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Lucioperca (Norwich, England)

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Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars UNRIVALLED FOR OVER A DECADE, 29 Dec 2010
This review is from: FENLAND ZANDER. (Hardcover)
Zander are an enigmatic species. Only the hardy and dedicated few set out to purposely catch them. After their initial explosion across the Fenland waterways, mother nature has somehow managed to return to equilibrium in quick fashion. Big Fenland zander are hard to find and even harder to lure into taking a bait. If you want to get an idea of just how much dedication is needed to become a leading light in this branch of angling, read this book and remember it was written during the halcyon period for big Zed catches. For a long time Steve Younger was the country's most consistent captor of large zander, he was one of a small dedicated bunch of men who chose to sit through long periods of solitude, inactivity and cold in pursuit of these ghost like creatures.

For a long time, this was the only decent book on the subject of fishing the fens for the species. More recently Mark Barrett has published his own update on the fenland zander scene and the two do go hand in hand together. I find Rickards and Fickling's original book Zander a particularly dry read that didn't entice me to plough through it in one reading. This book is different, Steve writes of his first hand experiences and difficulties in his pursuit of zander. I couldn't put it down and have to confess the amount of times I have read this book must be into double figures by now .... this book is the Zed fishing equivalent of John Watson's A Pikers Progress .... a great read that will also teach you a few things. Read this book before tackling Mark Barretts offering as the two do seem to flow logically.

Zander Fishing: A Complete Guide
Zander Fishing: A Complete Guide
by Mark Barrett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.06

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK, 29 Dec 2010
At long last we now have 3 decent books on the subject of zander. Originally back in the early 80's we had the groundbreaking book Zander by Barrie Rickards and Neville Fickling, a lot of which owed its roots in Neville's own University thesis work. Some years later Steve Younger produced Fenland Zander, which was his fantastic account of the efforts he and his friends went to, to achieve their notoriety amongst Zed circles. For many years Steve's book has been as good as it was ever likely to get. However, in this offering Mark Barrett adds his own views and experiences to the world and includes contributions from other successful Zedheads.

If, like me, you have been drawn into the haunting, often solitary and uber-furstrating world of zander angling ... this book is a must. I found it a fabulous read and whilst there are passages within it that I found myself slightly disagreeing with, Marks results speak for themselves. That is part of the allure of this fish, big ones are scarce and they are really difficult to track down and catch. Nobody knows all the answers, nobody knows all the methods and to be fair, Mark doesn't profess to know it all. Its just a really well written book that will expand your knowledge of this enigmatic species and will broaden your knowledge base. What I do like is that Mark doesn't lecture you on tackle, rigs and methods ... he just explains the basics that have served him well and leaves you to draw your own conclusions.

Has it improved my results? Not really. Has it improved my understanding ? Without a doubt but more than anything, what this book has done is reinforce my love for this branch of the sport. I think Mark is destined to become an important figure in the world of predator fishing. I have been to hear him talk at a PAC meeting, he was kind enough to sign my copy and he just seems an all round nice bloke and that comes across in his book. Steve Youngers book was an important milestone for anyone who fishes the Fens and in this book, Mark has basically brought the Fenland scene up to date in what seems a very logical follow-on volume on the species. Two very different anglers and writers and yet the two books really do go hand in hand.

The Syndicate (R.I.P.): Part II (Syndicate Series)
The Syndicate (R.I.P.): Part II (Syndicate Series)
by Mark Cunnington
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a hilarious read, 28 Dec 2010
With Matt Williams now released from prison and with a healthy chunk of his girlfriend's parents lottery win burning a hole in his pocket, this second instalment takes our deadly duo across the channel on a French carping odyssey and is made all the more interesting by the distraction of an alluring young lady who works at the lake complex. If he wasn't tortured enough by the events of the first book, Matt now has to wrestle with his conscience as he struggles with the unthinkable idea of betraying his beloved Sophie for a meaningless holiday fling. As usual with Mark Cunnington, he manages to weave a number of sub-texts and under-currents around the slightly potty world of big carp fishing. This particular episode brings together a disparate group of unacquainted anglers who somehow form a bond during their time on the bankside. Some of Matt's observations from his bivvy bring a smile to the face as you read but the highlight for me has to be the build up to and description of Rambo's confrontation with Spunker the Rottweiler ....... just a moment of genius that actually made me laugh out loud.

If you have ever been a member of a carp syndicate, you will love this series of books. There are elements in these books that we all recognise from our own syndicates: Eliteism, little cliques, secrecy, underhand tactics, rule breaking, jealously guarded bait recipes, back-biting, bitching, character assassinations, new friendships, great moments of escapism, dreadful weather, swim encroachment, obsession, unlikely alliances, belly laughs and much much more. They aren't fishing books as such, they are really good intriguing tales but some of the nuances and implied humour will be lost on a non-angler because the back-drop to each book is Mark's intimate and detailed knowledge of carp fishing, which he lavishly decorates each book with. As I write I have read just four of teh current 7 books:

The Syndicate: Matt forms an unlikely partnership with the oddball Rambo as they attempt to usurp the smarmy, cringeworthy syndicate leader Watto and win his silver trophy from under his nose. It develops into a tale of obsession as the pair are determined to stop the conniving Watto from beating them to the title of landing the most twenties in a season. Its a fight that goes to the bitter end and costs Matt far more than he had ever imagined.

The Syndicate (R.I.P): Following Matt's release from prison, he once again teams up with Rambo and heads out on a fishing trip to Lac Fumant in France so that he can 'get his head back together'. At the complex they mix with a bunch of foreign anglers and so begins a rambling tale of humour, opportunities, new friendships, sexual intrigue and a Rottweiler that needs dealing with. Without doubt the funniest of the first 4 books, this will have you laughing out loud.

Return Of The Syndicate: Matt re-enters the unthinkable world that nearly drove him insane and once again joins a syndicate. However, this time, its not the competition that causes him sleepless nights, its the spectre of past deeds returning to haunt the venue and submerge Matt and Rambo into a murky world of ghosts and possibly murder? There is clearly more to this syndicate than Matt and Rambo had first anticipated, but with Rambo never being one to walk away from confrontation, the duo dig deeper to find out exactly what is the cause of all the unrest.

Running The Syndicate: With the fall-out from book 3 still fresh in the mind, Matt And Rambo suddenly find themselves entrusted to manage the new syndicate and decide to run an international carping event and re-acquaint themselves with some of the friends they made whilst at Lac Fumant. However, as is usual in Matt Williams life, nothing ever runs smoothly and very soon the tension of the competition plus another healthy dollop of sexual intrigue and under-currents of infidelity give us yet another compelling read.

Mark Cunnington cleverly builds up the characters of Matt, Rambo, Pup and Sophie over a succession of books as their friendships strengthen. The stories regularly refer back and forth through the series and you get drawn into the lives of these unlikely characters and yet, carp anglers will recognise an element of themselves in one or more of the characters. I loved the first book, the second was a fabulous follow up that develops the characters and books 3 and 4 take the story in new unexpected directions. This is just a very very different set of books that make a damn good read and because they aren't too thick, you can comfortably squeeze a couple in a bag when you go on holiday or in a pocket for a long train journey. They may seem pricey for a paperback but I suspect that has more to do with the limited print runs. Don't be put off though .... they are well worth the money. I have read four of the seven and can't help feeling that in the right hands of actors who also fish, someone like Paul Whitehouse .... this is ripe for turning into a TV series.

Tiger Suit
Tiger Suit
Offered by Side Two
Price: 6.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Move over PJ Harvey ... the competition has arrived, 27 Dec 2010
This review is from: Tiger Suit (Audio CD)
In an era when our music scene is becoming crammed by manufactured boy bands and talent show musicians, the charts are filled with bland music factory output and the radio airwaves are controlled by the wishes and desires of the record companies .... thank heavens for people like KT Tunstall who have the integrity to stick with what they believe in and produce original sounds and clever lyrics. Tiger Suit is up to her usual standards and it sounds like she has been given a bigger production budget because it just sounds deeper and richer. That said, Tiger Suit hasn't quite managed to topple Drastic Fantastic as my favourite of her albums (which I acknowledge is purely my personal preference) but its still a damn fine album well worth the storage space on your hard drive or some shelf space in your CD collection.

KT avoids all the cliched idealistic lyrics about love and boys and bling .... she sings about diverse topics and stuff that will probably affect us on a daily basis and in terms that seem far more real. This album is another 11 tracks of truly diverse music, some melancholy songs and some toe tappers, but for me the stand out tracks on here are Fade Like A Shadow and Ummannaq Song... incredibly catchy tunes. After 3 albums I have heard enough .... I will definitely make the effort to catch her UK tour in Spiring 2011. For a long time PJ Harvey has been the queen of 'off the beaten track' music but KT Tunstall has become a very serious threat to the crown. This artist is well worth getting in to.

Update March 2011: Caught KT at the Norwich UEA gig and she was awesome live. Much heavier sound and her music tales on a whole new depth and quality played live and it has changed my opinion. This album is a total grower and I now rate it side-by-side with Drastic Fantastic ..... The Entertainer, Ummannaq Song, Fade Like A Shadow, Horse and The Cherry Tree .... and many many more tracks were given the live makeover. Catch her live, she is worth twice the entrance fee. A live album would be a most welcome addition to her catalogue.

Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants
Standing on the Shoulder Of Giants
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CONTROVERSIAL, 24 Dec 2010
Ok I am gonna be a bit controversial here and excuse the pun in the word play but for me this album is head and shoulders above anything Oasis have done. I think they peaked with this album. Ok so there aren't a bunch of hit singles on here but the songwriting is really strong, they have stripped out a lot of that Mancunian angst in Liam's delivery that was starting to become tiresome and repetitive. The album kicks off with the truly superb F***in In The Bushes ... which is just about the rockiest hookline that the band have ever produced. That is followed by Go Let It Out ... I can't for the life of me understand why this didn't sell in bigger numbers when released as a single. The laconic swirling Who Feels Love follows next, a superb track and I wish Liam sang more tracks in this style. We then trip into good old Oasis style rock and roll with Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is .. which harks back to their earlier sound. Little James is a superb track and you don't need to be an Oasis fan to appreciate that this is just a great piece of work. We then move on to Gas Panic ... a personal favourite from the album that I used to listen to a lot in the car. Where Did It All Go Wrong is a song that wouldn't be out of place on Be Here Now .... its just a great song, well written and well sung by Noel. Noel then features again on Sunday Morning Call and if he ever needed evidence that he could make it on his own, those two tracks are all the proof he needs, it is a great song, with a superb blend of guitars. I Can See A Liar also has a feel of early Oasis but again with less of the angst in Liam's vocal delivery. The album closes with its longest track, Roll It Over and I would say its the only one on the album that retains any sort of hint of a homage to the Beatles.

Say what you like about the early ground breaking albums, for me, this is their best album by a country mile. I played it in my car on the way to and from work for about 8 months and there are more tracks of this album than any other in my iPod Oasis playlist.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 17, 2011 6:31 PM BST

The Rocker (Music From The Motion Picture)
The Rocker (Music From The Motion Picture)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 9.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good stuff, 24 Dec 2010
I love the film and at the risk of repeating my DVD review, I think Raine Wilson gave a fantastic performance. That said, the film is inter-woven with such a catchy soundtrack with a number of really well written songs. Even the overtly camp Vesuvius performances are great. Its just a really good rocky album that is worth owning.

Drastic Fantastic
Drastic Fantastic
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Just a really good album, 24 Dec 2010
This review is from: Drastic Fantastic (Audio CD)
It surprising how things can suddenly trigger you to like someone or something. I was watching "Buzzcocks" one evening when KT Tunstall was one of the contestants and was struck by just how intelligent, articulate and humorous she was. It made me think "Hmmmm lets have a listen to what this woman sounds like" and so I bought this album and have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how accomplished it is.

This is her second album and it gives me a sort of Robert Smith / The Cure kinda vibe about some of the tracks. It is just a very well written collection of 11 songs, with some really upbeat music. I play it quite often and 6 tracks in particular leap out and get regular play on my iPod - they are: Little Favours, If Only, Funnyman, Hopeless, I Don't Want You Now and Saving My Face. KT Tunstall is a rare talent in that she isn't driven by the glitz and glamour of pop stardom ....with her it is genuinely about the buzz of writing and playing her own music and it shows in the songs. I have become a fan.

Bronson [DVD]
Bronson [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt King
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 6.71

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not For The Faint Hearted, 12 Dec 2010
This review is from: Bronson [DVD] (DVD)
I found this film whilst channel hopping and just couldn't tear myself away from it. Tom Hardy is truly menacing as Michael Peterson, jailed for 7 years for a minor post office robbery but, owing to his penchant for violence and in particular, some shocking confrontations with prison authorities, he ends up spending over 30 years in jail in solitary confinement and indeed remains incarcerated today.

The film is narrated by Hardy as Bronson himself and somehow manages to add a light hearted note to an altogether far more sinister subject. In order for this to remain true to the facts and accurately portray the sinister, brutal and horrific lifestyle that Bronson has chosen for himself, this film is necessarily littered with some unbelievable violence, sufficient profanity to render it completely unsuitable for anyone who is sensitive to such things and yet, amid all this, Hardy is at his most menacing in the quiet moments. The deep staring looks, the groans and vocal creaks that he emits in moments of stress, the hunched seated stance with upper body muscles pumped to tension, the incredible flips from humour to complete horror and the silent tension that you sense is the precursor to almost nuclear explosions of violence against anyone within arms length. And yet amid all this it becomes apparent that he chooses this lifestyle, he revels in the confrontation and notoriety - he has found a place where he functions at his best. I would struggle to think of anyone who could out-perform Hardy in this role and there should also be a notable mention for Matt King (The Peep Show) who gives a great performance as Paul Daniels, a fellow inmate who gives Peterson a break during a brief period of release from prison and who comes up with the name of Charlie Bronson for him to assume as a bare-knuckle fighter.

The story of Michael Peterson (aka Charlie Bronson) is eye-opening, quite shocking but ultimately very sad. For me the worst scene comes at the end where , inside a solitary confinement cell, the manacled, naked Peterson is contained inside a locked cage so small he can only stand. Seeing him soaked in his own blood from his latest confrontation with prison officers made me feel quite upset for his parents, who must be in complete turmoil knowing that this is what has become of their only child.

It says a lot that in a modern society, there is little we can do to manage a complete loose cannon like Peterson without having to resort to his own violent methods. Its up to you ...either watch it because you like a bit of blood and swearing and a good ruck .... or see through the shocking elements and think about some of the hidden issues that our public institutions have to deal with on our behalf. Love it or loathe it - this film should at least make you think about some of the enormous issues our prison authorities are being asked to manage.

Into the Wild [DVD] [2007]
Into the Wild [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Emile Hirsch
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: 6.07

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Performance by Hersch, 12 Dec 2010
This review is from: Into the Wild [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This is the antithesis of a Hollywood blockbuster. It is a slightly slow, drifting and somewhat troubling true tale of Christopher McCandless who, tired of modern society and the continual bickering of his parents, chucks it all in and decides to become a complete nomad in search of ultimate inner peace. It is clear from the outset that McCandless has long been wrestling with his own issues and demons before he reaches the point of departure, but he is determined on his course of action and always covers his tracks to avoid being dragged back to the life he has escaped. He assumes the pseudonym of Alexander Supertramp and begins a wistful journey across the USA, forging some slightly precarious relationships along the way. As a basic storyline it seems a bit thin, but the fact that this is based upon the detailed diaries McCandless kept throughout his journey gives it a really haunting quality. The story sucks you in to the point you have to keep watching to see how he ultimately fares in his quest.

Emile Hersch gives a towering performance as the enigmatic lead character and the picturesque backdrop of the stunning American wilds plus the melancholic commentary of the ultimately bereaved sister combine to make this a powerful and haunting tale. It made me feel hugely envious that he had the self-will and determination to just drop everything, escape the stress and hassles of modern life and live a truly nomadic existence but at the same time, you can't help but absorb the self-destructive madness of it all which ultimately leads to his demise in total solitude and wilderness.

There are a few films around that I can watch over and over despite knowing every detail of the story and I include this among them. Its fresh, its clinical, its compelling viewing and its an ultimately sad story of a young man who loses his way in a modern world when on face value he has many of life's opportunities at his fingertips. This is a quiet moment film ... no point putting this on when there are kids around or other noisy distractions. Find a quiet moment, put the phone on silent, get a drink and some snacks and just sit back and allow yourself to become momentarily lost in this great film.

Gran Turismo 5: PRIMA Essential Track Guide
Gran Turismo 5: PRIMA Essential Track Guide
by Akitomo Sugawara
Edition: Spiral-bound

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable book - worth every penny, 7 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for 5 off Amazon a day or so after GT5 was launched (as I write this review it has sold out already). The package arrived in just 3 days and is a fantastic little book. A fact-packed book that basically gives you essential hints and tips on how to drive each track and with plenty of full-colour screen shot illustrations. The print size is a bit small, but then again it has to pack a lot of text and screen shots into a small A5 page. You get a chapter on the relative merits of the different drive set ups: front engine-rear wheel drive, front engine front wheel drive, all wheel drive, mid-engine rear wheel drive and rear engine rear wheel drive. Hints on how the camber settings can work for you and against you and tips on how to brake, steer and accelerate into and out of different types of corners. However, there is no specific detail on the various models of cars - the first couple of chapters are general driving hints and guidance on how to choose a set-up option. The vast majority of the book is about the tracks within GT5.

When you get into the real meat of the book, it goes through each of the GT5 tracks in sequence. The book is laid out in "Landscape" format and on the first page of each track you get an aerial map of the track layout, which is labelled with a series of numbered track points. On the page below you get a series of numbered sections that correspond to those track points, giving an explanation of how to tackle that feature and a colour screen shot to show you will be seeing in front of you. The added bonus is that you even get the plan and hints for the Top Gear track as driven by 'The Stig' and advice on how to deal with the corkscrew s-bend at Laguna Seca.

If I had to be picky I would say the text and screen shots are a bit small, but I guess printing it in A5 format keeps the costs down. If you have access to a colour photocopier or your home printer doubles up as a scanner, you could always zoom it up to A4. At the risk of being ultra-picky, there are some minor spelling and grammar errors which I suspect are a result of minor translation blips by the japanese author Akitomo Sugawara, it is all very very minor stuff and you can fully understand what is being said, but I just wanted to be honest and mention it. The best feature of this is the fact that it has been printed in landscape and is spiral bound, so it lays perfectly flat when opened and can also be propped up vertically A-frame style like a desktop calendar beside the screen when you are practising.

All in all, a great little handbook that is easily worth a lot more than the 5 that I paid for it. The tips inside have already shaved seconds off the best lap times I achieved at Nordwand and High Speed Ring when driving them in the Prologue version. This book has already become scarce since GT5 was released in the UK in Nov 2010 ... if you can get hold of a copy, buy it.

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