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Reviews Written by
Quiverbow (Kent, England)
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Wedding Album
Wedding Album
Offered by ALL-MY-MUSIC-GERMANY
Price: £16.90

2.0 out of 5 stars For better or for worse., 10 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Wedding Album (Audio CD)
As with the second of their trilogy of avant-garde albums Unfinished Music #2: Life With The Lions, I had never bothered to listen to this in the four decades that it's been in my collection. It originally came in a white box, accompanied by a booklet of press cuttings, two posters, a strip of passport photos, a slice of wedding cake, a copy of the marriage certificate, a postcard, and a 'Bagism' plastic bag. An original UK box set will be rather expensive, so it's lucky Rykodisc reissued this on CD in 1997.

The inlay of this CD reproduces some photos and cuttings from the box and throws in a slice of wedding cake too. It's also numbered (mine is #15842), something I'd never noticed before. The 1969 LP had a mere two tracks, but this has been expanded with three more.

JOHN AND YOKO: Starts with the couple's heartbeats over which they start calling each other's name. She sounds as if she's having an orgasm each time she says 'John' whilst he sounds as if he's eating a sandwich and smoking. It's not the best way to spend 23 minutes of your life but, strangely, it's more listenable than their previous offering.
AMSTERDAM: John occasionally noodles with his guitar as the pair answer questions from journalists. I'm taking a chance here by guessing you won't play this more than once.
WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND?: Released as the B-side of 'Instant Karma', this is an acoustic ballad. Unfortunately, Ono isn't the best singer around and her childlike voice does spoil what could have been a gentle, charming song.
LISTEN, THE SNOW IS FALLING: This is probably one of the least heard songs on a million selling single. It was on the flip side of 'Happy Xmas' and does consist of a full group sound of guitar, piano, bass and drums. Again, it's better than you might think and her singing is far better than the previous song. One that could be called a 'proper' song.
DON'T WORRY KYOKO: This is an early version of a song that would be the B-side to 'Cold Turkey' and is just John playing acoustic guitar over vocals that try to comfort Ono's daughter Kyoko.

So, the verdict. If, like me, you must have all things Beatles related, then you know it will fill a gap in your collection. On the other hand, if you want something of Lennon's to listen to, there's plenty out there. Even though I'm a true devotee, there are limits. Thankfully, his next release would be a real LP.

N.B. The original release of this was responsible for one of the most famous, and possibly for a time, most embarrassing record reviews of all time. A reviewer, Richard Williams of Melody Maker, was sent two one-sided test pressings and he assumed it was a double LP. The second side of both contained an engineer's test signal and he thought it was part of Lennon's more minimalistic pieces and mentioned the tones altering in pitch to “give an uneven 'beat' against which you could improvise your own raga, plainsong, or even Gaelic mouth music against the drone.”


Unfinished Music #2: Life With The Lions
Unfinished Music #2: Life With The Lions
Price: £14.31

1.0 out of 5 stars Er, it's a bit of an acquired taste, 9 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The second of John and Yoko's self indulgent and experimental LPs is a bit of a painful experience. Originally released on the less than short-lived Apple imprint Zapple, this was reissued in 1997 on Rykodisc with two 'bonus' tracks, and it must be the first time I've ever bemoaned the addition of extra songs on anything. It meant I had another ten minutes of suffering.

CAMBRIDGE 1969: The first solo performance by a Beatle must have left the audience rather traumatised. Clearly having no idea on how to accomplish this, it's John extracting feedback whilst Yoko doesn't disappoint with her caterwauling. Towards the end, the pair are joined onstage by a saxophonist and a percussionist for what can only be described as some kind of free form jazz. Very free form.
NO BED FOR BEATLE JOHN: It sounds as if Yoko is making it up as she goes along. In the background, John can also be heard reading things from a variety of newspapers.
BABY'S HEARTBEAT: Five minutes of a cassette recording of their unborn baby's heartbeat. It's a good cure for insomnia but it's followed by...
TWO MINUTES SILENCE:...and it's actually quite striking as the rapid 'boom boom' is abruptly replaced by silence; hearing life and then hearing the finality of nothing (and, as it happened, that's how it turned out). Maybe that was the idea all along. He re-recorded a very brief version of this later in his career with 'Nutopian National Anthem'.
RADIO PLAY: A chopping sound is actually a radio dial being turned, complete with a bit of static. It all makes you want to scream at her to find a sodding station and keep it there. Meanwhile, in the background John makes a phone call. It's a relief when it suddenly stops.
SONG FOR JOHN: Guitar strumming but at least there's some semblance of a melody. Of sorts. It's a bit reminiscent of 'Dear Prudence'. Yoko sings something or other.
MULBERRY: More guitar, this time played in a random fashion by a five year old interrupted by Yoko singing the word 'Mulberry'. If that doesn't get you, what follows will as it soon dissolves into ear bleeding shrieking.

I've had this on vinyl for 40 years and never listened to it until I got round to buying the CD. I don't think I'll be listening to it again. It's one for Beatles completists, or those looking to delve into some early experimental stuff. There are those who will consider this cutting edge stuff but then they probably believe a light bulb turning itself on and off is high art. Still, the CD inlay has some nice photos.


Unofficial Football World Champions
Unofficial Football World Champions
by Paul Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The real Champions, 7 Feb. 2016
I was given this for my birthday. It is a Verified Purchase, just not by me.

What do England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Angola, Zimbabwe, South Korea, North Korea, Curacao (formerly Dutch Antilles), and even Scotland have in common? At various times since 1872, they have all been the Unofficial Football World Champions (UFWC). Forget the World Cup, as we all know that is fixed in favour of the bigger teams, much like boxing where the one who beats the reigning champion becomes the champion, many would argue that the country that holds the UFWC is the true World Champions. This revised and updated book explains all.

Though it didn't exist, when Scotland beat England in 1967, they claimed the title of UFWC. Years later, this prompted a trawl through the records from the first ever International match between England and Scotland in 1872 to determine which country could lay claim to that title. Though that game was a draw, the next one was won by England who were given the title of Unofficial World Champions. Since then, the title has been contested a further 907 times with Uruguay the current holders (though the statistics here are as of 1.1.2014).

Paul Brown's excellent book gives a match report on 120 of the more interesting 'finals' to have taken place, followed by a few more statistical pages, and it all makes interesting reading. Not only did England play two games on the same day back in 1892, it has contested the 'final' only four times this century, the same number as that football hotbed, Tajikistan. In fact England hasn't held the trophy, the CW Alcock Cup, since 1975. And that cup is the only photo you'll find here. Actually, it's not even a photo; it's a drawing.

Forget the over-hyped and mostly tedious World Cup itself. It's intriguing to read that the likes of San Marino, Liechtenstein, Chinese Taipei and Guam have all been in the 'final' and, unlike that tournament where the 'big boys' are favoured so it's only them that have a chance of winning, all those teams can become the UFWC.

If you have an interest in unusual football books, this is one to add to your list.


A Spring Betrayal
A Spring Betrayal
by Tom Callaghan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

3.0 out of 5 stars More of a lollop than a spring, 4 Feb. 2016
This review is from: A Spring Betrayal (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Kyrgyzstan is about the combined size of England and Scotland and some places are fairly remote and somewhat difficult to reach. Karakol in the eastern corner of the country is one such place and that is where, as a consequence of his previous outing, Detective Inspector Akyl Borubaev has been banished. A farmer finds what he thinks is the body of an animal in his potato field. When he realises it's that of a child he calls the local police who inform the head of the murder squad. Actually, they inform the only member of the murder squad; Borubaev. When six more bodies are discovered in the same field, he realises his day had just got interesting.

Not only is this Inspector Borubaev's second showing (A Killing Winter), it's also author Tom Callaghan's second book and he is to be congratulated on using an environment unfamiliar to us all. Whilst the premise isn't original, the investigating officer being set-up, the involvement of government officials, etc. is something we're all acquainted with, that it all takes place in a strange land makes it different enough to be interesting. It had me seeking out the places mentioned, which is usually the sign of a decent read but I don't think this is as good as the first book.

It's not the best book you'll ever read in the genre, but the seemingly world weary, couldn't-care-less-what-happens-to-me DI does have you rooting for him but not so much for his sidekick, Uzbekistan agent, Saltanat. Not only that, the narrative paints a nice word picture of the country and its people, though he uses the trope of the sinking sun turning the mountains blood red too many times. But word pictures aren't enough and I thought there was too much referral to the previous outing. Also, I didn't like the ending. I was expecting something more substantial and enlightening. That said, if you leave your reality check at the door, it will certainly make a long journey shorter.


Canada Pooch Torrential Tracker Rain Coat, Size 12 W, Yellow, dog coat
Canada Pooch Torrential Tracker Rain Coat, Size 12 W, Yellow, dog coat
Price: £21.20

3.0 out of 5 stars It's raining....and dogs, 3 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Murphy is a Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu cross (well, he's supposed to be), with a bit of terrier in him. Personally, I reckon he's all terrier but I don't think we'll return him as a SNAD.

Anyway, according to the measurements of this rain coat, the 12W size should have fit him. It didn't. It was too small. Now that might be a fault with sizes not being universal but whatever the reason, he couldn't get into it. As another reviewer has pointed out, the pocket for so called treats is a big mistake. I'm sure Murphy isn't alone in being able to find anything edible however well hidden it may be, so to have some treats in this pocket would cause him all sorts of anguish. In fact, he'd spend more time trying to get out whatever was in there than actually walking.

For that reason, to rate this is difficult, so I'll go midway.


Changes
Changes
Offered by Amtrak123
Price: £20.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Oh my my, 1 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Changes (Audio CD)
The final Monkees LP issued in June 1970 sank without leaving as much as a ripple. By then very few people even realised it had been released, such was their standing in the musical community. It took this September 1994 CD reissue for many to discover the delights or otherwise within.

Having read the writing on the wall long before, although Mike Nesmith was at this point still a Monkee, he wisely chose to have nothing to do with this, leaving Dolenz and Jones to carry the can. Even they knew the game was up when they were shipped off to New York to add vocals to tunes already recorded. Never released in the UK, it at least garnered a single from the mess. 'Oh My My' b/w 'I Love You Better' was the final musical offering this side of the Atlantic. It was completely ignored. The other standout track is 'Midnight Train', which was first demoed in early 1967.

Jones' attempt at music-hall on 'I Never Thought It Peculiar' is a decent exertion but the rest of the tracks are quite frankly dreadful. Listening to it, it sounds as if it's an endeavour to bring some faux soul into proceedings. Poor songs are poor songs, and though Micky and Davy give it a go, but not with too much effort, it's all limp-wristed stuff.

Added to this CD, 'Time And Time Again' was slated to be on the original release but, for some unknown reason, was removed. The other two bonus tracks 'Lady Jane' and 'Do It In The Name Of Love' are a result of the last ever Monkees recording in September 1970. Their first ever was in June 1966 and four years later no one cared; when these final two recordings were released early the following year, they spelt Micky's name wrong.

Still, even though you won't play it more than once, if you're a die-hard Monkees fan you have to own this. If you're just delving into the group's output, steer well clear. The inlay is the only one from the reissue series not to include any song details as to who played on what.


Home Treats ® White Under the Sink Cupboard, Space Saving Bathroom Floor Cabinet
Home Treats ® White Under the Sink Cupboard, Space Saving Bathroom Floor Cabinet
Offered by HOME TREATS
Price: £35.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Storage wars, 26 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bathroom and lavatory sinks have always struck me as being rather austere and unattractive. Also, leaving stuff piled up on the floor by the sink isn't eye catching, so what better way to enhance that plainness, negate the 'boring' factor and, at the same time, give you somewhere to store your essentials. You're ahead of me now. Yes, you need an under-sink storage cabinet, and what better place to start than to have a look at this one from Home Treats.

As expected, it comes flat packed in ten pieces. What did surprise me was that the accompanying screws, dowels, etc. all came in their individual bags. Usually, all the fittings are in one big bag but here, you only needed to open the one you wanted. Though the product sheet claims it needs two people to assemble, with the assistance of the dog, I managed it in about 20 minutes. The clear instructions helped. With two shelves, you can store quite a lot of stuff, though the height means some items might be too tall. Mind you, it's better than a single shelf with greater height.

Once assembled, you might think the sink pedestal won't fit in the gap provided, but it will. It's supposed to be a tight fit. Because it won't go back as far as the wall, and none will, once in place you'll need to straighten it up slightly. It would have been better had it been a couple of inches higher but I guess it's better knowing it will fit then being a tad too tall.

And there it is. A nice, white panelled wood effect cabinet. The door knobs on the promotion photo show them as chrome but the ones I had were white plastic. Worth a look.

This was sent to me by the manufacturer for review purposes. It is NOT a Verified Purchase.
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Noontec Noise Cancelling Over-ear Headphones Hammo GO The One Choice For Audiophiles Pure Sound Quality, Foldable, Adjustable Stereo Headsets 3.5mm Plug Compatible with Iphone, Ipad, Samsung, Sony Andriod Smartphones (3.5MM Jack)
Noontec Noise Cancelling Over-ear Headphones Hammo GO The One Choice For Audiophiles Pure Sound Quality, Foldable, Adjustable Stereo Headsets 3.5mm Plug Compatible with Iphone, Ipad, Samsung, Sony Andriod Smartphones (3.5MM Jack)
Offered by noontec
Price: £119.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hearing problems, 20 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have an ancient pair of Sennheiser HD 465 headphones. They've lasted a long time but the earpieces have started to perish and the lead is fraying, which makes them virtually unusable. Because of that, I'm now in the market for a replacement.

These 'cans' come folded in a zipped hard clamshell case that has a belt clip attached, though it's a fairly hefty case to have hanging from your belt. Also inside the shell case is another cloth case containing two AAA batteries, two 3.5mm phono leads and a two pronged thing that I have no idea what it's used for. One of the audio leads has red plugs used for regular use in a laptop or hi-fi, whilst the other has the control for phone usage. Oh, there is also an all but useless manual.

One aspect to consider is weight. After all, you don't want to be wearing something over your ears that makes your neck ache and to that end, this pair of Noontec Hammo's tick that box. Aesthetically, if that's important to you, they don't. The black colour isn't the problem; they're just completely nondescript. Closed back so the sound doesn't leak, the pads are too small and made my ears too warm for my liking even after minimal use. It might seem strange for some to mention the sound last, as that's why we use headphones.

Whilst the noise cancelling aspect worked to a degree in that it did cut out extraneous background sound on a train, it came at the expense of a discernible hiss. When listening to a CD, there's a switch on the right earpiece that needs to be in the red position or you won't pick up anything, though it's not the best you'll hear. Actually, it's not very good at all. Using two markedly different musical types, the handclaps on The Beatles' 'Ticket to Ride' were non existent and Emma Kirkby's beautiful voice on 'The Hymns of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen' was distant and dull. I tried everything through the decades from the 60s to the present day and it all sounded muddy. I couldn't discern any separation and nothing stood out.

When I reviewed these headphones, they were listed at a penny under £120, which is getting into decent lower end AKG, Audio Technica and Sennheiser territory. Frankly, it's a ridiculous price. I'm not actually sure who these are aimed at. Alongside a few other known brands, audiophiles will go for a name mentioned above whilst those who simply want to listen to something from their phone/iPad, etc. will more than likely prefer a pair of in-ear buds. These fall into what you might call a 'dead area', being neither here nor there. For the asking price, there are plenty of headphones to trial and put on your list of potentials, but this isn't one of them.

I was sent this by the manufacturer for review purposes. It is NOT a Verified Purchase.


K&F Concept® 62.2" TM2324 Professional Detachable Travel Camera Tripod kit with 4 Magnesium Aluminum Alloy Sections 360° Quick Release Ball Head Universal for Panasonic Canon Nikon Sony GoPro Fujifilm Kodak DSLR Cameras
K&F Concept® 62.2" TM2324 Professional Detachable Travel Camera Tripod kit with 4 Magnesium Aluminum Alloy Sections 360° Quick Release Ball Head Universal for Panasonic Canon Nikon Sony GoPro Fujifilm Kodak DSLR Cameras
Offered by dcmall
Price: £74.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice legs, 19 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whether you're a beginner, an enthusiast, or a professional, there are some pieces of photography equipment you just cannot do without, one of which is a tripod. The dedicated enthusiast and those that earn their living from taking photos will already have one of their choice, so this review is for the newcomers and those yet to take the plunge. As with most pieces of equipment, there is a plethora from which to choose, so how do you make the right choice? K&F Concept has a tripod that sits in the middle of its range. The TM2324 has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to tempt you.

Weighing in at a smidgeon over 4lbs (1.85Kg), including the ball head, it's not the lightest around and it's not up there with the top of the range tripods, but you're not paying Manfrotto, Gitzo or 3 Legged Thing prices. That weight might not sound much but bear in mind you might be carrying it around all day. Fortunately, K&F has supplied a more than decent carry case and shoulder strap to help.

The four section legs can be adjusted into three angled positions for different shooting heights and the centre column can also be inverted for low level use. It's easy to do, too. To alter the angle, simply press on the gold clips at the top of the legs and move it. To invert the column, unscrew the bottom part, slide it out, turn it round and screw it back on to stop it falling through. The height can then be adjusted by turning the collar to the desired position. The leg extenders are the lever type and though some prefer twist lock ones, I have no preference. As for sturdiness, it does its job provided you don't go too heavy with your camera and lens. The recommended maximum is about 17½lbs (8kg), which is that of a high end camera and lens. And if you own that sort of gear you won't be buying this tripod; for CSCs and other DSLRs it will be ample for your needs.

One leg is covered in a foam sleeve for when you're carrying it around without the bag (tripod legs are notoriously cold at the best of times) and the feet have a slightly raised centre for added stability. At this price I didn't expect to be able to change the feet, so these are perfectly adequate. There's an in-built hook on the end of the centre column from which you can hang your camera bag for extra stability. Just pull it out to use and when you're done it self retracts.

The 360° ball head itself is more than satisfactory, too. It comes already attached to the tripod but covered by a velvet bag. A nice touch. The spirit level is an assist, as is the quick release plate. The only issue I had was attaching my camera to the plate. I found it easier to remove the plate, screw it to the camera and then replace the plate onto the head. A bit fiddly but nothing you can't overcome, and if you're using a tripod, you're not out for some instant photos, so the 15 seconds or so it takes won't matter.

Though obviously not high on someone's criteria, the aesthetics are pleasant enough. Those gold coloured angle clips along with the same colour banding around the centre column collar set it off quite nicely. There's a carry strap attached to the central column not for extra stability, but to save you from having to scramble down a cliff or something; you wouldn't hand hold your camera without the strap (and if you do, don't), so this is a safety element. Although mine was missing, this does come with a manual. Well worth considering.

This was sent to me by the manufacturer for review purposes. It is NOT a verified Purchase.


Mojo Hair Beard Oil to Nourish and Condition Facial Hair 30 ml
Mojo Hair Beard Oil to Nourish and Condition Facial Hair 30 ml
Price: £16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars O'il give it three (with apologies to Janice Nicholls - now there's one for the teenagers), 12 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was always told that beards are rather rough (I did have one for a short while but got rid after going to watch Kent play cricket at Canterbury where the man on the gate said seniors got in for half price – not the only time the good lady has burst out laughing at my expense) and though his granddad keeps telling him he looks a mess and to get rid of it, my youngest used this on his beard and did say it felt smoother to him.

Whether it improves his success with the opposite sex remain to be seen but he seems to like the difference it makes. I'm not sure how easy or otherwise it will be to remove any stains if you inadvertently get it on your clothes but I'm sure that will be found out in the course of time. You don't need to use much at a time and considering it's a very small bottle, that's just as well. If he thinks it's okay, that's all I need to know but he did say it's nothing special.

At the time of this review, it's a ridiculous price.


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