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Matt Black (London, UK)

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Broadchurch - Series 2 [DVD]
Broadchurch - Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Offered by BBC Shop
Price: £16.99

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A poor sequel in almost every way, 9 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Broadchurch - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
The best thing you can say for Broadchurch is that the cast is brilliant. That was true of the first, and remains consistent in the follow up. Unfortunately, that's become the only thing you can say for Broadchurch. I thought the first series was overrated but now we've had superior who-dun-it's in the BBC's fantastic The Missing, the bar had been raised and the second chapter of the Broadchurch story simply doesn't measure up.

The central issue is the writing. Characters are one-dimensional and it's subsequently very hard to care about any of them. You can sense they started to realise that toward the end with a sudden and ludicrously inconsequential lesbian love interest and family death for a central character. It was clumsily done, and too little, too late. This is essentially a very dull, drawn out courtroom drama which has a sense of being far less epic than it thinks it is. There's clearly been an attempt of sorts to portray the process of criminal law accurately, but the focus on procedure erodes the tension and suspense and the only thing viewers are left with is a very real sense of how boring it must be to sit through one of these cases all day.

Tenent and Colman bring their A-game, especially the former, but it's not enough. Now this has been commissioned for a third series and you have to wonder if the broadcaster is more concerned with advertising revenue resulting from decent ratings than they are the quality of their product.

Ikon English Mens Slip On Shoes Tan
Ikon English Mens Slip On Shoes Tan
Offered by James and James Footwear
Price: £44.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A quality shoe for a great price, 11 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very attractive shoe which works great with dark denim but equally well with light chinos or formal trousers. It's not a high end shoe but you know that already, looking at the price. It's great for a season and is sturdy and quality in design. It fits well - I have slightly wide feet but once broken in, these fit just fine.

Broadchurch [DVD]
Broadchurch [DVD]
Dvd ~ Olivia Colman
Price: £9.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated example of a pretty basic drama, 3 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Broadchurch [DVD] (DVD)
I saw Broadchurch having been recommended it by family and friends, and maybe that's my mistake. Perhaps, as an organic drama that's watched in real broadcast time, as it unfolds, it's quite good. Except it's not. This is full of horribly hammy performances (step forward, Pauline Quirke) and clunky, one-note writing far surpassed by similar dramas like The Missing or The Killing.

The reality is, this was a Daily Mail zeitgeist; something people could feel part of and indulge in that sense of fleeting community whilst being oblivious to the quality of the subject matter. It's fine for what it is, but don't go expecting much.

Wool Overs Men's Lambswool Crew Neck Jumper
Wool Overs Men's Lambswool Crew Neck Jumper
Offered by Wool Overs Ltd
Price: £26.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Irritating material; very poor fit, 30 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm sure this manufacturer sell some great knitwear, but this product is dreadful. Straight out of the packet, you can feel how unfriendly the lambswool is to the skin - it's not warm and cosy, it's irritating and unpleasant to wear. The fit is terrible - I'm usually an XL but I ordered large owing to the reviews about how oversized it is. The body itself was extra large, and so was the collar so no problems there, but the sleeves were about right for a large cut, meaning they were too short for me. My only option is an XL for the sleeves but then the collar and body will be enormous. I'll just exchange for something else.

AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - (10 cm / 4 Inches) - Black
AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - (10 cm / 4 Inches) - Black

4.0 out of 5 stars A premium replacement, 25 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great product, built to a far higher quality than the default cable Apple supplies with the iPhone. It's a little overpriced, but this is a premium product in a far more convenient length.

Jasmine Silk Mens Luxury Black Plain Leather Cashmere Lined Gloves (Large (9.5-10 inches))
Jasmine Silk Mens Luxury Black Plain Leather Cashmere Lined Gloves (Large (9.5-10 inches))
Offered by Jasmine Silk
Price: £23.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Feel great but a poor fit lets these down, 25 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In theory these should be great - leather gloves with a premium cashmere lining. Sadly, they're a little disappointing. I've had them for a couple of months now, and have noticed the cashmere lining start to fray, leaving holes in the material that will only ever get worse. I haven't been rough with them or mishandled them in any way, and am surprised to see such degradation.

As some others have also said, there is an additional problem with the length of the thumb on this product. The thumb is about half an inch too long, leaving an annoying little flap at the top which you have to continually pull the glove onto your hand again to make disappear.

When paying over twenty pounds for a pair of gloves, you want quality. Despite looking good on paper, you won't get that with these; they're a let down.

The Missing [DVD]
The Missing [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Nesbitt
Price: £9.99

21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Resolution Is Not The Point, 16 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Missing [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliantly written, masterfully acted and wonderfully shot. This is the best television drama there's been for years, but it's helpful to approach this with an open mind. Reviews of the final episode are mixed, mainly because some people watched this solely as a 'who done it' mystery. It can be enjoyed as such, but to appreciate it in such linear terms is to spectacularly miss out on the real joy of this show: the terrible depiction of the impact of a tragedy. This is a powerful character study in hope, determination, futility, depression and the steady realisation of the worst news a parent can have to come to accept. So when watching, be open to the various layers at which The Missing operates and savour each one.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 8, 2015 9:37 PM GMT

John Grant and The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
John Grant and The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Price: £7.99

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transcendent. Haunting. Beautiful., 1 Dec. 2014
I was lucky enough to attend one of John Grant's concerts with the Royal Northern Sinfonia in the UK in late November 2014, and rate the experience as the best gig of my life to date. The performances on this release were recorded prior to those concerts, with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra performing sumptuous arrangements from Fiona Brice. The orchestra provide rich musical depth to the already sublime tunes from John, blending seamlessly with his work. It's a shame the CD wasn't released later with live captures from the tour because I think this arrangement was perfected whilst on the road, but aside from the odd moment the orchestra aren't quite as superior as they might be, or John doesn't hit quite the vocal form of which he's capable, this is still majestic music from a unique talent.

Highlights include the spellbinding finish to Vietnam and the wonderful inclusion of an orchestral interpretation of Rachmaninoff's 'Prelude in C-Sharp Minor' acting as a prelude to Pale Green Ghosts. Most of John's staple tracks are included here although it was disappointing not to hear the orchestral additions to Jesus Hates Faggots, which sounded great in concert.

I'd highly recommend this to any existing fan of John Grant. This isn't John at his best, but these are gorgeous arrangements that need to be heard.

Leather Origami Case for Kindle Voyage (7th Generation)
Leather Origami Case for Kindle Voyage (7th Generation)
Price: £54.99

50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An expensive upgrade for the Voyage but an improvement over the Paperwhite case, 7 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First things first - this is a ridiculously overpriced case. With first class postage, it's practically as expensive as a basic Kindle itself, and that cost is going to be hugely off-putting for many. That said, it's also the only official case and that should mean we can expect a perfect match to the product it houses. Those expectations are not only met, but exceeded here.

A lot of praise has been heaped upon the Paperwhite equivalent of this case, but there were one or two issues with it - once attached, it was incredibly difficult to remove the Kindle. This case solves that problem - instead of an air-tight clasp over the Kindle, the Voyage is held in place by strong, harmless magnets. It's now not only secure but detachable if for some reason you'd prefer a naked Kindle.

The other issue with the Paperwhite case was the 'book-like cover'. I see this getting a lot of praise, but an e-reader is not a book. The only thing I did with the flap was bend it back so it sat flush to the back of the device. When left open, I felt it was just something extra to hold which served no basis other than to make the Paperwhite clumsier to handle. Some say it shields the book from prying eyes but I've never found it an uncomfortable exerpeicne if my neighbour glances at what I'm reading, certainly not to the extent I try and hide it with the cover!

The Voyage cover takes a different approach - there is no longer anything to hold like a book; the entire cover folds back and attaches, again with magnets, to the back of the Kindle. I find this a vastly superior design, although overall reaction is certainly mixed. The Voyage instantly becomes a one-handed device in a far quicker and user-friendlier way than the Paperwhite and contrary to some reviewers, I didn't find it 'uncomfortable' to hold at all - the leather is quality and the slight additions to size and weight actually make the Voyage feel more substantial.

Personally I don't use my Kindle 'propped up', so the origami feature is a little lost on me, abut it's very easy to fold into position and back out again, and it's stable when in place. The lines in the leather coating to facilitate the fold feature don't interfere or impact holding the Kindle.

Overall, I'm very happy with this case. I think the design is great and certainly improves on the Paperwhite, although I understand why some prefer to pretend they're reading a book and appreciate the way the last generation of cases helped them to do that. I don't have such concerns - the Kindle isn't a book, and ultimately it's the words that we escape into, not the case. The case loses a star for price - that strikes as sheer money-grabbing from Amazon who would sell a lot more if this came in at under £30.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2014 2:24 PM GMT

Kindle Voyage, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi
Kindle Voyage, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi
Price: £169.99

29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best e-reader available, but is it worth replacing your Paperwhite?, 5 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I’ve been in ownership of my Kindle Voyage for a few hours now, having sold the last Paperwhite model to make room for it. Like many, my concern was whether Amazon’s priciest Kindle is worth the cost to upgrade from the excellent Paperwhite 2 which has served me very well. Judgements will inevitably be subjective, but for my money, yes – if you spend any significant time reading, this is a wonderful purchase.

The first thing you notice about the Voyage is the size. Before you even open the box, everything is smaller, to the extent I wondered whether I’d been sent a Kindle Mini by mistake. The difference in dimensions may not seem huge, but they’re immediately noticeable, giving this model a more proportioned feel. Inside the box, you’ll get the obligatory paperwork, a USB lead and the Kindle itself. It would have been nice to receive a power adaptor along with the cable, but it’s evident from the cost of accessories that Amazon are looking to the add-ons for profit (I’ll review the official case shortly).

The next thing you notice is the design, which does genuinely feel premium. I didn’t expect to be terribly bothered about the flush bezel, but it gives the Voyage a luxurious look, and the slight slopes of the back housing are far less pronounced than many videos of this model have led me to believe. The lines of the page press buttons and the small dots of the light sensors are noticeable without being distracting and the Voyage feels great in your hand.

The reading experience on the Kindle is sublime. The built-in light is powerful without being overbearing, and is uniform across the page. I have read reports of issues with tone and light distribution, but I can only account for the model I received, which is perfect in both respects. Touch responsiveness does feel improved from the Paperwhite, and the 300ppi resolution is stunning. It’s not comparable with the highest end smart phones or tablets available, but it doesn’t need to be – this is a monochrome e-ink reader, and the Voyage has little room for improvement when it comes to how crisp and sharp fonts look in any size you care to choose.

The Page Press buttons are very welcome, also. They don’t respond to a tap, but yet they’re not buttons that move either, more respond to pressure, so you do actually have to press down and as a result you get a light but noticeable ‘haptic feedback’ which feels good in the hand and more decisive than a tap on the touchscreen.

In conclusion, I’m very happy with my decision to ditch my Paperwhite in favour of the Voyage. I feel the extra expense is justified in the size of the screen, the improved light, the page press buttons and flush design. This is a device famed for ‘disappearing’ in your hands as you get into a good book, but you’ll always notice it when you first pick it up, and thank yourself for making the purchase.

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