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Reebok Elements Gymball - Blue, 65 cm
Reebok Elements Gymball - Blue, 65 cm
Price: £16.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Therefore effectively useless. Well done, 30 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Didn't come with a stopper. Therefore effectively useless. Well done.

When God was a Rabbit
When God was a Rabbit
by Sarah Winman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.89

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated, 31 July 2011
This review is from: When God was a Rabbit (Paperback)
I began When God Was A Rabbit with much anticipation, as the reviews had all been highly positiv; commenting on it's beautiful story crafting and 'laugh out loud moments'. First of all, there was nothing remotely funny about this book. Where were these 'laugh out loud' moments? Most of the time my mouth was set in a grim, hard line; struggling with the effort to keep reading. When God Was A Rabbit is essentially about exploring the different types of love; revolving around the central character, Elly. The love manifests as the love between Elly and her brother and parents, Elly and her childhood friend, Jenny Penny, the love between Elly and her parent's lodgers and the exploration of sexuality, paticuarly between her brother and his first love. The story is split into two parts: Elly aged 4-12 and Elly in her 20's-30's, ending in 2001. It is narrated by Elly, but i couldn't see any change in her writing style - there seemed to be no change in maturity in her observations of life, with the imaginary happenings she had in her childhood still being written about in the second half of the book. This made some sections of the book confusing, and at times, unnecessary. Elly didn't show growth and as a result, she didn't grow on me as the protagonist; she seemed cold and colourless. Other happenings in the book seemed almost random, like the 9/11 incident and how this affects her family. This happened in the end of the book and it appeared to be shoved in there, for the sake of putting it in. It wasn't developed enough and was put in too late in the day. On the plus side, I can understand what the author is trying to do: she tries to show how Elly's childhood affected her adult life. The writing is good and some characters, such as Arthur, her parent's elderly lodger, are warm and funny and he was infinetly preferably to the dull Elly. In all honesty, I couldn't see what all the fuss was about with this book. It was slow, quite boring in parts and definitely not worth my time. Read something interesting instead.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 25, 2012 3:06 PM GMT

Oscar Peterson Trios (Artist Transcriptions)
Oscar Peterson Trios (Artist Transcriptions)
by Oscar Peterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't know why I bought this..., 10 Aug. 2010
When I ordered this I was very excited. On review I think I was somewhat foolish in my expectations. I really don't know what the point of this book is. At the time I genuinely thought I'd go about trying to learn a few of his solos...good joke. The tunes are definitely some of the most difficult music that's ever been notated. Trying to play it at 1/2 speed will require some serious fingerwork, and managing some of those chord clusters? They should come with a warning label: '14 Inch Hands Required'. No wonder Oscar's smiling his big round face off on the front cover; he's almost laughing at your inability to play any of it.

In retrospect I realise that any effort you may make to play the stuff is probably detrimental to your progress as a pianist. You shouldn't be needing to learn the whole of one of Oscar Peterson's solos (what will you have gained after the 2.5 years of solid practice?) and if you want to master a few of his licks/phrases then you should do it the proper way and transcribe it off the record.

I suppose I did get some joy out of following the music whilst listening to the tracks but its positive aspects are limited beyond its midly comic value. Furthermore, it would have been helpful if the tunes the author chose to transcribe had been off albums that were vaguely obtainable in your own country or, at the very least, still exist. He's even made a mistake - there's one tune that Oscar performs solo, not as a trio. All those hours transcribing semihemidemiquavers and the author couldn't even understand the title of his own book. What a loser.

Essentially the author wasted a lot of his life writing this nonsense. Fair play to him - he managed to notate music so complicated that it could easily be mistaken for an arrythmic ECG - but he should have used his time more wisely. I doubt he's married. In fairness the book has performed very well as a paperweight and occasionally makes for a good tea coaster, but its main function has been to sit at the bottom of the pile of books on my piano and hide itself from all the other normal pieces of music. And so it should. I want my money back.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2014 9:36 PM GMT

Oscar Peterson: Jazz Exercises, Minuets, Etudes and Pieces for Piano
Oscar Peterson: Jazz Exercises, Minuets, Etudes and Pieces for Piano
by Oscar Peterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

33 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for jazz pianists., 27 May 2010
I am quite an advanced jazz pianist and adore Oscar Peterson so bought this in the hope of acquiring some techniques and ideas of the master. I was disappointed. This book is not for experienced jazz pianists - it is for jazz novices who can read music well and wish to get an insight into Oscar Peterson's style of playing. For those who can improvise freely and competently even the hardest minuets at the back of the book offer no real harmonic, rhythmic or musical interest. There are redeeming features, though: it's useful to get 'back into the swing' of reading music (for those jazz pianists whose sight-reading skills have deteriorated) and some of the exercises would be good to practice in every key as warm-ups or drills. Overall it was an unwise choice for me, but mainly because the book is customer-specific. If you are predominantly a classical pianist and wish to get a diluted and beginner-level insight into Oscar Peterson's style of playing, then this is the book for you. If not, then I'd probably stay away.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2012 4:58 PM GMT

Black Height Adjustable High Quality Twin X Frame Keyboard Stand With A Quick Pull Release Mechanism.
Black Height Adjustable High Quality Twin X Frame Keyboard Stand With A Quick Pull Release Mechanism.
Offered by Instruments4music
Price: £18.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice...although not without its blemishes., 19 July 2009
I am a jazz pianist and needed a robust, portable and attractive keyboard stand for gigs. This stand arrived quickly and lived up to its expectations.

Possibly the stand's greatest attribute is that it is extremely light, yet it is very robust, durable and able to maintain a heavy weight. It is incredibly portable and offers no transport problems as it folds down into a very manegable size. The piano stand looks discrete and professional, and the height adjustment is very easy to use.

However there are some (minor) problems. The rubber grips (that are on all the four ends of the stand) are prone to falling off - I have already lost one, unfortunately - and they feel a little tacky. The stand's height adjustment is good, but the range of heights is actually quite limited, and I have found that I am never truly comfortable when playing when using the stand, as it is either a touch too high or too low. It is perhaps no surprise that I am writing this review after having ordered an adjustable piano stool from Amazon, as I have become tired of asking for cushions to sit on at gigs because the piano is not quite in the right place.

The stand is almost 'flexible'. Although it is made out of metal, it adapts to the surface it is played on, which is tremendously useful when playing on grass or uneven surfaces. Provided you are playing from a relatively low height, the level of 'wobble' from hitting the keyboard is low, and I feel safe and secure when using it - I am never worried that it is going to collapse on me.

This stand offers you a lot for the price and is a great 'gigging' keyboard stand. If you are looking for a stand to use at home for your keyboard then I might recommend you look for something a little pricier, however I'm sure it suit a more 'static' environment. Overall I am very pleased with my purchase - it has made my life a lot easier and served me well without draining my bank balance. A great all-rounder!

Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One Clark Terry
Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One Clark Terry
Price: £6.82

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb album!, 2 Jun. 2009
This album epitomises what I love so much about the Oscar Peterson Trio, with the formidable Ray Brown on bass and the ever-so-solid Ed Thigpen on drums. The rhythm section is so tight and swings like I've never heard it before...and I've listened to alot of Oscar Peterson albums. The addition of Clark Terry is a refreshing sound and reveals a new edge to the dynamic of the trio. It is a relatively short album, but it is most certainly a joy from start to finish.

On first hearing, I can guarantee that you will love the dirty 'bluesyness' of tunes such as 'Brotherhood of Man' but will also hear the joys of the more restrained, yet still energetic, 'Mack the Knife'. Oscar Peterson is soloing at his finest on this album, and although I am not a huge fan of his rather busy 'comping' style, it works well with the rhythmic playing of Clark Terry, of whose music I was not familiar with before this album, but a musician I have now taken an interest to.

To be honest, there are very few flaws. Although if you are somebody who only considers jazz to be a display of harmonic depth and skill then I might advise you to steer slightly clear, as this album (although Peterson does offer some beautifully melodic and harmonic lines, especially in the two ballads) is primarily a display of rhythmic ability and the love of the blues between the musicians.

In addition, I am not a huge fan of Terry's 'vocals', but I am sure his humerous approach will entertain many listeners. He works well with the Oscar Peterson Trio, who cannot be faulted here as Oscar is most certainly Oscar, Ray is definitely Ray and Ed is actually a more exposed and free version of Ed on this album, which is a nice change from the rather restrained role he takes in the majority of Peterson's albums. The album cover itself is one of the most stylish I've ever come across, and the bonus that Oscar Peterson himself has written the liner notes is a nice touch.

This album is must have for the swinging, moving and grooving jazzers out there, and I can guarantee you will not stop tapping every part of your body in time to the boundless energy and excitment of the sound of the Oscar Peterson Trio + One Clark Terry. It reminds you of how music should be played - stop reading and get buying!

Edexcel GCE History - Henry VIII: Authority, Nation and Religion 1509-1540 [Unit 2 Student Book]
Edexcel GCE History - Henry VIII: Authority, Nation and Religion 1509-1540 [Unit 2 Student Book]
by Alastair Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.25

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes! Thank you!, 26 April 2009
This is just what I needed!

Everything you need to know is in here - there's no need to panic about not fufilling the syllabus requirements at all. This book is perfect. There is a wonderful balance of information, source analysis, key topic debates and a wealth of practise and example questions.

If you are taking an AS Level in Edexcel History for Henry VIII and need a textbook that will suitably prepare you for the exam then this is the one for you. I used this publication in conjunction with a variety of other textbooks, but I've found that all the possible arguments and relevant pieces of information are in here, and are presented in a more accessible and 'student-friendly' way.

This book will give you a great deal of confidence and assure you that you can do well in the exam room - all I need to do now is stop typing this review and go and do some revision and I should be getting my A!

Heinemann Advanced History: Vietnam, Korea and US Foreign Policy 1945-75
Heinemann Advanced History: Vietnam, Korea and US Foreign Policy 1945-75
by Christine Bragg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.76

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AS Level? Surely you mean university degree level...?, 26 April 2009
I am studying AS Level Edexcel History, and for Unit 1 this topic was chosen for me. For personal preference as to what an AS Level student requires from a history textbook, this one didn't really hit the mark.

It CANNOT be faulted on depth of content and detail...oh no. The book is absolutely packed to the brim with every possible date, event and name related to the Korean and Vietnam wars, and is definitely a fantastic resource for those wanting to get a good understanding of a timeline of events and the key figures or military events. However this is where the book's use really ended for me.

The vast degree of detail and information is frankly quite overwhelming, and way beyond the requirements of an A Level exam - upon reading I found myself consistently asking: 'Do I need to know this?' The exam boards are frequently stressing the importance of 'not drifting into narrative' and keeping your essays analytical, and if a student used this textbook alone to study the subject I don't think they would score especially well in the exam room. There is very little coverage of key debates and does not deepen the level of insight into the main focus areas like 'Why did the USA lose the Vietnam War?' The book tends to narrate episodes of history that bear little relevance to the syllabus and instead of presenting the facts in a clear and accessible way this textbook intimdates the reader and does little to prepare him for success.

This textbook was issued to our class by our school, and I have largely left it alone. To its credit, it does provide me with an invaluable source of information if I want to check on a date or make more detailed notes on a timeline of events, but otherwise it has remained at the bottom of my locker. For me a textbook should provide a lot more, and that's perhaps what a more basic textbook would do, rather than an 'advanced' version like this.

If you are looking to get an A in your A Level and want a textbook that will prepare you suitably for this then my advice would be to steer clear of Christine Bragg's publication and go for something more simple and grounded, like the exam board's own publication. If, on the other hand, you are obsessed with modern history and get a real thrill from learning everything there possibly is to know about US Foreign Policy from 1945-75 in Indochina then this might be the book for you...if not, I'd advise you to search elsewhere.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 10, 2010 1:24 PM BST

The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow, but very good, 28 Oct. 2008
The feminist institute would absoloutly adore this book, so if you are part of group's like that, drop everthing and read this!
The secret lives of bees is a very well written, imaginative book. It is about a teenage girl, Lily, who lives in the time of racial tension in America. Her father who she call's T.Ray, is horrible and unloving to her, often making her to painful and exausting punishment's for faults she did. Lily runs away with her black maid Rosaleen and they find solace in the home of three sisters who have made honey their whole lives.
This part of the book starts to get slower, for about 2 chapters it get's repetetive and a little boring, but then something exiting explodes and the entertainment sustain's itslef again. It does this about 3 times, but towards the end of the book (the last 3-4 chapters) it explodes with excitment and drama, lasting till the very last words of the book. This is an excellent read, but if you can bare with it for a while for a few chapters, then you will thoughroly enjoy it.

Thérèse Raquin (Penguin Classics)
Thérèse Raquin (Penguin Classics)
by Émile Zola
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Compelling and Mind Provoking, 28 Oct. 2008
Therese Raquin is an amazing book. It depressed, provoked and shocked me to the extent that i literally could not put it down. (Reading till half 4 is a sign of it's ability) The book at first made me feel sad for Therese and her lonely existence, but gradually as the book went along, i slowly started to hate everything about her. This is the opposite for Camille, with me disliking him and his sickly manners but rooting for him and knowing him more at the end. If you havent read this brilliantly writen, classic book, then you have missed out greatly. Therese Raquin is one of those books that have to be read, providing exceptionally good literature and a alternative read.

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