The Recruit (Cherub) by Robert Muchamore

Hodder Children’s Books
Released 15 April 2004
Buy it now on Amazon

d9ca627dcb440ee56912cd5b84edfb66_XLUpon receiving this book, I was immediately intrigued. My excitement stemmed from many of the good reviews I’d discovered prior to actually reading it myself. Published in 2004, it’s a book I’ve often seen and heard about, but somehow it hadn’t crossed my mind in terms of my reading list. I really wish it had earlier, but I’m incredibly glad I was finally given the chance to try it through Cuckoo Review. Continue reading

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Definitions
Released 5 January 2006
Buy it now on Amazon

TheboyinthestripedpyjamasThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an insightful, thought-provoking novel that attempts to describe the barbaric cruelty of the Holocaust from the viewpoint of a child. Even now, 70 years after the genocide that claimed millions of lives, we simply cannot fully comprehend the extent of the horrors that were committed in concentration camps. Nothing we have experienced in our own lives is close to comparable. Yet we have decades of historical information, literature and poetry designed specifically to help us comprehend something so incomprehensible. Today, we have the benefit of hindsight, but what about those who didn’t? How could such a thing have been understood by one actually there to witness it, who did not yet possess the necessary political and intellectual wisdom to make sense of it?

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World Book Night

WBN permanent logoAn annual celebration of reading and books, tonight is World Book Night! With luck, maybe you’ll come across one of the many book givers handing out free copies of any one of twenty books selected for this year.

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The Doors: Live at the Hollywood Bowl ‘68

Gala Theatre, Durham
21 April 2014
Director: Ray Manzarek
Starring: Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger
Certificate: PG,  62 minutes

BATEX_X4llA.movieposterDon’t cancel your subscription to this resurrection. Instead, send your credentials to the nearest house of detention where this is playing, because The Doors: Live at the Hollywood Bowl is as close as people growing up in the modern age are going to get to everyone’s favourite psychedelic narcissists.

As their much-anticipated concert opens, you can tell they’re toying with the audience, ironically opening with their Strange Days closer, When the Music’s Over. A strong contender for the most self-indulgent of all Doors songs, it takes a while for Jim to kick it into action with a stunning leap across the stage, practically assaulting the microphone as he flies. A constantly magnetic presence, your eyes are locked on him as he sneers, broods, cackles and even nearly falls asleep centre-stage.

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Goddess by Laura Powell

Bloomsbury Publishing
Released 10 April 2014
Buy it now at Amazon

GODDESS.previewAn alternative London, brought to its knees by poverty and crime, where the influence of Ancient Greece survives to the modern day. While the majority of England remains a secular society, the Cult of Artemis is very much known and, indeed, revered by much of the populace. When scandal starts to threaten the Cult of Artemis, as Aura begins to learn the disturbing truth behind the group, she is forced to reconsider both her beliefs and her role within the group.

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Easter Greetings

So, it’s officially Easter. Here at Cuckoo, we hope you’ve been enjoying your Easter break, if you’re on one; or the sunshine, if you’ve been out much; or maybe lots of chocolate, whether or not you’ve managed to save those Easter eggs until today.

As always, we’ve got lots of opportunities coming up in the near future, so keep an eye on your email inboxes… if all that chocolate (or family time, of course) isn’t too much of a distraction.

Happy Holidays!

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Dawn O’Porter Author Event @ Waterstones Newcastle

Waterstones, Newcastle
31 March 2014

dawnOPorterDawnReportReleased by teen publishers Hot Key Books at the start of April, Goose is the newest novel from broadcaster and journalist Dawn O’Porter. Dawn originally found herself in the public eye due to a series of documentaries covering a range of topics from polygamy to anorexia, with forays into vintage fashion planned for the near future.

As part of a whirlwind and hectic three-week book tour across the United Kingdom to promote her latest work, Dawn stopped by Waterstones Newcastle at the end of the month, where I was lucky enough to host a live interview with her.

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Woods: With Light and With Love

Woodsist
Released 15 April 2014
Available now on iTunes

withlightandwithloveThe seventh album from Woods, a band whose name only reinforces their obscurity, is titled With Light and With Love. Obviously, it is that not hard to guess the theme for this one. Usually, I enjoy obscure music. I know that not everyone does, but even with just one half-listen to this it will slowly sneak up on you, and you should definitely let it.

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Motherland

Vincent Dance Theatre
Dance City, Newcastle
5 April 2014

motherlandVincent Dance Theatre was founded in 1994 by Charlotte Vincent in order to produce ‘powerful and engaging dance theatre work’. In Motherland, a show exploring the representation of the female gender, that’s exactly what she has done.

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Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit – Live @ The Cluny

The Cluny, Newcastle
11 April 2014
http://www.johnny-flynn.com

Johnny Flynn 2014 UK Tour PhotoAs somebody who was a big fan of the nu-folk scene that emerged with the likes of Noah and the Whale, Emmy the Great, Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn, it is perhaps surprising that I’d never seen Johnny Flynn live. However, I had the good fortune to be home from university when he was playing in Newcastle on 11 April as part of the UK tour of his fourth album, Country Mile, released in September last year.

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Final overview of Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014

Gateshead International Jazz Festival
4-6 April 2014

210x150.fitandcropWhilst Gateshead’s 10th International Jazz Festival was always bound to be an unmissable event, with names as big as Courtney Pine and Esperanza Spalding studding the line-up, I’ll admit it wasn’t something that would conventionally appear on my radar. As a seventeen year old girl, I’ve always seen jazz as something quite alienating, a laudable pursuit but not quite my cup of tea: it was the warmth of the Festival’s inclusive spirit which helped to thaw these preconceptions and rethink my approach to jazz music in general.

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Polar Bear and Shiver, as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Polar Bear + Shiver
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014
Sunday 6 April

LIVE REVIEW: AMBER EFSTATHIOU

590x372-3.fitandcropWith two days of Gateshead International Jazz Festival already over, there was pressure on the musicians performing on the third to bring the festival to a magnificent close. The first two acts to make their attempts at fulfilling this responsibility were Polar Bear and Shiver in a tremendous double bill, taking place in Hall 2 of the Sage at 2pm. Continue reading

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Jean Toussaint Quartet and McCormack and Yarde duo with the Elysian String Quartet

Jean Toussaint Quartet and McCormack and Yarde duo with the Elysian String Quartet
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014
Saturday 5 April

590x372-4.fitandcropThis afternoon’s double bill opened with the collaboration of the McCormack and Yarde duo and the Elysian String Quartet. The staccato sound of the string instruments created by the musicians combining sharp plucking with tentative bowing, contrasted with the fluidity of Yarde’s alto and soprano saxophone and McCormack’s piano, creating an unexpectedly beautiful resonance within the small hall. The canon style crescendos, layering the different instruments consecutively, was intriguingly unsettling. The musicians matched the quivering of their instruments perfectly, in split second timing with one another, despite it being the first live performance of many of the compositions for the viola player.  The duo and quartet went together seamlessly, even improvising a piece spontaneously based solely on audience suggestions, including its witty title: ‘Pasties’. Continue reading

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The Spring Quartet as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival

The Spring Quartet (supported by Marius Neset and Daniel Herskedal)
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014
Saturday 5 April

590x372-2.fitandcropWith names as lofty as Jack DeJohnette and Esperanza Spalding gracing the bill for the second night of the Festival, seats were packed for an evening of world-class performances. Despite the hype surrounding The Spring Quartet’s first-ever UK gig, the icing on top of the cake was supplied generously by the opening act: the unconventional duo of saxophonist Marius Neset and tuba player Daniel Herskedal. Using only two instruments, the Norwegian double act enchanted the audience with their hypnotic renditions of Scandinavian folk tunes, with Herskedal acommpanying the woody and sultry tones of Neset’s tenor sax with stuttering percussion. Continue reading

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GoGo Penguin as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival

GoGo Penguin
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival
Saturday 5 April 2014

590x372-1.fitandcropOn the afternoon of Saturday 5 April, GoGo Penguin entranced the audience that occupied the Sage’s Northern Rock Foundation Hall as part of the Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014. Transformed into a sophisticated jazz café, lit with hues of red and orange, the setting reflected the bewitching ambience of GoGo Penguin’s performance. Continue reading

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Django Bates, Joakim Milder and the Norrbotten Big band as part of GIJF 2014

Django Bates, Joakim Milder and the Norrbotten Big Band
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival
4 April 2014

590x372.fitandcropAs more of a Paddy McAloon fan than an expert in Swedish jazz, I was initially bewildered by the prospect of Joakim Milder’s take on Prefab Sprout classics. But as singer Wendy Smith opened Gateshead’s 10th International Jazz Festival with McAloon’s blessing, I warmed to the idea.

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The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: In the Spirit of Duke
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival
6 April 2014

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In a fitting end to a sensational festival, tribute was paid to the Duke of Jazz himself, Duke Ellington and his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn.  The concert opened with an intimate set from husband and wife duo, Charlie Wood and Jacqui Dankworth.  The audience were immediately transported into the ‘Spirit of Duke’ with their first number, ‘Don’t get around much anymore’.  Dankworth’s vocals seemed effortless and her rich tone perfectly complimented Wood’s smooth tenor.  The couple showed accomplished scatting with Wood even imitating a bass.

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Youth Jazz Afternoon as part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2014

Youth Jazz Afternoon: Jazz North Introduces Stretch Trio followed by Jambone with Rick Taylor
Sage Gateshead
Gateshead International Jazz Festival
6 April 2014

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The atmosphere was relaxed with people sipping drinks around tables in the Jazz Lounge as they waited for the sell-out performance to begin.  First to perform were ‘The Stretch Trio’, featuring Andy French (saxophone), Tom Higham (drums) and Calvin Travers (guitar).

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Howler – Live @ The Cluny

The Cluny, Newcastle
1 April 2014
Tour dates

packshotHowler have a lot resting on their shoulders, not only because of the success of debut album Give Up America, but also for being NME’s third best band in 2011. This Minneapolis four-piece may have roots in Minnesota, but their music sounds like part of the East Coast punk rock scene; along with bands like The Strokes, it’s their guitar riffs that give the band a beachy, sunny California vibe. Give Up America, and their latest album, World Of Joy, both show the band’s love for 1960s garage rock. However, both albums have their own sound, in different ways.

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School Of Language – Live @ The Cluny

The Cluny, Newcastle
7 April 2014
Tour dates

school_of_language_2014-500x305You wouldn’t think Monday’s Cluny gig was the first School Of Language had done since September 2008, given the form Dave Brewis held throughout. I had hoped the entire gig would have been performed in the Mario-esque boiler suits with matching School Of Language caps they wore during sound check, however, Brewis returns to the stage dressed as his trendy self.

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