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Reviews Written by
D. M. Purkiss "Diane" (Oxford, England)
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Salter Contour Electronic Timer
Salter Contour Electronic Timer
Price: £7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of money, 23 May 2016
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Don't buy this. The buttons became impossible to use after just a week, requiring a huge effort to depress them and then spinning out of control. A waste of money. I note that this also has bad reviews at Lakeland.


On Silbury Hill (Little Toller Monographs)
On Silbury Hill (Little Toller Monographs)
by Adam Thorpe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars I did enjoy this, though I was much more interested in ..., 23 May 2016
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I did enjoy this, though I was much more interested in the area than I was in the writer, and they way he kept popping up to talk about his dislike of roads, his awkward chats with neopagans, and his own previous books didn't compel. I understand that he was trying to be Helen Macdonald, but it didn't quite work; in the end I thought he was mostly interested in Silbury HIll because of its role in his life rather than in and of itself. That said, there is plenty to enjoy here int he way of observations, research and ideas, and the writing is beautiful.


The Poems of Catullus (Collins Classics)
The Poems of Catullus (Collins Classics)
by Daisy Dunn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 11 April 2016
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Literal, solid translations, but with absolutely NO notes, which is a scandal.


Rustic: Simple food and drink, from morning to night
Rustic: Simple food and drink, from morning to night
by Jorge Fernandez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But actually all the recipes re brilliant, and the flavour ideas exceptional, 11 April 2016
At first i was sceptical; was this too glossy to cook from? But actually all the recipes re brilliant, and the flavour ideas exceptional.


The Stonewall Experiment: Gay Psychohistory (Lesbian & gay studies)
The Stonewall Experiment: Gay Psychohistory (Lesbian & gay studies)
by Ian Young
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars and it is not best treated by alternative medicine, 22 Feb. 2016
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This isn't a psychohistory at all, but in fact a denialist account of the AIDS epidemic, promulgating discredited ideas about its causation, some of which border on the homophobic. AIDS is NOT caused by poppers or by having sex with multiple partners, but by the HIV virus, and it is not best treated by alternative medicine. It has been conclusively shown that AIDS is caused by HIV, and Young's acquaintance with the scientific literature is grossly inadequate. Avoid; this theory has already cost lives.


The Whole Woman
The Whole Woman
Price: £6.49

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Grotesquely transphobic chapter on 'pantomime dames', 18 May 2015
This review is from: The Whole Woman (Kindle Edition)
I love Greer's feminism, but it's very dismaying that her rather determinist idea of femininity excludes the trans community, whom she simply and unsubtly denigrates as liars and fakers. Has she ever asked an M to F trans person if they would like a womb and ovaries? Even if they say no, does she really want to say that gender identity is simply a matter of reproductivity? I suspect this chapter, her opposition to the appointment of a trans woman at Cambridge, and her disgraceful remarks on April Ashley in the significantly titled The Female Eunuch will come to seem as great an embarrassment as Wagner's or T S Eliot's antisemitism. She should be ashamed of herself.


Anonymous [DVD] [2011]
Anonymous [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Rhys Ifans
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.53

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad it's beautiful, 6 May 2015
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This review is from: Anonymous [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
I was delighted by this film. I've never, ever seen anything worse; Plan 9 from Outer Space and Titanic 2 pale by comparison.

The historical errors are so frequent that I lost count at 83, though in this I'm not even including the absurd main thesis. Just one adorable instance; the ink used in this period is black when fresh, and only turns brown later; similarly, the paper beigns life as pale cream and crumble free. Yet we see Oxford writing away with brown ink, on crumpled brown.

The acting is treasurably bad, especially Rhys Ifans' turn as the snobbish but gratifyingly heterosexual Oxford.

Lines like 'it's the voices! The Voices!' [clutches head] stun the mind; how can anyone ever have induced themselves to believe them? The film is so weirdly obsessed with Oxford and his progeny that he is both the son of Elizabeth I and also her lover and the father of other sons (like Southampton). He seems to write everything written in the entire period, and also to father every important noble; a busy beaver of a man. Probability? What's that?

The thesis of the film involves the most naive form of reading; the idea that all works of literature are autobiographical. I was disappointed that Oxford met no ghosts or fairies, as the screenplay assumed that nobody has any imagination. the strained interpretations of just about everything that result are themselves a joy.

Wait; why haven't I mentioned poor old Ben Jonson, who is always inky and grimy (unlike his immaculate compeer) and who is given some of the hammier lines to say. Like all good proles, he looks up to The Quality adoringly, and abases himself before it.

Try it. It's 'delicious', as Robert Cecil improbably says.


The Gaelic Otherworld: Rev.John Gregorson Campbell's Superstitions of the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland and Witchcraft and Second Sight in the Highlands and Islands
The Gaelic Otherworld: Rev.John Gregorson Campbell's Superstitions of the Highlands and the Islands of Scotland and Witchcraft and Second Sight in the Highlands and Islands
by John Gregorson Campbell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Highland lore collections ever, 18 Nov. 2014
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A fabulous bargain! The best Highland lore collections ever, properly edited with stunning new notes and introductions. A must.


Rachel Khoo's Muesli and Granola
Rachel Khoo's Muesli and Granola
by Rachel Khoo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.94

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Empty, 18 Nov. 2014
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Frankly, this contains a few very sketchy recipes, padded out with pictures and white space. You can find much better recipes in Pure Vanilla or in Cook's Illustrated Baking. A waste of money.


Hard Work: Life in Low-pay Britain
Hard Work: Life in Low-pay Britain
by Polly Toynbee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shut out of Starbucks!, 18 Nov. 2014
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This is a well-intentioned book, and many of the points it makes are good, even vital, and yet I found the narrative voice so irritating that I often threw it across the room.

Toynbee comes across as utterly spoiled and privileged, and terribly, patronisingly sorry for everyone who can't windowshop on Kings Road because they know they can't afford to buy, and blithely unaware that this 'exclusion' applies to four-fifths of the nation.
Her norm is only too clearly the top of the middle class, people earning 100k plus with houses in Leafy London that they bought more than ten years ago. It never really strikes her that this First World Norm can't EVER be extended to everyone. There will NEVER be enough money for that.

Her impassioned plea for care workers to be better paid is moving and valid, but it's in part based on the idea that caring for incontinent old people is absolutely disgusting and depressing; at one point she comes very close to implying that they are the problem, and to longing for one of them to die, even though the individual seems quite contented in though demented. Doubtless they too have no reason to live as nobody is taking them along Kings Road or to Starbucks.

I actually ended up feeling very sorry for the people who had to work with Toynbee. They must have had it very tough. As the Great God Jarvis Cocker says, everybody hates a tourist.

That said, it's good to see someone at least trying to think about what 'job creation' at the bottom really means for those who have to do the jobs, and even better to see someone questioning what privatisation really means in care homes and the NHS. It was and is a brave project, but now what I'd like to see is something more like Studs Terkel's oral history work in the US, something that gives the low-paid the mike and allows them to speak for themselves. Or better still, something such as The Likes of Us, where the working class gets to write history for themselves. Well-intentioned kindly liberals can't really grasp what low-aid life is like, as Toynbee's frequent dashes back to her old life illustrate.


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