Book Review – future books I shall be reviewing

I have finally bowed to public pressure (i.e. my cousins wife and my dad’s wife, plus some friends and people at work) and agreed to read ‘Fifty shades of Grey’ and the books that follow it. So expect that sometime in the next month.

I will also be reviewing ‘The Wolf Gift’ by Anne Rice in the next two weeks (I need to read it before the 28th, when it has to go back to the library).

Once I manage to get the library to order me ‘The Long Earth’ by Terry Pratchet and Stephen Baxter I shall review that as well.

So expect a few book reviews in the next month or so.


Book Review: Deadlocked – True Blood 12 – Charlaine Harris

I have read every single one of this series, I’ve even read most of the short stories found in anthologies of vampire/supernatural romance. When I heard that thw twelfth in the series was to be published I immediateely put in an order with the local library for it.

I enjoyed the book, it resolved many of the plot lines of the past few books and allowed a certain amount of character development for the fae characters and for Sookie’s thoroughly human friends. We finally find out what she does with the cluvial dor. The end provides the reader with a clue as to the plot line for the thirteenth book, which is rumoured to be the final book in the series.

All this said, I do have some problems with it. The misdirection in the story line was fairly obvious and the plot threads were resolved rather abruptly in the last chapter.

3/5 – Good story, but Charlaine Harris has written better.

Blink 182 At Sheffield Motorpoint Arena 17th June 2012

On June 17th 2012 Blink 182 appeared in Sheffield as part of their UK tour which covers many major cities in June and July this year.

At Sheffield they were supported by Glaswigian quartet Twin Atlantic, and fellow Americans The All-American Rejects.

Twin Atlantic faced the twin difficulties of being fairly ‘new’ compared to those who followed them, and the half empty arena as the crowds made use of the bar and merchendise stands. They recieved a polite if unenthusiastic welcome from those present but their presence on stage didn’t prevent people from nipping off to the toilets and the bar.

Sam McTrusty (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) tried to get the crowd going, and finally managed to get the front few rows bouncing along, unfortunately it wasn’t until they performed their penultimate song ‘Make a beast of myself’ that the crowd really warmed to them, and they got their biggest cheer. They finished well on ‘Free’.

Twin atlantic – 3/5 for effort, and they weren’t too bad.

The All-American Rejects entered to the largest roar of the evening thus far, the arena being almost full at this point, althought people were still making their way in.

‘Dirty Little Secret’ opened their set, ‘Gives you hell’ closed it. They had the whole crowd singing with them annd were cheered wildly as they left the stage. Tyson Ritter (lead vocal, bass guitarist) had a great rappour with the crowd, encouraging the to get wild, complaining they weren’t wild enough and calling a member of the security staff a banana at one point. Described by one audience member as ‘the most entertaining front man’ they had ever seen, Tyson Ritter seems to lose control over his legs at times, darting about the stage and tumbling to the ground, singing on his knees at times.

The All-American Rejects – 5/5 thoroughly entertaining, I hope they get to headline a tour of their own soon.

Blink 182 appeared briefly to much excitement once sound checks had been made, teasing the crowd, and then the curtain dropped. when it was raised again the audience made the band very welcome. The entire audience was on their feet by the second song, their backdrops and light show were fantastic, the giant side screens showing close-ups of mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge.

They proved themselves still as childish as they were ten years ago, although this time they had their own children with them. Mark Hoppus mentioned his son being in hospital, and when later on in the evening a message was sent that he was out of hospital the crowd cheered. The onstage banter was amusing and proved that they might be older but not that much more grown up than when they started twenty years ago.

The set list was a mix of classics such as ‘What’s my age again?’ and material from Neighbourhoods (2011) such as ‘Ghost on the dance floor’. The arena was hardly full but it didn’t make a difference, the audience sang along and had a great time.

Towards the end there was an excellent drum solo from Travis Barker, displaying his technical skills with flare, followed by a short accoustic set by Messers. Hoppus and Delonge, who appeared in the sound pit unexpectedly in the centre of the crowd, playing two songs including ‘Reckless abandon’ to much excitement and joy.

Blink 182 – 5/5 Again a thoroughly enjoyable set.

It was over all an excellent show, and special mention must be made for the four fanboys who were sat in front of me and couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen, and who sang every song, danced all the way through and were in general quite adorable.

This was the first concert I have ever been to, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’m planning to go to as many more as I can afford. Next up should be Rasmus in Nottingham in December, but I’m hoping to get to see ‘Reckless Love’ in Sheffield in October, and ‘LostProphets’ and ‘Frank Turner’ in Lincoln in November, but we shall see what happens.

The importance of youth groups for younger children

I was going to send this to the local paper but I decided to post it here instead.


I was listening to some small children the other day talking about what they do after school. A surprising number of them did organised activities: football, swimming, dancing, Guides/Scouts etc. A few days later I saw adverts for summer holiday sports groups, I think it was for rugby.

It got me thinking; how many children take part in organised groups and activities and what do they get from it? I also wandered what would they do if they didn’t have them to go to. So I did a quick survey (I asked my nine year old niece).

Quite a few primary school children, it seems, like to go to organised activities, because their friends go, because it’s fun and because they get to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily get to do like going to camps.

They aren’t just being left there by parents who want an hour’s peace then? Nope, they go to these groups because they want to be there. Although I suspect that parents also quite enjoy their freedom for the small period in time when the children are elsewhere. Children seem to gain something from the experience, spending time with others the same age,  maybe a little older or younger, doing communal activities. They develop confidence in themselves and learn new skills. And it’s outside the confines of school, so they don’t feel forced to be there, which makes it all so much more enjoyable.

This is interesting, especially since there seems to be a pervading image of children ‘these days’ being couch potatoes obsessed with computer games. If we are to believe certain newspapers children are either obese, electronics obsessed brats, or hooded thugs causing trouble on the streets menacing the elderly.

If that were truly the case then a relatively small town like Immingham wouldn’t be able to support not just groups of Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Cubs, Beavers and Scouts, but also junior football and rugby clubs, a swimming club, majorettes, an archery club, a boxing club, as well as the Air, Army and Sea Cadets. Not to mention the fishing pond at Homestead Park and the recently opened skate park which attract a decent number of eager patrons.

Lazy they are not, in fact many primary school age children seem to have incredibly busy lives. Let them enjoy it while they have the chance, and support your local sports clubs and youth associations.