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Fellowes A4 Glossy 80 Micron Laminating Pouch (Pack of 250)
Fellowes A4 Glossy 80 Micron Laminating Pouch (Pack of 250)
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent value bulk buy, 7 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
a product we use continuously and in large quantity to protect reusable handouts and classrom materials. Not so solid as the 125 micron, which we buy in smaller quantity but which literally stand up better.

Disposable White Aprons (Flat Pack of 100)
Disposable White Aprons (Flat Pack of 100)
Offered by Crown Supplies
Price: £2.76

4.0 out of 5 stars One use only each but value for money, 7 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
the aprons are filmy and obviously single use but fit OK on a 6 footer and we think splitting the neck and re-tying shorter will make them ideal for messy kids activities. Will certainly reorder.

Dahle A3 Personal Trimmer 460mm Cutting Length/ 0.6mm Cutting Capacity - Blue
Dahle A3 Personal Trimmer 460mm Cutting Length/ 0.6mm Cutting Capacity - Blue
Price: £35.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Arrived wonky but fixable, works fine, 7 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
but mildly disappointed. On arrival one side paper rest was out of true. It was very nearly a return. We were able to unscrew it and adjust, but it cost you full marks Dahle! That being said, it's touchwood worked like a trooper since then. Recommended conditionally.

Fury [Blu-ray]
Fury [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Price: £12.99

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars complete lack of character, plot, humanity, credibility, 21 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Fury [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
My gift to you today is up to five hours of your life back. If you don't see at least one film this year make it Foxcatcher, but if I'm too late and you're already hunting for something to take the bad taste away, don't see Fury.

If there's any reason at all to grind through all 2 and a half hours, it's to witness the bizarre achievement of a story that manages to turn American soldiers into a greater force for evil than Hitler's Nazis.

Before first scene you're given some back-story text about invincible German tanks and their inferior Allied opposition, so you might think you're about to see a David and Goliath story about opposing tank forces at the end of World War 2. Then in the first scene Brad Pitt jumps off a tank and gratuitously stabs a German cavalry officer to death through the eyes.

This bizarre opening sets the film's tone of casual violence and inhumanity, and introduces the core cast of the tank's crew. Brad Pitt plays a veteran serial killer whose psychotic personality is lamp-shaded with brief scenes of constipated anguish. Oddball actor Shia Le Boeuf plays an oddball religious zealot. That Guy From Walking Dead plays That Twitchy Character From Walking Dead. That Hispanic Guy From That Cop Movie plays a time-travelling Crip gang-banger. A little bit later hello Jason Isaacs arrives to deliver exposition with a scar and an accent.

The storytelling is limited, lazy and weird. There's no plot, just a long trail of thudding battle scenes. The only character development is a vision of male bonding as an exercise in rape and violent death. The Nazi threat relies on half-a-century of cultural baggage and the American characters' rabid, vocal racism. No male German has more than a walk-on part. German troops are either seen as prisoners of war in the background or as battle scene cannon-fodder. In the progressively bizarre cinematography of the final set piece they are literally faceless. We see a handful of individual German soldiers, who are invariably unarmed, casually brutalised, humiliated and executed. A couple of scenes featuring the semi-mythical last resort of child soldiers, weirdly grasping at equality standards as about half have pig-tails.

Between the moments you ask yourself if you should stick with it any longer, you'll wonder if it's possible to hate the central characters even more. The answer to the first "no", and with every successive scene the answer to the second is a resounding "yes,".

The ridiculous climax arrives late and like the film itself goes on way too long. It plays out like a bad homage to "Commando", without the saving grace of being high concept camp. It has the Looney Tunes distance from reality of battle scenes from "Lord of the Rings" or "Aliens", without their creators' talent, style or heart. If you doubt the film's real movie roots, just think about why the writer-director explicitly pounds home that in his version of WW2 all weapons shoot tracer rounds. Every battle scene looks like an audition for a gig in the new Star Wars franchise.

I'm not sure if Mr Pitt thought he was buying into Saving Private Oscar Nomination or another post modern Tarantino style cartoon, but just because he made the mistake doesn't mean you have to.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2015 1:10 PM BST

AA AA9VDCPESAX5 9V Photoelectric Smoke Alarm
AA AA9VDCPESAX5 9V Photoelectric Smoke Alarm
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap unit does the job but I had problems with the internal wiring, 15 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The fact that this "essentials" - i.e. value branded - average size smoke alarm is supplied with rawl plugs, mounting screws and a battery makes it good value. Fitting the detachable base plate to the ceiling with the supplied fixings is not a problem, and the alarm itself just twists and just clips into place.

Three stars mainly due to the battery housing. a minor problem is that the space for the battery has no lid, and it relies on gravity and the base plate to keep the battery in place. The lead for the battery terminals needs to sit in this space too, obviously, but out of the box ours was tucked inside the body of the alarm and incredibly difficult to reach. You can't take the alarm apart, it's glued together, so you need someone with thin fingers to pull the lead out. Annoying.

Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life
Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse: And Other Lessons from Modern Life
Price: £4.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable collection of David Mitchell's articles spoiled by dodgy e-book formatting, 12 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was worth almost exactly the discounted kindle Christmas sale price. I like David Mitchell's "schtick", and it was very readable. I put it aside once or twice and dipped into a couple of other things, but was happy to be able to click back and carry on. It made me smile rather than laugh out loud, but there are a couple of good chuckles.

If you expected slightly more edgy humour from David Mitchell, it may not be exactly what you expect. It's a collection of jobs of work slightly coloured by personal opinion. He consistently emphasises that his celebrity personality is both posher and cleverer than him, but can't really hide the fact that the non-celebrity reality is still significantly further up the posh and clever scales than most. His point of view seemed surprisingly more small-c conservative that the "it's mostly an act" rider tries to suggest.

If there's any real disappointment about the content, it's that the articles are often quite samey.

There is a problem with the kindle formatting. The marketing page which is usually consigned to a kindle book's final page-turn appears a good 15 to 20 per cent short of the end of this one. Rather than push David Mitchell's own material it was a promotion for other items featured in the kindle advent sale so I presume it's more likely to be a business decision by the publisher. The idea was obviously to push the up-sell click-throughs well ahead of an extensive self-bibliography and index, which presumably exists to make the paper edition look more substantial on the shelf. It's a mistake. It interrupts the e-book well ahead of the end of the actual readable material, and makes the writer look both technically clueless and (even if you concede that it's on Douglas Adams's behalf) grasping.

Flesh Wounds
Flesh Wounds
by Chris Brookmyre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Brookmyre better than Rankin? shock, 13 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Flesh Wounds (Paperback)
It's that age old conundrum. Who would win a fight between the Thing and the Hulk? In your heart you know, but the Thing is way cooler and you cheer for him anyway.

In a sad but apparently necessary function of the state of the Tesco-driven publishing industry, both the leading exponents of Tartan crime fiction have begun to tend towards the condition of Midsomer. The illustrious competition's formidable writing skills are increasingly undermined in the apparent belief that a much-loved lead character is a good enough excuse to have to worry about anything resembling a plot. Happily Chris Brookmyre continues to punch his story-telling weight.

It's true that in "Flesh Wounds" the Jasmine Sharp universe of characters are still pretty much a parade of ITV prime time casting calls, and there's the inevitable necessary impurity of at least one indestructible walking McGuffin. But the plot clicks along like a 27 jewel Swiss watch.

For any Brookmyre constant readers like me who were shocked into paralysis of the credit card after Jasmine Sharp's first appearance, the third in the series is a vast improvement. Mild spoiler alert, but despite the fact that the book is driven mainly by the impulse to ret-con Jasmine's biography, the improvement is in no small measure down to the relatively small part she has to play. And what I assume is a deliberate attempt to show that as a private eye she's a pretty average ex drama student.

The book is a multiple-viewpoint story that shares most of the screen time among the cop-shop supporting cast. There's some deliberate fudging about the character's identity in one story thread but it's not too hard to see through it. In fact it amounts to one of those graded-video Midsomer Murders prologues, where a key character prowls about in a hoodie or the final scene is delayed until a flashback in the section just before News at Ten.

The slightly forced but intricate plot rattles along to a satisfying if unlikely climax, where we meet Jasmine Sharp 2.0. Don't be surprised if book 4 starts with her asking some poor unfortunate to hand over their clothes, boots and motorcycle.

The point is, I like Midsomer Murders, and I like Chris Brookmyre's crime fiction. This book amounts to crossing the streams, which leaves me 2 quid lighter and a happier punter.

And I've always been Team Thing.

I want to live in Spain
I want to live in Spain
Price: £2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decently written slightly dull memoir of an unadventrous ex-pat in Spain, 26 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"I want to Live in Spain" was surprisingly readable for what seems to be a self-published book, which puts it way ahead of the pack compared to most of the other kindle "indies" I've read.

I finished the book, but I suspect I'd find author Mark himself hard going. How much you would too probably depends of how you feel about people who use the phrase "beer o'clock".

Mark seems pretty typically middle English middle class middle management. Thanks to what seems to have been the pre-crisis property market he was able to jump ship from a decent job on a London borough council and move to Spain. The book relates the story of how he and his wife dealt with life an fresh-faced ex-pat incomers on the Costa Blanca.

If you know the Costa Blanca at all you'll quickly realise there's a bit of a soft-shoe shuffle about how far off the main drag casa Harrison really is. He's at pains to distance himself from Benidorm, but he's really not so away from most of its slightly better-heeled neighbours.

If you're looking for a story of fearless integration into a new and alien culture, you'll have to look elsewhere. There's a bit of local colour but Mr and Mrs H. mainly adapt to ex-pat life by sticking to the established English-speaking community.

Mark Harrison's writing is admirably clear but his diary style approach lets it down. The book isn't much more than a series of isolated anecdotes, none of which are exactly laugh out loud funny. Without a clear narrative line there are just longer stories that tend to taper off without a punchline, and short scenes that appear mid-chapter unconnected to anything. It might be how life works but it's not great reading.

The book does suffer from the indie-publishing curse of spotty proofreading. At points words missing which difficult read.

Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography
Going to Sea in a Sieve: The Autobiography
Price: £5.49

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oi oi, geezah! Tell us anuvva geezah story!, 15 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Even if you only scratch the surface Danny Baker pretty much defines the term unreliable narrator. So take your porridge with a hefty pinch of salt. That being said, unless you're dyed-in-the-wool Team Baker and he can do no wrong, the self-portrait he's chosen to paint here is weirdly offensive.

The same dull disappointment happened with Simon Pegg. Maybe I should just finally give up on near-celebrity autobiographies.

It's a shame, really, because Danny Baker is one of a short list of people I always used to say, "I've got time for". The radio show is an unexplored mystery but I always enjoyed him on TV - even the chat show. I was in the audience when he fizzed and sparked through his turn on the original "Room 101", most of which fell out in the edit. He was part of the support structure for the pillar of my own mid-life crisis, the now defunct Word magazine.

A bad review's not going to dent the enthusiasm of his fans, but on the slight chance it could save someone else a week or so of bedtime reading, here's a spoiler free summary:

Dan's a geezer and his dad's a geezer. Sarf London hard men are great. Life's a right larf and anyfink not nailed down is fair game. The law's for mugs. Pop music was great between 1969 and 1976. Dan looked great in 70s fashion. Punk rock turned sour fast. Dan didn't look great in punk fashion. Hanging out with drunk journos and rockers at the NME was a right larf. Innit a shame, the music biz used to be a right old gravy train. Still, TV's a great new scam.

Danny Baker seems to believe he's part of a charming community of loveable rascals. You might like to re-frame this as him being a narcissist opportunist sociopath with few or no scruples. His moral reference point is his dad, a dock worker who set the baseline that good men choose violence and intimidation as a first resort, and taught him that fraud and graft is the solution to all your problems. His son's portrait shows "Spud" as an overbearing bully and a part-time fence if not an active back-door liberator of other people's goods.

On his own evidence you wouldn't leave Danny Baker alone near loose cash or anything light enough to carry. He takes truly bizarre pride in his detailed explanation of how deep he could push his hand into the till of the record shop where he worked, and the extensive secondary trade he did in their poorly monitored stock. As with the systematic insurance fraud he helped out with at home, he seems entirely satisfied that this was perfectly acceptable. It was easy, he was never caught, and anyway everybody was doing it. It didn't do nobody no harm, guv. Strike a light.

It leaves me ashamed that for years I passed on wholesale his criticism of consumer TV as the soap-box for greedy idiots who shouldn't have believed the unbelievable offer or tried to get rich quick. I didn't realise it was because he grew up with the people whose prey on the poor, weak and desperate.

As a reference point from the rest of the world, not everybody does it. Other people's credulity and not being caught aren't normally recognised as legal or moral get-out clauses.

The Danny Baker story reads like an average episode of "Minder", and a thick vein of sentimental Cockerney lard runs through it. He calls on images of water fights in the great summer of 1976 and perfect family holidays on the Norfolk Broads, and just doesn't mention until later that they were courtesy of the nation's rising insurance premiums. His passion for old rock music is part of this Vaseline lensed view of the past and he stays true to one of its clunkiest cliches. No matter the misogynistic thrash on the other 11 tracks every speaker-shaking album always contained one syrupy ballad for the laydeez. Nominations for this moment include his tear-stained harangue of the punks who cheered when they heard Elvis was dead, or the bathos of his interview with the crumbling Prince of Pop poised to release "Thriller".

There's a very good chance that this is all a farrago of nonsense. The Danny Baker portrayed in this book would think nothing of taking a a bill-paying publishing opportunity to write a tissue of tall takes and half-truths. At least, in the spirit of things, I only paid a nicker and a half for it.

Sorry, Danny, and any fans who find their way this far down the review listings. Sadly, all trust and respect now gone on the bonfire of his vanity. I shall not pass this way again.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2014 9:56 AM GMT

Doctor Who: Harvest of Time
Doctor Who: Harvest of Time
Price: £4.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am the master, and you will remember me, 17 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
How to add anything to the vast body of justified positive reaction to Harvest of Time?

There is next to nothing to fault.

Alastair Reynolds reminds us that Jon Pertwee's time as Doctor Who was something to celebrate, not leave out in the cold. He captures Roger Delgado's performance as the Master wistfully well, and uses the scope of the prose form to add unexpected depth. Katy Manning's Jo Grant jumps off the page too, with the addition of a little inner life of her own. He even pays wheezing, groaning homage to the Target house style.

"Harvest of Time" runs nose to nose with, and maybe a little ahead of, Mark Gatiss's "Last of the Gaderene". With all the right notes in the right order, it's a reminder that an untarnished English 1970s pop culture icon should be treasured to the last smear of video flare and frame of grainy location film.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2014 3:38 PM GMT

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