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Steven A. Wall "stevenwall2k2" (Glasgow, UK)

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Teletubbies - Oooh! [DVD] [1997]
Teletubbies - Oooh! [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Rolf Saxon

2.0 out of 5 stars Not split in to traditional espisodes, 30 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We like to watch shows with our 1 year old before bedtime, and remembering Teletubbies fondly from my student days (ahem!) I picked this DVD up to watch together. Unfortunately, the content of the DVD doesn't appear to be split up in to episodes in the traditional format, but is one long playing feature. I feel this is a bit of a mistake, as the content doesn't lend itself to 10-15 minute chunks of viewing, book-ended by title and end-credit songs (which I feel helps add a bit of structure for the little ones). So instead we find we have to watch the content for 10 minutes or so before stopping the playback manually, which can feel a bit of a jarring end to some relaxing TV viewing. It's a shame because the actual content is as fun and bonkers as I remember it to be from my hungover viewing as a student in the 90s.

25 Years
25 Years
Price: £89.85

3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of Resources, 7 Oct. 2011
This review is from: 25 Years (Audio CD)
Sting is always banging on about the rain forests whenever he gets a chance, so you would think he'd have a conscious and quickly veto yet another unnecessary "best of ..." collection like this. Does the world really need another Sting best of? That's probably a whole rain forest that has been culled to make way for the self-aggrandising super deluxe boxed set edition. Think of the planet next time, please, Gordon!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2014 2:08 PM GMT

Love Technology
Love Technology
Offered by zoverstocks
Price: £4.33

4.0 out of 5 stars No chance of keeping your feet still with "Heads We Dance", 22 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Love Technology (Audio CD)
Perky synth pop with some occasionally baroque sounding interludes. Heads We Dance will draw comparisons with early 80s synth pop pioneers such as Human League and Soft Cell. A combination of synthesised beeps and blurps with empassioned vocals that straddle earnest-to-amateurish. Similarly, lyrical topics include love and dancing through to technological fetishisation. Sample daft lyric ... "The ministry of information state that by 2010 every household will be connected, oh I wish that now was then" (Ubik). They even take a highly commendable stab at covering Kraftwerk's "Computer Love", unlike Coldplay who just nicked the melody for one of their songs. Recommended if you like the latest chart bothering synth acts like La Roux and Little Boots, and better than most of them.

Nightdrive With You
Nightdrive With You

4.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack to the 80s for the 00s., 19 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Nightdrive With You (MP3 Download)
Anoraak is part of the tres chic group of West Coast French musicians going by the name of the "Valerie Collective". If, like me, you are 30-something that grew up with 80s popular culture, you can probably get a good feel for the sound of this album by looking at the excellent "sleeve". The artwork almost perfectly encapsulates the overall mood of the record. If you want another point of comparison, I would say that Mr Anoraak most closely resembles the studied Gallic cool of "Air", if perhaps they had spent their time listening to Jan Hammer's Miami Vice Theme and the soundtrack to John Hughes movies instead of just Burt Bacharach and Serge Gainsbourg. Alternatively, you can just listen to the samples.

Revelation (The Shardlake Series)
Revelation (The Shardlake Series)
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a Revelation, 19 Oct. 2009
* may contain a few spoilers *

After reading all four of the "Shardlake" books I now feel that I am beginning to tire slightly of Sansom's prose. On reading the blurb, I thought this was perhaps the most exciting premise for the series yet as lawyer Matthew Shardlake hunts down a serial killer, and indeed, it does play out a bit like a Tudor age "Seven", with some particularly gruesome and inventive deaths. So in that respect it's a thumbs up over the last entry in the series, the somewhat tepid "Sovereign", during which Matthew and Barak spent most of the book twiddling their thumbs in York waiting for stuff to happen to them. Also more enjoyable this time round was the fact that Shardlake seemed to be back on form again, after Sansom gave the character a particularly rough time in Sovereign. However, a few elements of the style have now started to grate a little. Some of the prose is a little uninventive: more than a couple of time I caught the same set of adjectives being used to describe the same thing within a couple of paragraphs of each other. I also can't work out if Sansom has this subtext going on, where elements of Tudor life are intended to reflect on contemporary issues such as social equality and religious extremism. In particular, there was a bit at the end of this book where one of the characters went on a massive rant about religious intollerance that was maybe supposed to strike a chord with the modern reader. Who knows? I will say that all the books in the series have been consistently entertaining reading, although they do perhaps suffer somewhat from the law of diminising returns.

Will Storr Vs. The Supernatural: One man's search for the truth about ghosts
Will Storr Vs. The Supernatural: One man's search for the truth about ghosts
by Will Storr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.09

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, atmospheric investigative journalism, 4 Jun. 2009
I picked this book up on a whim, mainly for 2 reasons: firstly, it came with a recommendation from Danny Wallace, who at the moment is one of my favourite presenter-author-journalist-comedian-thingies. Secondly, I have had a casual interest in the supernatural since my childhood days when I used to scare myself silly reading children's books full of "real life" accounts of hauntings.

Storr writes with a compelling ease and honesty. He clearly expressed his dilemma, one that I'm sure many of us have contemplated at some point - one can find a lot of reports of ghostly phenomena, but to actually accept them as evidence of an after-life challenges our most fundamental beliefs about the nature of life and the universe, posing some very difficult questions. In order to answer these, Storr dips his toe in to the murky waters of philosophy, religion, psychiatry and even quantum physics.

Many of the characters that Storr meets are unintentionally humorous or even tragi-comic. For the most part he does a good job of presenting the facts and letting the reader make their own minds up about the demonologists, psychics and mediums he meets. Although Storr is never as openly facetious as some of his contemporaries, sometimes I found myself wishing he had pushed a little harder with some of his interviewees. I did detect a subtext that several of these people were attention seeking in an attempt to make up for short-comings in other aspects of their lives - something that was echoed by the psychiatrist that Storr talks with.

I recommend dimming the lights and finding a quiet spot to yourself to read this book. Encounters with the supernatural are often intimately related to the context in which they occur. Reading this book before bed certainly brought back some of that childhood sense of dread upon turning the light off, but as I sit writing this in the June sunshine in a busy coffee shop, I find it hard to believe in an invisible world of ghosts and demons that permeates everyday life.

Walking On A Dream
Walking On A Dream
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £7.35

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sure to be big in 2009 - but try before you buy, 3 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Walking On A Dream (Audio CD)
I bought this album last year on import after being captivated by the video for "walking on a dream" and so have been listening to it for a couple of months now. I think Empire of the Sun will be to 2009 what MGMT were to 2008. This quirky Australian duo draw from a wide template of influences, mainly pop, electronic, and 80s soft-rock. They are already on many people's radar due to placing 4th in the BBCs "Sound of 2009", along with their spectacular concept videos for "Walking on a dream" and "We are the people" doing the rounds on internet. They are bound to be the darlings of the hipster music magazines and I predict that the aforementioned singles will be the sound-track to this summer. However, like MGMT, while the album has a handful of absolute top-drawer potential singles (the latter two, plus "Half Mast" and "Standing on the shore"), which will probably be the catchiest thing you will here all year, overall I would say the album is of patchy quality. "Country" is a nice chilled out instrumental, and "Swordfish Hotkiss night" raises the bar slightly again with its take on Prince styled funk, but there really is nothing else on offer of the quality of the first 4 tracks. My recommendation is to download the first 4 songs, but make sure you check out the rest prior to purchasing. Empire of the Sun are sure to be huge in 2009, and as artists with a fantastic vision, art direction, and potential mega hit singles they deserve it, but the album just isn't the world beater I was hoping for.

3.5 stars
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2010 5:33 PM GMT

Blind Faith
Blind Faith
by Ben Elton
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1984 for the 21st Century, 5 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Blind Faith (Hardcover)
Ben Elton's unnecessary rewriting of 1984, updated for the 21st century (celeb culture, ipods, social networking), covers much the same ground as many of his recent books, where he has previously cast his wry, satirical gaze on reality TV, Friends Reunited and Pop Idol style shows. The cynicism is sometimes a little too transparent (we feel that Ben is talking directly to us about *his* views, rather than the characters) but it is still a fast paced, enjoyable enough romp.

Iron Maiden: 30 Years of the Beast: 30 Years of the Beast - The Complete Biography 1976-2006
Iron Maiden: 30 Years of the Beast: 30 Years of the Beast - The Complete Biography 1976-2006
by Paul Stenning
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best of the beast ..., 4 Dec. 2007
Certainly this book does not deliver on its promises, and is no less revealing than the Mick Wall book, despite Wall's offering being an official release and therefore likely to gloss over some harsh truths.

There are a few things that let this book down. One is factual errors. For example, "Gangland" is an instrumental, it is claimed at one point. Now these things aren't harmful, but it shows at best poor proof reading, at worst Stenning has no idea about his subject. It also calls in to question the validity of other claims if he couldn't get basic facts correct.

Secondly is the author's constant dwelling on somewhat irrelevant topics. This manifests itself on the first page proper, where we have a paragraph dedicated to West Ham's history during the 60s and 70s. Similarly, talking about Holy Smoke we have a paragraph or two dedicated to Jimmy Swaggart, the televangelist on whom Bruce based the Jimmy Reptile character. One feels that Stenning was trying to fill the book up due to a dearth of quality material from first-hand sources close to the band. This manifests itself moreso with the pointless interviews tacked on to each chapter. Want to know what erstwhile keyboard player Tony Moore, a man who spent a lunch break in Maiden during the late 70s, was up to? Wonder no further, although I suspect most of us couldn't give two hoots. Once again, it suggests that Stenning's primary sources were somewhat poor, due to the lack of novel input from the band, and others closely related.

Finally, and this is perhaps more personal taste, I found Stenning's style a little lumpen. In particular, his album reviews can be a little ernest, reading like Patrick Bateman musing about Huey Lewis or Phil Collins.

Stenning does a good job of cobbling together material from secondary sources: official releases, other interviews, old Kerrang interviews and other magazines. The material that Neil Kaye contributed, as about the closest source to the band Stenning had access to, is quite illuminating. For example, we find that he hated Blaze and thought he couldn't sing. Elsewhere there are other tid-bits: Holy Smoke was originally mooted as a title track for what eventually became No Prayer.

Aside from the official bio there aren't many Maiden books around that are in print. However, this is not going to offer much new if you have read that or are otherwise a long-term fan of the band. On the flip side, there are too many mistakes in basic information to make this valuable to a Maiden newbie. It will take time and patience to wade through Stenning's somewhat stodgy style, and there is very little return for doing so. In the end, I admired Stenning for drawing together diverse material from secondary sources, but the lack of interesting and relevant primary sources hampered the material. I was left with the feeling that, as a fan, I could easily have written something of equivalent value, given time and access to a decent collection of Kerrang back-issues.

Price: £7.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A schizophrenic release from a dark period for Alice, 8 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Dada (Audio CD)
These were strange times for the Coop, and the party was definately almost over for him. After the abrasive, new-wave meets military-fetish that was the "Special Forces" album and the directionless "Zipper Catches Skin", Alice reunited with Dick Wagner and Bob Ezrin for 1983's "Dada". Most of the album was produced using the, at the time, new synthesizer technology, which gives the album a somewhat dated feel. Alice was clearly struggling to update his sound for modern times; the true return to form wouldn't come until 1986's hair-metal influenced "Constrictor". However, this remains a compelling curio in the Cooper collection. In hindsight, some of the material here gains more gravitas when you realise that later the same year Alice was hospitalised for his own good, after suffering from severe weight loss, induced by his chronic dependance on alcohol. "Pass the Gun Around" is most obviously a cry for help, but otherwise mildly comedic songs such as "No Man's Land" and "I Love America" also take on a renewed pathos.

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