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Michael Fuchs (London, UK)

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Beckett Mens Black Chelsea Boot - Size 10 - Black
Beckett Mens Black Chelsea Boot - Size 10 - Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the Chelsea Vegan. 8^), 16 Jun. 2016
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Non-leather, comfy, easy to slip on and off - and super-stylish. Perfect for the (rare) vegan in Chelsea, London. 8^)

Warrior Sound [Explicit]
Warrior Sound [Explicit]
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freaking Amazing, 4 Mar. 2016
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Super-hard, super-smart, incredibly original, totally catchy - basically, completely compelling. Did I mention super-heavy? The Qemists have done some great work in the past, but this album just comes *assaulting* out of the gate. I love artists who aren't satisfied, who *know* their best work is still in them. I especially like it when they're right. If this is your kind of thing at all (D&B combined with seriously hard electronic rock combined with aggressive awesomeness), BUY IT NOW - because it's the best example of this kind of thing I've heard in a long time.

Under The Frog
Under The Frog
by Tibor Fischer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest, loveliest, funniest, and wisest book you've never read, 10 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Under The Frog (Paperback)
This is – I can say with some confidence – one of the very greatest, loveliest, funniest, and wisest books you've never read. For this reason, I always give it as a gift – no one's already read it, everyone loves it, and Fischer emphatically deserves the support.

By turns screamingly funny, Orwellianly absurd, poignant, sweet, sobering, tragic, and hopeful, this book does it all – and, even more, does it in a pitch-perfect voice that effortlessly inhabits every line. (The unfailing, unfailingly wonderful, tone is itself a minor miracle.) Certain ideas and images stay with you over the years: the morbid-yet-amused fatalism of the workers in the state-run factory; the yearning, both sweet and sad, of Gyuri for humble things like love and a little normalcy – his fantasy, at once pathetic and out-of-reach, of being a street sweeper someplace sane like London, how great it would be to be out under the sky everyday, and no Communism; the inexorable, lurking tragedy of the doomed uprising in the streets of Budapest in 1956; the father's romantic advice to Gyuri "not to worry – dry spells never last".

I was first made to read this by the best-read person (and most discerning reader) I know. Four years later, I picked up a second-hand copy in a London market for the re-reading. When I got to the end, without even putting it down, I turned back to the beginning and re-re-read it. I'd never done that before, and haven't since. (If you read some of the reviews here, you'll see I wasn't the only one.) All three times through, I found myself laughing stupidly and sobbing pitiably – sometimes into the same page.

Saying this is going to ruin my secret silver bullet gift trick, I suppose, but: There's absolutely nothing difficult or highbrow about this book. It's just a gem, nearly perfect and perfectly loveable. Read it today.

Cowon iAudio E3 16GB MP3 Player - Black
Cowon iAudio E3 16GB MP3 Player - Black
Price: £101.79

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Sounding Stand-Alone MP3 Player Left Standing, 4 Aug. 2015
Cowon makes just about the last audiophile-quality MP3 players that aren't also freaking video players. The spectacular sound quality is almost in a class of its own for standalone MP3 players at this point. (I've not only been using Cowon devices back to 1994's U2 - but I've tried, a lot, unsuccessfully, to find a replacement.) I absolutely rely on my E3 now for workouts, runs - and making voice notes during them. (I'm a novelist and all the ideas come during the runs.) Because this device has a voice recorder function, clips right onto my kit (with the add on clip-case), and doesn't sound like it's playing through a wet washcloth (looking at you Sansa Clip), IT IS ACTUALLY THE ONLY MP3 PLAYER IN THE WORLD I CAN USE ANYMORE (and I've looked). Capacity, interface, reliability, and form factor are also all very good. Small and light. Full-featured. And, mainly, once again, sounds fantastic. Once you're used to Cowon players, you really can't downgrade to inferior sound. Thank you Cowon, and please don't ever abandon me - or I'm genuinely screwed.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2016 5:52 PM GMT

Replacment Apple 60W Magsafe Charger 2 Years Warranty
Replacment Apple 60W Magsafe Charger 2 Years Warranty

1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish. Stopped working after a few weeks - as ..., 2 Feb. 2015
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Rubbish. Stopped working after a few weeks - as have two others of these. Save yourself the false economy and buy a real one. I am, finally.

Battle Company: Korengal
Battle Company: Korengal
Price: £0.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Tip of the Spear, 8 Jun. 2014
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Sebastian Junger's book WAR is an insightful, moving, and incredibly well-crafted bit of neck-deep-in-the-action war reporting. I was actually in the middle of that book, and decided I'd better go and get faces to put with all the names - as well as a visual image of OP Restrepo, and the whole Korengal Valley (both more severe and unforgiving than I was able to guess). And, overall, I was far from disappointed. Over 2.3 million Americans have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A) You're probably not one of them, and B) few saw such unceasing combat in such remote and unforgiving terrain as the remarkable young men of 2nd Platoon, Battle Company, of the 173rd Airborne. For both of those reasons, this documentary is probably an excellent and important way for you to spend 84 minutes of your life. That it's also filled with such powerful human drama (and rollicking firefights!) is a great bonus.

Sony 4GB MP3 Player with Clip and USB Connection - Black
Sony 4GB MP3 Player with Clip and USB Connection - Black

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Random cr@piness!!, 20 Mar. 2014
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I bought this to replace a Sansa Clip+ - which was an utterly disappointing attempt (review here: ) to replace my awesome Cowon iAudio U2, which now appears to be irreplaceable. Where to begin? Ah, definitely with the shuffle mode:

* RANDOMIZATION (shuffle mode): a freaking scandal. Do you like listening to the same sequence of 8 songs over and over and over and over again? Then this is the device for you. What it does is, the vast majority of the time, when you're not keen on a track, and try to fast-forward to the next one... you don't get the next one! You get the one 8 or 10 tracks ago! Then you get *every single one* of the 8 or 10 tracks that followed that one the first time around - all in order! It's like Groundhog Day! You have to skip through every single track on your path there, for a chance at actually hearing a new song. Oh - and not sick of those songs yet? It will probably happen again in five minutes! How do you screw up shuffle play? So badly? I could write a randomization subroutine that would actually work in about 90 seconds, but I'd just rather spend the time warning you off this device.
+ Oh, when do you NOT get the previous tracks? When you actually want them! That is, f you try to flip BACK to a previous track, and it's more than a few tracks ago, the device gets confused and forgets the sequence and starts somewhere else! I know what you're thinking - have I got forward and back mixed up? No! Amazing! I know what you're thinking next: Why don't you just use back when you want to skip to a new track? Because A) it doesn't work reliably; and B) you have to flip through an arbitrary number of tracks before it gets confused and finds a new one! Which is just like flipping forward until you've heard the last 10 songs over again! It sucks! Either way!

* SOUND QUALITY: profoundly mediocre. A bit better than the Sansa, but nothing in the ballpark of the Cowon.

* CONTROLS: far from brilliant. Buttons very small, with little texture, which is just great for running, if you like staring at your arm while running through traffic. And what's right beside the volume-up button? The amazing, craptastic Zapin' button!

* ZAPPIN: Plenty has been written about this in the reviews. Probably the stupidest MP3 player feature ever. But, anyway, becuase of the button placement, the best thing is: just when you FINALLY get to a song you like, and try to turn the volume up... you accidentally hit the Zappin' button - and you're off to the races!

* VOICE RECORDER: I'm a novelist, and I actually do all my creative work on runs and workouts, so the voice recorder function isn't optional for me. Does this device have one? You bet! Until the wind picks up! Then, instead of irreplaceable voice notes, you've got a bunch of unintelligible howling static! [It was actually this horror that prompted me to finally write this review - by getting it out of my head, I hope to spend more time thinking about the current book, than about how much this MP3 player sucks.] This is like destruction of intellectual property, and basically unforgivable.

* VOLUME: Mediocre. I keep it turned all the way up most of the time, which should tell the tale. (In my view, you should virtually *never* see the top volume setting. There should always be volume to spare.)

* FILE MANAGEMENT: Okay. At least you can use it as a USB drive, and browse the file system to see what's actually on there. (Unlike the Sansa).

* DESIGN: Decent. It's pretty compact, and I like that it's a USB stick you can just jam in. Just don't try to jam it into your slimline laptop with the clip attached, which won't work. Oh, and the stop/start button is extremely promiscuous. Don't try sit-ups - or much of anything - with this clipped to the front of your shorts, not if you want the music to keep playing.

* CLIP: Speaking of the clip: it sucks. Like an old, worn-out clothes-pin in your grandmother's drawer. At least the Sansa did what it says on the tin, and stayed clipped to things.

And finally:

* RANDOM INSULTS! I was really going to give this a two-star review, because it's honestly functional, and if your standards aren't too high and you never want to skip forward tracks (though "shuffle" play loops back all on its own sometimes), and you don't use the voice recorder except in a sound studio, it's probably adequate. But then... today... it did this: I finally had tricked it into advancing to a song I was really into, and I was running along fast and happy, and had just turned the volume up to its meagre maximum... and it turned the volume down on me. With some spoken warning (in the ridiculous "Zappin' in!" voice, I think) admonishing me check if the volume was too high. Thanks, Sony. Thanks for nothing.

If *anyone* out there can recommend an audiophile-quality MP3 player, with a voice recorder, that DOESN'T also play video (so is suitable for exercise), I'd probably pay a bounty at this point.

Or if you know how to replace the battery in my Cowon iAudio.

Wish I had something better to point you toward, but I'm at a loss. Just don't buy this one.

Icon For Hire
Icon For Hire
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Stunning, 9 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Icon For Hire (Audio CD)
Icon for Hire's first, Scripted, was my favourite album of the year - until now. This, their follow-up effort, is simply a tour de force: hard, smart, melodic, fearless, and catchy as hell. The combination of sheer song-writing chops, production quality, intensity, and melodic/harmonic/musical intelligence are pretty much unmatched, in the view of this reviewer. The album also gets better with each listen; because they're trying some pretty brave things, and because the heaviness and production are so out front, it's only when one has really internalized the melodies that the songs *really* start to grip and not let go. Be prepared to do a lot of humming (and smiling) in public places. Oh, and if you run or work out to it, be prepared to find yourself moving 100mph - the energy of this music is just blitzing. IFH is blessed with some serious mojo and magic. Every note of this album is wonderful, every song just knocks me out - and, frankly, it's humbling to be in the presence of such great art. Huzzah.

SanDisk SDMX18-004G-E46K Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player - 4 GB, Black
SanDisk SDMX18-004G-E46K Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player - 4 GB, Black

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clip on some FAIL, 3 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am sitting here writing this review, instead of having my morning workout and run, because of the singularly atrocious performance of this device. Where to begin?

* Sound quality: mediocre. If you're used to great sound quality, as I was from Cowon with JetAudio, this will disappoint.
* Voice recording: inadequate. I'm a novelist, and do most of my creative work while running, so the voice recorder function is critical.
+ Delayed start: This one, when you hit the record button, waits a random length of time - up to about 8 seconds - before actually starting to record; thus the beginnings of your notes are all cut off - until you twig to this, and then you stand (or run) there staring at the screen, waiting for the timer to tick over from 0:00 to 0:01, so you can safely start talking.
+ Random skips: most of your voice notes will have random skips in them, making it difficult to actually work out what the hell you were talking about.
* Music playback: maddening. The device also takes a random period of time to read in the next song and start playing (depending on the track, but according to no pattern I can discern). This can have you working out or running to silence for up to *40* seconds at a time. Also, the device is TOTALLY frozen while this happens.
* File management: Atrocious.
+ On a Windows machine, all my songs appears in USB mode. On a Mac? Not so much. Pretty much just the ones I've added on the Mac, I think. A handful are visible.
+ Date/timestamps: a joke. Want to sort by date added? Nope, the files are all stamped as the same random useless date and time.
+ Reliability: intolerable. The device recently seems to have LOST approximately 200 of the 360 songs I had on it. Just... GONE.
+ Deleting files to clear up space: impossible. I now come to why I'm writing this review instead of running, and recording story ideas. It now looks as if the many hundreds of voice notes I've meticulously deleted from this device... has never been deleted. The voice records folder LOOKS empty - but it's somehow 2.6GB big. So, now, the disk is full - and the device won't even boot, until I clear up some space, which, as mentioned, seems to be impossible.

I'm off now to try and troubleshoot that last effing problem online - sitting in the health club lounge in my workout clothes - in the hopes of salvaging my day. But I just wanted to do my civic duty and warn others off this maddening chunk of junk before I carried on.

Two stars instead of one because it sounds okay, is compact, has a lot of storage and a decent interface, and doesn't cost much.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 3, 2013 9:55 AM BST

The Powers: A Novel
The Powers: A Novel
by Valerie Sayers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, beguiling, transporting, 30 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Powers: A Novel (Hardcover)
Set in a completely entrancing and fully realized early-forties New York, just before America's entry into WWII, this book tells the story of Joltin' Joe Dimaggio's historic hitting streak for the Yankees - as a background to two love stories, a family drama, and (most of all) a coming-of-age tale. It encompasses pacifism, spectacle, duty, hero worship, ways of seeing, death - particularly the early death of parents and the abiding ache their absence leaves behind, sex (and its enchantments and terrors) before 1963, and the power of mystical thinking - and maybe even of real magic.

The very best writers can make any arcane topic interesting - even sports (and even for the non-sports fan!)! I personally didn't give a damn about tennis until David Foster Wallace started writing about it; subsequently I couldn't get enough - it became thrilling, hilarious, weird, and dramatic all at once in his telling. Similarly, I've always had little time for baseball. But I'll now happily read Valerie Sayers on the subject all day.

One of the best things about this novel is its completely convincing and beguiling voices, which fully inhabit the inner lives or her rich and totally distinctive characters. Complementing this is the story's wonderful sense of place (and time!) - heightened by the book's charming inline period photos of 1940s-era New Yorkers doing things and affecting poses that now seem to us straight out of some fairy-tale. New York in 1941 blooms richly back to life, all of it hovered over by the lowering storm clouds of the Holocaust, as news of the deportation of European Jews began to cast shadows the full extent of which only we, here in their future, can see.

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