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Frattonlad (Portsmouth, United Kingdom)

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Philadelphia International: The Collection
Philadelphia International: The Collection
Price: 28.35

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soulful funk or funky soul?, 9 May 2014
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Who cares? When the sounds are this good the labels become irrelevant.

It's no secret the Philadelphia International was home to some of the most cherished songs and artists involved in the Philly scene. This superlative collection combines big-hitters like The O'Jays and Billy Paul along with fan favourites such as Bunny Sigler and Jean Carn.

For a couple of quid per disc this is worth taking a punt on but there really are no duff selections. With a back catalogue like PI's the only arguments will be over what has been left out. I can only hope that a second volume appears as there are many more gems that are currently either hard-to-find or stupidly expensive or both.

The packaging is cute, the lift off top reveals the 20 discs packaged in vinyl replica sleeves which give easy access to the CDs inside along with a booklet giving an overview of each album and a tracklisting (this is worth perusing as several discs have bonus live or remixed tracks not on the original release). Personal favourite at the moment is the sublime 360 Degrees of Billy Paul but ask me tomorrow and that will have changed.

This package is a perfect accompaniment to the wonderful 4-disc Tom Moulton remix set which means that you can have all of the important PI music from the seventies (and the sole 80s album: Patti Labelle's I'm In Love Again) for under 50. A snip.

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's Book 1)
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's Book 1)
Price: 0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars A genuine must-finish-this page-turner, 27 April 2014
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The old saying goes: 'don't judge a book by it's cover'. I'm glad I didn't. The cover is awful and in no way gives any clue to what lies within.

What does lie within is a really compelling time-travelling, romantic thriller. There is plenty of action, plenty of sharp dialogue, some great punch-ups and a page-turning storyline.

As with all time-travel novels there are loopholes that remain unexplained (the author wisely has one of the characters dissuade another character from asking too many questions on the subject) which might bother the pedantic but I was happy enough to ignore them.

For the first third of the book I was reading at my usual leisurely pace but then a couple of events turned the book from an enjoyable find to an unputdownable, must-finish-this joy. I finished the remainder in next to no time.

I have already downloaded the second and third instalments in order to keep up with Max and the St Mary's team, my hope is that the author keeps the series going. Maybe not as long as Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series but certainly, if the quality level is maintained, we could enjoy another dozen of these.

Kudos Ms Taylor, keep up the good work.

The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox
The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox
Price: 5.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as advertised, 1 Nov 2013
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I really should pay attention to book reviews. I read film and music reviews but rarely for books. If I had I would have avoided this like the plague.

It's not a bad book, certainly well written and tells a reasonably interesting story. The problem is its almost nothing to do with life in a Fleet Street newsroom which is why I wanted to read it.

This details, at enormous length, the protracted and venomous divorce of the author and her husband. He sounds like a complete git but then this is only one side of the story so that is pretty much a given. The prose is full of long rants and ponderous musing which I found hard to wade through.

There are some insights into the life of a Fleet Street hack but for those who follow Foxy on Twitter and read her blog you are better sticking with them. This is a divorce story and a divorce story only. It's occasionally witty but not enough for me to recommend.

I can only hope that writing this has proven cathartic for the Fox and that her next book delivers what is promised in the cover.

That Liverpool Girl
That Liverpool Girl
Price: 3.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not quite great, 18 July 2013
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After hugely enjoying the Elizabeth Jane Howard's wartime Cazelet saga I settled on this as something that would fill the gap left after that epic four-book series.

Whilst not in the same league, it is enjoyable. the characters are well drawn and the story intertwined with Liverpool life during the early years of the war very well.

My gripes are twofold: there is an occasional chapter that ends with an Enid Blyton-style 'but she would soon come to regret saying that' sort of teaser. I hated then when I was a child and I don't like them now. just tell me the story. The second annoyance is I feel sometimes that the characters are speaking in the 1940s with a modern day knowledge.

Neither are enough to stop this being a moving and enjoyable tale but they are enough to stop me wanting to read to many more period novels by Ms Hamilton.

Gray Justice (Tom Gray #1)
Gray Justice (Tom Gray #1)

2.0 out of 5 stars A book of contradictions, 6 July 2013
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This starts well, a plausible set-up, tight plotting and a fast pace. The writing is riddled with clichés but I can forgive that when I am enjoying the plot.

Why only two stars then? Well, the last two thirds are rather leaden. The constant right-wing political overtones are a hindrance to the storytelling and some of the characters are just a little too one-dimensional.

There is a nifty twist or two but they came along too late to salvage the story for me. The secondary storyline is also too over-the-top to be credible.

In summary, with some taut editing this could have been a really good read. As it stands it falls short.

Cell 8
Cell 8
Price: 2.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 20 May 2013
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This review is from: Cell 8 (Kindle Edition)
Don't expect another Steig Larsson simply because the authors are Scandinavian. This is a well-crafted story told at a leisurely yet compelling pace.

It's difficult to reveal much without giving anything away. This is a novel which deals with retribution and redemption and creates several characters about whom you do begin to care.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and the thoughtful reader will too.

The Killing 1
The Killing 1
Price: 3.59

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 15 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Killing 1 (Kindle Edition)
This is an easy read, especially if you have seen the show. Other reviewers have mentioned the repetitive descriptions - and I agree - they do jar.

Despite being well written it does read like a script from the audio described for the partially sighted version of the show.

It is worth persevering with though as the pay off is very rewarding - it does take effort to get there though.

Scramble With Friends Free
Scramble With Friends Free
Price: 0.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works fine - with a little effort, 28 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Scramble With Friends Free (App)
Zynga is heavily reliant on ads it is true, and in order to get it to work on the Fire as well as my phone required a little effort but once done it does what it should. It is a great word game and fun to play in short bursts.

Saturnalia [VINYL]
Saturnalia [VINYL]

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dream pairing, 1 April 2008
This review is from: Saturnalia [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I have been a fan of both Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan for over a decade now.

The thought of the pair teaming up is a mouth-watering one.

The album does not disappoint either. Lead vocals are usually a case of one or the other but both offer fine backing vox to each other.

Mark Lanegan opens proceedings with the superb The Stations which sets a high standard for the rest of the album. The duo don't let up. Each track is crafted beautifully and the 52 minutes simply fly by.

Current favourite track is I Was In Love With You. Greg on lead vocals, sounding like The Jesus & Mary Chain's Jim Reid fronting late-period Beatles.

I still buy most new music on vinyl. I'm no technophobe though. I have an iPod and it was a welcome surprise to find a slip of paper tucked inbetween the two records offering me a free MP3 download of the entire disc from the Sub Pop website. Very thoughtful, most welcome and I emplore the other labels to follow suit.

Panasonic TX-32LM70 - 32" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV
Panasonic TX-32LM70 - 32" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true bargain, 14 Aug 2007
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Having been looking for a replacement for my 10-year-old CRT TV for some months now I was taken aback to find this TV at 399. All the reviews I have read point to Panasonic as one of the market leaders in LCD and plasma screens.

This TV is another fine model in Panasonic's impressive range. OK, it's the bottom of the range but it's still streets ahead of similarly priced TVs and better than many costing a fair bit more.

You only get a basic analogue tuner and the refresh rate is a meagre 50hz but to be honest I've yet to find fault with it on that front. You need to spend quite a bit more to move up the product range with this being so cheap. If you move up the range you can get a better refresh rate (100Hz) and an integral Freeview digital tuner but if you already have cable or another digital source you probably won't miss it.

I have not even connected using HDMI yet but I can report that my cable TV (connected via SCART) and my DVD recorder (composite) and DVD player (SCART) all provide sharp pictures with plenty of saturation and black blacks. My PowerMac laptop displays beautifully with a DVI to HDMI lead as well.

The sound is better than I expected but if you want a TV this size then you'll also want a decent surround-sound setup and now I finally have TV that does justice to my amp and speakers.

I'm not sure why the previous reviewer got such a poor picture quality - the range of connections on offer suggest he may not have tried them all. He may not have given it time to 'run-in' either.

The colours on mine (now 3 weeks old) are now bright and vibrant in a way they weren't when I first switched it on.

I would say: buy with confidence. Panasonic is a brand you can trust and the price is very appealing.

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