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An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge)
An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge)
by John O'Farrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed a bit, but learned a lot more, 19 Feb 2009
As many reviewers have already mentioned, the humour can be more than a little irksome to start with, but after a while I found myself entering into the spirit of it all in the same way that you might find yourself being eventually won over by a slightly naff stand up comedian, and began to enjoy some of the dreadful gags.

Having struggled through all 3 volumes of Simon Schama's A History of Britain, which despite his easy to read style covers events in frankly bewildering depth, I found this unsurprisingly much easier to read but also felt like I'd learned a lot more in that I could actually remember some of it afterwards. It's the polar opposite to Schama's work in that there's frequently very little detail, but this helps it to flow and makes it easier to take in more in one go, see the bigger picture and gain a sense of perspective of history by seeing how events are linked over longer spells of time, rather than getting bogged in the minutiae. It's admittedly probably not going to be appreciated by a purist or a professor of history, but as I'm neither I thought it was pretty good

Braun Series 3 340 Rechargeable Foil Electric Shaver
Braun Series 3 340 Rechargeable Foil Electric Shaver

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It shaves your face well, 12 Feb 2009
What more do you want? I'm delighted with mine. It can cope with longer hairs than any of my previous shavers, and delivers a faster and closer shave than any of them as well. The plastic pod carrying case thingy is a bit naff, but the shaver itself feels pretty sturdy to me. It also helpfully has the part number of the foil emblazoned on the body of the shaver in nice big writing so you don't have to hunt out your instruction manual when it needs replacing

Sandisk Sansa e280 - 8Gb MP3 & Video Player
Sandisk Sansa e280 - 8Gb MP3 & Video Player

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 11 Nov 2007
Not bad for 100 (more or less what I paid) but for less than 80 it's a steal.

I've never bothered trying to put video on it (why bother trying with such a tiny screen) so I cannot comment on that, but for music it's fine. As other reviewers have said, the supplied earphones ARE awful - every bit as low quality as the Apple ones, but an upgrade to Sennheiser CX300s mean my Mp3s (ripped at 320kbps) sound every bit as good as any personal audio device I've ever heard, and as good as my trusty Sony Minidisc player that knocked every other Mp3 player into a cocked hat.

I bought the Sansa because I didn't want extra device specific software clogging up my computer, and to just drag and drop my files with Explorer. This is a doddle with this machine, which at 320kbps can store about 1000 songs, which may not sound that much but you can only listen to one at a time after all, and periodically dumping some of the stuff and sticking some new albums on doesn't take long.

The only problem I had was getting it to play album tracks in the correct order, a fault I eventually traced myself to the ID3 tags (Sandisk's support being no help at all), solved using an alternative ID3 tag editing program.

People who've had them go wrong obviously aren't going to be fans, but I've had mine a good few months now and it's been fine so far, and the reliability record of the alternatives isn't a lot to shout about and from what I've seen isn't worth paying a premium for.

The controls might not be as intuitive as an Ipod, but you soon get used to them, and although it does take a few seconds to spring into life on start up, it's not as long as some on here have been making out

Sennheiser Eco Ear Canal Headphones - Black (discontinued by manufacturer)
Sennheiser Eco Ear Canal Headphones - Black (discontinued by manufacturer)

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a bit of getting used to but worth the effort, 6 Nov 2007
Having had them for about 3 months now I love them, but it wasn't a case of love at first listen because as a lot of reviewers on here have mentioned, like other inner earphones, they pick up a lot of noise that you wouldn't notice with conventional in ear phones. When I first put them in they sounded great, but the first time I walked to work in them, I thought they were a disaster, because they transmit the sound of your breathing, footsteps and the cord brushing against your clothes straight into your ears, and it seemed they were fatally flawed for this reason.
*BUT* within a few days your brain stops taking in the stuff it doesn't want to hear, and all you notice is the music, which is as good as you'll hear from a set of earphones not costing silly money.

The other thing that you have to get used to is getting a proper seal when you put them in your ears, because if you don't, they sound pretty brash and tinny. This is a bit tricky at first, but you soon get used to it and whereas I had to fiddle around for ages when I first got them to make them sound as they should, I can just pop them in my ears now and get the desired results straightaway. Once in properly, the CX300s reward with a rich and deep sound that conveys a lot of detail, and as they shut out so much extraneous noise, really allow you to lose yourself in your music - so much so that you need to make an extra effort to look out for traffic and muggers as it's very easy to lose track of what's happening in the outside world.

A great upgrade to replace the cheapo 'phones that come with most if not all personal audio devices

The Casket Letters
The Casket Letters
Price: 10.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be a lot more famous than they are, 16 Sep 2007
This review is from: The Casket Letters
The band with the worst name in popular music return with an absolute cracker. Engaging and beautifully crafted throughout, with only the throwaway 'Matterhoney' seeming a little out of place (but that's really only because the rest of the album is so good).

Carefully plucked acoustic guitars, cellos and recorder solos abound, but there's too much substance to the songs to call them twee, and MSTU are just as good at doomy atmospherics as evidenced by the great but rather sinister sounding 'Elizabeth and Mary'.

If you buy an album by an act you've never heard of this year, you could do a lot worse than this one

Offered by Megabrokers
Price: 5.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap but not that cheerful, 14 Aug 2007
Despite slightly spongey keys this is quite comfortable to use and for the most part reasonably responsive.

Unfortunately, two months or so on the space bar which was decidedly wonky from the word go now sticks down on about every third press, so it's either going back or is destined for the bin.

A shame, as the Trust optical mouse I bought at the same time is really good

City And Eastern Songs
City And Eastern Songs
Price: 12.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only you could give it four and a half stars..., 31 Aug 2006
This review is from: City And Eastern Songs (Audio CD)
If you're unfamiliar with Jeff and Jack's work then it is well worth checking out. Rough Trade should really be doing more to push these boys, but I cannot be too critical as at least they're putting the records out.

This is their third (that I'm aware of) long playing outing, and although the song writing is getting gradually more sophisticated with time the real difference between this and the previous albums is that it sounds for the most part like it was recorded in an actual studio and not on a four track in someone's bedroom, although this shouldn't put potential listeners off the first two albums as they're both great as well.

Again, it's an album of extremes with the tracks pretty much alternating between Jeff's more reflective solo acoustic numbers and the raucous shouting matches with his brother. The acoustic tracks are probably the more instant for the casual listener, but both work really well and the (often dark) humour of the brothers frequently shows itself in both.

Individual tracks on here would in my view easily merit the full five stars...'Moving' and 'New Old Friends' are beautiful efforts that I can safely say are as good as anything I've heard in the last few years, and you'd have to be made of stone not to jump about to 'Posters' and 'Time Machine'.

Having recently heard some of the new material live, I'm confident that their best is yet to come, and the only reason I've not given this five stars is that I have a sneaking feeling that these boys will turn out a record even better than this one before too long

Open Season
Open Season
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 4.75

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barmy (and slightly more accessible than last time) Brilliance, 31 May 2006
This review is from: Open Season (Audio CD)
It's always nice when a record exceeds your expectations, particularly when you're expecting quite a lot.

'The Decline of British Sea Power' is a great record that rewards the more patient listener, although many find the rawness of some of the tracks at bit hard to take.

'Open Season' dispenses with most of the rough edges, and replaces them with an expansive sound which although perhaps less challenging, is at times bold and upfront, and at others beautiful and reflective (the cello on 'The Land Beyond' being one of many highpoints). Stomping pop tunes and brooding epics a speciality.

An apparent obsession with UK wildlife and World War II may not invite mainstream attention, and even the most attentive listener won't have a clue what they're on about most of the time, but in truth this is a great rock/pop album that offers something with that bit more magic than your usual Zutons/Arctic Monkeys/Futureheads etc etc plodders.

My favourite album of 2005 by some distance

Ringleader Of The Tormentors
Ringleader Of The Tormentors
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: 4.61

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another solid effort from Mr Moz, 16 April 2006
The expectations awaiting each new Morrissey album are such that disappointment seems almost inevitable when the records actually come out, although it's testament to the man's talents that even when they're not the masterpiece hoped for they're usually at least as good as most of what's about at the time.

ROTT is perhaps not consistent enough to be a masterpiece, but is good throughout and contains some real gems. The epic drama and dark intensity of 'Life is a Pigsty' has been rightly judged by many as the highlight, but there are plenty of other strong tracks backing it up. My favourite is probably next single 'The youngest was the most loved', which is carried along by a sense of urgency that makes it sound more like the Smiths than anything he's done for ages, particularly the yodelly bit at the end.

For some reason ROTT is not as immediate as most of his solo work and has taken quite a few plays for me to form an opinion of it, so I would say to anyone not enamoured on their first listen to give it more time. For me, 'Vauxhall and I' remains his best solo album, but ROTT is definitely a grower, and gets closer to this peak than most of his more recent material

Napoleon Dynamite [DVD]
Napoleon Dynamite [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Heder
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.98

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll either like it....or not, 18 Feb 2006
This review is from: Napoleon Dynamite [DVD] (DVD)
I thought this film was wonderful, but it's obviously not to everyone's taste, as since I saw it last night, I've met three people that couldn't bear to sit through it until the end.
The humour is offbeat and understated, but I found virtually every scene funny.
If you snigger at the thought of a young man ordering a pet Llama called Tina to eat her ham, you'll enjoy this film enormously. If not, then it's probably not going to appeal to you.

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