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Nicholas Richard Pearson "Dip HE (Open)" (Canterbury, Kent (England))

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Woopower®50W 5-Port High Speed Desktop USB Charger with Smart Charging Technology for iPhone, iPad Air 2, Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge, Nexus, HTC M9, Nokia and More (Black)
Woopower®50W 5-Port High Speed Desktop USB Charger with Smart Charging Technology for iPhone, iPad Air 2, Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge, Nexus, HTC M9, Nokia and More (Black)
Offered by Woopower
Price: £46.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Efficient and Conveniently Space-Saving Addition to the Modern Twenty-First Century Household!, 30 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I received the WooPower 5-port USB charger by the company itself in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of their product, and I must say that I am extremely glad that I took them up on their offer. Our household of three is one that utilises a variety of handheld devices that require a USB connection, either through charging iPhones and iPads or battery-life extenders for the old iPhone 5 (users of this particular model will undoubtedly know what I mean!)!
We have a multi-point extension lead holding ten plug sockets that the three of us use on a daily basis to charge and plug in our various electrical devices in the middle of where we all sit, and I have always been a little bit concerned over the safety of this. However, with this WooPower 5-port USB charger, we now have a way of satisfying our individual charging needs at the same time without leads being thrown about everywhere. It sits nicely and neatly on top of our table that houses our landline phone, lamp and intercom system, and does not take up much space whatsoever. Now becoming an integral part of our daily lives, we have no need to worry about plugging every single charge-lead into the mains whenever the power on our personal electrical devices gets low - we just simply connect the USB lead to the appropriate device and let it charge.
I'm not going to upload any pictures to this review, as the photos submitted by fellow reviewers and the company itself do the item more than enough justice, but it is important to note that the product does not take up a lot of space at all - it's about the same sizing as my iPhone 5 length wise, with the width size of course being a little bigger than a USB socket. It plugs into any household 3-pin plug socket and the five USB ports are layered down the side as seen in the company's product image, and when the device you are meaning to charge is indeed charging, a little red light comes on to acknowledge the input before gradually going down. Where you put the items that are charging is of course your own decision, but I advise to keep a small table or space near the adaptor in order to keep things in order and not have any wires crossing accidentally when not using the charging devices in question.
The one thing to note I would say is that this 5-Way USB port is made only for the charging of devices using certain pins that are mentioned within the Amazon product link above, as my housemate attempted to charge his Kindle using a lightning adaptor to no avail, and it was only when I saw the title of this particular product that I noticed it was not intended to charge the item in question. Therefore, please be aware of the devices you wish to charge on a more continual level before purchasing this particular product.
All in all, I would say that the WooPower 5-port USB charger is a great addition to any household using multiple devices that are mentioned in the product link above, and is a great space saving solution for today's technology-centric family. We would now not be without it, and I can honestly say that it has made our lives that much easier with our charging needs in a world where tablets, phones and other such technological equipment is so prevalent.


Skipping Rope - Fast Speed Rope for Fitness Training - Includes FREE Skip Circuit Full Body Workout & FREE Carry Case - Boxing, MMA, Crossfit Workout, WOD's, Cardio - Best Professional Ropes - Get Fit for Summer! - Great for Exercise - For Men & Women - Improve Strength & Stamina - LIFETIME GUARANTEE
Skipping Rope - Fast Speed Rope for Fitness Training - Includes FREE Skip Circuit Full Body Workout & FREE Carry Case - Boxing, MMA, Crossfit Workout, WOD's, Cardio - Best Professional Ropes - Get Fit for Summer! - Great for Exercise - For Men & Women - Improve Strength & Stamina - LIFETIME GUARANTEE
Offered by Roboshop Limited
Price: £19.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fitness Jump Rope Offering Positive, Albeit Somewhat Limited, Potential for Cardio Training and Workout Routines!, 11 July 2015
I received this Jump Rope in order to provide an honest and unbiased review after being contacted by a Ms. Ellie Goldberg from We-Are-Training. Admittedly, I was a bit hesitant at first to accept this request as I did not know how I would be able to give a rating to a product that I would probably never consider using in my daily routine. However, it is fortunate enough that my housemate has recently been introduced to cardio training due to health issues, and using jump ropes seemed to be a great accompaniment to his workout routine. He has attempted to utilise this product as a stand-alone practice, as well as incorporating it into his weekly training intermittently in order to aid me in this review; plus I have personally played around with the mechanics on and off with a direct open mind. I am not a fitness fanatic and never will be. However, I do the odd workout when time off work and home life allows, and am additionally a big fan of the various Slendertone belt products out on the market.
I, myself, have only ever been introduced to the traditional skipping rope during primary school, when we had to do indoor circuit training when it was wet play. These were very basic ropes and I can honestly say that after unpacking this particular Jump Rope, it is rather evident how far the fitness medium has progressed over the years in order to fit the modern era we are living in now.
The packaging is very aesthetically pleasing, with a little carry case for the rope to fit into when not in use, and to take to the gym or on holidays. This is a black nylon bag with the company logo on the front, along with a draw string attached for use when the rope is kept inside (please see the accompanying photo(s)).
The rope itself was, like previously stated, surprisingly different to the skipping ropes I have previously seen, with the 'rope' actually being an adjustable wire which, apparently, can be cut to size in order to fit the height and width of the personal user (however, it must be said that it is much more sensible to use the right tools to do this, and there are limited instructions on this matter). There are two plastic handles with the company name printed onto them, and there are screws placed on each far side in order to fit the wire size preference of the user, making the jump rope session a much more personal and comfortable experience.
All this being said, as much as this Jump Rope makes for an aesthetically pleasing piece of everyday exercise household equipment, it is one of many on the market at the moment that doesn't seem to have a unique selling point. One of the many things the company does offer is a lifetime guarantee which, of course, is only valuable for the length of time that the company is in business, having just been set up since March this year (2015). Plus, the company additionally seems to offer promo training tips and guides on their website, which will apparently be frequently updated, along with a registration for a free Skip Circuit Workout However, having visited their (very basic) website, there does not seem to be much to offer to their consumers besides the basic information regarding this Jump Rope, and blog updates/reviews from fellow Amazonian reviewers regarding said product, and there is no link to or mention of the previously stated Skip Circuit Workout whatsoever. This, to me, is a bit of a disappointment, as being a novice to jump rope training, I would like to have some basic aid and information from the company on how best to utilise their product for all fitness amateurs and professionals alike, which fellow competitors to this Jump Rope offer in a wide variety in the way of free ebooks, printed guides and audiovisual material. In fact, one such company offers a very similar product in a wide variety of colours with printed and online guides offering tips on the utilisation of their particular product at a rather reasonable cost compared to this one.
There is an additional complimentary card regarding tips on how best to adjust the rope for personal preference, and an advertisement showing the links to their Facebook page and company website in order to access their free promo registration for the aforementioned (seemingly non-existent) Skip Circuit Workout.
All in all, this Jump Rope is an aesthetically pleasing addition to your cardio workout routine. However, the lack of a unique selling point leads me to the conclusion that it is the bare essentials of this particular product - simply a Jump Rope at a rather reasonable price that can aid fitness amateurs and professionals alike to a certain degree, albeit with limited functionality that fellow competitors on the Market offer at a seemingly more professional standard.
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Yoga Full Toe Socks (Full Black), 2 Pairs Value Pack Set, Non Slip Skid and All Grip Socks - Size M/L
Yoga Full Toe Socks (Full Black), 2 Pairs Value Pack Set, Non Slip Skid and All Grip Socks - Size M/L
Offered by YogaAddict [UK]
Price: £24.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The Journey is Within' - A Great Product for the Yoga Practitoners Out There, Though Somewhat Limited for Household Wear!, 28 Jun. 2015
I was approached by the Yoga[Addict] company themselves to offer potential Amazon customers an honest and unbiased review of their newest product: the 'Non-Slip, Control Balance Yoga Socks', being given a free product trial on behalf of the company co-founder. When they shipped the product out to me, I admit that I was a little apprehensive, as I haven't had much experience with any Yoga products in the past, having not taken up this specific pastime personally.
However, after skimming over some of the other reviews that had been posted on the Amazon product page, I found that some customers liked to wear these socks in a leisurely fashion whilst on the sofa or just to walk around the house in. This, I must admit, is where my expertise becomes more prevalent for this particular product, as the hygiene factor takes over in my mind on a personal level; not wanting to gather dust or germs on my bare feet whilst walking around my home in the evening.
I am extremely fond of bed-socks, as I do not particularly like to sleep without any protection on my feet, often walking around the house in the specific slipper socks that are available via various companies out there, and those aforementioned socks are normally quite good for this particular purpose.
The socks themselves are black with circles gripping on the main padding and on each of the five individual toes in order to avoid slipping for Yoga practitioners, providing excellent traction on hard floors, which I found extremely useful after mopping personally. I must admit that at first, it does feel rather peculiar to have each individual toe separated when wearing socks, and this feeling does take some getting used to; although, if you are an experienced Yoga practitioner, you will no doubt be accustomed to this sensation.
The company offers these socks in two sizes; S-M and M-L, and I personally chose the latter being a Size 9 in shoe-size. They are designed to be used by both men and women (being branded as unisex) and they give excellent comfort being 80% cotton, 14% cotton and 6% PVC. Being suitable for hand-wash only, it is best not to place them in your washing machine or tumble dryer, as I can imagine that the traction pads could become somewhat of a problem with the heat generated by the tumbling process. They are additionally not suitable for dry cleaning or ironing (not that you would want to specifically do this of course as it would seem somewhat pointless and unnecessary for the type of product in question).
As a helpful aid, the Yoga[Addict] company offers a free bonus downloadable guide on how best to utilise their product via their online webpage, which is a wonderful offering of a sense of intimacy between consumer and seller.
All in all, as a non-practitioner of Yoga, I would most certainly recommend this product to the vast majority of Yoga enthusiasts out there based on what I have been researching on the topic. However, on a personal note, I doubt that I will be using the Yoga Socks for leisure purposes also, as the separation of the toes just seems a bit too peculiar for my everyday liking. Though I am sure that compared to other products out there in the same category of aids for Yoga enthusiasts, these socks would be more than a fitting addition to an individual's sporting wardrobe.
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Shazam The Greatest Stories Ever Told TP
Shazam The Greatest Stories Ever Told TP
by Various
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Fantastical Stories Spanning the Seventy-Plus Publishing History of the World's Mightiest Mortal!, 11 May 2015
This entry in the DC Comics' 'Greatest Stories Ever Told' series of trade paperback books focuses on the superheroic exploits of the original Captain Marvel, who first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940), in an attempt by Fawcett Comics to capitalise on the superhero genre and compete against the on-going adventures of Superman and the like. Captain Marvel was conceived by Bill Parker and his first outing illustrated by the artist C.C.Beck, and it was his whimsical charm and allure that enthralled readers of the time, becoming the best-selling superhero magazine of its period until it's cancellation at the hands of a lawsuit by Detective Comics, whereby it was put forth that the Cap was in fact an infringement upon the übermensch concept of Superman that they had cemented so much into popular contemporary culture. It was Marvel Comics who ultimately took the name of Captain Marvel for their own creation, and after Detective Comics acquired the rights to the Captain Marvel property and his shared universe/characters from Fawcett Comics, he was thus amalgamated into DC's shared Multiversal continuity of Earth-S. Following 1985's 'Crisis on Infinite Earths', which forged all of the Multiverse into one shared reality, the Captain became an important cornerstone of the DC Universe, and is still an important character in his own right to this day, making cameos and appearances in animated series, live-action television programmes and original animated presentations, as well as various video games and parodies over the decades.
Now that the Captain Marvel moniker has been rooted within Marvel Comics' shared lore, DC has made the decision to use the name of the Captain's wizard-mentor Shazam in its promotional material, such as in this collection of magazine stories; and because of the possible confusion in this naming structure, Captain Marvel currently goes by the `Shazam' label in the wake of DC's New 52 reboot.
It is newsboy Billy Batson who is behind the mask of this magical hero, being given the powers and abilities of the six mythological elders of Solomon, Hercules, Apollo, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury by the mystical wizard Shazam, in order to carry on his fight in the battle against injustice and evil.
Captain Marvel has had a vast array of enemies over the years; the most notable being the Lex Luthor-esque super-genius scientist Doctor Sivana, the violent ex-utilizer of the Wizard's magic lightning Black Adam, and the reality-altering worm from a far-off world, Mr Mind. In addition, he has gained a family of Marvel related allies, such as the loveable Uncle Dudley, Billy Batson's twin sister Mary (going by the title of Mary Marvel), Hoppy the anthropomorphic Marvel Bunny, and Freddy Freeman, aka Captain Marvel Junior, amongst others such as the Lieutenant Marvels and Tawny the Tiger. However, it is the light-hearted escapades, and the Captain's blatant boyish innocence that gives Shazam its famous charm to its readers throughout the generations of fans, hailing from his original 40's incarnation, to his role in the Elseworlds' limited series 'Kingdom Come', and the more recent appearance of an Earth-5 Thunderworld counterpart in the New 52's 'Multiversity' title.
'Shazam - The Greatest Stories Ever Told', published in 2008 in trade paperback form with binding not dissimilar to DC's more affordable 'Chronicles' series, attempts to encapsulate a selection of best-of stories from Captain Marvel's publication history. The collection starts off with the Captain's aforementioned first appearance in 1940's Whiz Comics #2, and goes on to explore specific adventures from the character's golden age appearances up until the early 50's, when publication ceased due to DC's lawsuit case, coming from the pages of 'Whiz Comics', 'Captain Marvel Adventures' and 'The Marvel Family' series of comic magazines. These particular golden age adventures were truly surreal in nature, with a light-hearted tone that didn't take themselves too seriously, with our titular hero battling giant lizard-men from the planet Saturn, a crazed scientist wishing to rule the world in primate form (in true pre-'Planet of the Apes' style), and the personification of the planet Earth itself (yes! - really!). Subsequent stories are taken from 'Shazam!', the magazine which re-introduced Captain Marvel to the DC's reader audience, by explaining his twenty-year absence as being due to suspension in space by long-time rival Doctor Sivana, along with the character's supporting cast of enemies and allies. There is also the inclusion of DC's teaser-story in its 'Adventures of Superman' publication, wherein a superhero from an alternate Earth appears, named Captain Thunder and bearing a striking resemblance to our famous hero, which is a knowing nod to the character's conception before being revealed to the reading public, and before Captain Marvel's doctrination into official DC lore.
My personal favourite inclusion within this collection comes from 'DC Comics Presents Annual #3' in 1984, just before the famous Crisis event, in which Captain Marvel teams up with the two Supermen of Earth-One and Earth-Two, attempting to halt a superpowered Sivana, after he harnesses Shazam's magic lightning bolt for multiversal domination. I really enjoy anything relating to DC's Multiverse concept, and I see this individual story as encapsulating one of the highest peaks of the company's publication history. Following this adventure, there are entries from the 1990s, such as 'L.E.G.I.O.N. '91', in which our hero is pitted against the interstellar bounty hunter Lobo; 'The Power of Shazam!', giving a heart-warming tale of compassion for a burn victim at the hands of one of Cap's arch-enemies at the time; and an addition from 'Adventures in the DC Universe'; showing an early glimpse of the incarnation of Captain Marvel residing in the DCAU, before appearing in the Justice League cartoon.
All in all, the 'Shazam!' entry in DC's 'Greatest Stories Ever Told' trade paperback comic-book series is a great over-arching compilation of some of Captain's Marvel's various adventures throughout the character's publication history until the late 90s; from when the Shazam franchise explored magical surreal settings that didn't rely too heavily on plot, but explored a magical realm in which the reader could escape into fantasy and whimsy. I would have liked to see appearances from the Cap's more extensive rogues gallery, such as Black Adam for instance, and a bit more textual analysis on the character as a whole for the casual reader, explaining the progression and motivation of the hero as a whole; indeed I think this is where this volume falls short in some fellow readers' minds. In line with this, there is also included a (very!) short introduction by Jeff Smith, who grew up with the bronze-age 70's iteration of the character, during which the World's Mightiest Mortal was on television with Filmation's live-action series, and who wrote some of the hero's escapades later in his career with Detective Comics. The Shazam franchise will always have a special individualistic charm, and this collection lovingly shows the character's development over the years from magical and surreal foundations, gradually becoming an important inclusion within the DC Universe in its many iterations following various fictional crises events and re-imaginings for varying generations of fans and loyal readers alike.
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Flash Chronicles, Volume 1
Flash Chronicles, Volume 1
by Robert Kanigher
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The More Affordable Debut of the Silver Age Scarlet Speedster - Setting the Precedent for a New Generation of Heroes!, 1 Jan. 2015
'The Flash Chronicles' serves as a means to provide fans of the silver Scarlet Speedster with a more affordable way of viewing Barry Allen's chronological superheroic exploits at a more affordable price, being in newsprint-like coloured paperback format, as opposed to the more expensive 'Archives' and 'Omnibus' series that DC publishes at specific intervals, which print stories onto glossy paper within a hardback bound compendium.
It seems quite fair to say that the Flash is one of the more widely-known superheroes gifted with super speed in comic book mass/pop culture; and Barry Allen, as the second person to pick up the Flash mantle, following the Golden Age Flash active during World War Two, has been widely recognised as the first hero to usher in the Silver Age of Comics, when old characters were reinvented for a new generation during the late fifties and early sixties. This was due to a decline in comic book sales with superheroes, where only the DC Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were published without hiatus. However, when DC did eventually decide to reinvigorate the superhero format with a newer version of a Golden Age character, little did they know that this would result in a mass explosion of similar modern interpretations of previously used heroes, including Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Atom, amongst others.
In much similar vein to the previously released trade paperback collections of the 'Superman Chronicles' and 'Batman Chronicles', the 'Flash Chronicles' series, as stated above, is DC Comics' attempt to re-publish every Silver Age Flash story in exact chronological order. This starts in Volume 1, released on 29 September 2009, with the republication of the magazine that introduced the Second Flash in Showcase #4, which pits our titular hero against the Turtle Man, who operated criminal activities in super-slow motion as opposed to the Flash's super-speed abilities. Later issues would introduce the Flash's famous rogues gallery of themed supervillains, which have plagued the Scarlet Speedster and his successors to this very day.
This first volume of the Flash Chronicles re-publishes the aforementioned Showcase #4, along with issues 8, 13 and 14, and picking up the numbering of the original Flash Comics series in issues #105-6, from publication date October 1956 to May 1959. These stories are very simple and, as was the way within the late fifties and early sixties, utilised a more science-fiction stylised format, with a prison rocket-craft from the future carrying the criminal named Kazdan from the fiftieth century, and an individual being the last of his race being buried for millennia from before the time of humankind, who attempts to re-take the Earth populace by force using his immense mental power. Additionally, within these issues, we are introduced to such famous rogues and villains within the DC Universe, such as the freeze-gun carrying Captain Cold, Dr Alchemy, Mirror Master, the Pied Piper (who uses a lot of unintended sexual innuendo in his dialogue!), and Gorilla Grodd from Gorilla City, who is a pivotal villain throughout the Flash series of Comics and the extended universe that DC superheroes and villains reside in. Barry Allen's girlfriend, and subsequent wife Iris West, is also introduced here, alongside the rightful ruler of Gorilla City in Africa, King Solovar.
Barry gained his powers by a freak bolt of lightning that splashed certain chemicals over him, granting him the power of super-speed (which was eventually revealed to be pre-destined by Barry himself, granting these abilities to himself and his nephew Wally, from within the Speed Force, following his defeat and sacrifice at the hands of the all-powerful Anti-Monitor). Even though the stories presented here can seem rather repetitive, with a villain appearing and having to be defeated in time for Barry to keep his date with Iris for most of the time, this tome sets out a precedent for what was one of the most important introductions in DC Comic Book lore. Additionally, in later issues of Flash Comics, Barry's sidekick (alias Kid Flash) and eventual successor, Wally West, was revealed to DC's reader audience, and more speedster history was flushed out.
What is interesting about the Silver Age iteration of the Flash is that he has endured in popularity throughout the many years that DC has been releasing comic books, even after his 'death' in the Multiverse-shattering event of the mid-eighties, known as 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'. Barry Allen was in fact the individual who stumbled across the DC Multiverse in a later story, in which he vibrated his molecular structure so fast during a public exhibition that he phased into the parallel world of Earth-Two, in which most of DC Comics' war-time Golden Age superheroes were said to reside, including the original Flash, Jay Garrick of the Justice Society of America (an earlier iteration of the famous Justice League of America), who he teamed up with on occasion, and during the Society and League's annual 'Crisis' team-ups.
Barry's death during the aforementioned 'Crisis on Infinite Earths', in which the infinite number of parallel worlds were streamlined into one unified timeline, made him an unforgettable martyr within the DC superhero community, and within comic book lore in general, and he has since returned from the dead in Final Crisis, having actually been revealed to be running from 'Death' from within the Speed Force. He has also subsequently been transformed into a Black Lantern during the Blackest Night storyline, a Blue Lantern in the following Brightest Day event, and has had his history streamlined yet again in the New 52, after having a pivotal role in the Flashpoint maxi-series/event, which resulted in the DC, Wildstorm and Vertigo Universes being merged into one, in order to bring about more modern re-interpretations of pre-existing characters for a wider audience.
'The Flash Chronicles - Volume 1' serves as a great and more affordable introduction to the more widely-known iteration of the Flash, and is a nice accompaniment to the many other 'Chronicles' series published by DC Comics in trade paperback format. With the Scarlet Speedster's many adventures also collected within the 'Archives' series and the more recent 'Omnibus' volumes, these paperback collections are a great way to get introduced to the first hero of the Silver Age of Comic Books, who ushered in the reinvention of the superhero franchise, and has endured as a popular character within the public consciousness to this very day.


The Benefits of Having No Friends
The Benefits of Having No Friends

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Personal and Humourous Guide to the Many Benefits of Friendless Life for the Self-Proclaimed Hermit!, 23 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was suggested 'The Benefits of Having No Friends' by Miraya Hartley (ironically) by a friend of mine who had downloaded the e-book when it was on free giveaway promotion upon its initial release. At first, I was somewhat sceptical, as I find that these independently released electronic books can be sometimes very amateurish in writing style and delivery. However, upon initial reading of the opening introduction, I was more and more intrigued by the idea that Ms Hartley attempts to get across to her reader audience.
The self-help section of Amazon's electronic bookshelf seems to be full of manuals of all kinds to help people to 'find friends' and make their way through life by pandering to others' expectations and the like. What our author does is play upon this very notion, and delivers a contrasting view that we do not need friends in order to feel fulfilled in our lives. She expresses the strong opinion that people rely too heavily on forced friendship in all areas of our lives, such as at work and at school, giving just some examples, and that the line these days between friend and acquaintance has been made very fine indeed by the likes of social media and an expanding technological revolution.
I myself am such a person who seems to acquire so called 'friendships', either at work or via family connections (or still worse the dreaded Facebook!), and who lives to regret the weak moment of giving my mobile number to middle-aged women who love the idea of having a 'gay husband'! Therefore, this small tome really spoke out to me, with a sense of ironic humour that makes it definitely worth a look at in order to examine the pitfalls of accepting horrific wedding invitations and the annual Christmas/New Year work dinner and alcohol-fuelled party that follows suite.
The book is divided into chapters/sections, which explore the scope that accepting deep amicability in workplaces, within family, and how reactions to differing fashion and culinary tastes has in your everyday life. In essence, Miraya Hartley has found a niche slot in the market of self-help guides, in order to give people her personal views of avoiding the horrors of forced friendship. That is not to say that she portrays a totally negative opinion of having friends and people in your life in general; far from it. I myself have a total of around four true friends that I count as truly loyal and lovely to be around, who accept me for who I am - bad points and all. However, what this book gets across is the examination of the boundary-crossing between acquaintanceship and general friendship in certain areas of your life that we rarely like to look at due to uncomfortable British prudery.
Picking up this little tome of personal advice from an amateur writer who is not afraid of providing her audience with a realistic perspective on real-life excessive familiarity is something that you will certainly not regret. Plus, it may just get your brain rolling over the many affordances and benefits of 'having no friends'.


Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk
Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk
by Ronald Carter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Open University Set-Text that Explores the Potential for Creativity and Inventiveness in Everyday Discourse!, 19 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ronald Carter's publication, 'Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk' is an attempt to build on existing theories of creativity in order to examine whether language can be a creative phenomenon in everyday conversation, or specifically reserved for the solitary literary genius. It asks questions such as whether we create language ourselves or simply build upon existing idioms within the general mass populace, bringing about an argument as to whether anyone can create linguistic creativity, either with conscious effort or via literary devices.
The book itself is in actuality the first set-text for the Open University Level 3 module 'E301: The Art of English', which explores the English language as a creative phenomenon in both spoken and written interaction. I chose to take this module as an optional course in order to complete a BA in Humanities with English Language, and this book certainly aids in helping to understand what the OU's course materials attempt to teach its students. In fact, Ronald Carter himself provides a few articles and chapters to the E301 module, so this first set-text is an excellent addition to what is an already interesting academic journey.
Published by Routledge in 2004, it can be said that the examples that Carter provides are a bit dated, especially since, in 2014, we are steadily entering into a greater technological age with smartphones, and computer tablets, for example. (This goes for the course itself I would say.) However, Carter's utilisation of the Cancode database and heavy focus on other such linguistic corpora illustrates just how he attempts to explore everyday language as creative in its ubiquitous presence.
Splitting his publication into three parts of 'Backgrounds and Theories', 'Forms and Functions' and 'Contexts and Variations', Carter outlines examples and explorations of spoken discourse taken from the Cancode database across six chapters altogether. He focuses on the clines and continua of linguistic creativity, with background exploration of theories from fellow linguists and scholars, in order to examine how our everyday speech can be seen as a creative act, using viewpoints from various cultures and time periods.
I would say that 'The Art of Common Talk' is definitely not intended for light reading; far from it. The E301 course team gives its students two weeks to read this set-text, and I found it extremely difficult to follow for the first few days. However, once I got into Carter's format and began to understand his terminology better, I became enthralled with the idea that language can have the power for fictional worlds to be created on a daily basis, via our creative methods of language usage. We ultimately have power over our spoken interaction, which can be either intertextually influenced or created via interdiscursive methods.
If you are an aspiring linguist and decide to pick up this book as some exploration of the art of spoken discourse, please be patient and take your time in coming to grips with Carter's own specific methodology regarding his subject matter. I would give the same advice to Open University E301 students, and I would also advise that you work with your tutor and fellow students in examining Carter's viewpoints from a critical perspective, especially since it is more than likely that the OU will expect at least some reference to this material when submitting your tutor-marked assignments online.


Batman: The World of the Dark Knight with 2 Collectable Prints
Batman: The World of the Dark Knight with 2 Collectable Prints
by Daniel Wallace
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A Vividly Detailed and Linear Exploration of Gotham's Famous Protector of the Night!, 23 Aug. 2014
Created by Bob Kane as a pulp vigilante figure in the late 1930s for what is now Detective Comics, the famous caped crusader of the night, known as the Batman, is one of those characters that has been integrated within the public consciousness throughout the years; whether through the comic books themselves or via the many incarnations of animated/live-action film and television series, video games, novels, and other such outlets. With over seventy years of publication history, Batman's comic book run provides a wealth of information for Dorling Kindersley to sift through for this two-hundred page compendium of the Dark Knight's many story arcs, his rogues' gallery, extended family and highly advanced gadgetry.
As with most of DK's publications surrounding particular major franchises, 'Batman - The World of the Dark Knight' serves as a storage facility of information for the more hardened fan and the general passer-by alike, celebrating DC's brooding character of the Batman in his entire run so far, from his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (1939) to the latest New 52 reboot of Batman (Volume 2) #1.
This compendium, first published in early 2012, explores Batman's influence and storylines, starting from his war-time Golden Age adventures, retroactively placed onto the parallel world of Earth-Two, going on to look at his science-fiction themed times during the Silver Age of the 50s and 60s, and continuing into the Bronze, Dark and Modern Ages that explore a darker character taken back to his pulp-fiction roots. Additionally, there are double-spread pages that examine the relationships between Batman/Bruce Wayne and his fellow superheroes within the various teams he has been a part of during the years, such as the Justice League and the Outsiders, for instance, as well as character bios on Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Batwoman.
In order to examine how Batman and his supporting cast members/extended family have changed over the years in order to bring the character up to a more modern standard, there are key comic book issues that are explored in detail, taking frames from the publications themselves, with explanatory notes to accompany them. These include such famous titles and issues such as the Dark Knight's aforementioned first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, where he battled low-level street crime wearing a home-made batsuit, and Final Crisis #6, published in January 2009, where Batman supposedly died after being targeted by Darkseid's deadly Omega Beam (in actuality, being sent back in time to the dawn of man), as well as other such milestone issues.
Additionally, major storylines are outlined in double-page spread format where Batman has had some major involvement, such as the famous Knigtfall saga, where the supervillain Bane was successful in breaking the Dark Knight's back, thereby passing the mantle temporarily onto the hot-headed Azrael. Also included are major plots such as 'Death in the Family' and 'Under the Red Hood', wherein the second Robin, Jason Todd, was beaten to death by the Joker and subsequently restored to life as a raged gun-toting vigilante via cosmic causalities, and 'Infinite Crisis', the early 00s follow up to the original reality-altering event known as the 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'. In addition, very minimally explored are the many alternate versions of Batman/Bruce Wayne on the vast parallel Earths that make up the DC Multiverse, such as the Batman Beyond reality and the Elseworlds' Earth of 'Batman & Dracula: Red Rain', amongst others.
Overall, 'Batman - The World of the Dark Knight' is another great example of Dorling Kindersely's attempt to put together a full-rounded history of a famous franchise's leading superhero creation. It is important to stress that this publication explicitly focuses on the Batman featured within the comic books, and not within any of the live-action/animated television and film adaptations, video games or any other tie-in media featuring America's favourite Caped Crusader. There is, of course, always room to improve and to expand on these such publications. However, on this occasion, I believe DK have provided both beloved Batman fans and the newbie comic book reader with a general history of the Dark Knight Detective that spans over nearly seventy years of storylines and adventures throughout the DC Universe.
Also included are two collectable card prints of Batman, as featured on the front cover, and of his arch-nemesis, the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker.


Cowsong
Cowsong

3.0 out of 5 stars A Small Glimpse into Kate's Early Career as 'The Barnsley Nightingale' of the English Folk Music Scene!, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Cowsong (Audio CD)
Kate Rusby is probably one of the most famous faces within the contemporary English folk music scene, and after hearing a track from one of her albums via a friend of mine, I became an instant fan of hers, and subsequently of folk and country music in general. Kate started off in various bands, including the Poozies and Equation, later to be replaced by fellow contemporary folk artist Cara Dillon. Her voice is so soft and gentle, and is instantly recognisable to all those within the folk music circle. In fact, she has often been referred to as the 'Barnsley Nightingale', hailing from Barnsley in Yorkshire, and was nominated for the Mercury Prize Award for her second solo studio album release, 'Sleepless', in 1999.
In between her first solo studio album, 'Hourglass', and the aforementioned 'Sleepless', both released and distributed via her family-run record label business, Pure Records, Kate decided to re-enter the studio and produce this Extended Play, titled 'Cowsong', recorded during 1997 and released in early 1999, in order to bridge the gap between her first two solo albums.
With guest musicians, such as Ian Carr, John McCusker (Kate's former husband and album producer), Davy Steele and Andy Cutting, amongst others, the track listing is as follows:

1. 'Cowsong'- The title track to this Extended Play, 'Cowsong' was written by Rusby herself, using the tune 'For all the Cows' by former husband John McCusker, in an effort to ditch the usual tradition of folk music to 'have the woman coming off worse at the end', as stated in the sleeve of her celebratory ten-year anniversary album '10'. It was included on this specific album as a remastered track, due to the fact that it hadn't been released outside of this particular EP.
2. 'Botany Boy' - Kate lent her words to this particular traditional tune about emigration to Australia, and is also included on her aforementioned ten-year anniversary album, with new arrangement and vocals. It is such a gentle and touching song, and remains one of Kate's favourite folk songs that she states has been 'installed on a chip at birth'. In my opinion, this is the best out of the three songs included on this release.
3. 'Wild Goose' - This traditional folk song was originally sung as a raucous sea shanty, and Kate subsequently changed it into a 'girlie love song' when she decided to record it for her album 'Sleepless'. It is included here as a live recording, taken from her appearance at The Lawns Centre in Lincoln during October 1997. It has also been given new arrangements and vocals on her two anniversary albums, '10' and '20', with the latter inclusion featuring guest vocals by Stephen Fretwell.

All in all, this Extended Play is a release that is a great starter for the budding Kate Rusby fan, and for the hardened collector alike. However, 'Cowsong' is probably not suited for the general passer-by, due to the fact that all three tracks have subsequently been released as part of Kate's further discography. It fervently shows her musical talent as a young singer-songwriter of the English folk tradition, and is a small glimpse into her ever-improving instrumental and vocal skills as the years have gone steadily by.
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Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Cybermen [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Cybermen [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Price: £5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor Faces Two Versions of Cybermen, From Their Icy Tombs on Telos to their Parellel Re-Imagining!, 12 July 2014
Next to the Daleks, the Cybermen, originally created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, have become renowned in popular culture as one of the Doctor's most terrifying and recurring foes. A recurring threat since the classic series' fourth season serial, 'The Tenth Planet', the first Cybermen hailed from Earth's twin planet Mondas, and attempted to make humanity into their cloth-faced image, with William Hartnell's First Doctor ultimately defeating them alongside companions Ben and Polly moments before his first regeneration into Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor. Subsequent appearances would show an evolving species of changing cybernetic strengths and weaknesses, alongside attempted invasions, all thwarted by the Doctor in his many incarnations up until the classic series' cancellation. These Mondasian Cybermen were also featured within the BBC/Big Finish Audio-books throughout the years when Paul McGann took the reins as the Doctor's Eighth incarnation, up until the series revival in the mid 00's.
When the Doctor Who television franchise was revived by Russell T Davies in 2005, it was only a matter of time until the Cybermen were to make a much-anticipated on-screen return. This ultimately came during David Tennant's tenure as the Tenth Doctor, when an accidental crash-landing on a parallel Earth saw a re-imagining of the Cybermen's origin, when the brilliantly intelligent madman John Lumic attempted to cheat death by creating copyrighted chemicals that would preserve the brain inside a cybernetic metal suit of armour. These Cybermen from a parallel universe (later deemed 'Pete's World') have been referred to as the Cybus Cybermen by the Whovian community, in order to distinguish them from their Mondasian counterparts from the Classic Series. Throughout the New Series, the Cybus Cybermen have sporadically returned, both in television and within prose novels/comic form, and they have now been clearly cemented within Doctor Who lore. It has now been suggested that both species of Cybermen, the Mondasian originals and their parallel counterparts, somehow shared technology and interbred through time travel and other means to become a major force well into the distant future of the Whoniverse, with both versions of Cybermen being virtually indistinguishable from each other, save the Cybus logo that is branded onto John Lumic's creations. Furthermore, with the New Series Season Eight episode, 'Nightmare in Silver', being recently broadcasted, a new upgraded version of Cybersuit has been revealed, with a supposed mixing of Mondasian and Cybus origin.
This 'Cyberman' entry within the Doctor Who 'Monster Collection' series of DVDs contains two stories on one disc, one from the Classic Series and another from the New Series, which shows the progression of the Cybermen over nearly fifty years of Doctor Who's televised history. Released in 2013 and distributed by BBC Worldwide Ltd/2entertain for the Region 2 market, the two stories amount to a feature-length running time of 192 minutes (just over three hours), with the option of choosing audio navigation and episode selection on the menu screen, as well as optional subtitles for the English hard-of-hearing.
The two stories are as follows:

* 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' - First Shown from 2nd - 23rd September 1967, and broadcast in black-and-white format, this Classic adventure stars Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, with companions Jamie and Victoria landing on the planet Telos. There, they encounter an archaeological expedition, who are searching for the last remnants of the Cyberman legions, who have been cryogenically suspended for the last five hundred years. They subsequently become embroiled in a trap laid by the Cybermen themselves, who have been waiting for humanoids with superior minds to free them from their ice tombs and invade the Earth to expand their empire. The Brotherhood of Logicians attempt to make an alliance with their Cyber-Controller. However, things don't go as they planned, and it is up to the Doctor and his companions to seal the Cybermen back into their icy tombs forever.

* 'Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel' - This New Series Second Season two-parter, first shown on BBC One from 13th - 20th May 2006, sees the Tenth Doctor, portrayed by David Tennant, alongside his companions Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith, landing on a parallel version of London after falling out of the time vortex. With a nod to the Big Finish Audio Adventure, 'Spare Parts' (written by Marc Platt), this story shows the creation of the Cybus Cybermen on a parallel Earth, later deemed 'Pete's World' by the Whovian community, which results in the forced upgrading of London's population into Cybermen. With this new threat looming, Rose also faces an emotional turmoil when she encounters a parallel counterpart of her father, who is alive and well and a self-made millionaire, attempting to bring down John Lumic, the mad power-hungry businessman behind Cybus industries, from the inside, alongside the vigilante group known as the Preachers.

With no bonus material, these two stories pretty much make up the entirety of this release, which is the same as with all other entries within the 'Monster Collection' series of DVDs. Of course, it would have been nice to have some extra materials to bulk up the release, at least some history on the Cybermen themselves, but this does not ruin the viewing experience at all. Besides, there are plenty of extra bonus material pertaining to the stories themselves on their specific DVD releases.
'Tomb of the Cybermen' has been released within the Classic Who series of DVDs by BBC Worldwide/2entertain on both Region 1 and 2 formats, with plenty of extras included therein, including a commentary on the serial itself, production note subtitles, and other notable featurettes. Additionally, it has also been released in audio form as a television soundtrack with linking narration by Frazer Hines, who played Jamie in the serial, and within the series of classic serial target novelisations.
The other aforementioned two-parter adventure, 'Rise of the Cybermen' and 'The Age of Steel', has been released as a vanilla DVD, making up the series of single DVD releases, and within the New Series Season Two box-set. Additionally, it has also been included within 'The Cybermen Collection', a box-set distributed in 2009 within the Region 2 market, which contains specific episodes relating to the Cybus Cybermen within Season Two of the Revived Series
All in all, the Cybermen entry within the 'Monster Collection' series of DVDs shows how the Cybermen and their designs have changed over Doctor Who's long history, and gives a small glimpse into the ever-expanding Whoniverse, which the Cybermen have been well cemented into from their humble origins on Earth's twin planet Mondas. If the Cybermen's progression is something that interests you, it is also well worth looking at the aforementioned two-disc 'Cybermen Collection', and exploring the classic serials distributed via DVD that feature the Cybermen from 'The Tenth Planet' onwards.


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