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Mr. RB FORTUNE-WOOD "Rowan" (UK)
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Mothers, Fathers & Lovers
Mothers, Fathers & Lovers
Price: £2.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... narrative and pace while displaying her progression from her wonderful début 'Seven Days to Tell You', 3 Sept. 2014
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Ruby Soames’ second novel retains her deft control of narrative and pace while displaying her progression from her wonderful début 'Seven Days to Tell You'. Characterization and description are more vivid in this inverted fairytale and the new premise gives additional room for exploration, twists and humour. Part love fable, part commentary on contemporary society; a romantic crisis allows the protagonist to reevaluate her elevated but finally unfulfilling position in a milieu of ‘celebrity, disposable culture, status worship and wasteful, hateful greed’ and search out a new context in which to flourish. What ultimately happens can only be discovered through the unexpected turns of Soames' creative invention.


AmazonBasics 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub
AmazonBasics 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Price: £29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A is A, 22 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One of those instances of a product that does what you expect reasonably well. Apart of Amazon's post-Kindle ambitions to become even more of a household brand, it's a functional, sleek, unobtrusive addition to the desk of someone currently lacking their required number of accessible USB ports. The only relevant issue is that USB 3.0 might have some minor difficulties vis-a-vis MacBooks. Mine would 'unplug' anything whenever the Mac went into hibernation, which would cause prompt warnings when the machine is woken about remembering to properly eject.


Out of The Furnace [DVD] [2013]
Out of The Furnace [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prosaic, 22 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'Out of the Furnane' is another instance in the long, slow decline of Christian Bale's acting career since his heyday in 'American Psycho', 'The Machinist', 'Equilibrium'; novel, intelligent films with roles requiring nuance. The Flowers of War promised an improvement that films like 'American Hustle' and, yes, 'Out of the Furnace' utterly fail to deliver on; constituting by the numbers and tedious displays of convention too many established critics gush over because of the casting choices rather than the writing, directing, &c. and how the whole thing holds together. This film meanders, giving over so much of its running time to introducing the elements that by the time we get to the rising action there is little of film left. And what follows is ploddingly predictable fair: an unsympathetic mixture of poverty porn, grit and boringly criminal intrigue. It has no import and leaves one with no lingering questions about its (meagre) content. At least it is largely too empty to be awful, instead it is merely mediocre.


PowerDirector 12 Ultra (PC)
PowerDirector 12 Ultra (PC)
Offered by AllGoodDealz
Price: £39.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 20 Feb. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
PowerDirector 12 Ultra deserve its assertive marketing; vis-à-vis placement on Amazon’s vine review service and ingratiatingly helpful replies from the company to low star appraisals. The software is not immeadiately user-friendly, which may disorientate people unfamiliar with video editing. Acquainting oneself with its various features so as to create something proficient can prove a chore. However, the versatility and professionalism that habitual use will produce is more than adequate compensation. If you want to create the best videos with software in this price range, you are unlikely to go far wrong.


Dettol Surface Cleanser with Lime and Mint 750 ml (Pack of Three)
Dettol Surface Cleanser with Lime and Mint 750 ml (Pack of Three)
Price: £4.50

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable, 18 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I used the Dettol surface cleaner on a filthy oven top with burnt in marks and felt it performed satisfactorily. The lime and mint (or apple?) odour is (irrespectively) inoffensive and the cleaning durable enough, although it struggles with some jobs as one might expect of a product that also promises `non bleach, no taint'. At 750 ml and with three in each pack this purchase gets you quite a lot of the stuff.


Dettol Complete Clean Green Apple Floor Wipes 15 Pieces (Pack of Three)
Dettol Complete Clean Green Apple Floor Wipes 15 Pieces (Pack of Three)
Price: £4.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 18 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Dettol's multi action floor wipes proved helpful; the apple smell was not too strong or overly unpleasant and it was able to remove any marks. Moreover, unlike other products I have tried it did not leave the surfaces slippy and dried completely relatively fast--a few minutes at most. One does wonder about that 00.1% of bacteria that's apparently more versatile than E.coli.


Angels: Messengers of the Gods (Art and Imagination)
Angels: Messengers of the Gods (Art and Imagination)
by Peter Lamborn Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angelography For Dummies, 27 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
`Angel is a separate species, since each possesses its own mode of absorbing and reflecting the primal light that irradiates it' (p.113)

One of Thames & Hudson coffee-table softbacks, with all the bourgeois superficiality implied. Nonetheless, while not erudite angelography, and for all its pulled-out prose segments (to aid skimming) and small primary-coloured sections, Peter Lamborn Wilson's Angels: Messengers of the Gods is merited. Its breadth means the imagery (120 of which 35 are in colour) is diverse: Kabbalistic diagrams, classical statutory, tribal costumes, Islamic manuscript illustration and the art of Dürer, Van Dyke, Botticelli, Blake--it's an aesthetic treat. Sadly, the visual layout is hit and miss and one two-page image obscured by the fold. Moreover, there's enough packed-in to catalyse a deeper interest. In a manner that will prove sympathetic to Jungians, Wilson traverses Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt; Zoroastrian and monotheist Abrahamic faiths (even Manichaean Gnosticism); Peruvian Shamanism; Hinduism; Buddhism, Taoism... to find this archetype, these winged persons. They are easier to define by their role as theophany intermediaries--the titular divine messengers--than through various contested ontologies. They're sometimes tricksters, exist in their own time (Aevum), synonymous with places, representative of good or evil, `the most sinister archangel, the Fallen One, Lucifer.' (p.55). In fact they're elusively complex enough to problematise how much qualifies as universal and what's shoehorned similarity.

It is admirable how Wilson corrects popular ignorance, e.g. in his very willingness to look at such disparate traditions together; by highlighting the uncomfortable historical relationship between Christianity and angelolatry so as to question the centrality of such beings to that particular spiritual strand to the exclusion of others; rectifying the myth that Islam has never depicted figurative subjects in its art. Moreover, he's occasionally willing to step beyond the safer confines of a neutral tone and make bold, if metaphysical, claims like, `the art of Christianity is far richer and more prolific than its theology.' (p.27) It's for the reader to make of those statements what they will; although to appreciate his rather heterodox opinions it's worth knowing the author elsewhere goes under the pseudonym Hakim Bey to write polemical tracts for what he's dubbed Immediatism; an ontologically grounded post-anarchist politics. And whatever ones thoughts it must be appreciated we get hypotheses to digest in this unlikely tome.


Strange Playgrounds
Strange Playgrounds
by George Daniel Lea
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.22

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Horror Manifesto, 21 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Strange Playgrounds (Paperback)
`Today there was love in the world, and songs echoing through the storm.' (p.93)

To go beyond reproduction every author dissects and remakes their genre. For George Daniel Lea's Strange Playgrounds horror is opposed to the delineation of the sensible, `the lines blur, parameters dissolve' (p.231), in which categories like interiority and exteriority becomes meaningless, `even his thoughts were audible' (p.3). It's an ecstatic vision, a style more than a means to preclude or incite expectations about content. It pushes against the limits of its vehicle, `Language was a lame mule, a leper with no arms or legs.' (p.272). And the point is not to elicit a designated response, but spur transformation. These interwoven shorts, microfictions, prose poems are a working out of horror itself. And despite superficial trappings, none are pessimistic stories of the end; their message is of profound hope. Indeed, Lea eschews what Rancière calls, `the logic of stories, which is always the logic of deals and lies.' Rather, these happenings, sensory moments, impressions (Lea channels Montaigne in choosing `attempts') are varyingly unstructured sensual creation-myths for a world sick with irony and detachment, lacking a sense of the ground because of a deficit of metaphysics. They grow from a soil made fertile by Poe's Romanticism, the modernism of Lovecraft and Clive Baker's postmodernism, with a primordial, archetypal root in the task of the Mabinogi, Gilgamesh, Fornaldarsagas, &c. Spiders, of the kind Ovid depicted in his Arachne, serve as a unifying-metaphor for motifs of violence and eroticism, excess and salvation.

It is important to make an observation about the species of Lea's writing; while some of Strange Playgrounds are perhaps macabre fairytales, these are first myths. And whereas fairytales impart how one best lives, myths are an uncovering of the world in which we live; they are primary--primordial, `where every imagining was a return to the place before light and breath...' (p.304). And what world is shown? One of metamorphic monism, a psychogeography `where thought was paint' (p.291) and in which matter unmasks in Heraclitean, eternal flux, `God at work in the world.' (p.156). There's no essential modification to reality, only a breaking from illusion, a seeing, `Not another world; just different feet.' (p.226). And in rejecting some other Lea puts the lie to Gnosticism; his characters cannot appeal to something higher for succour, salvation is here and earthly-fat, `Alex didn't feel anything. How could he, deprived of the flesh that was the source of emotion.' (p.47) No artist is impartial and it is clear the side Lea takes; his are utopias of freaks. This is Lea's emancipation, but into Blake's marriage of the abyss and heavens, a writhing space of unsettled bodies rather than Plato's ethereal realm of immortal Forms. In showing us this populated playground Lea agrees with Kafka, `A book must be the axe which smashes the frozen sea within us.' And it consequently reads like a Promethean manifesto, `This was the dream we murdered the world for; this chance; a renaissance that would put all prior rebirths and revolutions to shame.' (p.99).


Malthus: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Malthus: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Donald Winch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A sympathetic and well-researched appraisal, 9 Aug. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On the first page Donald Winch is keen to stress that this is not a book about Malthusianism, rather Malthus; his thoughts and writings and life in the appropriate Nineteenth Century French Revolutionary and Napoleonic historical contexts. And with that caveat Malthus: A Very Short Introduction focuses on Malthus the anti-utopian more chiefly than Malthus the demographer; the latter a means for the former raison d'être. Winch's task is therefore unapologetically apologetic. He must first contend with the reputation seeded by Malthus' enemies, egalitarian critics from Coleridge to Hazlitt and Marx and Engels, to foundational liberals like Ricardo. Then there is the difficulty found in where Malthus met with success outside the Anglican Church and his influence on Darwinianism; that is, with the bourgeois economists and utilitarians like Mill who refashioned the idea qua neo-Malthusianism as the problem to be overcome for the kinds of social planning experiments Malthus precisely opposed. In essence Winch is extracting the kernel of Malthus, so respected by Keynes, from his detractors and elaborators' distortions and appropriations. What we get is a Foxite Whig who was honest, amicable and concerned for the good of the greatest number of humanity to be secured by centrist reformism, calm mediation and even the sacrifice of manufacturing fuelled growth. A man perhaps more opposed to a militarised and autocratic state than the potentially violent stirrings of the people he is more readily deployed to apprise.

In his analysis Winch puts the early Malthus alongside Burke as a counterrevolutionary, but more detached, less fiery, scientific in an albeit anti-reductionist vain. Coming from an alternative background, educated by dissenters and sympathetic to radical visions, Malthus nonetheless challenged Godwin and Condorcet's Rousseauism, as well as the Poor Laws, from a unique angle. His overpopulation critique was also distinct from earlier arguments in making the problem more pressing than utopian solutions could readily handle and adapting an Anglican ethics that rejected escapes like contraception. The famous essay that conveyed his opinions developed in an increasingly moralistic direction in its various editions; with the potential of private mores to divert the worst consequences. And that saw him shift more responsibility to the poor, albeit, as Winch defensively notes, within the scope of a complex cyclical Newtonian system beyond agency. This complexity tapped into the wider contentions of Adam Smith about a nation's wealth; and his contribution in that field involved expounding the relevance of diminishing returns and a `doctrine of proportion' for political economy. His was a sort of anti-Smithian Aristotelian ideology of agrarian--post-Physiocratic--social robustness, which was manifested in support of established Corn Laws and an emphasis on rent over Ricardo's interest in capital as a measure of civilized progress.

Whereas Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge caricature and numerous other ad hominem attacks are easily dismissed by Winch, I finished still more taken to Marx's reserve army of labour explanation for overpopulation even setting aside all other objections and granting Malthus the most sympathetic and contextualised reading. I am equally unimpressed by his frequent invocation of argumentum ad temperantiam reasoning to defend economic and political opinions. And while I strongly sympathise with any attempt to emphasise a normative economics, I was left retaining my distaste for Malthus' antiquated moralism too--however well intentioned and of its time. Yet Winch's book is a success in the most important sense; in doing what its title suggests and offering the reader an easy, erudite and concise window on the subject, irrespective of one's views of that subject. Malthus: A Very Short Introduction does even better as it could serve quite adequately as a point of departure to anyone trying to grasp so much of the cultural, moral and political debates of Nineteenth Century Britain per se.


The Francois Truffaut Collection - 6 Disc Box Set (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) [DVD]
The Francois Truffaut Collection - 6 Disc Box Set (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jean-Pierre Léaud

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine English subtitles, 11 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I mostly bought this box set for The 400 Blows, for which I could not find another affordable and first hand copy. I was concerned that another reviewer suggested problems with subtitles vis-à-vis three unspecified films in the set; however, I found no issue and wonder if he has acquired a damaged copy or was reviewing the wrong product. François Truffaut is one of the most accessible of French New Wave directors; his finely structured narratives deploy understated characters and plot to evoke strong emotional resonances and unsentimental poignancy. My only criticism is the absence of two of my favourites of his movies: Fahrenheit 451 and The Wild Child. However wanting more is not a strong attack.


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