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ashropshirelad (Ludlow, England)

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The King's Singers - Live at the BBC Proms [DVD] [2008]
The King's Singers - Live at the BBC Proms [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ The King's Singers
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Polished and compelling performance, 25 Oct. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent performance. Enjoyed it so much I bought my mother a copy too (a far more significant action than you might imagine).
Bizarre (inconsistent) star ratings in the preceding reviews mean it only has a 3-star rating overall, when it deserves far better. I was brought up on the KS (they even performed at my school a couple of times) but latterly I can take or leave them and only have a couple of their many recordings. This, though, is a lovely, hugely accomplished rendition of a very attractive programme (and, sorry, no whizzy video effects although the extras do include Gareth Malone auditioning for the group - ! - and interviews with its members). It lasts just over an hour and as one reviewer complained about the lack of a track-list, here goes:
- Chansons Françaises (Poulenc)
- Scenes in America Deserta (McCabe)
- La Guerre (Janequin)
- Dessus le marche d'Arras (Lassus)
- Toutes les nuitz (Lassus)
- Il est bel et bon (Pierre Passereau - no, me neither)
- Phillis is my only joy (John William Hobbs)
- The Little Green Lane (trad.)
- The Goslings (Frederick Bridge)
- Greensleeves (trad.)
- Blow Away the Morning Dew (trad.)
- The Turtle Dove (trad.)
- Widdicombe Fair (trad.)
- The Long Day Closes (Sullivan).
Recommended if you have even the slightest interest in what they do (and at the ~£5 for which it's currently selling here, a complete steal).

Panasonic NN-GD371SBPQ 23 Litre Stainless Steel Compact Microwave with Grill
Panasonic NN-GD371SBPQ 23 Litre Stainless Steel Compact Microwave with Grill

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hugely disappointing: rusting inside in less than 2 years..., 25 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We purchased this microwave almost exactly two years ago (Nov 2012) and in the last few weeks have been alarmed to see that rust has formed, eating into the internal coating both where the circular tray holder runs and at one seam between floor and wall of the oven.
We look after our things, haven't ever used any abrasive cleaners, it's well-ventilated and in a warm, dry spot (there's a Rayburn only a couple of metres away), and I think we might have used the grill function twice (so that's been a waste) in it's lifetime. Otherwise, it's been used half-a-dozen times a day, mostly for light tasks, for which it has been fine (if a tad flimsy).
The oven replaced a working Panasonic model of only 600W that we had had for 25 (yes, twenty-five) years: I bought it when I moved into my first house, and felt quite a twinge when I dropped it off at the local recycling centre (doubly so, now). That had a stainless steel interior, as does another, built-in, top-end Panasonic combination microwave that is also still going strong at least 15 years after we bought it, and is the main kitchen workhorse.
My longstanding, (often evangelistic) faith in Panasonic has been badly shaken by this experience. Over many years we've also bought its cordless phones, ghetto blasters, clock radios, televisions, video & DVD players, but I'll think long and hard before buying Panasonic products again, and I certainly won't ever buy another microwave without a stainless steel interior....

Skil 1415 Rotary Tool  (Old Version)
Skil 1415 Rotary Tool (Old Version)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Discontinued?, 31 Aug. 2009
Not a review as such, more a point of information to the effect that almost all references to this tool appear to have been expunged from Amazon and the wider internet in recent days, despite having been available little more than a month ago, and still receiving reviews. Skil's own website carries a PDF of the operating instructions and no other reference either to this or any replacement; likewise, it is described as a "discontinued" product on the one other website still carrying any independent reference to it. A shame, since the reviews have been good and the alternative from Dremel (e.g. Dremel Multi Tool 300-30) is about 50% more expensive and ships with fewer accessories. Seems to leave the field open to Dremel, but interesting to note that both Skil & Dremel are owned by the Bosch group, so one might wonder if there is more calculation here than meets the eye!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2011 12:34 PM GMT

Holst: This have I done for my true love
Holst: This have I done for my true love
Price: £8.30

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked English treasure, 9 Nov. 2008
Holst's fabulous music for unaccompanied choral groups is like no other. Stanford and Vaughan Williams sometimes come close, but Holst seems to have an instinct for getting the setting just right, time after time, perhaps born of his many years as a school music teacher. You might think that 70 minutes of part-songs could become trying, yet Holst's lyricism, subtlety and invention keep you entranced throughout: sit quietly and just listen. It is a continuing mystery to me that Holst remains so unfashionable and comparatively neglected. I am a great fan of much choral music - Byrd, Tallis, Dufay, Bach, Handel, Pärt et al - but only Holst can move me to tears with his deceptively simple, warm, and certainly never saccharine or obvious, arrangements. They often seem to capture the absolute essence of the English idyll, evoking - for example - Hardy's Wessex and a time when we were all closer to the land and the seasons. If any music could encourage one to think better of one's fellow men, this is surely it: if every household in the country had a copy of this disc, I'm convinced we'd be a kinder, happier nation. The Holst Singers' performance, supplemented in places with sensitively played oboe, cello and harp, is near flawless, and frequently transports you to an almost celestial plane: there are, indeed, echoes of The Planets' ethereal last movement (Neptune) in some of the songs on this disc. Finally, if you like this, then the Holst Singers' earlier outing on Hyperion ("The Evening Watch") is, arguably, even finer.

No Title Available

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the tin (or box, in this case), 9 Nov. 2008
After some 14 or so years of gentle, comparatively pleasant, awakenings, we were looking for a replacement for our old Natural Alarm Clock, a fairly crude electromechanical device that had finally become too erratic for its, or our, own good. The original manufacturer, OutsideIn, had morphed into Lumie, who no longer had an exact equivalent available, and do not - in any case - get rave reviews on the quality front.
The SRS100 works perfectly: a large clear display; an extremely well-designed and logical user interface that means the user manual can be rapidly consigned to the bottom of the drawer; very configurable; and, of course, you can use your own (very stylish) bedside lamp as the light source (as long as it's dimmable, so I'm afraid no energy-saving lightbulbs here). The SRS100 IS plastic, but feels sturdy and well-made. It is completely silent in operation i.e. no buzz or tick or hum. One word of warning, however: as of October '08, UK models were still lagging behind the spec available, and commented upon, in EU & US markets, where the SRS100 will handle 300W bulbs (currently only 100W in the UK), and the backlight can be turned off completely (current UK models will only reduce it to a faint, but quite visible, glow). The first of these is unlikely to be an issue but the second, depending on your sensitivity to such things, could be.
This aside, it's a really neat bit of kit which, for once, does exactly what's expected of it: highly recommended. The supplier, Bodykind, also provided very responsive, high quality customer service.

Corvus: A Life with Birds
Corvus: A Life with Birds
by Esther Woolfson
Edition: Hardcover

98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and life-affirming, 9 Nov. 2008
Corvus is an enchanting book. There is no sentimentality here - indeed, Esther Woolfson goes to rigorous lengths to avoid anthropomorphism - and yet the entire book is infused with warmth, charm and humanity, whilst the birds themselves - very much the stars of the piece - are quite wonderful. The episodic narrative, charting the author's own journey of avian experience and discovery - punctuated by digressions on topics such as birds in folklore, bird physiology, bird evolution, bird flight and bird song - is completely compelling: I could barely put it down. The expositions themselves are equally interesting, hugely informed and informing, but never daunting. Beautifully written, the prose is spare but elegant, seemingly almost taking on the metre of bird song itself. Other significant themes also run, almost imperceptibly, through the book: the art of 'seeing' and observation, the scientific method, the idea of 'North', the comfort of home and family. This is not a 'heavy' book - it first came to my attention through hearing a very brief extract on (BBC) Radio 4 - but there is great sensitivity and wisdom here. If you've ever stood at a window or sat on a bench and watched a bird walk or hop or feed or fly, then Corvus will almost certainly enrich your life and provide a fresh, new perspective the next time you see a rook, crow, magpie or one of their feathered relations. A joy from cover to cover.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2015 11:32 PM GMT

The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound
The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound
Price: £11.25

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Hassell, 5 Mar. 2004
Performed live by the core of the group that recorded ‘Power Spot’ a couple of years earlier, this is stripped-down Hassell. Though credited with final assembly, Eno’s studio trickery is less evident than usual, but J.A.Deane & Jean-Philippe Rykiel are themselves no slouches, the latter having helped to render Salif Keita’s ‘Soro’ so memorable, and the results are just fine. If, like me, you are a fan of ‘Possible Musics’ and/or ‘Power Spot’, then you should love this. The hypnotic, loping beats and wonderful trumpet drone are pure essence of Hassell, and draw you in to an utterly calm, blissful state. I’m just sorry that I’ve lived without this fabulous music for the 10 years that have elapsed since its original release: straight into my all-time top five.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2010 2:50 AM BST

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