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Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB)
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Consumed: How Shopping Fed the Class System
Consumed: How Shopping Fed the Class System
by Harry Wallop
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

5.0 out of 5 stars I Buy Therefore I Am., 4 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Harry Wallop offers this, a concise, intelligent, but never dry, overview of the nature of class in Britain. Whilst our once controversial leader Mrs Thatcher opined there was no such thing as society, and her successor Major aspired to there being no class in society, the bottom line is obvious that there is, always has been, and always will be class as a way of allowing people to identify themselves as apart from, or belonging to, any part of the world or subsects. Here, Wallopp takes several key areas of consumption, in prosaically titled but economical titles (“Food”, “Leisure”, “Property”) and deconstructs them all with wit and humour to be an entertaining, informative and brilliantly enjoyable journey through the high seas of class, consumption, product identification and finance. What seems like it could be a dull, dry subject is actually a shedload of eye opening and informative information, told simply and with no small smile on his face. Recommended.


Talk Lean: Shorter Meetings. Quicker Results. Better Relations.
Talk Lean: Shorter Meetings. Quicker Results. Better Relations.
by Alan Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Listen with your ears, talk with your brain., 4 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On reflection, one of the things that is most important in any situation is being able to navigate it without it being a failure. From something as simple as a basic transaction in a shop to a complicated business negotiation or a first date, all of us are on a journey. In this book, we are guided through how to walk a conversation through to the preferred outcome, or at the very least, not to have missed the goal. There are other skills, how to listen – and not just to but in over the top of a conversation, how to respond appropriately, how to decode what is said and unsaid, and the gap between these. Though it's not a skill you pick up easily or quickly, the ones in this book are ones that, given time and effort, can become near enough second nature and – after many years of practice – can often come as second nature to the attuned listener. Were I to write a book about conversations and how to master the art of words, it wouldn't be far from here. Everything in here is stuff you probably already know anyway, but to see it written down and made clear is invaluable.


1 - Life On The Limit [DVD]
1 - Life On The Limit [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paul Crowder
Price: 7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Pole Position, 4 Mar 2014
This review is from: 1 - Life On The Limit [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hot on the heels of “Rush”, this meticulous, and exhaustive archival documentary, is two hours of carefully prepared whistlestop tour of the crazy world of Formula One, from the black and white years of 8mm in leather helmets to the modern days of big sport. With revealing interviews with almost all the surviving alumni from the past few decades of the sport, revealing – in not enough detail – the entire story. Expertly intercut with interviews – and open about it, including all the under-the-table deals and the transformation of a gallantly stupid gentlemans sport into a gazillion dollar business. Nearly everyone of any import is interviewed, and open and frank about it, from former World Champions and household names (such as Moseley, Ecclestone, Lauda, Fittipaldi), alongside archival footage, showing the evolution from wooden deathtraps to flying bullets covered in adverts. It's a spellbinding and fascinating overview – marred only by Fassbinder's deapan bored narration that has a sedative effect – that compliments your memories, and your curiosity. Watched in conjunction with “Rush”, the two are perfect bedfellows with each other, and independently, it is a feature length, truncated version of a compelling story, told with no small panache and no small style. Life, as it was, was lived at the limit of engineering, the limit of bravery, the limit of stupidity, and the limit of human possibility.


Your Arsenal (Definitive Master) [1cd+Dvd] (2014 - Remaster)
Your Arsenal (Definitive Master) [1cd+Dvd] (2014 - Remaster)
Price: 9.87

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best solo record of his career., 24 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The now rehabilitated Pope Of Mope, Morrissey – whose shockingly cavalier business plan for the past five years has been to reissue old albums and singles in new, lesser sleeves, promote the singles by becoming a recluse, and releasing a single that is off a different album completely, continues his quest to alter the body of work with a reissue of “Your Arsenal”. After butchering “Viva Hate”, “Bona Drag”, “Kill Uncle”, “Southpaw Grammar” and “Maladjusted” with vastly different (and inferior) tracklistings seemingly chosen at random from across his career and cover art from decades later, “Your Arsenal” thankfully has seemed to survive almost unscarred : the original album, his finest solo record, is 90% intact with only the more muscular American version of 'Tomorrow' replacing the original album version. No songs removed, replaced, or resequenced, no cover art changed, FOR ONCE. Sadly, the usual Morrissey approach avoids any extra songs – which, as this album also birthed 6 superlative extra songs including the wonderful 'Jack The Ripper', none of which are here. What's wrong with putting the albums out again in their original sleeves with extra songs on a second CD and a DVD of a live show from the period? There's a minor change - a more muscular mix of "Tomorrow" closes the record, and sadly the b-sides are all bafflingly absent, but it is 95% the original record - and Morrissey's best.

Well, half-right, anyway. In terms of extra content, meanwhile, there is a concert DVD taken from the tour for the previous album. This show, a rough and ready VHS quality show from October 1991 is far superior to the then-issued “Live In Dallas” video, but still not particularly good. His band are tighter, the sound better, and and the setlist includes two songs from the forthcoming “Your Arsenal” sessions, but again, it's a virtual retread of “Live In Dallas” from four months earlier, albeit with several different songs. There's little sign of the demonstrable insanity in the crowd that is clearly evident, but every minute or someone some crazed fan, of which I was once one, runs on stage and gives him a hug or some other form of physical contact, so much so the show is interrupted – not the first show, or the last for such an event.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2014 12:16 AM GMT


Hairy On The Inside
Hairy On The Inside
Price: 15.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the 2014 reissue :, 11 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hairy On The Inside (Audio CD)
15 years after it's US release, at last, Miles Hunt's solo debut “Hairy On The Inside” is afforded a UK issue, complete with 17 extra songs. At the time, without a band, the solo artist was ploughing a relatively lonely furrow – despite the assistance of former bandmates Malcolm Treece and Martin Bell – and this album largely escaped to a deafening silence. Which is a shame, because despite the self-confessed introspection of “Hairy On The Inside”, it is a record that I come back to all the time.

It sure ain't The Wonder Stuff. Nor would I want it to be : gone were the big rock bombast, the roar of guitars and rampaging drums. Instead this album , penned at 32, was a reflective and self-aware collection of 10 songs and 38 minutes. Taking the introspective and intelligent view of some of the later Wonder Stuff songs, stripped of the flippancy, “Hairy On The Inside” was a record for listening to. For me, it became a broken heart record, a collection of songs that soundtracked my newly found singledom at the cusp of the millenium, and songs that gave themselves new insight, with a hopeful but hopeless view of everything. There's little that will be familiar to you unless you have heard this – after all, despite the personnel being 60% Wonder Stuff, and therefore draped utterly in the band's DNA, this is a solo record, a singular vision of the world at a point in time, and a record older than its years, wiser than its age may betray. The bottom line is that this is a record that rewards repeated listening with hidden depths and a view that sometimes makes sense years – or even a decade and a half later. The core album itself is a record you might love but don't even know exists, and in the shape of “Manna From Heaven” and “Getting Over You”, anyone whose ever felt love and lost love will know this. It's bolstered up by 17 songs recorded from the same period – and whilst some explore the same mine with lesser returns (“Haunted Country”, “How Long Was I Asleep?” and “Crutch” are good, but not great), it's also welcome to hear 9 completely unreleased, fully formed extra songs and a clutch of embryonic demos. Of the unreleased stuff, the absolute cream of the crop, and one of the greatest songs Hunt has ever recorded is the inexplicably hidden “It's A Wonder”, which is as good as anything Hunt / Treece / Bell ever recorded, albeit far more reflective and far less jaunty than the other work.

I have no hesitation in recommending this to any fan of The Wonder Stuff who wants to hear a more mature, and thoughtful side of the band that you might previously have overlooked.


Wanderlust
Wanderlust
Price: 6.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.", 30 Jan 2014
This review is from: Wanderlust (Audio CD)
Album five, or so, and Sophie Ellis Bextor, once a delicate indie waif turned disco pop strumpet goes for Phase Two : inexplicably huge in former Communist states, Sophie has taken a left turn creatively, teaming up with Ed Harcourt, going the self-funded indie route, and creating a record that has a lot more in common with her time in 2nd Division Britpoppers Theaudience than her past decade as a superior, aloof, dance queen, “Wanderlust” explores that very theory musically. From the opening track - “Birth Of An Empire” - the stall is set : this is a new world, made of balilakas, of unusual/Eastern tunings, galloping rhythms, choral backing vocals, the kind of “world” music that would actually terrify peers who see world music as being merely the continent of Africa, here Bextor describes a world of worldly, experienced music, of intricate love songs, her voice – thin and intimate, peculiarly British in ways I cannot fully understand, are built on cinematic, near Bondian songs of no small drama and large ambition. “Until The Stars Collide” may sound trite, but listen to it, experience the song, which is longer than its 3.38s length might suggest, because of the power inside (is “Brighton Rock” really only 93 minutes?), and then followup track “Runaway Dreamer” which is another grand song. Whilst at first, those of us who might have expected another album of intelligent electronic pop music may be disappointed, instead what we have here is an artistic maturity, an evolution, a reflection of another side of the artistic personality which has previously been dormant, and instead sees a strong and bold new step with a record of superior pop music designed not just to be sold in supermarkets but also to be taken to heart and loved by us in all our facets, mothers, fathers, lovers, children, husbands, wives, scientists and social workers, music for all of us. No matter who we are and how we live, each of us are the same underneath, the same hopes and ideals, to be loved, to be happy, to conquer our enemies, crush them and hear the lamentation of their women. (Ok, not everyone is Conan The Barbarian), But all of us the same, yet different, and all of these songs mean something. Artistically this is a new direction, a brave new moment, and a success on that count.


Rave Tapes
Rave Tapes
Price: 9.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best record in years., 26 Jan 2014
This review is from: Rave Tapes (Audio CD)
Oh, how good would this be if it was actually a 90 minute handwritten TDK of Mogwai doing a cover of Altern 8's “Full On Mask Hysteria” with some random remixes on the flip side?

(OK, maybe not)

How what was a fixture of culture barely 20 years ago is now an ancient museum piece? A dead format. The home made cassette of rave 12”s designed for consumption in your kitchen tape deck? This is by no means a conservative, nostalgic look back. Building on last years “Les Revenants” soundtrack, here we have Mogwai's latest, and one that is for my ears, the most immediate and best thing they have done in a very long time.

How “Rave Tapes” is Mogwai's best record since 1999?. How I had no expectations (but a hope that it might be good), is smashed out of the water by the fact that this is a solid, powerful record, made of 49 minutes of largely instrumental mood pieces. It may be made of largely instrumental material, but each one has a sense of tension, conviction, commitment within, a sense that this is intended, and to an extent the holding back of sound is a demonstration of power in itself. The tru test of strength is knowing when not to use it. “Simon Ferecious” is the best thing the band have put their name to since “Batcat”, but here, unlike previously, Mogwai seem to nail the moment of creating a spellbinding mood that flows effortlessly from one to another, alongside a boatload of instrumental motifs, in the case of “Remurdered” resemble the soundtrack to an imaginary crime thriller that only exists in my head. Before “Remurdered” has time to breathe, the album leaps into the next song, a rolling wave of sound, where even though it is, on the surface at least, moddy instrumental pieces, the band generate a form of intensity and spellweaving that creates a combined, towered effect, where each pieces builds on the back of the other. “Repelish” offers a bare break, by interweaving a sampled lecture around the Satanic possibilities of Led Zeppelin against a intricate texture of riffarama. There's no real relaxation as such, as “Mastercard” is another wall-of-noise style instrumental where guitars and rhythms build to a cacophony that is gloriously wrong and yet righteously satisfying. By the time we get to the end with “Lord Is Out of Control”, the modest song resembles a post rock cover of something nestling at the end of side 2 of The Cure's masterful “Disintegration”.

“Rave Tapes” is Mogwai's finest record in years, and my ears are richer for it.


Tacwise Z1-140 Staple Gun. Staple Gun Tacker
Tacwise Z1-140 Staple Gun. Staple Gun Tacker
Price: 12.51

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It staples and does the job it is meant to.., 21 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ideal as a small and domestic staple gun, there isn't really much anyone can say about this except that it is light, powerful for its type, and designed for the job. It acquits its role, and is a good staple gun for what it is intended to do.


Becoming a Better Boss: Why Good Management is so Difficult
Becoming a Better Boss: Why Good Management is so Difficult
by Julian Birkinshaw
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A better boss makes a better world., 16 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Being a good manager is one of the most difficult jobs there is. Some managers forget what its like not to be a manager. Or, perhaps, think it beneath them. No longer to worry, and be happy. There is a difference between a boss and a manager. A manager knows how to get the best out of himself, and his team. A boss just tells you what to do. A manager allows your best work to be your job. A boss makes your job into nothing more than work. In one telling early moment, he asks about the best and worst boss you ever had, and you know exactly why they were each. By clever use of example and applied psychology, anecdote and fact, the case is made for turning from a boss to a manager, a human being, and so forth. Sadly, mere argument alone isn't enough : the key skill is bravery, and that is something we are born with, not trained to have.


Drug War [DVD]
Drug War [DVD]
Dvd ~ Louis Koo
Price: 6.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Drug War Of The Worlds.., 16 Jan 2014
This review is from: Drug War [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A modern day take on the old fashioned, traditional Western, "Drug War" rises far above its prosaic title, showing no shortage of flair, and recalling classics such as "Hard Boiled" and "Internal Affairs", with a deceptively thin but obvious plot, the kind that Michael Mann would make a miniseries out of, multiple characters, human, and humour in the face of tragedy, coupled with heaps of 'real' action, where you can imagine cars on ramps and stuntmen, instead of the usual nonsense of computer generated insults. There's guns, drugs, car chases, lots of gritty realism, and set pieces of no small flair and noise. Expect Hollywood to remake it, and strip out all the charm and talent.


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