Saturday, 29 June 2013
GLORY ROAD: If you thought the Disney movie-that could make some hoop heads forget the gridiron passion play of 'Remember The Titans'-was inspiring then wait until you read the book of this basketball road to glory. Coach Don Haskins gives his autobiographical take on his trip to the Final Four victory of the 1966 NCAA Championship, in which he started five black players for the first time in basketball history. His Texas Western victory over Kentucky was groundbreaking not only in sport, but life and cultural measures and messages. The ever modest but hard-working coaches coach Haskins downplays his movie inspiring feat and that's where co-writer Dan Wetzel comes in at the start of every chapter. Haskins offers a coaches playbook to how this game should be played and how young men should be taught how to be beyond the game. It all makes for an inspiring and uplifting read for coaches and people looking for inspiration alike. It's hard to believe that back then black males where considered by racists to have no place in the game of basketball...let alone all the other horrible suffering people endured (which is brought to more light here). What a difference time, strength, resolve and a coach makes...and of course a group of young men who stood up to truly atrocious abuse from some men twice their age and defeated it all, winning over everyone in the process. That's true glory.
MILES-THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Quincy Troupe gives the late, legendary jazz man the creative space to deliver one of the most vivid and free-flowing but consice and controlled autobiographies ever. Miles Davis...is still the man even with his passing. Some considered him angry and arrogant but here you'll ust see he's just purely passionate. He'll move you too tears (especially when he talks about wanting to take up medicine) as well as showing he has a sense of humor as he delivers vividly, evocative tales from the smouldering, smoke-filled clubs of his playing from New York to the rest of the world. Bird, Mingus, Duke, Coltrane, they all play their part as does all the incredible musicians that have worked with or inspired Miles. From Billie Holliday to Frank Sinatra. As this book closes Davis' even lamented his love for the next generation of music in Prince...and he was right with that new power movement. He even said about how 'The Artist' and himself almost cut a full record together...oh my how sweet that would have been. From the 'Sketches Of Spain' to the 'Bitches Brew' Miles writes like he plays jazz, freestyling with controlled, improvisation and inspiration. Forget what you know or have heard. On this Miles is hitting all the right notes...and to those who called him a racist. Just check his reaction to his friends giving him grief for hiring white musicians (and I'm paraphrasing here somewhat)..."hey, I don't care if the cats green...if he can play, he can play". What a legend.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN-VAMPIRE HUNTER: I've said it before. It's funny how it all comes around. I brought this book one year after seeing the film adaptation last year which starred a Liam Neeson lookalike as good ole Abe (and I used to say-before Daniel Day-Lewis gave an Oscar winning nod-that Neeson would make a perfect Lincoln). I remember-for personal reasons-the day I saw that film was one of the best days of last year and my life, so who knows how good the film was...I could have been watching the worlds worst film and thought it was amazing. So I can forgive a film where the most meaningful President in American and cultural history starts slaying vampires at night like his name was Buffy. Still, what made the film and of course the book that produced it so good is this strange idea actually works. With fake diary entries and mocked up old photo's offset by real, inspiring quotes starting each chapter this is a real, ravishing and inspiring read. Everyone loves vampires...and everyone loves Lincoln so this four scores. There's meaning behind the madness too with potent messages as powerful as garlic, some satire and a lot of hero worshipping. Hey if anyone could slay the undead as well as slavery it's the man in the top hat. The ending is different to the film (of course it is Hollywood) but then again the film did handle Lincoln's assassination better than Speilberg's Oscar winning epic...yeah I said it! There's care and consideration behind what looks like an exploitation. There's more to this then meets the eye. Some men are just too interesting. Thank you Seth-Graham Smith. The man who-because of reading it wrong-I thought wrote both 'Zombies' and 'Pride and Prejudice'. Mash-up's havent sounded this good since Jay-Z and Linkin Park. What the hell are you waiting for? TIM DAVID HARVEY.