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bailey_kipper_uk
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      09.05.2009 22:28
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      Watch this if you find the word clunge funny but have no idea why.

      This is a review of the excellent Series 2 of The Inbetweeners, who are a group of 4 lads who basically are just not cool, but equally aren't nerds either, they are inbetween. They are currently at their comprehensive school 6th form and spend much of their time trying to either improve their social standing or trying to get with girls. The show is very juvenile but I'm 30 (very soon) and me and all my mates love it.

      As there is a separate category for the show I'll briefly introduce the characters.

      Will (arguably the main character) has had to switch schools over the summer from a private school to an ordinary comprehensive. He is the most nerdy of the lads and gets frustrated easily at their regular lack of seriousness.

      Simon is the next in order of sensibleness. He spends much of his time chasing after his childhood sweetheart Carli, usually with little luck. He also is the only one to drive but has a rubbish yellow Fiat Cinquecento.

      Jay is constantly talking about sex and how he is always getting some. However this is far from the truth and he is just as rubbish with women as the others. He loves using the word clunge (feel free to look it up on the urban dictionary), and always insults the others in some way.

      Neal is basically the stupid one and is usually blissfully innocent of much that goes on around him.

      Series 2 begins at the start of the 2nd term of the year and sees the lads going on a field trip. Will gets to sit next to a new, attractive girl (Lauren) on the coach to Swanage, and gets on well with her, however by the time they are having lunch it becomes clear that Will's impressions of Yoda have put her off and she now fancies Simon... Simon however gets the chance to meet up with Carli and so Will takes the chance to take Lauren out on a boat ride. The lads however want to go for a ride first and chaos soon ensues. By the end neither lad has got to have a date and Simon has become a laughing stock.

      I really liked this episode as loads happens during the course of it and there are lots of funny parts to it. Especially amusing is that Neal doesn't do any of the field trip subjects and is only going along to 'help' one of the teachers who the others suspect of being a paedophile. Neal is oblivious to this and goes skinny dipping with him and then gets a massage in bed.

      The next episode is about Work Experience and sees the boys (ironically they have a real life combined age of almost 100) going out into the wide world. Neal and Will get their jobs mixed up and Neal goes to a newspaper whilst Will has to endure working in a garage, whilst Jay and Simon work at Jay's dad's plant hire firm. All apart from Neal hate their work and are glad to find out Will has a date with a bartender at an underage disco. The lads go along and Simon meets a girl that gave him a Valentines day card, however she decides to masturbate him in public. Whilst this is going on a young lad who Simon insulted earlier in the episode sees him and kicks him in the cock. This sends Simon to the ground and the girl he was with runs off. The child goes and sees his older brother who is part of a hard gang so the lads run off to the toilet to hide. Will ends up phoning his mum to come and get them, which is announced over the PA system, again embarrassing the boys.

      This was the first episode I saw and I had heard good things about this series and wasn't disappointed. It is hilarious and the situations the lads get into are surprisingly believable, which adds to the hilarity. The humour is quite rude and it is rated 18, which is funny as the lads aren't supposed to be 18.

      Episode 3 sees the arrival of Patrice who is a French foreign exchange student who mainly just smokes. Will is having a sophisticated party but this clashes with a clunge fest (sexy party) being held at a girls house. The lads agree to go to Will's party but arrange for a stripper to come (which they will pay on the night, apparently). However, the dinner party lacks women so they go out looking for some. They come across some 11/12 year olds and get accused of being paedophiles, one girls threatens to get her brother. They then try to ditch Patrice and go to the party, this fails and in fact Patrice is the only one to get in. The others get in by climbing over a fence and as usual everything goes wrong, as Will finds his date (from episode 2) upstairs with Patrice.

      This was another great episode with almost everything that could go wrong happening, at the end the lads are chased from the party by the young girl's brother with a cricket bat.

      In the 4th episode the lads go clubbing in London realising that this will definitely improve their social standing. However as usual things go from bad to worse. Neal volunteers to drive but when the time comes it becomes apparent that his car doesn't have an engine... so the lads go in Simon's Cinquecento. They hope to meet up with Carli and a friend of hers so are concerned when they can't find anywhere to park and also when they almost get beaten up for swearing at some guys at a bus stop. Simon needs to swap shoes with a homeless guy as he has worn trainers and the homeless guy has shoes although they are full of wee. Anyway the lads eventually get in, but the girls have both found other guys, and Neal has to go to the toilet as earlier he had cut his penis whilst trying to wee into a can. Jay tries to help him out, but they both get thrown out as people have complained to the bouncers that it appears Neal is pleasuring himself in the toilets, he was actually in pain. The lads all leave and then realise their parking spot wasn't the best.

      Whilst slightly extreme yet again the story being told is quite believable such as parking illegally, turning up without the correct shoes and trying to find someone to swap with, expecting to meet a girl but to find out she actually wants nothing to do with you. This I think is what makes it so funny, the fact that the lads really do try but just constantly make the wrong choices.

      The 5th episode again involves Will thinking he has a chance with a girl, and volunteering the other lads to help out at an old peoples home as part of their Duke of Edinburgh. Neal (the thick one) wonders if Prince Phillip will be there (once they explain to Neal who he is). There are 2 main stories during this episode, with the main one revolving around Will's date. He ends up knackered after covering a shift for the girl he likes (who used to be his babysitter) and the other lads pour cream down his pants whilst he is asleep which cause all his hair to fall out. He ends up using a wig to pretend he still has pubic hair, but this goes wrong when he does actually get lucky. The other main story is around Jay constantly getting bored and sneaking off to masturbate in one of the old people's room's. Bored of using OK magazine he finds a photo of one of the ladies when she was younger, and instead uses that, again with disastrous consequences.

      Personally I found this the least funny episode, I think maybe because it was often only about one or 2 of the lads at a time, I feel they are funnier as a group because of the mixture of their personalities.

      The last episode is the final week of term and sees the lads taking their exams. All get distracted and don't focus on their revision as much as they should. Will ends up drinking too much energy drink and taking too many pro-plus that he is very ill in his exam. Neal is doing PE but spends his time playing on sports computer games and then forgets his kit. Simon is helping Carli with her Geography (which he doesn't do) after he found out she had split with her boyfriend. Lastly Jay spends his time stalking a girl he is going out with (the first real one).

      The best joke in this is early on when Jay suggests the lads bring their wellies, so much so that I received 3 texts within a couple of minutes of it. The rest of the episode is ok but not as funny as the earlier ones in the series.

      Summary

      It is a great show and I now want to get Series 1 as apparently that was better. The humour is very juvenile and they are often rude. The lads are just sex mad (starved) sixth formers and really do act like such, it reminds me of my first year at university, when me and mates of mine often ended up socialising with the sports teams and teachers when we were Maths students.

      The episodes are half an hour long and are usually on at around 10pm on E4, this is mainly due to the swearing.

      I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes childish humour and enjoyed looking up rude words in the dictionary when they were younger.

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      • More +
        04.05.2009 23:39
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        Decent episode, worth a watch when it's repeated.

        So, this is the beginning of the end, the 1st of the last 4 specials to feature the 10th Doctor, David "Ten Inch" Tennant (as Billie Piper refers to him).

        The story takes place mainly in San Helios (aka Dubai) after a bus the Doctor is travelling on drives through a wormhole in a London tunnel (though this tunnel is actually in Cardiff where the filming of Doctor Who usually happens). The bus arrives rather dishevelled having come through the wormhole, though in actual fact a shipping container falling onto it caused this. Also on-board the bus is Michelle "You ain't my muvva" Ryan who is playing a Lara Croft wannabe in the form of Lady Christina de Souza. Lady Christina is in the process of running away from the police having stolen a valuable gold chalice from a London museum. She is essentially the Doctor's sidekick for this story and has a backpack full of goodies that come in very handy at just the right time.

        Also on the bus are a variety of other characters who have very small parts to play but most are underused unlike in 'Midnight' when the entire story was kept within the vehicle/ship. The only main remaining character on the bus is Carmen who has physic abilities on Earth that enable her to win £10 each and every time they play on the National Lottery. On this planet though her ability is enhanced and she can hear death approaching, and I'm not sure they know the lottery numbers.

        Not a lot really happens on the planet for much of the episode but the Doctor and Christina do encounter 2 alien races. First there is the Tritovores who's ship crash landed on the planet, then there is also another race of aliens that are like stingrays but can fly. Don't want to say much more about that side of things as it would ruin the plot.

        Back on Earth meanwhile UNIT have again gotten involved, due to the police following the bus and then seeing it vanish. They are being led by Capitan Erisa Magambo (putting in a repeat appearance, having previously been in the 'Turn Left' episode) and as usual they have guns and are ready to shoot at anything that might come back through the wormhole.

        Also assisting, on Earth, is Lee Evans who plays the character of Malcolm Taylor. Malcolm is a genius but quite wacky scientist for UNIT who has studied wormholes, he even has terms for the size of them. He plays a major part in the second part of the episode in trying to close the wormhole. I'm not a great fan of Evans but his performance is this is very good and it's a character that could be used again.

        It's a decent episode and is better than the Christmas special however I never really like many of the specials as they just seem a bit out of place, they lack the continuity of the main series. Especially having just seen the last series where there are so many things in the early episodes that you miss and that only make sense and in the final episodes.

        This is out on DVD at the end of June for around £10 or slightly more on Blu-Ray. Or you could watch it for free on BBC Three or probably on Watch before not too long. Not sure if the HD version will be shown on BBC HD again though.

        If you want more info on this then Wikipedia (as usual) has a ton of facts about the episode including why the bus was number 200.

        Writer/s - Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts
        Executive producer/s - Russell T Davies & Julie Gardner
        Length - 60 mins

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        • yahoo.com in general / Internet Site / 27 Readings / 28 Ratings
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          25.08.2008 23:09
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          Useful site, improving webmail

          Being from the UK signing up with Yahoo.com maybe wasn't the smartest idea I ever had, however it was 11 years ago when I signed up, I was young and naive. I've mainly used Yahoo.com for the email account that you get, it's a free account that gives you a lot of storage.

          It's a webmail service which means that your mailbox is online and as such requires no space on your harddrive, but you have to be online to access your emails.

          Setting up the account is easy and you don't need to input too many details to get started. You then get unlimited storage (though I'm sure there would be a limit, as with anything that's unlimited) which is lucky due to the amount of spam I get.

          Creating a new email is easy and you can attach up to 10 meg of attachments, double what I can do at work. It's quick and easy to attach attachments such as photos, spreadsheets etc. You can then check the spelling, from a wide variety of languages, and if you then want you can save it as a draft. This will then get stored in your draft folder until you want to send it.

          One thing I like about Yahoo Mail is the use of folders. You of course get one for your Inbox, Sent, Spam, Drafts and Trash, but you can also add any number of additional folders, such as for storing family emails, confirmation of order emails, survey invites etc.

          The main problem I have these days with Yahoo is spam. The ones that are filtered out aren't a problem, though I do get between 50-80 a day. It's all the ones that get through. There seems to be a very poor spam filter in place. For starters I get emails that are dated in the future, not just slightly but sometimes as much as 20 YEARS. Also there's the usual pen1s, p.e.n.i.s. and so forth. Along with every bank under the sun claiming to have blocked my account. Obviously some do appear real and it's these ones that you need to watch out for even more. There are some that are sent as bait, you open one and then BAM! they know you exist and so send even more.

          As mentioned in a review previously, ensure you don't open these or respond in any way. Your bank will never contact you to tell you they have lost your details. If you get one of these and think they might be real then use the website address that you always use in order to access your account rather than an address contained in the email.

          Yahoo has improved dramatically over the past year and there are more advanced features in place that should stop a lot of the above problems like having a much bigger blocked email address list. You can now add 500 email addresses to this list, so the message gets delivered straight to spam, however the problem is still that scammers only ever use an email address for 24 hours and then get a new one.

          A couple of years ago I set up a Hotmail account and have found I get maybe one bit of spam a week so I have decided to get rid of my Yahoo account once and for all. Though I have now set up a Google mail account. This will be used for entering competitions and any sites that seem like they may end up sending me 'selected 3rd party offers' aka spam.

          Yahoo.com as a whole has a whole load of other features, similar to any other major email/broadband provider. Such as chat sites, dating, music streaming, movie news, finance, messenger, games etc. I used the chat sites a long time ago, and back then they were fun, but now they are a lot more moderated and swearing seems to be a big no no, even in the adult rooms.

          I also used to use the Fantasy Football (UK Football) it was good but the scores used to take a while to update and then we started to use more specialist sites. That's the problem with Yahoo, it's so big. I've found sites that I much prefer. I've found games sites that have a wider choice and better games, I prefer the BBC or Sky news sites for news, finance, entertainment etc. I again use BBC for movies and sports news. I use MSN Messenger as that's what is on my phone. And the list goes on.

          In summary Yahoo is good for having lots of info in one place, the mail system is much improved and it's likely to be with us for a while yet.

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          • All Change - Cast / Music Album / 33 Readings / 34 Ratings
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            24.08.2008 23:24
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            Great album for Britpop fans.

            I first heard this album whilst at Uni in the late part of the nineties. My housemate owned it but I 'borrowed' it regularly. As a quick idea of how much I like this album I have rated 7 out of 12 songs on this album at 4/5 stars on my Itunes account, that's a very good amount.

            I'm guessing a lot of people don't really know who Cast are, I say this as I saw an episode of 'Stars in their eyes' where one of the guys performed a song by Cast. He was brilliant but finished up 4th or something similar, can't remember who won but it was a singer that most people over the age of 50 knew and liked but anyone under that probably hadn't heard of.

            Cast were a band of the 90's britpop movement, this was their debut album and they managed 3 more albums before dying out with much of the britpop scene at the end of the 90's. John Power (formerly of The La's) was the lead singer, with Peter Wilkinson and Liam Tyson as guitarists, and Keith O'Neill as the drummer. John Power has a distinctive Scouse accent and this combined with their style of music helped them stand out from the many other britpop acts of the day.

            The first song on this great album is 'Alright' which was their 2nd single and it reached a relatively successful number 13 in the UK singles chart. This was a great song and is certainly one of their most well known. It's a good upbeat song to start the album off, some good lyrics and some strong guitar playing to set the scene for the album. 9/10

            'Promised Land' is the next track and you'd be forgiven for thinking initially it was going to break into 'Weather with you' by Crowded House. However it quickly becomes a Cast song with more great lyrics, some great guitar riffs that keep the upbeat feel going through the song. There's quite a few bits in the song where the guitars work well together and just as well on their own, very well written. 8/10

            'Sandstorm' is the next track and it's another great song. This was their 3rd single, and it made it up to number 8, it was the first of 6 consecutive singles to make it into the top 10. Like most of their songs there's a strong chorus and the guitars get used to varying extents throughout the song rather than always hammering away. It's quite short and leaves you wanting more. 8/10

            'Mankind' is a slighty weaker song but a good song none the less. It bounces along nicely with a good mix of vocals and guitars. It's quite a drummy song this and the drums play more of a part than previously, though this can be a bit montonus at points and the song does feel a bit samey by the end. 7/10

            The next track is 'Tell it like it is' and for me it's one of the weaker tracks on the album. It starts off quite slow and quiet, but after the first verse builds up quickly to a more rocky chorus. It well written though and as with other songs the lyrics flow well either linking as in a story or rhyming or both. 6.5/10

            'Four Walls' seems to be about being in jail, not sure if any of them have. It's quite upbeat though and a good one to sing along to as there's nothing too difficult in terms of pitch. It never really goes anywhere but is a good song with lyrics that mean something, and are relevant to the song. 7/10

            The debut single 'Finetime' is of course a good song and it definitely fits with the style of many of their songs, with short catchy lines. There's the usual good guitar solos and great band play. You can't help but rock along to the songs, even whilst trying to type. 8/10

            'Back of my mind' offers us another chance to sample the more upbeat guitar playing that makes the song sound more uptempo. Its causing my rocking to speed up, which I'm going to have to stop as it's giving me a headache. Having heard this again I'm going to have to up my rating on Itunes to 4/5 and thus give this 8/10.

            'Walkaway' was the 4th single and possibly my favourite. It's a slow song, great for festivals to get people swinging along. Another great one to sing to, accompanied by some nice guitar playing that leads the song along. Very good song. 10/10

            'Reflections' is the next song and it speeds things up again, back to some of the good stuff from earlier with more upbeat drumming and good guitar solos. Not quite as good as the earlier stuff though in lyrical content so it gets 6.5/10

            'History' is the penultimate song on the album and is good again, but sounding a bit outdated now with some of the guitar effects. 6/10

            Last song on the album is 'Two of a Kind', finally a good song to end an album (something I've not had much luck with recently). Some good rhyming lyrics for both the verses and chorus, though he sounds like he struggled a bit making it rhymne, not quite as bad as Chris de Burgh though. It's a long song with lots of guitar at the end to finish off.

            There's then about 15 minutes of quiet and then the bonus track which.... wait..... isn't really worth waiting for. Just a bit of strings, that's it, though it does finish it off. Maybe it was just added to make the album hit exactly one hour.

            Summary
            ~~~~~~

            This is a great album, with lots of good songs. If you're into Blur, Oasis that sort of thing then check this out and hopefully add it to your collection. You can pick it up for just under a fiver from Play.com and cheaper on E-bay and Amazon, both pre-owned though.

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            • More +
              23.08.2008 22:22
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              Another new band, one with a nice sound, but nothing groundbreaking.

              Ok, I taking a slight break from my album back catalogue in order to review this new album, that reached number 1 in the UK album chart last week. This is the debut album from this band from Dublin, hoping to be the next U2.

              The lead singer is Danny O'Donoghue who in his own words is a "Raven haired, handsome, sensitive keyboard player with the vocal flexibility and technical range of an American soul legend." The guitarist is Mark Sheehan who is also the "Shaven headed production whizz". Lastly there is Glen Power, the oldest of the trio at 28, and he is apparantly a "Taciturn drummer and multi-instrumentalist, the funkiest white man in Dublin."

              I would describe their style as soft rock but mixed with some hip hop/r 'n' b lyrical styling. Similar to what Timbaland tried with One Republic recently.

              Their debut album is quite good as was proved by it getting to number one (I know it's not always the case). For some reason I have a slightly different version of the album, but this seems to just be a slightly different track order of the 2nd - 4th tracks.

              The first song on the album is 'We Cry' which was the debut single. This only managed number 13 on the UK Single chart which looking back now is a little surprising. This song introduces the hip hop style but mixes it up with the more soft rock style that they also enjoy, it makes for an nice combination. It's a good song and a good debut. 9/10

              'Talk you down' is the next track and sits inbetween two singles. It's more pop/rock than hip hop, and should help this album appeal to a variety of fans. The lead singer Danny has a good voice and they don't try to sound Irish (like Boyzone or Westlife). This is another decent song that fits well on the album. It's about trying to save a relationship thats on the verge of 'suicide'. 8/10

              'The man who can't be moved' is track 3 and this has received a fair amount of play, especially of the video. It's about a chap who won't move from his spot on the corner of a street, metaphorically. He means that he can't move on in relationship terms also as he's still in love with his current/ex lover, aaaahhhh. Slightly wreaks of desperation though. This song made it to number 3 in the charts. 8/10

              'Before the Worst' is a possible single, it's another good song, good mix of styles again with some standard but well sung lyrics.
              7/10

              Track 5 is 'Breakeven' which is a slight change of style to a more vocally led track with only basic backing. Again it's an decent track but definitely an album track this time. The lyrics are again very good and again about love, well about heartbreak anyway. The music is again good also, very commercial, but fairly standard throughout the album on most songs. 6/10

              This is followed by 'Rusty Halo' which contradicts slightly the last song with a more rocky approach. However again the vocals take the lead and the music provided is often a backing to this, rather than amplyfying the feelings being sung about. 7/10

              Follwing on from this is 'The End Where I Begin'. The lyrics are of course good and like the whole album are very well written. A slower song this but one this speeds up for the choruses with a more soft rock style. 7/10

              Next we have 'If you see Kay', which sounds familiar... It reminds me a lot of 'We Cry' at the start, luckily it doesn't continue like this. Kay is a woman, which suprised me, didn't expect that. It's another song about love and about trying to win back someone that he's broken up with. Again there's good lyrics, music and vocals. It's definitely an album that could be played whilst chilling and drinking a few glasses of wine, in fact that's what I'm doing right now. Except I seem to have developed a slight red wine cough, (though this maybe to do with the gardening I did earlier). I recommend a Merlot to go with this album... 7/10

              The next track is 'Fall for anything', aka Track 9. This album is a good length at 41 minutes and we've just passed half an hour at this point. However there's not anything new coming along yet. Though this is a bit of a mix of vocals with a variety of lyrics going on in quick succession rather than the clean single voice of earlier tracks. Again the music is more of a backing than a lead. 6/10

              The last official track is I'm Yours and like a few albums I've reviewed recently this is also a disappointment and a slow dull track, why do people keep doing this to me. In fairness it's a nice change to everything else and a change of style, if you were having a quiet night chilling on the sofa then it's fine. Luckily there's a bonus track, I want to skip now, I've managed 3 minutes of this... 5/10

              'Anybody there' picks it back up slightly with another decent track, which of course is well sung with great music that backs it up nicely. 6/10

              Summary
              ~~~~~~
              This is a well polished album that delivers consistently. However it's a bit too consistent, a bit too polished, and there's not enough to it to make it part of my regular playlist. However as an album to stick on for a quiet evening and a glass of wine it's great and should be left by the CD player.

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              • More +
                17.08.2008 17:53
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                Good album & something a little bit different.

                Next album on the list is Alisha's Attic - Alisha Rules the World. This is an album from back in the 90's, 1996 to be precise. I first got into this band when I purchased their single Indestructible. They're a duo from Essex, sisters in fact, and their father was also in music, so they took the logical step to give it a go. Luckily they sent a demo tape to Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame, and shortly after got themselves a record deal.

                This was Shelly and Karen's debut album and was definitely their most popular. It spawned 4 singles, all charted at between 12 and 14 in the charts, very consistent (Their next single - not on this album - also charted at number 13).

                You'd classify the album as pop, but it's a more quirky style, similar at times to Alanis Morrisette, but less angry and male hating than Alanis is.

                Track 1 - Irresistible U Are.
                A nice little track to open with, gentle melody and similar to a lullaby. 6.5/10

                Track 2 - Intense
                Very much a change from the opening track, this is at the harder end of the pop scale, sounds a bit like Alanis for the first time on the album, with some shouting warblyness. 6/10

                Track 3 - I am, I feel
                This was their debut single and became a bit of a girly anthem, mainly due to the lyrics. This is probably the most man hating that they get though plus it's a good pop song. 8/10

                Track 4 - Alisha Rules the World
                We now have the title track and 2nd single. It's another great pop song, very upbeat and a great one to sing along too. 9/10

                Track 5 - White Room
                Back to Alanis again, not too bad though, at least there's no agression or shouty warblyness (that's my word of the day). It's a decent song again but not as good as the last two. Like many of the songs the chorus, or key phrases are repeatedly sung a lot, not a bad thing, but can be a bit repetetive at times. 7/10

                Track 6 - Stone in my Shoe
                Another good song, with some good lyrics. It's a sweet sounding song, that flows well. It's good to see so many good songs on an album, and one that probably never got the sales that it warranted. 7/10

                Track 7 - Personality lines
                Interesting slant on an automated phone line. Very short song, probably should have stayed on a tape somewhere in a dark cupboard. 3/10

                Track 8 - Indestructible
                As I said earlier this was the track that prompted me to get into the band initially, it's a very good pop song. It's got some good lyrics and is about the sisterly bond between the 2 girls in the band. 9/10

                Track 9 - I won't miss you
                Could probably have been a single, but wasn't. It's a good song on the album and a bit different to the others. A little more on the dancy side, with a bit of a light drum and bass background. 7/10

                Track 10 - The Golden Rule
                This is another little interlude track and one that needs to be skipped. 3/10

                Track 11 - Just the Way U Like It
                A nice little song that meanders happily along, a slow poppy number. Nicely sung. 7/10

                Track 12 - Air We Breathe
                This is a very good song and well written. Another very good pop song and this was the last single off this album. Charting no lower than any other of the previous 3 singles. This is a good album and there's many songs that you can sing along to, this is another of those. 9/10

                Track 13 - Adore U
                This track's main purpose seems to have been to make the album hit 45 minutes. It's very much a last track style of track.
                6/10.

                Summary
                ~~~~~~

                Overall this is a very good album, and one that I think has been very underrated. Looking at what was number one at the time, Alanis herself had actually spent 8 weeks at number one only a couple of months earlier, and The Spice Girls were everywhere at the time this was released so maybe it just faded into the background a bit. It was enjoyable to listen to it again and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good pop album and something a little different from the mainstream.

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                • More +
                  10.08.2008 12:58
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                  It's a decent album when listened to as a whole.

                  I always thought Beverley Knight was quite mainstream. however this was her 4th album and only managed to spawn 3 singles, one of which was a cover. My wife is a fan though and when we went to see Bryan Adams in Swindon a couple of years ago she was the warm up act. Whilst she was ok, I didn't really know many of her songs, so as part of my album collection reviews I feel I should open myself up to more styles of music.

                  Knight has an easy listening style of music that combines rhythm and blues with some soul and funk, producing a style that has made her one of the UK's most popular singers of this musical genre. Admittedly there's not a lot of quality competition for this position.

                  On with the review then and we begin with one of her most well known songs and first single from the album.

                  'Come as you are' is definitely one of her best tracks, with a distinctive opening. Quite a lively track with a mix of styles, quite funky and a bit rocky. It gives her voice a bit of a workout and she manages it well and shows why many people view her as one of the best British vocalists. 8/10

                  'Not too late for love', being 35 then I'm sure she's hoping thats the case. This song is choc full of metaphors, it's a well written track though that actually makes sense, unlike many songs these days. This was the 2nd single from the album and is sung very differently from the first with longer notes and sung in a slower style, more soulful. 7/10

                  'First Time' is another heartfelt track from this album which is a very personal album, giving each of the songs a special meaning and therefore well suited to this style of music. This like many of the later tracks I feel are all good, but they are album tracks. The album itself works well as a album and is good for sticking on when friends are round, having a chat, over dinner, that sort of thing. This is partly due to the pleasant voice of Beverley and the relaxing beats. 6/10

                  Slight change to a more rocky track, the music is a bit harder than the last couple and there's a lot of strong emotions and strong singing in this track. Another very personal song and this comes across a lot in the lyrics and style of the song. Good song. 7/10

                  'Keep this fire burning' is another single (the 3rd and last). I didn't realise initially but this was initially a hit for Robyn (who was number 1 in the UK charts this time last year with 'With every heartbeat'). The song was never released in the UK by Robyn but was popular in her native Sweden which is probably why Beverly released it here. It's another song that's widely recognised and associated with her, though it didn't do too well for her in the charts. It's very much her style of song and is a good one to dance along to. 8/10

                  'No-one ever loves in vain' is the next track and returns to the slow ballad, lots of light drumming and piano for the majority of this track. It does mean she has to focus on the vocals and lyrics which luckily are good throughout this album. 6/10

                  The title track is next and it's a bit of a nothing track, quite a downbeat track and very much an album track. 5/10

                  'Supasonic' reverts back to the funky style again, but again it's not a great song, she probably had fun recording it though as she has fun with her voice. She mixes up about 3 different main vocal tracks but it becomes quite a chaotic mix at the end. 6/10

                  'Tea and Sympathy', does what it says on the tin. The song is about giving someone a sympatheic ear, and the obligatory cup of tea. Quite a girly song this, not one for the blokes, easily forgettable though. 5/10

                  'Below my radar' is another slow song, very much in the easy listening style, very similar to a lot of other stuff on here. The lyrics are often the only thing that separate some of these songs. Better lyrics than the last and a good one for the end of an evening dance. 6/10

                  'Under the same sun' stays with the slow song style and is reminissent of a slow TLC song. Again it's ok but not a memorable track, in fact I've skipped most of it as it's quite dull, useful as background music. 5/10

                  'Till I see ya' picks up the pace again and is a much better song. To be fair there is a good mix of slow and more upbeat songs, so if you like the style of music then this is a good album, it's just not my thing and though the first part of the album was bringing me round there is still too much that I'm not keen on. This however as I say is one of the highlights of the 2nd half of the album. 7/10

                  'Salvador' is a song that is about one of her friends that died from Aids. Thus the lyrics and feelings are from her own personal experience, which as I said earlier does make her music very good and is probably why it is very popular which a wide group of people. 7/10

                  'Remember me / Fatal Factor' is the last track. Remember me is a good track with just the piano and Beverley, I'd imagine this would be good to see live. The second part is a bonus track that is much more of a party track, very upbeat & very dancy and a good way to end the album. 7/10

                  Summary
                  ~~~~~~

                  Overall the album is an hour long which is good value for money considering there are a few good songs on here. Though many of the tracks aren't very good on their own, when they combine they do make a good easy listening album.

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                  • More +
                    06.08.2008 22:53
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                    It's an mediocre album that contains a high percentage of rubbish.

                    Continuing through my album reviews, I've skipped two whilst I wait for one to be added, and I've already reviewed "(The) Age of the Understatement" so I'll move on to Alapalooza. This is an ablum by Wierd Al Yankovic.

                    Wierd Al is easily the most prolific parody act ever, he has sold over 12 million albums, and has actually released 12 albums. This is his 8th album, i've got a few of his albums and it's not among my favourites, however I've leave you to make your own decision.

                    Track 1 - Jurassic Park - Parody of MacArthur Park. This is essentially the song that should have been played at the end of the film. It gives a summary of the film but in song version, including being disembowled by dinosaurs, dinosaurs eating lawyers (proves dinosaurs are useful), and how he's got no plans to go back again anytime soon. 8/10

                    Track 2 - Young, Dumb and Ugly - Style of AC/DC. This is about lads trying to look cool, but it's sung as though they realise other people's opinions about them. Such as wearing leather jackets in mid summer, clearly stupid. There's a variety of other opinions too. It's quite a funny song like much of his stuff. 7/10

                    Track 3 - Bedrock Anthem - Style of Red Hot Chili Peppers and mainly parodying "Give it Away". Similar to Jurassic Park this is instead about the plot of the Flintstones and has a few soundbites from it. Like many of his songs I prefer ones where it was a good song to start with and one that I like. This is in my opinion is just the best song on the album 9/10

                    Track 4 - Franks 2000 inch TV - Style of REM. This is a bit of a rubbish song, it's not really about anything and doesn't really parody any style that clearly. I think that kind of kills it for me before it's even started. It's a decent song that I wish was set to a better song, if I can think of an example I'll come back to this. 6.5/10

                    Track 5 - Achy Breaky Song - This should be obvious... Just in case it's not though it's a parody of Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus. It's mainly about how much he hates it, and how he'd rather hear Abba or Yoko Ono, or be chucked down the stairs. Like the real song it becomes very annoying after a while. 5/10 - "I'd rather have a pitchfork in my brain".

                    Track 6 - Traffic Jam - Parody of Let's go Crazy by Prince. This is simply about being stuck in a Traffic Jam.... Like usual he parodies songs really well when he tries it. I think I like him cause I try to do this myself when I hear songs, especially if I can't decipher the lyrics. This, like a few songs on this album is another song I don't know or not based on an actual song, for me this ruins the point of a parody album, which is what he really is.
                    At points this song sounds like Sesame Street theme tune being played in the background. 6/10

                    Track 7 - Talk Soup - Parody of Superstition by Stevie Wonder. This is about a guy who could appear on Trisha given his crazy stories that he has. Things like sleeping with Bigfoot, and his wife running off with Elvis. He really, really wants to get on Geraldo, and Jerry Springer just so he can tell his stories. This song is 4.24 minutes which is far too long. 6/10

                    Track 8 - Livin in the fridge - Parody of Aerosmith's Livin on the Edge. This is another song I don't recognise, which really doesn't help this album get a lot of airplay through my Itunes. This is about food that really should have been chucked out a long long time ago, and a discussion about whether it's alive or not. It's done well, though again it's not one of his better songs. 6/10

                    Track 9 - She never told me she was a mime - Again in the style of Aerosmith. I'm starting realise the difficultly of reviewing my entire collection, it's coming to albums you don't really enjoy and subjecting yourself to the whole thing so you can hopefully write a better review. This is almost 5 minutes about how this chap didn't notice that his girlfriend was actually a mime.... dull..... help!...... 4/10

                    Track 10 - Harvey the Wonder Hamster - just a very short original track style in an Army style about a Hamster named Harvey.... That's it, it's 22 seconds long. 3/10

                    Track 11 - Waffle King - recognisably in the style of Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. However this doesn't save this song, which about a totally self - obsessed chap who has come up with great waffles. Compared to many of his other songs this is rubbish, I prefer his popular culture songs much more than these random topics. 6/10

                    Track 12 - Bohemian Polka - A polka version of Bohemian Rhapsody. FINALLY! BUT! It's a great song. Who'd have thought doing a Polka version of this great song, could be so good. It's almost down to half the length of the original due to the speedier style of the Polka. It's great to hear this song in such a different style but yet incredibly similar to the original. It's something that Al does really well, and many of his other albums contains Polkas, and there's even an album called Polka Party, celebrating the great musical style. 9/10

                    Summary
                    ~~~~~~
                    Overall it's not a great album, there's a couple of good tracks you could download but personally I wouldn't buy the album until you've heard more of his stuff. Then, and only then, should you consider this.

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                    • Achtung Baby - U2 / Music Album / 23 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                      31.07.2008 23:02
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                      Good album, worth it for the great songs and new songs that you may not know

                      Ok, so my 3rd album is Achtung Baby (I've skipped over Ace of Spades as I only own that song from the album, and that's only due to downloading the Guitar Hero 1 soundtrack, maybe I could review that...). This is a great album from one of the greatest bands of all time. I didn't really get into U2 properly until 'All that you can't leave behind', though I obviously knew a number of their songs. So I had a quick look on the web to find out a bit more info about this album.

                      Apparantly this was a change of direction for U2, which considering this was their 7th album, is not surprising. I've just realised I also own their first five albums and also the 2 most recent ones, to me I don't notice a massive difference, so maybe they were just trying a different lane on the same road (I came up with that myself, I'm starting to sound like I work for NME...or maybe not).

                      I don't hear a large shout of 'Who are U2?' but just in case you are unaware of them they consist of 4 long serving members who formed in the mid 70's. There's Paul, Dave, Adam and Larry, no really.

                      Bono (Paul) is the lead singer, famed for wearing sunglasses wherever he goes. Bono was a nickname he earned when he was younger, but short of changing it by deed poll, that is now his name that everyone uses. Dave is the artist commonly known as 'The Edge', and he's the lead (brilliant) guitarist, again it's of course a nickname, though one with a debateable origin. The Edge is famed for his hat wearing and you will barely ever see him without one.

                      The other 2 members of the band are Adam Clayton who plays the bass and Larry Mullen Jr who plays the drums, both are famous in their own rights though nowhere near as big as The Edge or Bobo (oops, I mean Bono).

                      I want to skip straight to track 3 which you'll see why in a minute but we'll start with Track one.

                      Zoo Station is the first track. Briefly, this is a reference to a tube station in Berlin which is on the line called U2, clever. This is much more electric that earlier U2 efforts which had a standard rocky feel. Of course with Bono being the outspoken chap he is, this had to have some political meaning, and he doesn't disappoint. However unlike many of his other songs this is positive and talks about how we should move forward. It's a good song, though for me not one of their classics I had heard before getting this album. 7/10

                      'Even better than the real thing' is the next track on the album and gives The Edge a chance to to enjoy himself without over exerting himself. It's more rocky than the last and is more like the U2 I know. 7.5/10

                      Ok. The next track is 'One'. It's a track that most people should know and is definitely one of their best tracks and one tracks on my top 100 all time. Reading into the lyrics you realise that whilst it is about getting on, it's not necessarily about living in harmony, though if you don't listen to the lyrics then you think it is. It's the song that kept U2 together so in my book that is good enough, but it's a great song as well and when added to the other songs makes this an album well worth a purchase 10/10

                      Track 4 is 'Until the end of the world' and is a religious song rather than one about global warming as you would expect nowadays. It is about Jesus and Judas, however could be applied to any similar situation, though clearly you don't need to be the messiah for it to apply. 7/10

                      Track 5 is Who's gonna ride your Wild Horses and was pleasing to hear as it was another one that I knew, that makes 3 out of 5 so far. I really like the chorus and this is the recognisable part. This is a good song for Bono as his singing takes the lead and it sounds good. 8/10

                      Track 6 is 'So Cruel'. This features more keyboard than previous songs and more drumming, so a nice change from all the guitar. It's a slower song but still of course instantly recognisable as a U2 song. The song is about a failed relationship, and Bono sings it as though he was the one being broken up with. 7/10

                      The Fly was definitely more of a departure from the norm and this can be heard with the harder distored sounds going on throughout this song, not my favourite U2 track by a long way, but interesting to hear this different style that was retained for much of the 90's until they reverted back to what they were good at for the 'All that you can't leave behind' album. 6.5/10

                      Another one that I know is next, Mysterious Ways is the track and apparantly it's the way she moves. This is another great U2 song and whilst the start reminds me of Lenny Kravitz, the rest is definitely U2 (with a Kravitz feel, in my opinion). 9.9/10

                      Tryin to throw your arms around the world, is one of the last few songs on this album and plods along without the usual rockyness of U2, the music feels like unnecessary backing to Bono's singing and talking... 5/10

                      Ultraviolet (Light my way). I didn't recognise this at first and having listened to it a few times I still don't. Though it has made a few appearances in modern cinema, probably most well known way in the Adam Sandler film Click. It's like loads of Eels songs that have appeared in films (such as Shrek and Scream) that no-one knows, but they are good songs. 7.5/10

                      Acrobat is the penultimate track, it's a good U2 song but not one I've listened to enough, I think the last 2 tracks usually cause me to skip onto another album, that's the problem when you have a few hundred albums plus the best part of 3000 further songs that are either from compilations or were singles. 7/10

                      Love is Blindness is a slow, album finishing track. It closes things down, feels quite depressing and reminds you that it's been a while since you heard One. 6/10.

                      Summary
                      ~~~~~~
                      I've been quite harsh on the second half of this album, don't get me wrong it's not that they are bad songs, they just aren't my thing, and not what I want to listen to when I'm in the mood for some U2. Fans lap up this album, and it is a great album with some very good songs but I find myself focusing too much on those at the expense of listening more to the other tracks. Give it a year or so and I might revisit this review, having made more effort to listen to tracks from U2 that weren't singles.

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                      • The Dark Knight (2 DVDs) / DVD / 28 Readings / 26 Ratings
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                        31.07.2008 15:19
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                        Go see the Dark Night, go now!!!

                        Unsurprisingly the number of reviews of the Dark Knight is building by the day. So I'm going to try something a tiny bit different, maybe this will work, maybe it won't, but I've got some time spare at work today so i'll give it a try, and I might end up using it as a basis for my future reviews. I'm also going to try and avoid putting in leading statements that just turn out to be spoilers.

                        Question 1 - Is it a good film?

                        Answer - Hell Yeah! Lot's of action, a few twists, some magic (there's a great magic trick to look out for, see if you can work out how he does it), a good mix of main characters - some good, some evil.

                        Q2 - So who's in it?

                        A - Christian Bale reprises his role as Batman (or "the Batman"), and he doesn't disappoint. He doesn't spend a lot of time as Bruce Wayne in this story, though when he does he carries it off as the billionaire playboy who doesn't deal with criminals.

                        Heath Ledger is good as the Joker. He plays it very differently to the TV series and also to the Jack Nicholson Joker. It is much darker and with fewer laughs, and he is just out to cause as much chaos as possible. Should he get an Oscar, honestly I don't care, every year they go to people who at best 50% of people think should receive it. However he would certainly be a popular choice, he plays the part well, but maybe doesn't have a large enough part in the film to warrant the oscar.

                        Harvey Dent is played by Aaron Eckhart. Dent is the new Gotham DA (District Attorney) and wants to clean up Gotham in a big way, and he doesn't mind being the focal point for gang hatred. Dent is going out with assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Played by Katie Holmes in the previous film). Batman sees Dent as his possible replacement, as a White Knight.

                        Q3 - Anyone else

                        A - There's also Lieutenant Gordon who is again played by Gary Oldman and is as incorruptable as ever, though the same can't be said for his men.

                        Rachel Dawes is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, not much to say about her though as the film is mainly about the guys.

                        Finally there's Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman who reprise their roles as Alfred the Butler and Lucius Fox - now CEO of Wayne Enterprises, and ensuring that the company is run ethically. However Lucius is now more aware than ever that Bruce Wayne doesn't spend his spare time going spelunking.

                        Q4 - Does this follow on where Batman Begins left off?

                        A - Yep, the end of Batman Begins left us with a Joker calling card and the Joker starts this one off committing a bank robbery with robbers dressed with clown masks, all with their own agenda. Also, the scarecrow appears throughout the film, though nowhere near as menacingly as in the first film.

                        Q5 - So is there a plot?

                        A - Well the main storyline is about Harvey Dent being this 'White Knight' trying to clean up Gotham, most of the other storylines are as a direct result of this. The mob/mafia/baddies are struggling to cope with Batman and are on the brink of giving up, having to resort to extreme measures just to avoid having to give up organised crime altogether and signing on to claim Job seekers allowance. The Joker has a plan though to keep them from falling into the poverty trap, however they are getting desparate and haven't got time to check out his references.

                        The Joker is very unpredictable and often seems to be able to anticipate the moves of the good guys who always have a plan.

                        I feel like I should write more here but having read other reviews it seems to be quite hard to include phrases that don't give away large chunks of plot.

                        Q6 - Does the music score add to the experience?

                        A - There's a great score written by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard who wrote the Batman Begins score also. It's a great score and really adds to the atmosphere, it's a dark soundtrack and there's certainly no ninner-ninner-ninner-ninner-Batman.

                        Q7 - How long is it

                        A - It's a fairly long film by today's standards at 152 minutes (2 and a half hours). However I like good action films to be this long, like the old James Bond films. Also for 7.20 of your fine English Pounds it makes the cinematic experience worthwile.

                        Q8 - So should we go and see it?

                        A - I would recommend it as my pick of the year so far. Though it should be avoided by anyone who wants to go and see a cheery fun family film, as it's more for the older teenager, rather than the 12A rating it is received. There's a lot of implied violence and some actual violence which probably should have been enough to make this a 15, but there's no nudity or swearing so American's will be alright with it.

                        Q9 - So what else are you planning on doing whilst in London

                        A - ... Oops, got carried away practising my interview technique for my job interview tomorrow, need to go and do some preparation for that....

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                        • Absolution - Muse / Music Album / 35 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                          29.07.2008 23:25
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                          Good album, worth a listen.

                          Following on from Abbey Road I reach my next album that I own, it isn't very much further through the alphabet and is Absolution by Muse (this is going to take a long while to get to Ziggy Stardust).

                          Muse in the early days were often compared to Radiohead, though have since outgrown this, partly due to Radiohead's rather odd change of style (I saw them the other week at Rock Werchter and it was a bit strange). Muse have their own style of music which is apparantly called New Prog, though as this makes no sense to most people I like to think of it as Alternative Rock. Absolution is their 3rd album though I don't actually own their 1st, despite owning 4 others. Muse are a 3 piece band consisting of Matt Bellamy who mainly does lead vocals, lead guitar and keyboard (busy guy), then there is Chris Wolstenholme (Bassist and backup singer) and Dominic Howard (Drums). This albums spawned 6 singles, 4 of which made it into the top 20 of the Official singles chart, the other 2 were download only.

                          Onto the album then...

                          First track is a short 20 second Intro which gradually builds up the sound of people marching, which leads into the next track.

                          Apocalypse Now (I mean Apocalypse Please), is the 2nd track and introduces the upbeat lyrics "This is the end of the world". The song starts with some thumping piano in the same beat as the marching. It also introduces Matt's powerful high end range, similar to Thom Yorke (Radiohead), it's a good song to start the album off properly and the thumping piano works well with the vocals. 8/10 (There's better tracks to come)

                          Time is running out (quickly get on with writing this review), is one of 3 songs on this album that end up getting 10/10. I love this song, the chorus builds up into something that you have to rock to (ROCK!!!), some great drums and heavy guitar sounds along with some more great vocals at all ends of the scales, quiet to loud, soft to powerful, and of course low to high. It was the first fully available single and understandably so. 10/10

                          Sing for Absolution is another great song with lots of high pitch singing from Matt. There's a great guitar solo starting after about 3 minutes and the last 2 minutes of the song are much heavier than the first 3 which until the solo are quiet restrained and gentle. 10/10

                          Stockholm Syndrome is 3 seconds shy of being the longest song on this album (I only say this as I read the most recent review on here that said it was a short song...?). This is a great guitar song, which is reflected brilliantly in the fact that it's available for Guitar Hero 3 (which is a great game, to be reviewed at some point). I'd love to learn to play the guitar properly so I could learn to play this and Knights of Cydonia. Rock on! 8/10

                          Track 6 takes the Rock down a level with the track "Falling away with you", it's also the first non-single track since track 1. This is a weaker song of course but by being less heavy does give the band a chance to show they can do something other than heavy and shouty. Though obviosuly there is a bit. 7/10

                          The next track is an interlude (skip it), and then you get...

                          Hysteria (always gets a massive cheer when you hear it played live), as it's instantly recognisable from the outset and then really kicks in after about 20 seconds. Another great rocky head banging chorus, and one you can definitely sing along to (not always easy with Muse). 10/10

                          Well thats the end of what I consider the good stuff, there's 6 more songs that take up the next 25 minutes. But anyway on with the review.

                          Blackout is first and is ok, there's some fairly solo singing from Matt at the start where he is accompanied by some light cymbal tapping and a bit of strings. This carries on throughout but builds up gradually until the end where it fades out again. 6/10

                          Butterflies and Hurricanes, is of course about the Butterfly effect and how you doing a small thing can "change the world". Listening to it, I realise it's better than I gave it credit for. It's another single off the album, though it was the 6th and final one from the album. There's a brilliant piano solo in this song after about 3 minutes, which I like being than I can play the piano well, I'll have to get hold of a Muse Piano book I think. 7/10

                          Tsp (The small print) is the next song and begins with some heavy drumming at a fairly high pace, the singing then kicks in and this feels a lot faster than anything before it (If I had a metronome I'd try and prove it, but I have better things to do). It's a decent song, it's the shortest proper song on the album so if you don't like it then there's not too long to wait, but it keeps going right till the end. 6/10

                          Endlessly is the 12th song on an album that is apparantly only 52 minutes, but feels longer, in a good way. It's about endless love, so a bit more happy than the end of the world. 6/10

                          Thoughts of a Dying Atheist is track 13 and is another decent song, maybe I haven't listened to it enough though. Looking on I tunes, tracks 12-14 i've only listened to once ever, compare this to track 3 which has had 18 listens. It's actually quite good as a song, but not a single. 7/10

                          Ruled by secrecy is the final track and is a touch disappointing, there's some high pitched singing going on but unlike every other song that I could hear over my typing I can't make out much of the first couple of minutes lyrics. The piano kicks in after about 3 minutes and this feels like a good song that he enjoyed playing but maybe couldn't decide what to sing about. 6/10.

                          Summary
                          ~~~~~~

                          So that's it for album number 2 in my collection. It's another good album (obviously). I hadn't really considered buying any Muse albums at all until about a year ago when I just randomly decided to download a couple of tracks to see what I thought. Luckily I downloaded Sing for Absolution and I was sold. It's a good album although the first half is far too strong for the second half not to sometimes want to be skipped, so that you can start over again.

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                          • More +
                            24.07.2008 11:56
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                            Like many asda sandwiches it's not amazing but equally it's not expensive.

                            Working in the building opposite a 24 hour Asda is a very useful thing, I don't go over very often but I know it's there in case of emergencies. The other day I had a sandwich emergency, ok it was more of a need, there was a need to get out of the office and have a wander in the sunshine and also a need to pick up something quickly before my next meeting.

                            Asda have a wide range of sandwiches/baguettes/wraps to choose from but today I fancied Chicken. The Chicken Triple stood out and was reasonably priced at £2.20. (This being my first ever sandwich review will be a work in progress, I have already realised I really should have noted down the nutritional info).

                            It has a combination of three sandwiches, each one a triangle made up of one slice of thin-medium bread. The first sandwich was filled with Chicken with Mayo and Salad, the next had Chicken Mayo with Stuffing and the last had Chicken Mayo and bacon.

                            Basically you need to like Mayo. There's a fair bit in each one, though no where near as much as sandwiches I had recently in Belgium where the mayo was pouring out with each bite. In this case the sandwiches held together well and I managed to eat them whilst walking without any incidents.

                            The Chicken in each one was cut up into fairly small chunks and was split about 50/50 with the other filling. The stuffing was the main thing to stand out, the flavour was quite strong and had the edge over the chicken, however I'm quite a fan of stuffing so the mix was fine for me. The salad seemed ok, there was a bit of cucumber, lettuce and tomato, which had a bit of cruch to it. The bacon was fairly thin and cut up into small pieces but this is good for a sandwich that you want to eat on the move.

                            I don't have the box on me anymore as I did throw it away, and then have had to wait a couple of days for my suggestion to go through but the nutritional info basically was quite similar to many other pre-packed regular sandwiches. I.e. lots of salt - almost 3g which is about 50% of your daily allowance, along with a fair amount of calories and fat. There are also a variety of allergies, such as dairy, nuts, wheat, etc so make sure you check before you buy.

                            In summary it is a decent sandwich for the price you pay, I like the mixture of sandwiches which is a nice variety that I like all of. I tend to buy a variety of sandwiches so it may be a while before I buy this again but I will keep it on my list of options.

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                            • More +
                              22.07.2008 23:44
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                              Listen to it, you'll love it, provided you don't hate the Beatles.

                              I've realised that I own blooming (trying not to swear) loads of albums, certainly over 400 but based on my Itunes total of over 8000 possibly it's nearing 600, not a lot by Frankingsteins tally but not bad. So I thought I'd start at A and see how far I get before I think about getting my Megadrive out and starting my games reviews.

                              Abbey Road is the first album on the list in Album order so I'll start there, and what a good place to start. I was never a big Beatles fan until I picked up the White Album whilst on holiday, I suppose I was quite tight and it was the time before Play.com had started so albums still cost around £15, I found the White Album for about this so considering it was a double album I bought it. Anyway rapidly moving on I got round to buying Abbey Road to add to my collection.

                              There's a load of tracks on this album, starting with Come Together. I first heard the Paul Weller version of this and liked it, so to hear the original was pleasing. It's a great song, with not a lot of need for instruments, going mainly on vocals and a bit of shhhhhuuuup. 9/10

                              Something by George Harrison is about how there's that little something that is attractive about someone but whether that is enough to build upon is not yet clear. It's quite a slow song this and makes you swing slowly from side (even whilst writing this review). 7/10

                              Maxwell's Silver Hammer is quite the opposite from the last song, it's one of many Beatles songs that follows a story throughout, one of murder. Not sure if it's the same girlfriend as in the last song but she dies pretty quickly in this one, he then kills two others. The song however disguises this by being jolly and upbeat, quite bouncy. Brilliant song. 9.5/10

                              Oh! Darling is the next track and is about a chap who really doesn't want his missus to go (not quite Fatal Attraction). There's a lot of effort put into every line from Paul on this song, with a heavy rhythm and blues influence in it. 7/10

                              Octopus's Garden is up next and is a really happy song. The story of how it came to be is great too. Apparantly Ringo was out fishing and was told of how Octopus's (surely it should be Octopi or something similar) actually build gardens with stones and shiny things (ooooh, shiny). Being too young to have seen this live I've seen the Silver Beatles perform this in my local. It's a great song and of course everyone knows the lyrics so sings along, Ringo loves singing it and it's a great feel good song. 10/10

                              I want you (She's so heavy) is a long song, by anyone's standards, standing at 8 minutes. I can't even begin to imagine how many times I want you is said during the song. There's a lot of instrumental in this, lots of guitar, most of the last 4 minutes are almost solely guitar, with lots of heavy guitar and the same repeated section, until an abrupt end. 7/10

                              Here comes the sun, is a much lighter (pun not intended) song, it's mainly about how it's so pleasing to see the sun after a long dreary winter here in the UK. However, this is also about how it's nice to put all your worries and the dull things behind you for a while. 8/10

                              Because, is a mainly vocal song, with all but Ringo singing almost always together in harmony. It's a very slow song and is a change from the past few songs. Good song. 7/10

                              'You never give me your money' apparantly, well that's what my wife says anyway, this was also true of the Beatles. This is a song with a variety of styles. It starts with a slow section with long notes, but then speeds up to about twice the speed, there's then a mainly guitar based section, and lastly some lyrics again mixed in with some guitar, the lyrics not really in the same style as the rest of the song though. 7/10

                              As this is fading out, Sun King fades in. This song seems to have been the inspiration for many a chillout album today with a very very familiar backing. It's just an interlude song really. 5/10

                              ---Don't be fooled by my low rating on these next few, as a whole they are great, but you can't really listen to them as single tracks.---

                              This is then very quickly followed by Mean Mr Mustard which is a very short 1 minute song. Basically about a tight chap, with quite a workaholic sister. 6/10.
                              The workaholic sister Pam is possibly the same one as in this next very quick song, however this one seems to be about a scouse girl who dresses up like she should be in the 'News of the World'. 5/10

                              Again no pause and straight into She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (writing a review whilst listening to the album can be quite tiring). These songs all flow into each other and are just a collection of short songs, but are a great example of the Beatles always thinking of new things. 5/10

                              This of course leads into the next song Golden Slumbers, which merges straight into Carry that Weight and feel like they are actually one song along with the next song 'The End'. I really like this whole medley, especially Carry that Weight, even though it's a simple song. The continuous music is great especially as it's all brilliant songs (though none really long enough on their own). 8/10

                              Her Majesty is the last song on the album, very very short. It was intended to be a filler in between Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam but in the end wasn't needed. However the Beatles got their own way and the track was added to the end. Interestingly it actually could still slot straight back in as there are notes at the start and end of the song that connect to it's original location on the album. 5/10

                              Summary
                              ~~~~~~
                              Just like in a football match it's hard to give a song more than 5/10 if it's less than a minute and a half, but this album is great.

                              The first half is full of good songs, and the second half is full of one very long song. Both halves together make for a brilliant album and one that having played today will no doubt be back in my car stereo shortly.

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                              • Bugsy Malone / Music Album / 25 Readings / 25 Ratings
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                                20.07.2008 22:06
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                                Watch it on You Tube or download it, but do it now!

                                Bugsy Malone is an excellent film that I grew up with, probably ended up watching it about 50 times, though not for a couple of years now since it was last on TV. Having read a review recently of the film it reminded me to play the soundtrack. I've not got the entire CD as shown above but have the Polydor 1996 version which contains songs that are all on this album too, so here's a review.

                                The first track is the title track "Bugsy Malone", the song is about Bugsy (Scott Baio) and about how everyone loves him, but also how you shouldn't get on his bad side. Played on an old style Piano and with some good sax (i think) work only this is a great acoustic song. Though of course all the songs were sang by decent adult singers rather than the children (average age 12) who were in the movie. This song is also played when he's out on a date with Blousey, who is the other love interest (other than the attentions of Jodie Foster's character Tallulah) 7/10

                                Fat Sam's Grand Slam is the next track and gives you a real idea of what the film is about. It's about the main speakeasy where much of the action takes place, owned by the "good" gangster. The song is very much in the style of the 30's, very upbeat, lead male but with the dancing high pitched singing girls. Excellent song that really sets the scene - 9/10

                                Tomorrow is another great song 'sung' by the Janitor of the club, he believes he will be a great dancer but is stuck in the dead end job of sweeping the floor. He sings this once everyone has gone home, it's a very sad song and you really feel for the janitor, and when you are younger you think it really is him singing it. 8/10

                                Bad Guys is a great song too, it's sung by 4 of the "bad" gangsters, who are glad that they are bad. In fact this song is about how they are the best, and during the film they prove it whilst singing and dancing. There's some brilliant dancing to this bearing in mind how young the actors are, obviously this doesn't come across in the song but once you've seen the film you can picture it. 8/10

                                The next track is I'm feeling fine, which is sung by Blousey when she is auditioning for a role in the club. For the actress who played Blousey this was her career high, and in fact she only got the role as the main actress had grown to tall. Blousey is desparate to be a film star but is very plain so struggles to get noticed, however this track is a start for her as it gets her the job. It's quite a slow song with just her and the piano, but a decent song none the less. 6/10.

                                The next track with it's distinctive intro is "My name is Tallulah", sung by a disturbingly adult looking/acting Jodie Foster (she's only a couple of inches taller today than she was back in 1976). The song is about how she can make you forget your troubles. It's a very good song that fits in well with her role and also it is her signature song at the club. 7/10.

                                So you wanna be a boxer? Well do you? Only kidding, it's just the next song on the album. This song comes about as a result of Bugsy being saved from a mugging by a chap named Leroy. Bugsy's main job is being a boxing promoter, so he takes Leroy to the gym to give him a try out. He manages at the end of the song to knock out a much bigger guy. The song itself is sung by the people at the gym and is simply about becoming a boxer, it chugs along nicely, and fits in very well with the film. 6/10

                                The next song is "Ordinary Fool" and is sung by Blousey after she thinks Bugsy has ditched her for Tallulah, in fact Bugsy has gone to spy on the enemy. It is very similar to Hopelessly Devoted to You from Grease, and as with that song it fits in very well into the film. 7/10

                                Down and Out is about Bugsy's attempts to build an army to fight Dandy Dan (the baddie), he finds a lot of people down on their luck, living on gruel and motivates them to fight for him. The song is sung mainly by Bugsy with an overtone of "down, down, down, down...". The song works very well in the context of the film and with some good lyrics he convinces them all to join him. 6/10

                                The films ends with an orgy of pie throwing and, then the pianist starts playing a refrain of Bad Guys. At this point everyone joins in and all start getting on realising the stupidity of fighting, partly cause they're all covered in custard. "You give a little love" is a great feel good ending song for the film and rounds it all off nicely. 8/10

                                Summary
                                ~~~~~~

                                All in all it's a decent soundtrack. Though would I like it so much if I didn't like the film, maybe not, but with the film it is really good. Bugsy has in the past been voted in the top 20 musicals of all time, so a lot of people clearly like it. If you haven't seen Bugsy Malone try and get a copy of it or you can watch all the songs on You Tube if you want to get an idea first. If you have seen it then it's a great reminder of what the film was about, just in case your memory is slightly hazy.

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                                • loopylotto.com / Internet Site / 38 Readings / 35 Ratings
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                                  16.07.2008 21:30
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                                  Look good on paper, but is a bit rubbish.

                                  Ok, this is the last of my 4 lotto site reviews, and again it's another one that hasn't had a review for quite some time. Loopy lotto is a fairly quick one to play. You get one entry each day so there's not a lot to do, but you do have to enter a code.

                                  What can you win?
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                  Important things first...
                                  You can win £1,000,000 for getting all 6 numbers and the bonus number correct. Woo hoo!
                                  For 4 or more main numbers only you get a tenner... I've done this once. Even worse is that these prizes expire after 2 years (read more later)
                                  For 3 numbers you win 40 Eurmiles, rubbish. If you have an account the miles are automatically added, if not then you'll need to join, if you want to.


                                  Who runs it?
                                  ~~~~~~~~

                                  The site is run by a company called Gocarbonfree Ltd. I thought this was some kink of gimmick at first, but it's actually a company that cares about climate change. The company's main thing seems to be their gocarbonfree.com website where the idea is that you buy things at shops accessed through their portal and you earn personal carbon credits that you can offset against you flights and car journies. The company has shareholders but apparantly they don't take any dividends, instead the money is invested into eco projects.

                                  How do I enter
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~

                                  You need to select 6 numbers and a bonus number. You have the option of selecting them manually, randomly or using your favourite (lucky) numbers. The numbers are in the range of 1-49. You can only enter once each day unless the gocarbonfree company have given you some free entries. You are allowed up to 3 registrations per household, but only 1 per person.

                                  You also of course need to click on an ad, but before that you need to enter a code. This code can be found on advertising you can get sent, or if you don't want the advertising you can click on a link on the confirmation page and find out the code then. I do this 2nd way as I then limit any spam coming into my account, which by the way I have 2 email accounts. One for lotteries and other things where spam could be likely, and the other for more sensible pastimes. I have definitely found this works.

                                  Also you need to input your email address to enter, but then make sure you go back and complete you FULL profile else you may not qualify for prizes.

                                  Have you won?
                                  ~~~~~~~~

                                  The draw is made each day at midnight GMT, an hour later than Bananalotto and Lucky Surf, so make sure you do those first. Unlike me who often forgets. If you win you agree to have your name plastered over the site and the press and probably passed to 3rd parties who will try and sell you stuff.

                                  So what have I won
                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                  Well over the years (not very religiously playing until the past 3-4 months) I've won £11. Yep, that's it. You can't even claim it until you have £20. Is it worth it. Yes. You can win £1,000,000. I'm going to keep trying, it's free. Now the small print...

                                  Small Print
                                  ~~~~~~~

                                  I've left this until the end intentionally.

                                  Grand Prize - If you win the Grand Prize but don't respond, with Identification of who they are, within 7 days you will be disqualified.

                                  2nd Prize - If you haven't earnt £20 within 2 years of winning your first prize you will lose any prizes that are older than 2 years, GAH! It's so unfair.

                                  3rd Prize - The Eurmiles site is www.Eurmiles.com. You need 25,000 miles for a free flight and your miles start expiring after 3 years. You do get 8,000 miles when you join, but 40 miles every so often isn't going to get you to 25,000 very quickly.

                                  The last thing I probably should mention (you'll really like this bit!!!) is that you don't win the £1,000,000 in one go. You get it over 40 years!!! £25,000 a year. NO INTEREST is paid, and you could also have to share it if someone else wins on the same day.

                                  THIS IS THE BEST PART

                                  So unless I've badly mucked up my maths, this is how it goes. Assuming 5% inflation you will earn the equivalent of less than £450,000 over the 40 years. In fact in year 40 you will earn the equivalent of £3,382. Yes you will get £25,000 but it will only be worth just over £3,000 given how much items will be worth in the future. Bread £8 a loaf, £2.35 for a pack of hula hoops, and a pint of lager (assuming £3 a pint now) will be just over £20. If you're interested in the actual figures I've listed them below. Also, this of course assumes your money is safe if anything happens to the company.

                                  Enjoy!

                                  Year 1 £25,000.00
                                  Year 2 £23,750.00
                                  Year 3 £22,562.50
                                  Year 4 £21,434.38
                                  Year 5 £20,362.66
                                  Year 6 £19,344.52
                                  Year 7 £18,377.30
                                  Year 8 £17,458.43
                                  Year 9 £16,585.51
                                  Year 10 £15,756.24
                                  Year 11 £14,968.42
                                  Year 12 £14,220.00
                                  Year 13 £13,509.00
                                  Year 14 £12,833.55
                                  Year 15 £12,191.87
                                  Year 16 £11,582.28
                                  Year 17 £11,003.17
                                  Year 18 £10,453.01
                                  Year 19 £9,930.36
                                  Year 20 £9,433.84
                                  Year 21 £8,962.15
                                  Year 22 £8,514.04
                                  Year 23 £8,088.34
                                  Year 24 £7,683.92
                                  Year 25 £7,299.73
                                  Year 26 £6,934.74
                                  Year 27 £6,588.00
                                  Year 28 £6,258.60
                                  Year 29 £5,945.67
                                  Year 30 £5,648.39
                                  Year 31 £5,365.97
                                  Year 32 £5,097.67
                                  Year 33 £4,842.79
                                  Year 34 £4,600.65
                                  Year 35 £4,370.62
                                  Year 36 £4,152.08
                                  Year 37 £3,944.48
                                  Year 38 £3,747.26
                                  Year 39 £3,559.89
                                  Year 40 £3,381.90

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