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Reviews Written by
A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar)

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Wu Massacre
Wu Massacre
Price: £3.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Mixtape quality., 18 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wu Massacre (Audio CD)
This is the 103rd Wu Tang affiliated record I've bought. I'm a big fan. However, as I'm sure you're aware, hiphop sells so little these days, even for the major artists, that rappers are forced to release massive amounts of product just to keep a foothold in the game, and quality obviously suffers. This, then, is really a mixtape quality release -less than half an hour long, sub par production, rehashes of previously released tracks, etc, that was somehow given a high profile launch with the different covers and whatnot.

On the other hand, there's one standout track here, 'Our Dreams' which kills. So it stays in the collection.

53rd State of Mind
53rd State of Mind
Price: £5.57

3.0 out of 5 stars The sad history of UK hiphop., 18 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 53rd State of Mind (Audio CD)
Kaleef started of as Nu Konshos Kaliphz, a rowdy, highly politicised crew of Rochdale Asians. Their first album was well recieved critically but sold little , so London Records put them in the studio with Pete Waterman as producer: For the benefit of younger readers, this is roughly the equivalent to someone thinking Death Grips would have a better chance of chart success if they did a record with Justin Bieber on vocals.

The band split up out of sheer embarassment after this album was released: Someone decided that all of the songs shojld be based around samples of early 80s new wave hits (I get the impression that Pete had some 'rap is ths new punk' concept going) and he's obviously noones idea of a hip hop producer. They also had to change their name to something less inflammatory, because rap fans hate that sort of thing, and had to do a novelty record with a boxer.

15 years on though, and its at least an interesting record, a sort of easy listening gangsta rap thing.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1-inch Tablet (White) - (Quad Core 1.9GHz Processor, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, WLAN, BT, 2x Camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) (New Edition for 2014)
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1-inch Tablet (White) - (Quad Core 1.9GHz Processor, 3GB RAM, 16GB Storage, WLAN, BT, 2x Camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) (New Edition for 2014)
Offered by HEARTBIT
Price: £294.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Good bells and whistles, poor basics., 18 Nov 2014
I got this tablet on a very good discount deal which made it preferable to upgrading my old iPad.

On first appearance, it has a lot of features that make it superior to the iPad - 64gb expandable memory, much louder stereo speakers, split screen, a slot for a SIM card so it can be used on 3G and as a mobile phone, flashbulb on the camera, office software, the attached pen, etc. Battery life is good

However, in use as a tablet, it has a lot of irritating issues - the screen seesaws between being oversensitive and completely unresponsive, it freezes a lot, it regularly loses contact with wifi, some of the apps only work when it's on wi-fi even when its not necessary, it often declines to search through my emails, and it often wont access the internet even wnen connected.

On balance, I'd say if you wanted a tablet that does everything a laptop does, this is a good buy. But if you use a tablet mainly for leisure activities, it's not your best bet.

Kipling Women's New Abela Shoulder Bag K12443B94 Party Dot Pr P
Kipling Women's New Abela Shoulder Bag K12443B94 Party Dot Pr P
Price: £41.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Not for every girl, lads.., 10 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Kipling started off by manufacturing backpacks for outdoor pursuits before entering the handbag market, and it's this odd combination of practical design/manufacture and style that gives them their unique appeal. They're very well made, with tough industrial fabrics and lots of handy features - inner pockets, an internal keyring lanyard and adjustable strap in this case - coupled with jazzy prints and signature details - the embossed rubber logo and the toy gorilla keychain that comes with every bag. Beware, though, gents, if your considering this as a gift for your significant other. Kipling bags are very trendy, but they definitely have a niche audience, and certainly don't appeal to everyone.

WTP Post n Roll Honey Pot
WTP Post n Roll Honey Pot
Price: £20.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well made and designed post and roll toy, 10 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One of the first things my little boy started doing, as soon as he could toddle, was to methodically and repeatedly place objects into holes - sheets of paper through the handgrip in the footstool, bottles down the back of his cot, currency down the toilet, etc. I've no idea why, but he's now got several toys like this about the house and spends at least an hour a day gathering balls and posting them down the tubes.

He's just as keen on this one, which has an advantage for parents as the holes in the base can be closed to store the four balls: On the other hand, it has fewer interactive features than his others, which were a similar price: However, it is well made and has no moving parts to fall off and get lost. Overall a well designed, enjoyable toy.

BETA Adult Spaniels with Chicken, 2 kg (Pack of 4)
BETA Adult Spaniels with Chicken, 2 kg (Pack of 4)
Price: £23.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine kibble. Unconvinced about the breed specific thing, though.., 10 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have always used kibble with the cats, and now with the dogs, as well. It can be bought in bulk, is better value in the long term and has less of a pronounced smell about it than wet food. I imagine it's probably healthier, too, though that's a supposition. On the other hand, I am more than a little sceptical about the idea that dogs are such delicate creatures that they need to be fed differently from breed to breed, or indeed that different shapes of kibble needed to be scientifically designed to suit different dogs, (The cats kibble is shaped like little fish, probably not by a scientist, and you don't hear them complaining) So both dogs get the same stuff, whatever's cheap and available, and they don't mind, or even notice. ... they've eaten much worse to my certain knowledge. The only thing to remember if you're changing from wet to dry food is to change it gradually by mixing both over a few days, slowly changing the proportion, and offer more water.

Logitech Type-S Keyboard Protective Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Logitech Type-S Keyboard Protective Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Price: £84.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Best keyboard/case I've ever used., 10 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The title of this reviews's not much of a compliment really, when I think about it. The majority of tablet peripherals we've owned either gave up working after a few months or never worked properly in the first place, and a quick check in the IT graveyard in the garage reveals this to be the fifth remote keyboard I've owned, (Worked for about an hour and a half after an 8 hour charge/perceptible time lag between keystroke and tablets registration of same, drove you mental after about 5 minutes/ 'Ctrl' key fell off when item removed from package, etc. And don't get me started on 'protective' cases.

However, this is a Logitech product, a brand I've come to trust, and it is at an um...'reassuring' price point, so I'm glad to report that it's a really excellent product:

Exterior: combination of moulded ABS and woven acrylic fabric. Does look as if it would actually offer some protection. Magnetic catch, and auto-turn on and off on opening/closing

Interior Tablet clicks into plastic moulding, Magnets to hold tablet in 'working' and 'reading' positions. Again, much better than the average cases' combination of elastic straps and hope.

In use, Keyboard is about 80% of standard size and has good key separation, with a quality 'click' on contact. There is a compromise with the key travel, in order to make the case slim. No lag between keystroke and screen. Best of all, it offers an impressive 3 months battery life per charge.

So, expensive but worth the money, I think. Highly recommended.

Radio Free Albemuth [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Radio Free Albemuth [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Scott Wilson
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £5.93

3.0 out of 5 stars A Dick film which tries to be faithful to the author. Mixed results., 4 Nov 2014
A movie of a Philip K Dick novel that takes the uncommon approach of actually trying to be true to the author's work, with mixed results.

It's a common, and correct, opinion that the vast majority of movies inspired by Phillip K Dick fail to grasp the essence of the books, the philosophical notions represented as plot twists, and Dick's default mid-20th century suburban Californian atmosphere to cliched techno-noir futures. Of all of the films made, perhaps only 'Blade Runner' and 'A Scanner Darkly' have really represented Dick properly.

There is, however, a good reason why most of the novels cannot be filmed faithfully, and that reason is is that for a lot of the time, Dick was an extremely bad novelist. He wrote at great speed whilst off his box on various stimulants, and, rarely finding the time to edit or rewrite his work, sent them off to pulp editors who didn't bother reading them either before publishing them in cheap editions.

Thus even for his biggest fans (He's my favourite author) it's easy to find fault with a lot of his work. Characters are roughly sketched. The fictional worlds he creates are often jerry-built, full of contradictions. Dialogue is unnatural, with characters liable to interrupt prosaic conversations with sudden metaphysical conundrums, or react in unrealistic ways.

'RFA' the book, is a novelisation of a real-life experience of Dick's when in 1974 he was contacted by an extraterrestrial intelligence after travelling back in time to Ancient Rome (This is the sorta 'real-life' experience he used to have) It's set against the rise of a corrupt right wing government in America, an obvious reference to the Nixon administration.

RFA, the film, then, is a low budget attempt to faithfully film the book. Initially, one is impressed by the authentic recreation of the authors perennial blue-collar suburban milieu. Then about ten minutes in, you notice that the protagonist happens to mention that "I was contacted by a superior being from another galaxy last night. I've named him VALIS, an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System" whilst playing basketball, and his mate treats this a completely reasonable conversation starter. Silly in the book, absurd in the film.

So, full marks for trying, but I think you'll only enjoy this film if you're fully familiar with the author's work. Casual viewers will be simply baffled.

Montana MR92A Strength Plus 2.5 Tortoiseshell Reading Glasses
Montana MR92A Strength Plus 2.5 Tortoiseshell Reading Glasses
Price: £5.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish bargain., 31 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I like wearing different glasses to match what I'm wearing, but can't afford a lot of prescription pairs, and most of the cheap reading glasses available on the high street are very garishly designed.

So this company are a godsend: They do stylish reading glasses for about a fiver. Very well made for the price and the discreet metal logo on the temples makes them look a lot more expensive than they are.

Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany
Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany
by David Stubbs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and comprehensive., 31 Oct 2014
A thoughtful, comprehensive overview of the genre, comprising an overview of the postwar political and social conditions that gave rise to the bands, chapters on all the main players (quite rightly discarding the German prog rock acts that have often been lumped in with the scene) and a coda on the 80s bands who carried the torch, such as Einsturzende Neubaten.

However, it's far from being just a hagiographic history. Mr. Stubbs points out that that most of the bands went out so far into the realms of experimentation that there was nowhere else to go, and those that did continue to make music perhaps shouldn't have. I was reminded of that scene in the BBC Krautrock documentary a few years back, which showed the now septegenarian Faust still gamely banging away on an old tractor with a drainpipe in a way inescapably reminiscent of Vic and Bob's Mulligan And O'Hare. He also points out that the development of affordable and functional synthesisers in some ways had a negative effect on the development of the music, with many of its early experimenters spending the balance of their careers in keyboard noodling. There are lots of interesting ideas like that in here, and it's a must if you have any interest in the genre.

Plus, of course, the author's wonderful descriptions of the albums will have comparative neophytes like myself putting in some pretty hefty Amazon orders over the next few weeks. Excellent.

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