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Mr. M. Charalambous "The Big Fella"
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Black Gold: The Dark History of Coffee
Black Gold: The Dark History of Coffee
by Antony Wild
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Patchy with not enough research done - interesting in places, 1 Dec 2013
There are some interesting facts peppered throughout this book. The author traces coffee from its Ethiopian roots through its first commercial cultivation in Yemen and through the Ottoman Empire where it branches off in various directions, sowing the seeds of dissent and revolution in Europe's coffee houses.

Antony Wild makes many interesting connections between history and its famous figures and the manufacture and consumption of coffee with some interesting passages on Napoleon (and his exile on St Helena), the French writer Arthur Rimbauld, the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.

The final chapters deal with modern coffee production, linking in slavery and genocide before giving us a run-down on today's (or 10 years ago when the book was written) coffee-producing countries and how naughty we are in the West, particularly the USA and their various intrigues in Central and South America.

What this book lacks is a little discipline. Although engaging in parts, it frequently falls apart though Wild's lack of experience as an author, with some poor research and tenuous links such as stating Jim Morrison's age (at the time of his death) was 37, when most people know that he died at 27. And why was Jim Morrison mentioned at all? Because Rimbauld (the only famous coffee merchant apart from Antony Wild) was apparently an influence on the Doors singer. This kind of thing happens quite frequently throughout the book.

Some of the chapters could have made interesting magazine articles but as a whole, it doesn't quite work. Don't let this put you off though. If you want to learn more about coffee it's worth slogging through this book and taking from it what you can.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Nag Champa's sweeter sister, 27 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This has been my favourite incense for a while. My local shop was selling these at 1.20 per box so at 9.99 for a carton for 12 this was great value. The smell is reminiscent for the old hippy favourite Nag Champa but has a wonderful sweet aroma, reminiscent of warm caramel pastries baking somewhere in the distance. Some incense is a little too floral or woody but this one has lovely subtle notes along the lines of caramel/fudge/toffee, etc. If you've never tried it before, I'd recommend going for a single packet first before committing to a carton of 12!

One thing to watch out for: as this is a superior, hand-rolled product you need to hold it over over flame (to light it) for at least 10 seconds, rolling it in the flame so that the tip burns strongly and evenly. Otherwise there is a good chance that it will go out before reaching the end.


Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor - 50th Anniversary Special [DVD]
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor - 50th Anniversary Special [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matt Smith
Price: 8.00

8 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the best episode I've never seen!, 14 Nov 2013
This is by far one of the best Dr Who stories I have never seen. I imagine that the combined screen presence of David Tennant and Matt Smith is a delight from start to finish and that plot twist with John Hurt's character will come as a real surprise to most people when they finally get to see this episode: including me.

There are many good stories yet to be written, producted and aired over the next decade and, apart from the 2015 story where Peter Capaldi's Doctor battles against Omega, this is the best story yet to grace our screens.

Do yourselves a favour and buy this today. Or you can time travel to December and buy it then as it will probably have come down in price a bit by then.

I wanted to give this one six stars, but as it only goes up to five, I'm going to give it three stars instead - just to be annoying.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2013 11:15 AM GMT


Seagate STBV3000200 3TB Expansion USB 3.0 3.5 Inch Desktop Hard Drive - Black
Seagate STBV3000200 3TB Expansion USB 3.0 3.5 Inch Desktop Hard Drive - Black
Price: 77.98

5.0 out of 5 stars It has a huge memory and works instantly, straight out of the box. That's it!, 6 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It worked straight out of the box. I hoovered up all of the info from my two laptops and it didn't didn't even make a dent in the memory! Buy it. Now!


Nikon COOLPIX S9050 Compact Digital Camera - Silver (12.1MP, 15.5x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD
Nikon COOLPIX S9050 Compact Digital Camera - Silver (12.1MP, 15.5x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD
Offered by Axinian Ltd
Price: 79.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely little camera, 21 Nov 2012
I bought this camera to go alongside my DSLR: Amazing value, great for travel, excellent zoom, lots of creative options: this one is a real all-rounder. Very happy indeed. Well worth it. Highly recommended.


Griffin Survivor Military Tested Case for iPhone 4/4S - Black
Griffin Survivor Military Tested Case for iPhone 4/4S - Black
Offered by DTS TRADING
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If it's iPhone protection you're after, the Survivor has it covered, 29 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all let me start this review by saying that this case definitely does what it promises to do. Make no mistake--this is one hell of a sturdy product that will protect your iPhone from the most savage of impacts.

Being a pretty clumsy person with a history of phone breakage, I thought I'd go for The Toughest Case On The Market(tm). I bought mine from Amazon for 12 (an absolute steal) and ripped the box open in haste. Initially I was a little confused as there seemed to be no instructions. "Who needs instructions for a phone case?" I hear you ask. Well, this case comes in two parts: a hard plastic exoskeleton with a clear plastic screen and a thick, rubberized outer skin. When I first opened the box, I thought the inner case was a dummy iPhone meant as a placeholder in the box as you see on other electronics goods. (It sounds dumb but) I tried fitting the skin directly onto my phone, which didn't work as the skin was too baggy.

After a minute or so I worked it out and I was very impressed. Most of my friends who saw my iPhone in its case did not recognise it as an iPhone anymore, so rugged and militaristic was its armour! The Survivor makes the phone feel twice the weight as it does without the case, but I like that because it's a sign that it is well-protected... and then some.

I have actually dropped this phone onto concrete a couple of times since I bought the case (by accident I hasten to add) and there was no damage, so no complaint there. It even has a clear film over the screen (yes, you can still operate this as a touch phone through the film) which stops the screen from cracking should it be struck by something small such as a stone, etc.

The only minor gripes I have (and the reason I'm giving this four stars instead of five) are as follows:

[1] There is a thick, protective rubber flap over the camera lens which means that when you want to take a picture of something all you see is blackness! You have to lift the flap up by gouging your fingernail into the teeny spacing around the edge of the flap--this is an annoyance. I solved this in the end by ripping this flap off! But now of course, the lens is exposed...

[2] So beefed-up is this case that the outer keys on the touchpad are quite difficult to access with the tip of your finger. You need to twist your digit at an angle to get to them when you're typing.

But other than the two minor kvetches above, I'm pretty happy with this, the most macho and army-issue item I've ever owned... well, apart from a pair of combat trousers some time back in the 80s.


No Title Available

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the Dereks, 15 Dec 2009
Of all of the Doctor's foes, the most terrifying is one particular Dalek from the planet Skaro. No, not the Emperor Dalek or Dalek Sec from the Cult of Skaro, but Derek. Derek is an outcast from Dalek society. He lives on the fringes and doesn't play by the rules. With his pepperpot shape and menacing sink plunger, he truly is the stuff on nightmares. By day, he is an I.T worker in Woking. But in the evenings, Derek likes to unwind with a glass of sherry and some random extermination.

If you want a fun present that is terrifying and goes by the name of Derek, then this is it!

Also available in this series is are:

Andrew the OCD Cyberman
Peter the Seasonal Affective Disorder Sontaran
Jonathan the melancholy Silurian


Tonium Pacemaker 120GB Pocket Size DJ System
Tonium Pacemaker 120GB Pocket Size DJ System
Offered by Beatcontrol
Price: 243.38

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The coolest toy imaginable, 28 July 2009
I'd heard a lot of great stuff about the Pacemaker from DJ friends, so when it arrived, I couldn't wait to get the box open. The packaging itself was pretty cool - all black and sleek with photos of mysterious Day-Glo-coloured people in various states of repose, wearing headphones. Once I slid the outer sleeve off and got down to the inner chamber, there she was, nestled snugly in a bed of black foam.

The build quality is chunky and solid, but not heavy, with two circular features on the front - one is the screen and the other the touchpad. (When I flipped it over I found the following message in tiny letters: "All rights reserved - All wrongs reversed". I knew I had stumbled onto something cool). Imagine an iPod with a 60 GB memory and built-in decks and effects... that's the Pacemaker.

After a couple of days, I was pretty much hooked. I should point out at this stage that I have never Deejayed before in my life. Set-up was really easy (there are eight tracks already pre-loaded into the memory). Two buttons in the centre of the player represent the two `decks' with a touch-sensitive slider underneath for crossfading/mixing between the decks. There's also a handy button on the side that enables you to pull in a whole load of other effects and controls when you use the touchpad. Two further buttons allow you to forward and rewind the tracks. When the rewind button is used in conjunction with the side button, you can create loops - just like a proper DJ!

Among other things, the touchpad lets you control the treble, mid, bass, gain, echo, roll, hi/lo cut.

I found that after prolonged play with my new toy, I was discovering new functionality including a reverse loop (yes, you can play your beats backwards!)

One of the great things about Pacemaker is that as you get more adept at it, you can save your session and play it back by plugging into the PA/speaker system at your next party/barbecue, which I did with some measure of success! (If you're feeling brave enough, you can upload your mix onto the Pacemaker website).

I'd love to continue writing this, but my new toy beckons... buy one and you'll see what I mean...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2011 3:47 AM GMT


Tonium Pacemaker 60GB Pocket Size DJ System
Tonium Pacemaker 60GB Pocket Size DJ System

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seriously cool thing indeed, 22 Jun 2009
I'd heard a lot of great stuff about the Pacemaker from DJ friends, so when it arrived, I couldn't wait to get the box open. The packaging itself was pretty cool - all black and sleek with photos of mysterious Day-Glo-coloured people in various states of repose, wearing headphones. Once I slid the outer sleeve off and got down to the inner chamber, there she was, nestled snugly in a bed of black foam.

The build quality is chunky and solid, but not heavy, with two circular features on the front - one is the screen and the other the touchpad. (When I flipped it over I found the following message in tiny letters: "All rights reserved - All wrongs reversed". I knew I had stumbled onto something cool). Imagine an iPod with a 60 GB memory and built-in decks and effects... that's the Pacemaker.

After a couple of days, I was pretty much hooked. I should point out at this stage that I have never Deejayed before in my life. Set-up was really easy (there are eight tracks already pre-loaded into the memory). Two buttons in the centre of the player represent the two `decks' with a touch-sensitive slider underneath for crossfading/mixing between the decks. There's also a handy button on the side that enables you to pull in a whole load of other effects and controls when you use the touchpad. Two further buttons allow you to forward and rewind the tracks. When the rewind button is used in conjunction with the side button, you can create loops - just like a proper DJ!

Among other things, the touchpad lets you control the treble, mid, bass, gain, echo, roll, hi/lo cut.

I found that after prolonged play with my new toy, I was discovering new functionality including a reverse loop (yes, you can play your beats backwards!)

One of the great things about Pacemaker is that as you get more adept at it, you can save your session and play it back by plugging into the PA/speaker system at your next party/barbeque, which I did with some measure of success! (If you're feeling brave enough, you can upload your mix onto the Pacemaker website).

I'd love to continue writing this, but my new toy beckons... buy one and you'll see what I mean...


A Multitude of Sins: Golden Brown, The Stranglers and Strange Little Girls
A Multitude of Sins: Golden Brown, The Stranglers and Strange Little Girls
by Martin Roach
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.32

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST FOR ALL FANS OF HUGH AND THE STRANGLERS!, 30 Oct 2006
Quite simply, this is the closest we've had yet to knowing the inner workings of The Stranglers, the 'Enfants Terribles' of the punk scene. Hugh writes with great wit and his anecdotes are very entertaining. Highly recommended.


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