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D. Clough (London)
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Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
Price: £5.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's an appealing candour about this book which reads like a diary or notebook, 18 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's an appealing candour about this book which reads like a diary or notebook. The insights it contains were obviously hard won and they seemed to be groped after rather than proclaimed - which adds to the appeal. I like Haig's novels and I suppose I was expecting something like "Darkness Visible" but actually this has a far more accessible feel. I've never suffered depression to the same degree but I still found a lot in the book that I could identify with and I've been trying to get other people to read it.


Thrones and Empires [DVD]
Thrones and Empires [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £5.93

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Curiosity, 3 April 2014
This review is from: Thrones and Empires [DVD] (DVD)
Want to know where Shakespeare got the plot of Hamlet from? Tolkien wasn't the only one to plunder Norse myths for his material.

I wonder personally whether the scriptwriter(s) of this disappointing film (originally limply titled 'Prince of Jutland') had ever read a brilliant historical novel called 'The Green Man' written in the 60's by Henry Treece. It certainly bears an uncanny resemblance to it.

You'd be better off trying to get a copy of that - or saving your money for the tv series 'Vikings' where Gabriel Byrne, after this unfortunate rehearsal, turns in a really good performance as a Viking Erl.


Horace Sippog and the siren's song
Horace Sippog and the siren's song
by Su Walton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Something in the air, 25 Jan. 2014
I first read this novel in the sixties when it was published in paperback and billed as 'a Somerset Maugham Award winning novel' by a young writer and it's remained one of my favourite books. In a strange way, it is a near perfect blend of the influences floating around at that time. (Robin Williams got it wrong: it's not that you cant REMEMBER what the 60's were like, it's that it's nearly impossible to DESCRIBE it to anyone who wasn't there.)

Although it's described as a fantasy, it really only contains one fantasy element: the idea that a man finds a mermaid lying on the beach one day, takes her home and marries her. Around this event Walton builds a sprawling story that seems bigger than it is with a huge cast of characters that are often intimately and unknowningly connected with each other.

Fate and chance are the magic ingredients in this book which the writer manipulates, like a deity, with a sometimes sardonic humour. It's a picaresque novel, in that sense; more like Trollope or Thackeray (but with a whiff of patchouli oil and marijuana) than William Burroughs. She did, after all, win the Somerset Maugham Award and knows how to tell a good story.

Walton seems to have a very small ouevre - only a few novels, although all of them worth reading, but the others are stories built upon myths ("Here Before Kilroy", "The Grasshopper"). This one is looser in construction but the most original of the three. It has perhaps dated just a little - but haven't we all?


Call of Duty: Black Ops (Mac)
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Mac)
Offered by AllGoodDealz
Price: £13.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware, 14 Nov. 2013
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I love Call Of Duty 4 (Mac) and still play it. It runs off the install disc and a few modest sized files. Unfortunately since Steam got involved, things are far more complicated. I tried installing Black Ops twice and downloaded the 10 gb (of what?) that Steam demanded both times.

It still crashed every time it opened. Support is completely inadequate - and hard to find - but a visit to the Steam forum confirmed there are many other disgruntled Mac owners in the same shoes.

It's a pity because there must be other people who are occasional gamers like me that don't want to shell out for a console. My advice however is don't bother - especially if you run OSX 10.6.8 (That could be the problem, of course, but I'll never know - and nobody here or from Steam is gonna warn you)


WD My Passport 500GB Portable Hard Drive - Black
WD My Passport 500GB Portable Hard Drive - Black

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable, 5 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have bought Western Digital - I own about eight HD's - out of preference. This is only the 2nd to give me a problem. This particular model with the 'lattice' case was unreliable from the start. Won't buy it again. My recommendation: buy the cheaper Elements drive instead.


Proud Monster
Proud Monster
by Ian MacMillan
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscopic portrait of war, 11 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Proud Monster (Hardcover)
This book made a powerful impact upon me, not only because of its form - a collection of brief stories, often one or two pages - but because of its sensibility. It covers the period of the second world war and uses story form rather like a war photographer: brief 'snapshots' of events that are treated with a very European feeling for the dark absurdities of that period. Some of the stories are laconic and horrific but many find a strange kind of beauty amongst the horrific details or cast a revealing light on the mysteries of human nature, capable of so much suffering and cruelty.

Many of these 'snapshots' linger with you: a young jew is forced to lick stones and comes to admire their beauty and texture, an executioner becomes obsessed with the shape and variety of the necks he fires bullets into, a German teenager cares more about her broken shoe heel than the concentration camp she is being forced to tour by Allied soldiers.

The insight into humanity and an empathetic irony make Macmillan's writing closer to Jewish writers like Bashevis Singer or Elie Weisel (than, say, Jerzy Kozinsky or Tadeusz Borowski). It's an affecting book and worth reading.

POSTSCRIPT: This is actually part of a trilogy, as I discovered. The other two novels ( "Orbit of Darkness" and "Village of A Million Spirits") focus more on the Holocaust but are equally powerful.


Crystal Acoustics MM-BOX-UK Ultimate Performance Portable Media Player. The only one with Realtek 1055 chipset and HD Audio, in credit card size
Crystal Acoustics MM-BOX-UK Ultimate Performance Portable Media Player. The only one with Realtek 1055 chipset and HD Audio, in credit card size

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy successor?, 23 Aug. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought two of Crystal Acoustics PICOHD5.1 media players - one for a friend and one afterwards for myself - and thought they were excellent value at the price. So did a lot of other people, judging from how quickly they sold out. From CA's website, it looks like those have been discontinued - which I think is a real shame if it's true - and the successor is this, the 'Media Matchbox' with a special 'chip' and a heftier price tag. Is it worth considering?

This and the PICO both produce reasonably clear pictures - crisper with an HDMI cable - so they satisfy my modest requirements. I use media players mostly for watching videos which are in mpeg, mkv and avi format so I don't expect that much. I haven't tested the surround sound capabilities (I couldn't get it to work with my Media Receiver set up) but then that doesn't really bother me. This is not an exhaustive review therefore but one based on my needs and expectations.

Good things about the Matchbox: it has more sophisticated software with more options, including live previews, the ability to change the size and colour of subtitles, more ways to tweak the picture and sound.

Things I didn't like - it's far less sturdy. The PICO has an aluminium box, isn't much bigger than this and has a far more robust remote. The MM's case is plastic and the remote is 'sticky' and crowded with buttons. The button control on the outside is also not an asset; hard to use when it's connected up and there are no instructions as to what it does.

(I think the whole 'miniaturised' aspect of it is not a selling point anyway; this is not a mobile device, you still need to cart around an adapter and cables to get any use from it. If I were taking it on holiday - the PICO would stand up to travel much better. I also thought it was a bit mean of CA not to include an AV cable with the MM, like they did with the PICO)

Would I recommend it? Well, if you can't get your hands on a PICO, it's still not a bad player and more sophisticated users might appreciate its finer points more than I do - but the price makes it far less of a bargain.


Ronald Harwood's Adaptations: From Other Works into Films
Ronald Harwood's Adaptations: From Other Works into Films
by Ronald Harwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dinner party conversation, 29 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a rambling, anecdotal book; largely a transcription of interviews. It does contain some interesting and useful nuggets of information but if you're an aspiring screenwriter looking for practical advice on the art of adaptation, my advice would be to look elsewhere. Possibly the most useful thing in the book are the extracts at the back showing how Harwood adapted his own plays. Read it in the spirit of biography but don't expect a manual of instructions; this is entertaining after-dinner talk.

Harwood, in his 70's, after a lifetime of productive work, is now in the enviable position of being able to plough his own furrow; he doesn't 'do' treatments, have to network or pitch, and can basically pick and choose his work to suit his predilictions. Good luck to him. But it's a bit like asking Judi Dench to advise a struggling young actress on today's hyper competitive acting profession.


The CSS Detective Guide: Tricks for Solving Tough CSS Mysteries
The CSS Detective Guide: Tricks for Solving Tough CSS Mysteries
by Denise R. Jacobs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potentially useful book but . . ., 26 July 2010
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This struck me as a really good idea for a book: look at the common problems people have writing CSS code and suggest ways to fix them. It's also written with a series of illustrative examples - before and after models - to help your understanding. Unfortunately the writer omits to provide you with her examples in a useable format (i.e. as a download) so, unless you're prepared to hand-code them yourself, you can't follow along.

This surprised me because Peachpit books are usually pretty good on this score. When I contacted them, I was told the author intended to upload these files (somewhere on the publisher's server presumably?) very soon. A month later, to my knowledge, that still hasn't happened. My advice to you: check if the downloadable exercise files are available BEFORE you buy this book. Without them, it's not really that useful as a learning tool, but fine if you like reading about such things in the abstract


Elgato EyeTV DTT, TV Tuner Stick for Freeview (USB 2.0), silver, For Mac & Windows
Elgato EyeTV DTT, TV Tuner Stick for Freeview (USB 2.0), silver, For Mac & Windows

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing waste of money, 23 Oct. 2009
I bought one of these to replace a tv set that I keep next to my computer. I live in a good reception area and can normally pick up at least 80 Freeview channels using a power boosted indoor aerial but the Elgato, despite endless tweaking and fiddling and 2 software updates, has never given me more than 7 tv channels - obscure ones, at that. This despite the fact that the signal strength is reported by the software as 97 to 100% and signal quality around 80. Now wish I'd bought another tv. Don't expect it to work out of the box - if at all.
Don't count on a speedy responsde from Elgato either. It took 6 days for support to respond to my problem with a suggestion that didn't help. I'm still waiting (4 days and counting) to get further help. (To be fair = they're probably inundated with mail from all the other dissatisfied customers).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2010 9:54 AM GMT


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