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BB "Big Blue"

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Cablesson Basics 3m (3 Meter) High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - (Latest 2.0/1.4a Version, 21Gbps) Gold HDMI Cable with ETHERNET Compatibility, PS4, SKY HD,FULL HD, 1080P, 2160p, LCD, PLASMA & LED TVs, 4K Ultra HD , 3D TVS, Supports Dolby TrueHDs
Cablesson Basics 3m (3 Meter) High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - (Latest 2.0/1.4a Version, 21Gbps) Gold HDMI Cable with ETHERNET Compatibility, PS4, SKY HD,FULL HD, 1080P, 2160p, LCD, PLASMA & LED TVs, 4K Ultra HD , 3D TVS, Supports Dolby TrueHDs
Offered by HDCentral
Price: £8.99

Pop Up Portable Mini Travel II Capsule Rechargeable 40mm Speaker For Iphone, iPod, Ipad, Tablets and MP3 Players
Pop Up Portable Mini Travel II Capsule Rechargeable 40mm Speaker For Iphone, iPod, Ipad, Tablets and MP3 Players
Offered by Betron Limited ( VAT Registered)
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great little speakers, 13 May 2014
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Just the job, good sound and very small. They're not big enough for a party but great for travelling light

Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star
Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star
by Tracey Thorn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.13

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real honest pop biography. Very refreshing., 5 Jan 2014
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Summer 1985 and I'm driving from Manchester to Hull to catch the ferry to Rotterdam. I've got Eden on the tape player, just released and eagerly awaited after Tracey's guest appearances on the Style Council's Café Blue and Working Week's Working Nights albums some months earlier. It's the new British jazz/pop sound which has caught us all so firmly and I'm loving it.

In those days, 30 years ago when drivers stopped for hitch hikers, I picked up a couple who were going to Hull who were also EBTG fans. They explained that the band got their unusual name from a furniture store in Hull that had it as a sort of strap line and took me past it to have a look.

Pre-Wiki, I simply didn't realise that Ben and Tracey didn't actually come from Hull and that they were juggling being minor pop stars with their university studies. Perhaps I should have read the NME a bit more, but I'd got to an age when that stuff was all getting a bit tedious.

Tracey's book is a superb read. I got it for Christmas and finished it by January 4th despite having loads of guests down for the period. It filled in a lot of the blanks for me. Contrary to her and Ben's reputation for being private she opens up her worries and insecurities for us all to see and it's a much better book for that instead of the usual music biog nonsense. There's also a really refreshing look into how her record collection was built up and how punk was over before she even bought her first punk record. No wonder she covered the old Rod song. She actually admits to liking Atlantic Crossing which no self respecting music fan, never mind musician would do. The fact that she actually knows what she bought when is revealing in itself - Tracey's a mad keeper of diaries and records to rival Bill Wyman.

There's one or two iffy bits. Thinking that the mums at school don't know who she really is until George Michael passes, stops, winds down the window and yells out "Tracey, how are you" much to the shock of the mums at the school gate. Yeah come on Trace. You ain't that naive surely?

It's also a shame she didn't explain where the EBTG name came from herself and the story behind it and it would have been nice to delve into her superb lyrics and get her point on them. For instance, although most people interpret Missing as a love song, I've always thought it was about a teenage leader of the gang that she hero-worshipped. It could have been a girl. Note that she says that WE'D walk behind as you would run.

Could you be dead?
You always were two steps ahead of everyone
We'd walk behind while you would run

If you're not an EBTG fan I doubt that the book will resonate with you but if you are, it'll be one of those books that you keep on the shelf after you've read it rather than putting it in the Oxfam pile.

Ask your loved one to buy it you for your birthday and if they won't or your birthday's too far away, treat yourself. You won't be disappointed.

How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series)
How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series)
Price: £9.26

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb investment book for the experienced private investor as well as a great intro for the beginner, 18 Dec 2013
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I was an avid reader of John Lee's weekly My Portfolio column in the FT for nearly 15 years and I was very upset when the paper discontinued it. This book is a mixture of some very sage investment advice from Lee at the same time as him analysing some of those previous FT columns with the benefit of hindsight and looking where and why he got things right and more importantly, where and why he got things wrong. His style is very self-depreciating and he seems to be absolutely devoid of any ego which I find to be very refreshing in the investment sector.

At a time when the internet gives us private investors access to endless up-to-the-minute information that we could only have dreamt about 20 years ago it's tempting to forget the basic principals of great investing as championed by people like Warren Buffett and John Lee - find a good share at a reasonable price and hold onto it.

Lee's book is a superb reminder to us experienced private investors of what we should always be looking for in building our portfolio at the same time as recognising those warning signs that we have all ignored to our peril in the past and being decisive in deciding when to sell.

I particularly liked the section on family-owned public companies and why these are sometimes such a good investment - there are lots of family pressures from maiden aunts etc to keep the dividends flowing steadily at the same time as the family directors have a sense of duty to future generations to safeguard the family firm and not to make any stupid, rash decisions that could endanger it. I'd always steered clear of them in the past thinking they were all stuck in the dark ages but I will certainly look a little closer now.

At the same time as being a great reminder to the more experienced of us, it is also a wonderfully simple guide for the beginner in how to invest directly in shares as opposed to trusting other people (such as fund managers) to do that for you. Far too many of us (I know because I was one of them) think that direct share investing is too risky and too time consuming but John Lee demonstrates that anyone can do this for themselves with much better returns than the so called professionals.

He explains everything one needs to know in a superbly understandable manner without at any time seeming the least bit patronising. He clearly explains what he believes are the key factors you should take into account and deciphers financial jargon in a very easy manner.

My only criticisms of the print edition of this superb book is that the font is a tad small but the Kindle edition resolves that easily.

It's a great Christmas or birthday present and if someone you love doesn't buy it for you, do yourself a favour and treat yourself.

The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It
The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It
Price: £4.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very different viewpoint, 2 Nov 2013
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Dr Kendrick has come up with a compelling argument for us all to chuck our statins in the bin and be less stressed instead. My GP is not the sort to have a medical discussion with a patient and so I tried out the thesis on a GP friend and was surprised that he had very little knowledge of the subject other than the standard advice that you can get on any website. I then tried in on a pharmacist friend with similar results. Hmmm. These are the guys who are pushing us all to be on statins and yet know little about them or their effects or whether or not they are useful in preventing heart disease. Worrying.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2014 11:49 PM GMT

The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager
The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager
Price: £4.31

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit boring in parts, 26 Sep 2013
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Like me, you'd probably think that a book by Niel Warnock would be brilliant because he's such a great media personality. The problem is with it is that it's very detailed about his time and tribulations at various lower level clubs and whilst this can't have been great fun for Neil, it's not for us either, unless you happen to be a supporter of one of those clubs that is. I'd have like to have read a load of funny anecdotes but although Neil must have so many in his armoury, he doesn't part with them. That's a shame, but I really do wish Neil all the very best in his semi-retirement.

Marianne Faithfull: As Years Go By
Marianne Faithfull: As Years Go By
Price: £8.97

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a superb chronicle of a crazy and wasted life., 17 Aug 2013
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Like many other people, I never took much serious notice of Marianne Faithful until she released her absolutely brilliant Broken English album in 1979. Until then, I always looked upon her as Mick Jagger's former girlfriend and a one-hit-wonder with As Tears Go By. However, no matter how good Broken English was I could never see me reading her biography.

What changed was reading author, Mark Hodkinson's other work in particular his novel, The Last Mad Surge of Youth which was simply superb. Until I had read it I hadn't realised that he's a famous football author whose many books I had already read over the years, a chronicler of both Queen and Simply Red and a columnist for The Times. What a talented bloke!

The book itself is a really well-researched journal of Marianne's crazy life. She's obviously got a superb personality to be able to keep so many superstar friends for so long (and for them to provide her with her keep) but Jesus Christ almighty, she's frustrating. If I have a criticism of this book it's that Hodkinson doesn't ever explore what drives her to constant self-destruction.

Quite a lot of the book understandably focuses on the Swinging Sixties in general and the Stones in particular. As the author points out, Marianne was somebody indelibly associated with that period but was only 24 years old at the end of the decade. Everybody who was anyone was absolutely besotted with her and it seems that she went to bed with most of them. The Hollies wrote their great hit Carrie Anne about her but Graham Nash was too shy to write Marianne and so changed the name. Allan Clarke was having an affair with her on tour at the time.

When The Hollies sang, "Then you played with older boys and prefects" it all makes sense now but probably wouldn't be too appropriate in these post-Saville times.

McCartney looks back on the time and quite rightly points out that although people like him, Marianne and Jagger were enjoying a hugely Bohemian existence, the average Joe and Joan had a blow out at the weekend but didn't ever join in as such.

Hodkinson writes a lot about The Stones because Marianne was inevitably tied up with them and their lives having had dalliances with Brian Jones and Keef before and after taking up with Jagger. Of course, her arrest by the Drug Squad at Richard's house dressed only in a fur rug led to the single most famous, if untrue, thing about her and, in the days before Anne Summers shops on every high street, boosted the sales of Mars Bars for a long time afterwards.

As the sixties turned into the seventies Marianne went into a downward spiral and seemed determined to be a street heroin addict - making it for quite some time actually living on the streets and in squats before being bailed out by yet more friends. By the end of the decade however she was about to make one of the best albums of all time. It didn't seem so to many at the time when it peaked at number 57 but the word was out on the post-punk streets and those in the know all had it and played it incessantly. I lived in Holland at the time and every bar you walked into had it on the turntable all night. You somehow couldn't imagine Marianne's contemporaries, Cilla Black, Pet Clarke, Sandie Shaw or Dusty Springfield ever making an album 15 years after their pomp which had the respect of kids in their late teens, but Marianne managed it in trumps. Of course, Lulu did do a song with Take That (what do you call a dog with five dicks?) but it wasn't quite the same was it?

Why D'Ya Do It?, the most shocking song on the album was something I just assumed that Marianne had written herself but was in fact written by an old Etonian poet for Tina Turner to sing. Raunchy as Tina was, I just couldn't see her doing it justice but Marianne brought it to life and really sounded like she was the wronged woman herself. Marianne's ability to turn a dull song into a masterpiece is best illustrated by her version of Dr Hook's The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan and she also did a moving version of Lennon's Working Class Hero as well as a bunch of great songs written by her and her band. Stevie Winwood's involvement in the project was the cream on the cake.

It began Maranne's involvement (musically and business-wise) with Island Records' Chris Blackwell which continued for years and years during which time Marianne didn't really repay the faith Blackwell had placed in her ever again. What's also for certain is that she never repaid the money that he put behind her either, instantly blowing record advances on drugs and clothes in that order. As I alluded earlier, this is my frustration with this book. It's a superb chronicle of Marianne's extremely interesting life, but never gets to "Why D'Ya Do It?"

Would I recommend that you buy it? 100% and whilst you're at it, get "The Last Mad Surge of Youth" which is even better.

By the way, don't confuse it with another biography that the same author wrote about Marianne some years ago called As TEARS (not YEARS) Go By and that it seems he's not really happy with.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2013 7:49 AM BST

Sit Down! Listen to This! - the Roger Eagle Story
Sit Down! Listen to This! - the Roger Eagle Story
by Bill Sykes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive biography of a music legend., 14 Jun 2013
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Roger Eagle was a DJ and promotor in Manchester and Liverpool for over 30 years from the early sixties. He was the first DJ and band booker at Manchester's legendary Twisted Wheel club where he hosted what became the first Northern Soul all-nighters and put on a multitude of top rhythm & blues and beat acts. It wasn't long before there were coaches arriving from all over the country to get in on this unique scene. Almost as soon as Northern Soul started, Eagle got out and put his efforts into the Magic Village which would probably be described as a hippy place where he introduced his audience to the very best of British and American blues-based bands.

Eagle had a superb eye for what was up and coming and had a habit of booking those bands just before they made it big, but he'd also recognise quality and frequently lost money on booking legendary black American artists who would demand far too much cash for the audience they could attract. However, for Eagle this was always worth it as he tried to educate his audience on high quality music whatever the genre.

Moving to a much larger venue in Liverpool, he was able to attract those bands that had made it big but would continue to also book those whose music he admired.

Eagle was never a businessman and his ventures inevitably ended in financial ruin but as soon as one failed, he'd be up for the next one. In Liverpool, this meant the renowned Eric's club which he started just as punk was beginning and, although he didn't enjoy the music, he loved the attitude and attracted the best punk bands of the day to Liverpool by also giving them another gig in Manchester where he booked bands for places like Rafters and the forerunner of The Hacienda, The Factory club. The regulars at Eric's went onto form some of Liverpool's best post-Beatles bands such as OMD, Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. He was also instrumental in changing Mick Hucknall from a quirky punk into a great soul singer when Hucknall lived with him and was managed by him in the early eighties.

Eagle's last big venture was the International in Manchester and although he was just the hired hand to book the bands and set the music policy, he put his heart and soul into the place. His first big gig there was Mick Hucknall's Simply Red just as their debut single, Money's Too Tight To Mention was rising up the charts. I was there that night and there was such a fantastic buzz about the place, not only because Hucknall had broken thru but also because Roger Eagle was back in town.

It's only too right that Roger Eagle has had a book written about him. His importance to northern music cannot be overstated but he was also key to introducing many musicians and other DJs to black American artists that were almost unknown in their home country and Jamaican reggae and dub artists who were unknown in Europe.

The book itself is a valiant attempt to explain Roger Eagle to the world before his contemporaries die off and the world forgets him. It's apparently the author's first book and this does show in parts. It could probably do with a good editor and repeats the same messages over and over again, although they are told by different people. It would be a great basis for a talking heads type documentary on Eagle. There's a pretty comprehensive gigography at the back that makes you go wow! as you read it although there are bands that I'm sure I saw at the International that aren't listed.

Would I recommend it? If you're like me, you love biogs and love absorbing loads of info, it's great. If not, you may struggle through it a little and you might be better having a look on some of the many web articles about Roger Eagle instead. All in all though, very well done to Bill Sykes. It must have taken a massive amount of effort to produce this. I hope Roger is smiling down at you now with a large spliff of Afghani Black saying, "Now Sykes, sit down and listen to this!"

No Title Available

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Charges ok but can't play music, 19 Nov 2012
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This works ok if you want to convert an old charger to a new one or if you want to simply charge the iphone5 on a dock but it doesn't enable you to play music thru your dock.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Goes rusty if you leave it outside which is kinda the idea!, 21 July 2012
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This review is from: x
These chairs are great. They hold in place whatever the level of recline. You can read a book upright or go to sleep horizontal. The only problem is that they go rusty particularly around the screws.

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