Monday, 24 March 2014
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
An "self portrait" so sketchy that it barely qualifies for the title. Maybe it's better described as a memoir than an autobiography. What we get is interesting but superficial, lacking in detail and background. We hear something of what (and, occasionally, who) Mr Warren did, but he is so reticent that the book comes over as little more than a "tease". It's not so much the lack of "gossip" as the fact that there isn't much in its place.
I first read this on borrowing it from the library in the 1970s, when it was originally published. Re-reading it this year when I got hold of a secondhand copy, my overwhelming impression was lack of substance - particularly after reading some in-depth biographies of more illustrious people in the media. The illustrations are nice, but I wanted more detail and a bit more depth - more of what Allan Warren himself is about.
The Lie by Helen Dunmore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An intriguing novel with a poetic quality. Its extensive use of flashbacks and sometimes harrowing detail of life in the trenches (and its aftermath) means it's not an easy read, or a particularly pleasant one. However, it is convincing throughout and sometimes genuinely moving. Recommended for readers who like to be challenged and provoked, rather than people looking for a "light read".
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Sunday, 2 February 2014
For these reasons, it's essential that the volume of a podcast should be "normalised" (i.e. the peaks should be at the maximum allowed undistorted level) and its dynamic range should be severely curtailed - that is, there should be very little difference between the quiet and the loud bits.
I probably have hearing that is just below average in efficiency and I've lost count of the number of times the podcast was so quiet that I couldn't hear most of it (even when turned up to full volume on my phone), or had a section with various speakers muttering inaudibly in the background, clearly not using a headset microphone. Even Big Finish, who you'd expect to know better, has been guilty of this. Podcast producers, please remember your audiences: if we can't hear it all, you might as well not bother.