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Matthew Notley (Guildford, UK)

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Dedication: The very best of Thin Lizzy (Off the record)
Dedication: The very best of Thin Lizzy (Off the record)
by Thin Lizzy (Group)
Edition: Unknown Binding

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sheet music, 15 April 2015
Barnes Music Engraving were responsible for the best sheet music books ever produced, and this is no exception. Gorgeous presentation and wonderfully detailed, very easy to read and follow. Contains all vocals, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards. A dream publication for any musician. Sure, the transcriptions aren't completely accurate but they come pretty damn close. The work that must have gone into these books is immense. It's just a shame that it doesn't contain all that many songs, only a selection of 9.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me [Blu-ray] (1992)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me [Blu-ray] (1992)
Dvd ~ Sheryl Lee
Price: £7.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The best part of the Twin Peaks saga, 25 Feb. 2015
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The best part of the Twin Peaks saga, although it has a very different tone to the TV show. Where that was like a quirky soap opera mystery, the film is a full on psychological horror. It's dark, disturbing, genuinely scary and brilliant. This can be difficult to watch, but it's essential to putting the entire Twin Peaks mystery together. Highly recommended - although, if you haven't watched the original TV series then it will make absolutely no sense.

Queen: Live At The Rainbow '74 [SD] [Blu-ray] [2014]
Queen: Live At The Rainbow '74 [SD] [Blu-ray] [2014]
Dvd ~ Queen
Price: £16.79

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the holy grails of Queen releases here at last, 10 Sept. 2014
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Fantastic remastering job of an amazing era for Queen. Their early stuff really is their best, huge loud heavy guitar rock. If you enjoy Queen for 'Radio Ga Ga' and 'A Kind of Magic' then this is not for you. This is the real Queen that so many of us wish they would acknowledge more often. There are songs on here that I never thought I would get the opportunity to hear live.

Here's hoping for a lot more '70s archive releases, especially if the quality is this good. This is an SD blu-ray meaning that the picture quality isn't really much of an improvement over the standard DVD, but it's still probably the best way to watch it. It's quite a dark concert and you don't get much of an impression of the crowd, but the band are absolutely on form and so delightfully young.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2014 10:35 AM BST

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget it
Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget it
by Gabriel Wyner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.79

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly the best guide to learning a language (any language) written to ..., 17 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Certainly the best guide to learning a language (any language) written to date. It focuses on ingenious methods to remember information and - very importantly - making the process interesting and personal to you. It makes heavy use of the resources which modern technology and the internet makes available to us. Highly recommended to anybody seriously intent on learning a foreign language.

I'm still in the early stages, but can already say that the methods work. 7 days of using the SRS memory methods described and I've pretty much learnt 90% of the International Phonetic Alphabet by heart (a very useful tool for helping your pronunciation).

The Gentleman Tramp
The Gentleman Tramp
Price: £1.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful storytelling, 22 Feb. 2014
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A tale full of adventure, romance and emotion. With the added bonus that it's really funny. The image alone of an English gentleman and Charlie Chaplin impersonator making his way through Thailand and Brazil is enough to conjure up a smile. This is a well-told story which contains entertainment on every page, and features a likeable protagonist that you can't help but root for. His adventures will make you laugh, cringe and cry. It's a relatable story of somebody trying to find their place in a world that doesn't really make sense to them, trying to overcome personal fears and low self esteem and discovering what they are capable of. Great stuff.

Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 18 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Cannibal (MP3 Download)
Massive return to form after the disappointing Neck of the Woods. Sounds like their earlier stuff, more melodic and immediate.

Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £18.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent deluxe package of an interesting first album, 10 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Gish (Audio CD)
I've was a latecomer to The Smashing Pumpkins, discovering them around the time they first broke up (2000). I became quite familiar with their most famous output, but their first album Gish remained mostly undiscovered for me. I knew the singles and quite liked them but the album tracks were unknown.

So, this deluxe repackaging was my first proper experience of Gish. I've had it on heavy rotation for the past week and it's certainly an album I shouldn't have ignored for so long. Saying that, it does not represent the Pumpkins at their best and feels almost amateur compared to what would come next. As Billy Corgan says in the notes, this album is much more about the music than the vocals which at times seem almost incidental. Billy is not developed as a songwriter here and most of the songs do not contain hooks and often meander then end up somewhere else. Most of the album is quite heavy, but there are a couple of more acoustic tracks which provide a very welcome change.

If I was being harsh, I could say that the album is lacking in ideas. Upon first lesson you could be forgiven for not being able to tell I Am One and Bury Me apart. The songs own voices do emerge on repeated listens. Stand out tracks for me are Tristessa, Siva (what a riff!) and Rhinoceros (that probably being the most fully formed song on the album with a gorgeous chorus). Then there are the ones which still leave very little impression upon me, such as Snail and Suffer. The album does flow and is clearly intended as a complete listening experience from beginning to end.

Remastered here, the album sounds fantastic. I don't have the original to compare it to, but I certainly can't fault the audio quality.

The bonus disc is very interesting. I know that The Smashing Pumpkins have always been very prolific with a huge amount of b-sides and unreleased songs which I've never explored properly. Billy Corgan is a perfectionist which means that the many "demo" songs contained here sound completely finished and have excellent sound quality. And there is some really excellent stuff here. Starla initially seems a daunting track at 11 minutes long, but it's beautiful and dynamic, perhaps overshadowing most of the album tracks. Numerous demo versions or different recordings of the songs on the album appear here and they all sound a bit more aggressive or rawer, which in many cases may make them a bit better depending on your point of view (although you'll notice Billy sometimes has trouble singing in tune). The Sub Pop single version of Tristessa is particularly nice. Honeyspider and Pulseczar go into more psychedelic territory, with the latter one falling completely flat for me. Thought has been put into how this bonus disc flows and it makes a great piece of listening by itself rather than just a collection of curiosities.

The DVD is the weakest part of the set. We get a short live show from 1990 which has pretty bad, blurry video quality. The audio is very clear, although Billy's voice is far too crisp in the mix and the drums have a horrible fake reverb effect. The show itself felt quite dull to me as we are given an okay performance of Gish album tracks plus some covers which really aren't very interesting. The band don't come across as particularly refined, they seem anxious and D'arcy even looks bored. Billy hardly says a word to the audience who are very docile. It's the sort of thing I'll watch once and not bother with again however nice it is to have.

Overall, this is a high quality example of what a deluxe reissue should be. It comes in a very sturdy and well designed box. Not the Pumpkins' best album by any stretch of the imagination (I'm controversial: for me, Adore is the best thing they've ever done though many would disagree).

Last flight Of The Space Shuttle [Blu-ray]
Last flight Of The Space Shuttle [Blu-ray]
Offered by Panns.Media
Price: £9.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very unengaging, 22 April 2013
I originally thought this would be the excellent Channel 4 documentary 'The Space Shuttle's Last Flight' shown in 2011. Upon a bit more research I found out that this was a different Discovery Channel documentary, but I decided to order it anyway.

It's really not very good. Nowhere near as engaging, entertaining or revealing as the Channel 4 documentary. Quite bland and lacking any emotional resonance. For NASA obsessives only.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Patrick Stewart
Price: £15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent blu-ray, below average season, 8 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The remastering job done for this release is absolutely stellar. The amount of work and effort put in to bringing the visuals of this show up to scratch really shows. For years we've been used to the soft videotape look of The Next Gen, and suddenly here it is in wonderful clarity. It's presented in 4x3 because a widescreen presentation would have been too problematic, and ultimately this is how the show was shot and is meant to be seen.

The special effects have been lovingly recreated and re-composited. Don't worry, there are no George Lucas style reworkings going on here, an effort has been made to preserve the original style of the effects shots.

So, the only iffy things here are the episodes themselves. Season 1 of The Next Gen is not a great bunch of episodes, especially in comparison to what would come. It can be forgiven much of the time, it was a new show trying to find it's way and it was restricted by the budget and styling of the late 1980s. But still, there is some very dodgy acting and dialogue and the stories sometimes feel like they are taken from The Original Series back in the 60s. Characters haven't quite found their place yet - LaForge is strangely hyperactive a lot of the time, Worf is slightly more awkward, Wesley is... well, he was always like that really, wasn't he?

However, I will say that watching season 1 on blu-ray has made it a more enjoyable experience. I can honestly say that I never expected I would watch season 1 again, but I'm actually having quite a lot of fun with it. Although there are a lot of quite silly episodes which almost make you embarrassed to be watching (Justice, When the Bough Breaks, Hide and Q, Angel One) that's not to say there isn't some good stuff on here (Conspiracy, Coming of Age, Datalore).

It's a weak season of a great show (if you're wondering, season 3 is where the show really began to become classic Star Trek). It's a show I've been away from for a long time and I'm glad to be watching it again. It's worth a purchase because it looks absolutely incredible. Watch the previews before each episode, which show clips from the show in their unremastered format, and compare that to the episode which follows. It's stunning.

In addition, the special features are fantastic as well. The centrepiece is an excellent new 90 minute documentary focusing on the first season. We are also given all bonus features from the DVD release. If buying all of TNG on blu-ray means that the superb Deep Space Nine will get the remastered treatment then I'm in all the way! In the meantime, I'm going to really enjoy these releases.

Price: £14.40

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous follow-up, 13 April 2009
This review is from: Swoon (Audio CD)
While this album is not as immediate as Carnavas, it's a real grower. Little melodies and chord movements will slowly being to leap out at you and eventually you realise this is a really beautiful album. The addition of an orchestra adds a huge amount of texture to some tracks, although at times it feels overused and may have benefited from being more subtle.

The Smashing Pumpkins comparisons will still be made, but I felt that the sound created here moves the band more towards their own sound than Carnavas did. I can hear bits of Muse in there, but honestly, there's not really any mistaking SSPU for any other band when their songs play. While it may sound derived from others they've very much put their own seal on it.

As with Carnavas, the track order isn't the best it could be as the strongest tracks are definitely in the first half of the album. Notably, 'The Royal We' and 'It's Nice to Know you Work Alone' are pop-rock classics. 'Growing Old is Getting Old' starts off deceptively calm but grows into something incredible with wonderful use of vocal harmonies and swirly aggressive guitars.

I'm glad this band are living up to their potential and emerging as one of my favourites. I'd give it 4.5 stars.

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