Profile for ARWoollock > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by ARWoollock
Top Reviewer Ranking: 21,905
Helpful Votes: 810

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
ARWoollock "We are limited only by our imagination®"

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-14
pixel
Ladies Fox Umbrella, Handmade British Classic. Gilt Band, 8 Rib Manual, Genuine Whanghee Crook Handle & Tassel, Rose Pink Canopy & Sleeve
Ladies Fox Umbrella, Handmade British Classic. Gilt Band, 8 Rib Manual, Genuine Whanghee Crook Handle & Tassel, Rose Pink Canopy & Sleeve

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A nice looking product, but is it 'Fit for the purpose for which it is intended?', 11 Mar 2014
If you want a 'fashion accessory' then this product might just be for you, if however, you want an actual umbrella I would suggest (from personal experience) to think again before shelling out your hard-earned cash on a Fox umbrella.

If you visit the Fox website in addition to claiming to be 'The World's FInest Umbrellas' - (why hasn't Trading Standards challenged that one?) they will seduce you with iconic images of the 'Best of British' and eras gone by, they will carefully imply, nay suggest, that buying one of their 'handcrafted' products (define terms) made at the bench of one of those faceless grubby-handed artisans they show in the slideshow will serve you long and pay dividends on your premium investment (or is that just my perceived inference?) Having essentially manufactured (in the Chomskyan sense) a fictional narrative they have turned the good old rain and wind protector into an 'aspirational lifestyle' - this can be clearly seen in the vocabulary and imagery they use to evoke a sense of quality. And that is all well and good, but the question has to be asked are you getting value for money? - well define 'value' and define 'money' you might say.

let me tell you my own experience. I like quality items, I was born in an era when paying more for something actually meant getting more; better quality, not merely hyped up hype. So, upon moving to (rainy) Belfast I duly shelled out £80 (+p&p) for a GM3 (Whanghee Handle) and waited for the rain. In actuality Belfast isn’t that rainy and so I was disappointed to have hardly opened my umbrella in four months. When I did get a chance to use it, it seemed OK, nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary. I have huge hands and I still found the handle way too big, but apart from that I hadn’t used it enough to form a valid opinion, other than it didn’t seem a whole lot more secure or well-built than your average disposable umbrella (which costs a fraction of the price) and certainly not as good as a Borsalino one I had prior. Anyway, I waited to be impressed, sure I must have missed the hidden dimensions brought to me by our grubby artisan friends toiling away at their benches.

Sadly I did not get chance to see where my money went (where did it go?) because on a very short trip, a small gust of wing popped out the arm attaching the central spindal to the arches. I have no idea why they were slotted (barely crimped) in and not riveted or screwed in, because they are bound to come out (as they did). So I folded up the umbrella and walked home in the wet. At home I inspected the umbrella and was quite appalled at the lack of build quality - really I should have seen past the shiny corporate image and checked the quality first off, my mistake. I re-attached the arm and although the shape was a bit off, I though I could use it until I contacted Fox to complain. The very next day whilst walking out, the arm came detached taking another one with it and then the whole thing collapsed. I should point out at this juncture, that all around me people were milling around carrying cheap and cheerful umbrellas, the weather was not so bad, and besides which idiot, would take an £80 umbrella out in a gale? Not I!

I duly contacted Fox and received a terse response from managing director Paul Garrett, who seemed more annoyed with the justifiable ‘tone’ of my e.mail then he did about the quality of his products, and he proceed to tell me so. I recall an old adage from a business seminar I once attended ‘You can’t negotiate a problem, only its outcome!’ clearly Mr. Garrett missed that meeting, and clearly he seems to be living in a bygone age, informing me that I ‘may’ return my umbrella for inspection - may? may? my statutory rights afford me that protection, Sir! To cut a long story short, (apologies for the length already, but this is important) I sent my umbrella to Fox (at my cost) for an inspection and whist I knew full well they wouldn’t admit liability because that would then corroborate by assertions that the products are not worth the price-tag, i.e. they are not superior products (in my opinion) as the advertising and traditional British mystique would allude to. SO after paying for the courier I was told that it was not their fault (no surprise there) and I should pay £25 if I wanted to have it fixed and another £30 to have it shipped back - so another £55 (on top of the £80+ I had already paid). I told Mr. Garrett to put the umbrella in the bin, where it belonged and would continue using my superior GustBuster.

I think this is an important story for a number of reasons and that’s why I want to share it. Not because I am pissed off or angry; actually I’m more saddened than anything, because it’s clear to me a la British Leyland et al, that the British (left to their own devices) are not good at (mass) manufacturing quality products. Now I am not disputing they might HAVE been, but take a look around and ask yourself what is British (English) and world-class quality? Not a lot... But beyond that I am saddened that the iAge has brought with it high price-tags for poor quality, that the consumer can no longer rely on a high price tag to indicate the quality of the materials and the workmanship. In addition, the corporate responsibility that was once there has also gone. I mean if you are purportedly selling hand-made, hand-crafted items made at the dusty benches of thick-fisted, grubby-handed artisans, then shouldn’t the corporate ethos reflect those supposedly higher qualities? I think they should.

In addition, it is my opinion, that people like Mr. Garrett use ‘Acts of God’ to bypass and negate their responsibility. Firstly, as a non-believer, I don’t believe in God, only in nature, in meteorology, so that argument falls flat with me. What I do believe in, however, is the the Sale of Goods Act which states that an item sold should be ‘Fit for the purpose for which it is intended’ and that should mean that (within reasonable bounds) an umbrella should be able to be used in rain and wind (not gales and floods) and yet my Fox wasn’t - far from it. To reiterate I walked a short distance and had the weather been bad, I would have sooner closed it that risk loosing an £80 umbrella! I mean if an (expensive, top range) umbrella won’t keep you dry then what’s the point of purchasing one? To tell your friends that you are mug enough, rich enough, stupid enough to shell out £80 for an umbrella that will pop out and fold under the slightest pressure, as mine did? I personally can’t see the point in that, but again, that’s my opinion.

As I say, this is MY story, this happened to ME. I am not saying this is indicative of Fox umbrellas across the board, maybe I was unlucky... If you wish to purchase one of their products, then good luck to you. My suggestion, however, would be to buy a GustBuster and impress your friends by how long your double-canopy umbrella (designed to deal with wind) lasts you and how little it cost!


One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Routledge Classics)
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Routledge Classics)
by Herbert Marcuse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society, 16 Dec 2013
Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society

I arrived at Marcuse as a result of reading Terri Murray's 'Black Mirror Reflections' in issue 97 (July/August 2013) of Philosophy Now (pp42-44). Although Murray's introduction was perhaps somewhat interpretive, it nevertheless sparked an interest in the Man.

ODM is one of those seminal and prophetic texts (à la Boorstin: Image, Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death, Huxley: BNW, Orwell: 1984) which was written in an age past and which actually resonates louder in the present. One of those works where perhaps even the author could not have imagined how true its prophecy would turn out to be.

Rather than critique this text, I would simply like to offer some extracts which should give the potential reader a flavour of what the work is about.

"The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they produce a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood. And as these beneficial products become available to more individuals in more social clases, the indoctrination they cary ceases to be publicity; it becomes a way of life. It is a good way of life - much better than before - and as a good way of life, it militates against qualitative change." (p.12)

"Society must first create the material prerequisites fo freedom for all its members before it can be a free society; it must first 'create' the wealth before being able to 'distribute' it according to the freely developing needs of the individual; it must first enable its slaves to learn and see and think before they know what is going on and what they themselves can do to change it." (p.40)

"If the individuals are satisfied to the point of happiness with the goods and services handed down to them by the administration, why should they insist on different institutions for a different production of different goods and services? And if the individuals are pre-conditioned so that the satisfying goods also include, thoughts, feelings, aspirations, why should they wish to think, feel, and imagine for themselves?" (p.50)

"Higher culture becomes part of the material culture. In this transformation, it loses the greater part of its truth." (p.58)

"Whether ritualised or not, art contains the rationality of negation. In its advanced positions, it is the Great Refusal - the protest against that which is." ( p.63)

"The Happy Consciousness - the belief that the real is rational, and that the system delivers the goods - reflects the new conformism which is a facet of technological rationality translated into social behaviour." (p.84)

"Language which constantly imposes `images' militates against the development and expression of `concepts.' (p.95)

"Remembrance of the past may give rise to dangerous insights, and the established society seems to be apprehensive about the subversive contents of memory. Remembrance is a mode of dissociation from the given facts, a mode of `mediation' which breaks, for short moments, the omnipresent power of the given facts." (p.98)

"It (Time and Memory) militates against the closing of the universe of discourse and behaviour; it renders possible the development of concepts which de-stabilise and transcend the closed universe by comprehending it as historical universe. Confronted with the given society as object of its reflection critical thought becomes its historical consciousness; as such it is essentially judgement." (p.99)

The given reality has its own logic and its own truth; the effort to comprehend them as such and to transcend them presupposes a different logic; a contradicting truth. " (p.142)


Derwent Waterbrush (Pack of 3)
Derwent Waterbrush (Pack of 3)
Price: £9.94

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding product, 15 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I owned a version of these in Japan which weren't bad (nothing like as good as these, though!) and I though I would give them a go here. The first thing to say is that these have a much better selection of brushes, fine, medium/bold, wedge. The fine is very fine, the med/bold is surprisingly versatile and the wedge is great for the rest. The amount of water they hold is about right, also the weight distribution and balance is good, and the caps are thankfully wide enough to not trap the brushes every time you replace the cap.

I recommend you use these with the Staedtler 'Noris Club' water-soluble pencil crayons and I can't imagine how you couldn't be impressed.


Daler Rowney Simply Sketchbook A4 - 21cm x 29.7cm Extra White
Daler Rowney Simply Sketchbook A4 - 21cm x 29.7cm Extra White
Offered by bluecoatbooks-liverpool
Price: £2.46

3.0 out of 5 stars A good SKETCHbook, but not suitable for wet media, 15 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you want a sold, hardback book with reasonable quality paper, then look no further. If, however, you want a solid hardback SKETCHbook, I suggest you look elsewhere. If you do decide to purchase, I recommend an on-line purchase (I bought mine from Crafty Arts at a good price) because the retail price is simply not realistic for what you get.

As intimated in the title, however, this is NOT suitable for wet media and by wet media I simply mean watercolour crayons and Daler water-filled brushes, I am not talking serious liquids and still the paper has gone all horrible. This means that for a niche, like pencil or pen, then it might be OK, but even then, you will need a sheet of card to put between the pages to avoid marking the next page... hardly ideal. For me this seems more like a scrapbook.


Foucault: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Foucault: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Gary Gutting
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview, 6 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent overview

Of the numerous AVSI2 which I have read this one is by far the best. Professor Gutting takes a very complex and eclectic thinker like M.Foucault and in a very short temporal space sets out the the main influences that not only undergirded the Great Thinker, but which also became apparent later on as he moved through his three great stages: Archaeology, Genealogy, and Problematization.

Although this is not an easy read per se. (how could a book on a giant like M.Foucault be?) it does present a superb academic overview with a wealth of Literature embedded in the text. As a point of departure for a foray into M.Foucault's work, this really cannot be beaten.

I suggest a slow and careful read with a set of highlight pens, extract from the text the key ideas, some of the key influences, the key thinkers in the wings and then go back to those primary sources and follow up what inspires you to research the Great Man further.


Antique Brass Plated Iron Metal Unfinished Curb Chain, 0.8 x 3 x 4mm, Sold per pkg of 4m (13.12 feet) UK FREE POST
Antique Brass Plated Iron Metal Unfinished Curb Chain, 0.8 x 3 x 4mm, Sold per pkg of 4m (13.12 feet) UK FREE POST
Offered by Infiwit
Price: £1.28

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak chain with 'scale' ambiguity, 27 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In the product description there is an exact scale to see the size of this chain. Not being familiar with inches, I didn't quite grasp the size of the product (my problem) and so when it arrived it was too small to do what I wanted (my problem). May I suggest that putting a penny as a comparison in the photo might help those who need a more familiar reference. In terms of the quality, it is a poor quality product which easily breaks when pulled. So in actuality even if it had been the imagined still, the poor quality would likely have precluded be from doing what I wanted with it. Maybe great for children's crafts, but not much use for hanging lamps or pictures.


Rozana Basmati Rice (10 kg)
Rozana Basmati Rice (10 kg)
Price: £13.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, 27 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am assuming that if you haven't rated this at five stars then you haven't cooked this in a rice-cooker. Because had you done so, even allowing for the subjectivity of various palettes, you couldn't fail to rank this rice as some of the best around. I cook Indian food every day and steam this in a cheap automated rice-cooker which I purchased at a local Chinese supermarket. Whilst the rice-cooker leaves a lot to be desired it never fails to cook this rice perfectly. It is very fragrant (but not overwhelmingly so), it is tasty with good consistency and overall it is as good as any rice I have ever bought in any country I have lived. My suggestion would be to get down to your local Chinese supermarket, avail yourself of a £23 rice cooker (London Wok) and start enjoying the full potential of this savoury product.


On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. By way of clarification and supplement to my last book Beyond Good and Evil (Oxford World's Classics)
On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. By way of clarification and supplement to my last book Beyond Good and Evil (Oxford World's Classics)
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation?, 17 Oct 2013
On the Genealogy of Morals
Lost in Translation?

I don't read German but I am sometimes tempted to learn if only to read this work in it's original language. And after reading this translation, I am more than ever reminded of that desire.

I own a Dover Thrift edition of this work, which I annotated and highlighted to death, and which is sadly printed on such dreadful quality stock (one rank above toilet paper), that I recently decided to try and get a new copy; which is what this translation is and is. Sadly I don't currently have the other here to compare but I sincerely wish I did because when I read through Smith's translation I highlighted very little of interest. Now It could be that I have grown since first reading and that the ideas herein have assimilated to my weltanschauung, but I think that those might be slightly ambitious claims - even if that was the desirous outcome of all good reading.

It seems to me that a lot of `claims' about what Nietzsche was and stood for - a lot of which are eluded to in the secondary data of the introduction are not in fact there in this primary source. Lots of the inferences and ideas which are routinely attributed to Herr Nietzsche are in fact either generous translations, utter fabrications or simply misplaced to other texts.

In this version he spends an awful lot of time deriding Wagner and the Jews (although according to the commentaries included in both the introduction and the notes Nietzsche has apparently been absolved of being an anti-Semite - whatever that term now means). He does, however, provide little or no Lyotardian postmodern rhetoric on the the Judaeo-Christian mafia and the meta narrative (grand récit). Nor the post-Enlightenment shattering of god and the resulting shards of truths that scatter the ontological floor (Lyotard's petit récit). Nor does this translation really plant the seed of morality firmly in the flowerbed of organised monolithic theology of the Abrahamic tradition and there lay all responsibility for that which blooms from such source.

So, all in all, I'm a bit lost. Maybe I just didn't read this text very well, maybe I passed the signposts and forgot to grab my highlighter, maybe I am slipping, maybe. Or maybe Herr Nietzsche's philosophical and epistemological musings have become like his actual later works, collected and re-edited to produce a kind of Nietzsche-by-numbers, a Nietzsche-for-dummies that is liberally carved off the bone of the primary sources to give a body of secondary musings, interpretations and assumptions that were not actually there. the ghost of Nietzsche haunts the present shouting `I don't say that!' who knows?


Growing Up Absurd (New York Review Books Classics)
Growing Up Absurd (New York Review Books Classics)
by Paul Goodman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.28

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy, Dated and Arrogant, 17 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Growing up Absurd
Sloppy, Dated and Arrogant

I'm getting tired of reading these kinds of dated books that were rife in the `50s and `60s. Books written in a self-congratulatory, prophetic, omnipotent, all-knowing tone, that implies we (the reader) are in need of a cultural or social guide to navigate this topic; because without one we would not have been able to perceive for ourselves the complexities of the socio-cultural or enthnographic dramas and narratives which form the content of this book, or reach the apparent points of clarity that apparently Goodman did.

With very little reference to the Literature or solid data, this supposed, or should I say `self-appointed' `academic' not only tells us what is wrong with the world but then goes on to offer us his magic cure. All of which smarts of being subjective and rather naļve, not to mention terribly dull. For duller-than-dull is Goodman's (dare I say) `literary' style. His rambling, sprawling incoherent, unstructured juices just ebb, run and flow, flooding both the sibject and the subject's narrative; their voice being drowned (quite literally) entangled in the weeds of the dull and murky stream that is Goodman's substantially unengaging consciousness.

In terms of homage to academe, it is not that I want Goodman to simply regurgitate the works of other scholars, to `read&repeat' as is shamefully the trend of faux-academia in this current epoch. But what I do want is more than a lazy rambling diatribite on what he saw as being wrong with America in the `60s and particular the loss of the American Ideal and the resulting loss of a generation. Now you may argue that I am saying this without social or historical context, that I am making the amateur historian's mistake of jugding history retroactively, and yes, I would agree with that position to some degree. But what I am really saying is that if this work were be framed as what it really is(anthropological musings by an unordinary citizen) and not what it isn't (prophetic and insightful wisdom shared by one further on the Way) - we would see Goodman for what he was, unremarkable in the hostorical record. I mean one would only have to compare this failed attempt at an ethnographic exposé with that of Ervin Goffman (presentation of self in everyday life) to really frasp my point here. That, until recently, the world had forgotten Goodman is not an accident, but merely appropriate. The very fact he rubbishes the work of Max Weber (who has clearly not been forgotto) in a few incoherent lines (p.130~) speaks volumes about the perception of Goodman's own self-image and that of reality, corroborate by the world-at-large (and please forgo the misunderstood genius a la Andy Kaufman analogy)!

In summation, I can see no purpose to spend time or money on this project, it is simply not a worthwhile equasion of investment to retruns ratio. There is no overal merit unless to say that you read this unstructured mess and managed to get to the last page without having learned a single thing - except perhaps, how not to write. Forgo and treat yourself to something worthwhile.


Straight and Crooked Thinking
Straight and Crooked Thinking
by Robert Henry Thouless
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One to let go gracefully out of print., 17 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Straight and Crooked Thinking
One to let go gracefully out of print.

There is a phrase in Japanese, `furu-kusai' which roughly translates as either `has an air of outdatedness' or `outmoded; passé' and that is what this book makes me think of. It feels quaint and flaccid like an early Carnegie or a book written in 1930 when the world was entirely different... which it in fact was.

Although it has been revised several times it still suffers from the same basic problems which are that it straddles an uncomfortable divide between an academic text and and a popular read sold at an airport, it is furthermore compounded by the fact that the revisions haven't really worked in bringing the work up-to-date, because the general and inherent epistemological and ontological structures that undergird the work are poor, hence the best thing to do would be to enact a full re-write, but then the text would end up being a completely different one.

Instead of buying this I would point the reader in the direction of three altogether more comprehensive choices.

Firstly, for classes of mine I have prescribed a MUCH better book, which covers all the bases (and more) that this work wants or attempts to but in an infinitely more articulate and well-structured manner, that book is Weston, A. `A Rulebook for Arguments.'A Rulebook for Arguments The advantages over this text, which Professor Weston's work has, is that it is a well constructed, oft-revised academic text for freshman college students to use in debate/discussion classes and as such it walks the reader through all the major arguments referencing the appropriate syllogism and the correct terminology to provide them with an adequate lexicon in the field.

Secondly, I would also recommend buying anything by Berkley Professor and cognitive linguist George Lakoff. His works: `Don't Think of an Elephant'Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate and `The Political Mind'The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st Century American Politics with an 18th Century Brain will give the engaged and critical reader a much deeper grounding in a lot of the neurology, philosophical and epistemological points barely touched upon in S&C Thinking by Thouless Sr. or Jr.

The only real merit (for me) with this work is the last Chapter `The Future of Crooked Thinking' which draws in a number of interesting points that reference postmodernism, Thomas Kuhn's theory on `paradigm Shift' and the general state of academe. But ultimately that doesn't make it worth buying this book or investing your time in reading.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-14