularly ridiculous with new posters. Are you trying to singlehandedly ensure nobody with a brain or just about any degree of sensitivity ever posts more than 5 times? Seriously, knock it off. It's terrible.

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 10:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

no. that's my opinion. and YUO need to knock it off...

"sensitivity"????/did you read the book review he/she posted? wasn't exactly much sensitivity deplyed there was there?

if he/she can attack the author of a book so publically,
then they can also accept criticism for dropping by to seek acceptance for it....it's tit for tat...


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 11:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Your level of aggression is too often toxic to this place. That was paulosham's recent argument and today it's mine. Once I knock it off, I can't imagine somebody won't be along at some other point to say the same thing, because it gets pretty egregious at times.

I'm not talking about the OP's sensitivity specifically as I know nothing about this person, other than the fact that he posted a perfectly reasonable and reasoned topic that might develop into a good conversation. It's absolutely normal and expected for a consumer of any type of art to form a critical response to it, positive or negative or mixed. It's not normal to jump down somebody's throat on a message board for an on topic post that proposes a discussion about a book, particularly a new poster. What it is is destructive and absurd. This is a shared space and while we all have a right to our 'opinions' we also have a responsibility to not be spastic self indulgent idiots.

RalphM user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 11:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not sure I can do too much about my post count, Brenski. Everyone is a virgin once. I'm sure even you were.

I'm not trying to garner 'fame' or 'acceptance'. I'm new to the board and thought I had something 'serious' to talk about, so I posted it on the 'serious discussion' board. Isn't that what it is intended for?

Times change. Fact. What seems relevant / on the ball / valid at one moment in time may not remain so. I was merely exploring that via something I wrote 13 years ago. I think that's a wholly reasonable thing. Don't you?

For example, I was making the point that Queen books back then were poorly written and a waste of money. Is that still the case or have they improved? Have we now had the full story of Death On Two Legs? Queen films were rubbish back then. Has the situation got better (personally, I think not)? Having said that, I do think that the Queen Rocks Montreal dvd has made me look at those Canada concerts with fresh eyes and ears.

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 12:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Worth mentioning that in 1999 I had my FIRST real disappointment with Queen Productions. Perhaps because it was the first major Queen release after I got online and became aware of the Queen forums and all that.

There was quite a big buzz as to what the "+" (plus) in Queen+ meant. A bunch of crazy theories came into play, such as the band re-releasing their first album (Queen) reworked and also GH3.

Then someone broke the news on the forum saying that the plus meant we would get solo material with the new compilation. It was such a downer for me. I had felt excitement for every new Queen release between 1992 (when I became a fan) and 1999 and then... THIS!

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 12:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

13 years down the line... well, there's a few new and exciting things along with the usual crap. Right now I'm looking forward to the Freddie documentary with the 1983 "Take another little piece of my hear" demo with Rod Steward, which I'm sure will be only 5 seconds of it with a voice over from Brian or some shit.

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 12:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I mentioned the Torpedo Twins (DoRo Productions) in my review. The mishandling of the archive film footage of Queen is still the thing that aggravates me the most, I think. Try as I might, I just can't get all that excited about 'Hungarian Rhapsody'. The biggest let-down for me in recent times was the BBC2 Hammersmith Odeon '75 programme. We all knew that Seven Seas & See What A Fool... weren't filmed but why did they omit Ogre Battle and White Queen? That footage is all over You Tube. I was sooooo disappointed. I'd bought black nail varnish especially for the show too. Days Of Our Lives was great but simply says to me that there is a huge amount of great footage out there...in which case, why can't we see it?!

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 13:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I recently received the latest edition of Jackson's book and was thankful I received it as a free review copy instead of paying good money for it. I absolutely loved Peter Hince's book, however.

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 13:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

@greatfulfan:
you're doing exactly what you accuse me of - difference is - i dont complain about you....you're entitled to your opinion and me mine...
and btw - who are you to judge me and call me a "spastic self-indulgent idiot" ?



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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 13:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I picked up a remaindered copy of Peter Hince's book a few weeks ago. In terms of 'insider' knowledge, it's unrivalled, for obvious reasons. You don't get much closer to the band than Peter. The quality of writing is fairly basic but, then again, he's not a professional writer. The thing that most disappointed me, to be honest, was the selection of photographs. I was expecting a lot more 'previously unseen' and / or unusual and 'left-field' photos, especially as some of his anecdotes pulled no punches. His photo selection was too conservative.

In terms of the combination of decent writing and in-depth research, the best I've read is Mark Blake's Is This The Real Life? But, to be honest, the kind of 'geeky' discussion about Queen that I enjoy is best covered on online fan forums like this.

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 15:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

brENsKi wrote:
@greatfulfan:
you're doing exactly what you accuse me of - difference is - i dont complain about you....you're entitled to your opinion and me mine...
and btw - who are you to judge me and call me a "spastic self-indulgent idiot" ?


I don't think there's much an equivalency between, say, punching people in the nose on the one hand and saying "hey stop punching people in the nose!" on the other. I'm not so much calling you a spastic self indulgent idiot as classifying a certain brand of online behaviour. As for who I am to say so, maybe somebody who does make an effort not to be a spastic self indulgent idiot on the internet? I enjoy many of your posts Brenski, but you've had two people in just about as many days point out a particular issue. Do with it, or not, what you will. Just don't be surprised if it comes up again because it's all pretty flippin objectionable in civilized company.


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 16:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

well isn't it great that we can all behave above reproach?
must be great to be so wonderful and benevolent an human being, i bow to you shining light of an example.....

think i'd rather be a "spastic self indulgent idiot" than your "self-righteous holier than thou prick"

you are wasted you know..think you should take a trip to syria...you could sort their problems out with your reasoned, pragmatic and non-confrontational approach....and if not who knows? maybe Mr al-Assad might co-opt you as part of his new liberal Govt


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 16:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have a certain reaction to bullying. Can't seem to help it.

What exactly are you defending Brenski? Your right to say whatever you want, under any circumstance, to anybody? Even if it's so frequently disproportionately cutting and aggressive that it has great potential to impact who and how people will be willing to invest here? Here of course being a place that 'belongs' to an awful lot more people than just you. Does that not seem a little off?

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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 16:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

get over yourself. talk about self importance "i have a certain reaction to bullying". bullshit.

the person who posted the original review on amazon was "adult" enough to quite forcefully criticise the author, so they are adult enough to take my criticism of that. and i don't hear him/her complaining...

think you just need to have a cause to fight...well get off my case with your self-righteous-sanctimonious-self-importance

are you and paul o'sham(e) related? just curious

one final note: i'm outta this discussion, but you (being what you are) will need to have the final word...so enjoy.


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Posted: 27 Aug 12, 16:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So I guess that's a yes. You do think you have every right to be serially and irrationally abusive to new posters who can as yet have no sense of perspective on either you or the workings of this website. Well good luck with that. As I said, I'd probably anticipate it coming up again though the next person that's had enough of it.

With that I guess I've hijacked a perfectly good topic long enough. Carry on. :)