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VHS

The Singing Detective

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Rated: NR
Starring: Singing Detective, Michael Gambon, et al.

Edition Details:
NTSC format (for use in US and Canada only)
Color, Closed-captioned, Box set, HiFi Sound, NTSC
7 hours on 6 tapes.

Avg. Customer Review: 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 33

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 Synopsis


Dennis Potter

Called "the greatest production in the history of television" by the Chicago Sun- Times, The Singing Detective is a gripping murder mystery, a lavish musical, an intense psychological thriller, and a warped romance. Dennis Potter's legendary, award-winning masterpiece is all this and more. It's the story of Philip Marlow, a mystery writer stricken with a crippling skin disorder whose hallucinations interweave memories of his past with the murder mystery in his book, "The Singing Detective," about a suave sleuth who croons with a big band when he's not cracking cases. Starring Sir Michael Gambon, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Janet Suzman, and Patrick Malahide.

  

"Originally made as a six-hour BBC miniseries, this brilliantly funny, touching, and completely original work focuses on Philip Marlow (Michael Gambon), a pulp writer wallowing in the hospital with a wretched skin disease. As the disease spreads, his mind wanders through the experiences that have turned him into the bitter hack he is, and we're left wondering if he's going crazy, or if the rest of the world really does break into musical numbers at opportune times. This six-hour look at self-redemption is difficult to find, and at times, wrenching to watch. But if you can get your hands on the original BBC edition, hole up for a weekend and treat yourself to a lovely mystery." - Anders Wright

  
 

The Story

The 'plot' of The Singing Detective is not entirely easy to describe, for the simple (if somewhat perplexing) reason that very little of actual, physical action takes place. It is basically a story about healing and reconciliation, with the main part of the 'action' taking place within the main protagonist's mind -- in his thoughts, memories and hallucinations.

Philip Marlow is an author, mainly responsible for a batch of detective thrillers. He languishes in a ward at a London hospital, severely afflicted by a particularly vicious kind of psoriasis that has also crippled his joints. More or less unable to move, and seething with animosity towards just about everything and everyone, he occupies himself with rewriting one of his novels, The Singing Detective, in his mind. But heavily medicated as he is, and sometimes feverish, the border between reality and fiction starts to blur, and the thriller plot is mixed with his own childhood memories, paranoid fantasies and hallucinations.

The hero of the novel is Marlow's namesake and alter ego, a hard-boiled and cynical private investigator, doubling as the singer in a dance band. He is recruited by one Mark Binney to investigate the disappearance of a prostitute, Sonia, and finds himself drawn into a mysterious plot to smuggle Nazi scientists out of Germany.

Mixing with this story are elements of Marlow's memories of his troubled childhood. As a boy, he witnesses his mother cheating on his father with one Raymond Binney. He also remembers how he 'did his nasty' on the teacher's desk back in the old village school, but managed to put the blame on a somewhat slow-witted class mate, Mark Binney, son of Raymond. Still later, Philip and his mother leave the village to live with her parents in London, leaving Philip's father behind. Philip is intensely unhappy in the big city, as is his mother, who commits suicide (and in the thriller, turns up as a drowned corpse in the Thames).

The adult Marlow is ridden with guilt over his mother's suicide and his betrayal of Mark Binney. And not only that: he is also nourishing quite paranoid fantasies about his wife, Nicola, whom he envisions conspiring with movie producer Mark Finney (Raymond/Binney/Finney are all played by the same actor) to steal his screenplay of The Singing Detective. In this fantasy, Finney cheats Nicola out of the role he has promised her in the movie, which leads to Nicola killing him and committing suicide herself (through the series, the drowned corpse in the Thames is sometimes Philip's mother, sometimes Nicola).

All of this goes on inside Marlow's head. The hospital psychiatrist, Dr Gibbon, works with Marlow, and manages to untangle the mess of guilt and hostility, that drives him to 'take shelter' in his disease. Coming to terms with his inner demons, Marlow starts to heal, bodily as well as spiritually.

  
 

Reviews

"The Singing Detective gluts our greedy appetite for vicarious fantasy with an ornate confection of creamy textures and sugary tunes rich enough to make us sick. Potter's sugar conceals not so much a pill as a poison. The opulence of the series, like Lear's ounce of civet, barely sweetens an imagination too conscious of the sulphourous pit beneath.

Gambon's performance is a triumph of damaged humanity, sputtering with pain and rage yet retaining the sardonic worldliness of an impresario. At one level The Singing Detective is a masterpiece of pastiche, mixing an elegant cocktail of film noir, hospital drama and nostalgic musical.

The Singing Detective offers a combination of elegant illusion and lacerating humour that recalls the satires of Swift. The only remedy for the ills of the yahoos was a mixture of their own dung and urine put forcibly down their throats. Sweetened by Cole Porter and soured by Raymond Chandler, Potter offers us a dose of the same."
-- David Nokes, Times Literary Supplement

"This film, as I want to call it, is one of the most dizzying and fruitful film experiences I have had in a long while. It is a modern drama of destiny, centered on an exposed, suffering individual, a victim of our early and late myths, bourgeoisie expectations, romantic illusions and brutal reality in today's schizophrenic society. But this film is also a black, exhilarated, human comedy, full of compassion, loving insight and tender, ironically distanced rage.

Sometimes, the humour is so black it scorches with its incorruptibility, but also with its curiously intense love of humanity.

It is impossible to describe such a rich film, such a completely humane and honest document, such a brave and generally applicable walk towards truth and awareness. Each scene is full of understatements and allusions, of tense events intimately connected to Marlow's trauma. Each episode is also a story about us, recognizable, divinely satirical and tender. It is also, and above all, the story about a man and human being who reclaims his properties and his life."

-- Sun Axelsson, Chaplin (Stockholm), June 1990

  
  
The Avia Guide to Home Theater

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Amazon.com Sales Rank (DVD): 191
Avg. Customer Review:
Number of Reviews: 17

 

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
Tastefully designed for both beginning and advanced home-theater enthusiasts, the AVIA Guide to Home Theater is a terrific gateway to system set-up and integration--perfect for either planning or upgrading your home-entertainment system. AVIA, which was written by David Ranada of Stereo Review's Sound & Vision, takes full advantage of the nonlinear DVD-Video format. It lays out simply and clearly the basics of home theater: source components, video setup, and audio setup. Its seven chapters range in topics from home-theater components to viewing environments to system tools, and the disc features a host of professional-quality test signals for complete system calibration. Handy "hot buttons" give more depth on a range of subjects for those who want it. The disc gives insufficient weight to the importance of audio cable (and it recommends optical digital connections over the better-sounding coaxial type), but by and large AVIA is a trustworthy and extremely informative presentation. --Michael Mikesell

Ovation Software additional Avia DVD information

Home Theater HI Review AVIA Home Theater Setup DVD

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Icemat 2nd Edition (Black) Mouse pad
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Price: $27.82
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Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Product Description

Amazon.com Product Description
The Icemat 2nd Edition improves on the design of the award-winning Icemat that was released in 2000. The 2000 edition received positive reviews all over the world and was hailed by many gamers as "the best mousing surface ever." The 2nd Edition is created with the same amazing treatment surface as the original Icemat, a high precision frosted glass design, and it's bigger -- a lot bigger. The increased area of the pad makes it ideal for users favoring low sensitivity mouse settings. It provides amazing accuracy.

Enjoy the large glass surface of the Icemat 2nd Edition, a mouse pad that's is incredibly stylish, all about cool looks and top-notch performance. It's a mouse pad like no other, offering the unique look of beautiful frosted glass without compromising quality or performance. Additionally, the Icemat is long-lasting. The design doesn't bend or loose shape and is very comfortable to use. The mouse pad contains six teflon feet which ensures solid and steady use. The 2nd Edition pad is 10 inches by 12 inches. The attractive black color enhances its ultra-cool design.

What's in the Box
10005 Icemat mouse pad and six teflon feet.

Review by Edward Plotkin
I own this mouse pad and have found it to be both stylish and functional. My mouse glides across the glass Icemat surface nearly as slick as a hockey puck on ice. However, about a week into using the pad I began to notice an annoying screech as the mouse traversed the Icemat pad. I had been using the supplied teflon Icemat Padsurfers placed over my MX610 mouse feet, which had initially sped and quieted the mouse.

No amount of cleaning the pad or mouse feet diminished the screeching noise. I tried glass cleaner on the Icemat; glass cleaner, and vinyl furniture cleaner on the teflon feet, as well as Armour All Vinyl Protectant on the feet. Not willing to give up I tried some vinyl electrical tape placed over the feet. The noise stopped, but now the mouse dragged its feet. Rummaging through my stuff I came across a roll of Scotch Filament 898 tape, polypropylene backed and reinforced with continuous glass yarn.

My mouse is now as quiet as a ..........well you know what! A tap on the mouse sends it scurrying across the Icemat, gliding a few inches on its own. Incidentally, the 898 tape is vastly slicker and better feeling than the supplied teflon Padsurfers. I consider this fix to be successful, as a roll of filament tape is only a few dollars, and will last years in this application. Icemat engineers might want to reconsider their choice of material for Padsurfer mouse feet.

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 MUSIC
 cover 
Thursday Afternoon
Brian Eno

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Audio CD (September 18, 1989)
Number of Discs: 1
Eg; ASIN: B000003S1T
Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 2

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Thursday Afternoon
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Customer Comments
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars Number of Reviews: 2

October 2, 1998 5 out of 5 stars

The last great and definitive Ambient album
This album, a 61 minute piece of shifting piano and landscape sounds formed by multiple 'samples' looped at different durations, and later edited by Eno, serves quite possibly as the pinnacle of this great man's work. It is the closest I think he has come to creating a truly ambient piece, as he had himself defined it in the early 70's: music which...'should be as ignorable as it is interesting.' In this sense, the Thursday Afternoon 'rewards listener attention, but doesn't demand it.' You can either put it on as background to a conversation, or do as a friend of mine and have often done and put it on, sip cognac, and listen intently without speaking for the entire hour it plays, and then enjoy the silence for a time after it is done.

Reviewer com from Florida , September 13, 1998 4 out of 5 stars
Eno...drifting..soothing..otherworldly...
I like this album very much. If you enjoyed "Music for airports" you may want to check this one out. "Thursday Afternoon" is a 61 minute piece that very slowly drifts and meanders its way to a finale of a single note sustained for what seems like an eternity. By then, you may be asleep or in deep meditation. This is not standard new age musical fare, however. The effect is spacious, with all manner of musical events taking place, appearing and then vanishing as quietly as they began. There is something monastically pure about this album. I have not tired of it despite having had it for years. Every few months, I take it out again to experience it. This one is perfect for decompressing after a stressful day.


Miles Davis

Kind Of Blue (Remaster)
Miles Davis

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Audio CD (March 25, 1997)
Original Release Date: 1959
Number of Discs: 1
Sony/Columbia; ASIN: B000002ADT
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 47
Avg. Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 127

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential recording
This is the one jazz record owned by people who don't listen to jazz, and with good reason. The band itself is extraordinary (proof of Miles Davis's masterful casting skills, if not of God's existence), listing John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on saxophones, Bill Evans (or, on "Freddie Freeloader," Wynton Kelly) on piano, and the crack rhythm unit of Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Coltrane's astringency on tenor is counterpoised to Adderley's funky self on alto, with Davis moderating between them as Bill Evans conjures up a still lake of sound on which they walk. Meanwhile, the rhythm partnership of Cobb and Chambers is prepared to click off time until eternity. It was the key recording of what became modal jazz, a music free of the fixed harmonies and forms of pop songs. In Davis's men's hands it was a weightless music, but one that refused to fade into the background. In retrospect every note seems perfect, and each piece moves inexorably towards its destiny. --John Szwed

Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD
This first-take, unrehearsed Miles Davis session from 1959, no less than a jazz/blues succes d' estime, offers stimulation for the mind and satisfaction for the soul. The late trumpeter and his fellow improvisers (notably John Coltrane and Bill Evans) create shifting prismatic colors, textures given over to lyricism, and intriguingly vague tonality within five compositions. A quiet, wondrous state of equilibrium between tension and repose. -- Frank John Hadley 1993

Gramophone Jazz Good CD Guide
Few albums have been granted the destiny this one received. Recorded when each of its participants was at a personal peak of one kind or another, it is both a celebration of what has gone before in their careers and a door opening on the next ten years of small-group modern jazz. Davis, with the help of pianist Bill Evans (and the input of arranger Gil Evans), prepared a set of charts for the recording sessions which, for the most part, abandoned the conventional song structures and bop changes, substituting instead a series of interrelated scales, or modes.

 

5 out of 5 stars Tell your children to make this the first cd they ever buy! 
Reviewer: from Collingswood, New Jersey      December 15, 1999

When it comes down to it, it's very simple. If you like music, then this is the next CD you must have. No ifs, ands, or buts. From jazz fans (who already know almost every note) to rock fans, who can imagine the "riffs" coming off of "All Blues" and "Freddie Freeloader", to any alternative/punk fan who can sense the cool vibe that comes off any of the tunes here, this is what happens when the stars are in their proper alignment and you have six truly great musicians at arguably one of their peaks and in sync with each other. The best thing about Kind of Blue is that it is truly great without trying to remind you that it is; every piece is approachable in its simplicity but still rings as true today as forty years ago. I DO wish now that the remastered version is out, there's no more tinkering with this album, because it gives you the impression that the tunes can somehow be made better. You can't improve one of the two or three best albums made in any genre. As close to perfection as you can find in modern music. 

5 out of 5 stars Music that will open new doors
Reviewer: meola from Canada      December 15, 1999

The word "jazz" reminds many people of either a) elevator music or b) a series of fast, furious, unmelodic and forgettable solos. Well, this album shatters those perceptions. I can sing the majority of solos on this album from memory -- a testament to their melodic beauty and construction. (And to think most of the tracks were first takes!) Even more important, this music reaches into your soul. You can feel the emotion of each soloist running through your body, especially that of Miles: brooding, slightly melancholy, yet never compromising its beauty.

But alas, music was never meant to be described in words. Do yourself a favour and get this record ASAP! 

5 out of 5 stars THE BEST FROM THE BEST
Reviewer: A music fan from USA      December 11, 1999

This cd is just plain good, to all those jazz hard core analists that are like "oh its too slow", respect his talent, cuz hes better than youll ever be. 

 

Billy Holiday

Love Songs (Legacy)
Billie Holiday

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Audio CD (March 12, 1996)
Original Release Date: 1996
Number of Discs: 1
Sony/Columbia; ASIN: B000002ACT
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,249
Avg. Customer Review:
Number of Reviews: 4

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential recording
Culled from the Columbia Records reissue packages, variously released under the multivolume Quintessential Billie Holiday umbrella, this package goes straight for the love songs, the heart of Holiday. Ranging from such playful lyrics as "Let's Do It" and "Them There Eyes" to such essential Holiday as "You Go to My Head," "The Very Thought of You," and "Easy Living," this set is guaranteed to keep the home fires burning brightly. Lay this one on your lover next Valentine's Day. As was so frequently the case with Holiday, the ensemble support is impeccable, including many of the swingers from Columbia's Greatest Hits package. The bonus here is Count Basie on piano, leading his swinging big band on "They Can't Take That Away from Me." --Willard Jenkins

What the Critics Say:
Occupying a roost at the higher end of the never-ending Holiday compilation market, this set collects some of the singer's key interpretations from the '30s and '40s, her generally acknowledged best period. The sound quality has been magically improved to probably its optimum level (unless the boffins discover Mapping - whatever Mapping may be - with more than 20 bits... ), and including players like Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Charlie Shavers and Ben Webster in the ranks, it's impossible to ignore the capsule solos that dot each tune.

 

 

Customer Reviews

5 out of 5 stars A Truly Great Album by the Truly Great Billie Holiday!!
Reviewer: Joey Traughber from Tampa, Fl, 33619      July 1, 1999

I LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM A LOT!! NOT ONLY ARE THESE GREAT LOVE SONGS; BUT THEY ARE LADY DAY AT HER ABSOLUTE BEST!! i WOULD LOVE TO GIVE THIS ALBUM MORE THAN FIVE STARS! I WOULD GIVE IT 25 STARS!!


5 out of 5 stars Lady Day at her "loving best"
Reviewer: A music fan from Indianapolis, IN      April 1, 1999

From "All Of Me" to "Let's Do It" the enchanting sounds of Billie Holiday flow like a soft summer breeze. Intoxicating vocals against a background of musical sounds that take you back to another place and time. Love Songs is worth every moment you will spend listening to the queen of blues making her magic...


5 out of 5 stars simply superb!
Reviewer: A music fan from San Francisco, CA      January 6, 1999

This is simply one of the best collections of Billie's music out there (of which there are many)! A must have.


4 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection of Tunes a la Billie
Reviewer: A music fan from Grinnell, Iowa USA      October 22, 1998

This is a wonderful collection that I would recommend to anyone interested in Billie's voice. Here she is performing the work of several well-known composers. It's a pretty mellow album, but undeniably sensitive. High quality recording. A good first album of hers to buy, but also great for die-hard fans.

 

Music To Disappear In II
Raphael

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Audio CD (February 25, 1991)
Original Release Date: 1991
Number of Discs: 1
Hearts of Space; ASIN: B000000X5R
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 6,704
Avg. Customer Review:4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 2

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1. River Seeks The DeepMusic
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 Customer Reviews
 

5 out of 5 stars A great sequel to the first CD album of the same name 
Reviewer: A music fan from Seattle, WA USA      September 12, 1999
I use this CD album as background music when giving massages. It helps relax the subject and also gives me some indication of where we are in the time allotted for the massage experience. The music transports the listener to another dimension and evokes images of serenity, relaxation, harmony and bliss. I have often been told that it's the "perfect" music to use during a massage session. Many of my clients ask me about it and want to know where to find it. 

4 out of 5 stars Mood music with lush sounds--easy on the ears. 
Reviewer: A music fan from USA, midwest/southern region      July 19, 1998
I have had this CD for a couple of years, having bought it blind from a music club. It is slow to get going, but builds to a very nice climax, and is quite mood evoking. For me, it brings up images of India and mysticism. The sounds are lush and gentle. I feel soothed and pampered when I listen to this music. I recommend it for anyone who wants to go into another space inside their mind, for one who wants to take a journey of mood and mental images to a place far from everyday living. Yes, I guess you could say that it *is* music to disappear in! 

  
  
Rachmaninov

Rakhmaninov: Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom / Bruffy, et al

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Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
Conductor: Charles Bruffy
Performer: David Adams, Todd E. Berry, et al.
Orchestra: Kansas City Chorale
Nimbus - #5497 / October 15, 1996
Audio CD / DDD / Number of Discs: 2
ASIN: B0000037H6
Avg. Customer Review:5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 1

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com
You might not expect to find an outstandingly well-sung and idiomatic recording of so profoundly Russian a work as Sergey Vassilyevich Rachmaninoff's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom emanating from the Heartland and a group called the Kansas City Chorale, but you would be limiting yourself and your expectations unnecessarily. This is a beautifully realized performance of a spiritually moving and harmonically lovely score. It is a more complete version than that recorded by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir, and for that reason is the first choice in CDs of this music. --Sarah Bryan Miller

Customer Reviews

Authentic Russian singing from the prairie!
Reviewer: A music fan from Chicago
     August 11, 1999
Who would ever have guessed that such an authentic-sounding performance of this quintessentially Russian choral music would originate from Kansas City? The Kansas City Chorale, surely one of the finest groups currently singing in the US, is augmented by several extra basses (who sing those low C's with apparent ease) and by a US-based Russian orthodox priest singing the celebrant. It's no surprise that a New York Times music critic nominated this recording for record of the year.

 

 

  
Beethoven:The Piano Sonatas

Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas - Daniel Barenboim

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Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Daniel Barenboim

Emd/Emi Classics - #72912 / October 20, 1998

Audio CD / DDD / Number of Discs:10

 

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THE FOUR YOGAS OF ENLIGHTENMENT:
Guide To Don Juan's Nagualism & Esoteric Buddhism
Edward Plotkin, Madison NJ

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