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Basket Press (In a winery)

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Unplugged 1991/2001: The Complete Sessions
Unplugged 1991/2001: The Complete Sessions
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good live acoustic sets, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is in "What's not to like?" territory for REM fans: 2 full CDs of live acoustic arrangements of a good selection of their songs, both sets leaning towards their then-current material but with some nice tips of the hat to older material (including some personal favourites such as Perfect Circle, Swan, SwanH, Cuyahoga and So. Central Rain).

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder 110 Watt
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder 110 Watt
Offered by Design 55 online
Price: £122.12

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A straightforward burr grinder, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just given in after a couple of years of hand grinding beans and bought one of these.

I like the simplicity of this: I don't need timers or dosers or any of that, just an on-off switch and the ability to set the grind to what I want. I also like the simplicity of its appearance.

My requirement is to grind beans for a filter once, maybe twice,a day. Following Baratza's advice (website and in the accompanying quick guide) to get the grind to what I wanted is a doddle.

Noise in use is not too bad, although it is taking a while for my cats to adjust to a new sound. ETA: it took them about 3 days to become completely unconcerned.

Having now used a couple of different types of bean, I note that some are more prone to the static sticking to the plastic grounds bin than others. However, this is not really a problem, as it comes out easily with the trusty pastry brush I have kept for coffee purposes.

Does what I wanted. Excellent stuff!

The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong
The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong
by Matthew Stewart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.18

5.0 out of 5 stars We have been conned, 3 July 2014
I spent pretty much all of my working life listening to managers spout whatever the current management-speak fad was with increasing levels of incredulity. I kept asking what evidence there was for any of it (I have a science and clinical background...) but never got anything better than "It says so in this book!" and more usually a bunch of hand waving and bluster.

Now I know why...

There is no evidence, it all goes in cycles of fashion, but no-one in the cult of managerialism will admit that, because that would be an admission of their lack of importance, lack of evidence and the like.

We have been conned, pure and simple.

How do I know? Well, all you managers who fall back on "It says so in this book!", "It says so in this book!" but with added explanations of why the other books were wrong or just plain fabricated. Go ahead, please, prove that this is wrong, with references and full workings out!

Analogue Studio Antistatic Inner CD Sleeves - Pack of 50
Analogue Studio Antistatic Inner CD Sleeves - Pack of 50
Offered by Analogue Seduction
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Nagaokas..., 3 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought these as the Nagaokas were out of stock.

They do the job well enough, but seem a little over-sized compared to the Nagaokas.

Still, they work and are cheaper, so what's not to like.

And Analogue Seduction deliver promptly.

Coffee Mill Italian Design
Coffee Mill Italian Design
Offered by WOWOOO
Price: £39.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for occasional use, 3 July 2014
I've had one of these for a couple of years now, bought to match a Bialetti moka pot...Don't blame me...

The good points: good, consistent grind for filter coffee (can't comment on finer grind for espresso as I don't do espresso); easy to clean; looks good on the work top.

Downside: initially I used this just at weekends, with pre-ground coffee during the week, however, since I retired I have taken to grinding beans every morning...Now, the aerobic exercise is fine, but holding this one in place is becoming a pain in the...wrist and forearm and elbow and shoulder. It is standing on a cork mat and still it kicks around during grinding. My hand is large enough (see other comments) to hold it, but this is getting beyond a joke.

So, it has served its purpose - convincing us that grinding our own beans is worthwhile. And is now to be replaced by a Baratza Encore.

Spiderland (Bonus DVD)
Spiderland (Bonus DVD)
Price: £13.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Spiderland 2014 Re-master, 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Spiderland (Bonus DVD) (Audio CD)
Imagine for a moment that you have a favourite chair. You are very familiar with it, the shape of the back and legs, the contours of the cushions, the little creak as you sit. Then one day you wash the cushion covers and you polish the wooden frame...

The patterns in the grain of the wood spring to life, the colours of the covers are that bit brighter, why, you even feel a bit more comfortable sitting in it...

And that gives you an idea of what the new re-master of Spiderland is like.

From the opening chiming guitar figures of Breadcrumb Trail to the closing, apocalyptic shriek of Good Morning, Captain it has all been gently buffed and polished, as if years of accumulated gunk have been subtly removed to reveal more of an old familiar favourite.

You can hear more of just what Pajo and McMahon are doing to their guitars; McMahon's muttered, incantatory vocals are that bit clearer, while still requiring you to listen attentively to be drawn fully into the eerie world of the stories; the shifting, crepuscular atmosphere of the album is intensified.

The answer to the perennial question of "Is it worth re-doing an album?" is, in this case, most definitely "YES!"

I am tempted to dock a point for the outtakes only being available as MP3 download (not everyone's interweb connections are good enough for one thing - mine isn't - and MP3 just sucks), but that might be churlish.

The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got it
The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got it
by Andy Wightman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 19 Jun. 2014
OK, I am from the North East of England, so let's get that bit out of the way...

I bought this (the 2013 edition) in western Sutherland during a long conversation with the owner of an excellent independent bookshop, ranging over many aspects of land ownership, political power and its exercise, regional identity...

This offers a necessary view of Scottish land ownership and the nefarious means by which that has been concentrated in a small number of hands, the lack of political will to change the systems which support that and the consequences for communities and the nation as a whole.

It is especially interesting in the run up to the independence referendum, as the relative inaction of the SNP while in government is obvious...

Oh for an English equivalent...

Walton: Symphony No. 1 | Violin Concerto
Walton: Symphony No. 1 | Violin Concerto
Price: £14.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new benchmark?, 14 Jun. 2014
The Previn/LSO recording of Walton's First has long been my benchmark, with good reason, edging out recordings by Walton himself, Colin Davis and a couple of others.

This new recording from Gardner and the BBC SO may sneak ahead, capturing the fieriness and spiky qualities, the malice of the second movement, the tensions and the release, the Sibelian expansiveness of the last movement at least as well as Previn. Where it edges ahead is the recording itself, which is clearer, more detailed, more atmospheric than the old RCA (NB this refers to the SACD layer, played through a fairly high end SACD player - I haven't listened to just the red book layer yet, but will report back on that).

Definitely a worthwhile purchase.

PS The Violin Concerto isn't bad...Actually, it is very good indeed.

ETA I've had a good listen to the red book layer now: should have done this first, as the SACD layer is clearly superior, with instruments just sounding more "real" and detailed. That said the CD layer is still very good, so don't let that comment deter you if you don't have a SACD player, as the performances are definitely worthwhile.

The Highland Clearances
The Highland Clearances
by Eric Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear, even-handed account, 29 May 2014
I bought this a little while back when on holiday in Wester Ross.

It is a very clear account of The Clearances, not taking any sides but attempting to be as dispassionate (well, Richards is a professional historian) as possible in examining all sides of this complex and emotive subject, setting the events in the broader context of land reform across Europe and political and economic changes within Britain as a whole.

Highly recommended.

PS This has been the start of a slippery slope, leading me on to other books about the politics of land ownership (Andy Wightman, for example) and the like.

Disclaimer - I am from the North East of England, with bits of Scottish and Irish (amongst other things) ancestry.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2014 6:09 PM BST

Price: £12.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Converts the sceptics, 23 May 2014
Bought this in Lochmaddy, North Uist (well, a release on Machair Records ought to be bought near some machair - sorry, Amazon!) the other day, while it was playing in the background.

As others have commented, I cannot tell what the songs are about (yes, I know, I could read the translations in the liner notes...), but am content to listen to the voice as an instrument in its own right...And a fine instrument it is too!

This is just lovely and is even convincing the strange woman I live with that there is some merit to Scottish traditional music (it's only taken me 25 years to get to this point, so thank you Julie Fowlis).

So, if this album can do that I am struggling to think of higher praise.

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