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Reviews Written by
David Lovie (Aberdeen, United Kingdom)

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Ed Hardy Art for Life
Ed Hardy Art for Life
by Alan B. Govenar
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice introduction to the work of Ed Hardy, 2 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Ed Hardy Art for Life (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ed Hardy: Art For Life is a book looking at the celebrated tattoo artist Ed Hardy, giving an introduction to the man himself and how he got to where he is today, and also a look into some of his artwork.

The Book begins with a seven page introduction/biography of Ed giving an insight into his life and work, which is then confusingly repeated twice in separate languages (German and French I believe) before moving to a picture orientated format, showing examples of his artwork with footnotes explaining where the work is from and giving out some small details. Interestingly despite being known as a tattoo artist, these examples are all given as the drawn, rather than tattooed versions of the art, other than some of his work with ceramics which is shown as the final product.

The book is one I would recommend as an interesting read for someone unfamiliar with his work, the introduction and work giving a nice basic outlook of him and his work, though for someone who already knows of his work it could be quite basic and short, but interesting none the less.

My one complaint is the slight confusion over language at the start, as an English speaking reader, it would have made sense to have devoted the foreign language space to better images of the artwork shown alongside the text, or for more examples of his work. My other thought is that with the introduction the inset images change with each language each picking up on some of the works mentioned in the text, for example the text mentions a D.N.A. artwork, which is shown in the French section - something I only realised after reading through the text and moving on to the artwork itself.

Verbatim  49033 Bluetooth Laser Notebook Mouse
Verbatim 49033 Bluetooth Laser Notebook Mouse
Offered by Initpc
Price: £35.28

3.0 out of 5 stars more than acceptable, even if I do have other preferences..., 22 July 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Verbatim 49033 is a bluetooth mouse designed for use with laptop computers with bluetooth built in as an alternative to a rf wireless mouse requiring a USB dongle - the obvious benefit being that it gives back the USB port needed to run the rf mouse though using the built in bluetooth. As such it is ideal as a companion to a laptop - easy to pop in a bag and carry with you without any cable mess.

Powering on the mouse and pairing with my Macbook it worked straight away without any need to load in the included software, giving the standard mouse controls (control of the pointer, left/right click and scroll wheel) which is just as well, as the software seemed reluctant to install for me, so I was not given access to some of hte fancier controls available - the option to toggle between various sensitivity levels via the top button and the left/right toggle on the scroll wheel.

In use I am comparing it to the Logitech V470 I previously owned, which comes in at around the same price, but without the control of sensitivity.
To give a quick answer, I would put my vote in for the Logitech - it seems much more 'designed' with a more ergonomic and comfortable shape in the hand, and I was able to quickly dial in the sensitivity just right though my mac's settings. The Verbatim on the other hand is much more squared off and and not so fitting of the hand, and I cannot seem to get it set in just the right fashion. This I believe the sensitivity control could have been a good solution to, depending on how easy it was to use for switching between scrolling the width of the screen, then slowing down for a fine control over the mouse at your target.
Build quality also goes to the Logitech, partly through the more graceful curves and design, but it just seems better made and less plasticy in parts than the more utilitarian and simple Verbatim

The Verbatim as is still seems to be a more than acceptable mouse, accuracy seems great and it is easy to use, but for the same money, the Logitech v470 seems to do the basic job better. Had the software worked for me I may well have been commenting on how excellent the added features of the Verbatim are, but for now I will be sticking to my Logitech v470

Live It Out
Live It Out
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, if not spectacular, 24 April 2009
This review is from: Live It Out (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Live it out is the debut album from the Dutch artist Alain Clark - Someone well known and with some well charting hits in the Netherlands, but relatively unheard of outwith his home country. The release and promotion of Live it Out being the start of his entry into a foreign (or home to us that live in the Uk already) market.

Alain Clark has created a sound trying to combine the modern sounds of RnB and pop sensibilities with a more classic soul orientation and feeling often missing from modern music. He puts his voice to good use - a sound echoing some classic artists such as Prince or Lenny Kravitz over some competent if slightly cliché at times instrumental work. I can see this being fairly successful should the media and charts pick up on it, following on from people like Craig David in sound and style.

For me personally it is a bit bland at times, with many of the sounds and songs being done before by other artists, beyond that though, a nice chilled and soulful album. I think three stars describes it perfectly for me - competant and without any real complaints, just not personally outstanding.

Bare Bones
Bare Bones
Price: £9.87

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 24 April 2009
This review is from: Bare Bones (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bare Bones is the fourth album from Madeleine Peyroux, and the first to feature a full album of original work without any of the more familiar jazz standards she covered previously.

This album really takes me back to the olden days of 50's and 60's jazz, but brought up to date in a way that doesn't detract from what made the older music work. The music itself is beautifully relaxed, the instrumentation all providing a relaxed and perfectly fitting backdrop to Madeleine's soft and well sung lyrics.

My one complaint is something that in some ways with this album also seems to work well - my comment being that everything all does follow a fairly regular tempo and style, so can get slightly samey as you listen through the tracks. In this case it can also count as a plus, as personally at least I put something like this on to relax, where subtle variations are nice and I don't want to hear huge jumps in style throughout, for which Madeleine Peyroux fits the bill perfectly.

If you are looking for something laid back and relaxing, then you can't go far wrong here. A beautifully done album.

Twisted Wheel
Twisted Wheel

4.0 out of 5 stars Energetic rock, 24 April 2009
This review is from: Twisted Wheel (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Twisted Wheel is the self titled debut from the Oldham band Twisted Wheel, released in April 2009 off the bands last tour supporting Oasis.

Compared to the tour headliners Oasis, Twisted Wheel bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to their music, blending together the sound of the aforemented Oasis with the lyrics and style of other modern bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Fratellis, but also adding in a healthy dollop of classic rock and punk - you can hear the influence bands like the Jam, the Clash and ever the more raw moments of the Who have had on Twisted Wheel creating a raw, modern rock that feels instantly familiar with a healthy amount of energy to keep you rocking throughout. The sort of sound that really needs to be heard live to be appreciated fully, yet is shown off admirably here.

The familiarity of he sound at the same time both gives a good and bad effect on the album, you do feel at home with the band, but the lack of surprise in the music is a bit of a downside in the long term - though I am very interested to hear where Twisted Wheel go from here.

Overall an enjoyable album, and a good listen, but nothing really groundbreaking or new to the musical world.

Verbatim  49800 Rapier Gaming Mouse Pad (black)
Verbatim 49800 Rapier Gaming Mouse Pad (black)

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job perfectly, if without any excitement, 22 Mar. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Rapier mousemat is aimed to be a companion to your matching Verbatim Rapier mouse, but is equally at home with whatever you personal choice in mouse is (personally, a Logitech v470 bluetooth mouse). Aimed more towards the gaming crowd it is setup to be a simple, no frills pad to give accurate tracking whatever surface you are on and to that end also has a non slip surface on the back to stop it shifting around under extreme mousing conditions.

It comes in a plain black, shaped with a curved front edge and of a generous size that should cope with most users. It is almost nice to see something designed for 'gamers' in such a simple and functional format - lacking the gaudy designs and angles of many products designed more to look 'cool' than look at home on a computer desk - be that office or home (the box on the other hand conforms to the usual fire and 'exciting' graphics ideal).

In use I can't really say anything other than it does the job on it box - The mouse tracks perfectly and the .5mm height sits unobtrusively on the desk (unlike a traditional foam backed mousemat which generally will have a much more noticable and distracting height).

if you are looking for a functional, generously sized and unobtrusive mousemat, then this should suit perfectly.

Ode to Sunshine
Ode to Sunshine

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern update of a classic sound., 21 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Ode to Sunshine (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ode To Joy is the first full-length album from San Diego's Delta Spirit, bringing together the sounds of older Americana like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but added together with a range of other elements - listening through you can pick up influences in places like soul music and odd references to some of the older pop groups like The Kinks or The Beach Boys. Add to this an array of instrumentation used to full effect alongside some passionate and emotional vocals and lyrics.

The album manages to fit well perfectly without ever sounding samey, and managed to twist the distinctive sound of the band through a wide selection of tones and sounds, from the groove and hook of `Trashcan" with its swirling piano and fast pace and more distorted sounds and rock influence of "Parade" or "Children", then back to the more mournful setting of "People C'mon" or "Bleeding Bells".

Delta Spirit adds a great modern twist on a classic sound and come out on top. For someone with an interest in older Americana or more modern music like Josh Ritter this would be a fantastic buy and a brilliant new approach to the genre.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2009 11:25 PM GMT

Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story
Standard Operating Procedure: A War Story
by Errol Morris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A look at the events of the Iraq war from another perspective..., 16 Jan. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Standard Operating Procedure is a book that looks at some of the events during the Iraq war taking place in the Abu Gharib prison - most obviously the back story to some of the photographs of 'abuse' to prisoners that were leaked to the press.

It follows some of the military police members assigned to one of the more notorious cell blocks, and gives you a tour of what they were expected to be doing every day, and the orders they were expected to follow and the inevitable results. It makes no excuses for the war, or attempts to explain why what happened was ordered from above, but follows the 'grunts' doing the dirty work to show what was commonplace and some of the stories to explain incidents like the photos of inmates holding electrical wires or on a leash on the floor.

The book left me with mixed emotions, you can obviously see there was something horribly wrong happening in the prison, and how that affected the soldiers and their actions and reactions. While the book does take the time to explain the more notorious photos, it also makes a point of not showing the images themselves to let the book also take in the other happenings and day to day life of the soldiers.

Not a happy read by any means, but a great explanation of some of the well publicised happenings and a good chance to find out something of how it all came about looking from a new perspective.

Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict
Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict
by Seb Hunter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The autobiography of an interest in metal., 10 Dec. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hell Bent for Leather is the autobiography of Seb Hunter following his years as a fan of metal, from hearing his first notes of AC/DC, through years of playing in bands, trying to make it big and following the styles and trends until Kurt Cobain appeared on the scene and ruined the fun for everyone. As such is is in many ways not really an autobiography of Seb Hunter the person, but of his interest in music and the accompanying lifestyle.

For anyone with in interest in metal and music a lot of the book will be hauntingly familiar - following a story many tread during the 80's of listening to the music, starting bands with friends and making sure you all had the style perfect. This book looks back to detail these times, but at the same time with a bit of modern knowledge and hindsight and somewhat facing the reality of what was really happening with things like the 'cool' dress sense and how brilliant the band making a racket in a friends house actually were...

Despite the almost average backing of the storyline, the book is an entertaining read, following Seb's journey both the good and bad parts - to pick an example the joy of being in the big city to 'make it big' with the band, but at the same time scraping a living and only just surviving in real life.

For anyone with an interest in music this is a great book to give you an walkthrough of trends past and the lifestyle many adopted during those years (compared to what is considered 'cool' in alternative music nowadays and its own trends) and anyone looking for a fairly easily read book that still manages to get its point across and follows both the uplifting and downtrodden life of music.

Naruto The Movie 2: Legend Of The Stone Of Gelel [DVD]
Naruto The Movie 2: Legend Of The Stone Of Gelel [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hirotsugu Kawasaki
Offered by Disc-uk
Price: £8.84

3.0 out of 5 stars Naruto Fans Only, 27 Nov. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I came to this DVD as someone familiar with some of the better known anime available in the UK, but having never seen any of the Naruto through the TV series or other formats. Because of this I am instantly left far behind with this film, knowing nothing of the character Naruto, his powers or anything of the other supporting characters, and the film does nothing to help me out leaving me to pick up on the various characters and alliances as I continued through the film.

Because of this the film was really lost on me, I can see it being a hit with fans of the series, but as an outsider it didn't really offer much to draw me in. To pick a few comparisons, it lacks the charm and characters of the Ghibli films, and while the action is fast paced and explosive, it lacks the back story and development of something like Akira to draw me in. Again this is something that will be a non-issue to a fan, who already has a good idea of all the characters and settings involved so will be at ease and not trying to figure everything out as it evolves.

Technically I do have one complaint with my copy of the DVD. I will say this with the caveat that my copy is a pre-release version, so hopefully the final version may have been finished slightly differently. The problem that I kept picking up on was the range in volume apparent in the film, One moment you can be immersed in one of the action scenes at a good listening volume, but there were multiple points where it then cut to a more distant shot where I had to then crank up the volume to hear the dialogue easily, which then had it turned right up when the volume picked up again (as the `source' on screen drew nearer or it cut to another scene). This was picked up on in a generic household - there were TV's on in other rooms and people about, but nothing that has ever distracted me and given this problem in other films. As I said above, mine is an early copy, so the full release could very well be improved.

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