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The Big Onion (london)

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Cross Century II Black Lacquer Chrome Fountain Pen Ball Pen Set with Free Pen Pouch
Cross Century II Black Lacquer Chrome Fountain Pen Ball Pen Set with Free Pen Pouch

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, 10 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Beautful, graceful bit of kit.

The pen pouch is a perfect, snug fit to keep these two pens lovely.

Nice.


Speak A Little Louder
Speak A Little Louder
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.23

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Decade On..., 18 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Speak A Little Louder (Audio CD)
'Bible Belt' seemed to me to be something of a love song to the 1970s - there was a feeling about it that put me in mind of people like Carole King, Janis Ian, Helen Reddy or Carly Simon, and every song had a kind of comfortable feeling about it that made listening to the whole album a joy, an old friend from the very first track.
With 'Speak A Little Louder', the focus seems to have shifted from the 70s to the 80s. Throughout the whole CD, I was put in mind of both Stevie Nicks and Pat Benatar - just because the feel of the tracks was so similar, rather than the vocals. There's some very Kate Bush moments in there too - 'Hounds of Love' kept coming into my mind.
For me, though, two things stand out.
Firstly, 'Walk the Rainbow to the End' [on the Deluxe Version] is by far the standout track - it has a beautiful Tori Amos-ish feel around the piano at the opening before launching itself into something much larger, and lets the full range of Diane Birch's vocals really take it somewhere very special.
Secondly, in comparison with 'Bible Belt' this seems somewhat joyless. Not that I'm against depressing CDs - but this seems almost a CD of torch songs - of sweeping power ballads and even slightly ponderous love songs. In being such, I think it fails to catch something of Diane as a performer - I've seen her live several times, and the one word I could not use to describe her is joyless...


The Prefect (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
The Prefect (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems short..., 10 Jan. 2012
To have an entire Alastair Reynolds story complete in just one volume first felt a bit short. But then, I reread it...

It's a corker! Just for the creation of The Clockmaker, it deserves five stars - let alone for the intricate, dense plotting, the (as ever) slightly grubby realism of the description and the strangely believeable characterisation.

All the usual Reynolds Revelation Space tropes are in there - the half-magical technology, the factional fracturing of humanity and the exaggerated division between the strata of humanity.

Strangely, I found it a much more uplifting read than any of his previous work - possibly because of the theme of selflessness running through it that balances out what we know is coming...


Early In The Morning
Early In The Morning

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Schoolboy error!, 4 July 2011
This review is from: Early In The Morning (Audio CD)
Saw him on 'Later', and knew I had to get this album; a kind of dreamy cross between Fleet Foxes (without the desperate desire to be The Band), CSN and - well, I'm not sure what.

Dreamy, yet with the hint that at any time it could turn to nightmare, the high, yet gentle voice manages to stay packed with sorrow, with hope, with a soaring folksy melancholy. The songs kind of blend in to each other, which is either a good thing or a bad thing - I'm trying to decide. I would be disappointed with an album of all the same tune (Amy MacDonald, anyone?).

For me, though, this album is marred by a schoolboy error, in that Track 1 - If I Had a Boat - is (in my opinion) the best track on it; this makes the rest of the CD almost a tag-on, which it isn't. Whatever happened to putting the quality on as the last track on side one, or the opener to the B-side?

I like it - I like it a lot. For a debut album, there's greatness here, poised, waiting, pulsing...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2011 12:27 PM BST


Bible Belt
Bible Belt
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.98

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Lovely, 14 May 2010
This review is from: Bible Belt (Audio CD)
Saw her on 'Later with Jools Holland' and was in love immediately. Pre-ordered the CD the next morning, and it's been on repeat in the car ever since.

I've been trying to figure out what it is about it that I love so much - is it the lovely country-soul-gospel voice that belts, whispers, croons and soars, or is it the toe-tapping melodies (I defy anyone to listen to 'Valentino' without clapping or tapping along)? Or is it that it all seems somehow familiar, while at the same time, new? And then, I just stop caring, because I'm enjoying myself so much.

I was trying to figure out why this CD was called 'Bible Belt' - I think that maybe it's because it's full of the kind of songs that you would hear on the radio in gas stations across Middle America.

A simply lovely CD.


Little Feat
Little Feat
Price: £8.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Dixie Chicken, 7 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Little Feat (Audio CD)
This is the first album by Little Feat, Lowell George's solo project following his altercations with Frank Zappa, and, along with Sailing Shoes pre-dates the change in line-up that led to the funky rhythm section of Dixie Chicken and all following Little Feat recordings.

As such, it has a much more countrified feel to it that their later work, tinged with blues and some countercultural rock.

It's a bit of a mish-mash really - there's some folky-western tunes in there (The Brides of Jesus), some good rocking tunes on what it's like to be a hippy (Strawberry Flats), a couple of love songs influenced by the whole trucker-ethic (Truck Stop Girl, Willing) and the blues of 'How Many More Times?/44 Blues'.

Throughout, George's voice is forceful, tender and soaring as the need arises, and his slide guitar work is second to none. A great early album, but before they really defined their rather more Cajun sound.


Waking Hours
Waking Hours
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.25

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Songs for the Single, 7 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Waking Hours (Audio CD)
Ten songs on loneliness, sadness, the overwhelming futility of it all and a run of songs by Justin Currie on a relationship that would appear to have broken up rather unpleasantly.

Instead of being an introspective and self-indulgent meditation on misery, this is a group of ten well-crafted songs, lyrical and accurately observed - from feeling trapped in a small town (Move Away, Jimmy Blue or Nothing Ever Happens) to the dreadful loneliness of singledom when everything takes on that extra banality (You're Gone), even those moments of hoepfulness when there's a chance that everything might turn out all right (This Side of the Morning).

Great songs, marvellous lyrics, good tunes.


Watchmen
Watchmen
by Alan Moore
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary. Quite simply Legendary, 6 April 2009
This review is from: Watchmen (Paperback)
It's very rare that something comes along and changes everything that follows. Along with 'The Dark Knight Returns', this is one of the two graphic novels that changed comics entirely; nothing produced since has failed to be influenced by it.
It's Alan Moore at his best - tightly plotted, with entirely believable characterisations, a twisty turny narrative structure that reveals the story through asides, flashbacks and the juxtapositioning of events, with even the maligned 'pirates' plot adding to the feel and the moral of the main action. The dialogue is sharp and often witty.
Strangely enough in a graphic novel, I particularly like the prose sections - the extracts from Under The Hood and so on - all the stuff that shows that Alan Moore isn't just a great writer, but is erudite about comics, and able to create a whole world within which the action sits.
The artwork from Dave Gibbons is perfectly observed - traditional enough for a superhero book that the plot jars with the style, and uncluttered enough to let the story flow.
All said and done, this is a great, great piece of writing. Having seen the film, I decided to re-read it again (for about the tenth time) and was shocked at how much was in there that I'd missed the first nine times.


Bairns
Bairns
Price: £16.26

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark - but don't let that stop you!, 30 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Bairns (Audio CD)
It's dark. Let's get that out of the way first - the songs range in subject from domestic abuse through infant mortality to being stuck at home while your husband is out hunting whales. Even the cheerier-sounding tunes such as 'Blackbird' have a darker edge to them, and minor keys abound.

What this album does, though, is get things back to basics, and do it right. At the heart of the tunes are the two voices of Rachel and Becky Unthank, and they are allowed to take centre stage. They are very different voices, Rachel's being stronger, I think, but harder, while Becky's is reedier and more expressive, but to be honest, the truth of the matter is that the two voices work excellently together - the songs are filled with multiple-part harmonies that are a joy to listen to.

That's not to say, of course, that the instrumentation is in any way lacking - it's spare, in a way that only the most confident can manage; at no point are the instruments fighting the voices - the two parts of each song work perfectly together. When the voices are taking centre stage the music supports them, and when the instrumentalists are allowed free reign (as on 'My Donald'), the result is absolutely gorgeous.

in short, then, this is one of the most beautiful CDs that I've bought for a long time, and in the few months I've owned it, I've managed to fall thoroughly in love with the Unthank sisters.


Silent Hill Origins (PSP)
Silent Hill Origins (PSP)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Follow the instructions..., 20 Jan. 2009
...and turn off the lights while you play it with the headphones on.

Silent Hill - back to how it should be; not locked in some room, but wandering around the misty town wondering what the hell is going on. Yes, in places it is more style than substance, but when the style is this good, you can make allowances.

By and large, this is familiar, above all else - the controls, the look, the feel, the types of location. There are some nice twists - the fact that melee weapons are destroyed by use, for example - often half way through a scrap - stop it from being too comfortable.

Although this is not a huge game (about the same length as the first one), there are some really cool bits about it that only come out on replaying. Yes, there are the 'bad' and 'UFO' endings to find, but the real fun is in the accolades. These force you to play the game differently - one involves, for example, no shooting, while to gain another, you have to shoot everything. This adds an impetus to replaying the game - trying to see if you can take out the bosses with only your fists.

Quite a lot of fun.


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