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John Frame "There Is No Substitute For Equality" (Brisbane, Queensland Australia)

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Price: 10.36

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars relaxing and stimulating, a treat for both the ears and brain, 3 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Privilege (Audio CD)
First up my complete praise for the newly released first ever CD of Ivor Cutler's 1983 Rough Trade album "Privilege". It sounds beautiful - Clive Painter has done an excellent job in remastering. In fact it's nigh on pristine, with just a few barely noticeable glitches indicating that the transfer has been made from vinyl. However none of us would have an LP (let alone the cartridge/turntable/pre-amp combination) which could match the startling quality of this version.

The new cover design includes the LP's original Cutler family photo - and in the 6 page booklet his son Jeremy explains the real life story of the photo and title (which has nothing to do with the album contents). Other "2009" features in the booklet are reminiscences by the backing musicians and producers David Toop and Steve Beresford, as well as from his friend and accompanying vocalist Linda Hirst - who has a beautiful classically trained voice, very much akin to the late great Joyce Grenfell.

"Privilege" is a relaxing and stimulating album, a treat for both the ears and brain. A wonderful tribute to Ivor, and a great credit to Jeremy Cutler in demonstrating his stated aim to preserve and distribute his father's recordings. "Hoogi House Records" have proven they deserve maximum support by buyers for this and every subsequent release.

In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Series
In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Series
Price: 16.38

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ultimate "Crimson King" with Hi-Def audio and surround options, 19 Oct 2009
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The CD disc is great to have for the car or portable player, but in this case it is really very much the "bonus disc".

The designers of the DVD-Video/DVD-Audio disc deserve huge praise, as much as do the audio producers. This is the first DVD-Audio disc that I've bought over the years which works faultlessly in my Panasonic DVD-Audio/DVD-Video player as well as in full DVD-Audio mode on my PC when using PowerDVD 7 Deluxe (and DVD-Audio as a feature was the reason I bought that software in the first place).

The menus are stylish and easy to navigate, and the content options for high fidelity stereo and surround will completely satisfy listeners with simple stereos right through to those with true high definition multi-channel systems.

Before I actually got my hands on this version I'd been thinking they should have gone the Blu-Ray route, but I'm convinced that this is the perfect format for both accessibility and compatibility.

The 2009 remix of In The Court Of The Crimson King sounds better than ever, but for old time's sake it's great to also have high definition (PCM and DVD-Audio) versions of the original stereo mix. The "alternative" versions are worthy bonuses - and it's a real treat to hear the full luxury length version of Moonchild. The brief video snippet of the Hyde Park show is amusing.

Unparalleled skill, passion and devotion are evident in every aspect of this package (including the artwork and booklet). A stunning start to the 40th anniversary series - and what a mammoth task! I'm eagerly looking forward to the rest (especially Larks Tongues, Discipline and Three Of A Perfect Pair).

Abbey Road
Abbey Road
Price: 8.58

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth the remastering effort and the money to own, 2 Oct 2009
This review is from: Abbey Road (Audio CD)
Abbey Road was the first LP I ever owned (a gift from my parents), and is my favourite Beatles album. I am very much appreciative of the scrupulous attention to detail demonstrated by the remastering engineers in artfully fixing the minor, and occasionally glaring, glitches and noises in the Beatles catalogue master tapes. The technology for such corrective editing simply didn't exist in 1986 at the time of the first transfers to digital. I'm also thankful that they've applied only very modest and tasteful equalisation.

The major difference anyone should notice is that the 2009 remastered CDs are just over 50% louder than the the 1987 series - however the volume on those original CDs was actually a bit lower than it could have been, so the remasters have only been very slightly "limited" in order to allow a substantial volume level which is on par with other modern high quality CDs.

People who were never bothered by all of the noises inherent in playing vinyl may not have even noticed that there were audible errors in the original 2 track master tapes which are evident to me on the vinyl and also in the first (1987) Beatles CD series. However any person would still have appreciated the clarity of being just one step (a high quality digital sample) away from the master tapes. In 2009 we can all revel in hearing much higher quality transfers which offer vast improvements to the original master tapes. They sound fantastic - perfect really.

Queer As Folk - Definitive Collector's Edition [DVD]
Queer As Folk - Definitive Collector's Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Aidan Gillen
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: 23.98

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars massive improvement on prior QAF DVD release versions, 7 Sep 2009
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5 reasons why this 2006 "Definitive Collectors Edition" Queer As Folk is a vast improvement on the original DVD release versions and a necessary purchase for anyone who appreciates that this series was a landmark event in gay visibility, as well as one of the most compelling and engaging drama series ever produced.

Reason #1: The original DVD of Series 2 was 16:9 anamorphic (as was stated on the cover), however the original DVD's of Series 1 were not 16:9 anamorphic, but the noticeably inferior 4:3 letterboxed - which not only meant that you were getting 25% less detail, but that the DVD's would not automatically display in the correct ratio on some widescreen systems (e.g. my LG portable cannot display it correctly at all). The 2006 version is true 16:9 anamorphic for both series.

Reason #2: The originals had no commentary, but the 2006 version has relevant commentary for every episode - and for some of the extras - which is both entertaining and historically vital.

Reason #3: All of the extras from the original DVD versions, plus a couple more, are here on the 4th disc - leaving space for maximum video quality for the series episodes on the other 3 discs.

Reason #4: The 2006 version includes a superb 32 page "introductory book" with text by Russell T Davies complemented by lovely photos, and the scenes are clearly indexed where you first unfold the case. Each of the original DVD series only included a single slip with a scene index.

Reason #5: The packaging is ultimately practical and stylish - including the label designs for the discs. The only improvement would have been to mention somewhere what each disc contains (which is Disc 1: Series 1 parts 1-4, Disc 2: Series 1 parts 5-8, Disc 3: Series 2 which is a 2 parter, Disc 4: all of the extra deleted scenes, documentaries, interviews, etc.)
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2009 2:31 AM GMT

moab is my washpot(abridged cd audio book)
moab is my washpot(abridged cd audio book)
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Audio Cassette

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars abridged but finely edited 3 CD version of Moab Is My Washpot, 3 Jun 2008
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I initially bought the eight cassette unabridged "Moab Is My Washpot", but was horrified when one of the tapes was eaten by my ghetto blaster. The fragile nature of audio cassette tape is (sadly) matched by the inherent poor sonic performance and alignment inconsistencies due to mass production. Commercial audio cassettes cannot match the consistent quality or convenience of Compact Discs.

I immediately fell in love with this audiobook (and with Stephen Fry) and I couldn't stand owning a less than perfect copy. However the unabridged version was never released on CD, so I happily bought another unabridged tape set when it was reissued.

When I was shopping for that 2nd set on I spotted a reference to this abridged 3 CD set and bought it as well, because I was very keen to hear if there is a noticeable quality difference. The CD version sounds far superior - with a more dynamic bandwidth, no hiss, and perfectly stable channel balance. You can relax and appreciate the superb production by Stuart Owen - who also edited this abridged version for the CD format.

The CDs are also very neatly trackmarked and titled as self-contained chapters.

If you're a true fan of Stephen Fry then you still must own the unabridged cassette version - that's the only way you'll hear his excellent blustering and passionate essay on the real reason why homophobes hate gay people (basically a fear of bona fide love between two people of the same gender). Stephen's argument works well on paper - but is raised to an entirely new level in the spoken word.

Everything on this abridged 3 hour 3CD version (1998 Random House RC 473) is superb - including the 11m 17s chapter "And Then I Saw Him" in which Stephen describes, in breathtaking, heart-rending beauty, his experience of falling head over heels in love for the very first time as a quite young teenager (and it was love at first sight).

Bloodbath at the House of Death [1984] [DVD]
Bloodbath at the House of Death [1984] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kenny Everett
Price: 14.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenny Everett at his very best - and a superb quality DVD, 27 April 2008
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A group of psychics and ghosthunters return to remote Headstone Manor on the anniversary of a ritualistic mass murder by mysterious monks.

I'm pleased to see only good comments registered on Bloodbath At The House Of Death, because it's one of my favourites. Favoured not for it's technical merit, but for the absolute dedication to Kenny's unique style of comedy - where no joke was either too obvious or too tasteless to be included.

Some of these jokes are supremely tasteless, for example the young woman who offers her bared breasts to the mad monk as he threatens her with a knife: "You want these, don't you?" and then she screams "Oh my god, did you say "To take away?!".

Vincent Price has a very good time as the very Sinister Man.

I was lucky to see this on the big screen here in Australia and I also considered myself lucky to have bought an ex-rental VHS years ago. Hhowever there are quite a few dark scenes which VHS tape simply can't reproduce with adequate definition.

The July 2008 DVD release arrived today and I am very impressed. The video and audio quality are first class. I appreciate that we're offered a choice of either the original mono in sensible Dolby 2.0 - or a quite reasonable simulated 5.1 surround version.

Now we get to enjoy Bloodbath in its original theatrical aspect 1.85:1 - with none of the limitations mentioned for the VHS version. The extra features are valuable - including a pdf file of the script, the UK and USA trailers, and a wonderful, highly informative 22 minute retrospective documentary. I loved seeing snippets of Kenny in Australia promoting the film - and enjoyed learning the background story of how this magnificent purposefully B grade film sadly missed getting the exposure and wide success which it truly deserved.

Twenty five years after the limited cinematic release the world has a second chance to embrace "Bloodbath At The House Of Death" as one of the all-time great kitsch cult classics.

The producers of this DVD have done exceptionally well and should be very proud. Kenny's spirit will be smiling on them.

Ma Vie En Rose [DVD] [1997]
Ma Vie En Rose [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Georges Du Fresne

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good dvd quality - and a superb film, 4 Mar 2008
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This review is from: Ma Vie En Rose [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
The Main menu audio volume on this DVD is too high - causing lots of "clipping" - but the quality of the video and audio in the film itself is perfect. The DVD-5 (single layer) disc uses anamorphic 16:9 to display the 1.85:1 original theatrical ratio and audio is Dolby 2.0 stereo. There is less than 10 minutes of extra features - so there's not likely to have been much gained anyway if it were a dual layer disc.

The English subtitles are fixed (not an optional feature) - but non-French speaking viewers will welcome the fact that they are very easy to read.

Ma Vie En Rose is one of my favourite films. Everything about it is first class - but especially its huge beautiful heart. I saw the film in cinematic release here in Brisbane first on my own - and then in company with my friend Philippa who had experienced first hand the reality of lifelong gender dysphoria. We both cried.

Too nany people (gay men included) judge transgenders as having made a decision as adults to change their gender identity - when very often the awareness has been there all their lives.

Ma Vie En Rose is not only a beautiful and engaging family drama - but a charming and empowering fantasy (based soundly in reality).

Every parent should see this film, so they can be prepared to accept and support their children, just as they.

The Family Way (Boulting Brothers Collection) [DVD]
The Family Way (Boulting Brothers Collection) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hayley Mills
Price: 9.71

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time best of British films, 20 July 2007
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Firstly - this DVD is of the best quality - 1.66:1 widescreen in beautiful colour (don't let the B&W snaps on the cover fool you) and it's in crystal clear Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (not the annoying 1.0 that Warner Bros used to ruin the enjoyment of their mono DVD releases of Blow Up, Death In Venice etc).

Secondly, The Family Way has so much heart, and is so perfectly acted as well as directed, that it seems to be effortless. The wonderful script allows John Mills to deliver a couple of lines which reach right into your chest and twist.

When seeing this on TV as a young teenager, what caught my attention (as a young gay man) was the unflinching message that parents ought to proudly love and support their children - whether they're straight or gay.

Gayness isn't the key element of this film at all - but in order for us to understand the true nature of this small family's connectedness we are led to jump to some conclusions.

While probably being risque for the time (even with such a reputable cast) - this is likely to be one of the most morally sound and ultimately satisfying stories that you'll ever witness on film.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2013 5:22 AM GMT

The History Boys [DVD] [2006]
The History Boys [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Richard Griffiths
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 2.72

16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply perfect - highly entertaining, 12 April 2007
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A film with an openly gay author (Alan Bennett) and director (Nicholas Hytner) - and significant same sex elements in the characters and plot. The story captures the early 80's cusp in which high school education moved from interaction with knowledge to acquiring and manipulating knowledge. It's an engaging, stimulating and satisfying piece of art on all levels.

I imported the UK DVD of History Boys, knowing that any Alan Bennett film on this topic must be good - but I am extremely impressed. The humour was just as effective on the third viewing - and the dialogue is so precise and inventively delivered that you need three viewings to feel you've taken it all in. The direction is as good as the acting and all these actors are the best (they deserve an ensemble cast Golden Globe). We see the cinematic release here in May 2007 and I will be there with bells on for the big screen experience (and also to enjoy the exceptional soundtrack at maximum volume). History Boys is a richly rewarding, highly entertaining, cultural adventure.

Offered by westworld-
Price: 17.98

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A coming of age for a true songcraftsman., 9 Aug 2006
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This review is from: Homebird (Audio CD)
In my experience all of Brian's recordings have been very good to excellent, but as noted by others, Homebird impresses as being another step further toward perfection. My initial listening was via my good new headphones (Sennheiser PX-100's) and it was the quality of production which initially enthralled me. After a few days rotation in the car CD player I was convinced that all these songs are superb, and that the album as a whole is extremely well crafted. "Homebird" sets a standard to which other artists must aspire. Brian Kennedy and Calum MacColl deserve to take a deep bow to wild applause.

In Brisbane we've been lucky enough to see Brian up close and personal working solo - but it would be wonderful to see his band in full flight with this material.

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