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Ghostgrey51 (Britain)

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The Clasp
The Clasp
by Sloane Crosley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A colourful, active and witty work. By an observing but not empathising reader, 31 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Clasp (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Before we start. 4 stars can also equal appreciation of something well done (read on).

There are occasions when your curiosity has you journeying to locations previously remote to your own accumulation of times and places.
Which is why Sloane Crosley’s The Clasp and I crossed paths.

Set in modern USA this is a tale of three folk, friendly (sort of) during their college days and now on the cusp of seriously entering their thirties. Two are doing reasonably well; Kezia is the assistant/fixer/executive to an unhinged jewellery designer. Nathaniel is the ‘has it all’ handsome and successful Hollywood hack with a string of bedroom conquests. And then there is poor Victor…
As the book opens he has been fired from a not terribly impressive search engine firm, thus is currently settling into Failure mode. Something which it appears he is used to.
Gathered together by a wedding of affluent, an incident sets Victor off on a quest which draws in Kezia and Nathaniel.
And there we go.

Crosley has an active and observant style; the narrative is filled with wry comments often in the form of social and cultural referencing, which may have some of us more sedentary UK readers reaching for our favoured web source of information to ‘get it’. Having said that this is not the only way Crosley uses humour, sometime using on comic misunderstanding, (which incidentally would go down very well visually in the hands of a good actor) other times there are sparring clashes of personality and even lavitorial (sort of spoiler- suggestion: you may not wish to be eating when reading the first fifty pages- it’s in there).
Whereas the story is conducted in this humorous; the poignant underlying theme of folk trying to make up something of previous mistakes or mis-opportunities flows underneath. As much as we might start off thinking it is a cynical and coldly witty discourse on human idiosyncrasies, over the course of the book you might start not see it that way.
I encountered something of echoes of Woody Allen’s Manhattan films and was congratulating myself on the phrase ‘comedy of manners’, until I read the author’s preface, so can’t take credit for that. By the way the author’s preface is an interesting read in itself.

So who is going to enjoy this book? Truth be known not me. Just colour me misanthropic and mid-60s grumpy. Crosley does a great service of describing a world, a society and a time, so carefully it was vivid enough for me to see it; and not want to be there (already).
My own view is that this is going to do well, if you are in late twenties, early thirties in a busy and a social world, particularly in its homeland then you will more than likely enjoy living a story of folk you can relate to. Readers who are drawn to ‘smart’ swift and sharp wit in a narrative are probably in for a good read. Older folk who can identify the characters as younger children might well engage in the time-honoured practice of benignly being amused at the foibles of the Young.
There is potential indeed for a wide audience.
So show me the door and when I’m gone, shake your head. You enjoy, me I’m not going to change the habits of a lifetime.

I will be looking out for her non-fiction work, though; that I think I can work with.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2015 10:57 PM BST

Girlhood [DVD]
Girlhood [DVD]
Dvd ~ Karidja Touré
Offered by Door2DoorEnt
Price: £7.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Painful and Turbulent Times Deftly Portrayed, 29 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Girlhood [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Taking into account the impact of Kidhood, and Adulthood the french film Bande de filles, Gang of Girls was bound to be re-titled Girlhood for UK audiences.

This at times understated film explores one episode for Marieme a 15 – 16 year old and disadvantaged French/African girl as in anger at not being able to move onto High School she chooses to move from shy and passive to a member of an all-girl gang, charting her experiences with gang culture, violence, sexual awakening, crime, acceptance, then alienation and always that adolescent uncertainty as to which direction to take.

When watching this film it must be born in mind that the director Céline Sciamma used mostly an inexperienced or novice cast, taken from the streets of Paris, hence she had the additional task for gently leading people unused to the film environment and coax good performances from them. Thus the viewer should not expect to see the drama and intensity you would expect from a more experienced cast. There are noticeable gaps in narrative, particularly when Marieme adopts the clothing and attitude of a gang member; her intimidation of another girl to give her money, coming as it were out of nowhere. Having said that Sciamma has done an excellent job with novices as the intentions of the film previously mentioned come across clearly and at times quite painfully. Being young people versed in the culture there is an authenticity to their actions particularly in groups.

Marieme’s transition to ‘Vic’ (for Victory) is not a clear-cut business, as to underscore of the uncertainty at a time of leaving the gang she adopts an almost androgynous style of dress so that the criminals she is now mixing with, will not be attracted to her.

Karidja Toure as Marieme/Vic produces an excellent introductory performance varying between, shyness, confusions, violence and bitterness. Sciamma has obviously helped her use her own inexperience in film to convey the various pressures her central character must face.

There are a few ‘art-house’ moments. There are the opening scenes in which two teams of girls play full uniformed game of American football at nighttime in a deserted stadium all to bond and celebrate at the end, and no further reference is made, so we are uncertain of its symbolism or was it real? Then on two occasions Sciamma introduces interludes of blank black screens to leave us to imagine what is happening, so don’t worry the copy of your DVD is fine. Extras with Toure & Sciamma discussing the film and their involvements add extra layers to the experience.

For all the above and for more this is a film to be recommended.

Depression Cherry
Depression Cherry
Price: £7.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still moving onwards and upwards, 28 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Depression Cherry (Audio CD)
There is a Beach House sound, a soundscape of layers rich in images and intense resonances, near orchestral in their result through which Victoria Legrand’s vocals weave, rising, falling; sometimes dominating, sometimes in the background.

That said their fifth album is not another offering of the same. Arguably Teen Dream and Bloom explored the wide potential of conveying emotions and promises made, lost or found in variations of being understated. Bloom moves off, sometimes subtlety into other territory, The Beach House way.

From the opening track Levitation there is a sense that they have set out to prove to the public, as Victoria Legrand said Beach House music is not dreamy or wavy, but that they are a loud band. Loud that is in painting pictures in even more striking colours.
From the opening track Levitation there is a sense of underlying their signature deceptively gentle rhythms with a more pronounced approach.
On reaching the next track Sparks this is confirmed by Alex Scally almost jarring guitar opening, giving way a Legrand keyboard interlude reminiscent of 1960s psychedelic, before settling back into familiar territory while moving in and out is Scally’s strident guitar.
Space Song moves back into familiar territory though Legrand’s vocals move through her quite varied range and Scally’s guitar sets a poignant tone for a gently sad love song.
Beyond Love grabs the attention with an introduction of high flying guitar and church themed keyboard. Many naturally write much about Legrand’s vocals, but due attention should be given to Scally’s ability to draw his own patterns through the song in similar way to Legrand’s vocals.
0.442361111111111 is about as industrial as Beach House can get, with their drum machine having its say. The song confirming by now that though there is the familiar falling and raising of the waves this comes from a deep ocean.
PPP has interludes of spoken format as first made famous in the 1950s love songs. For some reason this reminds of ‘I’ll Take Care of You’ off of Team Dreams, though again there is an edge moving under there.
Wildflower brings Scally to the foreground in a song which somehow lends itself for someone in the film industry to say ‘Soundtrack!’ for a moving and reflecting moment. Just imagine a central character walking through a city centre on a wet night or a park in autumn. Could only improve the film.
Bluebird is back to the Beach House treatment of industrial, soften the edges, smoothing the finish producing an item to have around the house to improve its look, rather than using to knock holes in it. Quite a feat, fitting images of a bluebird into those rhythms.
Days of Candy has a multi-voiced background, against which Legrand sings plaintively accompanied by piano for half of the song before the keyboard and guitar ease in to take their place.

Beach House, therefore, with different accents, demonstrating they have no intentions of sitting still in one place.

Hangerworld 6 ft Single Waterproof Nylon Garment Rail Cover Double Zip for Easy Access, Black
Hangerworld 6 ft Single Waterproof Nylon Garment Rail Cover Double Zip for Easy Access, Black
Offered by Hangerworld
Price: £26.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Effective and flexible clothes protection, 28 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a sturdy item which with its overall size offers a wide potential for ensuring clothes are free from dust or damp. A waterproof PU coated nylon and twin strong zips guarantee both security and ease of access. Although its width is 6ft (1803/186cms) it will function compressed into narrower spaces.

Will serve in a conventional wardrobe as follows:
As a location to store another season’s clothes and thus minimise the fluff ‘n dust coating on shoulders.
Protection for clothes in general if you live in an environment which produces more than a usual amount of dust or damp.

For the above reasons this is a good addition to clothes rails; lack transparency not being an issue, no more than wardrobe doors are.

Also would serve well in a car boot for long journeys in which wet or wintery weather is likely to be encountered, its flexibility scoring over the rigidity of cases, also the fact that you may have to ‘scrunch’ it up to fit adds another layer of protection to the clothes.

Regarding the price, this depends on how much you feel that extra cover is needed. Certainly for clothes rails and the aforementioned environments consideration is worthwhile. Also the circumstance of long terms storage it would have benefits.

This review is purely based on domestic use, I did not feel qualified to comment on its commercial use.

Hangerworld 43 cm (17") Quality Padded Satin Top Coat Clothes Hangers with Buttons, Pack of 10, Black
Hangerworld 43 cm (17") Quality Padded Satin Top Coat Clothes Hangers with Buttons, Pack of 10, Black

5.0 out of 5 stars A highly useful and very presentable addition to a wardrobe, 28 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This review is based on feedback from my wife.

These coat hangers are ideal for items of clothing which you would rather not have on functional plastic-and-prone-to-breaking versions.
The black satin padding looks elegant (even to my dull male eyes) and serves ideally for delicate fabrics; the buttons as opposed to the various styles of arrestors or hooks will serve very well in ensuring that favourite item does not slip off and end up on the wardrobe floor. I would guess they might come loose over time, but there again could be sewn back on.
The overall width and the look also begs for the best items of clothing to be moved to one particular end of the wardrobe and thus not get lost.

Another plus is the potential as a gift as the box and packaging have their own style.

X-Men Volume 5: The Burning World
X-Men Volume 5: The Burning World
by G Willow Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Taking on Nature's Angry Side, teamwork and bonding, 21 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Arguably the most focused X-Men team, despite differences, Storm, Rachel, Psylocke, Monet and Jubilee take to the battlefield again, this time up against a Force of Nature with something of a malevolent streak.

Possible spoilers….
Starting off with investigating a very large and active sinkhole the team find they are pitted against ‘something’ which has taken been enraged by Mankind fooling about. Back about the time of the original A-bomb tests some ambitious fellow found some Kree technology and of course made a right mess of trying to use it and the land beneath took exception, and is now striking back; that’s a brief summary-won’t say anymore in case I dig up more spoilers.
The story, therefore has an environmental/Gaia allegory

Storm gets, literally dragged in and as we know any story with Storm underground will underline her fears, although as Rachel, Psylocke and Monet go on the rescue we are given insight into some of their own personal fears and demons. Jubilee also has a significant role, but more as backup; encountering Krakoa is similar distress and then warning Henry McCoy and giving the team in the field with her own insights. She also forces herself on Inhuman Medusa who is not half as helpful or friendly as she is to Ms Marvel; Jubilee’s response is an understated gem.

There is a suitable amount of action, narrow escapes and determination, but the principal theme is one of the team looking out for each and despite all of their spats, different approaches and all being very spikey individuals, there is an underlying bond which seems stronger for the trials.

The art work produces grand set-pieces of explosive action, and considering a fair amount of the story takes place underground produces subtle effects needed to convey this environment. Unlike the rest who have striking individualistic trademark features Monet and Betsy (Psylocke) can look a bit inter-changeable at times, but artist and writer have put enough touches in make sure the reader is aware of them as individuals. Monet’s childhood flashbacks are particularly well done.

Not a new theme, but with the verve and zest for action that are the themes of this X-Men run, this is another enjoyable volume.

Sort of Spoiler:
Down in the depths and alone Storm has an ‘encounter’ with….yep….Wolverine. Very poignant. Was it a ghost, was Storm dreaming? Was it…Ah…who knows?
This was also interesting at another level, for with Storm’s inclusion in this team, role in the Black Vortex arc, and her own series, she seems to have taken over Wolverine’s secondary mutation of Extreme Multi-tasking.

Anyway, recommended for those who have been following this run, and also works very well as a stand-alone, as long as you have some X-Men knowledge.

Philips HP6423/02 Satinelle Legs and Body Epilator with Shaving Head
Philips HP6423/02 Satinelle Legs and Body Epilator with Shaving Head
Offered by EuroFairy
Price: £33.00

4.0 out of 5 stars First expereince of epilator. Well received., 20 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Vine review: Information from my wife as this is truly outside of my comfort zone.

Having previously used shavers designed for legs (etc), this the first time my wife has used an epilator, and she agrees with other reviewers that the process is ‘noticeable’; which seems to make sense that it’s plucking rather than cutting. Although being mains powered requires the user to be close to a socket, the lead is quite long and so you are not obliged to lean or face a wall. It is noisier than a shaver but I am advised it does what was expected of it.

The detachable unit can be rinsed under a tap; and there is another unit for shaving, (and will you please read other reviews on the subject). According to the box it suggests there is also an alternate head, which resembles the sort seen in Braun shavers; this wasn’t enclosed, whether this was because we obtained ours through The Vine programme, or whether this is an alternative which can be purchased separately I’m not sure.
The instructions are clear to follow and there is a bag supplied to carry the whole thing about so nothing should get lost (well that’s how a man would see it anyhow).

We noticed some comments about price, but that is always a matter which is up for discussion with any product.

So overall quite promising and my wife was not put off but please also read reviews experienced users.

Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop
Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop
Price: £24.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Colouful and active addition to the range. But not to be taken on lightly., 20 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was for our four year old grandson who has enthusiastically entered ‘The Thomas Stage’.

Our previous experience of this range was through his cousin, our daughter being a patient and methodical person used to be able to put the sets in a relatively short time and they were always well received.

Four year old grandson having inherited that collection was very pleased to receive his very own and fortunately the task of assembly went to his dad, who managed this task after coming home from work also in a relatively short time. There is a bit of knack constructing the items in this range, as bits of ‘string’ often feature and there is the effort getting some of the parts to fit in an operational manner. My son having had experience with the inherited items seemed quite at home with the business, though if this would be your first as other reviews have pointed out, having an excited four-year old ‘helping’ can be a bit of a burden, so maybe constructed in private and the assembled model placed before the recipient might be the best plan.
Having seen it put together and set up, I’m not so sure about the intimation that this can be folded up neatly and packed off at a moment’s notice.

The result is quite impressive, with lights for the effect of a volcano and Thomas sliding away down the escape route, said four-year old was very pleased and literally gave it the thumbs up. When attached to some of the others in the range it would look a lot of fun (maybe a little bizarre to the adult eye, but we are not the ones who are supposed to be playing with it!) though I did wonder how long this would hold a child’s attention as a stand-alone model.

Overall then probably not the best starter of the range, and cannot be put together in the blink of an eye, but on the other hand, it did get The Thumbs Up and that’s what it’s all about.

Certainly recommended as an add-on to others in the range. As for a first time buy, it’s fun but please read all reviews before you making up your mind.

The Knowledge: Jazz
The Knowledge: Jazz
by John Fordham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good guide to have for those commecning a Jazz journey, 17 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Knowledge: Jazz (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve always had this feeling that I should be giving jazz some attention, particularly as what I have heard has impressed me, but always kept going back to my Rock Roots. So it was interesting to read a compact introduction to a jazz enthusiast.

The book being but 160 pages has:
An introduction (Pages 6-13) with a basic overview.
‘A Hundred Years of Jazz in Sixty Minutes’ (pages 14-60) charting the history.
Then between Pages 60-129, essays on the different eras and styles as they arose; followed by a 6 page commentary on Jazz’s future.
There follows Pages 136-144 guide to Jazz Speak, concentrating on terms referring to forms and style.
And finally what the author considers to be important influences and their salient works.(Pages 144-155)

For someone with hardly any knowledge of Jazz this was an interesting and informative starting point and made me feel I should read this again with access to some web site which would allow me to hear excerpts or the whole of some of the works mentioned to get a full 3-D experience as it were.

I expect that followers of Jazz would not read much that they did not know already and would be questioning why certain artists were left out. (For certain if this was a book on Rock, I would be ‘huffin’ and puffin’ at exclusions and emphasis on others- but that’s devotees for you).

It was a great revelation to read of the scope and depth of the music along with the the wealth of artistic contributions and technical expertise the various outstanding performers brought to Jazz over the decades.

Highly recommended for those starting out or curious.

Garnier Skin Naturals Vitamin Enriched Cleansing Wipes 25
Garnier Skin Naturals Vitamin Enriched Cleansing Wipes 25
Price: £1.25

4.0 out of 5 stars The packaging seems to be good retaining the moisture of unused wipes, 17 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Review based on my wife's comments. Wipes were very effective at their job, and no astringent feelings either. Pleasant odour and plenty of cleansing lotion on each wipe. The packaging seems to be good retaining the moisture of unused wipes. As other reviewers have pointed out the pack is not an full calendar month's supply, and I have been reliably informed is a bit above the average price; overall judgement then is 'very good for when you feel your skin needs a bit of TLC'

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