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Bodnotbod (London, UK)

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Mens Velcro Flip Flops - Beach Mules - Sandals - New
Mens Velcro Flip Flops - Beach Mules - Sandals - New
Price: £3.99 - £6.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Like having spongy bin liners flapping on the soles of your feet., 10 Aug. 2014
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I've never been a flip-flop or sandal wearer but for reasons I won't bore you with I suddenly found myself needing a pair.

I couldn't have imagined how poor such a simple piece of footwear could feel. I don't have particularly sweaty feet but because there is no absorption in the material used to make the sandals any moisture that's there is stuck between your feet and the sandal. Consequently, when you walk you slide around on the sole. When you walk you don't fee sure-footed because you have this bit of slide. Sliding a bit (and I'm talking half a centimetre) forward or back is no big deal but you slide a bit sideways too and it kind of puts you off the sweet spot of the sole making you feel more uncomfortable.

I will probably have to buy a pair made by someone else as I can't imagine being able to use these at all.

That said, I am having to wear these indoors for the most part. If you're outdoors and have more of a breeze to deal with moisture issues then your experience will be better... unless you get seawater or something between the inner-sole and your feet when you will, like me, be sliding as you step.

House of Cards - Season 1 (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]
House of Cards - Season 1 (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £24.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flabby in the middle., 4 Nov. 2013
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The thing I find with American dramas is that they seem to be told how many hours to fill and then they just have to go ahead and fill them. Often I find that American series are too long for the narrative and this leads to problems.

There's various ways of filling time when you don't have a central story that can sustain that amount of screen time. And none of them bode well. You can have needless subplots, you can extend the cast... often the worst is you can have your main characters do more stuff. The danger there is that a character can become diluted. There's one episode in the series that is a serious bit of padding. Spacey meets up with old friends he knew from military school. It's a completely wasted episode and just makes up the numbers. Indeed the middle of this series is a little frustrating. Fortunately the performances of the entire cast are so great, Spacey in particular, that you can appreciate just spending the time with them.

For the first two or three episodes this was a sure-fire 5 star. Then I started to wonder if it was going to go horribly downhill. But it picked up again and satisfies for the final third.

No spoilers here: I only found out after seeing all the episodes that there's going to be a second series. Had I known that at the outset I would have come to terms with the fact that I was only seeing part of a story, albeit one that has a complete arc in it.

I recommend the series and look forward to getting series 2.

The Birthday Party [1968] [DVD]
The Birthday Party [1968] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Shaw
Price: £3.25

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I bet nobody reads the 3 star reviews do they? Oh well..., 2 Nov. 2013
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The only other Pinter play I've seen is The Homecoming. I have, however, seen quite a few documentaries about Pinter (which had clips of his plays) and features about Pinter and also seen Pinter give lectures and speeches.

Through the documentaries and seeing The Homecoming I had an idea what to expect from a work by Pinter. And The Birthday Party met those expectations. Chiefly 1) domestic small talk with a seething undercurrent of *menace* 2) lots of characters asking questions of each other and 3) repetition in the dialogue.

Giving something three stars always feels a bit of a cop out and not very helpful. But let me explain my score. I'm afraid I'm going to have to go off at a tangent first, though...

There's a stand up comedian I like called Stewart Lee. He does things differently to most comedians. He has some distinctive things that he does. And for his troubles he gets heavily criticised. Some people find his work absolutely infuriating and one review spoke of the "grinding repetition" of his act. But I adore Lee's shows. I think Pinter is possibly rather like that. I can see how someone could really devote themselves to Pinter. He too has a distinctive "voice". But where I love Lee, I'm not falling in love with Pinter. Not yet, at least.

However, even though I'm not sure Pinter is for me I can't rate it a lowly 1 or 2 as I was certainly intrigued by this play and there were some moments where I was thoroughly gripped.

One piece of helpful advice I can give, though: if you suffer from depression and/or anxiety, then buying a whole heap of Pinter DVDs is probably not a good idea.

Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States [DVD]
Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States [DVD]
Dvd ~ Oliver Stone
Price: £14.75

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review focusing on the viewer experience..., 2 Nov. 2013
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I thought I'd talk about how this series presents itself rather than the politics of it.

First, the audio (I will come to the images). This series is extremely dense in words. Like an audiobook the narration is constant. Oliver Stone does the narration himself. He doesn't enunciate things entirely well. If I were to say his speech is slurred that would be a great exaggeration and an injustice. But he can be a little indistinct. At the same time there is a constant music background. No part of the series passes without a music background. So, the narration fighting with the music, you will find yourself straining to listen through most of this. I did manage to hear everything but you have to apply a bit of effort. Another thing is that Stone pauses in odd ways. I think I figured out what's going on: it sounds like he's reading from sheets of paper and when he gets to the end of a line he pauses as his eyes travel to the start of the next line. That sounds ridiculous right? Surely Stone can read from a paper without doing that. So my theory may be wrong, but if you imagine someone having to do such pauses you'll get how the narration sounds in this series.

Onto the images. I don't know that there's many clips in this that last any longer than five seconds. Almost every sentence Stone utters seems to have a separate clip to go along with it. Sometimes even to an extent that makes you frown or chuckle. For example, the last episode covers the Obama administration, but as JFK is mentioned up pops a 2 second image of JFK just in case you'd forgotten what he looked like and then you're back to images of Obama. That said, I did find the imagery very engaging. It's a massive feat of marshalling archive material and you will not be able to complain that things are not illustrated for you.

With the dense narration AND the quick cuts of images it can be hard to keep up. I have also read that a person's attention span is less than an hour long. There are no rest breaks in these episodes. There is never a bold statement made and then four seconds of a shot of an Iraqi sunset in silence so that you can take a moment to breathe. Each sentence and image leads straight into the next. I found that I inevitably zoned out here and there. However, I never felt that I was lost once I regained my attention. Sometimes, though... if you're interested in history you may have had the experience of picking up a thick history book and finding the font a bit smaller than you'd like and that there's too few paragraph breaks for comfort. That's very much what this series reminded me of. For that reason, I would think everyone will have to watch this more than once before they take everything in.

So that's what it's like for the viewer.

There's also some things that are different about this series to other documentaries, so a word on those. There are no interviews in this. You will never find someone hired for the series to give a comment on anything. Something I've not seen in a documentary before is people doing impressions! So sometimes there is a quote from JFK or Churchill and a voice comes in doing JFK or Churchill. These are short and they're mostly done well. None of the impressions made me laugh out loud but they are a little jarring here and there.

It sounds like I have little to say other than to complain, doesn't it? But I will be recommending this series to friends. It's a polemic. The politics are anti-war, anti-military-intervention, pro Russia, anti-imperial.

I will offer some alternate titles. 'The History of America's Relationship With Russia 1940-2012" or "American Foreign Policy from WWII to Obama". What I'm getting at here is that you will hear very little about US domestic politics.

OK, well, I hope you found this useful. It's an interesting series and well worth the money.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2015 11:06 AM BST

How I Escaped My Certain Fate
How I Escaped My Certain Fate
Price: £4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Essential for Stewart Lee fans and possibly essential for aspiring comedy writers too., 25 Oct. 2013
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Despite being a huge fan of Stewart Lee's comedy I came very late to this.

I hadn't read much about it so didn't know quite what to expect. It's a blend of autobiography and very heavily annotated show transcripts. I had heard the book described as a sort of DVD commentary of his shows. I was a bit worried by this. I have seen some of Lee's DVDs several times but I was concerned that I still may not be familiar enough with the shows to understand what a book may be referring to at any given point. But I needn't have worried in the slightest as the shows are fully transcribed and the notes are interspersed. At least that's true of the Kindle version. On the Kindle the "footnotes" don't appear at the foot, nor at the back. They are in-line with the text. I was pleased about that as it meant no jumping about back and forth.

The book caused me to ponder at length. Lee tells you why he's said things and the way he's said them and tells you what effect he intends to create in doing so. 95% of the time it made sense but there were occasions where I asked myself "did he really succeed with what he set out to do there?" That's not even slightly a criticism. I enjoyed those moments of going "hmmm" and wondering to myself. I used to do a lot of thinking about comedy and have even written some in the past. I hadn't put thought into comedy for some years now and I enjoyed going back into that frame of mind. I think aspiring comedy writers will gain from reading this as you are essentially being given a guided tour through comic work, paragraph by paragraph.

If that gives you the impression this is a somewhat academic work, though, that would be quite wrong. It's an incredibly thoughtful book but also full of wit.

A bonus, for me, is that - in this book - I now have lots of names of stand-ups that Lee admires and that I can seek out. This has reignited my interest in stand-up comedy, which things like "Live At The Apollo" had destroyed a few years ago.

Returning to the autobiographical element... it doesn't go into this heavily. It won't give you a full bio. Although aspects of his childhood are mentioned it is in no way the complete story of his life. It mainly centres on his career. That was fine by me, though.

There is a question, I guess, as to whether you ought to see the shows transcribed before reading this. I can only speak from the position of someone who had. My answer is a weak one in terms of telling you whether to buy this book. I suggest you buy all the DVDs! They are such a treat.

Depression And How To Survive It
Depression And How To Survive It
by Professor Anthony Clare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, possibly rather outdated, though..., 18 Jan. 2010
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I'm in agreement with the other reviews here at the time of writing.

I'll start out with a couple of things you *won't* get from this book.

Firstly, the cover gives the impression that Spike had a hand in writing this book. That's not the case. Spike is merely the primary and almost only individual case study. His contribution is via interviews conducted by Clare about Spike's depression. Nevertheless Spike's observations and experiences of suffering bipolar illness are illuminating and, if you suffer from depression, you will be able to relate to them. If you've never suffered depression then his experiences will help you understand how depression feels.

Secondly, do not expect Spike's humour to play a role in the book. There is merely one page where Clare quotes some of Spike's comedy material to make a point about bipolar illness and creativity. Spike's input on the subject of his depression is devoid of laughs. This didn't bother me but I merely warn you that Spike's involvement does not make itself felt through any kind of madcap humour on the subject.

Thirdly, the "how to survive it" subtitle is a little misleading. If you're looking for a self-help book there are plenty of others on the market. This book focuses far more on studies about depression and research into treatments. It is very short on what someone suffering should do in their lives to relieve depression, though it does go into detail about treatments.

On the subject of treatments it is worth recognising that this book was published in 1994. I seem to recall the latest bit of research in the book comes from 1990. So, at the time I read the book here in 2010 I was struck that we are now a whole twenty years further down the road and it made me eager to learn what has changed in that period; it could be enough to make this book rather a shakey proposition now, but equally possible that things haven't progressed that much.

However, I still give this book 4 stars. Clare writes wonderfully, making all the research he refers to come alive and accessible. Because it is a reasonably brief book I would especially recommend it for people with depression who have people around them who do not understand what they're going through; they could pass this book onto them (perhaps after judicious use of a highlighter pen) and anyone could learn a lot about this debilitating condition.

It's probably worth reiterating that Spike is a bipolar depressive which has the distinct symptom of bouts of mania not present in most depressives. However, I am unipolar and didn't feel alienated or find the book less useful despite the fact that the chief case study has a different disorder to mine; the subject of mania is explored but doesn't override or dilute the content useful to the unipolar depressed.

I would recommend this book as an addition to a small library on the topic of depression, which I feel anyone with depressions severe enough to require medical attention should invest in.

Other books I would recommend are Andrew Solomon's "The Noonday Demon" which is a larger book and very thorough. It includes the writer's own experience of depression, covers the history of the condition and explores the societal aspects and much more besides.

I would also recommend "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies" as a great introduction to a therapy proven to really help people recover (and the whole book is cheaper than one private session with a therapist).

For anyone out there with depression, I wish you well. It is possible to manage it. It is possible to get through the bad times. It will pass.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2013 7:49 PM BST

Adventures In The Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood
Adventures In The Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood
by William Goldman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb, 5 Mar. 2008
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This is a superb book. I came to it via recommendations from people who want to become screenwriters but I say it's a brilliant book for anyone interested enough in film to sit and watch one every couple of weeks.

The major part of the book is memoir about working in Hollywood as a screenwriter but he talks about many other aspects of the industry from his perspective. We get to hear the inside dope on stars and directors. Sure, this book was written in 1982 but we can assume a lot of what he says remains true... and the names he mentions are big enough to be instantly recognisable today.

I was all set to give the book five stars as I reached the final pages of the book. And then something almost miraculous happened: it got better. The final section gives you a short story of Goldman's and he takes you through the process of creating a screenplay for a short film based on that story. And then he interviews people (a production designer, cinematographer, director and more) as to how they would approach their aspect of making this proposed film. It's a brilliant insight into how films are made. I put the book down with three times as much passion for films as I had when I began. I think I will watch films with new eyes now.

I always knock a review down to four stars, at most, if I finish a book feeling something could be improved. I can't recall the last five star review I gave. I give this five stars without hesitation.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going off to buy Goldman's follow up book, "Which Lie Did I Tell". Unfortunately it's not available from Amazon UK. However, there are some related sellers supplying second hand copies. It is not hard for me to take a risk on them.

The Liar
The Liar
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The journey is more enjoyable than the arrival, 5 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Liar (Paperback)
This is beautifully written and bears all the hallmarks of Fry's familiar delivery. I heartily recommend it. I have given just 4 stars out of 5 as I didn't feel particularly satisfied by the ending but I had very much enjoyed getting there. It's the first Fry novel I've read and I am certainly encouraged to read more of them.

How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make
How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make
by Denny Martin Flinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced and disappointing., 5 Mar. 2008
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I've recently bought several books on screenwriting and this is the most disappointing of the lot by a long way. It is the one that gives the most detail on how to use screenplay elements such as "CUT TO:" and "CONT'd", however if you use the freely available script formatting program 'Celtx' you can avoid having to know a lot of the stuff this book tells you about formatting.

I would recommend this book, perhaps, if it were nearer the £6 mark. It is a slim tome and large chunks are given over to quoting scripts from films. As aspiring scriptwriters will probably already know, you get far fewer words to a page once you start formatting as a screenplay. This book is already only 200 pages long once you discard the index and appendices. Yet another 50 or more of those are given over to quoting screenplays. This leaves the author with little room to explore what he's telling you, so the overall effect is of a book that has been rushed to market.

My advice would be to look around at some of the websites that tell you how to format a screenplay. Then read lots of screenplays themselves (which, again, are available online). Then download Celtx and let that handle your formatting.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2009 11:51 AM BST

Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting: A Step-by-Step Guide from Concept to finished Script
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting: A Step-by-Step Guide from Concept to finished Script
by Syd Field
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive... but perhaps that's why it works., 19 Feb. 2008
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The main thing to say about this book is that it's repetitive. Really, really repetitive. Phenomenally repetitive. You think the start of this review is repetitive? No, my friend. Compared to the book, my review is not remotely repetitive.

Sentences are repeated. Quotes are repeated. Advice is repeated ad infinitum. The book has 308 pages without the index. I reckon you could boil that down to less than half the size if you just took out all the bits that are said more than once. You may find this hard to believe but there are things in here that are repeated more than four times.

So why do I still give it four stars?

Well, I think the repetition works. OK, it goes a little too far on that point. And there will be some readers (though none who can argue I haven't done my utmost to warn them) who get really worn down by the repetition. But for me, since this is only my second screenwriting book and I haven't been to any classes, I have probably benefited from the repetition.

It really hammers its points home. If you don't remember the main points after being told again and again and again, then when will you learn them?

So this book is like being taught by a teacher who doesn't trust you to remember the key points. He hits you over the head with them. Then again. Then again. And then one more time, just to be sure.

In my case, it's probably a good thing that he does. For other people, though, it may be much too much.

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