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....a humble carpenter etc,etc.Well,we all know the story don't we !!! I thought seeing as this Good Friday this would be a relevant subject for discussion :) The trouble is there tends to be fairly polarised views on the whole debate.In fact,debate is just about the last thing people have when it comes to religion as their minds are pretty much made up already.I certainly don't expect to win any converts to my views for sure. So god,does he exist ?? I'm afraid if you're looking for the truth to that one then I'm afraid my answer will be somewhat disappointing.You have to either figure that one out by yourself or just wait till you turn up your toes to find out,sorry.lol. Despite what is often claimed there isn't one shred of solid evidence for the existance of a god.I can hear the howls of scorn even as I'm typing but the fact remains there isn't a single piece of real proof that stands up to genuine scrutiny. Of course,as it's often been stated absence of proof isn't proof of absence and that is true but it does make it hard for someone of a sceptical disposition like myself to buy into the whole god thing. Now I know many will state that there is a god because they know there is,because the bible say so,because they've felt his presence or because it's the only explanation for life and the universe but religion is all about belief and faith afterall. Obviously,the truth is nobody,I mean nobody,can say beyond a shadow of doubt that there is or isn't a god but I've never yet seen or felt anything that's remotely suggest to me that there maybe just be one. My personal opinion is that man created god in our own image for a number of reasons chiefly though because of our unique perspective because we're a living creature,a primate that became smart and self aware yet for all our mental capacities,the ability to imagine,conceptualise,problem solve early humans were unable to fully comprehend the wider world around them. We have a short lifespan in universal terms,we're born and we die.We know that effects have a cause and we need a meaning,certainties.The universe begjn,the big bang must have occured for a reason which naturally would suggest an intent behind it. Obviously,a creator was the answer that made the most sense to our human frame of reference.Then the whole mystical,spiritual idea evolved from the animal/naturel dieties of the hunter gatherer age to the Egyptian/Greek/Roman/Nordic pantheon of gods right up to monothiestic god of the big 3 abrahamic religions we've been blessed with for the last few millenia. The simple fact that we as yet don't fully understand what happened before the big bang,what caused it etc means just that,we don't understand yet.To invent a creator to explain what we as yet can't explain is just plain daft if you ask me :) So where does that leave me,an athiest then ?? You know,I long ago found out I actually don't really care because what I realised was it doesn't matter in the end. Is there a god then ?? I don't know but I do know I don't have any use for a god whether one exists or not to be honest. Happy Easter :)
Whether it's the exotic metal like Ferrari,Porsche.Drivers cars like BMW or Audi or even the everyday man's favourites like Ford or Vauxhall there are many well known,well loved car makers that have a loyal and die hard following.One car maker,one who has made millions of cars,one who has been constantly rated as making most reliable,cost effective and durable cars for decades now rarely seems to inspire the same kind of passion from it's owners.Possibly because they haven't made the same impact in motorsport as many others,possibly because their cars are reliable and sensible to the point of being bland,the point of being 'white goods'.Afterall it's those little flaws that keepa guy interested :) The Toyota Avensis was introduced in January 1997 replacing the venerable Carina E,a very popular car that had a long reputationh as an incredibly capable and reliable motor.Simple,efficient,tough and it can't be stressed enough incredibly reliable it had become the favourite of taxi drivers the length and breadth of the UK.Carina E's easily racked op mileages in excess of 250,000 routinely. In an attempt to appeal to the European market even more production of the new model was moved to Burnaston,Derby and although it was a completely revamped car it did retain the truly well tested range of engines from the Carina E. The Avensis T210/220) was a large family car similar in size to the Vauxhall Cavalier/Vectra and Ford Mondeo who were it's main rivals.It came in three conventional body styles ,a 5 door hatchback,4 door saloon and a 4 door estate model.With a range of trim levels S,LE,SE,GS,GLS,CDX and SR and with four different engine choices,all 16 valve and fuel injected ~ 1.6 litre 4A-FE - 99 bhp 1.8 litre 7A-FE - 109 bhp 2.0 litre 3S-FE - 126 bhp 2.0 litre TD 2C-TE 89 bhp In the facelift of 2000 there was also a new range of vvt-i (variable valve timing - intelligent) engines on offer but more of them later. 1.6 litre 3ZZ-FE - 109 bhp 1.8 litre 1ZZ-FE - 129 bhp 2.0 litre D4 1AZ-FE - 148 bhp 2.0 litre D4D 1CD-FTV - 109 bhp It had solid build quality,a well equipped spacious interior,smooth ride quality and good fuel efficiency although the performance was fairly unremarkable and it wasn't exactly exciting or fun to drive like a Vauxhall or later model Mondeo but utterly safe and reliable.With electric windows,air conditioning and a trip computer on the facelift models it was well specified. 1998 Avensis 5-dr 1.6 S 0-62 12.9 seconds 113 mph avg 36.8 mpg - ins grp 9 1999 Avensis 5-dr 1.8 GS 0-62 11.2 seconds 119 mph avg 38.2 mpg - ins grp 11 2002 Avensis 5-dr 1.8 vvti 0-62 10.0 seconds 124 mph avg 38.8 mpg - ins grp 10 2002 Avensis 4-dr 2.0 vvti 0-62 9.1 seconds 130 mph avg 36.7 mpg - ins grp 11 2002 Avensis 5-dr 2.0 D4D 0-62 11.4 seconds 121 mph avg 47.9 mpg - ins grp 9 2002 Avensis 5-dr 2.0 vvti auto 9.9 seconds 127 mpg avg 32.5 mpg - ins grp 11 All models were available with a 5 speed manual gearbox or the option of a 4 speed automatic on all 1.8 or 2.0 models.It had conventional disc brakes up front and either drums or discs on the back.ABS and hydraulically powered steering was standard on all models. It had fully independant Macpherson strut type front suspension with telescopic dampers,coil springs and anti-roll bar whilst the rear suspension is of an independant dual link strut type with integeral dampers,coil springs and anti-roll bar making for a steady,safe car. There are drivers and passenger airbags,side airbags incorporated in the front seats.Curtain airbags are standard equipment on some models,optional on others along with seatbelt pre-tensioners making the Avensis also a safe vehicle. My personal experience of owning and driving the Avensis *********************************************** I'll freely admit it wasn't a car that I bought out of any real choice when I purchased my 2000 W-reg 5-dr 1.8 GS (pre-facelift) back in January 2012.My previous car,a Subaru Legacy had failed the M.O.T quite badly and I needed a road legal car as soon as possible for as little money as possible.The Avensis came up with 9 months MOT,a couple of road tax for £400 and as it was the only real car I could afford at the time I took it for a long test run,gave it a thorough check over and bought it. First impressions ~~ ************** It's not particularly good looking car quite bland and indistinct in silver.I soon found out there are a lot of silver Avensis's on the road but obviously they'd never caught my attention before I bought one.It's a well known phenomenon,that you begin to see many more cars of a similar make and colour to the one you've just bought but as a car fanatic I am normally aware of almost all types of car but the Avensis didn't really exist at all before I bought one. It has a typical 5 dr hatchback shape but with the now modern trend of the steeper raked bonnet line that seems to drop quite sharply.The bonnet line drops to a angled front end with oddly sort of fat wedge shaped headlight/indicator units with a radiator grill thats vaguely semicircular with the rounded side at the bottom where it meets the bumper.The front bumper isn't that deep but has an opening in it to let air into the oil cooler and radiator that ends in two apetures at either side.In higher spec models they'd be where the foglights are housed but in the GS model the openings are blanked off with black plastic.The openings don't echo either the shape of the headlights or the grill.There's no sense of harmony in the styling making it seem clumsey,an after thought. The rear is not only sitting a bit higher because of the suspension settings on the hatchback in particular but because of the overall wedge kind of shape it looks heavyish.There's a swage line that runs down the length of the car above the door handles and along the front wing and typical black plastic mouldings along the side of the doors at the same level as the black plastic upperpart of the front and rear bumpers,with again an oddly shaped side repeater in the front wing moulding that doesn't echo or hint at the shape of the headlight,door handles or any other part of the car. Obviously our opinions about a car's styling is subjective,to many people it's an irrelevance but to others it's a very important part of what makes a car.To those who consider styling to be of some import then the Avensis won't be the top of your list.It's an automotive photocopier i.e there's no sense of it being styled just a bland,inoffensive exterior that won't excite or offend anyone.I will add that the saloon is slightly better looking but not much.Picture a cross between a Renault Laguna and a Citreon Xantia but with less pleasing aspects of both being highlighted you'd be getting the idea !!! Inside the car ~~ *********** Ok,so it isn't a looker but things do get better when you open the door and sit behind the wheel.Firstly,you no longer have to look at it,haha.In a similar way the interior is nothing revolutionary but it is a pleasant place to be.The seats are comfortable and the driver has a good lumbar support.They're not sports seats but they do seem to hold you nicely,give you support yet are comfortable at the same time.There's a bar under the front which you lift to let slide it back and forward and a wheel at the base to tilt the back up or down.The seats are of reasonable hard wearing material too and between the adjustable steering and seat it's no problem to find a comfortable seating position.In the driving seat the pluging bonnet lines is actually a bonus when it comes to visibility. The standard type steering wheel we've come to expect on cars with an airbag has a nicely thick rim which feels nice to hold.It is also adjustable meaning you can set it high like your driving a bus or have it down near you're knees like I prefer.lol The instrument layout,again,will be familiar to most with the speedo to the left,revcounter to the right and their flanked by the smaller temp and fuel gauges either side.The centre of all four dials are on the same line so and in the space below the smaller gauges sits a panel with the usual array of indicator lights for low fuel,ignition,abs,airbag,indicators,lights etc.The controls are what you'd expect with a shortish gearlever that's positioned nicely so you never have to wonder where it is,also the gearknob feels thick and positive like the steering wheel.The steering column stalks are also robust with the usual twist switch for the lights,forward for full beam,up and down for the turn indicators on the left and on the right all your wiper controls.With an intermittent setting and a twist switch for to shorten or lengthen the interval.There's also the usual two speed setting,pull washers,rear wiper with a washer.There is one feature I do like particularly and that's the washer jets.Unlike most cars where you spray the washers then the wipers activate 3 times,which is too many times by the third wipe the screens dried out making the wipers squeal n scrape the last movement,the Avensis only wipes twice.It may be a simple thing but it does make a difference especially at this time of year. Theres an intergrated dash,centre console which is trimmed in fake carbon fibre effect laminate.With a line of chunky switches at the top of the panel that have a vaguely wedge shape as of the four switches the hazard flashers closest to the instrument panels is largest then a blank,the heated rear windscreen,then another blank which would be functional on higher spec cars.Below are the two airflow vent that can flow cool or warm air depending on the heater or a/c settings.Under that is a simple slider control for outside/recirculated air and a small button to switch on the air conditioning.Unusually it had air conditioning and an electric sunroof.It has electric front windows but winders for the rear passengers. Then there are 3 round dial switches.Closest to the driver is fan heater fan speed,the temp mixture,then the airflow selector then below that the radio apeture below which is a typical DIN size.I fitted a CD/Digital Radio Head unit I had although the standard speakers in the front passenger door was pretty blown it was easy to fit and sounded ok.Below the radio was a similar size cubby hole with a opening door then the usual opening behind the gearstick under that.There was a large stowage bin between the seats with a hinged lid along with two opening cubby holes in the door panels,another in the dash below the drivers airflow outlets plus a large lockable glovebox.There's certainly no shortage of stowage space for all the typical junk you taki into your car. Rear legroom and headroom are ample,the rear seats comfortable and supportive for longer journeys,or so I've been told.The boot is large and will swallow any amount of luggage,a full weeks supermarket shopping without the slightest trouble or as in my car a large selection of tools,welder and a big box of valeting products.There's a standard thick cardboard parcel shelf attatched to fixing points on the rear hatch. Driving it ~~ ******* The 1.8 GS had the venerable 7A-FE engine which is a thoroughly tried and tested twin cam 16 valve engine but don't let the twin cam or 16 valves fool you it's no performance motor.In Toyota engine coding F stands for narrow angle economy DOHC,G for wide angle performance DOHC and E for electonic fuel injection so this being an FE it's the economy engine.The engine always starts first turn of the key and when cold idles around 1200 rpm but at normal temperature 650 rpm.For a DOHC 16 valve engine it does feel quite flat until over 3000 rpm when it starts to get squarely in it's power curve.Even then it isn't powerful or that torquey.I find it very similar to an early 1.8 Zetec 16 valve from a Mondeo,a steady power delivery with very little increases or surprises anywhere but combined with the 5 speed gearbox it's easy enough to keep it up in the revs if you want to nip along a little faster.You can push it to 5,500 or 6,000 rpm in each gear to get every last bit of performance out of it but it's not worth it as even at 5,500 rpm plus it's still not making a significant amount of extra power.If driven normally this is a steady,forgiving and pretty effecient engine that's capable of in excess of 250 - 300,000 miles if looked after. The gearchange is quite nice,positive feeling except when you try and change quickly when it gets notchy and less happy to slide nicely into gear going from 4th to 3rd or up from 2nd to 3rd but,again,for steady everyday driving the actual ratios in the box are more than adequate and well thought out. The steering,although power assisted does have a degree of feel to it that is often lacking on a Japanese car which are often over assisted making the steering very light,feeling almost remote from the front wheels.Being built in the UK,very much like the Nissan Primera built in Sunderland,the steering is more suited to European tastes although it's not as direct or 'live' feeling as in a Vauxhall or Ford.All the same it does give confidence when cornering at speed .The car holds the road well alrhough it's not quite as good when it comes to handling at speed.The combination of higher ride height at the back and a more 'comfortable' suspension set up makes it unsettled when manouvering at high speeds.Having never driven a 2.0 SR model I would expect it to be more contolable near the limit of grip.The brakes,however,are excellent whether just pootling around the town or suddenly having to brake hard they pull you up strong,straight with little fade,always feel positive and inspire confidence.On my 1.8 GS,it has drum brakes at the rear although it still has ABS.The handbrake is also positive with little travel in the lever and no wear so far in over 15,000 miles of use. Pros and cons ~~ *********** This depends very much on your general feeling towards cars and driving in general.The Avensis is a practical,reliable,spacious,comfortable,efficient car that will NEVER,NEVER let you down,As an example of it's reliability I'll tell you about the time I was heading home after work which is a 20 mile drive.I was tired and on autopilot which explains why I never saw my water temperature gauge climb past the red and off the scale.The first I knew was about a mile from home and the engine began to knock (pre-ignite) badly to the point it wouldn't run.Shaken out of my autopilot state I suddenly noticed the needle on the gauge at it's highest possible position so I jumped out,opened the bonnet to find high pressure steam escaping in a stream from a coolant hose.I sat until the needle was under the red then started her up n drove her the less than a mile home. It took 4 hours for the engine to cool down enough for me to work on it.It hadn't just overheated,it had literally boiled dry all it's coolant.I found the problem,a gasket had blown where the coolant hose came from the cylinderhead.There's an alloy casting and the gasket between it and the head had gone.By now it was nearly 10pm and 20 + miles from town so in the absence of anything better I made a gasket out of a scabby old bit of kitchen lino I found in the garage.I put it together,refilled her with coolant/anti-freeze and fired her up.Once I'd bled the air from the coolant she ran perfectly,didn't leak or overheat one bit and even more miraculously boiling it dry hadn't cracked or warped the head in the slightest.That was on an engine with nearly 150,000 miles on the clock.I ran it for another 6,000 miles with a lino gasket and it never missed a beat.That is reliability and durability that few manufacturers could hope to achieve !!! So like I was saying for steady,safe,easy,trouble free motoring with real peace of mind there are few cars that can seriously rival the Avensis but if you're like me and you think a car should be enjoyable and fun to drive,should be responsive and produce plenty of power on tap,that a car should look good and at the least have a character then the you can live with the Avensis but it will frustrate you with it's characterless,viceless ways. I remember when I had my mk2 Astra GTE.It was a great car,great performance,fun to drive,responsive and alive.Driving to work or down the shops was enjoyable in that car but it also had it's issues,it's moods and vices.I realised that just like the best,exciting girlfriends they come at a price which is that they can be great one minute,tempremental the next.For me,the best cars are often the same. The Avensis is a nice,good natured,quiet girlfriend that would be the sensible one to marry but you just know the wild one with the fiery soul is the one that moves you,the one you want :)
After my last so-so review of Highway to Hell I feel I need to up my game several notches of more and thought I may be better sticking to familiar territory for this one. *** *** *** ** *** *** *** Never was an album more aptly named Back in Black is one of the seminal rock albums of the 80's,often imitated but never bettered yet it could so easily never have been. It launched the rebirth of the band,a new decade,the career of it's vocalist and the ongoing and unanswerable debate between fans,who's best Bon Scott or Brian Johnson. Following the critical and commercial success of their 1979 album Highway to Hell the future couldnt have looked brighter when the band began work on their next album and with some of the songwriting already complete it was a massive shock to all concerned when charismatic and iconic frontman Bon Scott was found dead in the front seat,of all things,a Renault 5.That was Febuary 19th 1980,aged 33 he left a huge hole in both the band and the lives of all that knew him. AC/DC have always been a thoroughly 'normal' and down to earth band and the loss of such a great friend and integeral member left them seriously shaken and wondering if it right or even possible to continue,possibly surprising or possibly not for such a close knit group it was Scott's parents who persuaded them to carry on and with material that Bon had co written they looked to recruit a new frontman and dedicate the new album to Bon Scott. Angus Young the lead guitarist recalled later that Bon Scott had told him about when he'd seen Brian Johnson singing for his then band Geordie and that he really knew how to rock and roll so when he auditioned in March 1980 he was quickly recruited and the rest is history as they say. From it's typical all out ballsy high energy rock n roll to it's all black album cover with embossed band logo and title this is every bit a rock classic. The 6th international album released by the band it opens with 'hells bells'.A slower,demonic rocker from the initial brassy chime of the bells to the challenge 'if gods on the left,then i'm sticking to the right' it's become a live staple along with the canons blasts of 'For those...' or the huge inflateble 'Rosie Next comes the up tempo riff laden 'shoot to thrill' one of the many highlights of this record. 'What do you do for money,honey' is another classic rocker. 'Givin the dog a bone' with it's typical double entendre title is traditional fare for the band. 'let me put my love into you' is probably the weaker of the tracks on this album but don't be put off as it'd be a highlight on most other albums. Side 2 opens with the eponymous title track and encapsulates the spirit of the band and the album.A stand out,brash,joyous rocker instantly recognisable and imitated over and over again it's an instant classic. 'You shook me all night long'.If they ever wrote a love song this would be in "she kept her motor clean,she was the best damn woman that i'd ever seen" love song AC/DC style :) 'Have a drink on me' starts with a gorgeous repeating bluesy lick before going into typical upbeat rock n roll.My favourite of the album. 'Shake a leg' is Angus riffery at it's finest. The closing track is another classic to make sure it ends on a high.The slower 'Rock n roll aint noise pollution' is a typical AC/DC anthem that'll have you signing at the top of your voice. Opinion ~ Well,i'm probably biased but the fact that it's the 2nd highest selling album of all time behind Thriller with over 50 million copies sold worldwide strongly suggests it's a highly regarded record. After the tragedy surrounding it's beginning to have turned out such a veritible classic speaks highly of the band as very few could approach such heights under wholly favourable conditions but forget the tragedy,the loss and simply enjoy a great band at their best.
It's time to don your schoolboy uniform,strap on your SG and do the duck walk for my latest offering as we're taking a trip back to 1979 to review one of the greatest rock albums of all times and one of my all time favourites :) AC/DC are a legendary Australian band.Often dubbed variously as hard rock or heavy metal to me they are,as they've always said themselves,simply a rock and roll band.And truly they are one of the very best. I must,must,must not forget that I'm writing a product review and with that refrain echoing around my mind I think I best start with some background information for anyone who hasn't heard of the band or this album.So that would be Bieber fans and possibly some undiscovered tribe deep within the rain forest :) Formed in Sydney by Glasgow born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in 1973 they've gained millions of diehard fans playing great,straight forward,honest,high energy rock and roll music that's uncompromising and infectious.In 1974 they recruited Ronald Belford 'Bon' Scott,also Scots born,who'd go on to become an iconic frontman,voted No. 1 of all time in a Classic Rock readers poll.Rightly so in my opinion. Releasing two albums in Australia 'High Voltage' in 1974 and 'TNT' in 1975 they signed to Atlantic Records in 1976 releasing their first international LP 'High Voltage' made up of songs from their two Australian albums in the same year.A ballsy,brash rock n roll album it was followed by 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' in the same year and 'Let There Be Rock' in 1977. The first 3 albums had very much a similar 12 bar bluesy,'Chuck Berry on speed' feel to them but their 1978 release 'Powerage' showed a true progression in developing their own trademark style and showed band that was really hitting the straps hard. Released in August 1979 their next record Highway To Hell was the bands 5th international album and their most succesful to that point reaching 17 in the US album charts.From the opening chords of the title track Highway to Hell right till Bon Scott utters the words 'shazbut nanu nanu' (from Mork and Mindy) at the end of the closing number 'Night Prowler' are 10 bluesy,rocking songs of the highest quality each one a classic.There are no album fillers on this record. The title song has become one of those iconic rock anthems alongside 'Whole lotta love' and 'Smoke on the Water' with a simple yet instantly memorable riff and is a staple at every live show since. The album features a number of songs that are still regularly played at nearly every gig like 'Shot down in flames','If you want blood(you've got it)','Touch too much','Girls got rhythm' and the infamous 'Night Prowler'.Yet there are some real gems on here that maybe aren't so well known like the heavier,pounding rhythm of 'Walk all over you',the breakneck 'Beating around the bush' and the infectious groove of 'Love hungry man' and the excellent 'Get it hot'. The cover features a painting of the band with Angus at the front holding his 'devils tail' in his hand and a pair of horns sprouting from his cap.Bon Scott is on the right wearing a pentagram pendant and the rest of the band on the left.The AC/DC logo is at the top and the album title at the bottom.A band photo is on the back cover with track listing.Quite a simple,uncluttered cover design which overall reflects the feel of this album. Surprisingly there's less of Angus Young's trademark pyrotechnics than you may expect when it comes to his lead guitar work instead he displays a tighter more finely honed approach but for anyone who's familiar with his blistering guitar solos won't be disappointed by his more distilled,punchier breaks as he proves just why he's one of rock's greatest guitarist.Also that along with brother Malcolm he's one of the songwriting greats too. Bon Scott's singing is as full of power,raw and glorious,wailing and moaning with that ever present character he had that sounded like he enjoyed every second of being a rock star. There's always been an uncompromising honesty,a complete lack of any pretentiousness about everything AC/DC do that translates clearly through their music.It's about having a good time and that joy is spectacularly evident on this album. Tragically several months after this album was released Bon Scott died after a night of heavy drinking,on the 19th Febuary 1980 and rock music lost one of it's greatest singers making Highway his final and finest work adding a certian significance to the record. It is a must for all AC/DC and lovers of rock music and i'd recommend it to anyone.
Introduction ~ The whole genre of the Zombie has really taken off in the last few years and the topic of how to survive a wide scale Zombie appocolypse is a regular topic of discussion across the internet. I am a member and contributor to THE conspiracy website,although I'm a natural sceptic the wide range of topics discussed from social issues to quantam physics keep me visiting daily almost. Debate about what could cause such a scenario is rife but it usually centres around rabies or a new 'weaponised' virus that leaves people alive medically but exhibiting all the classic Zombie characteristics apart from being reanimated corpses. I think the ever looming 21st of dec feeds into it but when the CDC pubiished a comprehensive guide to surviving a Zombie attack it threw the conspiracy community into a wild frenzy,dismisshng their cited reason as a joke and for horror fans. You can see why though,it's not normal for a soberhserious government department,particularly one who's purpose is the to contain pandemics and disiese control to do something seemingly so frivilous but that's the US for you and it was great PR. ___________________________________________________________________ The Zombie phenomenon is so popular these days that I've no doubt that many,many people particularly the under 30's are unaware that in some areas of the world Zombies are very real ,part of their history,culture and present even today.I'm referring to Haiti in particular but also the other Carribean areas where Voodoo is practiced including Louisiana and New Orleans in the US. History ~ The religion of Voodoo is a vibrant practice which was an organic blend of West African ancestor worship,beliefs and ritual and native Haitian Creole practices that developed amongst the slaves transported from Africa to work in the French sugar plantations.Later they imposed Catholicism on them and they adapted their practices using saints to represent their dieties. Voodoo also involved spirit posession and was wrapped up with folk magic.The priest is known as the bokor and preforms black and white magic.He has the power,they believe to reanimate the corpse of someone who has recently died,controlling them,keeping their soul in a sealed jar. He will have been payed by someone who wants revenge ör maybe fallen foul of the priest in life and may be worked as a slave for 20 years trapped in a hellish limbo. That there are people turned into Zömbies in Haiti today is a fact though science realises they dont die beforehand but are poisoned with powerful neurotoxins which somehow not only put them into a heavily catotonic state which makes it appear they've died so a doctor can declare them dead and for their family tö bury them. The film The Serpent and the Rainbow about this subject by John Carpenter in the late 80's is said to be based on a true story.It is to a point in that an American scientific researcher went to Haiti in the '60's to find the 'secret' but particularly the toxins and drugs used but it seems unlike in the film he never truly discovered to the scientific community's satisfaction what the actual process was and the toxins used. But it seems that the toxins will put them in that state long enough for them to be buried,sometimes waking up in their coffin still undergroud.The toxin obviously does a degree of damage to their brain and their mind but what would the trauma of believing you died and were brought back to life inside your coffin. To a Western person (and being buried alive happened more often than is thought in Europe before doctors,in the late 18th century,were able to tell reliablelly if someone was truly dead or not !!!) who came round in their coffin if they were able to stop panicing and screaming they might realise they hadn't actually died but been declared dead in error ~ it was a real fear until the invention of the stethescope and why people had open faced coffins or bells inside them.There was even one that had tubes running down to it from the surface with string so if they were buried alive they pulled the string and a flag stood up to tell people you were down there !!! But in Haiti where the belief in voodoo is very strong,strong enough for people to believe the spirits of some of their lesser gods enter their body and possess them.Clearly everyone knows about Zombies and believes they are were people once who had been murdered then brought back to life by a powerful priest that had full control of you,kept you soul prisoner.The fear of being becoming a Zombie is prevalant amongst the poorer people so when they come to and realise their in a coffin and buried their worst fear has come true,literally a fate far worse than death. Their brain,mind and mental capacity will have been damaged from the toxin they were given plus a lifelong belief in the dead becoming Zombies it's impossible to imagine what they think or feel when they realise where they are.If they're down their for more than a few minutes the trauma of it might further fracture their mind while the lack of oxygen will cause further brain damage. It's not only all that but their very history is based on the brutal slave trade where their ancestors were captured and forced from their homes,thrown into cramped,fetid cargo holds where many to die though the corpses may stay with the living until flung over board like rubbish eventually arriving in the hot and humid rain forested islands to be either worked to death hacking the sugar cane down with a machette in the fields or feeding it into the massive heavy presses that could suddenly pull in and pulverise an arm if you werent vigilant. They were expendable labour and if they got caught in a press,hacked a limb by accident or succumbed to the conditions through the virulent diseases on the islands or at the hands of the brutal treatment of their 'masters'.They weren't considered to be human but animals to work till death with less regret than with an oxen.They were totally dehumanised by the plantation owner and staff. To be murdered and then laid to rest by your family,dug up and under the control of a powerful priest so you can be completely dehumanised and turned into a mindless,soulless beast just like you're ancestors were 300 years ago must be a serious form of hell in their culture !! It ranks amongst the very worst things that a human can do to another human.The story of the real Zombies may not be about the dead walking in the strictest sense but they are certainly undead in a very real sense and it's far darker,more horrific,shining a light on the true cruelty that can be found in man that make those daft creatures in the movies seem like a joke !!! ___________________________________________________________________ I'm not entirely sure where our modern conception of the zombie comes from.Obviously it's been with us in it's now archetypeal form like the vampire or werewolf since George Romero's Night of the Living Dead from the late 60's but did he invent the zombie or did he take the idea from somewhere else ?? Personally,they seem to me like a modern version of the ghoul which was really just a flesh eating corpse.In fact I think it reaches back to medieval Europe and the revenant.The revenant is an undead creature of European folklore that is often cited as the basis for the vampire legend but if you look into it it's as much a precursor for the modern Zombie being an animated corpse that return to wreak havoc on the living,to feed of them or even curse the living as their are different versions depending on the country.The revenant didn't have any gifts or was remotely elegant like the vampire became but bloated,decaying and wild like a modern Zombie. Of course the Zombie is also a reflection of us,our society and that can be clearly seen in Day of the Dead.They are mindless consumers,all Zombies in films are but in Day of the Dead that point is made by them flocking to the mall,when the hero says that they're drawn to the place by a compulsion to be there. It's just a wee tongue in cheek,swipe at our society that seems to know only how to consume nowadays.It brings to my mind the term,philosophy of the 'useless eaters',referring to us not a movie creation.lol
This one just won't go away,it dies down and is 'forgotten' about for a while but it rears it's hideous head again often in a slightly different form.I believe the latest idea is some form of online system akin to a google or facebook account with a logon on name and password. I mean honestly !!! I know why don't we just sort the situation once and for all and permanantly tattoo my N.I number on my arm along with a barcode aswell.In fact why don't they fit an RF micro chip and house us all in secure camps with guard towers and dogs !!! Can anyone explain to me why on earth they require me to carry a specific I.D card which will no doubt have allsorts of my personal information including my DNA stored on it when I already live in the most heavily monitored country in the Western world. I know it's become an urban myth that a citizen in London is caught on cctv some 400 times daily but a myth has some basis in truth. CCTV now has sophisticated face recognition software,road traffic and police vehicle cameras have number plate recognition capabilites.if you use your credit card,debit card you can be pinpointed to where you last used it. Sitting on your computer you can be traced and monitored by your I.P address and aslong as your mobile phome has it's sim card in it you can be pinpointed in real time within a matter of several feet even with the battery removed. Considering this you would think my animosity to an I.D card is pointless but it's the principle and the other forms of monitoring i can choose.If I want to I can decide not to have a mobile,credit card etc. Besides my grandad fought during WWII for our freedom and what this country stands for but since 11/09/2001 I'm recognising this country less and less,the survaillance capabilites today would have had the Gestapo in a state of continual arousal !!! There is a line I won't pass have said from the start I won't carry an I.D card so they'll have to arrest me,as often as they want I won't accept either I.D or the start of a police state BB.
I bought my Galaxy Y back in march this year when I went into a local Cash Converters and bought my nearly new phone for £50,it was in immaculate condition and had been chipped for network,mine being o2. The Samsung Galaxy range is a family of devices from smart phones to tablets,media players and even cameras that use the android operating system. The Galaxy Y is the entry level smart phone.The Y stands for young and is aimed at the younger user but is also an ideal entry point for the less technically minded 'older' user like myself ;-) ******************************** Ok for the technical stuff ~ It's form is a slate,dimensions are ~ 4.1 in H 2.3 in 0.45 in D and weighs 9.75g It uses Andriod 2.3.5 (upgraded 2.3.6) gingerbread operating system. Has uses a single core 832 MHz ARMv6 along with broadcom BCM 2763 videocore IV The memory features 290 MB of RAM and 190 MB of dedicated flash internal storage (158 MB user available). It has microSDHC slot (up to 32 GB). The display uses a 76.2-millimetre (3.00 in) QVGA (320x240) TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen which has a Pixel density (PPI) of '133'. On the back of the device is a 2 Megapixel fixed focus camera without flash that can record videos in up to a maximum QVGA Resolution but no forward facing camera. Compatible networks are GSM 850/900/1800/1900 HSDPA 7.2 Mbps 900/2100 It has also has 3G,HSDPA,bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity options. It has multi touch touch screen,talk activation option aswell. ******************************** What's it like in real life ?? It fits nicely in the hand,comfortable to hold and use with a bright,colourful and clear display with countless settings to customise to your personal taste. The sound quality when making calls can be tinny and not as clear as I'd like often times but useable certainly. Text messaging is straightforward although I find the space button sandwiched btwn input (t9 - abc) and message settings a real pain at times but uery useable apart from that.You have predictive,abc,handwriting and more input methods. If all I wanted was a phone for calls and texts i'd have got a very basic Samsung for £10 but I want to be able to browse the internet,read emails and use söcial networks. The internet capacity of this phone is excellent though browsing can be torturous when using 3G it is quick on HSPDA and almost seamless on wi-fi (quicker than my pc wi broadband.lol). The factory browser is good but a little clunky which is why I downloaded Opera Mini making for an excellent online experience. ******************************** For a cheap,useful,practical first smartphone I couldnt recommend this more highly. It's more reliable,intuitive,pleasing to use and has more capabilities and much better preformance than apparently more advanced iphone or blackberry phones of higher capacity. The internet performance is far superior with 1,000's off apps from google play and samsung apps. The downside are the lowish resolution camera,it can take ok photos with plenty of light but the video recording isnt great. Also battery life isn't great needing constant recharging. I give it 8.5/10 and will be upgrading to a higher spec Galaxy when the time comes. BB
Well I can understand why no~one's tackled this one,it's a massive subject which resonates to this day and impossible to do justice in a few thousand words - so here goes !! World War One.What does it mean to people today.If you're British and you have heard of it it means The Somme,senseless slaughter,Blackadder,poppys,mud,trenches and 'going over the top'.Yet,funny enough,it's a little more complex than that !!! Although one particular event is often cited as starting the war it wouldn't have happened if Europe had been a continent at peace with itself. When individual German states agreed to unify under Prussian rule to form the German nation after defeating France with comparitive ease in the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 it created unease amongst the nations of Europe,particularly France after such a humiliating defeat. France was to ally itself with Russia in attempt to achieve some support and security against the growing power and strength of it's ambitious neighbour which had aligned itself with the huge and ancient AustroHungarian Empire creating a massive and powerful alliance dominating Central Europe. As the 19th century drew to a close and the 20th century dawned Great Britain and France,who had been at war throughout the last 900 years either directly or across the globe noteably in America,Canada and India,drew closer together not least as a consequence of growing German power in Europe but also in Africa and Asia in pursuit of an overseas Empire. Great Britain was economically and militarily the most powerful and richest nation on earth with an empire that covered a 5th of the globe.Her resources were limitless and the might of the Royal Navy meant she could protect her massive far flung colonies. Ever mindful of the need to 'rule the waves' she launched a new capital ship in 1906 intended to cement her supremecy that was so much more powerful it rewrote the rulebook overnight and inadvertantly made Britain suddenly vulnerable,in a precarious position. A recent naval battle where Japan decimated the Russian fleet showed large guns did all the damage.Battleships had guns of many calibres but the Royal Navy commisioned a new all big gun ship,with a formidably armoured hull and new steam turbine engines making it so much faster,impervious and deadly than any other ship,including the Royal Navys's existing fleet. HMS Dreadnought changed everything.No navy could dream of challenging Britain the day before it's launch,the day after the rules had changed.Britain had one dreadnought (it was so new and powerful ships of its type were all called dreadnoughts after that) meaning the playing field was now level,any navy with nearly or as many dreadnoughts could now directly threaten Britain and it's Empire. Germany,in particular Kaiser Wilhelm II who felt both admired and loathed Britain ordered massive dreadnought construction which obviously severely alarmed Britain which increased the building too sparking off an intense arms race. Germany feeling threatened caught between France and Russia planned how to fight them both at once.The threat drove them to build up the army and armemant,which made their rivals increase their military creating a situation where all the powerful countries in Europe prepared themselves for war and eyed each other up with suspicion and fear. It may just take one spark,one significant event to start the ball rolling to all out war and in the summer of 1914 in the unheard of city of Sarajevo there was the sound of gunfire that would reverberate around the world. Serbia wanted independance from AustroHungry and a 'terrorist' group called the Black Hand wished to strike a blow nobody could ignore so recruited idealistic student Gavrillo Princip for the job. The ageing Emporer's only son and heir was visiting and while touring the city Princip assasinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife.The irony being he would have become Emporer in a couple of years and believed in Serbian,Crotian and Bosnian independance but his murder set in motion a chain of events that would lead to the brutality of WWI,WWII and the '90's civil war in the Balkans and Kosovo. AustroHungary gave Serbia an ultimatum or war knowing they couldnt accept so declared war.Traditionally the protector of Slavs,Russia declared war on AustroHungary.Germany on Russia and France on Germany.Britain sat on watched Europe go up in flames much to the annoyance of France. Strike hard and fast.German planners had envisioned a war to East and West.Believing Russia to be backward they thought they'd be very slow to mobilise.This,they felt,gave them the oppurtunity to amass the majority of force west. They planned a huge blow thru Belgium thereby sidestepping the French Army and marching deep into Northern France,encircling Paris,knocking out France in a matter of weeks then turning East to help AustroHungary defeat Russia. The German Army launched its offensive attacking through Belgium.Britain had guaranteed Belgian neutrality so was also brought into the war. The B.E.F was quickly dispatched to Northern France to take the line alongside the French ready to repel the Germans but marched to engage them in Belgium. Britain had a professional volunteer army of around 100,000 unlike the conscript armies of continental Europe and while the French attacked over the border into Germany the B.E.F would engage a million strong German army having to halt them till the French could turn around and engage with the B.E.F. This was the first time the European armies had met in battle for 99 years when the British fought the French on Belgian soil with their Prussian allies at the Battle of Waterloo. They'd fought with swords,cavalry,cannon and massed volley fire from flintlock muskets that fired 3 inaccurate rounds a minute now the British army were trained to shoot a minimum of 15 aimed rounds a min with the bolt action short magazine lee enfield accurate to 3/4 of a mile. Britain and Germany both used a version of the same machine gun,the Maxim.The Vickers gun could fire 600 rounds per minute all day. The standard field gun,75mm,had a pneumatic carriage absorbing the recoil keeping it exactly on target allowing for rapid ,accurate and consistant,sustained fire. cont....
After reading several reviews on dooyoo itself,mainly advice on review writing,it seems several points are constantly being raised.Namely,write about what you know so I thought I'd go back to one of my pet subjects for my latest piece. The Ford Escort,wow,that could be a massive one to review.These cars have been around since 1967 right up until the late '90's and the marks and models are endless so I think I'd better narrow this down before I make a very large rod for my own back. Ok,so there are many particular versions I'd love to review,RS1600i,XR3i,RS Turbos to name a few but I think I'll keep this down to the classic MKI and MKII variants. Even under that heading that's a daunting prospect so being a speed enthusiast I'll self-impose another limit and stick to the 'performance' models. Why the MKI and MKII then? Well,this was the first cars that I ever coveted and many like me do aswell,also in this day and age they are considered classic motors and there is still,if not more than ever,a large interest in these cars. Background and History. _______________________ Ford Motor Company of the post war era was a manufacturer that specialised in,what were,cheap,rugged and reliable(and read boring into that)motor cars.They cared very little about this as long as people kept on flooding into their showrooms and bought their products by the million. By the late fifties,though as people recovered from the post war gloom and started wanting more for their money and more glamour from their motors FMC had to rethink it's strategy.At the same time many of it's main rivals were starting to produce cars that were more and more stylised.Along with this motorsport was having a greater impact on the car buying public. In 1962 Ford of America implemented a world-wide 'Total Performance' initiative which spawned,in Brtiain,the Lotus Cortina. To keep up with it's rivals,Ford's Anglia 105E,a nice but convential little car was by the mid 60's looking dated so they designed an all-new small car.This new car was the Ford Escort. It had an new and very pleasant body style but used much of the Anglia's running gear and engines which may seem to be defeating the purpose of a all-new car but actually meant that it had tried and tested engineering. The MkI,which came in 3-dr,4-dr and estate bodyshells ran from Jan 1968 to Dec 1974.This was replaced by the more angular and cleaner looking MKII. Initially the hottest mainstream model was the 1300GT but after that they came thick and fast. The Cars In Question. ______________________ The 'performance' models I'm going to review are:- MKI - Twin Cam,RS1600,Mexico and RS2000. MKII - RS1800,RS Mexico,RS2000. This may still seem to be alot of cars but as so much of these cars are basically the same it should be that bad. The MKI's. ___________ The MKI came with the 1100cc and 1300cc Ohv engines from the Anglia,had 4-speed g/boxes and were pleasant,well handling little cars.Tough and reliable they may not have been revolutionary but were well recieved. Very soon Ford announced the Twin Cam,which had the same 1600cc engine as the Lotus Cortina.This engine was based on the 1500cc cast-iron block that featured on the base Cortina model.It's main difference was in the cylinder head and camshaft drive.The head was made of aluminium with valves(only 8,despite being a twin)that were operated directly from the cam lobes by inverted bucket tappets and was of a crossflow design.That means that the intake,i.e carburation,was on one side of the engine and the exhaust on the other.It had part-sherical combustion chamber,integrally cast inlet manifold and two side-draught twin weber 40DCOE carbs. It gave around 105bhp and 108lbft of torque,though that may be optimistic,anyway it made for a car capable of about 113mph.All the same it made for a sweet,free-revving engine and a great debut 'fast escort'. All TC's,in fact,all 'fast escorts' were based on the 3-dr bodyshell,usually the slightly strenghtened 'Type 49' body shell with flared front wheel arches,although the TC was the only one that ever had the rectangular headlights.Inside there was little difference except the adoption of the 1300GT dash with 6-dials,which meant the inclusion of an ammeter and oil pressure guage.All three featured front quarter bumpers. In 1970,they replaced it with the RS1600.The only real difference with this car was the engine. Featuring another twin cam engine but this time the 16-valve Cosworth BDA(Belt Driven - Series A),the Lotus engine had chain driven cams.Once again based on a production Ford engine block,initially the cast iron and taller 1599cc 'kent' rather than the 1499cc of the TC.The head was two-piece and made of aluminium.The first piece being the main head which comprised the main casting,combustion chambers,spark plugs,valves and springs while the second part was the cam carrier. The main reason for the use of the 1599cc block,which incidentily was often quoted at 1601cc so it could enter competion in the 1600-2000cc class,was for motorsport and because it could be bored out to that size. With twin side-draught Weber 40DCOE's and a fabricated 4-1 exhaust manifold it produced around 120bhp and 112lbft. Apart from RS1600 badging,the exterior and interior appointments were similar to the TC. 1970 also saw the launch of the much more basic Mexico,to cash in on Ford's sucsess in the London to Mexico rally it featured a basic 1599cc ohv kent engine in standard form and produced around 86bhp.Complete with bold side stipes it waa a good entry level 'fast escort'. The last of the fast MKI's was the RS2000 of 1973.Whereas the TC and RS16 were fast but at times tempramental cars and the Mexico lacked the pace of the others,the RS2 had the performance to keep up with these two but was more refined and also featured a basically standard Ford engine,the 1993cc Sohc 'Pinto' engine.With a twin choke Weber carb,instead of a brace of 40's it was easier to maintain. More nicely appointed than the others with a plush interior it was much more the slick motorway cruiser than the frenzied race-bred machine of the TC,RS16 ilk. Each car was fitted with a 4-speed,all syncromesh g/box with a slick remote g/change but there was two different types used in the MKI - The TC/RS16/Mexico used the '2000E' while the RS2 used the later 'Type E'.There are a differences in the ratios also on the 2000E reverse was right and back whereas the Type 9 was to the left and forward.All escorts used the same hypoid bevel rear axle althougfh there were two different final drive ratios - 3.77:1 on the TC/RS16/Mexico and the more relaxed 3.54:1 on the RS2's. Brakes,positive if not spectacular were of the disc/drum arrangement with vaccum servo assistance,9.62" front discs and 9 x 1.75" drums.This goes for all Escorts,I's and II's. The suspension was the same throughout the range being macpherson struts upfront and leaf springs/live rear axle at the rear. Mostly they came with 5.5" x 13" steel wheels although you could have optional 4-spoke RS style alloys at 6" x 13 inches. The bodyshape stayed the same throughout the MKI's life although there were some minor changes to the floorpans in 1973,mostly relocation of suspension mountings in line with the forthcoming MKII. The MKI was replaced in Jan 1975 with the more modern looking MKII. Performance Figures(other specs). _________________________________ Model. Power(bhp) Torque(lbft) 0-60 Max Speed TC 106 @ 6000rpm 107 @ 4500rpm 9.9 113mph RS1600 120 @ 6500rpm 112 @ 4000rpm 8.9 113mph Mexico 86 @ 5500rpm 92 @ 4000rpm 10.7 99mph RS2000 100 @ 5750rpm 108 @ 3500rpm 9.0 108mph Gear Ratios(4th,3rd,2nd,1st). 2000E - 1.000,1.397,2.01,2.972 - reverse 3.324:1 TypeE - 1.000,1.37,1.97,3.65, - reverse 3.66:1 The MKII. _________ Launched in 1975 to replace the MKI,the only real changes were in the styling,revised suspension locations etc but there were some differences in the engines.The whole range was much more product placement orientated though. The first 'fast escort' was the very rare RS1800 which used a bored out version of the RS1600 Cosworth BDA engine and essentially was a newer version of that car,although the engine block had been replaced by an alloy version(actually this was done in '73 and featured in the last run of RS16's in 1600 form).Some of the first cars had the twin 40's as of the RS16 but most came with a single twin-choke 32/36 DGAV,the power output was compareable to the 1600 version but torqueir.This as I've said was a rare car and only about 108@ were ever made. January 1976 saw the launch of both the RS Nexico and the RS2000.The RS Mexico was,like the MKI,a 1600cc but instead of the kent engine it had a 1600cc version of the pinto engine and like it's predocessor it was a cheap and straight fowrard mass production fast escort.With bold graphics and a 1300/1600 sport interior it filled the same role as the MKI. The MKII had a slightly uprated version of the 1998cc pinto as used in the MKI,with a different exhaust manifold it gave a little more power than the MKI or the same engine when used in the Cortina or Capri. The main thing about the MKII RS2 was the redisigned front end.Whereas all other fast MKII's had the same flat front as the rest of the Escort range the RS2 had a unique polyurethane 'droop snoot' nose with four round headlights.South African and Australian versions stuck with the mass production style flat front set up however. The later RS2's where well appointed even for the standards of the day with a radio,centre console with clock,extra dials(like the RS Mexico and RS1800) and high back,sumptuous and reclining Recaro front seats.They also had a glovebox unlike the lowly RS Mexico. All three second generation fords had bold exterior graphics,a lower front spoiler and rubberised boot spoiler,although they weren't extravagently styled like the later hot hatches they weren't exactly shrinking violets either. The coming of the hot hatches may have over shadowed these later cars,the likes of the VW Golf GTi may have looked more modern at the end of the 70's and took a lot of the RS2000's limelight they aren't any quicker,are no better to drive.In fact,all the rear-drive Escort's were such lovely handling and controlable cars near their limits(although people who have been brought up on safe and predictable FWD cars may find the older RWD Escorts a bit of a handful in the wet)that it's hard to see how a Golf could be as satisfying to drive,having driven many Escorts and a few Golfs I would take an Escort any day. Running a RWD Escort today. ___________________________ Having been replaced in 1980 by the 3rd generation MK3 these cars are getting on for 25 years old at least but don't let that put you off.The main problem of course has to be getting hold of one these days as their constant rise in popularity in the last decade has made even fair examples expensive to buy.You can still buy an old one for little money but it won't have been restored and if you don't know your stuff it is easy to buy a pile of junk. Good ones,especially the ones I've reviewed here go for substantial sums these days,I've seen MKII RS2000's go for a little under £2000 but you can pay much more than that for a real good example. Parts availability is good and getting better all the time because of the growth of interest in these cars plus there has always been a strong rallying tradition which has kept these cars from disappearing into obscurity.Their rallying sucsess is legendary and this just points to their overall capabilities. Being in effect a very mainstream type of car in their day you won't find them at all hard to drive or hard to live with,especially the RS Mexico and RS2000 models although the early TC,RS16 and RS1800 models are technically complex compared to normal Ford's and take a lot more looking after and regular attention to their engines to keep them on top form. Fuel consumption figures are not excessive nor would you find them hard to insure,particularly under classic insurance. If you want a car that has personality,history,looks good yet isn't a pig to live with then one of these fine cars would be a very good choice. Performance Figures _____________________ RS1800 115 @ 6000 120 @ 4000 9sec 111mph RS Mexico 95 @ 5750 92 @ 4000 10sec 105mph RS2000 110 @ 5500 119 @ 4000 8.6sc 109mph As the figures show the MKII's are equally as quick and responsive as their earlier versions.The whole line up was replaced by the FWD Escort in 1980 and although there were some good versions of the MKIII's they never captured the poise,style and sheer fun factor of the RWD MKI's and MKII's Cheers for reading.BB.
Sharpe's Rifles. Richard Sharpe and the French Invasion of Galacia,January 1809. Author - Bernard Cornwell I've had a rotten weekend.I can't stop sneezing,I'm burning up,heads thumping,I've no energy and my eyes are red raw.I'm sure this is a situation that many of us are familiar with;the good old winter blues.A perculiarly British experience,no doubt. Why are you wittering on about your cold when you're meant to be reviewing a novel? Simple,I'm getting around to explain that I've spent the weekend in bed. Well?So what? With little on T.V to take my fancy,I've found myself looking for something to kill my time and what better way than to read a book.But. My minds not up to something new,my concentration's not on top form so as often the case in these trying moments I've resorted to reading an old favourite(ah,now we'er getting to it). And Sharpe's Rifles is definetly an old favourite.I've no idea how many times I've read this particular novel but it IS many and not only is the familiar story ideal for me when I'm feeling low but the easy and enjoyable style in which it is written mean it's hard to put down once begun. Now I'm sure many of you have seen the excellent T.V series produced by Carlton and are familiar with the overall premise. The main character being played by the aptly suited Sean Bean,even though there are several main differences from the actual written character(more of those later.) Incidently,I cannot remember whether I read this book before I saw the first T.V episode but I do remember that it was my father who kept trying to turn me on to reading them.And it was this first in the series that I read first.It was the first novel at the time,since then there have been several prequels. Background. *********** The main bulk of this series of novels are based in the Peninsular War 1808-1813,which was fought,mainly in Spain,between the Napoleonic Army of France and the combined forces of Great Britian,Spain and Portugal,I know there were German soldiers and others who fought but these are the main combatants. In late 1808,Sir John Moore,often described as 'the unlucky general' led a force of 20,000 troops from Lisbon into Spain,after several bruising encounters with the French,under Marshall Soult,was forced to retreat to Corunna in North Western Spain. The retreat to Corunna,in the late winter of 1808/09,is one of those historical times etched into the memory of the British Army and is where the novel begins. Storyline. ********** Now I'm not going to be so evil as to tell you the whole story,that would be bad form. As I've just said,it is during this gruelling retreat that the novel opens,finding Lieutenant(pronounced Lef - tenant,by the way,for those of you brought up on American T.V)Richard Sharpe at the very tail-end of the British Army. Our hero,being neither fish nor foul,is disliked by his men and despised by his superiors. While engaging in a constant rear-guard action against advance units of the French Cavalry,the unlucky Light Infantary unit,95th Rifles are suddenly caught by more Cavalry and cut to ribbons,Lieutenant Sharpe and half a company of rifles only manage to escape by making high ground where the French horses cannot follow.Although they manage to take the wounded Captain Murray with them,his wounds are fatal and Sharpe finds himself cut off from his army and commanding soldiers who do not respect his authority and do not want to follow his orders. Hold up in and old barn high up in the Spanish mountains,private Patrick Harper,a gigantic and massive Irishman who is the mens true leader decides that Sharpe's attempt to head south to Lisbon is a pointlessly dangerous exercise.He believes that they should be heading north and gives Sharpe an ultimatum,either come with us or die here. Sharpe,realising that if he was to follow the men north then he would lose all of the tenous authority he has over the men attempts to beat Harper into submission. Not long after they find themselves in this position,they are discovered by the enigmatic Don Blas Vivar,a major in the Spanish Army,who agrees to lead them to safety,though his motives are not as pure as they at first seem for he has his own particular mission and his own use for this motley band of British soldiers. I'll leave the plot there,if I was to tell you the story there would be no point in reading the book,would there. Characters. *********** Richard Sharpe,at age 31,seems to be old for only a Lieutenant in the Bitish Army but this is because he joined as a private and was raised from the ranks to become an officer by saving the life of the then General Authur Wellesly,later to become the Duke of Wellington,at the battle of Assaye in 1803. This is an important factor in the novel,the series as a whole and to the character of Richard Sharpe. The British Army of the 18 and 19th century could never have been descibed as a meritocracy,unlike Napoleon's Army as it is based on wealth,privalege and connections at court. To become an officer,first you had to be a gentleman,you bought your commision to Lieutenant and bought your promotions thereafter,meaning that more often than not the men in command were wholly unsuited to their rank,having neither proper experience or even the intelligence to do their job properly. Under these conditions,a man raised from the ranks of the 'damned' was despised for not having the right background,parentage,wealth or social graces to be a real officer and gentleman.Also the men that the unfortunate upstart would have to command got no respect due to the fact that the rank and file believed that officers were born not made,meaning that someone raised from the ranks would be one of them and not someone that had the right to tell them what to do. It is his lack of proper education and the sort of upbringing that a 'true born' officer and gentleman would have that constantly plague Sharpe.Whereas other officers not only assume their right from birth to tell the lower orders what to do,they automatically expect that their orders will be carried out.Sharpe,on the other hand,not having natural authority or the easy leadership of one born to it often resorts to foul language,abuse and his fists to reinforce his authority thus only breeding resentment from those under his command,he is one of them so what gives him the right to tell them what to do - he's no better than us. This is the position that Sharpe finds himself and something he constantly has to contend with,although by the end of this novel he prooves to his men that he may not be a gentleman but is a very compotent,hard and experienced soldier.In turn,they come to trust and respect their irregular officer as he understands them and looks out for them in a way any true 'gentleman officer' never could. The vast majority of the proper officers he meets along his way though do not like this officer because aside from their social prejudices they don't believe he has the wit and intellegance for proper command.There are several that do realise his potential though,notably Wellington himself. As for the men under his command,the most outspoken of them is Patrick Harper,a giant Irishman.He may be only a be a private but is the one that the men listen to and hates his new officer but after the severe beating he recieves from Sharpe at the beginning of the story and also because of the assertions of Vivar he comes to respect Sharpe and a true friendship is born that will be a feature of the series. Sharpe constantly doubts his authority and feels that he himself is not a proper officer in the true sense and this is perfectly highlighted in the relationship between him and the Spanish officer Major Vivar,whoes easy authority and leadership instantly earns the respect of Sharpe's men,particularly Harper and this annoys Sharpe a lot. Vivar soon learns to respect this rough and crude officer for his abilities and leadership under fire.Vivar constantly teases Sharpe over his lack of social background and the British in general but due to lack of social skill and self confidence with his percieved betters he rarely has an answer and responds in a bad tempered and crude fashion which only seems to amuse Vivar more. Conclusion. *********** These books and this first of the series in particular are very well researched from a historical point of view and are written in an easy,enjoyable style which makes them hard to put down. They make entertaining and likeable action stories and the 'fish out of water' theme of Sharpe's position plus the meticulously researched historical content and setting only add to the overall enjoyability. My version of the book is actually a hard back published by Collins in 1988 and has 304 pages so I can't tell you what the price of the latest paperback version would be but I can't imagine it would be more than,say,£6.99 and at that sort of price has to be very good value for money. Having just read my review through I notice that I said there were several differences between the character of the novels and the ones portrayed by Sean Bean on the T.V,these are just differences in his appearence and background. The Sharpe of the novels is from London,6ft and dark haired.Sean Bean isn't,which is about the only real difference.Aside from that,Sean Bean's character is essentially the same as the novel and very well played.BB
I've just read a couple of these JillMurphy surveys and had to stick my oar in,as is my wont,so if you've clicked on my review,I beg your indulgance and please read on. Of course,opinions will be opinions and therefore please don't be offended or too judgemental. Do you believe in 'Life after death'? Give me a break,I'm having enough trouble with life to be worrying about death.Seeing as Newton and Einstien could'nt answer that question I can't see ol' Bob figuring it out.When I die,i'll let you know. Should smoking be banned in public places? I smoke,I have to admit it but that's not the reason I'm against an all out ban.I don't really like being told what I can and cannot do.Rules are rules and of course we need them but I do not take kindly to the government dictating terms,I mean don't get me started on I.d cards. Smoking is banned on buses for example.There are already designated non-smoking ares all over the place and if an establishment of restaurant feel they want to ban smoking then fair enough but to make all public places off limits smacks of the nanny state. Is capital punishment wrong? Yes,it has to be though it is not so simple,then it never is.Now,I know that some crimes are committed in the heat of the moment,some people are driven to kill through circumstances but there are some that are pure evil,you can blame their upbringing,the state of society,try and find reasons for why they do what they do,rehabilitation etc,etc.I do believe that there are people who are evil,for want of a better word,who don't deserve to live let alone have a second chance,who should be kept away from society but I can't quite endorse the death penalty. Should cannabis be legalised? I've done a discussion piece on this one already.No,it shouldn't,why would you?The government would tax it and I don't believe that the government could do a better deal than my friendly local supplier.Legalising won't change anything in my opinion. Is beauty skin deep? I hope so being an ugly bugger!! Did you see that program a few years back where they did an autopsy live.They had a corpse,stripped of all it's skin,yellow fat everywhere - disgusting. No,seriously,of course it isn't.A pretty face is just that,lovely though it may be,it's the personality that shines through.No man can deny that they'd not notice a beautiful women but real attraction comes from interaction,communication,from the rapour.I don't see any true attraction in a person who good looking as they may be has no soul. Do animals have rights? I'm a dog owner,wouldn't be without him and although I treat animals,generally,with respect.Don't ask that deer I hit at 95mph though. In reality,they don't have rights because there are always people who'll abuse them. Whether they should is another matter but do they have them?No i'm afraid not. Does Britain still need a monarchy? I think the royals are a joke but I feel that without a better option we may as well hang on to them.I mean,President Tony Blair sends shivers down my spine,horrific. The soviets hit the nail on the head when they preserved Lenin in his glass tomb.It's a corker of an idea and should be adopted over here I think.Imagine a head of state,incorruptable,one who never says the wrong thing,perfect. Should fox hunting be banned in England and Wales? Not my problem,sitting here in Scotland. I reckon so,I mean it is barbaric and those toffs in their red jackets,romping over whoever's land they please,it just ain't on is it? Should Britain join the euro? My patriotic wee heart say no.My head says I really don't know enough about it to judge whether it'a a good thing or a bad one. In fact,I feel there has been a general policy of not giving that much information or real debate on the subject. Should all firearms be banned for private use? Why?It is the people who use the guns that kill and the laws are very tight on gun ownership.I live in a rural part of the country and know many people that keep guns,I don't myself,and have to say that they are responsible people and in no way misuse them. Banning guns like banning anything only creates a black market.If someone wants a gun they aren't that hard to get and it is all so easy for the wrong people to get them.This is the situation now,what effect would an outright ban have?None whatsoever. What is your opinion on legal prostitution? It's been around as long as human society and will always be there in some form or other,I know little of the subject and have no experience to go on so don't know if it would be for the good or not. Once again,I believe that the black market would continue alongside any legal version but if it helps to keep some young and vulnerable girls out of the worst aspects of the situation then I can't really argue against it. What is your opinion on pornography? Well,as a lad we all loved to look at a porno mag,or some crappy film but it's like lego,something you grow out of. I suppose there is a different side to it,perhaps the girls in the films are in a similar situation to the prostitutes,exploited and abused. Harmless on one hand and dark and destructive on the other,like so many of societies issues. Is genetically modified food right? Gigantic tomatos,where will it end.It doesn't sound wholly appropriate but perhaps the scientist have all the answers this time!!! Well,that is my answer to these questions,my opinions are at best not wholly contemptable,i hope.BB
This is a discussion piece that is right up my street.I have written a review piece on my top ten albums of all time and I promise that at no time will I refer to that earlier waffle. Of course,this is all about personal preference and being a great lover of music will probably go on forever and ever(I'll try and keep it short if not sweet). The trouble with this kind of discussion piece,as far as I'm concerned is that the ten that feature in this scribble may not be the exact same ones that would feature if I were to write this next month.I mean ten is a very limited number,how do you choose ten out of so many possibilities.Now,there are always going to be certain bands/artists that will be in the top ten,while others may come and go. I have chosen not to put them in any particular order,they are not rated by preference or even alphebetical order,their just in the order in which they fall out of my head. 1.Led Zeppelin. This is one that will always be in my top ten,one of my favourite bands they have been part of my life since I was 14. One of the great British guitar bands of the 60's,The Yardbirds launched the careers of three of the most famous guitarist ever to hail from these shores,namely,Eric Clapton,Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Originally featuring EC,he left after differences over the bands direction,he believed they where becoming too comercial and moving away from the purist blues that he loved.He was replaced by Jeff Beck. To cut a long story short,Jimmy Page was drafted in to play bass but would soon joined Beck on guitar.After a gruelling tour of the US,the band fell apart leaving Jimmy Page with the name and an upcoming tour. Instead of calling it a day,he and manager Peter Grant went looking for new blood,drafting in fellow session player John Paul Jones on bass/piano(also a gifted composer) and recruited a pair of lads from the Midlands,the completely unknown Robert Plant(vocals),John Bonham(drums) and set about putting a new band together to fulfill the upcoming tour. Page had a vision of a new kind of band and a new brand of rock music,he ditched the name(they rehearsed under the title The New Yardbirds)and chose the name Led Zeppelin for this new colossus.Alledgedly,the name appeared after Kieth Moon or John Entwhistle(depending on what history you read)stated the band would go down like a lead balloon. Released in 1968,their first album Led Zeppelin was a landmark in rock history(as would most their albums)featuring some heavy riff based blues rock,alongside acoustic numbers,a feature that would go on to define the band,light and shade. The first four albums LZ,LZ2,LZ3 and the fourth one - never officially given a title but popularlly known as either LZ4 or Four Symbols are really the alpha and omega of rock music. Apart from featuring,probably the best rock guitarist to draw breath,the best drummer and launching a thousand imitation bands,this band has a list of firsts that defy imagination. This band was equally at home playing hard rock,blues,folk,classically influenced pieces,country,jazz,funk their musical ability,scope,imagination really has never been rivalled. 2.AC/DC. Maybe not as monumental as Zeppelin,nor do they have the sheer musical ability or diverse range that Zeppelin did,this band are still one of the most amazing live bands ever. They play their own brand of riff based heavy blues rock and play it with a passion that many bands could do with emulating,what they lack in diversity they more than make up for in exuberance. Check out Powerage,Highway to Hell,Back in Black for instance. Origanally formed in 1974,the backbone of the band has been brothers Angus and Malcolm Young.Drummers and basssists have come and gone but in their 30 year career,they have had two singers.The first and arguably the best being the unique Bon Scott,who died in 1980 and the second Brian Johnson. 3.Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi Hendrix,along with Jimmy Page,has to be in my estimation one of the best guitar players ever.Certainly the most naturually gifted guitar player,he makes it look so easy. Playing backing for Little Richard,Ike and Tina Turner amongst others this virtuoso recieved no recognition in his own country and it wasn't till he was discovered by the 'Animals' bassist Chas Chandler in New York and taken over to this country that he got his chance. Teamed up with Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding the 'Experience' was born blowing away everyone who came to see them,with Jimi's sheer ability,improvisational playing and showmanship. They quickly put out the first album Are You Experienced,only beaten to the top of the album charts by Sergeant Pepper(I ask you!!!),this along with Led Zep 1 has to be the debut album of all time. Soon followed by Axis:Bold as Love,equally as strong an album,the Experience ruled the world.At this time he was invited to play at the Monterey Festival and his explosive performance launched his career in America but this could also be said to be the beginning of the end. The third album,Electric Ladyland,was although a monumental piece of work,containing some of his most famous songs - Voodoo Chile(Sligh Return)for example,lacked the sponteniety of the first two. The Experience broke up during the recording of this album and he never really found a combination of musicians to capture that earlier magic,though there are many very good recordings from this time. It is a tragedy that he died before he found his way again. Jimi Hendrix is immortal,his contribution to both the guitar scene and music in general will never diminish.As important a musician and composer as Mozart or anyone before or since. 4.Bert Jansch. Who?I here you ask.Here is one of these figures in the music scene who defies classification.Folk,with both a hint of blues and jazz,who knows,he's one of these people who goes his own way.Think Neil Young or Bob Dylan,I don't mean in style just in his career path and pure originality.Unique,would be the best description. I came across his music on the recommendation of Jimmy Page(not personally,of course)who regularlly cited him as an influence.In fact,the haunting beautiful Black Mountain Side on Led Zep 1,which Page credits as his own,is really just Backwaterside by Jansch without the vocals(naughty boy!!). I know very little of his actual history apart from he was born in Glasgow,grew up in Edinburgh and moved to London in the early sixties to play english folk music. This man can truly play an acoustic guitar,his singing voice is warm and melodic but his guitar playing is inspired,the combination of vocal and guitar arrangements are haunting,beautiful - unique. If you ever get a chance to hear his music you'll see what I mean.The album Dazzling Stranger,a best of,is a real delight.Songs like,Angie,Backwaterside,Reynardine or Rosemary Lane are true gems. 5.Martin Carthy. More folk music,oh yes I do like my folk music.Martin Carthy to me is another one who I truly rate. A leading light of the English Folk Revival of the early sixties he tends towards traditional songs whereas Jansch mostly writes his own material but don't let that put you off. If you've heard Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel,it may interest you to know that that arrangement was lifted wholesale from Carthy's own arangement.His doesn't go in for all the frills and additions of the S&G version,it's just vocal and guitar and to be honest is all the better for it,why spoil perfection. Teaming up with Dave Swarbrick,one of this country's finest fiddlers they have produced some of folk musics best ever albums. Check out,But Two Came By,Second Album and many others. 6.Deep Purple. Ian Gillan,Ritchie Blackmore,John Lord,Ian Paice,Roger Glover - known as Deep Purple MKII here is another of those classic heavy rock bands that gave birth to Heavy Metal as we know it. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath,the three bands are generally known as the creators of Heavy Metal but it can be said,quite rightly,that the three of them did it all and many of the bands that followed in their wake are just pale imitations - I know,there are many quality acts that followed these three but they set the standard and few have managed to surpass what they started. A singer with a voice of such power and the original bad tempered but highly gifted giutarist,they were once hailed as the loudest band in the world. Once playing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra,two decades before Metallica did a similar experiment,this was another band where the whole was much more than the sum of it's parts. Classics like Lazy,Black Night and Fireball sound as fresh today as they did 30 years ago. I was round my ex's house a few weeks back,her 10 year old daughter has just started picking up the guitar.Guess what she played for me - Smoke on the Water. I rest my case. 7.Pink Floyd. What kind of category could you put this band into.You can't can you. Ok,I am going to be contraversial and upset all the dope smoking,acid head,wanna be hippies out there and catagorically state that I think Syd Barrett was a joke,I'm sorry but there you have it.The best thing I can say about him is that he went mad and made way for Dave Gilmour. I mean,have you heard Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Thankfully,when Gilmour joined the band they got a musician and songwriter of true substance.I know that you can't ever underestimate the importance of Roger Waters,I wouldnt dare to try but thank god for Gilmour,they needed him to counter the very dark and,frankly,depressing brand of Waters songwriting. Piper aside,to my mind the best of Floyd starts with Saucerful of Secrets(yes,i know Barrett had a little input into this album but not much)through to Wish You Were Here. Personally Meddle is my favourite. Again I'm going to court some degree of scorn and state that I hate the Wall,I have it but I can't listen to it. 8.Fleetwood Mac. Another one of those British blues band of the sixties(I see a pattern here,dooyoo?)and what a band. Now,I have Rumours and would have to admit that this is a brilliant album but it's the Fleetwood of the Peter Green era that I love so much. In a similar fashion to the aforementioned Syd Barrett,he took too much acid and went a little mad.Giving all his money to some obscure cult and growing his fingernails so he couldn't play guitar,the music world lost such a talent,this is a tragedy beyond bearing. Peter Green was a guitar hero,his expression,phrasing and melodic style were just beginning to come to fruition when he lost his way in the world. Unlike Syd Barrett,the music world lost someone who would surely have gone on to be the best guitar players of all time in Peter Green,he would have gone on to outshine Eric Clapton if he didn't already. 9.Black Sabbath. Well,the other two forefathers are there so I couldn't leave them out. Sabbath were the heaviest and definetly the darkest of the three though if you actually listen to their music and their lyrics I defy you to accuse them of ever endorsing satanism which they are so often said to have done. Guitarist Tommy Iommi,with his cue-tip fingers was a truly gifted player,so often under-rated and outshone by the legendary Ozzy Osbourne. Another band that is always remembered for their heavy music they wrote some beautiful pieces of music,Changes or Laguna Sunrise for example. In this day and age and after the TV show,it may be impossible to believe that Ozzy was an intelligent man and some of his lyrics are very insightful. Check out,Volume 4,Paranoid or Black Sabbath(their debut album). 10.Rolling Stones. And now we have it,number 10.I thank you if you have actually waded through this interminable waffle and reached this far. The Stones,this is a band where you get what you see.Along with AC/DC,Status Quo etc they found a formula and stuck to it.Now,at times that can be praising a band with faint damns but like DC,Quo if your formula works why not stick to it. Yet another of those bands that started playing blues covers in clubs in the early sixties,like the Yardbirds,Fleetwood Mac etc they started off as an antidote to the beatles - a reason for them to be in any top 10,surely. This is a band that has courted danger,bad luck and dark forces if ever there was one.Their original guitar player Brian Jones died in mysterious circumstances,they were set up on a drug bust by one of the tabloid papers,had a fan murdered in front of the stage while playing Sympathy For The Devil,the list goes on. Yet through it all Mick Jagger and Kieth Richards have carried on their path through the decades. Now in their 5th decade,they still churn out their unique brand of sleazy,blues rock the same as they have always done,you may criticise them,ask why they should keep on doing it at their age.Obviously they don't need the money so it must be for the love of playing the music and what better reason. And they far outlasted the Beatles too. Well that's my top ten,I'm afraid none of it was researched or prepared but just fell out of my head and onto the screen. If anyone has issue with the veracity of my wtiting or just plain thinks that I'm talking out my ass,well you may be right but this isn't a product review and is nothing but personal opinion so please don't get upset or offended.If you do you shouldn't be so sensitive,that's my advice. Thanks for taking the time to read this rubbish,it was never meant to be either accurate or edifying just midly entertaining.Cheers.BB
AC/DC,is a band where what you see is what you get.Apart from the odd cannon or bell here is a band whose whole approach was all about their songs and their ability to perform them live,the pyrotechnics came from the solid backing of the rhythm section and the sheer exuberance of lead guitarist Angus Young(and was there ever a more energetic and iconic lead guitarist than Angus) and frontman Bon Scott,a frontman in the best traditions of rock and roll. 1977 saw the release of 'Let There Be Rock'.This album had several songs destined to become real AC/DC classics - 'Whole Lotta Rosie','Bad Boy Boogie' and of course 'Let There Be Rock' but was still essentially Chuck Berry on speed. There next offering,Powerage,released in 1978 saw them come together and produce an album that expresses their true personality and potential like never before.So why is it one of their least known and appreciated? The Packaging. The cover has a black background with a picture of guitarist Angus being electrocuted.Wiring snaking up his sleeves with the title 'powerage' in large yellow and red lettering,the lettering in a jagged style.The bands name is also written in this style intstead of the classic AC/DC logo. The rear cover shows the band standing around in a group looking threatening as if their about to kick your head in,well they are really just a bunch of bad lads,the kind who spent their schooldays behind the bikesheds - so did I so maybe thats why even 20 years on I love this band so.Also there is the usual track listing and credits. The Tracklist. Side A. 1.Riff Raff. 2.Downpayment Blues. 3.Gimme A Bullet. 4.Rock and Roll Damnation. Side B. 1.Sin City. 2.What's Next To The Moon. 3.Gone Shooting. 4.Up To My Neck In You. 5.Kicked In The Teeth. 'Riff Raff' is a piece of pure AC/DC,fast and full on and to become a staple of the live set. 'Downpayment Blues' as it suggests is a bluesy number but what stands out apart from the finely crafted rhythm guitar is the humour of Bon Scotts lyrics,ever the storyteller. 'Gimme a Bullet' is a real gem,more melodic and as ever Bon's lyrics and delivery are fantastic,one for the jilted. 'Rock and Roll Damnation' another one that would later become a live classic. 'Sin City' slower,heavier,darker,brilliant. 'What's Next To The Moon' possibly the best song on the album?It's one of my favourite DC songs of all.Great lyrics, wonderful guitar.Awesome. 'Gone Shootin' bluesy,funky,a brilliant riff from Angus and packed full of Bon's unique lyrics - another album highlight. 'Up To My Neck In You' fast and full on. 'Kicked In The Teeth Again' a great,heavy number to close the album with those plaintive vocals from Bon.A fitting end to a masterful album. Conclusion. In a career now in it's 4th decade(can that really be!!!),AC/DC have a back catologue of albums that range from very good to outstanding.With many,many albums to listen too and so many great songs it is understandable that some albums will stand out and others be overlooked.What I find so hard to believe though is that this album seems to be one of the latter. I am a moderately capable guitarist and regularly jam with friends and have noticed that many of the bands I love,AC/DC,Led Zeppelin etc will always be popular with musicians,even ones 15 years my junior but the younger generations of fans never seem to rate the older AC/DC albums,they are constantly overlooked for some reason. If you read this review,if you like AC/DC then get this album,listen to it.This is when AC/DC hit their straps,Powerage is the first album in which they definetively laid down their own particular style and sound and what a sound it was. After this came Highway To Hell(probably,in my opinion,one of the finest rock albums of all time)and then the groundbreaking Back in Black but Powerage is where it started,the guitar playing cannot be faulted,soulful,exciting,expressive,never too much.Bon Scott's lyrics are witty and human,his vocal delivery,full of emotion,expression and definetly tongue in cheek. Buy it,listen to it,i think you will agree.BB '
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"This Q&A challenge can help newbies find out what DooYoo is about and....." Well,I'm a newbie who hopes,by the way,that filling in this questionairre won't be seen as bad form as it is supposed to be for the 'old guard' to give advice on the whys and wherefores,aims and etiquette that this site upholds and on reading numerous esteemed 'elders' opinions I have noted some bits here and there that are both interesting and illuminating. I thought,however,a newbie may be interested to hear what someone who has been writing,and rating,on this site for around a month,has to say and has learnt in this time. As I have written some 20 or so 'reviews' and intend to continue my,hmm,'writings',I thought my opinion may be of some benefit to those just starting.Here goes then. ___________________________ Q. When did you join DooYoo? A. I joined on the 3rd of Febuary 2004 ______________________________________ Q. How did you discover DooYoo? A. I was browsing the web for data on the CVH engine and one of the hundreds of sites was a review on the Ford Sierra which I went to,of course,it was a DooYoo review. __________________________________________ Q. Why did you join? A. I saw 'write your review' written at the top of the page.I haven't written since passing Higher English many moons ago,though I've always enjoyed writing I've not had an outlet since leaving school.Well,I joined so I could write a review on my Sierra and stayed. ________________________________________ Q. What was your first opinion? A. Funny enough,I wasn't able to post my Sierra review so my first op was on my Vauxhall Cavalier. _________________________________________ Q. Did you find it easy to get the hang of DooYoo? A. Well ,not at first but then I'll admit that my computer skills would be exaggerated if you called them basic,the mechanics are easy enough but the rights and wrongs to longer to figure _____________________________________________ Q. Do you write no/some/many comments? A. I tend to write a comment for every review I rate though I've began to notice that with my ropey internet connection,which either disconnects frequently,regularly,or instantly some nights that this really slows my ability to read and rate,it isn't ignorance but frustration that can lead me to log off after rating few reviews. I feel that commenting adds to the community atmosphere,you get to know your fellow reviewers and I prefer to leave a comment where possible. ____________________________________________ Q. When you click on to newest reviews,do you read friends reviews no matter what they're on/according to subject matter who has written on it/preferably the ops of new readers. A. I've only just got round to the idea of going to newest reviews when I log in.Over the last week or ten days I've been going to this section and basically doing all of the above.I read friends reviews,usually regardless of subject,then either look for subjects that interest me or for the newest reviewers. When I first started here I was intent on writing and spent a fraction of the time that I do now reading reviews,though I would like to spend more time than I do. It was pointed out to me through comments by more established members that I would be better to read and rate more than I was doing which is very good advice for a starter,despite the obvious benefit of getting you're name known,the more you read the better an idea you can get to what makes a first class review. ___________________________________ Q. Do you write your ops in one sitting? A. Yes and they tend to come straight out of my head.I've always been one to jump in head first and it is with a similar approach that I write my reviews,almost a stream of conciousness laid out on screen. This is one of the things that I have noticed while reading many other members answers to these questions and that is the different approaches to writing which I could learn from. _____________________________________________ Q. Do you use a spell check? A. No,can you tell?I rattle down a sentence or two then re-read and edit as I go along.To be honest I don't know if I have a spell check on my computer.I write it out on the Notepad before transferring it to the review page. I'm not saying that my spelling is beyond criticism though I've always been good at it.Spelling mistakes are more likely to come from my slipshod typing technique that I miss while I'm editing. Although I could probably do with a spell check, I'd be loathe to use it from the point of view of stupid pride.I feel I could do with a checker for my gammar more than my spelling. Being a self-confessed computer dunce I probably have a spell check on my computer. _________________________________________ Q. Do you think you can improve your chances of earning a crown if you suck up to a guide? A. I've no crowns,so if I did it obviously doesn't work. No I won't suck up to anyone,never have and never will.If I win a crown then I want to get awarded it for my review otherwise it has no value. I also hope that the guides are beyond that sort of behaviour although I've not seen anything to suggest different they aren't. ______________________________________ Q. Are you a member of a forum or chatroom? A. I have a TooYoo guestbook and I also am a member of various car based forums,Cavweb and Ford Sierra Forum although I've not really been logging on much since I 39;ve joined DooYoo. __________________________________________ Q. Does it get to you when members praise or condemn you? A. I've been luckier than I maybe deserve with the comments I've recieved.I've had a few mildly sarcy comment returned in kind but that's it and they were taken with the humour that they were given. A few comments may have been a touch sharp when I first started but that helped me to see that I was not quite entering the spirit of the thing and I am grateful for being pulled up. We all like praise and few of us enjoy negative comment but constructive criticism and well meaning advice are just that and should not offend. Everyone has bad days and may speak,comment out of turn but deliberate condemnation or offence and abuse serve no purpose on a site like this. ________________________________________________ Q. What did you do in your spare time before you joined DooYoo? A. I'd play games on the P.C,go to the various car forums I mentioned,go to friends smoke,discuss and chill,jam and play the guitar and I'd work on my cars,go to the pub,fish (pike fishing is good in the winter),read,watch TV,allsorts and I still do though I find that now I write on this site,instead of doing less of these things I mentioned,I stay up later and get less sleep. ____________________________________________ Q. What do you wish for the future? A. Well I have to say it,I'd like to see some capitals.Also for DooYoo and it's members I'd like more members and to wish the best to the existing and future contributors,members etc. For me,I'd like contentment and to be at peace,to stop teetering on the edge of a financial abyss. To own a Cosworth,MKII RS2000 and a Lotus Carlton,to meet the perfect woman and get a band together which doesn't self-destruct. I could do with a magical grass plant that a utomatically regrows when harvested. For my family and mates an easy life. And the world?I reckon it can look after itself. _______________________________________________ I hope that my answers are of some use to those just starting at this site and would encourage you to stay on and post your reviews. Please don't take this challenge to ciao without asking MALU,she'd rather decide herself what to do with text she has written,when she'll take it there or if at all.Thank you.
Any of you who may have been good enough to,and I thank you for your patience and kindness,read my reviews may have realised that in this vast and expansive world of ours there are many things that interest me. Above all though it is the motorcar and music that arouse my interest the most.So it seems to be a logical step to write a review on in car entertainment,or ICE. I have had a legion of cars and along with them a whole host of car stereos,some good and some sadly lacking.I've had Sonys,Panasonics,Goodmans,Pioneers,Blaupunkts,Alpine and many more. In the last few years though I have discovered and stayed with Kenwood for all my audio needs.They make high quality units that look and sound incredibly good and although they aren't the cheapest they make a sensible choice because,afterall,you get what you pay for and with ICE this is especially true. Over the last decade ICE has blossomed into a massive industry,being considered as much a part of the tuning scene as your engine and bodykit and as with all fashion items,especially electronic,they are out-of-date shortly after they are released. Personally,I don't much care for fashion and want something that does the job extremely well and which looks stylish when installed in my dash and of course gives excellent all round sound reproduction. I have had three seperate Kenwood stereos now and my latest,which was bought out of a catalogue as a package two years ago,includes a KRC-779R radio/cassette head unit and KDC-C717 10-disc autochanger. At the time this cost m e altogether around £450 though they have probably been superceded by the latest models so I doubt they are included in the latest Kenwood line-up. Appearance,KRC779R ****************** Now,I've no doubt that you may have noticed that the heading says KRC777 but I am assuming that there is a 770 series including my own example,although I may be wrong,however my own unit looks very similar,being a slightly later version of the one pictured. It has a sleek,black face,the whole unit being a standard DIN size.On the left,two volume buttons one above the other,a row of seven squarish buttons along the bottom,two round ones to the right of them then a cluster of buttons at the far right. In between the volume buttons and the cluster,above the row of seven sits the graphic display while in the centre of the cluster is a large round button,labelled Q aud,with a chrome badge adjacent to it stating,simply Kenwood. This unit has a reversable faceplate which when switched off is in the reversed position,hiding the control panel. Almost all the features of this unit are represented on the graphic display,to list them all would take hours,though radio station,functions and text,time,tape direction and playing time plus a full range of CD data are all shown,displayed along with the Q control system.The graphic display,button illumination can be changed from green to red if you choose. Features ******** It is a radio/cassette unit which has, Attenuation - to instantly cut the sound by half. Loudness - Which amplifies the low and high tones at low volumes. System Q - This lets you alter the sound settings for frequency,level,quality factor for treble and mid range while also altering the bass frequency,level,quality and extend.You can either set them as desired or choose from a wide selection of presettings. Speaker Setting - Choose from 6/6x9inch speakers or 5x4inch speake r with an option for a seperate bass speaker with bass,mid,treble settings for each. Tel Mute - You can connect the system to your mobile instantly cutting the volume should your phone ring,not needed now I think!! These are a few of the main features of this unit. RDS and other Tuner Features **************************** Radio Data System is a digital information system which besides your audio signal lets you recieve other signals,for example,network information which displays the station name,traffic information,radio text etc.Radio text scrolls information about the program along the graphic display letting you know what program your listening to and what's coming on next.With the RDS system also automatically seeks the best frequency for your desired station,this is ideal for long motorway trips. EON Function.Stations that offer - Enhanced Other Network - also transmit about other RDS stations that have traffic information.Although you may be tuned to a non-traffic info station this function will switch to a traffic info station for the duration of a traffic bulletin,if you have this function switched on. PTY Function.There are 29 different Programme Types you can scan exclusively for with this function,i.e Speech,Sports,Drama,Science etc. Alarm.When an emergency transmission is sent(announcing a didaster)all current functions are interrupted to allow a warning to be recieved. AF.Alternative frequency switches automatically to a better reception when the present one becomes poor. This is a selection of the tuner functions as there are many more. Cassette Features ***************** The slot for a cassette is hidden behind the faceplate so on pressing the eject button the face slides out to let you insert a tape and then returns to its position once the tape is in . The tape will automatically play the other side once the first side has finished. Ther e is a DPSS function which allows you to fast forward or rewind to individual tracks. It has a setting for MTL,CRO2 tapes etc plus Dolby B niose reduction. There is also a Blank Skip function to bypass long blank spaces between songs and a repeat function for listening to a song again while you can also switch between tape sides making it a very controlable system. CD Autochanger Functions ************************ When connected to suitable autochanger unit,the 779 has a wide range of abilities which include displays for track time,disc name,disc title and track title. You can search individual tracks or across all ten discs or repeat tracks Scan - which plays the first 10 seconds of each song until you choose a full song to play. Random - plays the disc in random order. Magazine Random - plays a random selection from all 10 discs. DNPS - presetting disc names allowing you to input disc titles manually with capitols and numbers. Sound Quality ************* The sound reproduction with this set up far exceeds anything that I have in the house.The speakers in my car are the factory fitted ones and they give a loud,clear reponse that brings out all the various depths and shades of sound that the complete unit produces.The bass is deep and full without booming or distorting while the treble is bright without any tinnyness.The mid range is also punchy and altogether the overall sound quality is exceptionally clear and dynamic with no horrible resonance. The mutliple settings and various sound controls make it a versatile unit able to play any sort of music or radio broadcast full and rich sound. CD Unit ******* The CD autochanger can store over 100 names in it's memory.It has the ability to play both CDR/RW CD's which it does superbly.I have burnt many CD's on the copmuter that cannot be played by CD players in the house yet the Kenwood pl ays them all and with it's 'New Anti-Viration Mechanism' it never skips or jumps even under the most harshest driving down Highland country roads. Installation ************ Most people would probably choose to have their ICE installed by professional fitters but actually it is very simple to do yourself. The unit comes with full fitting instructions and wiring diagrams so there isn't a lot to go wrong. It is a 4-channel unit so there are 8 speaker wires,2 to each speaker,2 power - one main power to go to your ignition,another to go to a live feed to continously power the memory.With a main earth wire to be connected to a suitable earth point and a ISO connection for your antenna,these make up the main connections to power the unit. There are also connections for an powered antenna,dimmer,telephone mute and an external amp. There is one main SCART type connection from the head unit to the autochanger and that's everything. Security ******** Along with the reversable faceplate which also reverses every time the ignition is switched off,if you want to switch it back on,press the top left hand corner,there is a mask key which is like a remote control recognition key that you have use to bypass the security everytime the power is disconnected from the unit.Without the mask key the unit will not function so if you flatten your battery then you'll need to re-activate the unit. In conclusion ************* The KRC779R is a very sleek,stylish unit that produces a high sound quality while having a wide variety of functions. With in-built security and a reversable/removable face should not be easy prey for the scum that likes to steal from cars. The graphic display is modern,lighting the dashboard with an array of colours and symbols,it has adjustable contrast as well as brightness and switchable colour display. With 4x47W per channel the output is powerful and even with factory fitted speakers gives a full,rounded clear sound with terrific bass response that is hard to beat. Coupled with the usual Kenwood high build quality this unit will last forever while giving excellent service,mine's been installed in four different cars now and is still as good as new. This unit is fully compatible with a CD autochanger making it incredibly versatile and should fufill all the ICE requirements anyone should need.Mine is coupled with the KDC-C717 10 disc autochanger. As I bought mine 2 years ago and the line up changes every year,these units are probably out of date but mine cost sround £450 new and the latest version will be every bit as good if not better so I have no hesitation in recommending the pair,or their latest versions,highly.BB