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Stephen Reid "Stephen" (Basingstoke)
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iGadgitz Leather Case Cover Holder with Screen Protector for Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 - Black
iGadgitz Leather Case Cover Holder with Screen Protector for Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 - Black
Offered by iGadgitz
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent design coupled with great value for money, 21 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This holder is exactly what I hoped it would be and for the price it is excellent value.

I was looking for a number of design features, all of which are met by this product:

It covers the phone completely, to protect against scratches when in pockets. There is a suede-feel finish to the inside of the flap where it touches the screen, offering good protection

The edges of the cover overlap the edges of the phone by a few millimetres, so if it is dropped, the case should take the blow and not the phone

The simple magnetic catch is firm, ensuring that the cover doesn't break open by accident and it wraps round to the back, giving added security. It is offset, to allow access to the top socket, so it may slip a little to the side when shut, but that is unavoidable

All the cutouts are in the right places

The phone fits snugly and is gripped firmly by the plastic side bars

The soft-touch leather looks and feels good.

I looked at equivalent covers in the phone shops. They were round about the £25 mark. This cover came a couple of days after ordering and was a fraction of the price. The finish is good: it looks much more expensive than it is. As something of a bonus, it comes with a screen protector which I have installed without bubbles.

For me, therefore, this is exactly the design I wanted, coupled with great value of money. Five stars and firmly recommended: buy with confidence.


Back In The Motherland
Back In The Motherland
Price: £10.93

3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but not great, 18 Jun 2013
This review is from: Back In The Motherland (Audio CD)
Leonard Cohen is like a fine wine - he gets better with age. I have the pleasure of owning the Live in London recording and that is simply wonderful. 'Back int he Motherland' is a recording from two decades before and it compares unfavourably. Admittedly the London show was magical and anything will struggle by comparison, but there's no getting away from the comparison.

That doesn't make this a bad record: the one and two star reviews are harsh, in my opinion. It's just that there's a benchmark available and, compared with what was to come, this is the lesser of the two offerings.

Leonard Cohen has developed a style that is relaxed, laid-back and supremely understated. He was not quite there when he recorded this set. the musical arrangements (or the sound balance) should have Cohen's voice to the fore and the background vocals adding a softening edge. At times, though, it seems as if he is competing with the background vocals. On some of the songs one gets the feeling that he is having to try too hard and needs to let the beautiful melodies and words speak for themselves. It's not helped by the fact that the recording quality is not a match for modern-day standards.

If you are a Leonard Cohen completist, get this. There's a lot of good here. If you're not, go for the London recording. I find this CD worthy but not great: three stars for this one.


Wings Over America
Wings Over America
Price: £10.33

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music is very good, made even better by the remastering, 30 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wings Over America (Audio CD)
Unlike other reviewers I have waited until I have the remastered recordings before writing a review. This is therefore a review based on the two-CD version of this excellent set.

The first thing to note is that there is little `added value' in the two CD package other than the remastered sound. No bonus tracks, no extra printed material or history notes. There is a massively expensive version with a lot of extra material but, committed fan though I am, I am not able to justify that price. So for me it's the two CD version, which comes packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with a small booklet that details the usual track listings and composer credits. A bit disappointing but OK, it's the music that counts.

And the good news is that the music is very good, made even better by the remastering. It is quite remarkable that after a few years of existence, Wings had enough material to fill a triple LP set (OK, a few Beatles numbers to satisfy the audiences too). And the material they had ... look at the playlist and it would grace any Macca set today. By the mid seventies he had produced a catalogue of solo / Wings material that would stand the test of time.

Of course, Wings were not to know that at the time. They were promoting some of this material live for the first time and therefore had to present it as well as they could. Thankfully, they were a strong and accomplished line-up (probably the strongest of their incarnations) and their playing was first rate. The recordings were augmented with studio-based `improvements' but that is forgivable - the odd flat note in a live performance goes unremarked by the audience: preserved for posterity on record and it can come to grate.

The first CD opens with a ten minute medley of 'Venus and Mars', 'Rock Show' and 'Jet'. It emphasises the point that Wings was a true live-performance-centric rock band: tight and well-drilled. Many high points then follow: 'Medicine Jar' (sadly not so often featured in more recent concerts) and 'Maybe I'm Amazed' standing out for me. Then, to close the first CD the McCartney-and-a-guitar solo rendition of `Blackbird' and a short and simple arrangement of `Yesterday'. The cheers from the crowd say it all. Brilliant.

The fact that McCartney performed some Beatles numbers live was not a sign that he was short of material. Instead it was a sign of the confidence he had in Wings and his solo career: he had built a catalogue of post-Beatles material that would stand its own alongside what went before: he could now afford to dip into the past and perform live some tracks that had never been heard outside the studio format before. For Beatles' fans it was a major moment.

On CD2, I have always liked the Denny Laine rendition of `Go Now' - instantly recognisable as the track he recorded when with the Moody Blues. `My Love' from Red Rose Speedway was hailed in its day as McCartney's return to form with a mega-ballad and `Band on the Run' was seen as his best output since the Beatles.

I suppose the biggest benefit of this re-issue on CD is that it compacts down to two disks. Where before there were six sides of vinyl to play and therefore five 'interruptions' now it is two disks and just one interruption. It is much more like being at a concert. The remastering has been done exceptionally well: the recordings come across as crisp and clear and give a new breath of life to what was in any case a very good record.

I have many CDs of Paul McCartney live: this one with Wings is up there with the best. Five stars.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2013 2:05 PM BST


The Producers: 30th Anniversary Edition [DVD]
The Producers: 30th Anniversary Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Zero Mostel
Price: £7.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those films that should be on any list of `must watch before I die'., 29 May 2013
I first saw this gloriously irreverent film when it was shown late one evening on television. The announcer introduced it as `the funniest film ever made'. For some people I reckon it is. It certainly had me staring at the screen open-mouthed, not believing what I was watching, and laughing out loud at the sheer bravura of its bad taste.

I'll try to review this without spoiling it for anyone who hasn't seen the film. A crooked producer and naïve accountant dream up a get-rich-quick scheme: they will raise millions of dollars to stage a show, make it so bad that it closes after the first night, and pocket the money left over. Many investors are promised shares of the revenue: many times more than 100%, but it won't matter, because there won't be any revenue to share.

The producers choose the worst play they can find, the most hopeless director they know and the most useless actors they can audition. The problem is, they unwittingly create an uproarious comedy that is a smash hit. "Where did we go right?" they lament.

On the way the film parodies campness, Swedish liberalism and Nazi-ism. It is the most politically incorrect film ever made ... and all the funnier because it is deliberately so. The middle section, where the show opens, is jaw-droppingly bad taste - as a member of the theatre audience remarks.

Zero Mostel as the lead Producer is brilliant and Gene Wilder (also very good in Blazing Saddles) is superb as the timid accountant. The direction is tight and the acting spot on. I wonder how many retakes there had to be as the actors found it impossible to keep a straight face.

All in all, this is one of those films that should be on any list of `must watch before I die'. There is a later version, also made by Mel Brooks but based on the stage musical. That's very good too, but falls between the two stools of being a film and a filmed play. As is so often the case, the original - this one - is the better of the two. Five stars.


You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle for the Soul of the "Beatles"
You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle for the Soul of the "Beatles"
by Peter Doggett
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars There have been many books written about the Beatles and their break-up. This is the definitive one, 20 May 2013
This is a remarkable book and I thoroughly recommend it. It tells the history (not the story - there is no fiction in this whatsoever) of how the Beatles grew apart and then were ripped apart by the financial chaos that surrounded their existences after Apple was formed.

I lived through the break-up and either believed or at least noted some of the easy explanations that were offered for the Beatles' demise. `It was Yoko'. `It was Alan Klein'. `It was Paul's ego.' What becomes clear from reading this book is that all these reasons were both true and insufficient of themselves to explain away what happened - they all contributed in their way to the acrimonious divorce that eventually became inevitable.

This book deals, in much greater depth than I have ever seen before, with the individual crises that each of the four members faced in their personal lives: John Lennon's drug addiction and his obsession with Yoko Ono (a relationship that was too intense to survive in its early form), George Harrison's struggle to be spiritual and hedonistic at the same time, Ringo's attempt to play straight with everyone and Paul's desire to be part of a performing band again. The motivations of all the characters are well explained.

All these subjects have aroused huge passions among Beatles' fans. This book, remarkably, deals with them in a wholly dispassionate way, not making simple assertions but presenting dates, facts and evidence. It is supremely well researched and tells the history in such detail as to make every twist and each nuance utterly understandable.

As someone who lived through that time as a fan of the Beatles, I found it an eye-opener. I knew some of the facts but had no idea just how complex and convoluted the real history was at that time.

There have been many books written about the Beatles and their break-up. This is the definitive one. Even if you regard yourself as an expert, I am sure you will find facts in here that help to put everything into context.

This is not a book to be read in a single sitting: it is one to be tackled slowly and with attention. It is divided sensibly into sections and will repay a detailed and attentive reading. So much work has gone into the research and the careful wording that anything less would be to undervalue what I regard as a first-class piece of work.


You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles
You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles
by Peter Doggett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars There have been many books written about the Beatles and their break-up. This is the definitive one., 20 May 2013
I have the hardback version of this book and if you can source it, you may wish to get it in that form. This is a book that lends itself to an attnetive read and then to subsequent use as a reference.

It is a remarkable book and I thoroughly recommend it. It tells the history (not the story - there is no fiction in this whatsoever) of how the Beatles grew apart and then were ripped apart by the financial chaos that surrounded their existences after Apple was formed.

I lived through the break-up and either believed or at least noted some of the easy explanations that were offered for the Beatles' demise. `It was Yoko'. `It was Alan Klein'. `It was Paul's ego.' What becomes clear from reading this book is that all these reasons were both true and insufficient of themselves to explain away what happened - they all contributed in their way to the acrimonious divorce that eventually became inevitable.

This book deals, in much greater depth than I have ever seen before, with the individual crises that each of the four members faced in their personal lives: John Lennon's drug addiction and his obsession with Yoko Ono (a relationship that was too intense to survive in its early form), George Harrison's struggle to be spiritual and hedonistic at the same time, Ringo's attempt to play straight with everyone and Paul's desire to be part of a performing band again. The motivations of all the characters are well explained.

All these subjects have aroused huge passions among Beatles' fans. This book, remarkably, deals with them in a wholly dispassionate way, not making simple assertions but presenting dates, facts and evidence. It is supremely well researched and tells the history in such detail as to make every twist and each nuance utterly understandable.

As someone who lived through that time as a fan of the Beatles, I found it an eye-opener. I knew some of the facts but had no idea just how complex and convoluted the real history was at that time.

There have been many books written about the Beatles and their break-up. This is the definitive one. Even if you regard yourself as an expert, I am sure you will find facts in here that help to put everything into context.

This is not a book to be read in a single sitting: it is one to be tackled slowly and with attention. It is divided sensibly into sections and will repay a detailed and attentive reading. So much work has gone into the research and the careful wording that anything less would be to undervalue what I regard as a first-class piece of work.


Doctor Who - The Beginning (An Unearthly Child [1963] / The Daleks [1963] / The Edge of Destruction [1964]) [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Beginning (An Unearthly Child [1963] / The Daleks [1963] / The Edge of Destruction [1964]) [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Hartnell
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly recommend this set as good entertainment fifty years later, and also for its historical importance., 15 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I watched these adventures as a boy when they were first transmitted. I thought that, when I returned to them almost fifty years later, they would seem creaky and poor. They don't. They come across as captivating stories still, and the techniques used to make up for the lack of special effects are still as effective as they were.

Without special effects, there was much more emphasis on the actors. When the characters are fleeing for their lives, the camera focuses in really close and it is the looks of terror on the actors' faces that conveys the danger they are in. Carol Ann Ford (Susan) was especially good at this. The added benefit is that, in the best traditions of hide-behind-the-sofa scariness, the danger is unseen. Is the bad guy catching the fleeing hero? What is it that has terrified them?

William Hartnell's Doctor Who was one of my favourites. He played the Doctor as slightly sinister - sometimes more than slightly. In the first episode he effectively kidnaps half his companions in order to protect his secret of being a Time Lord.

The first full story, about cavemen who have forgotten how to make fire, is interesting but not heavyweight, and had this been the standard of all the stories, the show would not have lasted as long as it has. But the second full story introduces the Daleks, who were destined to be the definitive TV baddies. With their electronic voices, ruthlessness and mechanical bodies they were the epitome of non-human nastiness - and they struck an immediate chord with the TV viewers of the day, to such an extent that the return of the Daleks was later to become a major TV event. In truth, the story is probably an episode too long: the action is therefore slow by modern day standards, but the hide-behind-the-sofa tension is starting to build.

With the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who approaching, this set is well worth a view. It will enable you to see how it all started but also to see if there are any links that the current writers might pick up and play back.

Putting this show into context: it was first transmitted on the day the President Kennedy was shot. The Beatles had just started to dominate the music scene. Television was black and white and home computers, mobile phones and the internet did not exist. Doctor Who was received as innovative, strange with its electronic music and, well, different from pretty well anything that had gone before. This box set shows why.

I thoroughly recommend this set as good entertainment even now, and also for its historical importance. Five stars.

Update August 2013: I watched this with my grandson this weekend, who has grown up with the David Tennant and Matt Smith Doctors. I was worried that he might find it disappointing. To the contrary: he loved the first episode and is now going to watch them all.


Journeyman
Journeyman
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.60

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Clapton's favourites, with good reason, 1 May 2013
This review is from: Journeyman (Audio CD)
This album dates back to 1989 and it shows Clapton's playing and singing at its best. He refers to it in his autobiography as 'one of my own favourite albums'. He recalls it with affection.

Clapton collaborated with Jerry Williams who wrote five of the tracks including 'Pretending' and 'Anything for your love' which get the record off to a strong start and of course, 'Running on Faith': these songs are perfect for Clapton. Then 'Old Love' written by Clapton himself with Robert Cray: very strong with a memorable riff. And later 'Run So Far' written by George Harrison, who also plays and sings.

For me the strength of this album is that it has tracks in different styles, from blues to rock and ballads - and they are all good. There is no risk of the next track sounding too much like the previous so the entertainment value is high.

Eric Clapton is a consummate guitar player and singer. On this collection he has surrounded himself with the class musicians he deserves, including Nathan East, Jim Keltner, Phil Collins and George Harrison. As one might expect, an ensemble of this quality is utterly professional and turns in performances of the highest order, making 'brilliant' seem effortless. The upshot is an album that is a delight to listen to, varied and highly enjoyable.

This is Eric Clapton as a solo artist at his best and most versatile. Five stars.


Behind The Mask
Behind The Mask
Price: £7.25

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If 'Rumours' was five stars and 'Tango in the Night' four, I have to mark this lower than both. Three stars is fair., 30 April 2013
This review is from: Behind The Mask (Audio CD)
I have owned this album for years but rarely play it. I revisited it recently and tried to work out why that is. After all, 'Rumours' is an all-time classic and the very good 'Tango in the Night' is still well worth a listen. Is it just that Lindsey Buckingham had left?

No, it's more than that. I get the impression that, despite the injection of two new members, the band had either run out of inspiration with regard to the material it was writing or was yet to find its feet in its new form. A lot of the tracks are collaborations between the band members, and some of them seem to fall between two stools: neither truly personal to the writer nor stronger for two heads being better than one. In fact, my favourite tracks are the ones where a band member has worked alone: the Stevie Nicks ones especially.

And then, to compound the problem, the production is messy. The band is now larger: the production should, perhaps, have been simpler and crisper to compensate. Instead it is heavy, with the drums very much to the fore, and some of the tracks seem over-produced. It all makes for an end product that doesn't live up to the legacy of Fleetwood Mac. I find there is no real stand-out track that brings a smile of recognition to my face.

Before I start to sound too negative, please don't get me wrong - it's not a bad album. It's just not a very good one by Fleetwood Mac standards. There are many groups who would give anything to produce an album like this. But this is Fleetwood Mac and every album will be judged against what has gone before.

'Behind the Mask' is definitely worth a listen, but I predict that many purchasers will end up like me: pleased to have this album in the collection but rarely if ever turning to it.

If 'Rumours' was five stars and 'Tango in the Night' four, I have to mark this lower than both. In the context of Fleetwood Mac's past triumphs, three stars is fair.


Unplugged: (The Official Bootleg)
Unplugged: (The Official Bootleg)
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Paul has produced a lot of live recordings and that is where he is in his element. This is one of the very best., 24 April 2013
This CD is very good indeed and I thoroughly recommend it. As with the DVD it achieves a certain intimacy as a low-key live performance. But be under no illusion: 'low key' does not mean 'low quality'. The singing and the playing are of the highest order.

It is a pleasure to hear some of the tracks performed live for the first time. It is also a great that some of the arrangements are, if anything, even better than the solo recordings that McCartney made in his early post-Beatles days.

I am not so keen on the early rock and roll numbers such as 'Be-bop-a-lula', but that is not a commentary on the performance, merely that I think McCartney is at his best when playing his own material. 'I Lost My Little Girl' is a curio as the first song he ever wrote, aged fourteen.

Then 'Here There and Everywhere' which is one of McCartney's personal favourites (and mine). This is a perfect presentation and quite beautiful. 'And I love her' is also an underperformed gem that I was delighted to hear on this set, taken much slower here than the original arrangement and sung by Hamish Stuart.

'Every Night' is one of those songs from 'McCartney' that sounds, if anything, better here that on the original album. With a stronger arrangement and close harmonies to the fore, it sounds at its best.

The CD comes with a 12-page booklet of sleeve notes that gives a short commentary on each track. They are interesting and add value.

Paul has produced a lot of live recordings and rightly so, because that is where he is in his element. This acoustic set is one of the very best. Five stars.


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