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DW (Norwich, UK)

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Top Gear
Top Gear
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some say... he can play the guitar with his breath..., 23 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Top Gear (Audio CD)
...and that he considers James Blunt to be the anti-Christ.*

All we know is, this is yet another quite solid grab bag of tunes - blessed and sanctified by the presence of the Stig, but you're not sure whether he can actually hear in these frequencies. There are quite a few recent tunes you'll know from heavy airplay and (over)use in ads ("Monster", "That's Not My Name", "Have A Nice Day") a few retro classics thrown in for the ironed-jeans brigade ("Raspberry Beret", "Logical") and a few odd curveballs to try and look hip and down with the kids ("Propane Nightmares").

If you twisted this jumble of music through a dimensional wringer and made it solid and, let's say, a car, it'd look like a Gumpert - a car that looks like it was made out of the bits MFI rejected as being too boxy and rubbish. It shouldn't work. Really it shouldn't.

And yet...

...the common thread is that almost all of these tracks They make you smile, bring back good memories, and make you put your foot down (even the Changingman makes me want to put my foot down - repeatedly - on Paul Weller's head, but that's just me).

So, ladies and gentlemen, there we have it - not a musical revelation, but a definite major threat to road safety as people forget any notion of "cool" and just headbang, gurn, dance and relax in the privacy of their own cars. Just like EVERYONE does - rock stars to accountants (though possibly rock stars have people to do it for them).

And on that bombshell, buy it and enjoy it.

*He's right, but he has different reasons from the rest of us.

Soon I Will be Invincible
Soon I Will be Invincible
by Austin Grossman
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelsior!, 19 Oct. 2007
If you're the kind of person who nodded sagely during Austin Powers' "what about the henchmen?" sketch, this book is for you.

The story of an evil genius fighting superheroes for control of the world may be an old one, but here it's told from two new viewpoints. The main threads of the plot are held together by the thoughts of a newbie heroine, still uncertain of her status and powers.

But the other side of the tale, quite brilliantly depicted, is that of the evil genius himself. Doctor Impossible, far from being your average maniacally laughing Bond-fodder, is a thoughtful, fully-fleshed character, sympathetic, funny, flawed, and dangerously easy to relate to.

And if you've ever wondered WHY evil geniuses are driven to defy the odds or conquer the does he. Even as he cleverly and efficiently puts together his latest scheme to achieve ABSOLUTE POWER, he begins reflecting on his life and wondering whether there's anything else he could have put his 350 IQ points, untold skills and cleverly amassed wealth to.

At least, something that doesn't involve being pummelled by idiots in spandex.

Easy to pick up (even if you have a rabid hatred of comic books) and so hypnotically difficult to put down you might think Austin's brainwashing you. Essential reading for all prospective supervillains - and remember to hide the fusion reactor!

Tricks Of The Mind
Tricks Of The Mind
by Derren Brown
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not the book you're looking for... move along..., 2 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Tricks Of The Mind (Hardcover)
Fascinating and frequently funny, Brown's take on (and sometimes mick-take of) all things magical and paranormal is a very decent read.

However, if you're looking to develop your own Jedi mind powers to freak out your boss/partner/household pet, bear in mind:

- that they must only be used for good, never for evil

- that nothing works on large guys named Vinny from Vegas casinos

- the book is just light enough on specifics to make you wonder if the whole thing is a mind trick.

The Silver Curlew
The Silver Curlew
by Eleanor Farjeon
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nimmy-nimmy-not..., 14 Nov. 2006
This review is from: The Silver Curlew (Hardcover)
A children's classic from yesteryear, this take on Rumplestiltskin has more depth of character, humour, and cushion-clutching terror than any you've ever read. Under Farjeon's hands, the rivers of Norfolk become a magical wonderland, filled with strange terrors and wild magics...

The lead character is the ingenious Poll Codling, forever saving her feckless (but gorgeous) older sister from trouble. But what starts out as a ruse to save face in front of the King winds up with a bargain with a very nasty little creature indeed. Does Poll have the strength to save the day? And what strange secret does her friend Charlie keep - even from himself?

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars [DVD]
Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Browder

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back from beyond..., 25 Jan. 2005
Why do people call Farscape "the Best sci-fi series ever?" Because it's endlessly inventive, has characters drawn on a human scale and with genuine emotions, and - that rarest of things for sci-fi - is studded with genuine wit and is frequently damn funny. Best of all, the characters almost never get away with it simply by reversing the polarity on the klystron generator or some such techie nonsense.
Farscape:Peacekeeper Wars reunites the galaxy's least efficient, most frequently bickering saviours after the two lead characters were crystallised by an alien vessel.
No sooner are the two lovebirds back among the living than tons of horribly beweaponed space cruisers drop out of nowhere demanding that JC hands over the plans to the Ultimate Weapon Of Doom that an alien race decided to stick in his subconscious for laughs.
On top of that, his borderline psychotic squeeze gets very, very pregnant and suffers human birthing pains ("I've killed men for less than this!").
Let's see: escape death by Slushie maker, fend off two warring empires, nearly die, help a lost race of space hippies recover their peacemaking powers, nearly die, regain control of your brain, wipe out dozens of Predators, build an Ultimate Superweapon, save the universe, nearly die and change your first nappy - all in the space of a couple of days. Pretty normal for John Crichton.
I'd like to see Picard try that...

SOE Syllabus: Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare, World War II (Secret History Files)
SOE Syllabus: Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare, World War II (Secret History Files)
by Denis Rigden
Edition: Paperback

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the Queensbury Rules..., 30 Jun. 2004
England, 1939, and the war is already not going well. PM-to-be Churchill complains that the War Office "would rather lose the war under Queensbury Rules [the rules of gentlemanly boxing] than win by any means necessary".
This book is a fascinating, easily accessible window on the world of the WW2 spy, consisting of the actual training notes issued by the SOE's secret camps and their inventive methods of "ungentlemanly warfare".
Covering everything from how to burgle an enemy's office (with advice from "reliable criminal sources") to martial arts ("it is not necessary to kill or injure your sparring partner, as no credit will be awarded for this..."), the tone is forthright, practical and peppered with wry British forces humour that will frequently have you laughing out loud.
Essential reading for any prospective covert agent and a tribute to the brave men and women who fought the hidden war.

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