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Profile for Jem Shaw > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Jem Shaw "Jem Shaw" (Stafford, UK)

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Ambassador Cardboard Postal Tube, 50mm diameter x 450mm (Box of 25)
Ambassador Cardboard Postal Tube, 50mm diameter x 450mm (Box of 25)
Price: £13.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent price and ideal size for sending A2 prints, 7 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've sent several of these out, both within the UK and overseas, and they've come through undamaged and with the contents safe. An A2 print fits nicely inside with little space at each end, thus preventing the picture moving up and down and damaging the edges.

House of Shadows
House of Shadows
Price: £3.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle Chiller, 16 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: House of Shadows (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book for my wife and picked it up for a leaf-through. Fifty or sixty pages in I realised I was in for the long haul. I've bought some of Ms Herwin's children's books for my grandchildren and always enjoyed her avoidance of "talking down" to her audience. I was intrigued to see that she'd moved into adult women's fiction and this book certainly doesn't disappoint.

Almost by definition, women's fiction isn't my preferred genre, and this is where labels can be a bad thing. House of Shadows has a feminine tone, certainly, but it's far more of a psychological thriller; it sure as hell isn't chick-lit. It's refreshingly understated, with the chills coming from suggestion rather than ghastly apparitions - think Turn of the Screw, not The Devil Rides Out.

The Red Knight
The Red Knight
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not my genre, but a great read, 24 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Red Knight (Kindle Edition)
I received this book as a gift and should begin by stating that armour and magic don't figure much in my reading diet. I persevered with it out of courtesy to the giver and discovered a surprisingly good read. The author has avoided the trap of producing yet another imperfect copy of Tolkein or Eddison and writes instead in an earthy, frank voice that is at once surprising and surprisingly effective. At first I struggled with the narrator's use of vernacular - it's unusual to see the word "arse" anywhere but in dialogue - but once I was accustomed to the voice I felt no further problem with it.

I found a couple of areas where the pace flagged a little, but that might be my lack of engagement with the genre. If you're a fan of might and magic and fancy something with more dirt under its fingernails than the usual aseptic fare, this book is well worth your time.

I look forward to future work from this author.

No Parachute: A Classic Account of War in the Air in WWI
No Parachute: A Classic Account of War in the Air in WWI
Price: £6.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive memoir of WW1 flying, 29 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For me this is the first-hand record that says it all. Arthur Gould Lee tells his story with the simple honesty of a young pilot writing home to his wife. This was my principal research source when writing The Larks, so much so that Lee makes a brief cameo appearance in my novel.
Having spent fortunes on disintegrating second hand copies of this book I'm delighted to see it back in print.

Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable and believable, 10 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Touched (Kindle Edition)
Believable might not be the most obvious adjective for a book about a relationship with a dead person. But it's the way that the principal characters deal with their own scepticism that provides much of the persuasive power of this hugely entertaining book.

This isn't my usual reading genre, but I bought the book on recommendation from a friend. I admit that I expected a fairly saccharin piece of chick-lit; in fact Havard has avoided that trap with three-dimensional characters and the looming shadow of a serial killer's dark inner dialogue.

Highly recommended.

Technote NUX PG-1 Guitar Effects Processor, Tuner and Metronome
Technote NUX PG-1 Guitar Effects Processor, Tuner and Metronome
Offered by LUJII Direct
Price: £38.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little unit at an unbeatable price, 20 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This unit really can't be faulted at the price. Battery life is excellent (8 hours+) on Duracells, but poor on cheapo batteries. It's probably worth buying the power supply, which is only £3 at time of writing.

Here are the pros and cons I've come across:

Good Points
Good quality effects that are capable of producing very worthwhile guitar sounds.
The aux-in/headphone-out sockets make it indispensable for practice. I plug in my tablet to supply backing tracks and play away for hours without (further) destroying my marriage
The guitar tuner is accurate and a nice little bonus
I've not tried the metronome or tap-setting for tempo, but they're a further bonus if you need them

Not so Good
As noted by another reviewer, there's no foot control, so it's not possible to change effects while playing
Effects can only be adjusted in volume, not parameters. So, for example, the delay is fixed, not variable
There's no idle-power-off, so if you forget to switch it off, you'll come back to a flat battery

You have to remember that you're not paying much money, so it's unfair to criticise the unit for its few shortcomings. For not much over 20 quid, I absolutely can't fault it.

Bean's Gallipoli
Bean's Gallipoli

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb - but where are the photographs?, 29 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bean's Gallipoli (Kindle Edition)
This eye-witness, in the moment account of the heroic but mismanaged invasion of Anzac Cove may be the definitive reference work for the subject. Written with fairness and understanding, it paints an understated but complete portrait of a doomed campaign. Disappointing though that the advertised 80 photos are missing from the Kindle edition. This is made doubly frustrating by the fact that the captions are there to tell us what we're missing (and have paid for)!

Winged Victory
Winged Victory
Price: £0.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Undiscovered Classic, 7 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winged Victory (Kindle Edition)
Fictionalised, I suspect, only slightly from Victor Yeates's personal experiences, this is a vivid, touching portrait of the life of an ordinary RFC pilot. As much a classic as Sagittarius Rising or No Parachute, this book deserves far greater recognition.

PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant 100g
PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant 100g
Price: £5.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all true!, 23 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've never been fond of the idea of bunging up my pores with lumps of aluminium. And the Alzheimer's connection may not have been proved, but by the time a definitive answer appears I'm likely to have forgotten why I should be worried about it. But my wife's complaints finally dictated some action.

So here's the idea: You moisten a piece of rock and rub it on your humid bits. Imagine pitching that on Dragons' Den!

Except that it works.

Signs are that it's going to last too, so it's going to work out cheaper than the usual deodorants, and I'm suddenly popular and socially in-demand.

One fact in this review isn't entirely true...

You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here
You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here
Price: £12.24

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, the artist at the zenith of his form, 28 May 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having just taken delivery of this album, I'm once again lost in it. This is a true classic that I bought on vinyl when it first came out all those years ago.

Looking at the other reviews on this page I can see the album being praised with faint damns. I can understand that to some extent. It was too big a departure for many Ralph McTell fans to accept. The fluent, gymnastic guitar we'd always regarded as his trade mark is all but absent. Instead we have multi-layered backing from the London Symphony Orchestra and a team of musicians that includes Rick Wakeman and Caleb Quaye. Gus Dudgeon's production sounded too rich at first listen to us folkies. But by third listen, we were starting to get it.

So let's look at a few of the high spots:

Genesis 1 Verse 20
A lyrical, double-tracked, open-tuned guitar backs one of McTell's best melodies. The song refers to the fossil discoveries at Tendaguru. The synthesiser solo was state of the art in the seventies, and still sounds superb to my ears!

First and Last Man
The melody is almost hymnal, supporting superbly poignant lyrics. I notice an accusation of racism elsewhere on this page. To set the record a little straighter, the Noble Savage is, I think, a reference to Dryden's The Conquest of Granada, and Rousseau's Romantic philosophy. The song is about the destruction of fragile cultures under the impact of "civilisation".

Pick Up a Gun
"Thy will be done, said the preacher-man, lowering another poor boy down". The bitterness in this song is acid in its intensity. Dudgeon's production is fascinating, with strangely muted drums. I believe (but could be totally wrong) that the band arrangement was by Robert Kirby. Watch for the brilliantly quoted phrase from "Land of Hope and Glory" towards the end.

The Ferryman
McTell wrote this song, for me the high spot of the album, after reading Hesse's Siddhartha. The words are exceptional, expressing in a few minutes virtually the entire lesson of Buddhist philosophy.

OK, so I'm a fan. But at the time this was a ground-breaking work that was as hard for McTell fans to accept as Dylan's 1966 electric chainsaw attack. If you're looking for perfect pitch, buy something else instead. If you want to hear Ralph performing his acoustic aerobatics, stick with Eight Frames a Second.

But if you're ready to put in a bit of time, to hear beyond the odd shaky note, and LISTEN, you'll find, as I did, that this is an album that's still as much a delight as it was 37 years ago.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2008 7:54 PM BST

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