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Review: Happy Mondays – Excess All Areas – by Simon Spence

Happy Mondays

This is the third Simon Spence book that I have read. He is a very talented music journalist from Manchester with a taste for documenting, wild, stylish cultural movements that have emerged from the Madchester craziness. Excess All Areas covers perhaps the most successful and innovative band to have ridden the early acid house craze that swept the nation in the mate 1980s. With the charismatic Shaun Ryder heading up the band, a true hedonist, a notorious substance abuser, it was always difficult for the true Happy Mondays to translate through the myriad web of journalists who tried to document them. Ryder, much to the annoyance of most of the musical backdrop of the band, Paul Ryder (Bass), Gary Whelan (Drums), Paul Davis (keyboard), Mark Day (Guitar), Mark ‘Bez’ Berry (dancer), got into a habit of blagging the press and feeding them over the top exaggerations of the band’s history and exploits. In hindsight, this was pure marketing genius and led to much of the mystery and notoriety that paved the way for success. However, it sifting all the bullshit, has made the writing of this book that much more difficult for Simon Spence. The early days of a relatively privileged middle class upbringing contrasts with the bunch of Manchester council estate ‘scallies’ they tried to portray themselves as. Sure there was petty crime and shopflifting etc. but nothing serious, although perhaps the addition of Bez to the group was actually verging on real true life crime as he obviously was up to the neck in it as a youngster and quite obviously expanded his mini empire quite a lot under the guise of being part of the band…. Manchester Giants, Factory Records and Tony Wilson picked up the band and signed them which paved their way to success following the ilk of luminaries Joy Division and New Order and allowing them direct access to one of the UK’s most influential music venues, the Haçienda. It all happened at just the right time for this band, as the cultural rebellion against failed Thatcherism took hold of the UK’s disillusioned youth masses and expressed itself in the ‘Acid House’ movement. Ecstasy-fuelled, fashion shifts, mass movement and gathering of people in raves, parties and festivals, vast increase in polydrug clubbing and mainstream ending of anti-drug taboos. A lot of this movement was driven by DJs and the Mondays’ uniqueness was that they…

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Review: The Big Breach – From Top Secret To Maximum Security – by Richard Tomlinson

the big breach

Richard Tomlinson was a controversial MI6 whistleblower that made international headlines during his messy fallout with Britain’s foreign intelligence service. Initially after a first class degree from Cambridge he was approached for recruitment by SIS but he postponed this work, beginning a career in the city and in his spare time qualifying for the SAS regiment in the Territorial Army. eventually he decided to follow up the MI6 interest and embarked upon a career with the secret service. He was a high flyer in qualification and the interview and was given top jobs following his employment. He was trusted to head out to Moscow and had a rough and ready role in Sarajevo during the Balkan conflict where he got into trouble for not wearing a tie during a diplomatic meet with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadic. His early years looked promising and then suddenly, mid operation whilst dealing with Iranian terrorists, Tomlinson found his security clearance at the spanking new MI6 headquarters revoked and his unpleasant personnel management announced that he had been fired. An angry ex agent, Tomlinson wanted justice and tried to appeal his sacking and to take his employers to an industrial tribunal. Using national security as a barrier to any court action MI6 frustrated Tomlinson’s attempts to overturn the firing. An angry Tomlinson felt he had no recourse but to write a book and tell his story to the world. A manuscript was seized from an Australian publisher and in breach of the Official Secrets Act, Tomlinson was arrested and banged up in the high security Belmarsh prison. On his release Tomlinson had an international cat and mouse game with MI6. Funded by large amounts of taxpayers money they disrupted his life internationally leading to his arrest in various countries where he tried to rebuild his life. His revelations about his work led him to the Princess Diana death tribunal where he revealed an almost identical audacious MI6 plot to assassinate Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic using high powered strobes to disrupt a car whilst travelling through a road tunnel. Eventually Tomlinson had his bitter memoirs published and this book offers a fascinating insight into the murky world of espionage. Ultimately this former spy’s campaign for justice led to MI6 employees getting union rights and employment statuses within the UK as they would working for any other company. This is a fascinating read and a must…

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Psychiatrist who surfed web looking for child porn and violence free to work with children again: Dr Darryl Watts

dr darryl watts

By Daily Mail Reporter UPDATED: 12:34, 4 May 2010 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1272059/Psychiatrist-surfed-web-looking-child-porn-violence-free-work-children-again.html#ixzz3OotmJ1Qz A psychiatrist who surfed the web to look at depraved pictures of youngsters is free to work with children again. Dr Darryl Watts blamed stress and depression after he spent up to 30 hours a week on the internet looking at images of violence and indecent pictures of young girls. In April 2003 police raided his home and seized Watts’ computer which contained an image of a naked girl aged between five and seven years old in sexual poses. Watts was fined £1,500 by Hereford Magistrates after admitting possession of an indecent photograph of a child under the age of 16. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for five years and his computer was destroyed. Watts was suspended for a year by the GMC and later banned from working with children. But the Hereford-based doctor has successfully appealed for the restrictions to be lifted. He blamed the stress of a 70,000-patient workload at the Blackberry Hill Hospital, Bristol, for his behaviour. Watts told the hearing: ‘I began to get into a frame of mind where I began to hate my failings and my shortcomings. ‘I began to get very negative thoughts about myself and dislike myself significantly. ‘When I had time off work because I was not coping I became more introverted. ‘At that time I started to use the internet and I used it to look at things that were horrible images. ‘That seemed to validate what I was feeling in here, in myself. I looked at things to do with suicide and I looked at horrible images of people being hurt or maimed, car crashes, bombings. I did see something to do with Lady Diana. ‘These images were in some way an external representation of what I was feeling inside. Along with the looking at some images of child pornography as well.’ When asked if the child images were sexual he said ‘certainly not.’ In January 2003 Watts moved from the Bristol hospital to a Hereford clinic with his partner Jackie Valentine. He was caught in Operation Ricochet run by Avon and Somerset Constabulary to combat child porn on the internet and one stored image was found on his computer. Watts added: ‘I’m so, so sorry I have done it. It won’t happen again. What I did supports the procurement of these…

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