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Jonathan Oakey (Brussels Belgium)

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We Will Rock You: a Tribute to Queen
We Will Rock You: a Tribute to Queen
Price: £14.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but can't touch the originals!, 13 Mar. 2011
This CD is a tribute to Queen by various heavy rock artists - I say artists rather than groups, because most of the tracks feature individuals from moderately to very well known bands rather than the whole band. The songs that they have covered are generally the harder rock songs from various Queen albums.

Here are a few personal impressions of the songs:

1. Tie Your Mother Down, with Lemmy: I've never got into Motorhead, and if this track is anything to go by then it's clear why. The vocal is awful - completely lacking in anything resembling musicality. A great track made a complete hash of.
2. Sheer Heart Attack: sort of OK but it lacks the urgency and drive of the original.
3. Another One Bites the Dust: one of the remixes, and suffers from the big failing of remixes, that they drag the song out and lose the focus and thread. OK but not outstanding.
4. Keep Yourself Alive: another remix, again the focus is lost but the vocal is pretty good.
5. Save Me: actually rather good, it's a fairly basic version of the song but works well.
6. Get Down Make Love: the original is such a bizarre track that it must be very hard to know what to do with it. This isn't a bad attempt - it's been funked up a bit and the weirder stuff taken out. There's even a bit of a country feel in some of the guitar work which is a little weird (especially as that's somewhere that Queen - quite rightly - never went!). Anyway, one of the better tracks here.
7. We are the Champions: messy and doesn't really work.
8: I Want It All: a surprisingly good slowed down version, and the guy can sing. Falls apart a bit in the different verse towards the end ("I'm a man with a one-track mind"), but overall quite pleasing.
9: We Will Rock You: quite a good version, more dance-oriented than the original but still quite hard and heavy. It's probably the one thing that did hold Queen back in popularity, the fact that their music was mostly made for listening to rather than for dancing to (and it's generally no doubt all the better for that but I can see how that could restrict its popularity in some ways).
10: It's Late: too mechanical; the wistfulness of the original has been totally removed, and too much percussion.
11: One Vision: a very drum-based, driving version with a slightly down-mixed vocal, almost like an instrumental version. Quite funky and enjoyable.
12: Killer Queen: whoah, this one's just weird! Kudos to them for doing something very different, and not for throwing it away when they came off whatever drugs they were on when they mixed it. It's not really a song any more, but more of a mood piece based around the original song (I guess it's a trance version).

I've been quite critical and it's perhaps no surprise that in general these tracks fail to live up to the brilliant originals. It's still a very interesting album, with some quite radically reworked versions of many of the tracks. My feeling at the end, though, is that it mainly shows how great the originals are, and how awesome a compilation of the rockier Queen songs would be (and perhaps including Resurrection and Cyborg, two kick-ass tracks from Brian May's solo albums). My recommendation: buy this for interest, then make a playlist of the heavy Queen songs and crank up the volume until the neighbours call the police! :-)

ByteStor 32GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card
ByteStor 32GB SDHC Class 10 Memory Card
Price: £18.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job!, 3 Feb. 2011
Not much to say about this really, but it's always useful to see some reviews. Good price, no problems with delivery and it does the job for which I bought it perfectly well. I got it for my Panasonic SD700 Full HD 1920x1080p Camcorder With 3MOS Sensor, SD Card Recording and Manual Control Ring - Black and it's been absolutely fine.

Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate Collection 14 (USB)
Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate Collection 14 (USB)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed!, 3 Feb. 2011
I was looking for two things. Firstly, I wanted to transfer some old video tapes to my PC so that I can finally get rid of the video player and the tapes that I never use (but some of which I want to keep). Secondly, I've just started my own company and I want to get into video production as a sideline, so I needed some video editing software.

I read reviews of several hardware options for the video transfer, and they all seemed to have lots of negative comments so I was a little worried about how the MovieBox would work. On the other hand, I downloaded a trial of the Pinnacle Studio software and thought it looked good, so I took a chance and bought the package.

So far, I'm very happy with it and it has done all that I need. I've transferred several video tapes without any problems, and with very few dropped frames. I've also used the software to edit several short clips that I've put on YouTube for my first paid work in that area, and it's proved to be pretty easy to use and reliable. There are some good tutorials to get you started, and after that it's a matter of playing around and seeing what you can do. I don't know if I'll hit limitations later on, but at the moment it does everything I need.

Given that the box includes a good, fairly serious software package as well as the MovieBox hardware (and the greenscreen cloth which I haven't used yet), I think the price is very fair, and I'd have no hesitation about recommending it to someone at the Prosumer level.

For reference, my PC is running Windows 7 on an Intel i5 with 4Gb RAM. I do have to wait a few seconds for image processing when adding effects or subtitles, but I find the speed perfectly acceptable.

Heroes Season 3 [DVD]
Heroes Season 3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Coleman
Price: £10.00

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TV executives please take note!, 21 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heroes Season 3 [DVD] (DVD)
There is a pattern to a number of TV dramas. They start off with some great ideas, and give us a super first season. Maybe they still have some good ideas, and the second season is as good, or better. Then the rot set in.

The basic problem is that they are making too much money to stop, but the ideas have stopped flowing. And that's when they start jerking our chains.

What are the symptoms of this? Well, the main one is that they make us question what we've been told. They make good guys into bad guys and vice versa, and keep swapping them around. They go back and rewrite what happened in the past. They over-complicate stories, thinking that they are delving deeper and deeper but in reality just going round and round in ever-decreasing circles. They probably think that they are being terribly clever but they aren't, because they don't actually know where they are going or how to get there.

This phenomenon has come to Heroes in its third season with a vengeance. Part of this season is subtitled "Villains", but the whole premise of this season is that - apart from a few people who you know are good (Clare, Matt, Hiro...), everyone's loyalties, causes and essential goodness is brought into question. Is Sylar still bad, or has he turned? Is Peter now the bad guy? How about Nathan? Who are Clare's real parents? We don't know, and the writers keep making us jump from one side to the other.

Another symptom of this malaise is invulnerability, and I complained of this in my review of another show which went through this process (Alias - and Lost is another classic example). Characters keep getting riddled with bullets (or otherwise injured beyond the point of survivability), and miraculously come back to life. OK, in Heroes they had a reason for one of the characters, who had this ability - that's fine. But then they do the same with lots of other characters, through various means. It's a fake way of creating tension without expending your assets - and, crucially, without having to think of a smarter way to develop the story. What the TV executives don't seem to understand is that after a while, this means that we can't trust anything they tell us ("trust" within the context of accepting the story that they are creating), and therefore we stop caring.

The acting, production, stunts etc are still excellent, which is why I've reluctantly still given this season three stars. But I still rather wish they'd stopped after the second season (or even the first), and started afresh. I doubt whether I'll be getting season 4.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2012 2:36 PM GMT

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3.0 out of 5 stars Things I wish I'd known..., 16 Aug. 2010
I wasn't sure if buying this skin would work. I've never done it before, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark. I wanted to skin my console to make it look more attractive and blend in better with the rest of my AV gear, and I thought this skin - Cold Tribal - looked good. I didn't know if it would have the black background, or if that was the colour of the underlying Xbox.

Well, I've fitted it now. First issue - I wasn't sure if it would be just the skin for the faceplate, or for the side as well. The answer, unfortunately, is that it's just the faceplate, which is a bit of a pain since my Xbox lies flat and I can see some of the top. It's also a white Xbox so that looks pretty bad with the skinned faceplate. Never mind...!

The skin for the faceplate fits pretty well and it does look nice. The vinyl seems to be well printed and cut - it has little bits cut out for the memory card slots etc. You just need to take care to line everything up, and it fits pretty well, so no complaints there. However, I can still see white bits around the edges, and it would have been much better on a black unit.

So my conclusions are... (1) this one's just a faceplate skin, so be careful what you buy, and (2) get a skin that won't clash with the colour of your console, if possible.

Three stars because of these issues, and the fact that I do find it a little expensive for what it is. If I'd had a black console, it would probably have got 4 stars.

Making Money: A Discworld Novel
Making Money: A Discworld Novel
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour de Farce, 16 Aug. 2010
I see many lukewarm reviews for this book and I'm very surprised. For me, this was an excellent book in the best Discworld traditions - plenty of satire and subtle digs in many directions, and the plot a little more focused than they often are. A very entertaining book with several laugh-out-loud moments for me.

Well done again, Terry! :)

I Am ... Sasha Fierce: Platinum Edition
I Am ... Sasha Fierce: Platinum Edition
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not good enough, 15 Aug. 2010
Beyoncé has a very good voice but the songs are very bland and unimaginative. A poor album, considering her obvious talent as a singer.

Sixty / 60
Sixty / 60
Price: £7.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful compilation, 4 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Sixty / 60 (Audio CD)
ALW may be maligned by some people but when I buy CDs by singers such as Michael Ball, John Barrowman, Katherine Jenkins etc they are all singing his songs. That's because he has written a lot of really great music - by which I mean they have pleasing melodies, instrumentation and harmonies, and they are very emotionally evocative. So a collection of 60 of these songs is certainly welcome.

However, this is not exactly the first Lloyd Webber compilation to have hit the market. What makes it worth purchasing (apart from the very reasonable price for this much music) is the fact that the producers have obviously thought about this, and included different versions of many of the songs than the ones that we are used to hearing. Who knew that Anastacia had sung "Superstar"? Not me - but what a great voice she has for that song!

With 60 songs in the compilation, unless you really are a die-hard fan, there are bound to be quite a few that you don't know. So get this compilation and enjoy!

Chuck - Season 2 [DVD] [2009]
Chuck - Season 2 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Zachary Levi
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb entertainment!, 4 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This show is truly one of the most fun things that I've seen on TV. It all flows so well and looks so easy, but I think a huge amount of thought and creativity has gone into it. As well as the wonderful trio of main characters, the supporting characters are a delight to watch. In many ways it reminds me of Scrubs, but Chuck also has tension and action to go with the comedy.

It's also a genuine family show - I and my kids (aged 11 to 19) all enjoyed it enormously. It probably helps if you're a little geeky so you can sympathise with Chuck and some of the other main characters, but there's something there for most people - comedy, action, drama, romance, eye-candy (for both sexes) and excellent performances from all of the regular actors.

Like many others, I can't wait for season three!

Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock
Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock
by Phil Sutcliffe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Another five-star review!, 4 Aug. 2010
This is a great book. I'm a big Queen fan but haven't read lots of biographies etc, so there's a lot of stuff in here that I didn't know. The quality is excellent, it's stuffed full of pictures and is a bargain at the price I paid.

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