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Dr S H "Dr S H" (Manchester UK)

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Friday Night Dinner [DVD]
Friday Night Dinner [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Bird
Price: £7.00

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go to your room!, 27 April 2011
This review is from: Friday Night Dinner [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a middle aged man who enjoyed the Inbetweeners The Inbetweeners - Series 1-3 - Complete [DVD]but not necessarily to be watched in a family setting. This new series however, is relaxed "Inbetweeners" type comedy which can be watched with your grandma.
And talking about grandma, Episode 3, where Grandma visits, argues with her grown up daughter in front of her grown up children and husband, and then tries to send her to her room - well to me those few minutes were on a par with "Don't mention the war - I did once but I think I got away with it".
Though formulaic, with the same very strange neighbour who obviously fancies mum and is so terrified of his own dog that he has to fill him with alcohol, the adult brothers who love each other but try to poison each other every week and the strange father who prefers to wear as little as possible, this short series had me and my family in stitches and we now go round at home and at work telling everyone to "Go to your room"!
Can't wait for the next series.

Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen [DVD] [2009] [2011] [NTSC]
Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen [DVD] [2009] [2011] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John Tomlinson
Price: £27.49

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best Ring on DVD / Blu-ray, 27 Feb 2011
This is not a review but just a note to point you to the far more erudite reviewers who have written about the 2007 Barenboim / Kupfer release which is the same as this.Richard Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen [DVD] [2007]
I mentioned this set in a review of the excellent Fura del Baus set. I now sadly have eight dvd sets of the Ring but this is still the one played most.
Recorded in the 1990s with a stellar cast, a non-traditional but believable set and incandescent orchestral playing at points sounding more lush Hollywood film score than Bayreuth and all the better for it.
For more detailed insights, please read those reviews especially the ones by John De Wald and John Ferngrove who both write elegantly and eloquently.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2013 10:33 AM BST

Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [Blu-ray] [2011]
Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen [Blu-ray] [2011]
Dvd ~ Orquestra De La Comunitat Valenciana
Price: £63.77

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining but Barenboim / Kupfer still reigns supreme., 25 Nov 2010
With an array of gadgets, including cranes,hoists and a quite spectacularly filmic back drop, you would assume that all this would take attention away from the music. But it doesn't.
Razor sharp conducting by Maestro Mehta and superb singing from all the soloists ensures one of the most enjoyable Ring cycles on DVD - I have 4! The Blu-ray production not only highlights hairs on the backs of one audience member's hand but graphically shows off the cinematic backdrop as well as the ingenious acrobatics of the cast - the end of Rheingold is quite breathtaking.
The cast are dressed in outfits resembling left over costumes from Star Wars, Star Trek and possibly Steptoe and son. Much plastic, latex and chains are in evidence. With extra breasts, bizzarre face make up and circus helmets, it's a wonder the singers kept straight faces - I certainly didn't when Loge segwayed onto the stage. Despite the distractions, or maybe because of them, the cast and orchestra remain involved throughout all four operas and the result is splendid. A delightful touch was the appearance on stage of the entire orchestra during the applause at the end - the audience positively rocked with delight.

So....if you love the Ring Cycle, you must get this. If you are going to buy only one Ring Cycle however, on DVD, the Barenboim Kupfer Bayreuth production is near perfection. Though not Blu-ray, the sound is opulent and the visuals are quite wonderful with lasers, smoke and a most intriguing end which includes TV sets. The costumes are far more sober with lots of leather trench coats - even Brunhilde wears one - there must have been a sale in Bayreuth that year! The cast is near perfect with stellar Wagnerians including John Tomlinson, Anne Evans and Siegfried Jerusalem all singing to perfection, even if some of them are a little older than their parts. The orchestral playing is superb with Barenboim conducting the end of Gotterdammerung as though it were a Hollywood film score - spine tingling stuff. This cycle has been difficult to get hold of for some time with sets selling out virtually as soon as new supplies arrive but is now available again here on Amazon - I had to buy mine for over £100 second hand earlier this year.

I dip into them both regularly - so if you can afford it - buy the two productions - even together, they come to less than the price of one Ring Cycle ticket.

Ever Decreasing Circles - Complete Collection [DVD]
Ever Decreasing Circles - Complete Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Briers
Price: £10.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it get any better than this?, 13 Nov 2009
We watched this when it first came out - keenly waiting for each episode and then each new series. We are still watching it a quarter of a century later.

A total tonic - on a par with the sainted Fawlty Towers. Quite beautifully acted with the most memorable gentle characters but with with quite an acidic and even cynical undertone. You will just go "aaaah" after each episode. Put it on when you feel a bit low you will howl - such an antidote to the rubbish on TV now!

Who doesn't know a Martin - obsessive, well meaning but totally dreadful - or his ever loving and saintly patient wife Anne or "Eeehrn" as Martin calls her? Who has never met a Paul - the neighbour who effortlessly walks on water and makes Martin's life so problematic? And as for Howard and Hilda with their matching sweaters and perfect passionate marriage - well we have all seen them on holiday or met them at a party!!

Classic - Howard and Hilda - Well we have to go now otherwise we'll miss the shipping forecast.
Hilda - Why do we listen to the shipping forecast Howard?
Howard - Because it leads so nicely into the news
Hilda - Oh yes.

Sheer utter perfection - don't miss it!

Magimix Robot Café bean to cup coffee machine
Magimix Robot Café bean to cup coffee machine

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too easy, 20 Feb 2007
I received this coffee maker today - my only complaint is it is far too easy to make excellent coffee - the frother is phenomenal - I have had several cups and have caffeine poisoning!

Off to buy some decaffeinated beans tomorrow (if I get any sleep tonight!)

Truly excellent.

Piano Concertos, The (Barenboim, Berliner Phil.) [9 CD+DVD]
Piano Concertos, The (Barenboim, Berliner Phil.) [9 CD+DVD]

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer delight for less than the price of a concert ticket, 15 Jun 2005
When I first saw this box on offer on Amazon, I could hardly believe the price - what's the catch? Are the performances that awful?
The Mozart Piano Concertos are amongst the most divine creations by the composer who gave us some of the most inspired music ever to hit this planet. They are immediately accessible, and yet the writing is intensely intricate and can be appreciated on several levels.
Many of the greatest pianists have recorded them all - Ashkenazy, Perahia, Anda to name a few - all superb and perfect performances. But to me and I suspect many others judging by their sales, it was always the young Barenboim who encapsulated the joy of these pieces. Barenboim was at his pianistic peak when he first recorded these concertos for EMI at Abbey Road in the late 60s and early seventies - well before all the sadness that was to enter his life with the illness of his wife Jacqueline Du Pre.
He plays these concertos with a big smile which you can actually hear and the English Chamber Orchestra are in total empathy and positively "sing" the accompaniment. Others, wiser than me have called these performances "mannered" and "idiosyncratic". Yet to me, they soar with joy and happiness - perhaps as Mozart would have played them himself.
So what of these new recordings? Well, they are certainly different, more serious in many ways but still with the sparkle of the old Barenboim. Some speeds have increased and some have slowed (listen to the 18th K456). The sound is obviously improved in comparison to the older EMI recordings, though not as much as you might think, and the Berlin Phil are of course wonderful, though the sheer exuberance of the English Chamber Orchestra is not there.
There is the added bonus of the double and triple concertos where Barenboim is joined by Sir Georg Solti (who is very much in charge) and Andras Schiff. This is playable as a DVD and I have to say that watching these geniuses in action is worth the cost of the entire box alone - sheer magic.
So, which to buy? Both Barenboim collections are surprisingly amongst the cheapest to buy - coming in at about a third of the cost of the Perahia. Well, if I were on a desert island, I would have to take the older EMI set - but for goodness sake buy them both!

Apple iPod 40GB with Click Wheel - 4th Generation [M9268B/A]
Apple iPod 40GB with Click Wheel - 4th Generation [M9268B/A]

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Also useful for us classical music listeners, 30 Dec 2004
This is an astonishing piece of equipment - not just useful for popular music fans but also for those of us who cart boxes of compact discs on holiday or to work. The transfer rate is amazingly fast and in the week I have had the ipod I have transferred the Solti Wagner Ring Cycle, a selection of Verdi, Richard Strauss and Mozart Operas and such staples as the Beethoven Symphonies, Rachmaninoff Concertos and other delights. Also I have included a selection of light listening - altogether about 3 days worth and I have not yet reached 4 Gigabytes a tenth of the capacity.
The headphones provided give an excellent sound but for prolonged listening I would recommend the use of more comfortable noise reducing cans such as those by Bose or a very good version made by Maplins for about £30.
The classical music listener may need to adjust some of the data provided by Gracenote, Apple's information provider, which varies in its quality but this is quite easy even for a technophobe such as myself.
The case is robust but does tend to smear and the response to the controls is a little variable and relies on a degree of dexterity but the i-skin covers which you can buy seperately for about £20 offer a degree of protection though do not allow you to use the dock when the cover is on. These are small quibbles about what is otherwise a superb and quite inspiring piece of audio equipment. Oh also my wife doesn't like it - she claims it is unsociable and spoils the art of conversation and makes you wave your hands (conducting) and talk VERY LOUD - but there nothing is perefct (the Ipod is however!).

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