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Poldy "Paul" (Darwen, Lancashire)

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Wimbledon 2008 Boxset [DVD]
Wimbledon 2008 Boxset [DVD]
Dvd ~ Wimbledon

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense and Exciting, 17 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Wimbledon 2008 Boxset [DVD] (DVD)
This is a three-disc set which includes a sixty-minute overview of the whole championship, plus two DVDs of entire matches. I recall watching Andy Murray playing Gasquet at the start of the second week of Wimbledon 2008. He played well, but Gasquet was just too good, and the first two sets slipped away. The commentators said how well the young Scot was playing, and were clearly thinking that perhaps he could better next year. Then, sometime during the third set, things began to change. Murray found something deep within himself, and began to strike back. First, he won the third set, then took the lead in the fourth, and it became clear that, whereas he had found his game, Gasquet had nothing left to find, and Murray took control.

For the third year in succession, the men's final was between Frenchman Roger Federer, who had already equalled Borg's modern record of five consecutive men's singles titles, and Spaniard Rafael Nadal. In the previous two years, the Frenchman had proved superior, but this time something changed. Nadal won the first set 6-4, then went 1-4 down in the second before winning five games in a row to take the set by the same score. The third set had no breaks of serve, went to the tie-break, and Federer won. The fourth set, too, had no service breaks and, in the ensuing tie-break, Nadal had match points he was unable to convert; the set also went to the Frenchman, and the fifth set was on.

After several rain delays, and continuing past nine p.m., both men played breath-taking tennis, going for, and making, shots that would have left many another standing. Shot-for-shot, game-for-game, the two men were unable to get any advantage until Nadal finally broke serve and became the first man since Borg to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year. Although Federer has always been a popular champion, it may be that no one in recent years has been more popular than Nadal, a great tennis player and a true sportsman.

These DVDs provide the entire BBC coverage of the matches, every shot, every grimace, and look of triumph. The picture quality is superb, the commentary from the likes of Andrew Castle, Tim Henman and John Mcenroe is excellent. The play in both matches is of the highest quality; it is clear that we can expect more from Andy Murray, as well as much more triumph from both Federer and Nadal. Even knowing the outcome of the matches doesn't distract the viewer from the excitement of the event. The Murray match lasts four hours, the final, five, yet I watched each match in one sitting, just as I did when watching it live in the disappointing summer of 2008. It's hard to praise this release too highly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2009 9:27 AM BST


'Allo 'Allo! - Series 8 & 9 [1992] [DVD]
'Allo 'Allo! - Series 8 & 9 [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gorden Kaye
Price: £7.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Pantomime, 14 Jan. 2009
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It's been a long time coming, but here we finally have the last two series of 'Allo 'Allo, one of the all-time great sit-coms. By now, much has become by-the-numbers, with silly accents and tired catch-phrases very much the norm, but that was always one of the joys of the show, and anyone who doesn't get it is surely missing the point: 'Allo 'Allo is in the grand tradition of panto, with its grotesques, its over-the-top villains and inept heroes. And they're all here: Michelle of the resistance, Crabtree spooking fluent Fronch, Herr Flick with a cunning plan to catch-out the resistance and General von Klinkerhoffen dreaming up suicidal plans to assassinate the Fuhrer.

It may be true that, by this stage, the show was past its best, which may be why the decision was made to end it after series nine, but the bad jokes are glorious as ever, the characters mad as ever. As noted on another review, the odd decision was taken to put the Christmas special at the end of the last disc, rather than at the beginning, where it belongs. It is in this episode that we find out that cafe waitress Maria is pregnant, that the Italians have left, and that the British airmen have returned home, finally. Also, and rather strangely, Richard Gibson left the show with one series to go, and was replaced by David Janson, who gives a very creditable performance, having appeared in series eight as a Hitler look-alike.

The only downside is the lack of extras: a brief documentary or biographical features on the cast would have been welcome, but, overall, this is a fine end to a wonderfully silly show, and fans are guaranteed plenty of laughs.


The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie
The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie
by Dick Riley
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read Ms Christie first, 13 Jan. 2009
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As much as I enjoy reading, like many compulsive readers I enjoy books about books. Companions to popular writers are quite a genre in themselves - there are far more books about Shakespeare, for instance, than he wrote himself. Oddly, Ms Christie seems something of an odd-one-out, as the literature of her literature is sparse, to say the least.

This is a workable guide to Dame Agatha's writings, understandably concentrating on her mysteries, but also considering her plays and romances, as well as films and TV shows based on her work. There are also features, such as why you should avoid country houses, and essays by various fans about why they like her work. In addition, there are photographs and diagrams, as well as crossword puzzles and the like. On the whole, it's a good package, though it is intended for an American market, which means that not all the titles are the ones an English reader would recognise. Still, I do think it's a worthwhile purchase, and flick through it often.


New Novelist--Start Writing Your Novel
New Novelist--Start Writing Your Novel
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £20.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless Garbage, 7 Jan. 2009
I bought this when I bought my laptop, and I really wish I had read some of these reviews first. The main problem I had was that the software doesn't work with Windows Vista, even though the packaging says it does. The only positive thing was that the shop I bought it from was having a sale, so at least it only cost me a couple of pounds. Seriously, I urge you to give this turkey a wide berth and do something better with your money, like throw it down the drain - that will be just as useful, but less frustrating.


How Fiction Works
How Fiction Works
by James Wood
Edition: Hardcover

18 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How Fiction Used to Work, 18 Feb. 2008
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This review is from: How Fiction Works (Hardcover)
I come to James Wood's work of literary criticism with a keen interest in literature and an open mind. I must say that I was not overly impressed. Wood covers many aspects of fiction: character, dialogue, but in an oddly old-fashioned way. It seems that he is unable to decide whether he wishes to talk about Victorian fiction or works of Modernism or Post-Modernism. His continued use of the pronoun "we" - as in "we can see that ..." or "we know that ..." seems strange, as if Wood is assuming that everyone agrees already with what he is saying, a very dangerous assumption to make.

Clearly, the book is intended for the academic student of literature, and the keen reader. Unfortunately, I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book to either group.


Mozart the Freemason: The Masonic Influence on His Musical Genius
Mozart the Freemason: The Masonic Influence on His Musical Genius
by Jacques Henry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Key to Mozart's Masonic Works, 12 Feb. 2008
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Writing as a Freemason, Jacques Henry details the music Mozart wrote with a Masonic connection. Henry divides these works into several categories: works written for a Masonic ritual, such as the Masonic songs and cantatas; and works influenced by Masonic symbolism, such as the opera The Magic Flute.

There is no musical analysis here, nor are any Masonic rituals or symbols detailed, though, in passing, Henry debunks the idea that Mozart was murdered for divulging Masonic secrets in The Magic Flute.

I felt that much of the book was superficial as there was nowhere near enough detail, either about the music or about masonic rituals and symbols. There was some interesting detail about Mozart's attitude to his masonic brothers, who included both his father, Leopold, and the composer Haydn. The book is perhaps best seen as a pointer to those works with a masonic background, many of which are not well-known. There is an excellent CD available of Mozart's Masonic Music. I feel that there is a good book to be written about Mozart and Freemasonry, but this, sadly, is not it.


Rigoletto (English National Opera Guide)
Rigoletto (English National Opera Guide)
by Giuseppe Verdi
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Straightforward, 7 Feb. 2008
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This is one of several opera guides I have purchased, and it maintains the quality of the series. There are several essays by different authorities in their fields, one on the origin of the work, detailing the political and critical difficulties experienced by the composer and his librettist during the planning, writing and afterlife of the work; a look at the later reception of the opera, and details of the themes of the opera, keyed by number to the text. There are several black-and-white photos of various cast members. The second half of the book is taken up with a full libretto and translation.

I would recommend this guide to anyone who is interested in exploring "Rigoletto", which is one of Verdi's greatest works, and one of his own favourites. The authors plausibly argue that "Rigoletto" marks a change in the style of Verdi's operatic writing.

Having read several of the guides in this series, I have no hesitation in recommending them.


Black Swan Green
Black Swan Green
by David Mitchell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Evocation of Childhood, 30 April 2007
This review is from: Black Swan Green (Paperback)
This is the first of Mitchell's books I have read. I enjoyed his evocation of place, and the characterisation. Mitchell covers ground common to the coming-of-age novel without being either trite or unoriginal. The characters are believable, and even the main character's dawning realisation that his parents are not perfect is handled in a clever, charming manner. The book is well-written and witty and very enjoyable.


Doctor Who - Wooden Heart (New Series Adventure 15)
Doctor Who - Wooden Heart (New Series Adventure 15)
by Martin Day
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart and Head, 30 April 2007
Although a long-term Doctor Who fan, I have not always read the books, mainly because there are so many of them. However, I have kept up with the books since the new series started and, although they have been patchy at best, the most recent three have been the best so far.

The Doctor and Martha arrive on a space ship which seems to be filled with the corpses of prisoners on whom unspeakable experiments have been performed. Returning to the TARDIS, our intrepid duo find that a forest has mysteriously appeared where there was nothing previously. Entering the village, they find the locals in the grip of fear: the children are disappearing and there are monsters in the forest.

This is a gripping, well-written and ingenious novel which avoids the usual clichés of monsters on the rampage to present a character-based story with a good dash of "hard" science fiction ideas. The monsters in the forest reminded me of the film The Village, although the solution is very different. The main characters are well-presented and behave in character as we know them. All in all, very enjoyable.


Doctor Who - The Last Dodo (New Series Adventure 14)
Doctor Who - The Last Dodo (New Series Adventure 14)
by Jacqueline Rayner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy the Dodo Saves the Day, 30 April 2007
Although a long-term Doctor Who fan, [...], mainly because there are so many of them. However, I have kept up with the books since the new series started and, although they have been patchy at best, the most recent three have been the best so far.

The Last Dodo is a very good adventure, in which Eve is in charge of a museum which takes the last member of the species just before that species becomes extinct, thus ensuring that all species are represented before they can die out and be forgotten. [...]

There is a palpable sense of anger in this book at the way humans casually destroy animals just for their own enjoyment. The Doctor is suitably doctorish, and Martha is also well-presented. The writing is clear and pacy, and the story zips along. This really is the first time that all three new Doctor Who novels have hit the spot. Well done all!


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