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Thorn Davis (Oxford)

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Konnect - New Xbox 360 VGA Component Audio Cable & 2RCA & 1 Year Warranty
Konnect - New Xbox 360 VGA Component Audio Cable & 2RCA & 1 Year Warranty
Offered by Universal Color
Price: £4.96

1.0 out of 5 stars Crummy, 9 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this because I use my XBox on three different screens depending on what I'm doing, and got tired of unplugging my other VGA cable from the monitor. This one is a lot worse than the Official VGA cable. The picture quality is dreadful - a lot of ghosting - but what's really pitiful is the fact that it'll occasionally drop the picture and sound for a second or so, which immensely jarring and - when you're in the middle of a game - kind of destructive to your enjoyment.


CIM - 8 Project Management in Marketing: Study Text
CIM - 8 Project Management in Marketing: Study Text
by BPP Learning Media
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.65

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete shambles, 8 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's hard to know where to begin with the problems with this coursebook. There wasn't much love around for the preceeding version, but this coursebook manages to fudge the fundamentals so badly, it's a wonder it ever made it off the press. The organisation is schizophrenic, often vague, often contradictory, and lacking in fundamentals. Although the course is about project management in marketing, the examples given often have little or nothing to do with marketing, and in many cases crucial information is omitted.

To give some examples: On page 246, you finally get to the Project Management Plan, the template for which should be the bedrock for the book. The book states, "the following is a good template to use". The accompanying explanation correctly states that a good project management plan should include objectives. Guess what's missing from the ten items in the provided template? That's right - the very template provided by CIM would fail the examining criteria issued by the CIM. What a blunder.

Other times, the information is pointlessly vague. In the section on scalable mehtodologies the books speaks of the nine dimensions used to identify the differences between minor and major projects, but doesn't actually list them. Why not? Scalable methodology will arguably be the most used for students of this text, yet it's given two worthless sentences where key information is missing.

The book is populated with real-life examples, many of which have nothing to do with marketing. For example, one section talkes about how a car manufacturer, faced with a supplier that couldn't deliver roofs for its new model had to offer that third party financial support to ensure the delivery of the vehicles. Now, you'd have to think quite hard in the modern age to come up with a business issue that *didn't* involve marketing in some way, but I think they just about managed it. What's being illustrated here is a manufacturing/ supply issue, and would never involve the marketing department, anymore than a decision as to how to manufacture a particular alloy would.

The information is delivered in a quite a haphazard, stream-of-consciousness way, too, as though someone where simply just spilling out their thoughts on project management in a vague, unstructured brain-dump. It's a frustrating book to navigate, given that sections frequently repeat themselves with different terminology. For example, the section on Project Implementation basically repeats the exact same criteria as the business case, without explaining the difference. That confusion is compounded because the section on Project Implementation Plans actually makes for a better Project Management Plan than the given project management plan (it at least features objectives as a recommended heading).

Truthfully, I think people are better of working from the 2009 coursebook, where information is more clearly laid out. There are more words in this re-hash, but most of them are rubbish.


100%
100%

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year, 29 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 100% (Audio CD)
Maverick, genre-hopping brilliance. 12 tracks any of which would be the stand-out on any other rock album. Skips through rock, country, world music, metal often in the space of a single track, yet remains tightly constructed and brilliantly focussed. One of the very best.


Lulu
Lulu
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £4.75

13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, unsettling, unique, 4 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lulu (Audio CD)
It's hard to review - or even listen to - this album outside of the context of the extraordinary critical mauling it's received. I placed a pre-order a while back, on the grounds that as a big fan of both Metallica and Lou Reed, I figured I was bound to like it. When I read the reviews, I tried to cancel, but it was too late. Having listened to it all the way through, I'm really glad I gave it a go.

It's an album that demands - and rewards - close attention. If your only experience of Lou Reed is the charity version of Perfect Day that came out on the back of Trainspotting, then this album is going to be an unpleasant shock. There's nothing remotely poppy or accessible about it - this is the modern equivalent of 'The Murder Mystery' from the album 'The Velvet Underground' played out across about ninety minutes.

What you do get is an unsettling and arresting 90 minute journey into the kind of queasy aesthetics of the top floor of the Tate Modern. If you're the kind of person who looks at Tracey Emin's unmade bed and says "That's not art", I would say that this album would be a major turn-off. If you're willing to give yourself over to the atmosphere and tone of something deliberately confrontational and grisly, then this will probably be an outstanding album for you.

The music is closer to a film-score than pop or rock songs - frequently ditching verse/ chorus structure in favour of slow builds and frantic climaxes. Someone complained about the lack of great riffs on the album, which seems like complaining about the lack of great kung-fu sequences in a Terence Malick film. It's not about hooks or melodies - it's about a deliberately unsettling soundscape. It also seems deliberately uncommercial, with the tracks pretty much built to be impossible to digest in and iTunes preview, and impossible to enjoy whilst travelling around London listening to them on your iPod. It's an album for sitting and listening and doing nothing else, which is pretty much the opposite of how music is usually experienced. I liked that difference alot; most poppy tracks spuff their ideas in the first 50 seconds or so; here the tracks have barely faded in by that point.

Yes it's deliberately artsy but this is *Lou Reed*, for goodness sake. That's been his style since the days of 'The Velvet Undergroung and Nico'. If self-consciously postmodern, New York arty music isn't your thing I'd stay away from the man altogether.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2011 1:36 PM GMT


Calm & the Storm: Deconstruction
Calm & the Storm: Deconstruction

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably good, 23 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Even by Devin's ridiculously high standards, this is a remarkable, brilliant package. Comprising two albums that exist at opposite ends of the spectrum, this covers alot of ground in terms of genre and content.

Nonetheless, the two albums included here comprise the possible greatest work by one of the greatest living songwriters. Despite being upt to 16 minutes long the songs always know exactly where they're going and come across as focussed, cohesive and ceaselessly inventive. It's truly brilliant.


Morning Glories Volume 1 TP
Morning Glories Volume 1 TP
by Nick Spencer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific New Series, 31 Mar. 2011
Bought this on a shopping trip to London on a total whim; I knew nothing about the book, or the people behind it - only that the comic shops around Charing Cross Road all seemed to be promoting it quite heavily.

Having read it one sitting, I immediately fell in love with it, and started shoving it under the nose of anyone who would listen. Set in an almost ludicrously sinister school, this first collection introducees the cast of six 'glories', gathered together for some mysterious reason, and manipulated by the villainous, violent teachers.

The book delves into familiar territory, dealing with the concept of individuality standing against institutions that treat the individual as a resource to be exploited - similar to 1984, The Prisoner, The Invisibles (which gets a name check) - but keeps the premise fresh by introducing archetypes that don't normally populate this kind of narrative. Other touchstones that spring to mind - Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - do the book a disservice, as it really does have its own identity, mixing together horror, sci-fi, dystopia, particle physics and sharp, effective characterisation to create a book that feels confident and well constructed.

The strong writing benefits from some excellent artwork - panels are well laid out, and before long the medium disappears. Given that the main cast is largely similar in age and clothing, the artist draws on a few techniques to keep the reader anchored. For one, the art is extremely consistent, and for another each character is given straightforward visual characteristics to make them easy to identify. In fact, the only times I became confused were because I hadn't given the book enough credit - doppelgangers feature crucially in the narrative and at first I put this down to lazy, confusing art, rather than putting together the clever scripting with what was happening on the page.

The artwork especially comes alive in the action sequences. I'd just read Zero Killer before coming to this title, and .that book showed how limply drawn action with no sense of motion can really drag a book down. Here, there's an impressive sense of physical reality, of movement, and power.

Finally, what really drew me into the book and had me howling with anguish at the prospect of having to wait 7 months for the next collection, was the book's sense of direction. Despite the many, many threads opened up in this first book there's a definite impression that the writer knows exactly where he's going with his world. It that sense the book this resembles more than any other is 100 Bullets - and it gives me the same sense of exhiliration and anticipation of watching a carefully constructed puzzle unfold, drawing on all the tools and advantages available in the medium. A great read, and one you'll want to share and re-visit.


Zero Killer
Zero Killer
by Arvid Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Undemanding Diversion, 4 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Zero Killer (Paperback)
A friend of mine gave me this for Christmas, which may mean that I was trying to like it more than I otherwise would have. It's got an interesting and unusual subtext about Africa and and its current place on the world stage, but it's buried pretty deep and isn't really explored. For the most part the book is set in a Manhattan that seems heavily influenced by the likes of DMZ and Escape From New York - isolated, over-run with gangs and so forth. It's got one of those undefeatable lead characters who never has any trouble facing down insurmountable odds and squaring off against bunch of unremarkable villains.

For a book that relies so heavily on the "Awesome!" moments of the main character laying the smackdown on some deserving scumbags, the art is curiously undynamic. That cover shot of Zero camply hanging off the side of the WTC with a blade dangling fey-ly from his hand gives you the idea. The story telling is often clumsy and mediocre - there's a confused ambush part way involving Zero going after an objective the villain couldn't possibly know he had, and there's more than one unconvincing last minute reprieve over the the course of the six issues. Also, each chapter is appended by a pastiche of a state-sponsored newsletter that fills in some welcome background detail but completely fails to convince as propaganda, given that the fictional fascist government is far more open and forthcoming than most present governments.

Nonetheless it's pretty undemanding, and despite lacking in impact that art is nicely detailed. The dialogue is crisp and to the point and as mentioned at the start there's at least one unusual idea in this post-Apocalyptic scenario.


The Puppet Company - Long Sleeves - Crocodile Hand Puppet
The Puppet Company - Long Sleeves - Crocodile Hand Puppet
Offered by Puppets By post
Price: £12.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Terrific, 2 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this to terrorize my 18 Month old daughter, and it's absolutely fantastic - really well made, and it looks terrific. As much as she hoots with laughter and fear when it cames after her, that doesn't stop her from picking it up at the end of playtime, handing it to me and demanding "Snap-snap!". A great puppet - well made, well designed and really excellent value.


Stewart Lee - If You Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One [DVD]
Stewart Lee - If You Prefer A Milder Comedian Please Ask For One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stewart Lee
Price: £18.41

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A staggering achievement, 14 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Caught the show during its London run last year, and watched the DVD last night, and returning to it drove home what an incredible, elaborate show it really it. It's not a gag-a-minute, and it doesn't really pander to what you might want, but what happens instead is an hour-and-a-half piece of theatre that escalates to an extraordinary double-climax, with a payoff that is first raucously hilarious, and then unexpectedly emotional.

What also comes across suprising well in this DVD is the atmosphere. There are moments here where the audience is clearly unsure of where Lee is going, and the tension in the room is accurately reflected by the DVD. There's a couple of moments near the start where the camerawork tramples over the punchline to a degree, but mostly the filming here subtly evokes the atmosphere of one of Stu's live shows.


Alien
Alien

5.0 out of 5 stars Not their best; still incredible, 1 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Alien (Audio CD)
A couple of other reviews (and Devin himself) have noted that Alien doesn't quite reach the dizzy heights of City. But then what does? This is still a fearsome achievement, and still stands head and shoulders above the best work of most heavy bands.


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