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Armchair Hero (London, UK)

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Rai Rebels
Rai Rebels
Price: £9.71

5.0 out of 5 stars but the previous reviewer put it so beautifully & simply that I would merely like to endorse ..., 13 July 2014
This review is from: Rai Rebels (Audio CD)
It’s very rare for me to write a review on Amazon, but the previous reviewer put it so beautifully & simply that I would merely like to endorse & echo his review of this album. I first heard it on audiocassette (remember them?) about 20 years ago and just like ‘Strozzapreti’, I sadly also couldn’t understand Arabic but it too reminds me of warm romantic Mediterranean nights...

JC Bach: Sinfonias
JC Bach: Sinfonias
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £33.37

5.0 out of 5 stars An old favourite by a son of the master, 4 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: JC Bach: Sinfonias (Audio CD)
JC Bach was in London & taught the young WA Mozart (who reportedly subsequently rated him very highly). It may just be me but I fancy I sometimes hear JS Bach's music in Mozart's pieces. A fascinating link between the two geniuses. Anyway I love this (comparatively little known) piece of music and would recommend it to any fan of the baroque... Beautifully played too.

Bird And Fortune - Two Johns And A Dinner Party [DVD]
Bird And Fortune - Two Johns And A Dinner Party [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Bird
Price: £5.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant comedy, 26 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would rate this as amongst the best satire seen here for many years. Superb and a must for all lovers of wit and elegant comedy

Combat - Air War Vietnam [DVD]
Combat - Air War Vietnam [DVD]
Dvd ~ Combat

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of a big subject, 4 July 2009
There are many badly done DVD's on the Vietnam War but this is not one of them. It is a well presented & fascinating documentary on the massive part that aircraft played in the Vietnam War including many different types of aircraft used by US forces and the Mig 17,19 & 21's used by the airforce of North Vietnam. Most poeple know about the iconic 'Huey' helicopter (Bell UH-1) but these DVD will show other types including the awesome AC-130 Spectre gunship (legendary Lockheed Hercules C-130 transport aircraft converted by Boeing into an extremely formidable aerial weapons platform), still used today in Iraq & Afghanistan.

It shows the rapid evolution of the USAF/USN/USMC aircraft from 1950's Cold War to COIN (Counter-Insurgency) roles. Although North Vietnam was a sovereign country with a large army plus naval & air forces, they frequently fought the US forces as guerillas. Although as this DVD shows so well, their fighter aircraft could pose a serious threat to US air assets operating over North Vietnam. By 1972 Hanoi & Haiphong had what was then the most formidable air defenses on earth (inc Moscow), with a network of fighters, SAM's & AAA and this DVD has some very exciting footage of US missions over this area giving a viewer a real glimpse of air war at it's most intense.

Indeed one can see the origin of current 'asymetric warfare' doctrine in the use of sophisticated Western technology against VC guerillas & NVA soldiers armed with much more basic (but no means ineffective) weapons; shades of things to come... And then (as now!) that imblance by no means guarantees the Western side (with the sophisticated air power) victory. And this is what makes this DVD so interesting in that it shows that so many weapons used today were invented for the Vietnam War and used in early forms including LGB & EOGB (smart bombs) and even drones! In that sense this now distant war played a large part in shaping many of the weapons now used today. Whatever your interest or knowledge of the Air War over Vietnam, this excellent DVD has something for you.

Cuba - An African Odyssey [DVD]
Cuba - An African Odyssey [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jihan El Tahri
Price: £27.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating documentary, 26 Jan 2009
This is a gripping documentary of a now forgotten but very 'hot' part of the Cold War. It details Fidel Castro's involvement in supporting left-wing revolutionary movements in Africa, especially Angola, culminating in the momentous Battle of Cuito Cuanavale where the Cubans faced the South Africans and both sides claimed vistory. The documentary is clearly biased in favour of the leftist 'internationalist' viewpoint (Che Guevara is, as usual, presented as a saint; Che was many things, including incredibly brave, but he was no saint!). And behind all this are the USA and the USSR fighting a proxy war.

But I have to say that this is balanced by the fact that all sides are interviewed and have their say and it is this aspect that elevates this film from being propaganda to an extraordinarily honest and genuine historical record. For example the CIA chief in the Congo, Larry Devlin, talks with amazing (& perhaps appalling) candour about arranging the assassination of Lumumba & other operations. All sides speak factually and truthfully to an extent that is highly unusual in such documentaries.

Although I am no fan of their politics or ruthless methods, I am bound to say that although used by USSR for it's own ends, Castro & Che Guevara seem to be have been genuinely motivated by a desire to help African countries free themselves from the shackles of colonial rule. The problem is that too often Castro was impressed by men like Mengistu of Ethopia who proved even more murderous than their colonial predecessors, and form a large reason for Africa's continuing tragedy. For further reading, I strongly recommend purchasing Cuba: A New History.

Visions Of War - The Algerian War [DVD] [NTSC]
Visions Of War - The Algerian War [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Visions of War
Price: £12.99

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb documentary on a forgotten war, 6 Jan 2009
I have been 'bitten' by buying too many disappointing, badly-made DVD's on military history. This is the exact opposite! I was encouraged by the excellent reviews by The Times & The Telegraph. It is an epic documentary made by Peter Batty for Channel 4 in 1984 that consists of 5 films (in chronological order, dealing with the different phases of the war from 1954-1962). It is superb; it provides a very balanced and most coherent view of this most complex & vicious conflict that will satisfy both pundit & student alike. It interviews French settlers in Algeria ('les pieds-noirs'), members of the French Armed Forces, politicians from both sides, the FLN and even members of the dreaded OAS (who very nearly killed President de Gaulle on more than occasion). Many expert commentators are consulted including Alistair Horne who wrote A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (New York Review Books Classics), the best book on the subject and well worth buying as a companion to this excellent 2 disc DVD set, Also another essential purchase for those interested in the Algerian War is The Battle For Algiers (Criterion Collection #249) 3 disc Director Approved s.e..

If you, like me, are fascinated by France & French history, this war is well worth studying as it was to have an extremely profound effect on shaping modern France. For a foreigner such as me (British) to comprehend the war, one has to recall that for the million French settlers living in France and for the French government & Army, Algeria was not seen as a distant colony (like Indochina) but an integral part of Metropolitan France with Prefects & Departments. Equally one should also recall that many members of the FLN (the armed Algerian resistance movement fighting for independence) had fought for France with great gallantry in WW2 and not unreasonably expected their freedom from French control on returning to their homeland.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2010 12:57 PM BST

Mad about Bach [IMPORT]
Mad about Bach [IMPORT]
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £12.95

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars J.S.Bach for everyone!, 16 Aug 2008
This review is from: Mad about Bach [IMPORT] (Audio CD)
This US-inspired compilation has enormously impressed me. If you, your child or a friend doesn't know Bach, this CD is brilliant and if this doesn't convert 'em, probably nothing else will! The pieces & performances have clearly been chosen with great care and are some of the very best around; this is what makes this compilation special. Whether you don't know J.S.Bach at all or like me you already love him and have many CD's of his works, this compilation will please you. I have so many Bach CD's that when I go on vacation or a long trip, I usually don't know what to take on my iPhone; now I do, this CD! Purists may sniff (let 'em!) but as a Bach fanatic, I rate this as the best single CD overview I have ever heard. Buy with confidence; like another US reviewer, I am minded to check out the rest of the 'Mad about...' series.

Krups Nescafé Dolce Gusto KP200040 Coffee Machine, Makes 7 Drinks, Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Krups Nescafé Dolce Gusto KP200040 Coffee Machine, Makes 7 Drinks, Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge success & great value!, 23 Jun 2007
I bought this machine on the strength of the many other excellent reviews from customers clearly much more expert than me about coffee machines. I am adding this review to say that if you're like me (i.e. a complete idiot in the kitchen), but want superb coffee, instantly with no hassle or effort, this is the machine for you. If I can work it, anyone can!

All the coffee pod selections are delicious namely cappucino, espresso, lunghi (double espresso), latte, Chococino (hot chocolate). Unlike many rival machines, the coffee emerges piping hot and the pods are easily available from supermarkets. It even can do cold drinks such as Cappucino Ice, which is coming soon. Also, it's so easy to use and clean. If you've been confused & somewhat depressed by very mixed reports on other machines, go for this without hesitation. It comes ready to go out of the box with a starter pack with cheaper, better drinks than coffee bars in your own home! Best money I've spent in a long time.

PS I'm not sure if this says more about me than is wise but the machine passes what an old pal of mine used to call the 'hangover test' with flying colours: i.e. you can stagger into the kitchen at an ungodly hour and with bleary eyes & shaky hands, make professionally delicious & reviving coffee in seconds!

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