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Philip Quinton "Hot Banana Studio" (Aylesbury)

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The Surest Poison (Sapphire and Steel)
The Surest Poison (Sapphire and Steel)
by Richard Dinnick
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £14.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Substance over style, 7 April 2009
This is a plasticky comic-strip take on Sapphire and Steel. The first few Sapphire and Steel CD audios to be released tried hard to remain true to the spirit of the original atmospheric, brooding and very visual TV series (tricky to do with audio) but this one, like some of the later stories, seem to be abandoning the slightly surreal style of the original format. This story is practically a straight science-fiction adventure with Time manifested as an actual gloating villian (keeping Steel tied up and torturing him while she explains the plot) and Sapphire and the main human character behaving like a Time Lord and companion nipping about through history, but using clocks instead of time rings (or Tardis).

It's an OK story, it might entertain you for the duration if you're a hardcore fan but you probably wouldn't put it back on for a second listen.

He Jests at Scars (Doctor Who: Unbound)
He Jests at Scars (Doctor Who: Unbound)
by Gary Russell
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Jayston IS the Antidoctor!, 7 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I watched The Trial of a Time Lord as a 13-year old boy and, despite some of the terrible writing and the wasted opportunity that the bulk of this season clearly appeared to be at the time, even to my young eyes, the Valeyard became (in the grand season finale) a fascinating concept. I have always wondered why he never returned to the series and I am still holding out vain hope that he may yet return even though the actor who played him is now 73 years old.

Meanwhile, dear old Big Finish productions have given me a superb Valeyard fix in the form of this superb CD audio drama. Michael Jayston returns and is in top form as the evil antidoctor who has inherited the Doctor's remaining lives and been given free reign to do just exactly as he pleases with the universe and the timelines in the Doctor's TARDIS!

As well as the brilliant storytelling, the masterful performances from Michael Jayston and (seriously) Bonnie Langford (I know!) I was blown away by the dynamic, epic sound design (planets exploding, time distortion etc) and the sinister Radiophonic-style music. I particularly liked the references to the TV stories and hearing about how the Valeyard changes the outcomes of those stories just to find out what effect it has on the history of the universe!

The realism of the drama also exposed to me the sad futility of the insane, power-hungry would-be dictators who keep cropping throughout Doctor Who. What happens if they actually get what they want and the billions of deaths that it takes before they realise that it's not making their lives any more satisfying, that power brings responsibility whether you like it or not, and that a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing!

I bought this CD when it first came out, listened to it a dozen times and sold it again. I've just bought it back again and it's been in my car stereo for two days now. I love it.

Freshly Squeezed
Freshly Squeezed
Offered by TOTAL RECALL UK 2
Price: £6.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing "Fresh" about this..., 31 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Freshly Squeezed (Audio CD)
There have been as many compilations of Pulp's pre-mainstream material as there are actual albums! What's the point of these releases? The fans are not getting any new material whatsoever, it's just a smattering of the same old tracks repackaged by a cynical record label. The songs on this CD are OK and very interesting for the Pulp fan, but it would be cheaper just to buy all the old albums than it would be to collect the recompilations! My rating reflects the poor value for money offered by this release and the sickeningly cynical attitude of the record company in flogging all of the same recordings over and over again under the clothing of a new release. Disgusting.

If you love Pulp and want to hear their early stuff but are too hard up to buy all the albums then buy "Countdown", a comprehensive Fire Records double-disc compilation including the most essential tracks from all of their pre-Island Records releases from 1983 to 1992.

Goes To The Disco
Goes To The Disco
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £11.64

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flogging a dead horse, 31 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Goes To The Disco (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Pulp since they hit the charts around 1993 with the gorgeous singles that ended up on their first (and arguably finest) Island Records album His 'n' Hers in 1994. As a devoted fan of the group I dutifully snapped up their back catalogue which the band's former record company - Fire - were shrewdly re-issuing in order to cash in on the band's hard-earned and long-awaited mainstream breakthrough. I was grateful because I was genuinely interested in hearing how my new favourite band had developed during their time in indie obscurity.

The individual studio albums were all released along with a mid-1980s singles compilation called Masters of the Universe. Then Fire released a double-album compilation ("Countdown") of the best tracks from all of these albums along with their final single for Fire entitled "My Legendary Girlfriend". To anyone who is interested enough in Pulp's '80s stuff to want to buy a compilation album but too hard up to buy all the studio albums "Countdown" is the album to buy.

However, when Pulp's contract with Island records came to an end in 2002 and the band finally went their separate ways Fire Records decided to release other, smaller, recompilations of exactly the same material but with different artwork, different album titles and fewer tracks presumably hoping new fans might mistake the new releases for new work. These CDs represented much poorer value for money than previous releases and showed how cynical and desperate the company were to cash in on Pulp's success before the band faded from public memory.

My rating of 1 star does not necessarily represent the quality of the music on this album (although it isn't their best stuff by far) but the fact that this is a pointless waste of money when you can get all of these tracks as part of a much wider selection on the older compilation. This release smacks of nasty, rank cynicism from a record company that spent years under-investing in the band throughout the '80s and then tried to stop them signing to a more successful label in the '90s.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2013 12:40 PM BST

Spare Parts (Doctor Who)
Spare Parts (Doctor Who)
by Marc Platt
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest Dr Who audios, 31 Mar. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been listening to the Big Finish Doctor Who dramas on and off since 2000 and I consider most of the stories to be good and entertaining, although some of them are a little disposable and unworthy of replaying or even keeping. A select few of them really stand out though and Spare Parts demands repeated listenings because it is such an excellent, dark and dramatic story; finely written, well acted and meticulously recorded/produced in details that are completely faithful to the early Cyberman stories as well as providing an excellent genesis story for the Cybermen and working as a chilling and atmospheric stand-alone drama for the more casual fan.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the production because I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't heard it yet, but if you aren't a regular subscriber to the Big Finish Dr Who series and can't afford to buy all the CDs then I can highly recommend this story as one of the greatest. Easily in the top 5, slugging it out with "Jubilee" for the top spot.

Doctor Who - Voyager (Complete Sixth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)
Doctor Who - Voyager (Complete Sixth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)
by Alan McKenzie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I remember the originals!, 29 Mar. 2009
Oh this takes me back to when I was a schoolboy in the 1980s! I saw some of these comic strips in Doctor Who Magazine, then I bought the glossy Doctor Who Collected Comics Marvel special with (as I recall) The Shape Shifter and Voyager reprinted within the glossy cover. Then somebody at school collected all the miniature reprinted booklets of these stories that were given away free with Golden Wonder crisps, and which I still have in a scrapbook somewhere in the attic. I am going to have to dig them out again.

At the stuffy old age of 35 I don't really enjoy reading comic strips any more, especially some of the messy, incomprehensible efforts offered up by DWM over the last few years since the series was relaunched. But I've got a feeling that buying this book is going to rekindle my interest, at least in some of the older stuff from the '80s and '90s anyway.

I loved John Ridgeway's artwork. He always captured the likenesses of the characters PERFECTLY and appealingly, and the stuff that came from his own imagination was fantastic. The partnership of Steve Parkhouse and John Ridgeway was a match made in heaven. I wish there had been a lot more. I haven't got this book yet, but I know the contents and I will be buying it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 10, 2009 8:55 AM BST

Freecom Network Drive 1TB LAN&USB-2 Aluminium Enclosure
Freecom Network Drive 1TB LAN&USB-2 Aluminium Enclosure

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If an idiot like me can set it up..., 27 Feb. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am totally new to computer networking, seriously. Two weeks ago I didn't have a clue. My wife had bought a smart new laptop because I got fed up of her hogging my PC and she got fed up of the frankly disgusting state of my studio. Last week I set up my first wireless router (a refurbished Netgear Rangemax, so far so good) and was surfing the net on the laptop inside of half an hour.

The day before yesterday I got this network drive so that we could backup all our work (I produce music and my wife is an architect) and be able to access the files from any computer in our network so she wouldn't have to moan about going into my studio any more. I had no idea of what I was doing whatsoever when I first plugged everything in. I spent a few hours last night browsing the software and the CD-ROM manual getting the wireless hub to recognise the drive and then allow the computers to recognise the drive before my brain froze up. I woke up early this morning, powered everything up again and, miraculously, there wes a new network drive on the laptop. Some of my fiddling had produced a result! I quickly learned how to set up folders on the drive and map drive names to them from both computers and now everything is up and running smoothly.

I have been using the USB cable to transfer the bulk of the data as the ethernet connection seems to be a lot slower. It has swallowed two of my internal hard drives and is now swallowing the contents of my other external drive with loads of space to spare. And from the laptop I am simultaneously organising my VAST iTunes music library and the drive seems to be handling both operations without throwing a wobbly. The drive hardly makes any noise and although it gets rather warm it is not worryingly hot to the touch. It is quite heavy but the casing is very sturdy metal and it is roughly the same size as a CD-ROM drive. As you can see from the picture the design is very understated, it is not a flashy-looking object, not very interesting to look at but as long as it does the job I don't need anything ostentatious.

Having shopped around a lot I would also say this represents the best value for money in a 1TB network drive. Very good value.

I'd recommend this to anyone.

Sony MD Data/140MB 1pk
Sony MD Data/140MB 1pk
Offered by TapeCity
Price: £19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable, durable. (And obsolete.), 9 Nov. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony MD Data/140MB 1pk (Accessory)
I started using these back in 1998 to use in my Tascam 4-track digital Portastudio. I have recently gone back (10 years later) to the recordings that I made in 1998/99 to remix them on PC and everything is intact with no glitches. Very pleased.

Toshiba Multimedia Center - Audio / USB Hub
Toshiba Multimedia Center - Audio / USB Hub

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Limited and obsolete, 9 Nov. 2008
I bought one of these to give me 5.1 digital output from my PC to my decoder. Nowhere on any of the documentation for this product does it tell you that the digital output is only capable of outputting 2-channel stereo, which my PC already does. It only outputs 5.1 from the analogue outputs which I already have at the back of my PC.

The only way this is ever going to come in useful for me is if I ever use up all my USB ports and need an oversized, overpriced USB hub. It might come in useful if I get a laptop, except that laptops are all now being sold with Vista, which this device does not support.


This is totally useless to me and I'm glad I didn't pay a lot of money for it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 28, 2009 4:59 PM GMT

Sony DAV-S550 Home Cinema System
Sony DAV-S550 Home Cinema System

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disc Grinder! BE WARNED!, 18 Oct. 2008
I bought this to replace my Sony DAV S500 which didn't have the Dolby Pro-Logic II. It works brilliantly as an external 5.1 surround/pro-logic II decoder but you try to play any discs on this machine for any length of time it will eventually start CARVING GROOVES into your precious DVDs! Big, concentric circular scratches in the playing surface of your expensive DVD/SACD collection!

A device that damages the media simply does not deserve a rating no matter what its strengths.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2012 9:43 AM BST

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