Profile for The Rower > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by The Rower
Top Reviewer Ranking: 595,440
Helpful Votes: 57

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
The Rower (London, UK)

Page: 1 | 2
Hairspray (2007) Shake & Shimmy Special Edition [DVD]
Hairspray (2007) Shake & Shimmy Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Travolta
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £3.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pinnacle of Achievement!, 30 Jan 2012
Hairspray is a wonder of the world, a pinnacle of achievement, a work of unmatched brilliance.
One feels entertained, informed, inspired, involved, elevated, and honoured. Repeated viewing, with singing and dancing essential. It's better every time.
Top three moments for me,( no spoilers:) "Not Mount Everest!!!;" "Where you been?" (just before the fireworks;) and "Begone!"

Pilates: System 21 [DVD]
Pilates: System 21 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vicki Norwood
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £2.65

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars User- friendly and well- designed., 29 Jan 2012
This review is from: Pilates: System 21 [DVD] (DVD)
This is a great product; far better than any other Pilates video I've seen. And as a DVD, it has the advantage that you can navigate straight to the parts you want.
There is a short introduction which once seen needn't be repeated. But what follows is a comprehensive system of gentle stretching which reaches every part of the body, building from simple movements to a short, dance- like workout.
Anyone out of the habit of regular exercise, who wants to start, and also anyone with a pain condition, could definitely benefit in particular from trying this system.
Particular praise to the design of the soundtrack. Music accompanies all the exercises, and is perfectly timed so as to co-ordinate with the movements. So one can keep the proper, steady, pace of work even when looking away from the screen. In addition, the voice- over gives really effective, helpful instruction; letting you know how many reps of each movement, and warning for pitfalls and problems one might encounter.
I first used this pilates system more than a dozen years ago, on VHS. At the time I was quite ill with arthritis, and I found it to be very helpful and useable. Now I'm substantially better, I still find the system great use for avoiding the aches and pains, the tired and stale muscles, which go along with aging.
Some reviewers have criticised the overt advertising of a water product, which is fair comment up to a point. But I imagine that without the product placement, this excellent film might never have been made, so it is, I think, justifiable. And if you skip the introduction, you can miss the advertising completely.

Mega-Sonic Cat Repeller
Mega-Sonic Cat Repeller
Price: £16.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Good product. Here's why., 26 Aug 2010
Other peoples' cats are a very serious nuisance for a city gardener. No fencing can keep them out and repellent aromas are totally useless. They are most active at night when you can't be ready with the water pistol. And there are just so many of them, that its an Herculean task to try to scare each one individually anyway.
It's not only the disgusting fouling, but also the massive damage they cause and the ghastly noise they make which are intolerable. That the owners of these horrible pests aren't subject to any kind of legal duties or restraints (as are dog owners,) is an insufferable outrage.
Step in electronic scarers. In practical terms, these machines offer the only hope of keeping the cats out.
But don't be fooled into thinking all cat scarers are as good as each other. That's very far from the case.
The Defenders repeller is worth the money. Others of the kind certainly aren't.
It is a large machine with a very sturdy and adaptable ground stake. This detaches from the main body of the unit and can be driven into firm ground with a mallet safely. It's important to get it exactly upright and also get the elevation right as the unit's coverage depends on it. The sensor should be at the same height as the cat's body above ground.
This machine runs perfectly well on rechargeable batteries. It takes two 9v PP3s. Other machines, which only take one and insist on a Duracell type, do not work as well, and I suspect that the extra battery helps make the ultrasound signal louder, pushing it above the cats' tolerance level. The animals I've seen in range of my Defenders units have been absolutely terrified- a very welcome sight.
It's a bit of a struggle to get the batteries inside the compartment- you have to lay them in flat, and positioning the bottom one is fiddlesome. But this aside, installation is a quick and simple process. I like, too, the test button on the front panel which allows a very quick and easy check on the unit's operating status.
The only other control is the unit's on- off switch, hidden away next to the battery compartment on the machine's base. Quite simple to find with one's fingers and easy to operate, so you can switch it off to work in the garden without wasting power, and on again to initiate the unit afterwards.
It is, of course, vitally important to be aware that the operating range of the Defenders scarer is limited to an arc of only 94 degrees; 47 either side of the unit's axis. So you must be very careful to site and position the unit properly, and for odd shaped and/ or large spaces, more than one unit will probably be needed for full coverage. Around bay windows or wheelie bins, for example, the little pests will certainly find any unprotected areas and make their smells and messes. But that said, the Defenders is less than half the price of older products which didn't work so well, so buying multiple units (and the spare rechargeable batteries to power them,) really isn't such a great hardship.

Well Tempered Clavier 48 Preludes & Fugues
Well Tempered Clavier 48 Preludes & Fugues

8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great performance, poor sound quality, 23 Aug 2010
In 1938, when it was recorded, this would certainly have been a great sound. It's just a little hard to believe that in 2010, Edwin Fischers' performance of this stunning music has to be sold with hisses and rumbles and tape fault sounds throughout. With modern software, even on a modest home computer, 90% of the distractions could easily have been removed.
Disappointing. I'll be needing another version of this essential Bach now, because this product from EMI just isn't good enough to play.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2011 1:46 PM GMT

Anglepoise Type 75 Desk Lamp, Black
Anglepoise Type 75 Desk Lamp, Black
Price: £120.00

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just great!, 16 July 2010
This consists of a power cord, with an in- line on/ off switch, a heavy weighted base attached to a spring- balanced support structure and jointed armature, and a lamp shade. The support provides complete 360 degree rotation and a lamp height range of 55 inches (half of which is when the lamp's bent double over an edge.) The lamp shade mounting gives a further 240 degrees of twist and 45 degrees of tilt.
If you place this product in the middle of an empty room and switch it on, there is no part of the room you cannot illuminate.
Provided in the box are Allen keys, which you use to set up the resistances in the joints to suit your own preferences. You also get a small bag of spare parts- the plastic washers which line these various joints. A low- energy bulb is provided. This runs very cool, so you can grab and move the shade safely no matter how long it's been on.
Finally, as a bonus, there's a pack of cool postcards, illustrating the Anglepoise range.

This lamp is called model 75 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Anglepoise range. It says it all that such a durable product, (carefully used, they should never need replacing,) which is far from the cheapest on the market, is still selling well, as it was in my Grandfather's day.
Definitely recommended.

Sir Henry At Rawlinson End
Sir Henry At Rawlinson End
Price: £8.20

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind., 10 Jun 2010
This work is a triumph of sublime comedy, and of surreal imagination, but above all, an episode of English usage which is truly Shakespearean. In Vivian Stanshall's hilarious masterpiece, as he perfectly characterises several parts with his one voice, our language itself is raised towards the Heavens, and we poor listeners are incomparably enriched.
It's not widely appreciated just how dynamic Sir Viv was in the creation of these stories. Every recording, every tale- telling was different. His imagination would suddenly bring forth some new hilarity and it would immediately be incorporated into the day's script. So though this album sounds like a much- rehearsed and well- known spiel, (and so can be memorised easily by the devotee,) this is far from the case. It's very likely he made up some lines on the very days they were recorded.
From the Bonzo's- who were good enough to be invited by the Beatles into the Magical Mystery Tour film- to the tragically early end of his life, Vivian Stanshall was a comic writer/ songwriter beyond peer. And on this album, we are privileged to hear him at his very, very best.
Miss this, miss out. Big- time!

Tir Na Nog - Symphonie Celtique
Tir Na Nog - Symphonie Celtique
Price: £17.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Universal spirit music., 10 Jun 2010
The great Brazilian genius of sound, Hermeto Pascoal, talks about his work not as Jazz or Samba or Fusion, but as Universal music. I think this is the only correct term for the marvelous Symphonie Celtique. Though it uses the materials of Stivell's original Breton folk- rock alloy, (its instruments and themes,) this work goes beyond all the rest of that genre as a rocket goes beyond the planet's gravity.
It's a very hard work to describe sufficiently. Broadly, it holds a three- movement structure. Within each phase are different strands, each leading from one mood to another. (A real advantage of the CD over the vinyl is that this flow need not be interrupted by having to turn the disc over!) The opening half of this work is majestic and stately- huge flowing tapestries of gorgeous tonalities. The final suite is one big party. Beyond that, I'm afraid, my words can't any further help you. You'll have to do yourself a favour and hear it with your own ears!
All I can helpfully add now is that there are very slight changes to the CD edit from the record; a short section has been cut from what was side three. But I feel it is an improvement to the pacing of the piece as a whole. And finally, it's very nice, in a CD, to get a proper lyric book, containing all the many languages sung in their original scripts, just as came in the LP, but with some Stivell original texts (in French,) added.

Price: £12.46

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful., 4 May 2010
This review is from: Vocabularies (Audio CD)
This album is a joy, from beginning to end. Much richer and deeper than his well- known work from the 80's, McFerrin invokes diverse musical styles from many traditions. Vocabularies journeys through many landscapes from its funny opening to its final sleepy whisper. Funky to serene, intense to jokey, from the dusty township (think Ladyship Black Mambazo) to the mountains of Bulgaria ( Mystere des voix Bulgares,) by way of Manhatten Transfer, the sky and your own living room. We talk to the spirits, sing to baby, and just have fun. It's all pure magic.
Producing and composing, Roger Treece is McFerrin's major co- contributor to this work. Huge credit must also go to each of over 50 singers and instrumentalists, who blend seamlessly into this truly glorious chorus.
Thanks to the clever use of woodwind and especially percussion (Alex Acuna,) we hear a vocal band, not a traditional choir. Wonderful on the set's closing piece "Brief Eternity" are the boy sopranos. There is a section of "Wailers" sung by an audience over 2,500. Languages, ensembles, dynamics and effects, this disc uses the widest imaginable vocal palette.
But "Messages," to my taste, is the very summit. I'm never satisfied to hear this song just once: it always demands at least one repeat hearing.
It features lyrics in many tongues, a core chant in Sanskrit, and a wonderfully evocative musical scale (with both a flattened second degree and fourth.) Disappointing and frustrating that here the lyrics in the booklet don't match properly what is sung. Is that a reason not to buy the album- no! Is it a reason to listen even more carefully and try learn the missing syllables the old- fashioned way? Absolutely!
"Vocabularies" is life- changing music. A blessing from McFerrin and Treece to the whole world. Be blessed.

The Pat Metheny Group - Speaking Of Now Live [DVD] [2009]
The Pat Metheny Group - Speaking Of Now Live [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Pat Metheny Group
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music for the heart., 24 Jun 2007
There's something deeply romantic about the music of "Speaking of Now". It strongly recalls to me the Pat Metheney Group's great album of 1984, "First Circle", previously my favourite of all their output.
The more complex and upbeat numbers, like "As it is", Proof", and "The Gathering Sky" are counterbalanced by wonderful lyrical ballards, heart-rendingly sung by Richard Bona: "You", and "Another Life".
The concert opens with Pat's solo reworking of "Last Train Home" and a McLaughlinesque guitar/ drums duet "Go Get It". Towards the end, a moving guitar/piano duet "A map of the World/ In her Family" evokes calm and tranquility.
Insensatez (How Insensitive) by Tom Jobim is covered, giving Steve Rodby a very rare bass solo. This is not on the CD, but its inclusion here sums up what I like about this gig. We are relaxed, having fun, deep into some of the world's most beautiful music.
Throughout this concert, the playing is close to flawless. Special mention of Antonio Sanchez' drum solo in "The Gathering Sky" is mandatory. This is seriously clever drumming: four distinct patterns simultaneously at one point!
Another special mention is due to Richard Bona's multi-layered vocal introduction to the anthemic "On Her Way". This tune courses us rapidly from Central Africa via an intimate Jazz club to a church hall, ultimately ending up with a sublime receding hook.
It's wonderful to see the trumpet taking a leading voice in this unique band; an architypal Jazz instrument being rightly honoured. Cuong Vu has all the facility of a master trumpeter. Typically of Pat Metheny Group, he has also extended the instruments' expressive range adding a host of wind-like noises to its voice.
Tribute must also go to the Korean audience on both this disc and "The Way Up Live". Unlike so many, these never noisily interrupt the music, and allow the group to go right down to a whisper without spoiling it. Yet after hot solos, they applaud as warmly as any Americans would.
Among a suite of such strong compositions, there are many favourites. I play different selections on different days depending on my mood. From up-and-at-'em to introspection, the whole spectrum of musical expression is here.
This is the gig of my (new) favourite album by a peerless group of exploring musicians.

The Way Up Live [DVD] [2006]
The Way Up Live [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Pat Metheny Group
Price: £9.36

5.0 out of 5 stars The music of our age., 24 Jun 2007
This review is from: The Way Up Live [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
To me, Pat Metheny Group represents a high-water mark in Jazz. In one composition, The Way Up encompasses everything there is to love about music. Its symmetry between the individual and the group, its lights and shades, its subtleties and its emphases. Here is a genuinely classical composition to which all listeners could attune.

I adore the way the differing musical themes are explored separately and then interwoven. I revel in the space given to some exceptional soloing; notably that of Antonio Sanchez taking polyrhythmic drumming to the ultimate. But most of all, I sink into this music as one does a favorite movie book or daydream- one knows it off by heart and loves it more every time.

Page: 1 | 2