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Inca Kola: A Traveller's Tale of Peru
Inca Kola: A Traveller's Tale of Peru
by Matthew Parris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming book, 8 Dec. 2013
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Backpackers tales about exotic and faraway places are ten-a-penny. Some completely miss the nuances of the cultures of the places that they visit but this hits the nail on the head in so many ways.

I had been to Peru before and was planning a trip with my wife and looked to find a decent book that might give her some idea as to what Peru was like, the joys, the frustrations, the alien culture and general observations. Although it was written twenty years before our trip it was still relevant - despite the huge changes that the country has gone through. Whilst there are (sadly) many Western-style bars and restaurants, vastly improved transport links, comfortable accommodation with hot water in remote areas, better communications, ATMs and internet cafes in even the smallest towns, the warmth of the people of Peru shines-though this book like it has on my visits. LIkewise, there is still the shocking poverty, frustrating bureaucracy to completed even for many simple things like buying a mobile phone sim card or buying a bus ticket.

We loved Peru and when reading it again after coming back found that Matthew Parris' book really captures many aspects of this fantastic country.

Come and See [DVD] [1985]
Come and See [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Aleksey Kravchenko

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unsettling nightmare trip of a war film, 8 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Come and See [DVD] [1985] (DVD)
Of all the war films I have ever seen, this is the most unsettling. It is weird, brutal, graphic, shocking and a depiction of the horrors of the Nazis rolling towards the East in the same way that impressionists reflect fields of flowers - a somewhat artistic interpretation of the horrendous events. A nightmarish circus of the worst things that can happen when war and civilians overlap.

I think that this is an essential introduction to someone who had not really ever uncovered this campaign of the war but it isn't for the squeamish, it left me deflated but I have watched again a couple of times since as it was a fantastic piece of film and is as relevant today as it was when it was made. I gave it five stars but I can't say "I love it" as per the Amazon guidelines in the same way I might enjoy a lighter subject, I just respect it as one of the most accomplished films I've ever seen.

DMC Musical Roots Men's T-Shirt
DMC Musical Roots Men's T-Shirt
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice t-shirt, not so sure about the quality of printing, 28 Nov. 2013
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I purchased this in XL and it was fairly generous in size but not overly baggy. I love the design and am into quite a wide range of music and go to quite a lot of live music events and like quirky t-shirts.

It isn't the thickest / heaviest cotton, which is fine. The drawback is that the the print isn't the clearest. All the lettering is printed directly onto the cotton itself rather than being a single large transfer and there is a fair bit of 'bleed', which means that on closer inspection the lettering is a little blurred.

I picked this up in the Black Friday deals for about 70% off and I would say that my 'bargain' was probably about the right price.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 11:34 PM GMT

Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label
Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label
by Alan McGee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.32

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looked forward to this for ages!, 13 Nov. 2013
I would imagine that this is the sort of book that you wouldn't buy your granny for Christmas, but then if you know who Alan McGee is then you probably know roughly what to expect!

Very much a grim start to his life in the 60's in Glasgow and he doesn't hold back on this part of the story, I think this shows why he became so driven and broke free like he did. Perhaps this energy and drive also partially propelled him to the inevitable crash (that isn't a spoiler by the way - there's much more to the book than that chapter of his life!)....

This is jam-packed with stories from his time from the formation of Creation Records, Britpop, the gigs, the parties , the drugs, drink and the rockstars. He is very matter-of-fact about his life but humble with it and despite the prolific use of drugs and more latterly drink, he doesn't seem to have been too warped by the experience and perhaps offers a cautionary tone to others who might read his path.

He is a true raconteur and anyone who has an interest in the bands that he was involved in will love this book. His writing style is easy going (even if some might find the content a little uncomfortable at times) and perfectly captures the dizzying highs and terrifying lows of life in the music fast lane.

Truly Scrumptious Charming Chintz 4 M Bunting
Truly Scrumptious Charming Chintz 4 M Bunting
Price: £4.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice bunting, 6 Nov. 2013
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We bought this to decorate a hotel room for a 60th birthday as we were short on baggage space. A couple of these plus some balloons in sort pastel colours helped make the room look really nice as the birthday girl opened her presents and cut her cake.

This is a really good value product and we would definitely buy it again from the same seller in the future.

The Phantom Blooper
The Phantom Blooper
by Gustav Hasford
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting follow-up to The Short Timers, 1 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Phantom Blooper (Hardcover)
I happend to stumble across The Short Timers a couple of years ago, which is the novel upon which Full Metal Jacket is based upon, and which The Phantom Blooper is a sequel to.

This 'follow-up' picks-up on the tale of the protagonist (Joker) at the tail-end of the Khe Sahn Combat Base. Most of the characters from The Short Timers are not around (dead or back in the US), but some new ones fill that void. Without spoiling the story, Joker lands in the hands of the enemy, and this story spends much of the time chronicling this part of his story.
The way that Hasford conveys some of the subjects of 'loving and understanding the enemy' and 'life after the conflict' in particular examining what is waiting back in the US after the horrors and madness of being a combat soldier. I loved The Short Timers, but this is a more ambitious novel and covers some wider themes.

The Phantom Blooper is a very hard book to track down (unless you want to pay a stack) and if you can find it, it is fairly collectable, especially as it doesn't appear to be on the Gustav Hasford website as it used to be. I'm glad I managed to find it. There was talk that Gustav Hasford was going to make a follow-up to this (he wrote an entirely unrelated novel "A Gypsy Good Time"), but sadly passed away before this was possible.

Although I'm from a generation born well after the Vietnam conflict (and am British) I have a real interest in the conflict and stories from participants, in particular the likes of Karl Marlantes, Michael Herr and Tim O'Brien. I put Hasford's effort well up amongst these authors and won't be tempted to cash-in on selling this book on!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable yarn, 1 Nov. 2013
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I bought this as part of a spree of cheap books to top-up my Kindle for a trip abroad where there would be plenty of sitting on trains, planes and buses. This was probably the stand-out of any of the 'new fiction' that I read.

It has a nice light and easy reading style and is clever without being to wordy or heavy. I believe that it was translated from Swedish by a translator rather than the original author, but it has been very well done. Without giving much of the story away, it is set in the eponymous protagonist's present day (which was 2005 at the time) and reflects on his life through the 20th century in brushes with some momentous leaders and events of the time. There are some big jumps in time, but I suppose for an author deciding on what to miss-out it is just as tough as writing it in the first place.

I suppose that authors don't like to be pigeonholed, but William Boyd and Mark Haddon writing a Forest Gump-esque story wouldn't be a million miles away!

As a debut novel, it is mightily impressive - and at under a quid it is a bargain - 4 stars for the overall book but definitely 5+ stars for value. I'm looking forward to author Jonas Jonasson's next effort, "The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden", which I believe is being released in 2014.

No Title Available

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of bang for the buck!, 28 Oct. 2013
I purchased these after having borrowed a pair from a friend for a week to try with my newly bought Marantz M-CR610 They were excellent - and so I picked-up a pair for myself.

I listen to a lot of radio and spoken word as well as a fairly varied range of post-60's music (all sorts of electronica, blues, 90's indie, hip-hop and reggae / ska). They can handle a fair bit of bass, they give nice clarity and are a good all-round range. They look good and are sturdily built.

If you have a bit more space than my 10 foot x 10 foot room in which I use them you might consider the next size up, but they are more than adequate for my requirements. They are not bi-wireable if that makes a difference to you (it doesn't to me).

I'm not a hi-fi expert of audiophile by any means, but for under £150 I would be surprised if I could have found anything better. I'm sure that these cost half of what I paid about 15 years ago for a pair of Maudant Short speakers and these sound like they are worth twice of what I paid for those! They are well worth an audition at your local stockist.

Hitman: HD Trilogy (Xbox 360)
Hitman: HD Trilogy (Xbox 360)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £15.53

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work on my TV, 24 Oct. 2013
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I purchased this for a tenner when the price dropped for a new challenge on my xBox 360. I'm not bothered by having the very latest versions of games and do like a retro feel.

I have a 3 year old Panasonic Plasma connected by HDMI to my xBox. I wasn't aware of an problems as to compatibility ahead of purchase and therefore did not know that there was an issue with it being PAL 50 or 60 (whatever that means!) so the first disc would not load. I have never experienced any other issues of compatibility with any other xBox 360 game. I read that there is a 'workaround' by using a composite lead, but having played the second disc (Hitman : Contracts), the grahics were very dated, I personally found the gameplay a bit clunky and frustrating at times and didn't feel that I would want to go to any more expense for gameplay I that I personally didn't really enjoy.

I do love retro games and can see why many would like to relive gaming days of old, but as I didn't play it the first time around it didn't do much for me. It is a bit different from the usual 'kill em all' sort of games and requires a bit more of strategic approach so I think the concept is good. Perhaps I might have got into it a lot more if it had worked properly.

I sent this back to Amazon due to the compatibility issue and received a full and rapid refund without any quibble.

PestBye Battery Operated Cat Repeller - Ultrasonic Cat Scarer
PestBye Battery Operated Cat Repeller - Ultrasonic Cat Scarer
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 week in and so far - so good!, 24 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I recently took-up slate chippings at the front of my house and replaced them with a Cotswold stone. I had no inkling that a couple of months later the neighbour's cat would suddenly decide to use it prolifically as a litter tray - eventually three times in four days leading-up to the installation of my new cat scarer. I read the reviews and chose the PestBye in the hope that this would resolve the problem!

It arrived in a plain box (inside the usual Amazon packaging) with minimal instructions. It requires 4 AA batteries (not included) and it is fairly self explanatory to assemble, simply put the batteries in, put the rubber seal around the back and use the four screws to attach the battery cover. I couldn't get the battery cover to be absolutely flush and the screws wouldn't go all the way in and I didn't want to over-tighten at the risk of splitting the plastic, but with the rubber seal I think it should be waterproof (time will tell and I'll update on here if it isn't!).

I am using it on a stake rather than attaching it to a wall (the stake was fairly easy to attach and drive into the ground - so that the unit was 4 inches above the ground). As it is only a small area I have reduced the sensitivity to the minimum level (and it still works fine). I am using the dial on the third frequency dot as per a very helpful review further down (which will tell you which frequency is most effective against which pest), it doesn't give any suggestion in any instructions. I have adjusted it so that it covers just the space in front of my house, it can cover up to 80 degrees.

I am giving it five stars for the effect that it has had on the cat, who seems to hate it as I don't see it wandering around the front of my house anymore - but I would say the instructions are poor and I wouldn't say that it is fantastically constructed as the back doesn't `fit flush'. The neighbours children can hear it as well, so consider that if you want children to be able to play in that area.

Just two points to note if you are buying:
Make sure you have 4 AA batteries
Make sure you have a very small cross-head screwdriver to hand - easily purchased from any pound shop or DIY place

I've had it for 2 months now and it has worked a charm, not a single bit of cat mess! I've noticed that another neighbour has recently installed one to cover his lawn. I was told that some older cats go deaf and can't hear this signal - to sure if that is correct or not but the cats nearby seem to be fairly young so it isn't a problem for me.

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