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Andrew "Plotting to take over the world since 1969" (United Kingdom)

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Rocksmith 2014 Edition - Includes Real Tone Cable (PS3)
Rocksmith 2014 Edition - Includes Real Tone Cable (PS3)

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encourages practice but its teaching abilities over-hyped., 8 Nov. 2013
The question any purchaser of this product has to ask is what their goal is. If they want something that will encourage a student to practice - which is an important element of learning - then this certainly does that. Need something to make playing scales interesting? This does that.

However, for someone who actually wants to learn to play a guitar, this is not sufficient by itself (by far). There is only a weak attempt to teach the theory behind the finger patterns, or to generate a real understanding of why something works, which is equally important.

As a result, as a learning tool, i think I have to say its hype is overexagerated. Its good but...not perfect.

For someone who seriously wants to learn, and only can afford one item, I'd recommend Legacy's Learn&Master DvD range over this every time.

That said , this does provide entertainment , makes the long drudge of practice lighter work, and as an additional tool it is very useful... But dont buy it expecting it to replace a good course of tuition.

(Edit )

After owning this for a while, I must say I've become more impressed than I was initially. The practice modes certainly do motivate you. the lessons, while not perfect, are ok, and you do find that you are keen to jeep going bad (and -be warned- buying more content). The biggest flaw is they dont cover music theory, but for learning specific songs, this is actually a very good tool .

The interface is initially confusing, and it does have its flaws , ibut the riff repeater and guitarcade functions can make up for this. The riff repeater in particular is incredibly useful.

As a result, I've added a star to my review.

Note, , dont expect miracles from this ; however give it a little time, amd once you've gotten used to the multicoloured interface it all begins to be much more worth the price of entry.

Prador Moon (Polity Book 1)
Prador Moon (Polity Book 1)
Price: £5.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Short but interesting, 27 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not Asher on top form, and a novella rather than a novel, but an interesting and entertaining expansion of his polity universe.

I would not recommend people new to Asher start here though, even though in the fictional chronologically its the earliest ... One of the other polity novels like Shadow of the scorpion, Gridlinked, or The Skinner would be a better bet.

The Departure (Owner Trilogy Book 1)
The Departure (Owner Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £5.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing even for Asher fans, 27 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book suffers from a decent set-up, but an intermiable middle and a not particularly great ending.
The world described in the novel is dying under the weight of humanity -manswarm- and the characters are forced to be increasingly ruthless in order to meet their goals.

Where this novel flags for me is not the characters, but the fact that we've seen alot of this before, and done better, even by Asher himself. The final product comes across as a not very impressive pastiche of the bourne identity and ashers own agent comack series -only with the protagonist starting off far more superhuman than cormack is, even at the end of the cormac novels.
Ideas run out about halfway through the book, and the remainder is a run of the mill scifi semi-thriller, that lacks much of what Asher is good at (humour, body-horror, wierd ecology) and substitutes a nearly endless progression of run and guns that quickly become repetitive.

Dont get me wrong, i love much of Ashers work..and i've read pretty much all of it... But this really is the weakest of his novels to date.

If you're not already a fan of Asher I'd strongly suggest starting elsewhere. For fans...well, its currently on sale for 66p as a kindle book, and for that its ok, but dont expect too much from it.

Renegades: The Progenitor Trilogy, Book Two
Renegades: The Progenitor Trilogy, Book Two
Price: £2.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A good continuation as we discover more of the galaxy, 26 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Rather than repeat myself (see the review of the third novel, in this sequence) let me just say that this continues the story setup from the first novel, and we are provided more revelations and battles in similar form. If you like the first novel, you'll certainly also enjoy this, and be keen to get the third.

Nova War (Shoal Sequence)
Nova War (Shoal Sequence)
by Gary Gibson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A let down after the much better first book., 26 Nov. 2012
The first novel in the sequence was promisiing, and included many good ideas and a reasonable plot. Unfortunately this second book in the sequence is much weaker. The characterisation is bland, the plot not especially gripping .... Not only that, but an early section of the book revolves around an extended period of torture , which , frankly, becomes a bore to the reader long before its resolved.
Also, Gibson makes what ,for me, is a cardinal sin of cheeseness with one of the revelations about a particular villain not being the race he seemed... Its tacky and while it harks back to the early days of space opera, theres a good reasob you never see this kind of reveal in novels anymore.

Thats not to say the book doesnt have some better passages, and the first meeting with the emisary is particularly notable, but overall this novel disappoints, to the point where i 'm doubtful i'll pick up the third in the trilogy (a rare occurance for me).

For those looking for better work in the same galaxy wide genre, i'd recommend Alastair Reynolds, or Dan Worths progenitor series.

Progeny: The Progenitor Trilogy, Book Three (Progenitors Universe)
Progeny: The Progenitor Trilogy, Book Three (Progenitors Universe)
Price: £3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More please, 26 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The concluding part to the trilogy wraps up the war against the shapers, although it does leave an interesting tease. If youve liked the first two books, be assured the third doesnt let the others down.

Personally, i'd like to see more novels from this author/universe.

Exiles: The Progenitor Trilogy, Book One
Exiles: The Progenitor Trilogy, Book One
Price: £2.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good book and trilogy., 26 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After reading my way through a number of recommended space operas, none of which really scrtched the itch, i stumbled across this trilogy.initally skeptical, i'm pleased to report these novels are well worth a look.

The story zips along, most characters are decently written (with the exception of the alien archaeologist) and the combination of hornblower style space battles and galactic scale ancient mysteries is very good.

Overall you'll find nothing truly original here, and there is the occassional flaw..., but overall this is well worth picking uo - you will find an entertaining set of novels that maintain interest all the way through the trilogy (unlike many other space opera works i could mention...)

Big Boy Bloater and the Limits
Big Boy Bloater and the Limits

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a voice worth hearing again, 1 May 2011
An very nice album with an entertaining mix of of pacy,soulful, bluesy and sinister tunes.

The opening segment of the album is very good ; From "Ugly way of thinking" where you're hit by Bloaters made-for-blues voice and attitude, past the very dark "I heard those voices again" through the foot-tappy country-blues of "Fumble fisted fool" and onto the gospel inspired "sweet and brown", they are all strong tunes that will get stuck in your head and you'll be humming them before you know it..

The middle of the album is a little weaker - the cover of "My prayer" is nice enough, although not a version likely to stick in the memory , "She's just a friend" grows on you after a couple of listens, and "Get over that its over" is again decent enough.

Into the final straight and Bloater and the Band finish strongly. "Rushing to waste time" grows at every listen and leaves us wanting more (more on this in a moment) ; "Big fat trap" is back to a stroppy driving rhythm and blues and "Every path has its puddle" is yet another sinister tune that you'll find difficult to get out of your head.

The Limits back Bloater up well. Al Gare (bass) is less prominent here than his work with Imelda May's band, but provides his usual excellent performance, as do Dean Bereford and Mark Mason on the drums. Matt Emerson (piano) and Larry Stern (hammond and bass) add an excellent boogie-woogie feel , and it might be nice to hear a solo from one or the other on future albums.

The album has maybe one or two (minor) flaws.
My strongest grouch is that "Rushing to Waste Time" is too short - its seems set to end in a moody guitar outro, and yet despite the song having set it up terrifically it fades out far too quickly ; I'd have far prefered to hear a longer solo here and miss out the short instrumental number "Rocket Surgery".
The otherwise excellent Sweet and Brown could likewise do with an extra verse - the call/response outro is fantastic but needs a slightly longer main song to hang off of.

These are very minor criticisms though, this album is very good.
Its not a blues-purists album (unlike some of Bloaters previous work) but, in my opinion, that makes it a more entertaining - and accessible - listen, and a far better album overall.

In short - definitely recommended.

Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar(Book and DVD)
Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar(Book and DVD)
by Steve Krenz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £103.50

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who genuinely and seriously want to learn, 31 Mar. 2011
(I have the previous edition of this product)

At first glance this seems a little pricey - I certainly hesitated over the price when I bought it - but this is a genuinely excellent series of DVDs ; from starting principles all the way through to blues, rock and jazz styles, the lessons covering a strong continuous thread all the way from complete beginner through to a high intermediate level.

The presenter, Steve Krenz, is by turns inspiring and encouraging, whilst all the while providing a clear instruction (and includes some needed realism for those who think learning guitar is a five minute process).

I've been using this course for some time, and still find it amazingly inspiring and helpful.

This was originally produced by Legacy (and still is) but without the Gibson branding; It won several awards and so impressed Gibson that they picked it up ; there's a darn good reason for this. It really is an excellent course. I can't claim to have tried every single guitar course out there, but I have tried many and this is by FAR the best I've seen.

Not only that but Steve continues to support the course via webcasts, and there is an excellent online community for the course. I'd also recommend the "Spotlight on Blues " they do, but I'd recommend you start with this course.

This is definitely the course for those who genuinely want to learn, and are prepared to make the investment.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Dagon
The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Dagon
Offered by Audible Ltd

5.0 out of 5 stars Wayne June gives a fantastic performance of these classic stories, 2 Nov. 2010
The Shadow over Innsmouth (Story: 4*, Narrator 5*)
Dagon (Story 3*, Narrator 5*)

The Shadow over Innsmouth is a tale of one mans exploration of a decrepit town in Jazz Era America, and his discovery that all is not well. On a journey to research his family history, the story's protagonist makes a stop-off at a fishing village, where his fascination with legends and tall tales lead to him learning more than is good for him....
Unlike much of HP Lovecrafts other work, holds up remarkably well to the test of time - it is still a well-told tale.

Dagon is an associated tale, shorter, and less effective. A sailor is shipwrecked and finds himself on an uncharted isle which has a secret dredged up from the depths of the ocean. This story is definitely a weaker tale, and shows its origins as something written for a magazine.

Where this presentation stands out though is in the narrators work. Wayne June's performance is extraordinary ; His voice is well-suited to the story, and his delivery and characterisation is note-perfect. His reading of the first tale is worth the price of entry alone.

I'm a Lovecraft fan and I've heard many audio versions of these stories from all sorts of illustrious actors - but Mr June's reading is for me, the DEFINITIVE version of the tales. Excellent.

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