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It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness
It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness
by Suzanne O'Sullivan
Edition: Hardcover

27 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate and provocative title for a book filled with compassion, 9 Feb. 2016
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Firstly, I'm a medical doctor. I have daily contact with people who present with functional disorders, conversion disorders and somatisation disorders. What strikes me about this book is the compassion of the Author for her patients. It is obvious throughout the book that her first priority is for her patients' well being, and I salute her approach: we should all be as bold in approaching these diagnoses without fear. We don't do it because it's easier not to, to the detriment of our patients' health.

It is striking the number of ignorant and ill-informed reviews attached to this book. It's clear most of the reviewers haven't read the book and those that have have done so with preconceived ideas of what it says. The pseudo-scientific babble accompanying the most vitriolic would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic: holding these views will clearly prevent people accepting and accessing the only treatments proven to improve outcomes, namely psychological therapies such as CBT.

I was lead to this book by a relative of a patient. She was only just coming to terms with the fact that her relative had a functional illness, although the patient herself could not accept it. In my conversation with her she told me this book had been recommended to her by a psychiatrist and had given her hope that her relative may recover. I'm glad I've read it and hope I can channel some of Dr O'Sullivan's compassion and honesty when treating sufferers of these conditions.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2016 11:12 AM BST

Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - Series 1 [DVD]
Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Noel Fielding
Price: £7.33

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I've gone a bit wrong", 18 Jan. 2013
I have a confession. I was never into the mighty boosh. Not sure why, it just seemed to pass me by. It came along too late for my student days, though I'm sure I'd have appreciated it more back when I had long hair and red eyes.

I got into this series by accident: it was on when I got home late one night (stupid shifts) and there was nothing else on. I can't say I loved it immediately either, I thought it was a bit weird just for the sake of being weird and didn't see the point of most of it. It lacked structure. I like my comedy shows to have structure.

I did, however, love 'Fantasy Man' immediately, and it was this character that prompted me to record the rest of the series. This character, in sequin chain-mail and with a plastic cup for a beard, would go on quests in an alternative reality with graphics harking back to ZX Spectrum days. He was the way in to the series for me, something I could point to as a reason to continue watching,

I grew quite fond of Noel and his bizzare friends. Andy Warhol was a surreal and quite sinister home-help, while Smooth (the butler type character) was friendlier even if his exact origin couldn't be determined. Half human, half elephant? And was I the only one to find Dolly hot? I thought she was hot. In a strange, post-ironic post-feminist kind of way. This show makes you think you can use terms like 'post-ironic' and 'post-feminist' in conversation.

Slowly, it grew on me. I found myself quoting bits of the show, and chuckling about sketches weeks later. And as confirmation of its 'grower' status, I still find myself thinking of lines from the show and laughing. The Brian Ferry kite didn't strike me as particularly funny at the time, but it really is! It's genius!

It's a bit hit and miss, but the benefits of such wild and surreal experimentation outweigh the odd awkward Doo-Rag. Overall I enjoyed it very much, and I'm looking forward to the release of the box set.

Price: £8.18

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chased, thrilled and altered, 15 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Interpol (Audio CD)
I was really surprised to find so many less than happy with this album. I like it very much and, having been slightly bored with their last release, was pleased to fall back in love with this wonderful band.

Contrary to the 'running out of ideas' line of argument that I've seen, I think this album demonstrates a developing of the band's sound beyond 'antics' and 'our love...'. Subtle, I grant you, but there has been progress!

Paul sounds wistful and full of regrets which is just how we like him, I'm sure. His delivery is cold and dispassionate but I don't interpret this as 'bored'. For me, it adds weight to his confessions of bitterness and loss. Listen to the backing vocals of 'Lights': this is not a man going through the motions!He sounds in turn bitter, cynical, angry and at times downright obsessive and creepy. Good man.

The album plays well, it sounds very much like interpol but with a richer sound than was evident on 'antics' and 'our love...'. It seems unfair to compare it to 'turn on the bright lights' because that was 10 years ago - it's a very different beast. It's like comparing a student party with a dinner party - I have fond memories of passing out in flower beds but I much prefer conversation over a glass of wine these days. That said, I've only given this album 4* because there's nothing that comes close to 'leif erikson'. Or 'untitled'. Or the barely contained exuberance at the start of 'Roland'. Oh, I'm such a sucker for nostalgia...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2012 11:14 AM GMT

First Steps in Winemaking
First Steps in Winemaking
by Cyril J. J. Berry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.46

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect place to start, 1 Mar. 2012
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I wanted to start making my own country wine and, like everybody else who's walked into a winemaking shop in search of essentials, I walked out with this book in amongst the demijohns and steriliser.

There's a reason why everybody starts with this book - it does the job brilliantly. Here is a man with vast knowledge and experience, distilling it all into a small, easy to read paperback.

The introductory sections are at first bewildering but having gone through the process with the first few gallons it's clear they hold vital information. Re-reading them with some experience under my belt they made a lot more sense.

There are some great recipes here too, with suggestions for wines from every month of the year. With these as templates and a foundation of guidance from the introductory chapters I've been experimenting happily - I'll let you know in a few months how they've turned out!

There are problems - not all the recipes follow the same pattern so can be confusing to read at first. Sometimes every step is explained in painful detail, for others you are simply given the basics. I suspect some mistakes too, pectolase instead of amylase for example in the parsnip wine. Also, use the hydrometer as guidance for sugar amounts instead of following the recipes - some of my wine has been way too sweet and others like rocket fuel! I've found I use far less sugar when aiming for 13-14% abv.

(I didn't know what a hydrometer was before reading this book by the way, now I'm using it without a problem)

There is much more to know - the differences in clearing agents and when to use them for example - but I don't think that belongs in a book entitled 'first steps'. Here is the sum of what you need to know at the beginning, and you will make perfectly good wine with only this book as a guide.

I love the pictures too, I can only imagine what the author's wife thought of every available space in the house covered with demijohns!

Build A Rocket Boys!
Build A Rocket Boys!
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm stamping my foot...., 29 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Build A Rocket Boys! (Audio CD)
No, Elbow, no! Bad Elbow!

It's all been said, and I feel emboldened now to say my peice. Too long have I sat quietly in shame, harbouring my guilty secret while Britain lofts Elbow high on its shoulders as the new saviours of music: I don't like this album.

It sounds like an Elbow album. But where is the charm? Where is the humour? Where is the bitter-sweetness that made their other releases so delicious?

I agree with the point made by others, and join their applause that the band avoided what must have been huge pressure to release an album of 'hits'. I just don't like what they made instead.

I blame Guy: he seems rather too content these days. I don't want to wish misery on such a charming, funny man, but for the sake of their next record he must be made unhappy!

('The Birds' is a great song though. There is hope)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2014 10:57 PM BST

Sweet Sour
Sweet Sour
Price: £12.84

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining album, 29 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Sweet Sour (Audio CD)
I was raised on a diet of classic rock and found this album very comforting - I feel like a seven year old in the back of my Dad's capri again!

There was a self-conscious irony about the wave of rock bands preceding 'Band of Skulls' - The Datsuns, The Darkness et al. The way they brazenly displayed their influences as if they knew they ought to be ashamed of something but felt that attack was the best form of defence seemed to limit them to producing simple homages to their heroes. No such qualms here, Band of Skulls happily rock out without reserve allowing them to build on their influences and bring the rock sound up to date.

The lyrical rhythm of the title track is very infectious and the time signature of Wanderluster provides an added dimension of interest in the album. The sound is rather heavily produced, however, and lacks the rawness of the Datsuns'. I think this is the major flaw because towards the end of the album the tracks start to blur into one another.

It is a very easy listen though and is keeping me entertained on my daily drive to work. Definitely worth a look

The Mentalist Season 1 [DVD] [2010]
The Mentalist Season 1 [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Simon Baker
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £9.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable American Drama, 29 Feb. 2012
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I've been hooked on the later series of 'The Mentalist' showing recently on Channel 5 and thought I'd buy this DVD start from the beginning. Contrary to my expectations, this show hit its stride from the very start and even the pilot has the richness and depth in characters and story that I've come to love of the later series.

Much has been said of the depth of the characters but it bears repeating. All are flawed, and seeing the imperfections and touches of humanity in all of them is a joy.

Simon Baker as the lead role, in tandem with some excellent scripts, strikes a difficult balance: an individual with a gift for observation and a ready supply of entertaining mind games, arrogant and charasmatic, who has learned (a little) humility following the murder of his wife and child. There must have been a temptation to make Patrick Jane a kind of superhero, a flawless crime fighter with supernatural powers but his stunts sometimes backfire and though he is loathed to admit it he is occasionally suprised as events unfold. And he gets a bloody nose for his troubles at least once every other episode... I think I would have more difficulty accepting Jane's abilities if I wasn't such a fan of a certain Mr D Brown, whose sharp mind, sharp tailoring, quick wits and occasional miscalculations are brought very readily to mind while watching this series. Many of the tricks and techniques such on display in Derren's TV and live shows are also present in Jane's repetoire.

The relationship between Jane and Lisbon is brought vividly to life and fairly crackles with the chemistry between the actors on screen. Though there are hints, we are fortunately spared any tiresome romantic involvement and an element of tension between them is brought deliciously into focus when Jane confides his aim if Red John is found.

Rigsby and Van Pelt's 'thing' feels a little more strained and is less believable. It is not a major plot line, however, and is treated with deftness and subtlety by the writers.

Disbelief must still occasionally be suspended for the sake of entertainment and at times the stories can be a little formulaic. It is rare, however, that I feel unsatisfied or disappointed and for that I am grateful. And with almost 1000 minutes of running time, there is more than enough here to keep me entertained for a few weeks.

I would recommend this series to anybody, even cynical old men who usually tut and roll their eyes at tedious american dramas. I defy you not to be charmed by this wonderful peice of entertainment.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Replacement ariel on Skoda Fabia vRS, 25 Feb. 2012
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Some little oik nicked my OEM ariel and didn't fancy paying £40 for another one. This one fits nicely and looks pretty good - from a distance it doesn't look out of place though up close it obviously doesn't belong there! The reception is quite poor though - I appreciate I live in the back of beyond but the original ariel didn't have any problems picking up stations and RDS signals wherever I was. It's not a disaster, just occasionally annoying. There's a stretch of the M4 where I can only get Radio 1! I choose silence...

The Fool
The Fool
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A little gift to all indie fans, 25 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Fool (Audio CD)
What a great album! Mellow indie with off-kilter harmonies and ethereal guitar lines. It reminds me a lot of early 'Lush' and other shoegazers, but there's definitely more than a little Nirvana here - right down to the 'what's the matter/you hurt yourself' borrowed from Polly in 'undertow'

I liked it the first time I heard it, but I know it's a good album when different songs jump out at me at different times. 'Shadows' is currently my favourite. This track inparticular showcases what a good rhythm section the band has with Stella thumping along imaginatively.

Few indie fans would be disappointed with this in their collection. It's familiar but refreshingly different. Looking forward to their next.

Samsung Galaxy Apollo i5801 Android Unlocked Mobile phone - Deep Black
Samsung Galaxy Apollo i5801 Android Unlocked Mobile phone - Deep Black

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Caution advised, 3 Aug. 2011
I bought this phone because I'm a cheapskate. On my tariff, the galaxy S was going to cost £[] but the Apollo was only []. I use my phone only for calls, texting and social networking. I don't run many apps and don't watch videos etc so I thought getting a cheaper, simpler phone would be sensible. I've had this phone for about 9 months now and it's seriously annoying me...

Unfortunately, this phone doesn't do the basics very well. I'm assuming the processor is very underpowered because it is SO slow! It's slow to start up, it's slow to change screens. The apps run slowly. Making a call is a pain as getting to the 'phone' screen requires selecting several options, and after each one the phone has to have a little think to see if it agrees with you...

Texts are a nuisance - the 'Swype' system produces more hilarious/irritating word suggestions than predictive text ever managed, and the touch-screen keypad is so small that accurate input is at best difficult. And I have quite iffeminate hands. Plus, occasionally, when the phone is having one of it's 'little thinks' it misses whole words out altogether.

The email/news etc updates are sporadic and occasionally stop working altogether. The processor is so slow that scrolling maps (for example) can take a while (even when connected to wifi). And talking of maps, the GPS can take so long to acquire a satellite that I'm halfway to my destination before I get any directions.

I feel I'm being a bit harsh - this is a (relatively) cheap phone that looks good, is compact, and sort of fulfills the requirement for a smartphone... it just does it very slowly. It obviously hasn't been given the power it needs, but as such I'd advise caution if you're considering buying one. My partner has a motorola defy for around the same price and this is an excellent phone - much bigger screen, much faster in everything it does and even has a flash for those of you who believe that phones should be attached to cameras. Get one of them instead!

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