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Lewis Graham "lewisgraham" (East Anglia)
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Betjeman's Best British Churches
Betjeman's Best British Churches
by John Betjeman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £28.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Update, 24 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Betjeman had a significant interest in buildings, as his campaigning work to preserve ST Pancras station proved. This volume about churches has taken his original work and applied a skilful update.

County by county, the book documents a thumbnail sketch about the county, notable churches and their architecture. The county sketches are especially interesting as they put the county into context before the industrial revolution. It is interesting to read about Staffordshire as viewed from the 16th century, a county divided between high ground to the north and rich, pastoral land to the south - the potteries and redundant iron works are for the future.

For those interested in visiting particular churches, the inclusion of GPS and OS locations is a help, especially where the church is away from a village.

This would make a magnificent gift for anyone who wants to understand the churches around them, their historical context. It would also make a superb coffee-table book to flip through on occasion.


I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (Vintage Beeb)
I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (Vintage Beeb)
by Graeme Garden
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £9.25

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angus is Back!, 3 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is hard to believe that so many comedians who would come to dominate British comedy could be in one place at one time, yet so it was. Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Garden and Bill Oddie (who founded the Goodies) and John "Otto" Cleese all form part of it.

The episodes selected are a good choice: sometimes the cultural references will wash over anyone under 40 and the format - sketches with musical numbers - will also seem a little old-fashioned, but that's what was done in times gone by. Married with the choice of episodes is a very decent remastering that will please anyone who remembers medium-wave in the evenings.

For the listener of a certain age, this will be priceless memory of when they/we were young. The nostalgic CD pressing - that looks like a record - is nice but a bit of a gimmick.


The Private Patient: Radio Drama (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries)
The Private Patient: Radio Drama (Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries)
by P. D. James
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Partner to Drive With, 3 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very good dramatisation of a novel. Atmospheric and engaging with some decent acting that brings the plot together.


The Eagle of the Ninth (BBC Radio)
The Eagle of the Ninth (BBC Radio)
by Rosemary Sutcliff
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £12.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Sandals and Brotherhood, 6 Jun 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story, of an injured Centurion looking for a symbolic eagle, is a gripping one. A tale of tribes, Hadrian's Wall and escape is well worth hearing and offers the scope for several listenings.

So what of this production? This is around two hours of well-made drama, decently acted and atmospheric. The main characters are all well done, although the main character - a young professional soldier - does sound a little limp. Since Russell Crowe donned Roman armour the impression is that such parts should be played with manly vigour: nonetheless it is satisfactory.

This would help a long car journey go by without too much effort.


Darning the Dream
Darning the Dream
Price: £9.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weaving not Darning, 2 April 2011
This review is from: Darning the Dream (Audio CD)
This is an excellent introduction to an exciting new voice. Sarah has a beautiful voice: apparently effortless, expressive and musical that brings both her own material and standards to life.

For me the best track was "Workin' Hard": witty, energetic and rhythmic, it swung perfectly and despite being over four minutes long didn't flag in the slightest. Her version of "Love for Sale" was well-sung, but perhaps not an ideal choice. There wasn't quite the sense of a seedy, down-at-heel environment that this needed.

This is a great album: excellent listening, full of variety and Sarah is very well supported by the band. Sarah weaves great music from the material. I hope this is the first of many albums.


Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements
Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements
by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Odd yet Complelling, 4 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an odd book, yet compelling. Normally when the Elements are mentioned it's in scientific terms: metal, noble gas and so on. But what this book does is talk about how elements have been used in civilisation, how they were discovered and something about them.

Rather like a zoo, the writer talks about each one: at first metals that can be extracted such as Gold, Silver and Copper. Then as time goes by there are other elements too: sodium, sulphur and Phosphorous.

This is an intriguing book for the general reader and a delightful romp around the periodic table.


Hancock's Half Hour: Series 1 (Golden Age of BBC Radio Comedy)
Hancock's Half Hour: Series 1 (Golden Age of BBC Radio Comedy)
by Ray Galton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £12.94

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gold From the Archives, 13 Feb 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Anthony Aloysius St.John Hancock - AKA The Lad Himself - could take a script and weave it into pure gold. With his writers Galton and Simpson he was allowed a half hour slot without musical numbers - a rare privilege at the time - to tell a story.

These four episodes were his first, broadcast in 1954, showing the way the programmes would go in the future. With his sidekick Bill Kerr and featuring Sid James, these stories ae very good listening. They are also an interesting nugget of social history. One features a story about class and aristocracy that would puzzle anyone not born of or aware of the times.

There are already a large number of commercial recordings of Hancock available: indeed Hancock himself remade several episodes for release on LP in the late 1950's. However these episodes, with their excellent sound quality and decent presentation, are a valuable addition.


Just a Minute: Best of 2010 (BBC Radio 4 Comedy)
Just a Minute: Best of 2010 (BBC Radio 4 Comedy)
by Just a Minute
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £11.24

4.0 out of 5 stars No Repetition or Deviation from Amusement Here, 13 Feb 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This programme, devised over forty years ago, is a Radio Four staple. Ably chaired by Nicholas Parsons and featuring a range of able speakers this is an amusing and interesting programme to listen to. The strength of the programme - shown by these discs - is the way it can bring in a range of talent to keep the format fresh.

These four programmes are charming, witty and enjoyable examples of the type. Quite how much fun they would be after the tenth listening, I'm not so sure. However as something to lift a dull road trip, these would make a fine companion.


Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories
Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories
by John Taylor
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £12.26

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On The Right Tracks, 12 Feb 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The canon of Holmes and Watson is so well known, so parodied and so repeated that new stories need to be very good indeed. These stories are a curious mixture: one a little obvious, one somewhat contrived but very interesting and one a right corker. Without going into the plots - and hence spoil your enjoyment - they all relate to railways in some way, albeit a little loosely in one case.

The approach is to make them a reading rather than a radio dramatisation. This works well: Benedict Cumberbatch puts sufficient drama into the readings and the limited sound effects are artfully done.

Overall they are entertaining and worth a listen.


Roberts R9924 Sports 924 3-Band Portable Radio with Long Wave
Roberts R9924 Sports 924 3-Band Portable Radio with Long Wave

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Miniature Wireless, 12 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had a yearning for a long-wave radio I could carry around with me. My local area has poor VHF/FM reception so for Radio Four, it had to be long wave. The feel of the radio is quite nostalgic: analogue tuning, a combined on/off switch and volume control, a tuning scale with ILR printed on it - just so 70's.

Well, switching on showed that the makers have got it just right. Reception on long wave is excellent, delivering at night stations from all over western Europe. Medium wave managed to find Radio Scotland - a distance of 250+ miles from my home location. Sound quality on the built-in speaker is good and it all runs on 2-AA (perhaps I should say HP7!) batteries, although if I'd opened it and found it needed a PP3 I wouldn't have been surprised.

I own many radios, DAB, short-wave and several others. For portability, performance and nostalgia value, this is hard to beat.


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