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Anthony Horwood "Bruce" (Paris)

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Lamentation (The Shardlake Series)
Lamentation (The Shardlake Series)
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, as usual, 18 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am still reading it. It is probably one of C.J. Sansom's best.

Showtime, Storytime (Bonus Blu-ray)
Showtime, Storytime (Bonus Blu-ray)
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant reincarnation, 18 Dec. 2014
I had gone off Nightwish even before they fired Tarja, and basically listened to three or four tracks of theirs. Then, one day, idly surfing Youtube I played this version of Ever Dream, and had to listen to the whole concert. Then I bought the DVD and then the Blu Ray for my Bro-in-law.

Floor has lifted Nightwish to hitherto undreamed of heights. I love the passion she can put into a single word, I love her stage presence and I love that she seems delighted to be there. I love that the guys look delighted to have her there. She has a tremendous range and impressive control and yet she can still, at the top of a crescendo, put that little extra thrill into her voice. She brought something new to the Annette material, and generally did well on the Tarja era stuff. It's unusual for a change of lead at this stage of a bands career to inject new life, but Floor did it.

I won't go back to the old stuff, but I have these CDs in my car and am looking forward with great anticipation to the new studio album next year.

A di Alessi Merdolino Toilet Brush, Blue (ASG04 AZ)
A di Alessi Merdolino Toilet Brush, Blue (ASG04 AZ)
Offered by Design 55 online
Price: £31.74

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much nicer then you would expect, 26 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Viewing the thing as a picture on-line, it's hard to see what the quality is like. In fact it's very solid, and wonderfully tactile.

It's also a pleasantly quirky thing to have standing around in one's lavatory. If an item gets dipped in poo on a regular basis you normally try to draw attention from it, rather than to it, but this is kind of cute and not embarrassingly reminiscent of its purpose at all. My wife originally wanted just one for our Moroccan-themed loo, but having received it wants another two for some of the other loos, though she will vary the colours.

I would have given it 5 stars, but really; 5 stars for a loo brush?

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Complete Series Collection (Episodes 1-64) [DVD]
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Complete Series Collection (Episodes 1-64) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Romi Park
Offered by UK_Media_Offers
Price: £44.70

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the greatest animated entertainment ever made, 20 Jun. 2012
I haven't bought this complete DVD collection yet, but I am going to. I already have it all separately, but want the whole thing, just because!

Summary: FMAB is the story of two brothers; Alphonse and Edward Elric. The boys lose their mother to illness, and they try to use alchemy to bring her back. This goes horribly wrong because they neglected the basic rule of alchemy, the principal of equal exchange. To gain something from alchemy you must give something of equal value. The brothers' disastrous experiment costs Edward his left leg and Alphonse his entire body. Ed manages to affix Al's soul to a suit of armour, at the cost of his right arm and the two maimed boys are left alone to study alchemy in the hope of restoring themselves to normality.

A little while later a colonel in the military, another alchemist named Roy Mustang, invites the brothers to become State Alchemists, an offer only Edward accepts, giving them access to the enormous resources of the military that brothers hope will help them to recover their lost body parts. The brothers set off in search of the Philosopher's Stone as a means to restore their bodies. Throughout their journey, they meet allies and enemies and discover the true nature of the Philosopher's Stone, and an awful secret plan that they must fight to prevent.

Review: FMAB contains that wonderful thing, a totally original, self-consistent universe different from ours, but familiar enough not to be off-putting. The characters are all distinct, fully-formed and convincing; you will love most, hate a few and not care much one way or the other about others. The story is brilliant. It begins in a relatively small way with the brothers travails, and expands into something magnificent I will not go into.

It's mood is finely judged. There's some light comedy, some tragedy, a lot of action and something to think about, and all the while the character development is gripping. The relationships between the characters are complex and changing, and the brothers grow up during the series, adding more levels. There are those wonderful moments when you see one of the enemy attacking the wrong person and you think "That was a mistake", because the relationships are clearly enough defined that you know retribution is on its way. A lovely example is Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist, explaining to a homunculus that has just attacked his 'dearest subordinate' how he uses one hand for macro effects like burning an entire room and the other for pinpoint attacks, like evaporating the fluid in the hapless homunculus' eyeballs. It is the minute attention to detail, all detail, that makes this special.

The graphics are excellent. I really like them for both technical quality and art. I have recently seen 'better', but that was because the goalposts moved, and techniques improved. FMAB still has 10/10 graphics.

I recommend watching in Japanese with subtitles. It's just better. The American voice actors did a good job, but it's just more characterful with Japanese voices. The voice acting is truly excellent; it's taken very seriously in Japan, and they do it very well.

As I said in the title, I think that this is probably the greatest animated entertainment ever made. If you only ever watch one anime make it this one. If you watch anime anyway and haven't seen FMAB, do so. It would be a complete waste of your life if you were hit by a meteorite before you saw it. When was the last time you saw a cartoon 25 hours long and couldn't stop watching, despite the fact that life would be somehow empty after it was over?

Do yourself a favour, buy this. It's not a lot of money for the epic adventure you are about to experience. It may well be the best money you ever spent.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2015 1:34 AM BST

Forging The Land...(2dvd+2cd digi book box)
Forging The Land...(2dvd+2cd digi book box)
Dvd ~ Amorphis
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Amorphis, 24 Nov. 2011
I am a huge Amorphis fan, and am going to see them in Paris in three days, but realistically I don't expect the Paris show to be as good as these recorded shows. The set lists are brilliant, and include many of my favourite tracks, which tend to the more on the newer melodic side than the old-style Amorphis death grunts.

To hear the live versions of favourites like Sampo, Towards And Against, The Smoke, Silent Waters, From The Heaven Of My Heart and House Of Sleep is one of those experiences that makes me bounce my way through the rest of the day. I love Amorphis live, but they do tend to go a little too far toward grunting for my tastes. This collection is a perfect compromise in my opinion.

Having said that, this version of My Kantele is excellent, it's a fantastic track anyway, but given a great lift by being live. I have now four versions of this track, and they are all 5-star stuff.

The DVDs are great value. The first disc is a show from Oulu, Finland and is the longer of the two set-lists included on the DVD; it's also my favourite of the two, I think. My mind changes when I watch either. The second show is from the Summer Breeze festival, and is cleaner, but shorter.

VITREX 103402 Diamond Blade Tile Cutting Saw
VITREX 103402 Diamond Blade Tile Cutting Saw
Price: £39.99

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant little workhorse, 24 Jan. 2011
I bought this wet saw to help me with a project in my house. I was remaking my 70's style yellow bathroom into a shower room tiled entirely with natural Chinese slate. The floor slates are about 18mm thick and the wall slates range from 18 to 22mm. They came in sizes of 600 x 600 mm and 600 x 300mm, from China by sea.

I must have cut somewhere in the region of 25-30 metres and used 2500kg of stone. It was a phenomenal workload, and this little saw was magnificent. It is powerful and flexible and very easy to use.

The two minor negatives for me were:
1. Because I was cutting big tiles I often had to remove the cutting guide and then replace it
2. The slate dust quickly formed a little dam preventing water from reaching the blade and necessitating a 'finger wipe' cleaning every now and then.

Neither problem was significant.

Positively, I loved the ease of use, the fact that it could so easily make accurate 600m cuts along 22mm slate and the fact that the noise level was acceptable. I doubt that I will use it much from now on, as the tiling is complete, but I have cleaned it, replaced the blade and put it away ready, just in case.

For the price, this tool was one of the best I have ever bought.

Werewolves of Montpellier
Werewolves of Montpellier
by Jason
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarrely mundane, 24 Jan. 2011
It is a funny little book, picturing the mundane alongside the bizarre without differentiating between the significance of the two. There are some great lines, but they are all delivered deadpan, if such a thing is possible in a graphic story.

In summary a cat burglar disguises himself as a werewolf (by looking exactly the same as when he is not disguised) in order to distract anyone who might catch him in the burglarious act. The real werewolves of Montpellier take offence and mundane mayhem ensues.

The scenes where our hero brushes his teeth or talks to a stranger at a party are delivered in exactly the same flat manner as the exchanges with murderous werewolves on the rooftops of Montpellier, and intertwined stories of love unrequited merit more attention than the eponymous werewolves.

It's an oddball little book, and I liked it very much, but it's only really a 4-star.

Gold Medal In Metal (CD + Bonus CD)
Gold Medal In Metal (CD + Bonus CD)
Offered by Ets Bucher25400
Price: £12.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More power in your metal, 25 Nov. 2009
I am a Dream Evil fan. I admit that up front.

Nevertheless, this is an honest and considered opinion.

No-one does knob-out, pedal-to-the-metal, blood-lustful, melodic, high-power metal like Dream Evil. If you need an instant shot of life, and don't use drugs or high-tension alternating current for kicks, then listen to some Dream Evil. Dream Evil are the world's greatest makers of power metal music about riding into battle with your friends, swinging your sword against an unspeakable enemy. There's a bombast and bravura about their music and lyrics that makes you grin while you saddle up and sharpen your battle-axe. If you don't already have everything they have already released, you definitely need this CD. If you do, then you can afford to wait a week before buying it.

This is a CD for fans who already have most of these tracks, in order to fill out their collections. However, it also works quite well as a 'Best of', for someone just getting to know the band.

The first CD is live, and Dream Evil do live pretty much as well as Iron Maiden do live. The tracks are recognisably live, but they are also the tracks you know. A 4:38 long studio version of "In Flames You Burn" lasts for 4:25, as the pace is slightly faster. You can imagine yourself in the audience, but if you aren't paying attention, you can also imagine that you are listening to the original studio versions. The live set is well-chosen, including many of their 'greatest hits', though I would have liked to see 'The Prophesy' and 'Into the Moonlight' on the set list. Nevertheless, I have had it on my car CD for the last 2 weeks without a break.

The second CD is sort of weird. I like the content, though as it consists mainly of bonus tracks it is perhaps more of interest to a fan than what we would normally expect from a new studio album. However, it is very, very good too, though the weirdness of tracks like Evilized (unplugged) is a little surprising at first. In fact though Evilized (unplugged) is wonderful; it is so wrong, but still so good. It serves to illustrate how melodic and musical Dream Evil actually are.

Generally though the second CD is just another Dream Evil studio album, with all that that implies in terms of frenzied guitar, melodically screamed vocals, lyrics about lopping the heads off evil enemies and musical and quality of the high standard we expect from Dream Evil.

With the weather as miserable as I can ever remember, the world grey and gloomy and Britain still in recession under the leaden hand of Gordon Brown, we need a little something marvellous, uplifting and joyous to lift our spirits. This is it.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Closure, 3 Nov. 2009
When I put down the first of the trilogy, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo', I could barely wait for it's successor 'The Girl who Played with Fire', and having finished that I had to wait what seemed like forever for this, the final instalment in the saga of Lisbeth Salander. I don't imagine it is much of a spoiler to say that Lisbeth survived the climactic ending of the second novel, and is again co-star of the third, with Mikael Blomqvist, in bringing the story to an end, or at least a cessation of violence.

This third outing starts pretty much where the second left off. If you are lucky enough to read the trilogy together, you will be able to put down The Girl who Played with Fire (I will have to abbreviate that to TG2) and pick up TG3 as though you had stopped for coffee in the middle of a single long book. Stieg Larsson doesn't seem to care too much for people with short memories, and does very little overt recapitulation, instead plunging back into the story exactly where it was left last time.

Having said that, the book itself has a slower overall pace than the two that preceded it, pretty inevitably, considering the situation in which Lisbeth finished the previous book. Of course, being slower than the other two books is like being slower than a Saab jet-fighter; it is very relative.

I found the ending to be no surprise, being clearly telegraphed for around half of the book, but satisfyingly complete, and the sub-plots surrounding the secondary characters keep the pace up. I just felt a little that this was a wrap-up book. There were no horrible shocks, like Lisbeth's fate at the end of the second book, and no unexpected twists. It all went as swimmingly as it could have really, and that is a bit like a meal that is all dessert.

Overall though, it's Steig Larsson doing what he does so much better than almost anyone else. It rates 5 stars easily, though it does make you realise that there really ought to be a possibility to add an extra half a star for the other two books, that were just that little bit better.

Bath Pillow, Duck
Bath Pillow, Duck

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ducky, 22 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Bath Pillow, Duck (Kitchen & Home)
I drowned four times before I bought this, but since then I have only drowned twice.

It does what it says it will, and had ducks on it. That can't be bad.

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