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Mr. M. Bloomfield "Bloomers" (Europe)
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Ursus Nomine Paddington: A Bear Called Paddington
Ursus Nomine Paddington: A Bear Called Paddington
by Michael Bond
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Placere respice postquam iste liber!, 13 Oct 2012
Paddington septentrio unum de maximis characteres filiorum literature, etiam decet amatur ab adultis. This edition est perficio pro superstites Romans, reliquae angulis Romani imperii, et omnes alios qui fuerit nequeant per sensualis rationes, ad dimittendum locativam casu. Ego enim sum vivens in Istanbul Turcicum imperium in pro centuries secreto tandem possim exemplar in manus libellum intelligere nisi unum ad viam aversa felix industriae interpres. Realis thesaurum.


Ulysse Nardin Zeitmesser mit Komplikationen Circus Minute Repeater 740-88
Ulysse Nardin Zeitmesser mit Komplikationen Circus Minute Repeater 740-88

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time *keeper*!, 15 April 2012
I bought mine from a market near Southend for the knock-down price of £327,341.00, and what a bargain I got!

This watch doesn't only keep time, it creates and renews it! Ever since spending that amount of money on a piece of metal to wrap round my wrist I've been re-living the moment over and over again, like in some dizzying nightmare. Sorry, dream. It never stops. It's like I'll experience it forever, and ever, and ever.

If anybody wants to take it off my hands, I can knock a tenner off for you.


Mighty Like A Rose
Mighty Like A Rose
Price: £19.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mightier than a Spike, 22 Dec 2011
This review is from: Mighty Like A Rose (Audio CD)
I felt compelled to write a review for this album for one reason - Elvis's output has been hit-and-miss over the years, with some exceptional highs set against the inevitable indigestible hiccough (if you pardon the mixed metaphor). Released close to each other, he brought us two comparable yet quite different albums - Spike, and Mighty Like A Rose. I'd like to be perhaps a lone voice saying that MLAR was far superior.

From the aggressive and energetic - and hugely enjoyable - pop-rock of The Other Side of Summer and How To Be Dumb (a public attack on his former Attractions bass player Bruce Thomas) to the delicate, dark beauty of Broken, this is certainly an album of varying styles, but they hold together well, and the tunes generally play out far better than on the earlier album Spike. Costello's infamous occasional habit of producing unlistenable melodies to accompany convoluted lyrics is nowhere to be heard here, and where he does venture into less mainstream sounds (for instance, in Couldn't Call It Unexpected Nr 2), the near-seamless production allows him to blend this with the rest of the songs without any jarring at all.

Georgie And Her Rival sounds as though it actually belongs on the album Spike, telling us two things - first, that the production here is so coherent that such judgements can be made; and second, that the two albums are indeed to be judged next to each other.

In all, this is excellent stuff: pointed, angry enough yet poignant enough to please any die-hard fan, and brilliantly tuneful.

Mighty Like A Rose works on many levels, and is worth many hearings.


Paddington Bumper Colouring & Sticker Fun (Paddington Bear)
Paddington Bumper Colouring & Sticker Fun (Paddington Bear)
by Michael Bond
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Colouring Pad!, 20 Dec 2011
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Excellent gift, fun and lively, with loads to do. Paddington always comes out a winner. Whether it's colouring in, using the stickers, or just enjoying the Bear Himself, this will keep little ones and parents alike happy.

Highly recommended.


The Shield - Season 5 [DVD] [2008]
The Shield - Season 5 [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Michael Chiklis

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ! - WARNING - !, 27 Sep 2011
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PLEASE READ

If you haven't yet seen Season 5 of "The Shield", it's one of the best yet. Outstanding performances from all concerned make this riveting, edge-of-your-seat, exciting, and tormenting stuff.

BUT

DO NOT WATCH THE DVD 'EXTRAS' BEFORE YOU HAVE WATCHED ALL THE EPISODES ON ALL THE DISCS. They contain spoilers. Spoilers so important that they ruin the series finale. Pointless, and what a nonsensical waste!

Otherwise, if you avoid the 'extras' (at least before you finish watching the series), you'll agree that this is superb stuff. People have claimed that some of it has been edited down. I never saw the original US version, so can't comment, but without knowing that it was edited, I'd never have guessed.

This is gripping. One of the best seasons of a consistently brilliant show.
I give this 4 stars out of 5 because the spoilers... well, they spoil it.


Gosh It's...
Gosh It's...
Price: £10.05

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gosh!, 5 May 2011
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This review is from: Gosh It's... (Audio CD)
Well well well. What can you say?

Suddenly, from being the silly party-crashers of the 2-tone scene, Bad Manners emerge with "Gosh It's..." to show themselves to be fine musicians, capable of making socio-political statements with a tight sound AND still manage to have a laugh at the same time.

This album demonstrates fine musicianship, an ear for a cracking melody, syncopated beats and a broad range of musical styles. Compare it with the earlier "Loonee Tunes!" (which is nevertheless a fine collection of songs in itself) and you'll find yourself thinking that Buster and co had undergone some form of musical awakening in the space of a single year.

It's as though all the previous success had finally paid off, allowing the gang to experiment and find themselves musically. Their unapologetically daft dominance of the British singles charts seemed to have given them the confidence to come out of their shells and produce what must be one of the best albums of the genre, by any band at any time. "Weeping and Wailing", "Casablanca", "Ben E Wriggle", "Runaway" and "Never Will Change" provide a spine to this CD of well-crafted, harder-edged music, while for those still longing for the bonkers, adrenaline-fuelled 'nutty sound' that had them competing with Madness in the first couple of years of their career there's enough to be well pleased about with tracks like "Dansetta", "Don't Be Angry", and the classic "Can Can", which took the charts and the public's imagination by storm but still, criminally, never quite made it to Number 1. Then, for good measure, we get given the EP headliner Buona Sera, plus excellent B-sides (my favourite being "Armchair Disco" from the "Can Can" 45) to keep us moving for just that little bit longer.

This isn't what you might expect from Bad Manners. The group was never really known for laying down adult, clever, and even cosmopolitan rhythms - but it really works. They finally show how they were capable of producing a classic album that didn't just rely on partying and dancing till you sweat after all. And what a superb sound it is!

Funky, sophisticated, danceable ska from the 'fun boy nine'.


Haunted
Haunted
by Chuck Palahniuk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A movie fragment, 27 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
"Other events - the ones you can't digest - they poison you. The worst parts of your life, those moments you can't talk about, they rot you from the inside out"

Haunted is not, in case you were wondering, a ghost story - at least, not in any way you'd imagine a ghost story to be. There are certainly no clanking chains and spooky white sheets. Instead, it's a story of psychological ghosts, of pasts coming back to haunt a group of people hoping to create a new future for themselves; and of how the dead never really seem to die.

The first thing that needs to be said is that I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, but this friend ended up a little shocked that it took me so long to tell her what I thought about it. The reason for this is that I lost interest about half-way through, and after a long break had to make myself pick the book back up again and finish it. But I didn't lose interest because it was badly written, or lacked style, or even because it wasn't compelling: it's actually well-written, stylish, and a fairly compelling work of modern literature. The problem with it is that it's structurally repetitive.

Without wanting to give out spoilers, the majority of the book reads as follows:
'Poem' to introduce a character's back story;
Back story;
Gruesome event;
'Poem' to introduce another character's back story;
Back story;
Gruesome event;
'Poem' to introduce another character's back story...
And so on, and so on...

After about half-way through the novel, I genuinely found myself in the grip of a paradox: I was engrossed in the story, but at the same time I'd stopped caring, stopped following it. It seemed to be caught in its own literary device, and as such it was going nowhere. Not one of the mini-cycles of "poem - back story - gruesome event" seemed to be advancing the plot, and as such, while fascinating reading (which often felt a little like morbid rubber-necking), they just started to feel like literary padding. And because there are so many repetitions of the mini-cycles, dealing with such a large array of misfit personalities, it became difficult to form much of an emotional attachment to - or even a rounded mental impression of - any of the characters.

Reflecting on the plot, I also found myself wondering how credible any of it really was. Okay, so it's a psychological drama, and these are never 100% believable, but to get true enjoyment out of it the reader has to willingly suspend all grip on how they might act in similar circumstances. It's difficult to say too much without giving events away, but thinking back on how readily the characters started behaving like they did, I'm not sure any reader would have swallowed it had the writing not been so often irresistable. Some more build-up play would have felt more satisfying.

Something else to note is that while you read how the book is 'original', a word I've seen applied to it a surprisingly large number of times, once you see past the padding you're left with a very old format: a group of people find themselves locked in a creepy dark building, and horrible things start to happen. Perhaps the oldest 'haunting story' in the book.

But the take on it is still different, and what the book tries to say about being human is something you won't find in most similarly-structured tales (regardless of whether you agree with it). The writing is detailed, occasionally truly shocking, and - for all I said about losing interest - the stories within the mini-cycles are never boring.

So what you get with this book is a series of harrowing, engaging, stylish mini-cycles of "poem - back story - gruesome event" which certainly stay with you long after you've read them, set within an unusual take on an old format, written well, but with a creeping sensation of repetitiveness where, by the nature of its structure, only a couple of the large cast of characters are ever developed sufficiently to make you particularly care.

An odd sort of book, one I'm glad I read, one I enjoy having read, but one which leaves me with a feeling that something leaner, better developed, and more focused on plot than shock, would have been far more fulfilling, far less starved, and far less emasculated.


Elegant Working Roman Numeral Gold Watch Cuff Links with Presentation Box
Elegant Working Roman Numeral Gold Watch Cuff Links with Presentation Box
Offered by Cuff-Daddy
Price: £46.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In-accu-wrist, 20 Dec 2010
This review is from: Contemporary Working SILVER Clock Watch Cufflinks with Presentation Box
---

Theoretically, these are nice looking, functional, and quite an eye-catcher/ conversation piece. Great for adding a flash of eccentricity or character to a suit, but not too ostentatious. I have however some reservations about these cufflinks which you should know about:

1. They are a little bigger and bulkier than most cufflinks;
2. They sit in your cuffs 'portrait', not 'landscape', meaning they don't sit on the same 'lines' as most cufflinks, which exaggerates their slightly larger size a little bit.
3. I bought the cufflinks and immediately they went wrong. This *could* have been mere bad luck, but it's good to be warned. My first thought was that the batteries simply ran out very quickly - which might have been because they weren't new when the cufflinks arrived, I guessed - but not everyone I tried could open the cufflinks to replace them. So be warned - you'll have to find a jeweller who can, and that might mean hunting around a little bit. Plus, one of the cufflinks didn't work properly even when the new batteries were put in, and had to remain behind for extra work. When I got it back, I was told that it was faulty to begin with and was never going to work without spending more money repairing it than I'd paid in the first place.

Sadly, as my life involves a great deal of travelling, I didn't find time to write to "Cuff Daddy" immediately about this. When I did, however, write to them enquiring about a replacement - still within the year, which I thought was normal warranty period in Great Britain - I was given the following reply:

"If you place another order with us and let us know before it ships we'll include a free watch cufflink in the package. We have a great warranty, but you order was place a really long time ago. Thanks". I was not given a replacement, apparently because I didn't write to them before the product was shipped.

So the customer service may be a problem, if like I was you are sent faulty goods. Be vary careful.


Karlsson Wall Clock Worldtime, Aluminium
Karlsson Wall Clock Worldtime, Aluminium
Price: £53.09

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ticks the boxes, 18 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Stylish, elegant, and functional.

Designed in tastefully-understated aluminium, in black, 'metal' and grey. The main clock is large and easy to read, while the five 'time zone' clocks avoid interfering with the readability completely. They, too, are easy to read (once you've learnt instinctively which clock tells the time in which country).

My only (minor) quibble with this product is that the five time zone clocks are set to New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. These are fine cities (let's call Hong Kong a 'city' for now), but don't allow any room for personalising things. For instance, instead of Sydney, I'm interested in what the time is in Brisbane (so my Sydney clock is set one hour 'out'); and as I live in Britain, I'm less interested in London's time (I have it set on the main dial) than I am in various European countries' times, with friends living in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany and elsewhere.

But overall the clock does its job well - it looks great, it fits in rather than stands out, and having friends & family around Australia, Europe and (happily) Hong Kong, gives me easy access to what time it is where they live, for when I want to skype them.

This product needs batteries for each of the clock faces, and I hope you don't mind the satisfying ticking, that can sound like a small ripple of applause.

There are other 'world clocks' available, but none I think that are both as good-looking and affordable as this.


I'll Tell What I Saw: Images from Dante's Divine Comedy
I'll Tell What I Saw: Images from Dante's Divine Comedy
by Dante Alighieri
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Delivered by an artist who is definitely not mute, 30 Aug 2010
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This is a short (only 62 pages), but nevertheless beautiful book.

Michael Mazur's illustrations are powerful, visionary, striking, thought-provoking, occasionally horrifying and often beautiful. These are illustrations by someone who has studied Dante's Divine Comedy for most of his adult life, and who clearly loves and understands the text as well as any artist can.

For anybody interested in the many illustrators who have tackled Dante, this book is an extremely worthwhile addition to your collection. Mazur has avoided the literalism that has plagued the text for centuries; he's developed from - yet successfully avoided many of the shadows of - the surrealist movement; he's avoided the often facile pitfalls of fantasy art; and in steering well clear of the overtly biblical tradition, he's kept his work accessible and relevant to a modern audience who won't necessarily be looking at the book through the eyes of a frightened congregation. Furthermore, in using modern techniques such as photoshop, inkjets and monotype printing, he's captured a moment in visual history which a contemporary audience can easily relate to, keeping the poem, as well as the art, alive.

It must be noted however that there is a clear difference between his work for the Inferno, and his work for the Purgatorio and the Paradiso. For the Inferno, he uses far more traditional techniques, including watercolour and etching, whereas he moves away from these when dealing with the later books. He says in his notes that his idea was that three different artists should illustrate each of the three books, and perhaps this discontinuity of style is his attempt at morroring this; yet his style and techniques aren't so notably different in Purgatorio and Paradiso that this is born out by the evidence. So my only criticism (and it's not much of one, considering he never attempts to illustrate the whole of the Divine Comedy as a complete work) is that there is maybe a lack of coherence between engagement with the first, and the second two books.

Perhaps more jarring however is the occasional lack of engagement between the illustrations and Robert Pinsky's verse translations. Pinsky stated that it was his aim to create "an accurate, graceful version of each passage, for each remarkable image" (p.vi). So the images came first, and the translations came second.

It's here that Pinsky's occasionally lightweight and folksy renderings of Dante sometimes - but certainly not always - stumble a little. When trying to write accurate versions that *rhyme*, the accuracy will always - to some extent - give way to the style of the translator; and the grace of the original may be lost somewhere. Take "Inferno III, 70-87" as an example. Mazur's fine watercolour draws us in with images of fire and lost, plaintive souls against a background of movement and darkness; Pinsky's translation reads:

"Then, at the river - an old man in a boat:
White-haired, as he drew closer shouting at us,
"Woe to you, wicked souls! Give up the thought

Of Heaven! I come to ferry you across
Into eternal dark on the opposite side,
Into fire and ice!"

And yet this mixture of classic-poetic ("Woe") and easy-on-the-ear modernism compares (in my opinion) poorly with other translations, for instance the classic I.C.Wright version, which reads:

"...in a vessel o'er the gloomy tide
An old man comes - his locks all white with age :-
"Woe, woe to you, ye guilty souls!" he cried;
"Hope not that heaven shall ever bless your site:
I come to bear you to the other shore,-
To ice, and fire, in realms of endless night"...

Or a quick search of the internet (though please don't do this too much - books are so much better!) will generate results for the same passage, such as "Woe to you wicked spirits! hope not ever to see the sky again..." (with apologies because I couldn't find the translator's name).

This isn't the only instance. A quick comparison of Pinsky and Mazur for some other verses will show Pinsky's all-too-earthbound translation wanting when compared with the illustrations (compare for instance Paradiso I, 38-44), and also when compared with other adaptations. Again, while Pinsky gives us "The world's Lamp rises to mortals at outlet-places", Wright gives us "Through various openings bursts on mortal eyes / The Lamp of this our world". Not only lyrically more beautiful, but actually more fitting to Mazur's illustration.

But this is unfair on Pinsky. His version of The Divine Comedy is still beautiful, hypnotic, and occasionally challenging. His words reach the realm of the sublime when needed, and descend into darkness when allowed. It's only occasionally that his translations don't sit perfectly with Mazur's artwork, and these moments can overall be forgiven; for what we have in this book is an often excellent blend of modern artwork and present-day language, a current, new vocabulary for Europe's greatest work of literature. Occasionally flawed, but thoroughly worthwhile.

As we are challenged early in the book, "to go into it and through it".


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