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Sid Nuncius (London)

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GranVela Clip Desk Lamp Gooseneck Tube Touch Sensitive LED USB Rechargeable, Dimmable Portable Lightweight Desk Table Reading Study Bedside Lamp Light
GranVela Clip Desk Lamp Gooseneck Tube Touch Sensitive LED USB Rechargeable, Dimmable Portable Lightweight Desk Table Reading Study Bedside Lamp Light
Offered by GranVela Co., Ltd
Price: £33.30

4.0 out of 5 stars A good lamp, 27 Aug. 2016
This lamp was sent to me for review, and I'm impressed overall. It's an inexpensive item so I thought it might be a bit flimsy and not work all that well, but I was wrong. It seems well made and works well .

The lamp comes well boxed with a user manual and a USB charging cable. A minor gripe is that it's a pin connection so you need to use this specific lead; micro-USB would have been more flexible, but it's a trivial complaint really. Charging is simple and the lamp just works. There is a very sensitive touch control which toggles through three increasing brightness levels and then to off again.

The whole thing seems well made. The base will act as a stand if the neck isn't extended sideways so it topples over, and has a good, strong clamp which makes it very versatile. The clamp is designed so that it grips with two quite sharp plastic bits (see photo), which may mark softer surfaces; it marked the leather on my Kindle cover when I tested it there, for example, so do be careful. It is fine when gripping hard surfaces like a desk or shelf, but I think it could have been better thought-out.

The neck is a sensible length and very flexible so you can point the light in pretty well any direction. I find it very good for working by or reading, for example. The battery life is pretty good: the claimed times here of 8hours (low light), 6 hours (medium) and 3 hours (brightest) seem about right.

In short, this is a very decently made, nice looking and practical lamp which is a good deal better than I expected, to be honest – with the proviso about the clip design. It's too early to say how durable it is, but it seems robust; I will update this review if I have any problems. For now, I'm very pleased with mine and I can recommend it.
Comment Comment | Permalink

Pour La Violle Et Le Theorbe (Perl, Santana)
Pour La Violle Et Le Theorbe (Perl, Santana)
Price: £8.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely disc, 26 Aug. 2016
I am a great admirer of the work of Hille Perl, although I haven't always liked her collaborations with Lee Santana (their recent Born To Be Mild, for example). However, this is first-rate, I think.

These are some of Marais' gamba works with the basso continuo arranged for the theorbo. It's a lovely combination of sounds, which Perl and Santana use to produce a very fine disc. The overall sound is fabulous, rich and deep and there's plenty of melodic and harmonic invention here, too (as one would expect from Marais.) Both play beautifully, with virtuosity, mutual understanding and an obvious love for what they are playing.

The result is a disc of very satisfying music which rewards careful listening, but you can also just sit back and luxuriate in the sound (beautifully recorded by DHM). The notes are in Hille Perl's usual…er…individual style which may suit others better than it does me, but there is plenty of scholarly content too. It's a really good disc, and one which I can recommend very warmly.

USB Type C Cable,Aimus Zinc Alloyed Plus Braided Nylon Powerful Date&Charge Cable 3.3FT/1M USB Type C Male to Type A 2.0 Male (USB-C to USB-A) for Macbook,Samsung Galaxy Note 7,LG G5,HTC 10 ,Nexus 6P/5X,Oneplus 2 3 ,Huawei P9/Plus,ChromeBook Pixel,Lumia 950/ 950XL Nokia N1, Zenpad S8.0 and More Type-C Devices (1Pack)
USB Type C Cable,Aimus Zinc Alloyed Plus Braided Nylon Powerful Date&Charge Cable 3.3FT/1M USB Type C Male to Type A 2.0 Male (USB-C to USB-A) for Macbook,Samsung Galaxy Note 7,LG G5,HTC 10 ,Nexus 6P/5X,Oneplus 2 3 ,Huawei P9/Plus,ChromeBook Pixel,Lumia 950/ 950XL Nokia N1, Zenpad S8.0 and More Type-C Devices (1Pack)
Offered by Qi Ying Technology
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good quality cable, 26 Aug. 2016
This is a very nice C-type cable. It was sent to me for review and I like it very much.

This is plainly a quality product. It's nicely boxed and you get a little fabric bag to keep it in. The cable itself is very well made; it's nice and flexible with a very good woven covering, and the plugs are solid and very stylish in zinc alloy. They seem very robust and they slot smoothly into place. Data transfer speeds seem fine, and the whole thing just works without fuss.

There's not much more to say about a data cable. This is perhaps a little pricy but you do get quality and style for your money. It does the job very well and I can recommend it.
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The Essential James Taylor by James Taylor (2013-10-29)
The Essential James Taylor by James Taylor (2013-10-29)
Offered by FHL Store
Price: £21.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good compilation, 25 Aug. 2016
This is a very good compilation album which gives an overview of James Taylor's work from his breakthrough in 1970 with Sweet Baby James (there's nothing from his self-titled first album here) to One Man Band in 2007. The music itself doesn't need much of a review from me because it's so well known, but it showcases Taylor's lovely, smooth voice, his excellent (and often underrated) guitar work and his fine songwriting. His various phases, moving between more folky and more jazzy stuff are all here and, as he always has been, it's a pleasure to listen to.

This is a very fair, well chosen selection, I think, although I am mystified by the omission of that towering masterpiece Terra Nova. But then, everyone will have their own favourites and any selection like this is bound to leave out one or two of your favourites if you're a fan.

As there's no track list on this page, I have pasted one below. If you're looking for an overview or an introduction to the career of a very fine singer songwriter, this will do you very well. It's very good value and I recommend it warmly.

Disc 1
1. Sweet Baby James
2. Fire and Rain
3. Long Ago and Far Away
4. You've Got a Friend
5. Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
6. Walking Man
7. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
8. Mexico
9. Shower the People
10. Steamroller (live)
11. Something in the Way She Moves
12. Carolina on My Mind
13. Handy Man
14. Your Smiling Face
15. Honey Don't Leave L.A.

Disc 2
1. Millworker
2. Her Town Too (with J.D. Souther)
3. Everyday
4. Only One
5. Never Die Young
6. Copperline
7. The Water is Wide
8. Country Road (live)
9. Secret O' Life (live)
10. Little More Time with You
11. Another Day
12. Hard Times Come Again No More - Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Mark O'Connor with James Taylor
13. Caroline I See You
14. My Traveling Star (live)
15. You Can Close Your Eyes (live)

Disc 1, Tracks 1-2 from Sweet Baby James (Warner Bros., 1970)
Disc 1, Tracks 3-4 from Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (Warner Bros., 1971)
Disc 1, Track 5 from One Man Dog (Warner Bros., 1972)
Disc 1, Track 6 from Walking Man (Warner Bros., 1974)
Disc 1, Tracks 7-8 from Gorilla (Warner Bros., 1975)
Disc 1, Track 9 from In the Pocket (Warner Bros., 1976)
Disc 1, Tracks 10-12 from James Taylor's Greatest Hits (Warner Bros., 1976)
Disc 1, Tracks 13-15 from JT (Columbia, 1977)
Disc 2, Track 1 from Flag (Columbia, 1979)
Disc 2, Track 2 from Dad Loves His Work (Columbia, 1981)
Disc 2, Tracks 3-4 from That's Why I'm Here (Columbia, 1985)
Disc 2, Track 5 from Never Die Young (Columbia, 1988)
Disc 2, Tracks 6-7 from New Moon Shine (Columbia, 1991)
Disc 2, Tracks 8-9 from (LIVE) (Columbia, 1992)
Disc 2, Tracks 10-11 from Hourglass (Columbia, 1997)
Disc 2, Track 12 from Appalachian Journey (Sony Classical, 2000)
Disc 2, Track 13 from October Road (Columbia, 2002)
Disc 2, Tracks 14-15 from One Man Band (Hear Music, 2007)

Wireless Speaker GGMM® E3 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Airplay Speaker with USB Charging Port, Featuring Airplay, DLNA, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartradio and Multi-Room Play, Streaming music from your Devices(pearl white)
Wireless Speaker GGMM® E3 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Airplay Speaker with USB Charging Port, Featuring Airplay, DLNA, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartradio and Multi-Room Play, Streaming music from your Devices(pearl white)
Offered by GGMM GmbH
Price: £199.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not portable and slightly disappointing bass, 24 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 2:57 Mins

This GGMM E3 wi-fi speaker was sent to me for review. I think it is good, but I have a couple of reservations about it.

The speaker comes very nicely boxed and is plainly a well made unit with good build quality. With it you get a power supply and a good quality jack lead for wired connection, and the whole thing has a pleasing air of quality about it. The controls are well placed and set out on the top, with less commonly used controls on the back – although the positioning of the alarm control here isn't ideal.

Note that this unit does not have an internal battery – it's mains power only. This may not be a problem for you, but part of the point of wi-fi speakers is that you can move them to anywhere where your wi-fi gives a signal, so this does seem a weakness to me.

Downloading the app and setting up is pretty simple if you're reasonably technologically savvy, although it might be intimidating for a novice, I think. Once set up, the app gives excellent, simple control and allows you to stream music from various sites and to play your own music stored on your device. You can also control multiple speakers if you have them. Bluetooth was also easy to pair (standard pairing, though, with no NFC) and AUX input also works fine. I can't hear any difference in sound quality between the three modes, which is a good sign.

The sound is good, but not fantastic. It is a nice, balanced sound in tops and middles, but I do find the bass a little weak. I have listened to a good deal of music through the E3, including my Test Playlist which I use to assess all audio products. It's perfectly adequate, but at this price I think I'd expect low symphonic strings to sound fuller and better defined, rock to have a little more of a kick in the bass and that fabulous deep bass in the second half of London Grammar's Hey Now to come through a little better.

For me, the August WS300 at a similar price is a better bet: it has no alarm/clock function but it has an internal battery so it's truly portable, it has NFC and – importantly – the sound is very significantly better to my ears. All that said, though, this is a good quality unit and the clock/alarm function will be very useful for many people, so if you're looking for a static wi-fi speaker this is well worth a look.

The Gentleman: A Novel
The Gentleman: A Novel
Price: £10.44

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy, unconvincing and unfunny, 23 Aug. 2016
I don't like writing wholly critical reviews, but I'm afraid I hated The Gentleman. I had expected to enjoy it as a clever comic romp, but – very unusually for me – I abandoned it in sheer annoyance after a few chapters.

The premise is good: it purports to be a first person account (edited by a friend) of the unwilling adventures of a Victorian Gentleman who is idle, profligate and vain, but entirely self-deluded as to his own prowess as a writer (and most other things). I was hoping for wit and a clever parody of Victorian style and mores. I'm afraid what I got was a lazy, careless pastiche of Victorian style by yet another author who thinks that Victorian gentlemen said things like "which boggled the mind" or "has gotten worse" or "I can't figure out…" (all this in just the first few pages), or that an aristocratic Victorian young lady of sixteen would respond to unexpected news with "Oh my God. Oh my *God*." It was at this point that I really began to lose patience, and I bailed out a little while later – not just because she continually spoke like a present-day Californian teenager but because the whole thing is sloppy, unconvincing and nothing like as funny as it thinks it is.

I'm sorry to be so harsh, and it's unusual for me to dislike a book so vehemently, but I really don’t think this should be foisted on a British audience. In order to work, even as a comic novel, it needs to have some degree of accuracy and verisimilitude. It's as though I had written an action thriller about a daring US Marine sortie into present-day Syria, say, where the commander says things like, "I say, you chaps – buck up!"

Enough. Personally I'd recommend giving this one a wide berth.

(I received an ARC via Netgalley.)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2016 12:29 PM BST

Magic Fire
Magic Fire
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent album, 23 Aug. 2016
This review is from: Magic Fire (MP3 Download)
I'm pleased to say that I really like this album. I enjoyed Best Medicine (their previous one) but, unlike many others, found it just a little lacking in genuine emotion, somehow. Not here – this is full of zing, sincerity and superb musicianship.

A few samples will give you the feel of this album. It often has a rootsy feel, enhanced by the instrumentation which includes banjo and fiddle, and it's just great. There is such energy and obvious joy in the music they're making, backed up by some real instrumental virtuosity, excellent singing (with great harmonies) and a fine ensemble feel, too. They have a genuine mutual understanding which I think underlies the whole thing and makes it rather special. There's a good variety of material and feel throughout; Third Day In Row put me in mind of Tom Petty, Somehow is an out-and-out Country/Everlys heartbreak song, Hands Of A Man has the feel of a passionate traditional ballad (with a real political bite) and so on – and all of it's done very well indeed.

Any slight dubiety I had after Best Medicine has gone: Magic Fire is a really fine album which I have been listening to repeatedly with great pleasure and which I can recommend wholeheartedly.

Match Men's Casual Cargo Trousers Chinos
Match Men's Casual Cargo Trousers Chinos
Offered by Match_Garment
Price: £36.99 - £38.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well made but too long and some slightly odd styling, 23 Aug. 2016
These are well made trousers which were sent to me for review. I do have some reservations, though.

The material is good, thick cotton, stitching is solid pretty well throughout with very few stray threads, the zip is very robust and the lining, pockets and detailing are all well done. They should stand up well to wear and last a good length of time.

Fit around the waist and bottom is good. I ordered my usual size of 34" waist and it's the size I would expect. However, the inside leg is 32" which, even though I'm 6ft tall, is too long. 31" is normal, and about right for me, so these don't look quite right. Also, there's an intentionally visible seam around the bottom which holds the lining; I don't mind it much but my wife finds it hilariously ridiculous, so do check that you're happy with it

Also, note that not all the trousers on this page are in exactly the same style. Mine are Light Grey; this colour has no drawstring at the bottoms and no seam below the knee, but a slightly odd-looking gather. The detailing around the pockets and a few other small things vary from colour to colour, so do have a good look.

If you like the style and are confident that you're the right shape for these trousers, they'll do you very well, but although they are well made, the provisos above mean that I'm not bonkers about them.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2016 11:28 AM BST

Strange Conversation by Kris Delmhorst (2006-06-26)
Strange Conversation by Kris Delmhorst (2006-06-26)

5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific album, 22 Aug. 2016
What a terrific album! Like quite a few people in the UK I came across Kris Delmhorst when Since You Went Away featured in the TV series Case Histories and I tracked this album down from there. It's really excellent in my view - thoughtful, intelligent, tuneful and varied.

Kris Delmhorst has based these songs on works by poets. Some are settings of words close to the original and others loosely adapted but all work very well. As examples, Masefield's Sea Fever is truly beautiful and her adaptation of pretty how town by e.e. cummins is deceptively up-beat, giving it a great impact. The songs have elements of country, folk and jazz all of which are exceptionally well played and sung and the overall effect is stunning, I think.

Kris Delmhorst is less well-known than she deserves to be on this evidence. She is a fine songwriter and a great performer with a lovely voice, and I recommend this album very warmly.

Cleer Professional DJ Headphones, Closed Back Over Ear Studio Monitor Headphones with Inline Microphone(Wired)
Cleer Professional DJ Headphones, Closed Back Over Ear Studio Monitor Headphones with Inline Microphone(Wired)
Price: £369.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding sound and build quality, 22 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 3:56 Mins

I was sent these Cleer DJ headphones for review and I think they're absolutely superb. I don't describe myself as an audiophile but I listen to an awful lot of music and I care very much about how it sounds. I also test a lot of headphones and I think these are quite exceptionally good.

I'll start with the sound, because that is what matters most here: these are the best-sounding headphones I have ever tried. They are expensive, but for me they live up to their price-tag. The sound is crystal clear and beautifully articulated right across the frequency range. Every note and nuance is, to my ears, perfectly delivered and lossless sources sound quite remarkable, I think. I have spent a lot of time listening to these, partly just for the pleasure of it, but also to assess them. This has included my standard Test Playlist which I use to compare audio products which begins with 16th-Century choral music and goes through to London Grammar with most things in between. I haven't found a flaw or weakness; individual voices and instruments are perfectly articulated even in a large orchestra or chorus, a string quartet sounds as though you're sitting among them, Leonard Cohen seems to be whispering directly into your ear, rock sounds just great, and so on. The frequency balance is excellent, with a superb deep bass response when needed and they respond superbly to EQ adjustments at any frequency. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The headphones have some very nice features, too. There's a jack input socket on both earcups, so you can choose which side you want to wire them; they have a stereo/mono switch so you can listen with one earcup only and still get the whole sound and they feature Psycho-Acoustic Spectral Compensation (I had to ask what it was) which, when switched on, boosts bass levels at low volume so the sound is equally balanced throughout the volume range. It's a sophisticated modern version of an old-fashioned "Loudness" switch – which rather shows my age – and it really enhances the sound at low levels. There's also a variable LED display which can be turned on and off and which I can do without, but which some users will like very much.

They are very well made and robust headphones and I find them very comfortable for prolonged listening – and I've been wearing them for hours at a stretch. The package is very good, too:
- a nice hard carry case
- two AUX leads with controls for Apple and Android devices respectively
- a coiled DJ lead which anchors into the headphones and has a ¼" jack converter, too
- a USB charging lead
- a decent user manual
- a month's subscription to Tidal for lossless listening.

In short, these are pretty pricy headphones which easily justify their cost with excellent build quality and top-class sound. I'm very, very impressed with these and if you're looking for some genuinely classy headphones, I can recommend these very warmly.

(If you don't want to spend quite this much, the Cleer DU headphones are also very, very good in their price range and would be well worth a look: Cleer DU Foldable High-Definition Headphones with Dual-Drivers, Portable Over Ear Headphones with Remote Control and Microphone (Black) )

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