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Lendrick (London)
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Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery (BBC Audio)
Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery (BBC Audio)
by Francis Durbridge
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 'old school' detective mystery, 25 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Margo Mystery is an entertaining story, very well read by Toby Stevens who does a good job of giving individual voices to each of the characters. Paul Temple is a very uppercrust sort of 'gentleman detective' living a rarefied lifestyle. But the story is well told, with enough charm and pace so that doesn't grate too much.

One slight oddity is that the story was originally published in 1961, but this version has had a rather superficial update with mention of Concorde and 50 pence pieces, and is dated 1982. Makes it all rather anachronistic, as the attitudes are still very much late 50s / early 60s. Doesn't spoil it, but would have been better left alone.

It's unabridged, so lengthy. But a great way to pass a long car journey.


Caravan Europe 2011: v. 1
Caravan Europe 2011: v. 1
by Caravan Club
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive? Yes. Useful? Not so sure., 25 July 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As it says on the cover this guide covers 4,500 sites across France, Spain & Portugal. As well as site information you quite a bit on planning your trip, caravaning abroad etc. useful for the newbie or even the more experienced caravaner.

But it's the site information that is the core of the book. I'ts factual rather than qualitative, there is no star system for instance. What you get is comprehensive location and contact information including directions. Coded textual description of the site (e.g Sm, mkd pitch, shd; wc; chem disp; shwrs inc;) , and sometimes a comment from a member who has visited.

It is organised alphabetically by town, within country with some high level maps that show the town location. Not especially helpful if you are looking for a site in a particular area.

My problem with it really is how would you use it? If booking a trip before you leave then on-line guides like the Caravan Club website, or campingfrance would be more useful than flicking back and forward though a guide. If you don't have internet access, or want a guide to take on an open ended tour then the Michelin Guides e.g. Camping Guide France are superior, with better maps and an easier to read symbol based system for categorising sites.

All in all while it has few flaws, it feels a bit dated, and there are better alternatives if you do want a printed book.


Underworld: Rise of the Lycans [DVD]
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rhona Mitra
Price: £3.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprising engaging, 15 July 2011
I wasn't holding out huge hopes for this, the first two films were just about OK, there is no Kate Beckinsale this time, and I wondered if the franchise could stretch to another episode. But in fact this might even be the best of the bunch.

The plot is predictable, but like the first borrows a bit from Romeo and Juliet - never a bad source. By and large you know where it going to go after the first 20 minutes. What lifts it though is that we get more of the excellent Bill Nighy & Michael Sheen, actors good enough to make even some ropy dialogue work, Rhona Mitra is also good once you get over her not being Kate Beckinsale.

Other wise it's alternately dark and brooding / violent and noisy. With more than a hint of Lord of the Rings in the Vampire castle.

A decent way to pass a couple of hours with a pizza and a couple of bottles of beer!


Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: 25th Anniversary Edition
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: 25th Anniversary Edition
by Robert Pirsig
Edition: Paperback

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ponderous, 15 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a book with a big reputation, I remember friends reading it at school back in the late 1970s when it was already a cult classic. So curiosity eventual got the better of me and I decided to give it try, I'd been reading a bit around meditation and philosophy so the time seemed right.

Many weeks later the most remarkable thing seems to be that I finished it at all!

First of all there is misleading title. Very little here on Zen and not that much more on Motorcycles. Instead we get lengthy rambling discursions on the nature of 'quality' and an awful lot of the history of Greek philosophy.

Interspersed with this is the story of the narrators motorcycle journey with his son, and the telling the story of 'Phaedrus', which is soon becomes apparent is the narrator earlier life, prior to some sort of breakdown.

It not without some interesting ideas or engagement at times, but little that anyone who has thought or read much on the 'meaning of life' will find new.

On top of that I really didn't warm to the narrator who's self-assessed superiority of vision didn't seem to be justified by much at all. To me he came over as rather cold and arrogant, while the author certainly has little gift for explaining complex ideas in a simple and engaging way. It's basic message as far as I could tell is the rather `trite do the best you can in everything you do' you don't need 400 pages of dense prose to say that.

A book very much of it's time I suspect, it's incongruously upbeat "We've won it. It's going to get better now. " closing message rings rather hollow now nearly 40 years on.


Being Human: Series Three [DVD]
Being Human: Series Three [DVD]
Dvd ~ Aidan Turner
Price: £7.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling drama, 2 July 2011
Being Human has it all, compelling characters, chilling horror, laugh out loud (if often very dark) humour, and is I think the best British TV programme of the last few years.

Series 3 moves to Barry in Wales - which throws up a few odd Gavin and Stacy overlaps - and is even darker, and at times grimmer than series 2. It is also morally challenging, raising difficult ideas about retribution, forgiveness and justice, doing the 'right thing' doesn't always result in good outcomes.

*****spoiler alert ******
My only quibble would be that the last half of final episode is too concerned with setting up series 4 to provide a satisfying ending to series 3, something that always bugs me.
********************

It powerful, gripping & moving stuff and overall I can't recommend it highly enough.

(But watch 1 & 2 first)


Mother London
Mother London
by Michael Moorcock
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Expansive and humane, 18 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Mother London (Paperback)
Moorcocks portrait of London from the blitz through to the 80s is told through the voices of 3 members of group of mental health patient who's stories have entwined over those years. It beautifully written rich in images and character. It is told in non linear form jumping from character to character and date to date in what feels at times a rather random fashion, coupled with the lack of any overarching plot / narrative this can make it a little hard work - having to thin who and when every time you start a new section. But its a book that will stay with you long after you finish it.


The Walking Dead - Season 1 [DVD]
The Walking Dead - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Andrew Lincoln
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £6.80

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't keep up the quality, 22 May 2011
The opening episode of The Walking Dead is a fantastic piece of TV, featuring for the most part only 5 characters it gives a The Day of the Triffids style opening with the main character (Andrew Lincoln) walking up in hospital to find a devastated world. It's expertly done with real tension and the absence of zombies at this stage works really well.

But from episode 2 things go downhill as we get introduced to a bunch of generic TV movie characters who engage in some unlikely behavior (romping in the woods) and generally fail to engage as we wait to see which ones will die. Which feels like it takes a long time as at times there is little sense of threat or danger.

Things pick up a bit toward the end, and Andrew Lincoln is a revelation - but his excellent performance sometimes feels out of place among the rest.

Some really strong elements, heres hoping series 2 delivers on them.


Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009]
Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.17

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but overlong, 22 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Die hard Sherlock Holmes purists will probably hate this modern style (though set in Victorian times) take on the master detective. In some ways I can't blame them.

But get past that and this is a fast paced, slick action thriller with a fair bit of wit and strong cast and performances. But Ritchie makes a bit too much use of visual trickery and the whole thing is probably about 30 minutes too long.


Inception (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2010]
Inception (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £3.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not that complicated, 21 May 2011
Not sure why this is regarded as complex or confusing. After the initial set up in which entering into the world of dreams is explained - at length, - the later third is pretty straight forward assuming you got the first bit. Neither am I sure why it has had such rave reviews.

There are some pretty clever ideas here, and some fantastic visuals, which I'm sure look even better in the cinema. The core plot (no the industrial espionage nonsense) about Dom Cobb and his wife is also good. But there is too much exposition, too many lengthy and tedious action scenes the whole thing owes rather too much to the Matrix and we get and a corny ending that seems designed to set up a sequel. I can't help that so much more could have been made of the key concepts.

Not bad - but could have been so much more.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 11, 2011 10:55 AM BST


Being Human - Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD]
Being Human - Series 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD]
Dvd ~ Lenora Crichlow
Price: £9.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What does it mean to be human?, 11 May 2011
I'd caught a few episodes of series 1 on BBC3 so convinced someone to buy me this for Christmas - I'm glad I did.

Being Human blends the supernatural, horror, comedy and character based drama in a way I've not seen anything do so successfully since Buffy. But it does it in a distinctly British way, with a strong and distinctive Bristol setting.

The success is down to strong script writing and some great performances which help you sympathise with characters thrown into dark and difficult circumstances. While it's dark and gory at times, the horror is never just for shock value - the core question remain how do these characters do the right thing?

All in all excellent drama.


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