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KenniPod (London)

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Heaven
Heaven
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.66

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven? Hell yeah!, 6 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Heaven (Audio CD)
I wrote a heartfelt Amazon review of this album when I first heard it but it somehow disappeared into the aether never to be seen by mere mortals - heaven bound no doubt! So here is a better more balanced review, as I've lived with the album for a while now.

Although I was a fan of hers on the X Factor, I wasn't sure if her singing would be too one dimensional across a whole album, and the quality of songs was always going to be a concern. So what a fantastic surprise to find that this debut album is lovely - a beautiful collection of songs that showcase just how good a singer she is.

The one aspect of this album that is gloriously perfect is Rebecca Ferguson's voice - sultry, soulful, and expressive - but also surprisingly accomplished and controlled belying her debut status. The production allows it to come to the forefront, there's no need to hide such a beautiful voice.

There is a temptation to make comparison's between Rebecca and other singers both present and past, but I'm going to resist, she should be recognise for herself, because she can sing the pants off the best of 'em! She has a classic soulfulness to her voice but the songs here dexterously avoid pigeon-holing her - the single Nothing's Real But Love is beautifully spacious and acoustic, Glitter and Gold has a gospel edge to it, Shoulder To Shoulder is heartfelt torch song and one of the best on the album. Fairytale and Mr Bright Eyes are Motownesque - I love Mr Bright Eyes, a sweet dance soundtrack for a hot summer night. My favourite song on the album is Teach Me How To Be Loved, a gentle ballad with just piano and cello for the chorus, just beautiful and understated. In fact there isn't a weak track on this album. And I'm surprised to be saying that! The question was posed on her Facebook page which song was a favourite on the album, well it shouldn't be - it's too hard to settle on just one.

The album comes across as very honest, sweet and unassuming and I suspect it's Rebecca Ferguson's personality shining through, as she has collaborated and has a writing credit on all of the songs on the album. One should also mention Eg White, one of the best songwriter/producer/musicians in the business - in my opinion the best of the songs are collaborations with him, and it's a credit to the record company that they've had enough faith in her to allow her to not only express herself, but have the backing of a very good team, as she acknowledges in her credits.

I haven't stopped playing this album since I bought it, it's an album full of hit singles and should deservedly be an international success.

Welcome to the firmament Rebecca Ferguson!


50 Words for Snow
50 Words for Snow
Offered by produXa UK
Price: £6.80

16 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 23 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 50 Words for Snow (Audio CD)
When I heard about this new album and it's theme of snow and winter, and the fact that many of the songs were lengthy, I was so excited, what better theme for Kate Bush, and her songs given the space and time to develop and mesmerise. I practically had an advent calendar counting down the days to it's release. Christmas come early!
The albums of Radiohead and Kate Bush make me unashamedly OCD - the first play has to be reverently planned, the place, the ambience, my peace of mind, calm of body and soul, everything has to be perfect before I play it.
50 Words for Snow I bought in the bustle of Victoria station on the way home from work, evening passed, and I went to bed and made myself comfortable, and with my super noise cancelling Bose headphones in place, I put on 50 Words for Snow and fell promptly asleep.

But I was very tired from a hectic and loud day, and her beautifully maturing voice and the bare piano are unbelievably soothing and gorgeous, and engulfing.

`Extraordinary' is the perfect adjective for this album, I've played it a few times now, and it's power is extraordinary, lyrically and musically there is so much intricacy and subtlety in these songs, so much precision and control, nothing feels superfluous, there will be something new to discover of it through winter and beyond, it draws you into it's icy world, gradually envelopes you and seeps into your soul.

With the first track, Snowflake, you fall into her winter world, with a myriad of snowflakes descending out of a snow-filled sky. It is a beautiful evocation of winter, snow is falling onto the loudness of the world, quietening it. Like a benign winter wraith reassuring her snow child who is lost and alone amid the drift of falling snow, Kate sings a simple refrain for a chorus,`The world is so loud, keep falling and I'll find you.' The sparse piano, and gentle repeating motifs evoke falling snow so beautifully. You have been gently landed into this wintery world to explore, and each of the following songs transports you to a different place.

Lake Tahoe is the setting for a ghost story, about a drowned victorian woman who rises out of the waters, searching for her beloved dog. It is a simple story, But it resonates like ripples in that lake's dark water, with a world of longing and loneliness, of love and of loss. Like Mrs Bartolozzi, the hanging washing on the line, and the song's washing machine refrain, here, the mundane details of the ghost's remembered life, and the last moments her dying dog's life, become profound and heartbreaking. I love the forlorn sighs at the end of the song, and listen out for Kate's barking dog (-0.27)!

Misty is a fantasy, of love, and of the loss of love, much in the mould of Man With the Child in His Eyes. There're some beautiful observations, `he is full of dead leaves . . . grasses from slumbering lawns' and very evocative guitar playing, echoing like melting snow. It is eccentric and beautiful.

Wild Man transports you up into the mountains of Napal following the footprints of the Wild Man in the snow. This is the playful Kate, the Wild Man is a free spirit of the snow, staring down from the roof of the world, lopping down mountainsides, but threatened by those that would hunt him down and kill him. But he has friends who keep him safe, `we found footprints in the snow, we brushed them all away'.

Snowed In At Wheeler Street continues the more lamenting themes and is about eternal love, lovers thwarted by world events, from the burning of Rome, the French Revolution, the Second World War, to 9/11. `The world won't stop turning' and love is eternally found and lost, lost and found. Both Kate and Elton sing with such gravitas and emotion, and a collaboration I was unsure of actually works perfectly.

The title track, 50 Words For Snow has Stephen Fry being challenged into reciting fifty different ways of describing snow, another amusing song that takes it's snow descriptions from all over the world, from different cultures and languages, a world of snow!

Among Angels, the final song, is raw and emotional, and it's honesty and directness seems to be emphasised by it's false start. With just a sparse piano accompaniment to the fore, and minimal strings at the end, it is sung beautifully and unadorned, it is for me one of Kate's most affecting songs. It is a compassionate message for someone who is despairing and unable to see where help will come from. Hope is offered, `I can see angels standing around you. They shimmer like mirrors in summer.' The song ends almost abruptly, the last line hanging in the air as an extended note of the violins fades away to nothing. It is an intriguing way to end the song, because it seems to leave the album suspended, without an end. But sadly, end it does.

This is an exceptional album from a gentler more mature Kate Bush, and I believe both musically and lyrically some of these songs are her best yet. Her perceptions are changing, and it is coming through in her music, but creatively she is still fearless, eccentric and groundbreaking. It's sad but inevitable that some people may find her last two albums too contemplative, to serious in intent. But she is an intelligent and thoughtful artist, she is not stagnating, creatively tied to or re-creating ad nauseam her passed glories. She is as original and challenging as she was when she first emerged with Wuthering Heights, and is surpassing her previous output, which is what makes her one of Britain's greatest artists, bar non.

This Christmas morning, which I hope will be frosty and quiet under a blanket of snow, I know what the first thing I do will be.


Bruch, Wieniawski & Ole Bull
Bruch, Wieniawski & Ole Bull
Price: £15.03

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great talent, 8 Oct. 2011
I heard Charlie Siem perform Bruch and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending earlier this week, he was outstanding, particularly inThe Lark Ascending. Life has been kind, he has a great talent, a virtuoso violinist with `pop star' good looks! This album is one that is personal to him, the video on Amazon is a good introduction to him and this new album, and should you like what you hear, his previous album is definitely also worth investing in. It is great to see the emerging young stars in Classical music and Charlie Siem is one of the brightest and most promising.


Islands Disappear
Islands Disappear
Price: £18.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous folk/pop., 3 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Islands Disappear (Audio CD)
I heard Said the Whale this year as part of Canadian Blast which toured the UK promoting Canadian artists - I went to see another band, but Said the Whale just blew me away. They are just awesome - I love this album more than I can say! If you like Fleet Foxes, Mumford, Beirut, then give this a listen - they play very gorgeous happy folk/pop, and they are very much themselves and original in their sound, they seem to know where they want to go with their music and aren't influenced overtly, which makes me think it's only a matter of time before they break big, like Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes, who also did their own thing. Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft are the song writers and lead singers, great lyricists, great tunes! If I had to pick, stand-out tracks for me are False Creek Change, A Cold Night Close to the End, B. C. Orienteering, Emerald lake, AB. There is also an earlier album, Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia that for a first album is stunningly assured and one of my favourite tracks of their's is on it, The Light Is You, one of the sweetest and shortest love songs you'll ever hear! (watch the great video on YouTube).


Roots: My Life, My Song†
Roots: My Life, My Song†
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £13.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sadly lacklustre addition to her canon, 1 May 2011
While I essentially agree with the previous assessment I think 1 star unnecessarily harsh. Admittedly it is a difficult album to listen to if you are familiar with the quality and accomplishment of her previous output. Considering the inspiration behind this set of songs, it is a sadly lacklustre performance with very little evidence of the power and control she is famed for. Rating this CD is difficult, it would be a pleasant enough listen but for the formidable diva that Miss Norman is and the exacting standards that we expect of her. I considered a 3 star but it seems too much, as I can't in honesty, recommend it.


Shelter [2007] [DVD]
Shelter [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Rowe
Offered by Gayfilmlover
Price: £6.49

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly Romantic . . ., 25 April 2011
This review is from: Shelter [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I don't like the main review on Amazon, it makes the film sound trite and formulaic. So I'm adding this review a year or so since I bought Shelter with the advantage that I can say I've watched it a good few times since.

Shelter is - without being cloying and clichéd - an unashamedly romantic love story that is positive and life-affirming. On the face of it, it may give the impression of being a stereotypical gay romance but I don't think categorising it as such does it justice. Jonah Markowitz's script is intelligent and subtle, giving dimension to the story and it's characters where most films disappoint, especially I'm afraid to say, most gay films. His directing debut is surprisingly accomplished and gives an appreciable sense of place and time. The central characters of Zack and Shaun (beautifully acted by Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe) have a history to their attraction which gives their relationship and subsequent love affair a continuity and believability that the main review misses in its arch `they hit the surf and Shaun's mattress with equal enthusiasm', suggesting as it does, thoughtless promiscuous abandon.

Other characters - Gabe(Ross Thomas) his best friend and the `jock', Tori(Katie Walder) his beautiful school sweetheart and Jeanne(Tina Holmes) his wayward elder sister - could all have been awful one dimensional caricatures but Markowitz draws them with sympathy and empathy so they surprise you with their actions against type - but only in a `filmic' sense, because I was left thinking that actually, yes, most people are like that in real life and are not one dimensional - they can be kind and understanding, selfish and thoughtless, prejudiced or cruel, all wrapped up in one complicated person, and more often than not, their humanity ultimately comes through.

I should also mention the songs of Shane Mack on the soundtrack which was an inspired choice - I'd never heard him before and bought the soundtrack on the strength of his songs alone, although I'm not so keen on the `fillers'.

So that's me: hopelessly romantic, or at least, I can be, and so is Shelter, and although light-hearted, there is a lot of art apparent in the making of it and I don't think it will disappoint.


Sigh No More (Ltd Edition Three Disc Box Set)
Sigh No More (Ltd Edition Three Disc Box Set)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's he on about?!, 21 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It took me a while but I finally `got' Mumford and Sons when I put aside all my (unjust) prejudices against both their success and their `roots' and listened to the album in full. I love the earnestness in the songs, there's a lot of passion in Marcus' voice, and they're great musicians. They are quintessentially redneck English gentlemen in the nicest possible way.

But what on earth are the songs about?! Mumford has been feted for his lyrics but I find them frustratingly obscure - an individual phrase or sentiment here and there is poetic and moving, but I don't understand them on the whole. This is where Mumford differ from traditional folk, where the message tends to be simple and emotive. I'm aware of the literary sources (and I've not read Steinbeck) but surely the sense of a song should stand alone and not have to be referenced back to the source to gain an understanding of it?

But I'll forgive them, they're great live, and I sing along with the best of them with heart-felt gusto. There's nothing like swearing along with the band a few hundred people at the top of your voice.

Five stars then? Well, why not, for a debut album it is unbelievably accomplished, it's one of a select set of (4) recent albums I'm playing on rotation and the only one for which I've taken time to learn the lyrics to so I can sing along. They were definitely deserving of the Brit Award, and I'm looking forward to a great gig in Hyde Park, along with Arcade Fire and Beirut - for me, a line-up made in heaven.

Oh and, this cloth bound CD pack is brilliant value, but reading the instructions on the CD the documentary film isn't actually loaded, the CD has to be inserted into a computer to stream the film. I haven't tried to watch it yet having watched it on Youtube but will update this review if this is not the case.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2011 12:02 AM BST


The Road
The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A Guaranteed Future Classic, 17 April 2011
This review is from: The Road (Paperback)
The Road is a stunning piece of literature of the highest order and I have no doubt it is a future classic. But I'm not surprised by some of the negative reviews. This isn't formulaic sci-fi or horror, that is not its raison d'étre. It is not a thrill ride, it is not going to dazzle with future science or terrify you with graphically imagined horror. if that's what you expect don't read it!

This book is mesmerising from it's first page - the writing is beautiful, spare but precise, poetic and brilliantly evocative. The story is deceptive in it's simplicity, it is on the face of it an apocalyptic tale of the struggle of a man and his son to survive on an earth that, through the fire of some unnamed catastrophe, has become an alien and inhospitable planet to life. But it it is also a lament on the human condition. There is greed, cruelty and the most horrific depravity - humanity at it's most base. But there is also unconditional love, kindness and selflessness - hope and the endurance of the human spirit in the face of the most tragic and hopeless of circumstances.

The power of the book lies in McCarthy's beautifully rendered relationship between the man and his son through the merest of dialogue and the routinely commonplace acts in their lives on their harrowing journey of survival on the road. And then there is the dying planet, so subtle and convincing in the writing, it surrounds you, descriptions so well observed as to seem pragmatic. Every sensory perception we have of the blue planet is dismantled, the colours, the sounds, the multitudinous life, the light and the warmth. By his parring human experience down to it's most basic components, we are left contemplating every aspect of life and existence - who we are when much of what defines us is taken away? Do we revert to amoral beasts whose only instinct is survival? Can we find strength from within us to do what is right when our faith in God is lost? It is about faith in God, faith in the innocent, faith in Mankind, in our capacity for good. It is a presentiment of a natural catastrophe that becomes irreversible. It is perhaps a metaphor for an author contemplating his mortality and the future of his young son, to whom the book was dedicated. It is a multi-faceted intriguing book, but also boldly humane and ineffably moving.

This is the first Corman McCarthy book that I have read I'm embarrassed to say, but I'm relishing the thought that there are nine more books that I can have the pleasure of reading from this extraordinary author.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Rucksack, 9 April 2011
I'm just back from hiking in the Lake District and this rucksack was a great day sack, comfortable, the wind tunnel system worked very well, the rain cover was very much appreciated! The pockets are useful, the lacing on the front was initially irritating but came into its own when I had to expand the rucksack to take on more items and strapped into the lacing two bulky jackets. There is a useful inner net pocket and a zipped pocket at the top for more easily accessible items. The construction is what you would expect from Karrimor, strong, sturdy and smart.

I am chuffed that I got such a good quality Karrimor daypack to go with my larger Karrimor rucksack at such an unbelievable bargain price.

There is a slight issue with the belting, but I didn't buckle it up and don't feel justified in marking it down at this price.


AVANTE - Glass CD / DVD Blu-ray / Media Storage Shelves
AVANTE - Glass CD / DVD Blu-ray / Media Storage Shelves

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect storage, 9 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This shelf is great, easy to assemble, has clean modern lines and is perfect for storing CDs and DVDs - once the shelves are full you don't see the rods, just the CDs and DVDs `suspended' cleanly. I'm trying to figure where I can place another one in my living room so I can display more of my CDs and DVDs for ease of use. The shelf was also delivered in very good time, so highly recommended.


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