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PeteGrayson

PeteGrayson
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Member since: 23.01.2012

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    • Apple iPod Nano (4G) 8 GB / MP3 Player / 3 Readings / 3 Ratings
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      26.01.2012 02:04
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      Great for all music lovers, and a good alternative to the more expensive models

      I recieved this product as a gift from my parents two years ago now, and didn't use it until recently. So far, I have experienced few faults with it and am currently kicking myself for not having used it sooner! For a device that's so small, the iPod nano is deceptively powerful. The sound quality is as good as any other mp3 players on the market today, and on top of that, it's incredibly easy to operate and has a screen that's perfectly sized for such a little device. As for iTunes itself. This programme is incredibly easy to download, install, and ultimately, operate if you haven't used it before. The layout is such that whatever it is you want to do is merely a mouse click away, so do not let the fear of computer technology put you off! Another plus I've found with the nano are that it's fairly sturdy for being so small. I have dropped mine on more than one occasion and it's aluminium casing has made sure it is still totally intact. I wouldn't recommend throwing it under traffic any time soon though! I only have two main issues with the device. One is that I have so much music that I may have to upgrade to a classic model fairly soon! But if you are someone who doesn't necessarily need an immense song collection with you at all times, and perhaps are fine with streamlining your iTunes library from time to time, this product is perfect for you! The other is that I wish the battery would last longer, as I am often on long journeys and forget to charge it fully before I leave. NOT good when the battery only lasts a maximum of 24 hours! All in all, I would definitely recommend this product to any music lovers who are looking for a cheaper, more compact iPod to listen to on the move, and the simple interface ensures that people of all ages can operate it. Seriously, my Grandma's still using mine to practise her French vocabulary ! :)

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      • Roland KC-350 / Amplifier / 9 Readings / 6 Ratings
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        26.01.2012 01:36
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        Great for practise, not always so great for use live.

        I bought this amplifier a couple years back when purchasing my Roland SH-201, and did not regret it. This little amplifier really packs a punch, and while being mighty heavy for a little guy like me, is incredibly easy to get around the place (the sturdy handle on top makes it all possible!) First and foremost, it's a synthesizer amplifier, and I would certainly not recommend it to guitarists above any other amplifier's by Marshall or Orange. However, I have played my guitar through it before and it gave off a fairly strong clean sound. It was only when I upped the volume that things started to sound a little crackly and crunchy (and not in a badass distortion kinda way). It also gave me a fairly muffled sound when I attempted to plug into the mic-channel and sing through my microphone. However, this may just be my experience and others may have had more success with these elements. As it stands though, I would only suggest this to synth players. In a similar way, I tended to find that plugging more than one instrument in at a time would make for an extremely patchy sound, with both instruments sounding as if they were competing for the amp when played at any reasonable volume. This made the heck load of input channels (each with their own individual volume dials) seem rather pointless to me. However, I did find this incredibly effective for practising with my Roland SH-201, as it allowed me to pump up the volume (almost to max!) whilst keeping a crisp and clear sound. On the other hand, in a live environment I began to feel that the amp wasn't powerful enough to hold its own as I played with my bandmates. Eventually, I decided to just start plugging into the venue's PA system and leave the amp at home. As it is primarily a piano and synthesizer amplifier, it does not contain any built in effects such as delay or distortion. It does let you alter the High and Low end frequencies of the sound though, which can come in handy when you're ready for some serious bass! As an added bonus, it does work perfectly for blasting out some music from an ipod, provided you have the appropriate adaptor cable to go with it.

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        26.01.2012 00:53
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        Although Neutrogena have some more reliable products, I would not recommend this one.

        As I am a young man I am still, from time to time, victim to the irritating troubles of acne. When one morning I became aware of a small breakout close to my mouth, I immediately went into GOOGLE BEST SOLUTION PANIC mode. The result I seemed to find popping up most often was this one. I had used other Neutrogena products throughout my teenage years and, while my skin still had its ups and downs, I was generally fairly happy with my (mother's) purchases! Anyway, I had a party to attend that night and was therefore anxious about showing up with these rosey red pimples adorning my mouth. For this reason, the promise made by Neutrogena to reduce my spots in the space of eight hours was highly exciting for me, and I immediately ran to the supermarket to get some. I applied it as soon as I got home, and trusted the mild tingling sensation it gave my skin, as I was under the assumption that it was all part of Neutrogena's mysterious methods of prettying me up for my party. 8 hours later. Oh, look. The spots are still there. As big and red as ever. Party time woop woop. When I woke the next morning, the spots did seem to have calmed down a little, but I was unsure as to whom or what I should thank: Mother Nature or the mysterious "MicroClear technology" contained in this little bottle. I chose the bottle. For the next week or so, I would apply a little amount to every blemish I was worried about. It didn't help. Infact, I think it made it worse. It would simply leave my skin dried out, only to attract more spots as my skin tried to rehydrate itself. Eventually I decided I'd had enough, and decided to tackle my spots the old fashioned way: healthy eating and tonnes of water. I personally would not recommend this product to anybody, as I would never recommend something that I had found unsuccessful (especially when it involves something as personal as acne), but I am sure there are people this has worked for.

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          25.01.2012 18:19
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          An excellent and self-assured album from one of Scotland's most cherished indie pop bands.

          As soon as the opening flute groove kicks in on "Step Into My Office, Baby", the opening track of "Dear Catastrophe Waitress", it becomes immediately evident that this is going to be a somewhat different record to the sombre vibes of the beloved Scottish indie pop act's previous effort, "Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant". This duel flute introduction is the first example of the newly hyper-intricate arrangements that will adorn much of the rest of Belle & Sebastian's fifth studio album (not including "Storytelling", the band's first attempt at a film soundtrack, and a CD I often choose to forget about). Over the few years prior to the release of "Dear Catastrophe Waitress", it began to feel to me as if perhaps Belle & Sebastian had lost their way, doomed to hold the somewhat patronizing title of "ultra-twee indie darlings" forever more. While I truly love the band's first three albums, there is no denying that all three cover similar ground to one another. Over these records, I began to feel that singer Stuart Murdoch's lyrical range was appearing increasingly limited, and a lack of musical innovation began to haunt the tracks. On "Fold Your Hands, Child", the band decided to incorporate a more democratic approach to the song writing, with Murdoch stepping back and allowing his team mates to contribute their own contributions. This new process created mixed results, and so it was refreshing to hear that "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" was mainly Murdoch's baby, in terms of both musical and lyrical content. On top of this, a new sense of focus and confidence makes the record a very refreshing one to listen to, from a band I had previously thought may have already contributed all of their greatest work to the world. While the new found polish on this album courted some controversy among hardcore Belle & Sebastian fanatics, I feel that it was just what the band needed to grow and progress. Producer Trevor Horn lends his talents in such a way that no personality is lost in the tracks. His input has simply allowed the compositions to breathe, and the instrumentation on show here is more diverse and endearing than anything that's appeared on any previous Belle & Sebastian records. From funky guitars to soothing strings to muted brass (all the way to a masterfully executed a cappella section), the aforementioned opening song on the album is a perfect example of what's to come. This song is incredibly complex and contains numerous sections, all of which flow seamlessly into one another, without ever feeling overly smart or convoluted. The level maturity on show here is truly outstanding, and this quality continues into the title track of the album. The yellowy tint of the album artwork is no accident either, and this becomes increasingly obvious over the next four tracks, "If She Wants Me", "Piazza New York Catcher", "Asleep On A Sunbeam" and "I'm A Cuckoo", all of which have a beautifully warm and summery feeling. "Piazza" and "Cuckoo" were two tracks on the album that stood out particularly for me. The former feels like a welcome call back to a younger Belle & Sebastian, and reminds me of the more basic, stripped down feel of certain tracks on their classic 1996 debut, "Tigermilk", and sophomore effort, "If You're Feeling Sinister". "I'm a Cuckoo", on the other hand, is one of the fullest, sunniest and downright catchiest songs in the band's catalogue. The sympathetic third person narrative of Lord Anthony would certainly not feel out of place on any of Belle & Sebastian's releases throughout the nineties, however I feel that the soaring and uplifting chorus is beyond anything that the group had achieved up to this point. The touching lyrics, the delicate yet reassuring vocal delivery and the overall refinement and restraint of the musical accompaniment all make this my hands down favourite track on the album. While the final three tracks on the album don't quite reach the level of quality found on the first nine, they are still most certainly worth checking out. All three see the band experimenting with different sounds, styles and musical content, as is the case in "If You Find Yourself Caught In Love", an upbeat, almost gospel-like number which sees Murdoch tackling the topic of his own religion more directly than ever before. All in all, I would strongly recommend this album, along with "Tigermilk", as a perfect introduction to any new listeners of the band. To all those who have not yet heard it in its entirety or were put off by the idea of a bolder and shinier Belle & Sebastian, I thoroughly recommend you give it another try, as there are some truly inspired and touching moments on this record that will make you proud of the band and their progression. There is also no doubt in my mind that if you have bought and enjoyed either of the group's latest two efforts, you will most certainly fall in love with this one.

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            24.01.2012 02:06
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            A reliable and affordable toaster

            When I recieved this toaster as a flat warming gift last year, I regret to say that it remained in its box for some time. I already had a toaster, and saw no need to upgrade to anything flashier. However, when my old toaster (the first I'd ever had in my own place) broke, I was left with no other choice but to replace it with this newer model, and I'm glad I did. The stainless steel exterior is extremely attractive and I know it would go perfectly in almost any kitchen. The added ability to make an extra two pieces of toast for my girlfriend (or myself) at the same time has improved my breakfast experience tenfold. I've been using this toaster religiously since we took it out the box, and it has performed time and time again, with its simple design and easy to understand dials, allowing me to toast my bread to whatever degree I desire that day. I would recommend this product to any toast lover.

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            • Tesco Value Bran Flakes / Breakfast / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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              24.01.2012 01:52

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              A healthy and tasty breakfast cereal for a reduced price: result!

              Although the tag of "Tesco Value" can often be disheartening and off putting to me while I make my weekly shop at my local Tesco, I am pleased to say that after trying this cheap alternative to the often ludicrously priced original product, I am tempted to shop for other items in the range. Excitingly enough, the pound or two that I managed to save were not reflected in the quality of the product. Infact, I experienced the exact same level of enjoyment when eating these. They have the same understated flavour and the same bite to them, and therefore still contain all the things I love about regular Bran Flakes. I could easily go through several bowls a day, as I know that they contain a lot less sugar and salt than many other popular cereals. They also hold their shape and don't get soggy too quickly, as I feared they might, with them being a cheaper, less popular product. All in all, I am very happy with my purchase and will happily use Tesco Value products to a greater extent in the future.

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            • More +
              24.01.2012 01:22

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              A gorgeous debut from the Glaswegian heroes.

              Belle and Sebastian are my favourite band of all time, and it all started with this album. First put together by the band as a supposed "one-off" college experiment, it contains a nice round total of 10 tracks, many of which have become favourites for B&S fans. A very limited number of vinyl copies were pressed to begin with, but the tremendous popularity of the CD lead to a greater run being issued. All in all, it has become a classic and resulted in the band becoming darlings of the indie community. Singer Stuart Murdoch much displays early talent as a master wordsmith in these songs, singing sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking stories in the both the first and third person narrative. Every number is also sung in a delicate Scottish accent. The orchestration is particularly impressive throughout this extremely melodic batch of tracks, with everything from flute being utilized in the beautiful ballad "We Rule the School" to rich synthesizer sounds used in "Electronic Renaissance". I personally love this album and believe it is a perfect introduction to those who haven't heard the band before. For those who have already heard later material, I feel this is a strong addition to any music collection, helping listeners to hear just how far the band have come in the past decade and a half.

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            • In the Land of Women (DVD) / DVD / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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              24.01.2012 00:47

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              A touching film that is easy and enjoyable to watch, with likeable characters from strong actors

              I have been a fan of Adam Brody ever since I watched him as loveable geek, Seth Cohen, in television drama "The OC", and it would be wrong to lie and claim I had watched the film for any other reason other than my love of his previous work. First of all, I am convinced that all fans of the show are likely to be fans of this, with Brody playing much the same character: funny, friendly and slightly neurotic. With strongly chosen cast mates such as Meg Ryan and Kristen Stewart, much of the film's charm comes from the honest and sweet conversations between Brody and his female co stars. Brody plays a recently dumped porn-movie writer who has recently moved in with his old and confused grandmother in an attempt to get away from the troubles of his regular life and focus on writing a novel. The movie has the warm and light hearted tone along with some of the emotional trauma of a standard chick-flick, however, the fact that the story is told very much through the perspective of Brody gives the film a unique vibe. Although it has it's more upsetting moments, the film is enjoyable throughout and ultimately very touching when we reach the ending.

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            • Roland SH-201 / Keyboard / Synthesizer / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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              24.01.2012 00:12

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              Simple, easy to use, yet offering almost infinite sonic possibilities, I highly recommend the SH-201

              I first received the Roland SH-201 for my 15th birthday. At this time I was simply desperate to own a synthesizer of any kind, despite the fact that I had no previous experience with this form of electrical hardware. I had a basic grasp of how to play the piano at the time, but nothing up until this point had given me any idea as to how to customize my very own sounds from basic waveforms. Luckily enough, however, the SH-201 is incredibly beginner friendly, with an in depth instruction manual to accompany it. The layout of the synthesizer itself is very helpful, with arrows pointing you from button to knob to guide you through the system of building your own sound. I have used this keyboard both live and in the studio, and was very happy with the result achieved in both settings. While the real fun comes from customising your own sounds and/or noises, the SH-201 also offers an amazing 32 preset sounds (covering almost every analog-modeling base out there) which you can also choose to tamper with, and perhaps save the results on one of the 32 spaces in the sound bank. Other bonus features include the tremolo bar, which you can push in various directions and degrees to bend the pitch of a note, as well as the fact that the keyboard can be used as a MIDI keyboard, which is incredibly helpful when hooking it up with the computer music software of your choice. The Roland SH-201 is still one of my favourite musical tools to use, and I recommend it to any beginners in the field of electronic music.

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