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Mr. M. W. Lawson (Doncaster, UK)
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The Moaning of Life - Series 2 [DVD] [2015]
The Moaning of Life - Series 2 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Karl Pilkington
Price: £9.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but a new direction needed for Karl, 24 Nov. 2015
The title of this review sounds negative, yet I've given it four stars.

The reasoning behind this is that it's the same old antics from our favourite round-headed Mancunian, but I feel that 3 x Idiot Abroad and 2 x Moaning of Life has just about taken Karl as far as he can in programmes of this type. That's not to say that this isn't funny, because it had me in stitches in parts, but the happier Karl (sadly) did not provide as many laughs as the Idiot Abroad Karl.

I think the next step for Karl is actually something a little more "serious". By that, I don't mean a documentary on war or something like that, but rather him doing his own thing. He's actually a very intelligent and thoughtful man, and parts of that came out in this series, and rather than his tomfoolery, I actually found myself wanting to hear more from the real Karl.

***SPOILER*** - the moment when he tried on the new hair was genuinely moving when we saw how happy it made him. That was one of my favourite moments of the series, and it wasn't even funny. It was just a nice moment. ***END SPOILER***

So what next for Karl? Something of his own choice, without a doubt. A Moaning of Life was still slightly in the vein of An Idiot Abroad, but I'd like to see him do something in this country next. Explore his own cities and meet the people of the UK. It would still be funny, undoubtedly, but it would show more of the warm-hearted character we saw in this series. F'ing and having tantrums should be behind Mr. Pilkington now. Time to move on to something new.

Not said much about the series itself, but suffice to say you'll enjoy it if you're a KP fan. Moments of hilarity on the boat in the Pacific involving crabs, incidents with dog poo and so on. Well recommended, but the end of this particular road for Karl, I feel.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2015 8:06 PM GMT


Drones
Drones
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £7.75

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark subject matter, but an exciting, bombastic funfest!, 18 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Drones (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Muse since the early days. I'd say I became a fan just after Origin came out in 2001, so I back-listened to Showbiz to get myself up to date.

Since then, they released the incredible Absolution (arguably still their best along with Origin), the excellent Black Holes and Revelations, the somewhat underwhelming Resistance, the love-it-or-hate it 2nd Law, and now Drones.

As you can see from the above progression, in my opinion, they had begun to lose their way somewhat. Not necessarily with the quality of music, but their recognised sound. Muse will always bring to mind a certain OTT style of stadium rock along the lines of Citizen Erased, New Born, Hysteria, Plug in Baby (and yes - Starlight). Not sure the likes of Madness, I Belong to You and Animals will endure for as long.

On to this album. I was nervous. Why? Because I feared I was beginning to lose my favourite band. I very, very rarely find myself reaching for the Resistance or 2nd Law albums. I went to see them live on both of these tours, and the louder cheers were always for the older tracks, whereas the Resistance and 2nd Law tracks were respectfully tolerated at times.

As soon as I heard the first release from this album, I knew we were in for something different. Dropping an F-bomb several times may not have been a great indication of the quality of an album, but it was a heavy, OTT, bombastic return to the style which made them as a band. A so-heavy-it's-untrue riff introduces to a lyrically-dubious but fun five or so minutes.

Put Psycho in the context of the album, and it works even better. And this is what this album is all about: context. Never have Muse released a more complete concept album, in my opinion. It's silly at times, downright cringeworthy at others (but in a good way), and truly haunting in other spots. It's got everything. The trio of songs in the middle third - Repears, The Handler, Defector - has to be the strongest in their entire discography.

I was hesitant to give this five stars, because I feel there is a weak point. Sadly, this is the 10 minute monster 'The Globalist', which is the penultimate track. It just felt like they could have made this into a much more complete, epic closer to the album (along with the haunting a capella Drones). Thankfully, the other tracks are strong enough to not let this detract from the overall success of the album. When I say The Globalist is a weak point, it's still a solid 7.5/10 in my eyes.

This is a glimpse of the Muse we remember from years ago. I'm not saying they should return to their old style, nor that their experiments into other genres were a complete waste of time, but there's something reassuring and nostalgic about hearing Matt Bellamy warbling in his falsetto tones about the end of the world.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2016 7:06 AM BST


Star Wars Kinect - Kinect Required (Xbox 360)
Star Wars Kinect - Kinect Required (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £10.29

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly lacking in the Force (Updated 25.4.12), 3 April 2012
***Please see bottom for update***

I'm writing this three hours after buying and playing the game for the first time.

I've had a good chance to look through and experience the different options.

The game begins with the main menu, which is in the Jedi Archives with R2D2 and C-3PO explaining the context of the game.

From here, you choose to begin your mission, which starts with a short training mode. From here, you continue with the main game - the 'mission' as it is called.

Other options on the main menu include a Dance-Off competition, which is great fun - and has some witty well-known songs with their titles changed (Going Solo = I'm Han Solo for example). This is a great passer of time, even for those players in the family who may not be Star Wars fans.

The Pod Racing section is also great fun, and quite difficult. This really gets the heart racing, and you'll be guaranteed to need a sit down after experiencing this!

I'm yet to experience Rancor Rampage or the Duel options - but they also look particularly intriguing.

As for the gameplay itself, I'll split it into positive and negative:

+ The graphics are great, especially close-ups of characters such as Yoda.
+ The music and settings, as obvious as this may be, are those of John Williams and George Lucas. It's authentic to the film canon.
+ You are playing as a Jedi, in private, hands-free, with no guilt. That can only be a good thing!
+ The use of the force is great. When you lift a ship for example, it really feels like you're doing something amazing!
+ Jumping is great fun! You'll see what I mean!

- The use of lightsabres. I may be struggling as it's my first day, but they're not as responsive as I'd like. Restricted to just a few moves.
- The learning curve is a bit steep, even on amateur mode. 2 minutes of training and then bang, you're off.
- A bit repetitive at the start.

Overall, I need more time to see what this is all about.

I'm a massive Star Wars fan, and this game promises so much. I'm pleased with the first 3 hours, but I feel I want it to get even better.

---------------

***UPDATE: 6.4.12 ***

Having progressed far into this game, I'm afraid I have had to reduce my star rating by 1. It simply is not living up to its expectations as I hoped it would.

Some more negatives are listed below:

- A bug means that even if you sign in to you Xbox profile on the main Xbox menu, the game logs you in as Guest. Throughout the game, it keeps logging in and out of its own accord, often disrupting the play with a 'Welcome USERID' message. The very next minute, it'll pop up saying 'Welcome back Guest'. So frustrating! This happens when the internet is both connected and disconnected.

- The lightsabre gameplay is simply too slapdash. I was hoping I'd find new moves and new accuracy, but I stand in front of the TV waving my arms around wildly and it does the job. The force and lightsabre technique is all about pinpoint accuracy, but this is just wild flailing of the arms. It doesn't feel right, and it's hopeless.

- The repetitiveness has continued well into the game. *SPOILER*: How many battle droids do we really need to face within the first 3-4 hours of gameplay? I know this game is set at the time when battle droids are prominent in the SW universe, but give us something more 'Jedi'-like to do! Does this game have to be all about fighting our way through large swarms of enemies? Surely exercises such as Luke's training with Yoda on Dagobah (from the films) would be rewarding gameplay. Perhaps accruing points for the most accurate force usage? Sadly, I have encountered nothing of the sort thus far.

- A small annoyance, but when characters in cutscenes (which sometimes contain essential mission information) are facing away from the camera, their voices are realistically quieter. However, sometimes, the ambient sounds of the game actually drown out their voices. I turned up the volume so I could hear, and when the camera panned back around to a front-facing shot of the character, I was practically defeaned! As I say, a minor annoyance, but another negative which hinders enjoyment.

I will continue to update this review as time goes on, but I feel as though I'm continuing the game to justify the pricetag, rather than because I am genuinely enjoying it. A real shame, and a letdown for Kinect.

I hope my next review can add some positives.

***UPDATE: 25.4.12 ***

This will be my final update to this review, and unfortunately it's not a positive one. I haven't played this game in 10 days now, and haven't completed it. I have simply run out of motivation to stand and repeat the same tired moves, and the same tired fighting sequences.

As someone else stated, this game is not an absolute stinker, but as Jar Jar would say - "It smells (a bit) stinkawhiff".

Sorry Star Wars fans, you will be sorely disappointed if you purchase this game.

So sad, as this could have been the game which kickstarted Kinect, which seems to be stuttering somewhat with decent new output.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2012 8:56 AM BST


Ruinair
Ruinair
by Paul Kilduff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The best advert for 'Ruinair' imaginable!, 26 July 2011
This review is from: Ruinair (Paperback)
Paul Kliduff's 'Ruinair' was an impulse buy, much like his flight to Kent International (or should that be London Manston) around half way through this book!

The book starts off with numerous quotes from 'Mick', the leader of 'Ruinair'. No prizes for working those ones out...

Kliduff then moves on to a travelogue style, charting his various flights to destinations across Europe. The order of these flights if vaguely chronological, but the book doesn't have an ongoing narrative really. It's more a collection of chapters which could, mostly, be read in any order. There are a few ongoing jokes that refer to earlier incidents, however.

Some of the anecdotes really are laugh-out-loud funny. I particularly like his 'people watching' scenes at airports. His observations of people that we all know and recognise are uncanny.

Whilst some of his destinations are less than exciting for him as an author and traveller (hello Liechtenstein - with two i's Paul...), he makes them sound endearingly attractive to the low-cost flyer.

As my title suggests, this book does do a fair bit of 'Ruinair' bashing - but at the end of the day, it prompted me to book a £48 flight to Germany in November. Yes, I'm flying to Memmingen (Munich West), which by true 'Ruinair' standards is 80 miles from the city it claims to represent, but I'm getting there cheaper than I could get to London.

Paul Klidoff has written an amusing and quite revealing guide to Europe's lesser airports, but has moments of poignancy too. The short three or four page chapter set in Berlin regarding the Holocaust Museum took me aback in a book which I could categorize under humour, but it felt like a welcome break from the anecdotes and cheap gags - most of which work!

All in all, 'Mick' and 'all at Ruinair' should be grateful that this book was published. After all, 'Mick' got this advertising for free - and he LOVES free stuff.


Logan's Run [DVD] [1976]
Logan's Run [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ Michael York
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great concept and a good film, 22 July 2011
This review is from: Logan's Run [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
I was expecting much from this film, as it was often described to me as a hidden gem of sci-fi.

The concept was great. Enjoy life to the full until 30, but then it must end.

The film itself shows it's age today - especially the model of the city in the opening aerial shot where the water, trees and cars are all plainly models - but it adds to the charm in a way!

The story pans out interetingly, althouth the 'outside' sections could have been expanded upon.

I also thought the ending was too saccharine sweet, and the aftermath of the event at the end could also have been expanded slightly.

Overall though - well worth watching, and I look forward to the 2012 remake with intrigue.


9ct White Gold solitiare ring with 0.10ct Brilliant cut Diamond -RRP £315
9ct White Gold solitiare ring with 0.10ct Brilliant cut Diamond -RRP £315

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She said yes!, 22 July 2011
I got this ring for my girlfriend, and now she's my fiancee!

I think that is a worthy review of this ring in itself!

A stylish, albeit basic, ring which looks very dignified.


Outland [DVD] [1981]
Outland [DVD] [1981]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Price: £8.26

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably entertaining, but an awful ending., 22 July 2011
This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
I'm a big sci-fi fan, and I bought this at a reasonable price to see what it was like.

It had a similar narrative to many of the other sci-fi films I've watched lately, some older and some newer. A newer film it could be compared to in terms of storyline is 'Moon' - in some ways at least.

The film was let down by the ending. I won't spoil it for anyone, but we could have done with one aspect of the storyline being developed at the end. Instead, it simply ended with some text on screen. Big anti-climax to what was a promising film.

It was a decent film - and Connery was a great character, but unfortunately for me fell into the 'OK' category. There are sadly many, many more engrossing sci-fi films out there.


Highlander - Explorer  65 Litre Rucksack - Blue/Grey/Black
Highlander - Explorer 65 Litre Rucksack - Blue/Grey/Black
Offered by Real Outdoors
Price: £37.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Walked the Coast-to-Coast Walk with this bag!, 26 April 2011
I became best friends with this bag in June 2010 on the 192-mile Coast-to-Coast walk from St. Bees to Robin Hood's Bay in northern England.

For the price, it's a wonderful bag and it holds more than you think.

Great purchase, and used it twice since for holidaying in Europe.


Rheinsteig 1 : 50 000: Topographische Karte mit dem Verlauf des Rheinsteigs von Bonn bis Wiesbaden und den Zuwegungen
Rheinsteig 1 : 50 000: Topographische Karte mit dem Verlauf des Rheinsteigs von Bonn bis Wiesbaden und den Zuwegungen
by Esther J. J. Verhoef Verhallen
Edition: Map
Price: £7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely map, but not entirely needed!, 26 April 2011
Firstly, this map is lovely to sit and look at. The style is wonderful and you can let your imagination run away with yourself as you cast your eyes over it.

Unfortunately, we didn't need it when we actually did the Rheinsteig itself! The route was so well signposted that it stayed in our bag the entire time.

In terms of it's quality as a map though - wonderful!


Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald 1 : 35 000: Wander-, Bike- Skitouren- Langlauf
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald 1 : 35 000: Wander-, Bike- Skitouren- Langlauf

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for hiking in the Bavarian Alps., 26 April 2011
We completed a couple of walks in the Garmisch and Mittenwald area, and this map was perfect for our needs.

Well worth the purchase if you intend to holiday in this part of Germany.


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