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Spidernick (Fareham, Hants, UK)

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Aurora Floyd
Aurora Floyd
Price: 0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Alas not Lady Audley, 27 April 2014
This review is from: Aurora Floyd (Kindle Edition)
'Lady Audley's Secret' is one of my favourite novels of all time and I couldn't put it down (it ranks up there with 'The Woman in White' for the best examples of 'sensationalist' fiction). Unfortunately I found this book a real struggle to get through and, in terms of disappointment, this is up there with watching Alien 3 and the Matrix sequels after excellent earlier experiences. I'm glad that other people liked it, but it was a real let down for me.

Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War, Volume 6 (Winston Churchill World War II Collection)
Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War, Volume 6 (Winston Churchill World War II Collection)
Price: 1.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent bar the glaring omissions, 10 Nov 2013
Churchill's personal account of the final months of World War II is as engaging and interesting as the previous five volumes. However, I was disappointed with the subjects not covered as much as I was interested in what was.

To start with there is no mention in any of the volumes that I can recall around the Concentration Camps and certainly not in this volume. As these were liberated and the truth around 'The Final Solution' became apparent, I was looking forward to reading Churchill's disgust and shame about what had been going on under the Nazis for many years, but there was nothing. This is one of the major issues associated with World War II and for one of the main antagonists of the conflict not to make any reference to it at all is astounding. Similarly Japanese treatment of POWs was also overlooked.

Then there is Dresden. The rights and wrongs of the blanket bombing of this city towards the end of the war is still a cause for debate almost seventy years on, but again nothing. Perhaps Churchill felt it to be too controversial to be discussed, but I feel this means his famous work misses something.

Finally the fate of Rommel, whom Churchill was keen to laud as a worthy adversary in an earlier volume, is neglected. I would have felt that he would want to pay a final tribute to the man, who was a true officer and gentleman, but alas no.

Given that we are shown memos dealing with less important matters such as the beer allocation for the troops in the appendices (and the supply of playing cards in an earlier volume), these omissions seem even more baffling to me.

You can also tell that this volume was written after he had returned to power. In the first volume, written while Leader of the Opposition, his bitterness at being thrown out of office was plain to see. However, having reassumed the mantle of Prime Minister his tone was markedly calmer.

Despite what is not there, what is included is certainly worth a read for anyone interested in history, it's just a shame to my mind that we could not have had a little more.

Mr. Mojo Risin' (Ain't Dead)
Mr. Mojo Risin' (Ain't Dead)
by Ron Clooney
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.96

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My fire well and truly lit!, 19 Sep 2011
Ron Clooney's third full-length novel is another detective story, but different from the other two. The Italian detective Pancardi is replaced by Clooney himself and his search for Jim Morrison, former front man of The Doors and the anagrammatical 'Mr Mojo Risin' of the novel's title. Released to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the singer's death, Clooney explores the various conspiracies surrounding this (of which there are many - there's a rich vein from which he could work) and comes up with his own theory as to what really happened in Paris in the summer of 1971.

Clooney's background is in journalism and this is shown to the fore here. Unlike the Pancardi novels (also worth a read by the way) this is not a work of pure fiction, rather it is grounded on meticulous research, and in many ways is as much a piece of investigative journalism as it is a novel, possibly more so. The book benefits from this and helps to make this Clooney's best book to date, to my mind.

At times I was reminded of Don Delillo's critically-acclaimed 'Libra', in which the author weaves a story around Lee Harvey Oswald and his perspective of the Kennedy assassination. Both books are rooted in long-held conspiracy theories, and both aim to get inside the mind of the protagonist and steer the reader away from the official line.

Clooney's empathy with Morrison is evident throughout the book. Many will say that the events are what he wishes were true, rather than being grounded in fact. I'm sure elements within the story will be disproved by cynics (for example the first review posted, which gives too much away to my mind in terms of 'spoilers'), but as a whole Clooney seems to have done his groundwork well and has anticipated and answered many of the claims that go against his considered view. The conclusion is plausible, however much unlikely, and was not the let down that I thought may well happen. If you're interested in conspiracy theories, research, The Doors in general, or if you just want something to read that makes you think, then give this a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I was too young to have known anything of what was going on in 1971, but this book has made me want to know more about Morrison, his music and his poetry, which must be a recommendation in itself.

One foot note: There is a certain irony that Clooney references Amy Winehouse in the book as, since its completion, she too has sadly joined the '27 club'. Unless of course, Ron is right about Mr Mojo Risin not actually being a member of that very exclusive but unenviable club.

Whitechapel Series 2 [DVD]
Whitechapel Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rupert Penry-Jones
Price: 10.00

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A series too far?, 30 Dec 2010
This review is from: Whitechapel Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I have to admit that, after seeing the first series, I thought 'Whitechapel' could only be a one-off, as I couldn't see how they would be able to do any more with this. In hindsight, moving to the Krays was an obvious next step, but for me this series did not have the appeal of the first and ultimately the whole storyline was contrived at all levels and boringly predictable (especially around the police corruption). Overall it was all rather unbelievable with an ending that was a damp squib to say the least. My personal feeling is that the Krays is too recent an event to work in this type of programme and I would have liked to see an exploration of a much less well known incident in Whitechapel's rich but murky past (TV is meant to educate as well as entertain, after all).

Don't get me wrong, it was entertaining and diverting enough, but my credibility switch had to be turned off to a much greater degree than for the 'Jack the Ripper' case. Personally I hope they don't make any more of this programme as it can only be a case of the law of diminishing returns being proved correct to my mind.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2012 8:03 AM GMT

Sherlock - Series 1 [DVD]
Sherlock - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: 8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st-Century Holmes is a Hit!, 4 Sep 2010
This review is from: Sherlock - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
As a fan of the written Holmes stories for many years, I am somewhat protective of the character and the thought of bringing Holmes into modern Britain initially had me apprehensive. However, I needn't have worried as the characterisation of Holmes and Watson in the BBC's new version remain true to Conan Doyle's creations, and the use of modern inventions such as 'texts' and the like do not detract from the stories, rather they enhance them.

The two leads are both excellent (Cumberbatch, although young, has the presence and complexity of Brett's Holmes) and it's nice not to see Watson as loveable but bumbling (which is one criticism I have with the Rathbone Holmes stories). The supporting cast also play their part in making this a high-quality production. The appearance of Phil Davis in the first story was a bonus. The comparisons with 'Doctor Who' were inevitable, given the involvement of Steven Moffat, but this is not a crime version of 'Doctor Who', albeit that some of Moffat's writing techniques for that can be seen at times.

With this series the BBC has shown that it can still do good drama. With this and the teedious 'The Deep' the Beeb has shown both sides of the BBC coin and while I hope that 'The Deep' goes the same way as 'Bonkickers', I'm crossing my fingers that this new version of the Holmes canon continues for many years to come. It certainly deserves ro do so.

The Deep [DVD]
The Deep [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Nesbitt
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 4.00

10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious Tosh, 28 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Deep [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not sure how anyone could think that this programme deserved five hours of prime-time TV. It gives new meaning to the word slow and is the TV equivalent of a filibuster, as it goes on and on and on with little happening. The first few minutes looked promising, but after that I can honestly say I've seen more tension in an episode of 'In the Night Garden' or 'Teletubbies'. The acting is very poor and the dialogue seems to have been written by an unimaginative computer.

This gives 'Bonekickers' a run for its money as the worst programme ever made, albeit it falls just short (good try though!). You could perhaps make the time go quicker by playing 'spot the cliché', but that's no real challenge to be honest. For underwater tension and suspense, do yourself a favour and watch 'Das Boot' instead of this rubbish!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2011 10:35 AM BST

Doctor Who - Earthshock [DVD]
Doctor Who - Earthshock [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Davison
Price: 5.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful opening, great finale & good throughout!, 14 July 2010
This was the story that brought me back to 'Doctor Who', so it holds a special place in my heart. Years before I'd watched The pantomime that was 'The Horns of Nimon' and thought that 'Doctor Who' had become little more than a joke and so stopped watching the programme I'd loved through all my formative years. The irony was that Graham Williams left as producer after that series and things improved markedly once John Nathan-Turner arrived on the scene (well in the view of the majority). I have, of course, caught up with what I missed, but 'Earthshock' was the story that brought me back 'into the fold' as it were.

Some years after 'Nimon' a friend persuaded me to watch 'Earthshock', saying that 'Doctor Who' had changed since 'The Horns of Nimon'. Needless to say I was very impressed. The opening episode is possibly the best first part of a story in the programme's history. These days we all know that it's a Cybermen story, but the shock when first discovering this at the end of episode one takes some beating (it's a shame that the DVD cover gives the game away, but I suppose they thought they'd get better sales flagging it as a Cybermen story and that most people likely to buy it would have known about the revelation at the end of episode one in any case). The build up to the climax of that episode is also extremely well done.

The usual budget restraints mean that we only ever see four or so Cybermen at a time (other than the 'army' marching, which is obviously overlapping the same four over each other) but this has no negative impact on what is a very good story. The demise of Adric (probably the most disliked companion ever) is extremely well done and is extremely moving, with the lack of a theme tune at the closing credits to add atmosphere a nice touch.

In terms of the extras, these are of the usual high quality that puts many Hollywood DVD extras to shame. Also look out for the 'Easter Egg' with the Lenny Henry sketch, which is very funny!

Overall I'd recommend this to Doctor Who fans of both the 'classic' and new series, but also many people who do not consider themselves SF fans generally. Given that it's been out for so long, you can pick it up very cheaply and so it's definitely worth a punt if you're still not convinced. Enjoy!

Robin of Sherwood: The Complete Series (Repackaged version 2) [DVD]
Robin of Sherwood: The Complete Series (Repackaged version 2) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Praed
Offered by CSC Distribution
Price: 58.99

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than the BBC's version, 3 May 2010
If, like me, you were disappointed in the BBC's mess of a version of the Robin Hood myth (with its political correctness, modern in jokes, etc., etc.) then treat yourself to this set which shows you how it should be done.

Combining elements of the classic Robin Hood myth with pagan myths around Herne the Hunter, and even elements of Arthurian legend, this series created at atmosphere which was totally devoid in the BBC's recent version. Nikolas Grace was wonderful as the Sheriff of Nottingham and this programme launched/enhanced the careers of now established actors such as Ray Winstone and Clive Mantle. Michael Praed was a much better Robin than the rather wooden Jason Connery, but the wonderful stories meant Connery's contribution didn't detract from the whole.

There are also some great guest appearances, ranging from Rula Lenska to Lewis Collins. Phil Davis appeared regularly as Prince, then King John, also to great effect.

Clannad's haunting music serves to add to the atmosphere of the programme and their CD with the is worth buying in itself.

I've no idea what the extras on this are like, but whatever their quality this set is worth getting just for the stories themselves.

'Nothing is forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten'!

Price: 12.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Relax and enjoy, 26 April 2010
This review is from: MCMXC A.D. (Audio CD)
My idea of bliss is to curl up with a good book and some port/wine and pass away hours reading with the Enigma CDs on in the background. This is a wonderful haunting album that isn't quite like anything I'd heard previously. It's not intrusive and blends itself to background listening very nicely (or for something a little more romantic!), but that's not to insult it, as it stands up to more active listening too.

One of my favourite albums.

Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space [DVD] [1970]
Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space [DVD] [1970]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: 15.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first-rate debut for a first-rate Doctor, 29 Mar 2010
I have to admit to being biased here, as Jon Pertwee was my Doctor. I was just four when this story first aired, but the Autons breaking out of the shop windows is my earliest memory of the series. It's such an iconic scene (up there with the Cybermen in front of St Paul's cathedral) that it got used again in the very first story of the new series, 'Rose'. That's how important the scene was. I even wonder if it was the inspiration for Kraftwerk's 'Showroom Dummies'. But I digress...!

Some say the story is slow, but I found the pace just right. We get the usual fun of a new Doctor finding his character and fitting into his role (and his clothes). We also have the Brigadier having to get used to a new Doctor and the concept of regeneration. It's also the first colour 'Doctor Who' story and marked a change in filming techniques. The only disconcerting element for me was the Doctor having a tattoo (Pertwee's navel one clearly being visible as he gets ready to take a shower)!

There's a good array of extras as well and it's probably the best debut story for any Doctor. I'd therefore recommend this story to fans both old and young.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2010 11:34 PM BST

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