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W890i Walkman Phone (UK, Black)
W890i Walkman Phone (UK, Black)

1.0 out of 5 stars 2nd replacement, bricks, switches itself off, terrible reception, 3 Jun 2010
Just an all-round bad phone. This is my second replacement of this phone (i.e my third phone) from vodafone - the phone just gets into a pattern of switching itself off, zombie-ing. You can just go to it and find its switched itself off, despite having a full battery and no buttons having been touched. The reception is just terrible as well, dropping calls in the middle of a big city mid-conversation.

This will be my last SonyEricsson phone I think.


Four Lions [Blu-ray]
Four Lions [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Kayvan Novak
Price: 9.31

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost excellent, but still pushing the boundaries of satire, 21 May 2010
This review is from: Four Lions [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This film is about a group of Jihadist friends in Sheffield who plan to martyr themselves. Sounds hilarious, right? Well, bizarrely, it pretty much works. In taking on the subject, you've got to suspect Morris has deliberately decided to take the bull by the horns on the debate as to whether anything should be off limits in the world of satire and comedy. His willingness to make us question the absurdity of the received wisdom on subjects is precisely why he is such an important film maker. Everyone will remember his Brass Eye special "Paedo Britain" which absurdly had Government Minsters outraged - despite not actually having sat down and watched it through.

The film has courted controversy and some of the 7/7 families have asked people not to support it. This is totally understandable. Morris clearly isn't condoning suicide bombings with this film, but where he's been very successful and clever is that he's not mocking the Jihadists either. Its a fine line to walk, and aside from perhaps the overly dumb characterisation of Waj (Omar's best friend) and Fassel (who wants to deliver bombs by mounting them on crows) the film works very well as a black comedy - there was plenty of laughter tonight in Cineworld Cardiff, and its quite something to get an audience to belly-laugh when someone detonates themselves. Thankfully the more awkward 'dumb lines' (what are those rabbits doing here / its a chicken bro, etc) are limited to the first 30 minutes of the film. From then on, the film finds its groove and the characterisation becomes more credible, with Riz Ahmed as Omar really carrying the film - he manages to combine the poignancy of his family knowing about his Jihadist calling whilst simultaneously avoiding either schmultz or steering the film away from its satirical core.

Probably not the best thing Morris has ever done, but, let's face it, Morris on a bad day would beat 90% of stuff by other writers. I think challenging comedy as produced by Morris deserves wide public support - as the Onion demonstrated after the 9/11 attacks ('Holy ****ing ***t, America under attack') - frequently comedy and actually laughing at tragedy is the best way to start a dialogue and open up. Go out and see it, laugh, think.


Four Lions - Special Edition [DVD]
Four Lions - Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Riz Ahmed
Price: 13.76

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost excellent, but still pushing the boundaries of satire, 21 May 2010
This film is about a group of Jihadist friends in Sheffield who plan to martyr themselves. Sounds hilarious, right? Well, bizarrely, it pretty much works. In taking on the subject, you've got to suspect Morris has deliberately decided to take the bull by the horns on the debate as to whether anything should be off limits in the world of satire and comedy. His willingness to make us question the absurdity of the received wisdom on subjects is precisely why he is such an important film maker. Everyone will remember his Brass Eye special "Paedo Britain" which absurdly had Government Minsters outraged - despite not actually having sat down and watched it through.

The film has courted controversy and some of the 7/7 families have asked people not to support it. This is totally understandable. Morris clearly isn't condoning suicide bombings with this film, but where he's been very successful and clever is that he's not mocking the Jihadists either. Its a fine line to walk, and aside from perhaps the overly dumb characterisation of Waj (Omar's best friend) and Fassel (who wants to deliver bombs by mounting them on crows) the film works very well as a black comedy - there was plenty of laughter tonight in Cineworld Cardiff, and its quite something to get an audience to belly-laugh when someone detonates themselves. Thankfully the more awkward 'dumb lines' (what are those rabbits doing here / its a chicken bro, etc) are limited to the first 30 minutes of the film. From then on, the film finds its groove and the characterisation becomes more credible, with Riz Ahmed as Omar really carrying the film - he manages to combine the poignancy of his family knowing about his Jihadist calling whilst simultaneously avoiding either schmultz or steering the film away from its satirical core.

Probably not the best thing Morris has ever done, but, let's face it, Morris on a bad day would beat 90% of stuff by other writers. I think challenging comedy as produced by Morris deserves wide public support - as the Onion demonstrated after the 9/11 attacks ('Holy ****ing ***t, America under attack') - frequently comedy and actually laughing at tragedy is the best way to start a dialogue and open up. Go out and see it, laugh, think.


No Title Available

58 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost excellent, but still pushing the boundaries of satire, 8 May 2010
This film is about a group of Jihadist friends in Sheffield who plan to martyr themselves. Sounds hilarious, right? Well, bizarrely, it pretty much works. In taking on the subject, you've got to suspect Morris has deliberately decided to take the bull by the horns on the debate as to whether anything should be off limits in the world of satire and comedy. His willingness to make us question the absurdity of the received wisdom on subjects is precisely why he is such an important film maker. Everyone will remember his Brass Eye special "Paedo Britain" which absurdly had Government Minsters outraged - despite not actually having sat down and watched it through.

The film has courted controversy and some of the 7/7 families have asked people not to support it. This is totally understandable. Morris clearly isn't condoning suicide bombings with this film, but where he's been very successful and clever is that he's not mocking the Jihadists either. Its a fine line to walk, and aside from perhaps the overly dumb characterisation of Waj (Omar's best friend) and Fassel (who wants to deliver bombs by mounting them on crows) the film works very well as a black comedy - there was plenty of laughter tonight in Cineworld Cardiff, and its quite something to get an audience to belly-laugh when someone detonates themselves. Thankfully the more awkward 'dumb lines' (what are those rabbits doing here / its a chicken bro, etc) are limited to the first 30 minutes of the film. From then on, the film finds its groove and the characterisation becomes more credible, with Riz Ahmed as Omar really carrying the film - he manages to combine the poignancy of his family knowing about his Jihadist calling whilst simultaneously avoiding either schmultz or steering the film away from its satirical core.

Probably not the best thing Morris has ever done, but, let's face it, Morris on a bad day would beat 90% of stuff by other writers. I think challenging comedy as produced by Morris deserves wide public support - as the Onion demonstrated after the 9/11 attacks ('Holy ****ing ***t, America under attack') - frequently comedy and actually laughing at tragedy is the best way to start a dialogue and open up. Go out and see it, laugh, think.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2011 7:18 AM BST


Plastic Beach
Plastic Beach
Offered by Side Two
Price: 7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I guess Damon won that argument, Liam?, 7 May 2010
This review is from: Plastic Beach (Audio CD)
After seeing Gorillaz a week ago at the Roundhouse, I reflected on that little handbags at twenty paces between Blur and Oasis that took place in the mid 1990s about who was the real talent. Well, with Plastic Beach, Albarn I think has drawn a line once and for all on that debate with the Gallagher brothers.

When I first listened to Plastic Beach, I wasn't massively taken with it - obviously the Bobby Womack tracks stand out straight away. But this is one of those albums, probably more so than the other Gorillaz albums, that require a few visits and time to let it permeate you. Above all, when you see them live, it all comes together - its like cabaret, film and concert at once, a full collaborative experience. Although I don't own the Experience Version of this album, after the concert I'm tempted to get hold of it as well, as I now understand how hand in glove the videos are with the music. Proper story telling with incredible invention.

People like Albarn are to be saluted for constantly raising the bar and changing the game. I heard on 6music that Gorillaz are going to be performing more live gigs this summer - catch them if you can. A proper triumph of a star-studded show.


Davos
Davos
by Joel Tettamanti
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 48.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exploding the Heidi myth, 5 May 2010
This review is from: Davos (Hardcover)
This book of photographs of Davos by Joel Tettamanti intends, as the introduction by Walter Keller points out, to paint a more genuine picture of high altitude living than us `low-landers' carry in our psyche. Its not all cowbells and green pastures, apparently. The trouble for me, in reviewing this book, is that as someone who occasionally lives in the Alps, I'm quite familiar with the fact that there's more to the Alps than edelweiss and chocolate boxy chalets.

Tettamanti was born in Cameroon in 1977 before moving to Chaux-de-Fonds in the Jura at the age of seven. He studied visual communication and photography in Lausanne from 1997 to 2001. His style of photography in this book reminds me of something you might see in the backdrop to an iD photoshoot - you know the style - grey skies, the mundane, the everyday. Bleached out photos of avalanche breaks, a slightly damp asphalt tennis court. All but a couple of photos totally uninhabited. I wouldn't be surprised if he's read up on his Venturi.

I imagine some people might call them haunting or voyeuristic, but regrettably for me, too many of them seem to resemble a lot of photos I took when I was on my first ski holiday in Avoriaz on my pocket Minolta - fixed, wide angle shots of grey skies, the hotel complex, the cable car station. I know that's the point - it's the everyday, the mundane, but it doesn't make for a book you are going to want to keep returning to.

Where I think Tettamanti is more successful is on the cropped landscape photos, which are at times very textural. I had been hoping for some more architectural photographs, given the number to top quality practices in the Graubünden.

Keller draws parallels with Marc Auge's work on Non-Places, and it is clear that in his photos, Tettamanti is attempting to de-romanticise Davos, to render it a non-place. I can't help but think that, despite the deliberately boring compositions, despite the clutter and ugliness of the ski-lift machinery, the genius loci, the mountain, means that Davos isn't ever truly rendered as a non-place.

Overall I was left with the feeling that the author wanted to demystify a town that I didn't really have any delusions about anyway. Having looked at his imaged I am now more sure than ever that Davos is a medium sized town in the Swiss Alps. It has some ugly and scruffy parts and it can sometimes be overcast there.


Tropic of Cancer [DVD]
Tropic of Cancer [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Reeve
Price: 10.83

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travel journalism with a proper angle and stance, 27 April 2010
This review is from: Tropic of Cancer [DVD] (DVD)
Having just finished watching this series on BBC2 I would commend it to all in a heartbeat. Reeve is a shining example of how travelogues should be made by the BBC - we don't want people like Gryff Rhys Jones or some punter out of Monty Python traveling the world and visiting all the things we already knew about - we want this - Reeve actually getting down and dirty, educating us, probing, putting himself in the line of danger at times to get the true inside angle. Furthermore, one of the things that makes Reeve's travelogues so engaging is that its not all luxury and bag wallahs - he does his fair share of lugging and slumming it.

Some of the moments that lodged in my mind from this series was the outright corruption in Mexico (the ramming incident whereby the police sided with the renegade taxi driver and the Cancer team had to pay him off), the dispute over the Western Sahara (I feel ashamed to admit that I didn't even realise it was a country in its own right / knew nothing about the conflict), the plight of immigrant workers in the UAE and the suffering of those in Burma. It was disappointing that China put the kibosh on the Cancer crew being able to complete their opus by stopping them entering, and I'm glad Reeve made the point to camera about how much more beautiful the detour they were forced to take through Vietnam was anyway!

Well planned, well-research and well edited. Now he's done Capricorn, Cancer and the Equator, what's the next journey for Simon?


Black Light
Black Light
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 10.35

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and intense - a testimony to the effectiveness of remote working..., 24 April 2010
This review is from: Black Light (Audio CD)
For a band that spend so much time in different countries (Cato in Barcelona / South of France, Findlay in London) this album has to be the best advert for remote working there is - I've been told by someone in the industry that they frequently work stuff up and send it over to each other over the web. Anyway, Black Light is a change of direction, its got a darker, dirtier, in some senses, rawer sound. It is certainly a very intense album. The vocals by Jess Larabee (Cato found her on myspace) on the superb "Look Me in The Eye Sister" and "Just for Tonight" are simultaneously disco and haunting. Saintsaviour is the powerhouse vocal behind the other very good single so far - "Paper Romance". The melodies throughout are, as you would expect from GA, synth heavy and evoke Numan, Bronski Beat.

To my mind this is one of the stand out albums of 2010 so far and it seems to capture the essence of a GA gig (I've only been to one, but it was so much better than I could have imagined). I've read that this is going to be GA's last album and they are going to focus on lives and GAs from now on. Whilst its great they are continuing to play live, I hope this isn't their last album after this triumph of a record.


This Ain't A Love Song
This Ain't A Love Song
Offered by MMT-UK
Price: 7.15

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars words to describe this song could include:, 21 April 2010
This review is from: This Ain't A Love Song (Audio CD)
lazy, pedestrian, repetitive, formulaic, la la la dah dah dah, amazingly carried off with a slightly niggly sneering undertone to the lyrics. All set to generic melodies. Pretty much what you'd expect from Scouting For Girls. Thankfully for them, there are quite a lot of people in the UK who do not require very much from their music. This country. What's perhaps the most galling about SFG is how remarkably pleased they seem with themselves, despite clearly being pretty talentless.


Making Architecture: Projects from the First Year Course
Making Architecture: Projects from the First Year Course
by Andrea Deplazes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in architecture, in photos, 17 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book records the works of Andrea Deplazes's students at ETH Zurich over the past decade or so. It largely is comprised of photos of students' models, but the briefs as also included at the back of the book and I find reading them terrifying - most of the projects were allocated 1 day - so the quality of the architectonic models that the ETH Zurich students have produced is all the more remarkable. There is an account by a couple of students of their feelings towards the start of the course and their interpretation of the work, but this book is largely about the models for the main briefs - a glove, a space piece, a chair, and their associated studies.

I would recommend this book to any undergraduate architects - or indeed beyond undergraduate. It might also be worthwhile reading for anyone thinking about studying architecture, although it could lead them to think again given the standard of work here. Impressive stuff, and plenty of inspiration from the photos - particularly the seat project (a staple in every school of architecture, I imagine?). Much better than something like 101 Things I Learned at Architecture School.


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