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Andrew Collings (North Yorkshire, England)

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Jools Holland's Big Band Rhyth
Jools Holland's Big Band Rhyth
Price: £20.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Rhythm & Blues Album, 6 Feb. 2007
Superb piano playing from Jools and some outstanding work from many of the greats of the music industry make this a real must-have for all fans of rhythm & blues. Stand out tracks include George Harrisons "Horse to the Water" (his last recording before his unfortunate passing), a typically nutty-boy performance from Suggs on "Oranges and Lemons Again" and (my particular favourite) some exquisite guitar riffs from Dave Gilmour on "I Put a Spell on You". Also look out for some real oddities that nonetheless work, such as Mark Knoppflers 50's rock and roll-style "Mademoiselle Will Decide" and Jamiroquais ska version of "I'm in the Mood for Love". Great stuff.

Singles: Flirt Up Your Life (PC CD)
Singles: Flirt Up Your Life (PC CD)

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad little game, 17 Nov. 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I picked this game up cheap, thinking it would be a minor distraction, good for eating up an hour or two while I waited for "The Burning Crusade" and "Realm of Chaos" to be released. In fact, once you get going, the game play is very addictive. Think "The Sims" without the need to micro-manage every aspect of your characters lives. There is still a lot of interaction in the game, but the AI means that your little guys and gals will react according to their personality much more readily and without having to be prompted - they will go to the toilet or take out the trash automatically, but only if their happiness meter drops as a result of your inaction. This also means that they won't starve to death if you forget to tell them to eat. A lot of people have criticised this aspect of the game, but I found it quite refreshing - the intuitive controls mean that you can pick up the basics in a matter of minutes without having to wade through a instruction book the size of a novel. A bit like Diet Sims - nearly as much fun and only half the calories.

Obviously the sex aspect is a large part of the game. The objective is to get your characters to fall in love, and ultimately, into bed together. While the packaging bawdily proclaims a level of naughtiness equal to a 1960s X-rated movie, we're talking more along the lines of "Porkies" and "Confessions of a Window Cleaner" here. The graphics are good, the models are *ahem* 'physically accurate', and i'm sure some people will get their jollies from having their characters stroll around in the nude, but this is not a sex sim. Watching telly together and going to work is as important as smoochies to your characters, and you neglect the washing up at your peril.

My one major complaint of the game is that it doesn't come with an instruction book. I know I said the controls are intuitive, but I did get a bit stumped at times when my characters refused to do things and i didn't know why. A brief description of the action and talk bubbles would have been handy. All in all though, a neat little game. Buy it if you feel like playing The Sims without spending a 5 hours figuring out the controls.

The Dream Stone [DVD]
The Dream Stone [DVD]

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once more we travel to the Land Of Nightmares..., 22 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Dream Stone [DVD] (DVD)
The year is 1990, and for the hordes of schoolkids returning home after a hard day at school, there is only one possible cartoon to watch - The Dreamstone on ITV.
Created by Michael Jupp, The Dreamstone was a wonderful animated series that ran for 4 series of 13 episodes each between 1990 and 1995. It chronicled the struggle between the kindly Dreammaker and his nemesis, Zordrak, the Lord of Nightmares and his attempts to destroy the Dreammakers powerful Dreamstone. The heroes of the show were Rufus and Amberley, two fearless Noops who lived in the Dreammakers town. Also along to help out were Pilditt, the leader of the Wutts, and, of course, the Dreammaker himself and his (literal) Dogfish Albert.
What made the show so exciting and watchable to kids and adults alike was the high quality of animation and the feeling that the main characters often were being placed in mortal danger - Zordraks luckless troops, the Urpneys, were often disposed of in gruemsome ways for failing to destroy the Dreamstone.
Even now, nearly 16 years later, this show holds a special place in my heart. From the nailbiting stories and magical settings to the wonderful voice work from Gary Martin, Melvyn Hayes and Anthony Jackson, the Dreamstone was unmissable. I have been waiting for a DVD release for many years, and now look forward to introducing my nephews and nieces to the magic of The Dreamstone.

by David Weber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read, 20 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Bolo! (Hardcover)
This is the first time I have read a Bolo book, and I have to admit that the only reason I bought it was because I have read everything else by David Weber, and this was the only thing left! Needless to say, the writing and style is very tight, with few of the arcane technical explanations which have a tendency to slow down Webers books. The characterisations of both Humans and Bolos was well observed, and the battle scenes were (obviously) breathtaking. All in all, a recommended read. I will now be tracking down the other Bolo books, I hope they turn out to be as good as this one

At All Costs (Honor Harrington)
At All Costs (Honor Harrington)
by David Weber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.50

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weber is back on form!, 24 Nov. 2005
After the (frankly disappointing) 'War of Honor' and 'Crown of Slaves', I was a bit apprehensive about this latest entry in the HH series. The previous books had, in my view, concentrated far too much on machiavellian politics and it did it in a rather flat and uninspired manner. So when I picked up this 800+ page monster I was fervantly hoping for a return to his previous form. I am glad to say that it is. Fans of 'Old School' Weber will relish a return to the epic space battles of his earlier books, and for those who liked the direction of the later books there is plenty of political manuevering, only this time around it reads much better. Mr Webers writing still seems to have matured significantly since Crown of Slaves, and this time around your sympathies lay as much with Haven as with Manticore. Be prepared though - he's killing off his characters in job lots! I counted the death of one Major character and at least 4 important secondary characters with several other known faces falling by the wayside. If I have a complaint, it's that Mr Weber still includes massive blocks of unecessary prose at times. Also, Honors list of titles is becoming faintly ridiculous, seemingly taking up half the book itself!
The surprise ending leaves the way open for at least one more book, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the series continuing for two or possibly three more installments. Good to see you back, David.

Against The Odds: Book 7: Serrano Legacy
Against The Odds: Book 7: Serrano Legacy
by Elizabeth Moon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but..., 23 Oct. 2005
Having just finished the last book of the series, I can't help but paraphrase that old TS Eliot quote "This is the way the series ends - Not with a bang but a whimper". On the whole, I enjoyed the series very much. The Heris Serrano books were well written and (despite a strange preoccupation with the minutia of breeding horses) contained many memorable sequences. Esmay Suiza was, to my mind, an even better heroine than Heris and her first two books are the strongest on the series. But then it comes to the last two books, and it just seems to be a mad rush to get to the last page. Elizabeth Moon has lots of good plot ideas throughout the series - The Benignity, the Bloodhorde, the mutineers, the problems on Altiplano, Sirialis and Copperwalls, the Rejuvenant vs, Aegist problem, the NewTex Militia etc., but she seems to have tried to cram in as much as she possibly could, and the effect is to leave far too much up in the air. What happened to the fugitive confessor? Why DID Arash Livadhi do what he did? What happened on Sirialis? All these questions (and many more) go unanswered.
In my opinion, Elizabeth had enough plot ideas to fill twelve books, not just seven. And if she didn't want to write so many, one can't help but feel she should have left half of her ideas out in the interest of streamlining the story.
Having said all that, I enjoyed the series and will adding her, alongside David Weber and John Ringo, on my list of American authors who deserve more UK recognition.

Tick: The Entire Series [DVD] [2001] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Tick: The Entire Series [DVD] [2001] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A secret message... from my teeth!, 1 Dec. 2004
An American friend of mine recommended this to me, saying that once I had watched it I would be writing to the Fox network, cursing them for cancelling such an amazing show and demanding a new series.
He was not wrong.
Having been a massive fan of The Tick cartoon I was a bit hesitant about a live action version, but this is one of those unfortunately rare animals - a clever, well written American comedy that doesn't rely on cheesy wise-cracks and canned laughter. In fact, the writing is very remeniscent of Sonnefields Men in Black. The humour is very well observed, and deadpan in the extreme, delivered by some of the best comedy actors it has been my pleasure to watch in a long time. Patrick Warburton was born to play the Tick, David Burke makes a suitably neurotic Arthur, and Liz Vassey shines as Captain Liberty, but for me Nestor Carbonell steals the show as Hispanic lothario Batmanuel.
Only nine episodes were commissioned by Fox - apparently they were after something quirky and different. They cancelled the show because it was quirky and different. Proof positive that the bean counters just didn't get it.
The DVD itself is a little thin on extras - a handful of mildly amusing commentries by Sonnenfield and Edlund and that's about it. All nine episodes are included, and the picture and sound are perfect transfers. I am a little at a lost as to why they felt the need to release 9 episodes on 2 discs, but hey, it's a miracle it got released in the first place.
If you're a fan of the Tick, buy this now. If you're a fan of Sonnenfield, buy this now. In fact, just buy this now.

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