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Martin B. Kelner
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars children's parties and the like. But one has to applaud the manufacturers for ..., 22 July 2014
Inexplicably, this quality item has suddenly lost its lustre as costume of choice for those seeking hearty giggles and backslapping bonhomie at celebrations, children's parties and the like. But one has to applaud the manufacturers for hanging on in there with it, and taking the plunge in hiring Stephen Mangan to model the costume. He may not exactly get big laughs with it, but whatever it gets, it'll be more than Episodes...


Santa Claus Father Christmas Complete Adults Costume Fancy Dress Xmas Present
Santa Claus Father Christmas Complete Adults Costume Fancy Dress Xmas Present
Offered by Bargain HunterZ
Price: £6.48

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great seasonal item.., 24 Dec 2013
What could be more jolly and seasonal than to come down the chimney on Christmas Eve? Although it can make a bit of a mess in the fireplace, & then of course there's the bother of climbing onto the roof. But this product is a lovely reminder of when Santa Claus, on his journey from the North Pole around the world, lowered himself down one chimney to find a lovely pneumatically beautiful young lady in her nightwear lying down in the living room.

Seeing the lovely costume he was wearing - and so economically priced - she sidled up to him, gave him a lovely slow Christmas hug, and together they kind of slow danced up to the mistletoe where she insisted he kissed her. "No," he said, "I really must continue on my journey to deliver presents to all the boys and girls around the world," at which she kissed him slowly and lingeringly, and said, "Please stay." Again he insisted on leaving to carry on with his Christmas Eve deliveries. "No, I really must go," he said, and she kissed and hugged him, if anything more passionately than before. "No, I really must...," he began, before saying, "Oh, what the hell, I'll never get back up the chimney now anyway."


Just Biggins: My Story
Just Biggins: My Story
Price: £3.59

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew?, 23 Dec 2013
Breathes there anyone with soul so shallow that he has not seen Biggins on TV, and wondered?

You'll remember the song lyric, 'Where do you go to my lovely, when you're alone in your bed, What are the thoughts that surround you, I want to look inside your head?' Well, that's how I feel about Biggins. And now comes the volume that allows you not only to look inside the Biggins head, but to find out for the first time what motivates this fascinating character. But we could have gone so much deeper into Biggins than this light-hearted memoir allows.

It's Biggins's heroic modesty that prevents him from revealing too much about his many gifts, and that's a pity. Some of his remarkable achievements are skimmed over in a few short paragraphs.

Yes, it's enlightening to learn that he played Shakespeare, but I should have liked to have discovered more about his years in the Hull Kingston Rovers' first team squad, initially as a second rower, later moving to prop. There's less than a page covering those years, and that includes a quick mention of the time he went out pleasure fishing (not a euphemism) in a Grimsby trawler and caught the largest halibut ever landed in the North Sea, 14-and-a-half stone it weighed. He fought with it for more than two days during which he lost part of an ear and four of his fingers turned blue.

I should have liked to have read more about that story. Also, who knew Biggins invented blu-tac? How that came about - how, for instance, he discovered he could produce the sticky, viscose, substance - would, I'm sure, have made an interesting yarn, especially as he produced yards of the stuff during the day, while playing Widow Twanky at Guildford in the evenings, and matinees twice a week.

And did the Guildford gig come before or after he was invited to Camp David by the American president at the time, Jimmy Carter, to help broker a peace deal in the Middle East? He doesn't tell us. In fact, the world of international diplomacy is barely touched on in the book, while his charity work isn't mentioned at all.

I know Christopher will be embarrassed if I'm too effusive about his noble efforts to eradicate poverty throughout the world, so I'll just briefly say there are children in deprived areas of Africa only getting an education thanks to Biggins building the schools in which they learn. Not just raising the money, you understand, but actually building the schools himself (he's a skilled bricklayer, and gained honours degrees in architecture and civil engineering, while simultaneously playing Wishee Washee in panto at the Civic Theatre, Mansfield).

Not many people know he also raised the money for a donkey sanctuary in Sweden, one of his few failures as there are no donkeys in Sweden.

Maybe we have to wait for volume two of the Biggins story to find out more about his amazing life. For the time being we must be content with this entertaining romp, full of fascinating anecdotes about provincial pantos and TV chat shows, and stories about how wonderful all the wonderful people Biggins worked with were.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2014 3:46 PM BST


Sex Lives of the Great Dictators
Sex Lives of the Great Dictators
by Nigel Cawthorne
Edition: Paperback

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can do what you choose, but don't step on my blue suede shoes, 3 Dec 2013
The Italians and their shoes, eh? Mussolini used to keep his on during the act of coition, but then for Il Duce it was a fairly perfunctory act, and he used to wear those high-sided boots laced right up to the top; and frankly any dictator that can maintain tumescence while getting his fingers round 38 lace holes doesn't need to invade Abyssinia to prove his manhood. The point is, if your fingers are busy with three-and-a-half feet of bootlace, there's little chance of their questing after the little man in the boat, as the Profanisaurus calls it.

Not that that was a particular concern of the Italian dictator, whose rough and ready way with the signorini showed little concern for female pleasure, tending to take place over a desk, or up against the photocopier - or would have if they had been invented at the time.

President Kennedy, who obviously doesn't feature in the book not being a dictator,was not dissimilar to Mussolini in sexual incontinence and modus operandum, with the majority of his brief encounters being office based.

JFK, however, was fortunate in that the Xerox 914, one of the most successful devices in office equipment history, was invented in 1959, providing not just a handy and warm location for helping interns with their research, but also a means of photo-copying your private parts afterwards for the amusement of your friends in the four-ale bar.

We don't know if the late President actually did this, but there's the joy of Nigel Cawthorne's book. He can write what he wants. We don't know if any of it is true, and frankly we couldn't care less.

The people he writes about are dead, nobody likes them much, so who cares if Mao Tse-tung used to disport himself with ostriches, or Hitler dipped his member into elderberry jam before congress and wiped it on the curtains afterwards? I mean, these people aren't going to come back from the dead and sue.

No wonder Cawthorne has such a prodigious output. When you can present any second-hand tittle-tattle as fact, you can bang it out in no time at all, and fill your boots. Not unlike Mussolini, allegedly.

If Cawthorne wants his work to be taken seriously, maybe he should write this stuff about live people who can sue, like Julie Andrews or Sebastian Coe.


Princes Tuna Chunks in Sunflower Oil 4 Pack 740g
Princes Tuna Chunks in Sunflower Oil 4 Pack 740g
Offered by Cooking Marvellous
Price: £14.99

69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mmmm, fishy deliciousness, 21 Oct 2013
I know what you're about to ask: dolphin friendly or not? Well, you'll be pleased to know this tuna is very dolphin friendly indeed. In fact, I believe it has set up home with a dolphin called Keith, both parties respecting each other's very different cultures. As we know, dolphins love nothing more than balancing beach balls on their snouts and going swimming with middle-aged women who fancy themselves as hippies and believe it will confer some sort of inner peace on them, get rid of their wrinkles, tighten up their breasts and stop them worrying about dying. They also like to make bizarre noises - dolphins, that is, not middle-aged women - to fool gullible scientists into thinking they are talking to each other.

Your tuna, on the other hand, just wants a peaceful life snuggling into tins, possibly in sets of four like this magnificent offer from Princes, preferably in the form of steaks, but if it has to be chunks, it has to be. Ideally, the tuna fish would prefer to be in brine or spring water rather than the sunflower oil on offer here. The oil gets into the gills, I'm told, and can give a slightly over-lubricated look to the fish, so that people mistake him for an Italian.

Some of you may also be wondering why value tuna like this always comes in fours (I know I do). You never see a set of three tins of tuna, or five. It's one of those mysteries of life, like Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?, How Deep is Your Love?, and so on. Something to ponder as you slap this delicious fishy treat onto your panino (pretentious, moi?), put it into the grill/sandwich maker, and prepare for piscatorial rapture....


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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mammy, How I Love You, How I Love You, My Dear Old Mammy, 24 Sep 2013
Slightly edgy, say our friends at Simply Fancy Dress, and boy have they spoken a mouthful there. I went to a big fancy premiere of the film Marley wearing this costume - I like to make a splash on these occasions so I chose the red carpet to debut the outfit - and it certainly turned a few heads, exactly as mentioned in the blurb. However, I cannot pretend it met with universal approval, which is why this is a 4 rather than a 5-star review.

My feeling is the costume should come with a list of suitable occasions on which to wear the costume. You have to be so careful. I hold myself partly to blame, being under the impression that Marley, rather than a documentary about the late reggae icon Bob Marley, was a light-hearted tale about Owen Wilson and an old English sheepdog, but some guidance would not have gone amiss. Fortunately, I'd gone a bit boffo with the Cherry Blossom so few people recognised my face, and when I was asked who I was, I said Samuel L Jackson - which for some reason enraged the organisers even more.

The next big gala event I am invited to is the LGBT annual pie 'n' pea supper, where to avoid giving offence I plan to go as Clare Balding. Can anyone suggest an outfit?


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful biscuits - expertly pre-broken at no extra cost!, 11 July 2013
At last! We have them, biscuits quite expertly pre-broken, for those of us for whom the whole biscuit just doesn't fit the bill. For some of us, only a plate of broken biscuits can truly recreate the experience of those golden teatimes of the immediate post-war years.

Up until now I have been buying complete biscuits - biscotti intacto in the original Latin - and attempting to break them myself, using various methods. I started somewhat labour intensively, breaking each biscuit individually by hand, and while this worked quite well with, say, bourbons and custard creams, achieving in most cases something like a 55-45 split and minimum crumbing, it was less successful with others. The delicate, more effeminate, chocolate-covered Vienna wafer for instance had a tendency to flake disappointingly leaving one with what could best be described as shards of chocolate, and crumbed-style wafer fragments.

I was however prepared to persist with this - never mind the time it took - until while breaking a Huntley and Palmers milk and honey, my finger penetrated the jam centre, rendering the biscuit both aesthetically and probably hygienically unviable. I wouldn't have minded, but to recreate that fifties feeling we had the Vicar coming round for tea, as viewers of vintage sit-coms will know was an almost daily occurrence in those times.

Disaster! So to try and achieve a more even-handed split I got the Boris out (rhyming slang; Boris Becker - Black and Decker), inserted the saw attachment, and began to saw through the assortment, biscuit by biscuit. Not only was this again not entirely crumb-free, it also proved difficult to stop the tool before it sawed through the work-tops, necessitating an unscheduled visit to B & Q. Clearly individual biscuit breaking was not about to cut it (no pun intended).

So my next adventure in biscuit breaking involved decanting the entire assortment into a polythene bag and setting about it with a lump hammer, which while a satisfyingly cathartic exercise in today's stressed society,led to excessive crumbing and disappointingly uneven splits. Twenty per cent of a chocolate hob nob butters nobody's parsnips.

I then tried taking a box of unbroken biscuits and mailing it to myself, marked "Fragile", but blow me if the Royal Mail chaps, in a bid to keep their jobs after privatisation, are not taking proper care of customers' goods these days.

So that didn't work, and it was back to the decanting into a carrier bag, which we tied to the bumper of next door's car and got my wife to back very gently into their vehicle like she did before (oops) to see if we could break the biscuits that way. Again, only limited success; a mildly disappointing two-thirds of the biscuits evenly broken, but on the upside only minor bumps and bruises to the car which we're hoping T-cut should deal with.

Now, though, we have the Hometime Broken Biscuit Assortment, 1kg of pure nostalgia. We have the biscuits, a Mr Pastry video, a tape of whooping cough sound effects, and have hired Mr Mortlake from up the road to dress up as a policeman and come round and clip us round the ear at regular intervals. Yes folks, it's the 1950s all over again round our place thanks to the most perfectly broken biscuits on the market.


Dulcolax Constipation Relief Laxative Tablets 5mg - 10 Tablets
Dulcolax Constipation Relief Laxative Tablets 5mg - 10 Tablets
Offered by NHL Pharmacy
Price: £2.84

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If the bottom's fallen out of your world, this special little pill will reverse the process, 2 July 2013
Wow! Talk about 'light the blue touch paper and stand clear.' If you've been backed up for a few days and want instant relief I can recommend nothing better. But make sure you are sitting comfortably, securely, and are in situ in plenty of time, if you know what I'm saying, or you could end up pebble dashing the bathroom, or paying your own impromptu and unintended tribute to the Republican protesters in the Maze prison in the late 1970s.

Disturbingly, I notice one of my fellow reviewers mentioning the use of these tablets in order to get "a buzz." That is something I cannot go along with, unless you get a buzz out of sitting cross legged on the top deck of a bus, digging your nails into the fleshy part of your hand while praying your stop arrives before you have to present your dry cleaner with the biggest challenge since he got the contract from the local Sumo club to clean and condition their jockstraps. One further warning, do not use alongside other pharmaceuticals; a friend of mine who works in the advertising industry is a prodigious user of so-called 'Bolivian marching powder,' and took a couple of Dulcolax at the same time as he was using his normal relaxant, thus ending up full of s*** and empty of it at the same time.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 11:35 AM BST


Zehui Sexy Mens Underwear Boxer Trunks Shorts Pants Jogging Sports Briefs
Zehui Sexy Mens Underwear Boxer Trunks Shorts Pants Jogging Sports Briefs
Price: £1.53 - £4.31

36 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! The hottest thing this side of the Kalahari., 30 Jun 2013
These are some crazy sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs. I love, and people love me wearing sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs. Hey, sexy lady, I say to one of the English ladies who come into my restaurant, what you think of my Zehui sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs? Wow, she say, those Zehui sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs with all those nouns all piled up together like that, you've spoiled me for men who just wear plain boxers or y-fronts. I love all those nouns, and no apostrophes either to spoil the sexiness. I moist already. From now on, I only go with a man wearing sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs.

I don't understand how one of your reviewer on here give his sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs to charity shop. He not man enough, perhaps, to wear Zehui sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs. I am like man in picture. I will post photo of myself wearing sexy mens underwear boxer trunks shorts pants jogging sports briefs on internet and you will see. Bye for now, ladies, I'm off for dinner supper snack food tea chips rice plate spoon sausage cricket bat.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2013 6:12 PM GMT


Kingfisher 30m Reinforced Garden Hose Pipe E430X
Kingfisher 30m Reinforced Garden Hose Pipe E430X
Offered by Topnotchsales
Price: £10.26

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For good value hose-style action, you can't do better, 24 Jun 2013
Frankly, I'm shocked that this product has been so unfavourably reviewed. I don't think it would be overstating it to say that it is suitable for a thousand household uses, especially for wetting stuff. It really does work very well for wetting things. I had something rather large that I needed to wet - for legal reasons, I can't be more specific than that - and I found the Kingfisher absolutely perfect for the purpose. I had been filling tea-cups with water and carrying them from the house in order to do my wetting and finding that half the time I had spilled most of the water before I even got there. Then someone suggested fitting the pipe to the tap and using that, and, boy, what a difference.

In case it surprises you that I was spilling so much water, I ought to explain that the thing I wanted to wet was around 30m from my house, and kept moving a fair bit. Also, my hand is not as steady as it used to be. In fact, so bad had this problem become that I went to the doctor with it. He said, "I can't find anything wrong with you. It must be the drink," and I said, "I'm sorry. I'll come back when you're sober."

But I can put all that behind me now with this very serviceable hosepipe. Sometimes I get the water going and pretend I'm in Backdraft, knowing that should any of the houses round my gaff catch fire, I shall be on hand with this fantastic wetting pipe to save the day, except if it's that stuck up couple at number seven, who threw a scrubbing brush at my cat.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 18, 2013 9:52 PM BST


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