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Robbie Swale

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England Keep My Bones
England Keep My Bones
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted album, lifting Frank to a new level., 21 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: England Keep My Bones (Audio CD)
It's rare these days for anyone to create an album on a theme, but this one - written by master lyricist Frank Turner about his love for England - is beautifully crafted, and makes me more patriotic than I have felt for a long time.

If you're new to Frank Turner, prepare yourself for a wonderful selection of poetic and profound lyrics, which will uplift you, make you shiver and occasionally make you well up. Well, that's what you'll do if you're anything like me or the hundreds of thousands who have been converted to followers by his constant touring and the constant and improving quality of his songwriting.

If you're not new to Frank, but don't buy this album: on release, it felt to me like perhaps his best work, even if the far more raw Love Ire & Song [Explicit] perhaps means more to me personally. The songwriting is taken to a new level, and in making the songs - deliberately or not - centre around his love for England, this feels like a true album: something that should be consumed as a whole.

There are numerous highlights, starting with the singles: the stomping Peggy Sang The Blues, the catchy, live favourite If Ever I Stray, the beautiful Wessex Boy - an ode to having a truly British home town - and the spectacular anthem I Still Believe, made extra famous by its broadcast as part of the Olympic open ceremony. But of course the true quality of an album like this is in the album tracks, and this one is singularly spectacular: from the mini opening track, Eulogy to the awesome closer, Glory Hallelujah, via the soaring I Am Disappeared and stomping One Foot Before The Other, this is superb.

It's no exaggeration to say Frank Turner has had a profound effect on my life, and this is a superb place to start, continue or complete your Frank collection.

(Oh, and as a post-script, if you can get the deluxe edition, the extra tracks that come with that are well worth a few extra quid: the lovely Song For Eva Mae, written about his goddaughter, the heart-wrendingly sad Wanderlust, the soaring and brilliant Balthazar, Impresario - containing some of my favourite Frank lyrics so far - and sometimes the starkly simple Sailor's Boots.)

Breville Power Steam VIN292 Digital Steam Iron - 2,400 Watts
Breville Power Steam VIN292 Digital Steam Iron - 2,400 Watts

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great iron: stylish and functional, 21 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really good iron: easy to use (even the first time - very straightforward), effective (with all the usual functions) and it looks really cool. Somehow it doesn't look that much like an iron, which is actually surprisingly refreshing given all other irons I can remember ever seeing are the same white plastic, basically. Anyway, good product, can't fault it.

Centrum Complete A-Z Multivitamins for Men, 30 Tablets
Centrum Complete A-Z Multivitamins for Men, 30 Tablets
Price: £4.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit weird tasting, but they do contain a lot of vitamins according to the label, 21 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been taking these tablets for a couple of weeks now, and haven't noticed any significant changes to my health or wellbeing. No skyscraper lifting or fast-growing beards as some other takers have noticed.

So my main comments would be that they taste a bit weird - I know you're not supposed to taste them, but it's hard not to a bit - they're not quite tasteless. They're also quite big.

The second thing is a couple of times I took them without eating and just before doing my morning sit-ups. I felt really sick towards the end of the situps, and one of the times I thought I might throw-up. I had also been up really late the day before, though, and had a couple of beers, so it could have been that.

Japes aside, though - if you read what the tablets contain, it is a good load of the stuff you need, and I feel that my diet is probably lacking in some areas. The main problem I have is that I don't really have the discipline for taking tablets every day...

Sure Men Maximum Protection Active Antiperspirant Deodorant Cream
Sure Men Maximum Protection Active Antiperspirant Deodorant Cream
Offered by Greens Pharmacy
Price: £7.79

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product - and improved, 21 Jun. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had used Sure's antiperspirant cream a couple of years ago - I really liked it then, and I think now they've improved the product. The rather grand claims of this stuff lasting 48 hours and working past a shower are - rather amazingly - true. But what used to happend was the same dryness that you tend to get after using antiperspirant was even more extreme with creams than with sprays. With this one, though, they've really worked on that, and although you do get some unnatural dryness when you apply it, it doesn't feel over-the-top at all.

Generally, this product has a really nice fragrance and is excellent at stopping you sweating. Thumbs up!

On the Road [DVD] (2012)
On the Road [DVD] (2012)
Dvd ~ Garrett Hedlund
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £5.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked this, but it loses the ambiguity of the book, 16 May 2013
This review is from: On the Road [DVD] (2012) (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this film - it's got a great performance from Amy Adams, and a nice small role for Viggo Mortensen. And it's reasonably straightforward filming of Kerouac's famous book. Or at least so I thought - however, my friend, who read the book at a really different time in his life, found that he felt it really missed the point. I think part of that comes from the ambiguity of the book. Or maybe that's not quite the right word - On The Road is the definitive travelling novel, and that's partly because it has very different feelings to different people at different times. Let's face it, only a truly exceptional film could have that same characteristic, and this isn't a truly exceptional film. Despite that, it's a good one, which I enjoyed watching.

I would definitely say read the book first, though.

ASI BeAnywhere Remote Access
ASI BeAnywhere Remote Access
Price: £7.65

2.0 out of 5 stars These days the alternatives are better still..., 7 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've had this product sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now and just realised I hadn't written a review. The truth is that what I would have written when I first tried it rings even more true now: there are free alternatives that do as much if not (in some cases) more than this product, and conventions - for instance, towards Dropbox or Google Drive for filesharing or remote storage - are in place and established now that weren't.

So, whilst I don't have any particular problems with the product, I wouldn't recommend buying it these days.

Linksys by Cisco WAG160N Wireless-N Modem Router - 300 mbps (for ADSL / telephone line connections i.e BT Broadband)
Linksys by Cisco WAG160N Wireless-N Modem Router - 300 mbps (for ADSL / telephone line connections i.e BT Broadband)
Offered by NETWORK LTD
Price: £54.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Fine, but not worth the money, especially these days., 7 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I used this a few years ago when I first got it, and then - after a break where I had Virgin Media Cable broadband (which this doesn't work with) - came back to it this year. I haven't had all the problems that some people have had with this router, but what I realised when using it these days - where the router you get from your ISP has caught this sort of router up - I would suggest that this product isn't worth the money. It's not so much better than what you'll get from your ISP, and if you want to upgrade on that, there are almost certainly better products out there on the market.

CafeTutto (Nespresso compatible) Capsules Taster Box 25's
CafeTutto (Nespresso compatible) Capsules Taster Box 25's
Offered by Fresh Coffee Shop Ltd
Price: £7.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A good cheaper alternative, but the coffee isn't as nice..., 7 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I gave these as a gift to my friend and his flatmate, who own a Nespresso machine. Most people by now have heard of Nespresso, which is a way of making really nice coffee really easily in the home. The plus side of these capsules, presumably now released as some sort of patent or copyright on Nespresso has ended, is that they fit the Nespresso machine perfectly, make nice cups of coffee, and are a lot cheaper than official Nespresso capsules.

The main downside, when compared with the Nespresso products, is that the coffee isn't as nice. Perhaps that's no surprise, as the cost is so different, but it's still the main thing to say when considering what to buy.

It's hard to say where the better value comes, so it may be a fairly straight choice between whether to buy Nespresso for the really nice coffee, or these pods for the cheaper alternative. I'll leave that up to you, but because they do make nice coffee, I've given it four stars.

And these definitely come out on top of the other alternative we tried, where you get some little capsules which you fill with normal ground coffee.

Here are a few other thoughts:

- The selection here only includes one decaff (not sure whether this is a plus or minus, but they're always the ones that end up unused, in this house anyway).
- The flavours don't taste amazingly different from each other (for example, there are no 'fancy' nutty, chocolatey, etc flavours if that's what you're after), but all are very tasty coffee!
- The slight differences between the different varieties seem more in strength than flavour. There are definitely no bitter aftertastes or unpleasant aromas!
- It actually didn't fit through my letter box, despite the promise. But then, neither do my 'lensmail' contact lenses, so it may just be that I have a freakishly small letter box or a slightly strange postman.

Leitz 180 Degree 1010 A4 80mm Spine Label Plastic Lever Arch File - Black
Leitz 180 Degree 1010 A4 80mm Spine Label Plastic Lever Arch File - Black
Price: £9.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Seems really solid, 2 Mar. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I can only review this based on the time I've used it, but I've had one of these in use fairly heavily for three or four months now with absolutely no problems. It's definitely above average for a ring-binder - it just generally feels more secure than most you get, and certainly the cheap-end ones I usually end up with at work!

So I'd say go for it.

by Stefan Szymanski
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly awesome melding of football and numbers..., 30 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Soccernomics (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I think this is almost certainly the best football book I've ever read, just beating Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics. It's superbly written, the stats, economics and research are well considered and convincing, and overall it's a compelling page-turner of a book.

First, let's set the scene - it's perhaps not surprising that I like this book so much. I have about three hobbies, the main one of which is watching and reading about football. I've been entirely seduced by the Football Weekly/Jonathan Wilson/Blizzard culture of 'thinking people's football'. Not only that, but I'm a maths graduate, and pretty much the only bit of that that has survived my graduation is my love for statistics. So in some ways a book on football, trying to get into the numbers to destroy or confirm the myths around it - and that's essentially what Soccernomics is - sounds perfect for me.

But having said that, I'm not normally a great reader of non-fiction: I need to be engrossed and entertained. And here I truly was.

The book is written by a partnership - Simon Kuper, a journalist, and Stefan Szymanski, an economist - and it is clearly a partnership that works really well. The writing is so accessible, and the skill in presenting what are at times quite complex statistical and economic theories is clear. But that doesn't mean they've watered down the maths - my feeling is that the numbers here make sense, and follow through, and are well thought out. The writers are also open and clear about when and where they are making assumptions, which is a really great demonstration of the thoroughness of the work.

So, would this book be suitable for someone not quite as football/numbers mad as me? I think so. And the reason for that is that a lot of this book is about looking at the world surrounding football: how do social and economic factors affect a national team's performance? Which is the most football-mad country in the world and why? Statistically, is there racism in football? Is football actually 'big business'? (According to this book, no - it's small business and it's bad business!)

So whilst my favourite bits were the early chapters - analysis of the transfer market, whether managers have an impact on their teams' performance or not and particularly the spectacular chapter about penalty shootouts, and the amazing story of the Manchester United-Chelsea shootout in Moscow in 2008 (and how Game Theory and statistical analysis affected it) - there is a lot here for anyone with an interest in sport, football in particular, statistics and economics.

The truth is I couldn't recommend this book enough.

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