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sussexbowler (Sussex, England)

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Lotus 72 Owners' Manual: An insight into the design, engineering, maintenance and operation of Lotus's legendary Formula 1 car (Owner's Workshop Manual) (Haynes Owners' Workshop Manuals)
Lotus 72 Owners' Manual: An insight into the design, engineering, maintenance and operation of Lotus's legendary Formula 1 car (Owner's Workshop Manual) (Haynes Owners' Workshop Manuals)
by Ian Wagstaff
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars interesting technical story behind iconic racing car., 14 Nov. 2013
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This book is like the lower (hidden) part of an iceberg. We might remember the performances of the drivers at the races, however we didn't realise perhaps how much hard work was involved in getting the cars to the grid in the first place!

Behind the simplistic facade that the 72 presents to the eye, lies a complexity of design that the designers felt was necessary in trying to gain a competitive advantage.
It equally shows the evolution required to try and keep the 72 competitive at the time.

The 72 still looks good to me, even now. But I look at it with more respect knowing what it actually technically consists of, and what skills were needed to keep it going.

Thought provoking.


Olympus Has Fallen (Music from the Motion Picture)
Olympus Has Fallen (Music from the Motion Picture)
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Power is nothing without... er, control?, 11 Nov. 2013
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A bits'n'pieces soundtrack. Lots of different film music, but it's not a cohesive album, meant to entertain as a whole.

Typically, an orchestral/synthetic new style soundtrack, which of course, combines the normal sounds connected with the military (Snare drums, Bugle, etc.) with all other modern film sounds on the grand scale.

Out of this lack of cohesiveness eventually come sounds that that stand out, that catch you. I found the end of track 3 (Death of the first lady) one such example.

The main track (White house: Ground attack) sounds more like something dreamt up by drum troop 'Stomp', combining the drums with heavy synths and the like. It's certainly powerful.

It is after this that we get lost in the relentless bits'n'pieces of 2 minute segments. To be honest nothing stands out, so the music tends to pass over you.

Eventually we arrive at the powerful film overture, which returns us to a sort of 'comfort' zone of familiarity (but equally, perhaps pretension.)

Much like the film, musical originality is not the nature of this beast. Instead, we have a more than competent group of sounds that will adequately accompany such a blockbuster.


To Shatter All Accord
To Shatter All Accord
Price: £18.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss out, 13 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: To Shatter All Accord (Audio CD)
A second-class Prog act heading for the main stage?

This album is certainly the freshest and most enjoyable that I've heard for a while, (since Big Big Train's English Electric part 1, to be precise), and I've heard BBT's English Electric part 2, Lifesigns, Steven Wilson's 'The raven that refused to sing' and Spocks Beard's 'Brief Nocturnes' in between.

The last two tracks are the reason. Combining the more subtle sounds of Van der Graaf Generator, IQ, and even Anthony Phillips with classic Prog keyboard behemoths make, remarkably, for a good song!

If you like Prog, and are unsure, then take the plunge! Don't miss out on what is pure Prog pleasure.


My Chequered Career: Thirty-five years of televising motorsport
My Chequered Career: Thirty-five years of televising motorsport
by Steve Rider
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly candid., 13 Sept. 2013
Dry, but nonetheless, enjoyable look at what goes on behind the scenes when televising Formula 1.

I enjoyed the honesty, and the stories, though felt it could have been a bit longer.

Regardless, it's certainly a worthy effort, and I enjoyed reading it.


First in a Field of One
First in a Field of One
Price: £7.92

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheery effort., 6 Mar. 2013
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It sounds like a member of Pallas has produced a solo album. It's not quite the full-blown sound, but it certainly hints at it.

It's catchy, it's bright, and there's a wonderful bass-pedal bit on track 3, 'Never too late' that can only be admired.

Thereafter, it gets a bit 'samey', and maybe 'wordy' too.

Using the 'Supper's ready' timing on 'The usual suspects' sounds thoroughly pretentious, but overall, it won't offend, but equally, it doesn't break any new ground.


Tales From The Lush Attic
Tales From The Lush Attic
Price: £18.79

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great product, shame about the music..., 18 Feb. 2013
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The band's first album sounds exactly like that. Too rushed perhaps. Better production could have created more 'lows' in the music, I believe. It's certainly not definitive 'Neo-Prog', unlike 'The Wake'.

Regardless of this though, this edition is tremendous value, and the live performance shown on the DVD is very well made. Plenty of writing in the booklet too, but too small for me to read, sadly.

It's a great value package, but it's a shame I didn't click with the music in this instance.


Animal Farm (Penguin Modern Classics)
Animal Farm (Penguin Modern Classics)
by George Orwell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great story... Rubbish edition!, 18 Feb. 2013
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What are Penguin doing? This is an uninviting version of an important work.

When I first looked at the type on the pages, it was too small, too cramped. Quite frankly, not acceptable.

As a result I needed to actually go to a bookshop to see if I could find a better version. And sure enough, the 2007 modern classics paperback (Animal Farm: A fairy story) is bigger in size and more accessible. Much better. The cover's more inviting too.

Maybe this version is close to the original in size and taste. And maybe that's what Penguin wanted. (To emphasize the period and it's austerity). But as a brief, this fails, because the story itself is timeless.

I wouldn't recommend that you buy this version as a present - you'll be sadly disappointed.

It's a poor effort from Penguin, to be honest.


Beneath the Waves-CD+DVD-
Beneath the Waves-CD+DVD-

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More like a soft drink, than anything stronger..., 29 Jan. 2013
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To suggest that this resembles 'War of the Worlds' is surely far from the truth. After all, the only narrative is provided at the beginning and at the end of the album. The singers are never emotionally involved as they are in the esteemed Jeff Wayne album.

My first thought, was that it sounded like a stage musical! Slightly contrived, I'd say. It's never an emotional musical ride, and I'd be pushed to call it a 'Progressive Rock' release.

Despite these reservations, what we have is a lovely album. Slightly-Celtic music, big-hair ballads, Opera, and even the sound of Enigma - they're all here! Different styles, but still a lovely flow throughout, and quite frankly, no weak tracks! The musicianship and sound quality are great too.

I didn't find it an emotional journey, yet I did find it a pleasing one. Entertaining, bright and pleasing. Just don't expect it to be another 'War of the Worlds'.


Mack The Life
Mack The Life
by Lee Mack
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, and likeable. But one chapter's missing..., 31 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Mack The Life (Hardcover)
Sorry Mrs. Mack, but Lee needs to go back to the computer and write the chapter that we all wanted him to write. It's the one about the TV series 'Not going out', and we need to hear some of the stories that happen when it's being made.

Other than this omission (and ignoring the bits about the psychiatrist), I enjoyed it, I enjoyed what he says, and his reasoning.

But, ultimately, it's 'Not going out' that's the reason he's as big as he is, and I was just disappointed that there wasn't more banter about the making of the hit television series.


Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria
Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria
Price: £13.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Best progressive album I've heard in 2012!, 21 Dec. 2012
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Forget 'Battle scars', THIS is the true successor to the wonderful 'Empires never last.'

I would suggest that Dean Baker, the keyboardist, has had more on an influence on the sound on this occasion, but the band as a whole are in tremendous form throughout. And it's not 'dance/trance' as has been suggested, it's great 'Neo-Prog.'

Being their second album out this year, you'd expect the quality to be compromised, but it certainly isn't. This is the first album I've heard from the few bands that were on top of their game some five years ago, which has actually gone forward, or at least continued the good form that those bands had showed before.

Why 4 stars, when I'm talking it up so much? Well, it's simply not a 5 star album musically, but it's really, really good.

It's the album we wanted after 'Empires', because we wanted more of the same. It's not quite as good, but it's still a very enjoyable listen, and certainly the best thing I've heard in 2012.


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