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RageofKlugman (Rochester, Kent)

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The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics)
The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics)
by George Eliot
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loses its way, 10 Oct 2014
I found this to be a bit of a frustrating read, to be honest. I really enjoyed the first half of the book which, although a bit slow, had plenty of wry observations on human nature and some genuinely funny sections. I did however find my attention wandering during the last third - the 'romance' between Maggie and Stephen Guest was utterly tiresome and seemed to drag on forever, and the ending seemed like something of a cop-out as well. I would certainly consder reading some of George Eliot's other works, but felt that this was rather unsatisfying.


Bionic
Bionic
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine masterpiece consigned to obscurity, 1 July 2010
This review is from: Bionic (Audio CD)
Why, oh why, did Bionic give themselves that name?? I was specifically looking for this album, and it took me absolutely ages to find it - there are so many Christina Aguilera products featuring the word 'bionic'! On the off chance that someone stumbles across this review by accident, I can sum it up very succinctly: this is one of the finest rock albums I've heard and you really REALLY should buy it (especially as, at the time of writing, it's available for a frankly insulting 34p).

If you're a suspicious sort and need more information (who could blame you?), then I'll do my best to convince you:

Bionic were a short-lived Canadian band formed by a bald chap named Jonathan Cummins. He was in a band called The Dough Boys - personally I'd never heard of them but am told they were big in Canada in the 90s, so that may or may not mean something to you. I heard of them through some of their later more stoner rock influenced albums (which are also good), and picked up this album largely on a whim and because it was very cheap.

Anyways, this is Bionic's first album, released in 2002, and features a different line-up to their later releases. I suppose you would best describe it as punky alternative rock, but that makes it sound really lame. There are heavy guitars, Tim Cummins's excellent vocals and some inventive and quirky song structures, but now I've made it sound like a deliberately obtuse exercise in art school posing! Hmmm.

Let me just say this: if you like rock music I cannot imagine how you could not really love this album. It's heavy and far from simplistic, but manages to create some of the catchiest and most enjoyable songs I've heard. I defy anyone after a few listens to not sing along to 'Little Nixons', Silver Pants' and 'Anna Liegh' (to name but a few). Even my wife loves this album, and we never agree on anything!

In summary: This is a fantastic album that deserves far more than to languish in obscurity. Buy it. Go on. Quickly now.


Paid
Paid
Price: £10.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does it need saying?, 21 Aug 2008
This review is from: Paid (Audio CD)
This EP is by the Supersuckers so, lets be honest, you know it's going to be good. It's part rock, part country and all right! The 4 new songs are pretty cool and varied, ranging from a downbeat country ballad ('Breaking Honey's Heart') to full-speed rock'n'roll ('I Like It All Man'). The two re-workings of old songs that the EP are also surprisingly good - I particularly liked the rocked-up version of 'Roadworn and Weary' - and actually add something a bit different to the original versions.

It may only be 20 minutes long, but 'Paid' has as many good songs as most full-length albums manage. It'll keep you going until the new Supersuckers disk is out later this year at any rate.


The Mysteries of Udolpho: A Romance (Penguin Classics)
The Mysteries of Udolpho: A Romance (Penguin Classics)
by Ann Ward Radcliffe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If only there was more Udolpho..., 8 Aug 2007
If I'm honest, I found this book to be a major disappointment - almost more so because it could easily have been so much better. The major problem I had was with the structure of the book, which seems designed to kill off a potentially interesting story.

The middle third of the book actually set in the castle of Udolpho is excellent - its dark, suspenseful and has some genuinely compelling moments. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the remainder of the story which bookends this section. The first 200 pages drag by so slowly its almost painful. Nothing happens. There are endless descriptions of mountains. Then we are treated to more sections of nothing happening... The final 200 pages, following Emily's escape from Udolpho, are an improvement but still hugely anti-climactic. The mysteries introduced and resolved in this section really don't hold a candle to the goings-on in Udolpho and the book just fizzles out. Its a shame.

I'm certain I will read more of Radcliffe's works as 'The Mysteries of Udolpho' is essentially a good book ruined by being far too long, and I notice the rest of her works are much shorter!

(As an afterthought, I'm curious as to why the book description states that this work was 'a potent influence on Walpole'. I'm fairly certain that Walpole published his major gothic novel at least 30 years before Radcliffe wrote 'The Myseries of Udolpho', but perhaps I'm wrong).


Masters of the Chessboard
Masters of the Chessboard
by Richard Réti
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of its time, 10 July 2007
As you may know, Richard Reti was a Hungarian master who was active in the years before and after WW1. Most notably, he was the guy who ended Capablanca's 8 year unbeaten run at New York in 1924. Reti is perhaps primarily remembered today for the hypermodern opening that bears his name.

Reti wrote 'Masters of the Chessboard' in the late 1920s, and therein lies much of the book's importance and interest. Reti was writing at a time when the principles of positional chess laid down by Steintitz were still relatively new and when the 'hypermodern' ideas of himself, Nimzowitsch and the like were just beginning to take hold. In his book Reti seeks to present and explain these principles by providing short biographies of famous players and some excellently annotated illustrative games.

What makes 'Masters of the Chessboard' still interesting today is how it perfectly captures a moment in time. Many of the masters dealt with in the book (such as Milan Vidmar, Karl Schlechter, and Rudolph Spielmann) are largely forgotten today, but Reti shows clearly how they contributed to the development of modern chess theory. Also, the illustrative games are in a way more helpful because of their age - current GM games can be of limited use to players seeking to learn simply because of their sheer complexity and the vast amount of opening theory that exists today. By contrast, the games selected by Reti are far easier to follow and highlight many positional and tactical aspects of chess much more clearly.

'Masters of the Chessboard' is thus an excellent book on 2 counts. For those seeking to improve their chess, the selected games and Reti's illuminating notes will prove to be very helpful. For those curious to know more about the history and development of chess between 1850 and 1930, this book is an excellent place to start.


The Monk (Dover Thrift Editions)
The Monk (Dover Thrift Editions)
by M. G. Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.12

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Georgian trash, 23 May 2007
Simply because a book is old doesn't make it great literature. By the same token, just because something isn't great literature doesn't mean it can't be an enjoyable read. I think anyone who has read The Monk would have to concede that it is primarily in the classics range because of its age rather than any peculiar literary merit - the plot is silly and bit predictable, the dialogue is stilted to the point of actually being quite funny and the characters are as one-dimensional as it is possible to get.

Minor quibbles aside however, The Monk is great fun to read and is surprisingly accessible considering its age. You'll get the whole kitchen sink of gothic horror cliches (and then some) chucked at you in succession: A story about someone eloping with a long dead evil ghost nun that has no relation whatsoever to the main plot; a monk tempted by Satan and aided by his magical silver stick (don't ask) in his schemes to rape and debauch an impossibly virtuous young lady; the Spanish Inquisition; the evil goings on in a convent and that's really only the beginnng!

As an aside, I would also recommend the Dover Thrift edition of the book. Not only is it the cheapest available, it has a genuinely entertaining foreword from 1906 which more than compensates for the occasional typos in the main text.


Creative Labs EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones – Black (Eco Packaging) (discontinued by manufacturer)
Creative Labs EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones – Black (Eco Packaging) (discontinued by manufacturer)

1,233 of 1,254 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative EP-630 Earphones, 18 July 2006
I thought I'd add my tuppence worth as I've owned my EP-630 earpohnes for well over a year now and am still extremely pleased with them. I've not had any problems with them and would strongly recommend them to anyone.

Pros:

-They block out background noise almost completely so they are ideal for use on public transport.

-They don't leak any sound, so when you're using them the rest of the world doesn't have to suffer your abysmal taste in music.

-The sound quality is excellent. Not only can the earphones handle very high volumes without distorting, they also produce a very full bass sound.

-The earbuds are surprisingly comfortable once you get used to them and they won't randomly fall out.

-They're a very reasonable price.

Cons:

-Hmmmm... Well, I guess the wire is bit long, which can very occasionally be a nuisance.

-I wouldn't wear them while eating crisps. They amplify the crunching sounds in your head alarmingly.
Comment Comments (27) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2014 9:17 AM BST


Supercollider
Supercollider
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £14.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 27 Aug 2003
This review is from: Supercollider (Audio CD)
Man, this is some quality stuff. On this album Floridian sludge pioneers Cavity deliver a hefty load of massive swampy riffs, screamed vocals, wailing feedback and plenty of top quality tunes - what more could you possibly want? Seriously, what?
This was released back in 1999 with a slightly changed line-up for the band. The most notable difference is guitarist Anthony Vialon's assumption of vocal duties. On the one hand you can kind of see why he wasn't picked as singer earlier - his range basically consists of slight variations of screaming himself hoarse - but on the other hand it fits perfectly. While there is the occasional lighter moment on the album (very occasional), for the most part its brimming over with nihilistic fury and despair, and Vialon's ultra-harsh vocals sound utterly convincing.
What makes this album stand out from the crowd so much is its seamless mix of crushing Sabbath-inspired doomy riffs and furious hardcore. Not only does it work as a whole, but the tracks individually are all excellent. The obvious stand outs are the short hardcore blasts of Set in Cinders, Damaged IV and Inside My Spine (which is downright scary), but there isn't a weak moment on the album. The droning opener Supercollider rocks really hard and the tortuous snail-paced crawl through the feedback drenched How Much Lost is very cool. The final track Almost Blue pretty much sums it up - it starts off with a solid mid-paced riff, before speeding up into a face ripping onsluaght with Vialon screaming his lungs out over the top. At the end it descends into some strange ambient noises and is gone. Nice.
I can't think of anything about this album that isn't fantastic. Not one thing. Buy it now and listen at full volume.


Best Of
Best Of
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.58

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yee haw!, 21 Aug 2003
This review is from: Best Of (Audio CD)
I guess that first up I should say that I know next to nothing about country music and only ended up getting this album because Convoy is one of my favourite films of all time. That said, I should also say that this album is also pretty cool, in a truck-driving, banjo-playing, cowboy-hat-wearing kind of way. Throughout the album C W McCall half- talks, half-sings his way through a variety of country songs about trucking, the wilderness, trucking, and travelling in other sorts of vehicles too; all ably assisted by the backing singers you'll remember from the theme to Convoy.
C W McCall is at his best when he's singing in his droll way about (you guessed it) trucking, and lots of the songs are pretty funny - there's Wolf Creek Pass (a song about driving down a mountain in a truck with no brakes), Audubon (a song about growing up in a small truck-stop town in Iowa) and The Old Home Fill 'Er Up And Keep On A-Truckin' Cafe (a song about dating the woman who works in the transport cafe in a small truck-stop town in Iowa). There are also some more serious songs as well, the best of which is definitely Gallopin' Goose, which is about a train instead.
The album is pretty enjoyable throughout, though if I did have a gripe it would be the backing singers that provide the choruses for all the songs - I think they would best be described as an acquired taste. My main problem is that C W has a really excellent voice himself and I'd much prefer it if he sang the whole way through. The backing singers sound more than a little cheesy from time to time, especially on There Won't Be No Country Music (There Won't Be No Rock and Roll) where their contribution really spoils a perfectly good song and will have you hiding behind the sofa with embarrassment.
That aside, this is a a really fun album to listen to and C W McCall's wry observations on life and trucking (mostly trucking) always raise a smile. Not only that, if you get this CD then you can listen to the theme-tune of Convoy at any time you want, even when you're not near a TV or video. What more could you ask for?


Initial Records Punk Rocker
Initial Records Punk Rocker
Offered by barneys_cds
Price: £1.84

4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction, 20 Aug 2003
Initial Records is an independent label based in Louisville, Kentucky that primarily specializes in various forms of punk and hardcore. For this sampler they've gathered together 27 previously released tracks from a number of other indie labels and put them in alphabetical order on a reasonably priced disc.
The bands included on the sampler cover pretty much the whole range of hardcore as it stands at the moment, from the synth-driven emo of Koufax and the Get-Up Kids to the scorching jazz-inlfuenced noisecore of the Dillinger Escape Plan and stopping off at most of the points in between. Owing to the diverse nature of the tracks, its unlikely that every song will really be to your taste, but the quality is consistantly good and its a very enjoyable listen. For me the stand-out tracks would probably be Obstacle by Poison the Well, Moment of Clarity by Time in Malta and The Tyranny of What Everyone Knows by Boy Sets Fire, but there are some of unexpected surprises throughout the CD.
This sampler is definitely worth getting hold of for anyone with even a passing interest in the current state of American punk and hardcore - its a really good introduction to a wide range of bands, some of them well-known and some pretty obscure, that are all worthy of further investigation.


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