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Reviews Written by
Terrahurtz (Kidlington, Oxon)

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The Best Of The Boomtown Rats
The Best Of The Boomtown Rats
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great early stuff but standard nosedives after 'fine art of surfacing', 25 July 2016
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This collection reminds you not only how good the first 8 singles were, but also how the standard fell off a cliff thereafter, with inevitable commercial consequences. Up to the fine art of surfacing album all went well, and although the new wave beginnings were less in evidence by then, there was still enough emotion around to produce 'Mondays' and 'Someone's looking at you'. Other new wave bands also ran ou tof energy and ideas, the Undertones produced the ballad 'Julie Ocean' and were never heard of again, the skids released 'the absolute game' (ditto) and while Golden Brown was a minor classic by the time the Stranglers started producing singles in French most of their fans had had enough too. The Rats' malaise first manifested itself in a trip down the dead end that was reggae, It was very popular with white groups for 6 months back in 1980, the Police and UB40 were at number one, and other new wave contemporaries such as the Clash and the Ruts were doing it too. However Geldof's alternately sneery and whiny delivery, so effective on up tempo or angry tracks, is not particularly suited to reggae. And by the time the white reggae fad was played out, their mojo had gone and we got the awful 'elephant's graveyard' the instantly forgettable 'Dave' and the rest was deserved obscurity, until Bob's star (at least) suddenly rose again wth 'Live Aid'.
All the same, how good those early singles were. The power of the first 3, the hypnotic Like Clockwork, rat trap knocking John Travolta and Olivia Newton John off the top of the charts, 'Mondays' being number one for a month, the slight dip with the merely quite good 'Diamond Smiles' and then the brilliant 'someone's looking at you.' And as a bonus for buyers of this CD, we are also treated to the wonderful '(I never loved) Eva Braun' from Tonic for the troops, surely another potential number 1 had it ever been a single.
By the way , the version of 'I don't like Mondays' included here is not the single version. It's still good, but just not what you are expecting.


Thank You
Thank You
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £7.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as 'Title', 19 July 2016
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This review is from: Thank You (Audio CD)
This is good, but not quite to the same exalted standard as 'Title'. Like that album, it has a couple of infectious hits on, another 4 or 5 quite good songs , but (unlike 'Title') some others that are merely OK and a couple that you will probably skip on repeated listenings. The standouts are No and Me Too, both of which will have 12 year old girls up and down the country uploading videos of themselves miming to and track 7, which with its rippling piano accompaniment sounds like an Adele power ballad. The Lunchmoney Lewis (he of 'Bills' fame) duet is quite catchy, if bearing a more than passing similarity to Suzie Q (as performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival and others).
Ms Traynor does not appear to do modesty. At least three tracks have her own wonderfulness as their central theme ('If I was you (mere mortal) I'd want to be me (megastar) too, for example) and quite why her more impoverished fans would want to listen to a song about the downside of her champagne lifestyle is a mystery to me.
Still, there are enough good songs on this to make it a worthwhile listen and my 12 year old daughter is very happy with it, which was the object of the exercise


Roberts RC9907 3-BAND Radio Cassette Recorder with LW/MW/FM Timer
Roberts RC9907 3-BAND Radio Cassette Recorder with LW/MW/FM Timer
Price: £29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful (ish), 19 July 2016
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You get what you pay for. As an amateur thesp I wanted something that I could use to speak the lines (and play the vocal lines on the piano) onto a tape and play it back to learn a part. The good news is you can use it for this but there is a loud rustling sound which would be intrusive/annoying if I was after a quality recording. That said it does the job (just about) and for the working electronic item to be delivered for the price of a large round of drinks is pretty good.
I had another one prior to this and it lasted abut 3 years (albeit with fairly irregular use).


Nothing Whatever to Grumble At
Nothing Whatever to Grumble At
by John Reed
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice and easy with nowt very sleazy, 19 July 2016
this is an interesting reed (geddit?) and he comes over as a nice man although the whole book is a bit too nice overall.
Apart from a couple of gripes about treatment by the D'Oyly Carte management and a few anecdotes about how he was denied access to props when he had to go on as the understudy (where is it inferred but not said explicitly that Peter Pratt was the baddie) it is a bit like a Pollyanna movie in which everyone is very nice and very glad about everything.
That said he comes over as a nice man who obviously gave a lot of pleasure to thousands of people over his performing career so why shouldn't he have a nice story? Just feel that a bit more gossip would have made it more interesting.
One other oddity, Nick/Nicky is introduced as someone who he met one day who volunteered to house sit on a short term basis then somehow stuck around to become a co-habitee for several decades. Assuming that the latter was in fact his life partner John is being incredibly coy here (and somewhat underselling Nicky's role in his life). Maybe he was just a product of an age when one's sexuality was kept a secret, unlike today where performers - and celebrities generally - are far more open about it, but sure no one today would think any less of him for being gay.


How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale
by Jenna Jameson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but flawed book about a very flawed person, 5 July 2016
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Firstly, what this book isn't, apart from a two page guide to how to er..fellate in such a manner as to draw maximum approbation from your fellatee, this is not a 'how to' guide, but the autobiography of the world's most famous porn star. I was intrigued as to how she got where she is today and why she does it and this book does at least tell you that. Given the salacious content it's weirdly compelling in its way, but I do think both the book and its subject are deeply flawed.
The book jumps around al over the place, has too many uninteresting pictures of Jenna (all of them showing her massively overdressed by her standards) and, more seriously, contains loads of chapters devoted to conversations between her and her brother and father, which are uniformly dull and should have been cut. In fact the book could usefully be cut by about 50%, which would then have made for a much more uniformly riveting read.
Jenna has had to overcome some pretty bad things, the loss of her mother from cancer, a dysfunctional family and being raped at least twice.
However, there are clearly a number of character faults that make her an ultimately unlikeable subject, including
1. Her willingness to sleep with whoever she wants to whenever she feels like it even when a relationship with someone else, but woe betide that someone else should they do likewise. I didn't expect her to have the morals of a methodist and a woman has as much right to go out and have sex as as any man, but there is a lot of hypocrisy here.
2. Diva-ish behaviour on and off set
3. Long spells out of control on a variety of drugs. After the second times waking up/coming to to find someone having sex with her (and not being too upset about this in either case) I found it increasingly difficult to sympathize with her.
4. Needy behaviour and a general lack of recognition that her assorted parters of the time may have emotional needs too.
Ironically I'm surprised she has been so successful as she is in her chosen er..profession for so long. While she was quite pretty in her early twenties, by the turn of the century she was no more physically attractive than you would expect of a bleached blonde bimbo with breast implants and a long-established self-abusive lifestyle. Anyway, just my personal opinion, I'm sure conoisseurs of the genre know better.
Still, read the book, chunks of it are oddly compelling, in a car crashy kind of way.


Adventures Of A British Master Spy: The Memoirs of Sidney Reilly (Dialogue Espionage Classics)
Adventures Of A British Master Spy: The Memoirs of Sidney Reilly (Dialogue Espionage Classics)
by Pepita Bobadilla
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as exciting or comprehensive as it might have been, 4 July 2016
The first half of this book is Sidney Reilly's own account of his failed plot to ring down the Bolshevik government in the years immediately after the revolution. Following his disappearance the latter half covers his wife's attempts to find out what happened to him. Given the two halves are ghostwritten by the same person the two halves read very similarly! While the first part of the book is quite exciting in places, rather like reading a book about the Titanic's maiden voyage, the excitement is dulled somewhat by the fact that you know it's not going to succeed. The second half of the book is relatively dull as his actress wife fails to discover definitively what happened and friends of hers and Sidney's die in the process of trying to find out. Most sources seem to think that he was killed by the Cheka after interrogation rather than near the Finnish frontier as originally claimed, although Pepita claims to have evidence that he was (at the time of writing, 1932) still alive. What evidence this is she never deigns to share with us. Which brings us to the major fault with this book, the omissions. We are never told about Reilly's other wife (or possibly wives, according to tother sources) or - more significantly - any of the subject's other adventures prior to the Lockhart plot in 1918-1919 Russia. It seems if you want to know more about Sidney Reilly you want to ignore the man's own book and read one of the biographies of him.


Friends, Lovers And Other Indiscretions
Friends, Lovers And Other Indiscretions
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of style over substance, 29 Jun. 2016
This is well written and was a good light read but it's not great. The characters are a bit self-obsessed and the book is a bit long on their emotions and self-analysis and a bit short on plot. Apart from Sam I found pretty much all the characters dislikeable and as for the denouement - warning, plot alert - the big reveal is that his rather priggish wife was not unfaithful to him a month before their wedding with the friend that he thought it was, but one of his other friends. Big deal. In fact we know this some way before the end, it's only poor old Sam has to wait to find out. The Epilogue is also unsatisfactory. The book starts with Laura dragging Sam off to see a counsellor and wrongly accusing him of infidelity (why she couldn't just accuse him in the comfort of their own home is never satisfactorily explained) and as the book ends they are back seeking counselling again, but at whose instigation this time is again a mystery.
So, not much happens and self-obsessed characters but still well written with a fair amount of humour Worth reading.


Chelsea FC Football Wordmark Insulated Zip School Lunch Bag
Chelsea FC Football Wordmark Insulated Zip School Lunch Bag
Offered by ndlwholesale
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, nice quality, although could have been a bit deeper., 13 Jun. 2016
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Decent quality, arrived quickly and decent size, at least length and breadth. Could have done wth being a bit deeper for those of us who like big oranges or the contents of fair sized yoghurt pots for their lunch, but my Chelsea-supporting daughter doesn't, so this was perfect for her.


The Greatest Hits 1970-2002
The Greatest Hits 1970-2002
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars CD1 brilliant, CD2 suffers by comparison., 13 Jun. 2016
To over-simplify massively, Elton John, like his buddy Rod Stewart, the recently departed David Bowie and one or two survivors from that era, made some sensational music in his 1970s heyday, but relatively little to the same standard thereafter. ironically, since the millennium he has done rather better but there was a 15-20 year spell in between during which - The Fox apart - he seemed to be mostly on autopilot churning out harmless but unmemorable downtempo ballads.
That's not to say that the post 1976 stuff is poor, it just suffers by comparison with what went before. CD2 sits gathering dust while I enjoy the delights of Rocket Man, Your Song, Crocodile Rock and all the other classics of the early and mid-seventies on the first three-quarters of CD1.


Glory & Bollocks: The Truth Behind Ten Defining Events In British History
Glory & Bollocks: The Truth Behind Ten Defining Events In British History
by Colin Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read but (given title) doesn't amuse or explode that many myths, 4 Jun. 2016
Given the title, I bought this book thinking it might be amusing. It isn't, although that's not to say it's not a reasonably good read. It is basically a series of essays about ten different events in British history. I learned a fair bit about the events about which I knew little or nothing (e.g. Agincourt) but relatively little about the ones in which I was better informed, so am guessing that history professors will not learn too much here.
I paid £3 for it in a cheap book shop in Oxford, which is a pretty good price for something I'll read once from cover to cover, keep for a few years in case I/my kids ever need to know more about (say) the suffragettes and then donate to a charity shop in 5 years' times having never had cause to re-open it. Well written though, and worth reading at least once.


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