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Money: A Suicide Note
Money: A Suicide Note
by Martin Amis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort, 12 April 2013
This review is from: Money: A Suicide Note (Paperback)
It took me about 100 pages to fully get to grips with Amis' style and to get hooked on the story and I can understand why some people might have bailed before they got so far. John Self isn't an immediately likeable character but I did find that I developed a grim fascination with when the car-wreck of his life would finally spin completely out of control and as such a sense of attachment to him.

What surprised me was that there was a fully fledged plot. Generally this style doesn't appeal to me as it's often all style and no substance, but such was not the case here. The style is a vehicle to get us in to Self's head and it works so well once you get to grips with it.

After building in what seems like an almost accidental way for a couple of hundred pages the story shifts gear and I found that I genuinely couldn't put the book down once I'd reached the 300-mark. It all just comes together so perfectly, the style doesn't change but it feels as if the narrative previously hidden in the hectic style gets thrown in to relief and every word is painfully relevant.

I cannot express how important it is that you finish reading this book before claiming to have a valid opinion about it. It is now, surprisingly and forever, one of my favourites.

Polly Morgan: Psychopomps
Polly Morgan: Psychopomps
by Tom Hunt
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional, 27 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I first saw Polly Morgan's work in 'Outsiders' (compiled by Lazrides) and I was in love immediately. I was so pleased when I saw on her website that she had published a book.

I have to admit that I was expecting the book to be a bit bigger, I'm just used to art books being fairly hefty I suppose. Having handled this book for a while and read it through I think that it's size has a charm to it, it reminds me of the notebook I used to make field notes during my Geology course at college and that's kind of how I've come to see the whole book: like a journal of Polly's work, half art and half science.

The book includes a fascinating interview with Polly who gives the reader a really clear insight in to how and why she does what she does and served to further my appreciation of her work, as a good artist interview should.

Dark Inspiration: Grotesque Illustrations, Art, and Design
Dark Inspiration: Grotesque Illustrations, Art, and Design
by Viction:ary
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad., 27 Jun 2012
The presentation of the artwork is exceptional and the book itself is physically of a high quality. However I would've liked a lot more information on each of the artists represented, not least a list of any of their own publications or failing that just a list of their websites. How an art book can neglect to provide such information these days is something of a mystery to me.

As it is, it's a nice coffee-table book and not much else.

Just Cause 2 - Platinum (PS3)
Just Cause 2 - Platinum (PS3)
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good laugh., 23 Mar 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This game has possibly the worst voice acting I have ever heard in a game and the plot is ridiculous and rubbish. If you want something that'll draw you in and spur you on as you grow to care deeply about the protagonists and their individual struggles, or if you want animation and vocals that make you feel like you're really there, turn around and walk away, do it, do it now.

If on the other hand you're looking for a game where you can merrily skip every cutscene and go in to pretty much every mission in the knowledge that your instructions are to travel to a location and destroy everything you can find, then this is the game for you. There's just so much to blow up, and it's so satisfying and requires very little in the way of concentration. I can happily play this game for five minutes or five hours, safe in the knowledge that should I be required to fulfill my duties as either a husband or a father I can pause it or just turn it off right in the middle of the action and not worry about where I was when I come back to it, I'll always be in exactly the same place: blowing something up.

Usually I look for a lot more depth in the games I play (a requirement which often sees me at odds with others when writing reviews here) but Just Cause 2 doesn't seem to even try, it appears to be very aware of where it fails and just doesn't care, it's about destruction and speed, the idea of there actually being a story in there somewhere is almost an afterthought.

Derwent Colour Collection Wooden Box Set of Coloured Drawing Mixed Media with Accessories
Derwent Colour Collection Wooden Box Set of Coloured Drawing Mixed Media with Accessories
Price: 37.61

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy these pencils., 6 Feb 2012
OK, so I have these and they're fantastic, every time I'm drawing with them people offer to give me stuff and tell me how great I am. Another time, I was drawing with some other Derwent pencils, not these exact ones but definitely Derwent ones and the dinosaur I was drawing came to life, I swear to God it's true, three-inches tall and it jumped up off the page and ran across the table and fell down on to the floor, it began playing with my dog but got bored after a while and said it was going out for a bit of a walk, I didn't see it again after that though. Buy these and draw cool stuff, you never know, it might come to life.

Lynx Africa Body Spray & Shower Gel Gift Set
Lynx Africa Body Spray & Shower Gel Gift Set
Offered by Adore Trading
Price: 14.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Makes me want to become aquatic., 11 Dec 2011
This, like all Lynx/Axe products, is possibly one of the least appealing smells ever created by man, and I've lived in a tent for 10 days with two other guys and no shower.

What is it about the typical Lynx/Axe customer that convinces them that a small amount is never enough and that they must drench themself in its wretched stench? That when they move from one place to another they must leave a trail of victims gasping and choking in their wake?

It is awful, vile stuff used by teenage boys alone who at least have the excuse that without such an over-powering, pungent stink they would smell of body odour. To be honest teenage body odour is preferable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2011 9:59 PM GMT

Koss KSC75 Clip-On Stereo Headphones for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and Smartphone - Silver/Black
Koss KSC75 Clip-On Stereo Headphones for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and Smartphone - Silver/Black
Offered by MyMemory
Price: 12.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good., 9 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are some outstanding headphones.

Me and ear-plug style headphones don't get along, they refuse to stay in my ears and are horribly painful. Unfortunately they seem to be the standard type sold with any portable music device I have ever bought (and given that I'm getting on for 30 that includes Walkmans, Discmans and minidisc players). Such being the case I am forever on the search for a decent pair of ear-clip headphones as a much-desired alternative.

Before I bought these Koss ones I had a pair of Sennheiser which were much-celebrated in reviews but achieved the neat trick of still managing to abandon my ears with the slightest provocation. Before them I had a pair of Creative as my mp3 player of choice is a Zen, those were good but the connection didn't last.

Anyway, to these delightful Koss headphones. The first requirement for a pair of headphones should be decent sound quality, which these deliver, the second should be comfort, which again, they deliver. I wear glasses, I need to wear them all the time and as such the combination of two different kinds of ear-hooks over each ear can be uncomfortable to say the least. These headphones though almost feel like they're not there at all, and they stay put which is a massive bonus.

A pleasing appearance is way down the list of requirements when I'm choose headphones, which is fortunate because these are fuggly as hell. That really is their only failing and given that when I'm wearing them I can't see them anyway it's of minor concern to me.

I'm starting to look for a pair of bigger, wireless headphones for use at home, I'll definitely be looking at what Koss have to offer.

Need for Speed: The Run (PS3)
Need for Speed: The Run (PS3)
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 14.34

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What the hell is this?, 8 Dec 2011
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit was an outstanding racing game, it just felt so good, it looked amazing and it was so gorgeously fast. How then did the follow-up manage to fail so completely? Surely all that was required was for the makers to take the same basic machanics from HP and design some new tracks, new cars and maybe (if they were feeling ambitious) some new race modes. The thing is I loved the concept when I heard about The Run: a race from San Francisco to New York, simple but fun, surely? But somehow it's just bad.

The race is undertaken in stages, each stage having various different kinds of races and generally all requiring you to move up the ranking by a certain amount in order to progress.

Firstly the major difference between the difficulty settings seems to be whether or not the cars actually have any handling whatsoever, I have no idea who thought that was a better system for increasing the challenge. It's just frustrating.

Secondly thus far generally the only opportunites I've had to change my car has been mid-race. Yeah, again what the hell were they thinking? So I start a race in one car and if I'm not happy with it I have to stick it out until a petrol/gas stop comes up at which point the race is paused while I make a new choice. As if that weren't a ridiculous enough system, such opportunities don't even come up in every race so one finds themself stuck with a car which may have been perfect for the race they were in the middle of when they chose it but is useless in the race they're currently struggling with.

Thirdly, the aforementioned requirement to climb the ranks is a straightjacket. Failure to gain the required postion forces you to participate in the same race again, however one cannot gain more than the required number of places in any given race.

Fourthly the putton-pressing cut-scenes are horrible and stupid. Either give me full control or don't give me any.

As I said, the concept appeals to me. If I'd been in charge I'd have had a system where the player is required to move up the ranking a certain amount by the end of each stage (as they do how it is) but would give the player more freedom so that say there is ten races in a stage, they have those ten races to move the required 50 positions, regardless of how many they move in any particular race. Then if one finds themself struggling in the last race of a stage they may find they have to go back and drive some of the earlier races again. This would also give the player the ability to get ahead of the required position. At least then the game wouldn't feel like it was forcing the player in to such a rigid form.

If you're considering buying this, forget it. If you don't have it already you should get Hot Pursuit instead, or Burnout Paradise, or even Mod-Nation Racers is better. This is just embarassing.

Jingo: A Discworld Novel: 21
Jingo: A Discworld Novel: 21
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.87

5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Discworld novel., 30 Nov 2011
This is my favourite discworld novel, although Nightwatch is a very close second. I think I first started reading the discworld books when my mother bought me a copy of Wyrd Sisters which I enjoyed but as I read more of them in no particular order it became the city watch that appealed to me most.

As head of the Ankh-Morpork city watch it is Vimes who takes centre stage in Jingo and Vimes is without doubt the discworld inhabitant I like the most: he's cynical and funny, he's cleverer than most of the people around him and he understands the world and what makes people run.

The reason I like Jingo so much is that it holds a mirror up to our petty xenophobic squabbles and prejudices and laughs as we continue to spit and rage against ourselves in place of 'the enemy'. I was fortunate enough to be well clear of secondary school in England by the time such ridiculous notions as citizenship were forced in to the school day, I can't help but think that making Jingo required reading for every child would serve the country far better.

STRONGBOW Cider 24x 500ml Cans
STRONGBOW Cider 24x 500ml Cans
Offered by ndlwholesale
Price: 29.18

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only just tolerable, 30 Nov 2011
This review is from: STRONGBOW Cider 24x 500ml Cans
I first starting drinking cider whilst on a walking holiday with my brothers on a Scottish island. At the end of a long day we approached a pub and it dawned on me that my usual choice of drink (whisky and coke) was a) hardly the refreshing beverage I craved and, b) likely to get me thrown out (I mean really, asking a Scotsman to sully their delicious brew by mixing it with filthy coke?). I'd never really got to grips with beer and so my brother (older and wiser than I) suggested cider and purchased a pint of the same for me. Now this being Scotland not the west country there wasn't much in the way of cider diversity, in fact the choice appeared to be Strongbow or nothing. I was greatful for the glass of clear, sparkling liquid and drank it enthusiastically, it was, at the time, nice.

However, that was eight-odd years ago and upon my return to my home in the south-east of England, where there was far more choice (as one might expect), I discovered that cider could be so much more than this chemical concoction, in fact almost every example of cider I sampled was preferable to Strongbow. At my local (which was a charming place that made an effort to obtain good drinks from small breweries) they sold a cider called Black Rat which frankly looked like orange squash and was poured from what looked suspiciously like one of those old petrol cans, but it was delicious.

Now I live in the Netherlands which, it appears, is only just getting to grips with the concept of cider and my choice is limited to some godawful fizzy drink marketed to women and called Jillz, Savanna, Strongbow and (rarely, if I'm lucky) Magners. So I frequently find myself resorting to Strongbow and bemoaning it's failings.

Put it this way: I could walk out my front door right now and buy a bottle of Strongbow but honestly I'm toying with the idea of setting up my own cider press just so I don't have to.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2012 9:22 AM BST

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