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David Fox (London)

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iVak Soft Feel Case for iPod Video - Blue (30GB)
iVak Soft Feel Case for iPod Video - Blue (30GB)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd be a nervous wreck without this!, 7 Jan 2007
Being new to the whole iPod scene, I was quite overprotective of my brand new iPod which I had shelled out a considerable amount for and after secretly opening lots of boxes in Oxford Circus's Apple store and trying my iPod in a few cases, I came across this cracker.

Actually, the first thing I noticed when hiding my apparantly banned actions in the store was the panic I was sent into after I couldn't actually get my iPod out of this case! It was no problem though after I found the "custom made key" (which is essentially just a blank credit card) at the bottom of the box.

Unlike rubber cases, it doesn't stick against the inside of your trouser pocket when you slide it in and out and the screen cover, whilst protective, doesn't interfere with the wicked video quality your new 5G iPod's capable of.

And then there's just plain usability; all the essential connections are kept safe but at the same time, aren't obstructed. My charger still makes that satisfying click when I insert it while the iPod's in it's case (which actually, it never leaves), the headphones fit snugly into their port and your hand's access to the main controls aren't overwhelmed by the usual problem of a thick case that's difficult to fit your palm around comfortably. Even the inevitable and terrifying "first drop" of my iPod went relatively painfree, I had that much confidence in the iVak!

At the end of the day, my iPod wouldn't be complete without this and even the iPod gurus in my office admit it's the best accessory they've seen. Essential.

Incubus: Volume 2 [DVD]
Incubus: Volume 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Incubus
Offered by AbundaTrade
Price: £1.20

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is Incubus!, 7 Jan 2007
This review is from: Incubus: Volume 2 [DVD] (DVD)
I've had this DVD for a while now and just cracked it open again the other day. Man it just reminded me how amazing Incubus are that I felt the need to write a review. Or rather, how amazing they WERE. Don't get me wrong, I've loved everything they've done including the new Light Grenades album which got mixed reviews but this DVD really rocks like only Incubus ever could.

It almost depresses me to see the band I think Incubus would be today if it hadn't been for perhaps a little too much shoving and suggesting from their money-grabbing record label advisers. Everything about it screams original Incubus; the abstract menu system, the cool behind the scenes footage from their tour bus and even Mike's deadlocks should all be shown to the late-coming fans whose first comments are "Brandon is soooo hot". That's not what Incubus are about. This is and it belongs in anyone's collection.

All the classics are there; "A Certain Shade...", "Favourite Things" along with some really cool improv bits between each track. I also loved the way it spans multiple venues as it provides a sense of how the whole tour went and with the surroundings of each track constantly changing, the DVD seems to move at as fast a pace as the music does. There are some dodgy special effects splattered across some songs but not enough to complain about and as far as sound quality goes, on some songs it just sounds great and on others, they've just done an amazing job of capturing the true sound of what it's like to be at the gig. And for me, that was the best bit. The whole DVD; the extras, the sound quality, the changes of scenery and the exclusive improvisational material all combine to create one very special and personal experience.

The League Of Gentlemen: The League Of Gentlemen Are Behind You [DVD]
The League Of Gentlemen: The League Of Gentlemen Are Behind You [DVD]
Dvd ~ Reece Shearsmith
Price: £3.50

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny for die-hard fans, poor for newcomers, 7 Jan 2007
First off, I should probably mention that I'm not a huge panto fan and although there's most certainly a heavy panto theme running throughout this DVD, I still quite enjoyed this. However, my laughs only really became "out loud" when one of my favourite characters entered the stage and I heard their voice for the first time in a long time. After that, I found the material to be quite cheap and definately written in a rush.

Where there was the genius in the League's final series of bullied teenage magicians, wife-capturing circus freaks and some really intriguing drama elements, this live show replaces that genius with cheap sexual innuendos, popular references to every day annoyances (there's even a crazy frog joke in there for Christ's sakes!) and some cringe worthy shots of a less-than-enthralled audience.

Please bear in mind that this review is written by a die-hard fan of the TV series and maybe that's where I feel the need to let you know of the inadequacies of this DVD as I expected so much more. It's not all bad though, the "behind the scenes" feature on the DVD is really interesting, the presentation is excellent and the actors do a superb job of managing to bring all our favourite characters together on one disc. It just feels they put more (I'm sure essential) effort into actually making the whole thing work than they did writing the level of original material that only they can.

All in all, you'll either find it not very funny or, as in my case, your expectations will be too high for what's ultimately the League's least original work to date.

Audition (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2001]
Audition (Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Ryo Ishibashi

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it for the fantastic suspense, not the gore, 7 Jan 2007
Having read a lot of the reviews on Amazon before watching Audition (being careful not to read any spoilers that is!), I, as I always do with any horror or thriller/drama movie, tried to sit down without any prior knowledge of the movie. That being said, if you know enough about this movie just to know that it exists, you're probably already aware of some controversial torture scenes in it.

Even knowing this however, I was more than prepared to sit down to this film uneducated and in that form, I was very impressed with Audition. In the first 45 minutes or so, I actually found this to be quite a sad film what with the death of the lead character Aoyama's wife and his, nicely acted out, portrayal of loneliness. Now I understand this is supposed to be a thriller/horror movie and my review so far gives quite the opposite impression but I feel that the mood this movie managed to send me into during it's opening hour or so was a great move by the director.

Knowing that Aoyama only concocted his plan through desperation and a bit of a shove from his auditioning friend made me all the more worried for him. As he falls deeper into the killer Asami's trap, the film gets increasingly uncomfortable. The viewer knows that the violence will happen; it's just a matter of when and how bad it'll be. And that's the main talking point--I didn't find the violence in this film all that bad. Certainly Saw 1 seemed a bit more disturbing and the role of the disturbed Asami was played so well here that I felt quite sorry for her; her motives (she was a victim of childhood abuse and had constantly been used by men) made some of her actions almost acceptable! That and the fact she's a damn sight prettier than the jigsaw killer!

At the end of the day, you certainly shouldn't watch this movie waiting for gore as not only do I find that aspect over hyped, but there's so much more to this great piece of work; terrific acting, a really engrossing plot and some terrific psychological elements. Five out of five for me but I think a 3 for unappreciative movie fans who'd rather be munching popcorn whilst watching Cabin Fever or Jeepers Creepers.

Japanese for Busy People: Kana Version Bk. 1 (Japanese for Busy People Series)
Japanese for Busy People: Kana Version Bk. 1 (Japanese for Busy People Series)
by Ajalt
Edition: Paperback

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covers the language well but perhaps a little too hastily, 2 Jan 2007
I first came across this book as recommended by my Japanese teacher as she sometimes uses it as a compliment to the lessons I take weekly. Now, although this book does cover a lot of the important base points of the Japanese language (particles, useful vocabulary etc), I do find that it doesn't really put enough time into drilling these essential grammar points in.

For example, at the beginning of each chapter, you're given a quite nicely laid out page of points on how the proceeding chapter's main grammar points will be used and the formation of it's sentences. Sounds great but it's just one page! To me, that's just not enough. My teacher puts a great deal of (I think necessary) time each week into these points as they really are the building blocks of the language and to just skim over these key points in one page doesn't give the language the respect it demands.

Aside from this, I also find it's techniques of teaching vocabulary a little rushed as well. Now I know the title is "Japanese For BUSY PEOPLE" but there are some sections that need to have time taken over. Generally, this book just lists new vocabulary in a tiny bar at the bottom of the page each time it's used in one of the book's (I'll admit, very useful) target dialogues. Vocabulary is my weak point in Japanese and I find flash cards, repetition etc essential. Just listing words without even putting a picture next to them (in MOST cases) feels like they've written out the dialogues and then just casually mentioned the vocabulary. To me, this leaves me feeling left behind and so, the rest of the book can become slightly daunting. If I didn't have my Japanese lessons to back up the material, I think I would find this book very frustrating.

All in all, Japanese is a difficult language. That point coupled with the fact that there's so many Japanese books on Amazon that can be daunting to someone starting off has led me to be very critical of this, and any other language book. None-the-less, JFBP is, for me, the perfect compliment to a night class as it serves well as a summary and I can't stress enough how much this has helped me.

Just a quick warning though: This version is the "Kana" edition which means it's written in the language's two most basic character sets; Hiragana and Katakana. This means you'll have to be able to read these sets of characters before this book will make an ounce of sense so bear that in mind! There is a "romanized" version which writes the Japanese in it's English syllables but to really progress in Japanese, I recommend learning the Kana and then using this version. It may seem daunting but it's really quite easy especially if you use an amazing book called "Remembering the Kana: Hiragana and Katakana" by James Heisig.

The bottom line is that this really is a great book but it's lack of attention to grammar and the way it teaches vocabulary unfortunately warrants taking it down a star. Still essential though and probably the best book I can imagine when used alongside a properly tutored Japanese course.

David Fox
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2013 10:55 PM GMT

Surfing With The Alien
Surfing With The Alien
Price: £7.30

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 25 Oct 2004
This review is from: Surfing With The Alien (Audio CD)
Joe Satriani (or Satch to his fans) has consistantly delivered innovitave and constantly-changing styles of music. Where his later albums like "Strange Beautiful Music" produced more thought-provoking sounds and did a good job of separating himself from other so-called "stunt guitarists", Surfing With The Alien really is a showcase of Joe's skills more than anything.
It does absolutely rock of course and sounds awesome played loud but I don't think it will do as much for people who aren't fans of instrumental guitar music.
So what are all the big Satch fans loving about this? Well, it starts off with the amazing, can't sit still, highspeed "Crushing Day" followed straight away with one of the most beautiful instrumental ballads "Always With Me, Always With You" and the innovative "Midnight" which sounds great through a good hi-fi.
If you enjoy this, you should of course check out the rest of Joe's releases but in particular (and relating to SWTA) I would recommend The Extremist, Crystal Planet (in my opinion, Satch's greatest work), Flying In A Blue Dream and his latest, "Is There Love In Space?".

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