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limbo7
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Member since: 01.07.2007

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    • More +
      12.11.2012 21:46
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      Well worth a listen even if your not a fan

      When Kylie decided to leave the relative safety of Stock Aitken Waterman she clearly wanted to take a new direction. Her 5th album ("Kylie Minogue")started promisingly with the hits "Confide In Me" and "Put yourself In My Place" but the album itself lacked any real direction. In 1998 she released "Impossible Princess" the title coming from a book given to her by Nick Cave who she had worked with earlier though in Europe this title was dropped at the time of release due to the death of Princess Diana.

      This album was to be different to anything she has done before or since and it her most personal album. For the first time she wrote most of the lyrics herself about her experiences and feelings particularly while travelling with then partner french photographer Stephane Sednaoui to China and USA. Collaborators included Dave Ball of Soft Cell and welsh band The Manic Street Preachers, Brothers In Rhythm were the main producers and the album was nearly 2 years in the making.

      Track Listing and songwriting credits -

      "Too Far" Kylie Minogue Brothers in Rhythm 4:43
      2 "Cowboy Style" Minogue, Steve Anderson, Dave Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 4:44
      3 "Some Kind of Bliss" Minogue, James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore Dave Eringa, Bradfield 4:22
      4 "Did It Again" Minogue, Anderson, Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 4:13
      5 "Breathe" Minogue, Dave Ball, Ingo Vauk Ball, Vauk 4:38
      6 "Say Hey" Minogue Brothers in Rhythm 3:37
      7 "Drunk" Minogue, Anderson, Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 3:59
      8 "I Don't Need Anyone" Minogue, Bradfield, Nick Jones Eringa, Bradfield 3:13
      9 "Jump" Minogue, Rob Dougan Dougan 4:03
      10 "Limbo" Minogue, Ball, Vauk Ball, Vauk 4:06
      11 "Through the Years" Minogue, Ball, Vauk Ball, Vauk 4:20
      12 "Dreams" Minogue, Anderson, Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 3:44

      (A double CD featuring remixes is also available)

      The opening track is a real corker "Too Far" features Kylies feelings of anger hurt and claustrophobia and needing to get some air. It starts with her speaking about being "Caught up in this house trapped by my very own self" followed by some moaning to the slowly building piano and beat. This is bold opening is one of her best tracks and is followed by "Cowboy Style" about her feelings when she met her new boyfriend and has a hint of country rock. Next comes the first single a track co written with James Dean Bradfield of The Manic Street Preachers when he apparently merged together two pages of lyrics that she had given him. Although it only reached no 22 in the UK it is a feel good mid-paced paced track though maybe not an ideal choice for first single.

      "Did It Again" with its guitar pop and eastern influences sees Kylie telling herself off for being foolish and reached the top twenty and featured a much sharper vocal style and one of her best videos with 4 Kylies fighting for the spotlight. (Indie, Dance, Sex and Cute Kylie). "Breath" is another highlight a slow building track about keeping calm while dealing with the thoughts rushing around her head this is one of her best tracks and was another top twenty hit. "Say Hey" finds Kylie in the bath and thinking about calling her boyfriend to leave a message on his answering machine just to "say hey" a slow dreamy track with an almost whispered vocal.

      "Drunk" is not about a typical night out with sister Danni, binge drinking and being sick in the taxi on the way home but actually about strong feelings of love and passion with almost desperate sounding vocals "I'm not happy drunk til I'm drunken, Till you take all of me". "I Don't Need Anyone" is basically a Manic Street Preachers out-take right down to the strings and guitar solo and its good to see Kylie singing rock although maybe her voice is not quite strong enough to carry it off convincingly and the song could do with an extra verse. "Jump" is a slow track about accepting someone for the way they are and not being scared to look to the future.

      "Limbo" Another highlight of the album written with Dave Ball with desperate sounding vocals about her feelings of being trapped while she was stuck in Spain for a few days. "Through The Years" is a slow track about bitter memories of a past relationship and is followed by the final track "Dreams" a slow haunting track about the dreams of an Impossible Princess always wanting more. It is a good track to end on and another of many highlights to a surprisingly diverse album both in its different vocal and musical styles.

      Any artist who has mainly been seen as a teen act will always find it difficult to gain wider acceptance and the problem for Kylie was that her original fans did not like this new image and fans it was aimed at did not take her seriously as a performer if indeed they actually heard any of this album. On its release the reviews were mixed with some hailing it as a great work and others simply laughing it off. It was a big success in Australia but sold just over 100,000 in the UK. It was easily her least succesful album and for the first time none of her singles made the top ten. It looked as though Kylie was finished as a major pop act. Of course that was to change with her next album when she donned a pair of gold hotpants that she had bought in a charity shop for 50p (were things really that bad) and put on her most raunchy video performance for "Spinning Around". The song entered the UK charts at number one and Indie Kylie was quickly shelved which is a shame as this remains a musical if not commercial highlight of her career.
      Summary: A classic

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      • X - Kylie Minogue / Music Album / 61 Readings / 57 Ratings
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        03.12.2007 22:20
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        Worth the wait

        After putting her career on hold to battle breast cancer Kylie has certainly made up for lost time as she continues her quest for world domination. There was the re-scheduled tour, a children's book 2 perfumes and another one set for next year, not to mention modelling swimwear for H&M and the Kylie exhibition (now in Glasgow) and a return to acting in Doctor Who. After celebrating 20 years in music her 10th studio album is probably her most hotly anticipated and comes four years after "Body Language"

        Most Kylie fans will already have heard the "kylie X Pre album" which was put on torrent sites months ago (and is still widely available) from apparently stolen master tapes and the biggest shock are the tracks which are missing particularly the Scissor Sisters "White Diamond" (only available as a slow ballad if you get the album from itunes) which is also the title of her documentary. And then there are two tracks with Mylo which he put briefly on his myspace site once he heard they had been rejected.

        If you are a fan you will have probably seen the Kylie Show on ITV which was perhaps a little too glossy and over produced but did contain some great comic moments.

        The fact that Kylie is such a big star means that she can attract the top movers and shakers in the business and at nearly two years in the making this should be a good album and mainly sees her doing what she does best with plenty catchy dance pop tracks.

        1) 2 Hearts - A slow catchy bassline and piano driven song building to a singalong chorus with sexy vocals, and great video to match. This is something of a departure from her usual sound but a great opening track and first single.

        2) Like A Drug - A catchy techno dance track about the feeling you get when on the dance floor

        3) In My Arms - "How do you describe a feeling" asks kylie in a spoken intro. This is a great synthesiser dominated stop-start dance track which has an retro feel to it and will surely be a future single.

        4) Speakerphone - Starting with a harp this is another catchy slice of techno pop with Kylies voice almost unrecognisable. "Drop your socks n grab your mini boom box" only Kylie could get away with lyrics like that, but it works quite well.

        5)Sensitized - With its sampled "whoops" This Guy Chambers and Cathy Dennis offering has an almost Barn dance feel to it and is powerful anthemic sing along track "I can't hold back, the minute I try, baby you flip the switch and I'm sensitized." Its the sort of music that brings a smile to your face and surely another hit single.

        6) Heart Beat Rock - A smooth dance track with Calvin Harris unmistakeble electro production.

        7) The One - Pure dance pop and maybe a future single

        8 No More Rain - Written during her recovery one of the best tracks about thinking a bout getting back on the stage again a chirpy pop track.

        9)All I See - Probably the most surprising track this is pure r'n'b and stands out as being different to anything else on the album.

        10)Stars - A slow moving thudding dance beat which sees Kylie musing about life and the universe (yes really). This is certainly a grower and one of many stand out tracks. maybe another single

        11) Wow - Another foot tapping sing-a-long track which should put you in a good mood.

        12)Nu-di-ty At best a throw away fun track though the weakest on the album though it does feature Kylie speaking Japanese

        13) Cosmic - The final track is a rousing ballad written towards the end of her treatment about the things she would like to do in her life. This is a strong ending to one of her best works.

        If you like your music to put a smile on your face then this is a great album brimmed full of possible hit singles and it certainly sounds as though she enjoyed recording it, though at just 45 minutes you feel there could have been more tracks without compromising on quality. You can also download the extra track via your computer this took over half an hour and an email to sort out the problems. Why can't they just put the tracks on the album?

        The DVD verion features a track by track interview and photo gallery with the 2 Hearts Video and is just over 30 mins.

        **Shop around particularly if you want the DVD version I bought from BangCd for £8.95 but had to wait a week. HMV in Manchester are selling it for £16.95 while at Fopp (which is now owned by HMV) it is just £10.

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        • More +
          10.09.2007 22:39
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          Great camera

          Working close to Manchester City Centre I always like to have a camera with me as there is always something going on and even even the odd actor to be seen. The problem though is that while my trusted Sony W1 is a great camera it is a little bulky to put in my pocket. Recently I was lucky enough to win a gold Canon Ixus i zoom. (5 Mega Pixel)

          The first thing you notice about this camera is the size, approx 9.5 cm long, 4.5 cm wide and 2 cm deep it is smaller than my mobile phone and easily slips into your pocket. The monitor is an ample 3.9 x 2.9 cm. Although looks have never been that important to me when choosing a camera I have got to admit it looks great. Of course you would expect any camera bearing the canon name to be a good performer and of the highest quality and so far this would seem to be the case.

          The only problem with such a small camera is that there is no room for a viewfinder. This would give added support when holding it to your eye and so cut down on camera shake as well as saving battery life as you could switch off the screen. This is however a small price to pay for the benefit of a camera that you can take anywhere.

          The package includes a 16 MB SD card which is just about enough to find out if the camera works. A rechargeable battery and and camera station to charge the battery (this takes about 90 minutes) as well as a wrist strap and remote control. There is also software to allow you to upload images to your computer and all necessary plugs and adapters as well as a disk containing the full instruction manual. I would have preferred this to be in booklet form as it means having a computer is a necessity when buying this camera and you have to be near one when learning how to use it. (I suppose you could always print off any section you may need to refer to later.)

          Don't be fooled by the small size as this is certainly a well specified camera and the menu once you get used to it is easy enough to navigate.

          Lens 2.4x optical zoom (38-90mm zoom in 35mm film equivalent terms)

          Shooting Modes

          Auto
          Manual
          Stitch Assist - allows you to shoot images and merge into one panoramic image on your pc.
          Macro - close up to 10cm
          Portrait - blurs the background to make the subject stand out
          Landscape
          My Colors - allows you to change the colours
          Scene Mode - various settings to suit the shot such as Kids&Pets (higher shutter speed for moving subjects) Indoor (gives true colours under tungsten lighting) also Snow. Foliage, Beach, Fireworks and Underwater (when using all weather case which can be purchased separately)
          Movie – 640 x 480 10 frames per sec or 320 x 240 20 frames per sec.

          There are 3 methods of metering, Evaluative (readings from various parts of the image) Centre Weighted Average (giving prominence to the centre part of the image) and Spot (correct exposure for the image directly in the centre of the frame)

          You can choose the size of your photos depending on how large you expect to print although I usually use the highest quality though this takes up more memory. I upgraded to a 2 MB SD card for just £10.99 including delivery from Picstop (see earlier review).

          All in all this is a great little camera that can be carried anywhere and produces good results.

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          • More +
            25.08.2007 14:48
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            Great Debut Album

            Natasha Anne Bedingfield was born 26 November 1981 to New Zealand born parents and joined brother Daniel and sister Nikola in christian group The DNA Alogorithm. It was her brother Daniel who first burst onto the music scene topping the charts with "Gotta Get Thru This" in 2001.

            Natasha made her bid for pop success with her first release "Single" a good catchy r&b track in which sets the tone for the album that was to follow with lyrics such as - "I'm not waiting around for a man to save me" and "This is my current single status, my declaration of Independance". The song was a top ten hit and soon she was to overtake the succes of her brother.

            Track Listing

            1. These Words
            2. Single
            3. I'm A Bomb
            4. Unwritten
            5. I Bruise Easily
            6. If You're Gonna...
            7. Silent Movie
            8. We're All Mad
            9. Frogs & Princes
            10. Drop Me In The Middle
            11. Wild Horses
            12. Size Matters
            13 Piece Of Me

            All songs are co-written by natasha and the first track is as good an opening track as you can ask for "These Words" is a catchy fun pop song with some original lyrics "Read some Byron, Shelley and Keats, recited it over a hip hop beat, I'm having trouble saying what I mean, with dead poets and drum machines" of course what she really wanted to say was "I love you" This was the second single and was a UK chart topper making the Bedingfields unique as the first brother and sister to top the UK charts with solo singles.

            "Single" comes next keeping up the strong debut followed by "I'm A Bomb" a mid paced r&b track warning us not to mess with Natasha when shes on a night out. This is followed by another of many highlights "Unwritten" a slowly building song with a more gospel like vocal about enjoying life and experiencing new things. This provided another big hit especially in the US.

            "I Bruise Easily" reminds us that for all the declaring of her independance she is a woman with feelings and ask us to be gentle with her. This was yet another hit single and a great vocal performance on this slower song. "If You're Gonna.." sees a change of pace with a more in-your-face track about what a wild girl she is what she expects from her men. "If you're gonna be a singer better be a rock star". The pace immediately slows with "Silent Movie" a slowly building ballad with good vocalsand is followed by "We're All Mad" a softer vocal and decent pop track. "Frogs And Princes" has a jazz feel to it about problems of dating "How many frogs do I have to Kiss before I find my prince?"

            "Drop Me In The Middle" features rapping by Bizarre of D12 though if anything this just spoils an otherwise good mid paced soulful track. On the next track "Wild Horses" Natasha shows that she is best left alone with the vocals (she does all the backing vocals on the album as well as the main) On this track we really get to hear how powerful her voice is with a piano backing sounding not unlike Tori Amos and this would have made an interesting choice of single.

            "Size Matters" finds her cheking out the type of man she is looking for though she insists that it is his heart that she means. A fun throw away track that is followed by my favorite track on the album. "Piece Of Me" Starts slowly builds into a stadium rock sound and again shows us the vocal range of this very talented singer/songwriter. Unfortunately this is spoiled by a quick ending wich leads to around a minutes silence before she starts singing again on a hidden track featuring some more great vocals with guitar.

            All in all this is a surprisingly good debut from one of this countrys most talented singer/songwriters and includes some great songs, original lyrics and excellent vocal performances.

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            • picstop / Online Shop / 43 Readings / 41 Ratings
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              20.08.2007 21:27
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              Good service worth checking out

              Established in 2000 Picstop are an Isle of Man based retailer stocking a wide range of accesories such as memory cards, batteries, Chargers. MP3 players, card readers and ink cartidges as well as a small range of cameras. Their website is well laid out and I have found it to be easy to navigate and find what I want. I always like to shop around and have often found them to be the cheapest on the internet. I have used them to buy memory cards for my cameras and one thing that caught my attention was just to the left of the "buy" button is a compatability button. Click on this and you can search for your camera make and model to check if you are buying the correct product. (When buying a Sandisk Memory Stick Pro I was informed that the newer and smaller Memory Stick Pro duo comes with an adapter so it was suitable for my camera and I did not have to buy a seperate adapter).

              Once you have chosen your products you have a choice of delivery depending on how urgent the order is and how much you want to pay. You also have the option of delivery from Jersey which is cheaper though may take longer although in my experience when using this option I have received the products in 2-3 days. All the usual forms of payment are accepted. The current price list taken from their website is as follows:-

              Items Dispatched from Isle of Man:

              UK Standard 2-5 Working Days - From £2.50
              (FREE UK Standard Postage on all Ink Cartridges)
              UK Next Working Day Royal Mail - Flat Rate £5.90
              UK Next Working Day Business Post Courier - Flat Rate £6.90
              EU (European Union Countries) Royal Mail - From £5.80

              Items Dispatched from Jersey:

              UK Standard 4-7 Working Days - £0.99
              EU (European Union Countries) Royal Mail - From £1.99

              As far as their customer service goes I am unable to comment as I have never had a problem so have never needed to get back to them. If you use a cash-back website you can get 1% cash-back on GreasyPalm and 2% on TopCashBack and I have always recieved this within a few days.

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              • More +
                19.08.2007 14:37
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                A classic

                ** This review relates to "Impossible Princess" not "Kylie Minogue" which is the album pictured. This was pointed out to Dooyoo several weeks ago but they have not got back to me**

                When Kylie decided to leave the relative safety of Stock Aitken Waterman she clearly wanted to take a new direction. Her 5th album ("Kylie Minogue")started promisingly with the hits "Confide In Me" and "Put yourself In My Place" but the album itself lacked any real direction. In 1998 she released "Impossible Princess" the title coming from a book given to her by Nick Cave who she had worked with earlier though in Europe this title was dropped at the time of release due to the death of Princess Diana.

                This album was to be different to anything she has done before or since and it her most personal album. For the first time she wrote most of the lyrics herself about her experiences and feelings particularly while travelling with then partner french photographer Stephane Sednaoui to China and USA. Collaborators included Dave Ball of Soft Cell and welsh band The Manic Street Preachers, Brothers In Rhythm were the main producers and the album was nearly 2 years in the making.

                Track Listing and songwriting credits -

                "Too Far" Kylie Minogue Brothers in Rhythm 4:43
                2 "Cowboy Style" Minogue, Steve Anderson, Dave Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 4:44
                3 "Some Kind of Bliss" Minogue, James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore Dave Eringa, Bradfield 4:22
                4 "Did It Again" Minogue, Anderson, Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 4:13
                5 "Breathe" Minogue, Dave Ball, Ingo Vauk Ball, Vauk 4:38
                6 "Say Hey" Minogue Brothers in Rhythm 3:37
                7 "Drunk" Minogue, Anderson, Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 3:59
                8 "I Don't Need Anyone" Minogue, Bradfield, Nick Jones Eringa, Bradfield 3:13
                9 "Jump" Minogue, Rob Dougan Dougan 4:03
                10 "Limbo" Minogue, Ball, Vauk Ball, Vauk 4:06
                11 "Through the Years" Minogue, Ball, Vauk Ball, Vauk 4:20
                12 "Dreams" Minogue, Anderson, Seaman Brothers in Rhythm 3:44

                (A double CD featuring remixes is also available)

                The opening track is a real corker "Too Far" features Kylies feelings of anger hurt and claustrophobia and needing to get some air. It starts with her speaking about being "Caught up in this house trapped by my very own self" followed by some moaning to the slowly building piano and beat. This is bold opening is one of her best tracks and is followed by "Cowboy Style" about her feelings when she met her new boyfriend and has a hint of country rock. Next comes the first single a track co written with James Dean Bradfield of The Manic Street Preachers when he apparently merged together two pages of lyrics that she had given him. Although it only reached no 22 in the UK it is a feel good mid-paced paced track though maybe not an ideal choice for first single.

                "Did It Again" with its guitar pop and eastern influences sees Kylie telling herself off for being foolish and reached the top twenty and featured a much sharper vocal style and one of her best videos with 4 Kylies fighting for the spotlight. (Indie, Dance, Sex and Cute Kylie). "Breath" is another highlight a slow building track about keeping calm while dealing with the thoughts rushing around her head this is one of her best tracks and was another top twenty hit. "Say Hey" finds Kylie in the bath and thinking about calling her boyfriend to leave a message on his answering machine just to "say hey" a slow dreamy track with an almost whispered vocal.

                "Drunk" is not about a typical night out with sister Danni, binge drinking and being sick in the taxi on the way home but actually about strong feelings of love and passion with almost desperate sounding vocals "I'm not happy drunk til I'm drunken, Till you take all of me". "I Don't Need Anyone" is basically a Manic Street Preachers out-take right down to the strings and guitar solo and its good to see Kylie singing rock although maybe her voice is not quite strong enough to carry it off convincingly and the song could do with an extra verse. "Jump" is a slow track about accepting someone for the way they are and not being scared to look to the future.

                "Limbo" Another highlight of the album written with Dave Ball with desperate sounding vocals about her feelings of being trapped while she was stuck in Spain for a few days. "Through The Years" is a slow track about bitter memories of a past relationship and is followed by the final track "Dreams" a slow haunting track about the dreams of an Impossible Princess always wanting more. It is a good track to end on and another of many highlights to a surprisingly diverse album both in its different vocal and musical styles.

                Any artist who has mainly been seen as a teen act will always find it difficult to gain wider acceptance and the problem for Kylie was that her original fans did not like this new image and fans it was aimed at did not take her seriously as a performer if indeed they actually heard any of this album. On its release the reviews were mixed with some hailing it as a great work and others simply laughing it off. It was a big success in Australia but sold just over 100,000 in the UK. It was easily her least succesful album and for the first time none of her singles made the top ten. It looked as though Kylie was finished as a major pop act. Of course that was to change with her next album when she donned a pair of gold hotpants that she had bought in a charity shop for 50p (were things really that bad) and put on her most raunchy video performance for "Spinning Around". The song entered the UK charts at number one and Indie Kylie was quickly shelved which is a shame as this remains a musical if not commercial highlight of her career.

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                • photobox.co.uk / Internet Site / 41 Readings / 38 Ratings
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                  15.08.2007 20:07
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                  good service will use again

                  Photobox was the first online photo service to launch in the UK and Ireland in 2001 and has won many awards for quality and service. It is part of the Photoways group which is Europe's biggest online photo service. They also state that their online storage facility is free and unlike other companies you do not need to keep placing orders to stop your photos being deleted. They also claim that 90% of customers receive their order the next day.

                  Prices per print at the time of writing for up to 6" x 4 1/2" -
                  10 pence 1 to 149
                  8 pence from 150 to 299
                  7 pence 300 to 499
                  4pence each for 500+

                  As well as other sizes up to 30" x 20" there are a host of other services such as canvas prints business cards key rings, jigsaws, coasters, t-shirts, mouse mats and placemats and much more. There are also faster delivery services if you need them.

                  They currently have an opening offer of 40 free prints and once you have signed up you can start your first album and give it a name. To upload around 90 photos took around 2 hours which seems a long time considering this was the "faster upload option" but I once this is done you can view your images. I was surprised to find that there does not seem to be any facilty to alter your photos as on other sights such as altering contrast and brightness or removing red-eye. This did not concern me as I do all this myself on the computer before uploading.

                  When it comes to placing your order you can choose the print size and finish. The default size is 6" x 4 1/2" which is the best fit for most digital cameras and this is an important point to note as it means that if you choose 6" x 4" as I do, You will actually lose quite a lot of the image and this can result in heads or the tops of buildings being cut off.

                  This is were this site really scores for me as not only is advice given about this but when you get to plce your order you can see exactly how each photo will be printed. There is a red rectangle around each photo and you can move this to crop them exactly how you want them. This should stop any nasty surprises when you get your order. I find it particularly useful as I tend to crop some photos quite a lot and so end up with all shapes and sizes.

                  Once ordered you get a confirmation email quickly followed by another one telling you that your order has been dispatched. I actually had to wait over 1 week for my prints but this was down to industrial action by the post office so I am sure it is not typical of the service. (I will be using them again soon and will update my review.)

                  When I received the order it was encased in a large corrugated cardboard packet. I have used many processing services over the years and this is probably the best protected package I have received.

                  As for the results I have no complaints. Good quality prints on Fuji paper cropped exactly as I ordered.

                  I will certainly use this company again though is it just me but now that we can see images as soon as we take them and look at them and even change them on screen it is always a bit of a let down when you actually receive the prints. Back in the good old days of film there was a buzz of exitement when the postman delivered your treasured holiday snaps or you left the local chemist clutching your envelope. Then you saw the closed eyes, that annoying kid that had wondered into the frame, that womans hat that you did not spot at the time or the flash that did not go off. Worse still maybe you did not load the film at all or the x-ray machine damaged your film. Maybe like me you have tried your ownd processing and printing covering yourself in chemicals and spending hours in a darkroom only to be dissapointed at the final results.

                  Thank god for digital photography!

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                  • More +
                    10.08.2007 21:12
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                    Hats off to Kylie!

                    In the fickle world of pop music it is rare for an artist to stay succesful for a decade but two decades is something of an acheivement especially for female singers.

                    Britney Spears recent troubles are proof that its sometimes hard to hold yourself together once you have acheived your fame and fortune. Even if I don't always like the artist I can't help but admire those with staying power. Whether it is the continuing success of Madonna or the big comeback of Tina Turner in the eighties.

                    One star of the eighties I would not have expected to be still at the top is Kylie Minogue but she recently celebrated 20 years since her first hit and looks like having many more in the near future.

                    Kylie Ann Minogue was Born on 28th May 1968 in Melbourne and acted in various Australian soaps from "Skyways" in 1980 and eventually landed her most famous role as Charlene in "Neighbours in 1986. The following year the programme became Australia's most watched programme and Kylie won an award for "Most Popular Actress". Her sister Danni was originally the most famous of the two from her appearances on Young Talent Time and on on show introduced Kylie and they performed a duet "Sisters Are Doing It For themselves".

                    In July 1987 Kylie released her first single a cover of the Little Eva hit "Locomotion", not suprisingly given Kylies popularity at that time it was a massive hit staying at number 1 in Australia for seven weeks. Not content with this she flew to England to team up with Stock. Aitken and Waterman. Pete Waterman says that he did not know who she was and when she said she wanted to be a pop star he apparently replied "you should be so lucky" and then came up with the song.

                    This was to be the British publics introduction to Kylie the popstar. I remember it well that famous S.A.W backing mixed with the nasal wailings of Miss Minogue. It was awful! In fact I felt sorry for her as it was so bad. Of course it was a massive selling number 1 hit so what do I know about music or the record buying public. I much preffered rock music and strong female voices like Tina Turner (the best live act I have seen). Thankfully the singing and the music did get much better over the years.

                    More hits and awards followed from the first album "Kylie" and sales of over a million made her one of the biggest pop stars in the UK. She still found time to act starring in her first film "The Delinquents" though this like future film roles received mixed reviews. A second album "Enjoy Yourself" spawned more hits including "Tears On My Pillow" from the Delinquents movie and "Especially For You" a duet with her on and off screen partner at the time Jason Donovan which is still one of her biggest UK singles. During this time she toured the world and won many award for her songs and videos. Her third album "Rhythym Of Love" was
                    released in 1990 and included the hits "Better The Devil You Know and "Step Back In Time" and featured songs co-written by Kylie and produced in America along with the usual Stock Aitken Waterman produced songs. This was perhaps a sign that she wanted to move on and try something different. She obviously wanted to
                    change her image and on tour in 1991 she made the headlines as shocked parents complained about the outfits and routines featuring Kylie being stripped to a g-string and stockings by male dancers. If this was meant to grab headlines it certainly did the trick but it was such an obvious attempt to copy Madonna.

                    "Lets Get To It" was her last album with Stock Aitken Waterman released in 1991 ("Word Is Out", "Finer Feelings") and after signing for a new label her fourth
                    album "Kylie Minogue" (They obviously spent a long time coming up with that title!) was released in 1994 featured two of her best songs, the excellent "Confide In Me and "Put Yourself In My Place" with a video featuring Kylie on a spacecraft taking off her spacesuit copying Jane Fonda's opening scenes to "Barbarella".

                    Suddenly it was safe for a self respecting rock music fan to watch a Kylie video with the sound on! She also appeared in the rather poor "Streetfighter" with Jean Claude Van Damme.

                    A recent newspaper article on her 20 years in music remarked that her efforts in the nineties were best forgotten but I Personally think this was her best period although record buyers in the UK did not always agree. Her next album released in 1998 "Impossible Princess" featured "Some Kind Of Bliss"co-written with James Dean Bradfield of The Manic Street Preachers and "Did It Again" the album received some critical acclaim and is regarded as her most experimental and most personal with Kylie writing most of the lyrics. Although a success in Australia it was her least succesful in the Uk and it looked like Kylie was on the way out as a serious pop star.

                    Over the years she has worked hard to develop a style of her own and one of the key ingredients to her staying power over the years has been her use of the media and confidence in her own body with numerous modelling assignments and an ever changing image. Appearing in teen pop magazines and later fashion and "Lads" magazines who sales were always boosted when she adorned the front cover. Ensuring that even when her records were not selling that well she is always in the media spotlight. The ability to constantly re-invent her image and musical direction has also helped to keep her in the public eye.

                    In 2000 it was clearly time for Kylie to turn to dance music and with a pair of gold hot pants and a much talked about video Kylie suprised us all when "Spinning Around" entered the charts at No1 in both Australia and the UK. Suddenly she was back on top again. The album "Light Years" became a best seller and Kylie
                    performed to her biggest ever audience at the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony. The album also includes "Kids" a duet with Robbie Williams.

                    The best was yet to come as in 2001 "Cant Get You Out Of My Head" from the new album "Fever" becomes her best selling single and most memorable video with
                    the famous white hooded outfit which got even more attention than those hotpants. The single sold millions worldwide and won countless awards for both music and video and her tours became bigger and better with many top designers involved in her costumes (see my review of her exhibition for more details). An award winning advert for "Agent Provocateur" which featured Kylie writhing around on a mechanical bull in sexy underwear kept the male fans happy and in 2003 she even launched her own underwear range. Later in the year came her ninth album "Body Language" featuring "Slow" and "Red Blooded Woman" and in 2004 her "Showgirl Greatest Hits" tour was a huge success. It seemed like everything was going well for Kylie.

                    On the 17 May 2005 on the eve of the Australian leg of the tour Kylie anounced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and the tour was immediately
                    cancelled. Luckily for her the cancer had been caught early and after a succesful operation on 21 May she sought treatment in Australia and France helped by current partner Oliver Martinez.

                    In 2006 after succesful treatment the tour resumed and she even had time to write a childrens book "The Showgirl Princess" and
                    launched her own perfume "Darling", as well as raising money and helping raise awareness of breast cancer. The succesful comeback was completed in Manchester in 2007 and though a few shows had to be cancelled due to a bout of flu she dutifully returned to complete the re-scheduled gigs a few days later. Her exhibition which started in Australia also arrived in Manchester where it continues until September. She has also recently modelled a new swimwear range for H&M.

                    The 10th album should be out soon although many tracks have been on the internet for months after someone apparently stole the demo tapes. Some people think this is just a deliberate marketing ploy but whatever the truth and however the final album will sound there are enough self assured feelgood tracks to suggest that this will be her best album yet.

                    Boarding the Titanic for the Doctor Who christmas special sees her return to acting in her first major role for some time so lets hope this does not signify another iceberg in her career path though somehow I doubt it. (Doctor Who and Kylie on Christmas day - What more could a man ask for?)

                    As for the future a tour is already planned to go with the forthcoming album as well as rumours of a new male fragrance not to mention her upcoming 40th birthhday party. If she does find herself at a loose end there is always the ubiquitous celebrity keep-fit video, a surprising omission from Kylies portfolio so far and maybe her autobiography, that would make interesting reading.

                    Of course 20 years is a long time and I have only touched on some points of her career but if you want more information or a full list of singles and albums visit the following websites

                    http://www.kylie.com (official website)
                    www.kylie.co.uk
                    http://kya.pytalhost.net/km/kylie_minogue.html (German site with a large photo gallery)

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                      05.08.2007 10:51
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                      Well worth a visit

                      Osborne House and its 342 acre estate were purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1845 as a country residence. Situated in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, overlooking Portsmouth harbour it is easy to see the attraction. Architect Thomas Cubitt was given the task of rebuilding and adding to the house and complete with its towers it dominates the landscape. They enjoyed many happy times until Alberts death in 1861 aged just 42. Victoria died at the house in 1901.

                      The interior is stunning and though you can pay to just explore the gardens I would reccomend the full tour including the interior of the house as well. Guided tours can be booked from November to March but If you look around yourself there are plenty of staff on hand to point you in the right direction and they are only to pleased to answer questions and give more information.

                      When you begin to look around the house you get a real sense of grandeur as you are greeted by impressive statues and marble sculptures as well as large paintings some of whch are by Victoria, Albert and other family members. As well as the obvious sense of opulence there is also a strong sense that this was very much a family house.

                      There are various treasures within the house from all corners of the British Empire. The most stunning room is the final room on the tour The Durbar room. Constructed in 1890-1891 it celebrates the Queens role as the Empress of India. It is lavishly decorated from top to bottom with symbols and gifts from India and has to be seen. Other highlights are the nursery and various private rooms which have mostly been restored to look exactly like they did in when Victoria lived here with many personal items on display. You can even see the bed in which Victoria died in 1901, this is now kept as a memorial to Victoria and Albert.

                      It is also worth taking time to explore the grounds, As well as the impressive statues and terraces there is also the colourful walled garden with fruit, flowers and exotic plants. The entrance to the garden has been saved from from the original Osborne House.

                      There is also the Swiss Cottage a chalet built for the children to teach them domestic skills and an attached museum. This is 15 - 20 mins walk or can be reached by minibus for 50 pence.

                      The Terrace retaurant is quite expensive so we opted to eat at the cafe but there is limited choice here and many items have no price diplayed. This could be a lot better though the sandwich I had was good.

                      You can also pay for a horse and carriage ride if you want to arrive in syle and most places seem to have access for the disabled. If you are going to The Isle of Wight for a holiday I would certainly recommed Osborne House and allow yourself around 4 hours to see everything.

                      Adult:£9.80 Grounds only £5.90
                      Children:£4.90 Grounds only £3.00
                      Concession:£7.40 Grounds only £4.40
                      English Heritage Members:Free -
                      Family Ticket: £24.50/ Grounds only £14.80

                      Access:1 mile SE of East CowesTrain Access:Ryde Esplanade 7 miles; Wootton (Isle of Wight Steam Railway) 3milesBus Access:Southern

                      Vectis 4, Ryde – E Cowes; 5 Newport – E CowesFerry Access:East Cowes 11⁄2 mile (Red Funnel 0870 4448898); Fishbourne 4 miles; Ryde 7

                      miles (Wightlink 0870 5827744; Hovercraft: Ryde 01983 811000)

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                        20.07.2007 13:29
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                        Got to be a good thing in the long term

                        The ban on smoking has to be a good thing, particularly in any premises where food is served. I really can't believe the total rudeness and lack of respect people show when smoking in cafes or restaurants. Some people say they like a cigarette after their meal but seem completely oblivious to the fact that maybe most of us do not want to smoke while actually eating!

                        It has been suggested that we are becoming too much of a nanny state but it is quite obvious that a number of people are simply not capable of making a rational judgement for themselves and need someone to do it for them.


                        Although I am a non smoker and suffer from asthma I am certainly not on some kind of crusade against smokers, all I am asking for is for the minority who do this to think about other people and maybe consider the effect that their actions are having. I have to say that when I go into a pub now the air seems clearer and this has to be a good thing.

                        This is not to say that the ban wil not cause problems, I have often witnessed smokers on the bus deliberately flouting the rules (most buses that I use have banned smoking for years). They are usually violent and aggressive if anyone dares to challenge them and most bus drivers also refuse to stop them for fear of violence and who can blame them. Unfortunately there will always be a very small minority who spoil things for everyone else and there seems to be nothing that can be done about this.

                        The other main problem I can see is that crowds of people are now gathering outside the pubs on the pavement and this could cause problems such as altercations with each other or passer by. It could I suppose be argued that alcohol itself causes just as many if not more problems and another law I would bring in is to stop 2 for 1 offers in all pubs as this just encourages binge drinking.

                        One story that has recently made the headlines is that many councils are to ban people smoking in their council houses. Although this sounds on the face of it like an infringement to peoples rights it actually makes perfect sense as all they are asking is not to smoke when a council worker is calling on them. Again this is a case of showing you fellow man (or woman) basic respect.

                        Even most smokers must agree that it is bad for your health and if the ban helps people to quit then this has to be good. Maybe less teenagers will take up smoking as it is not deemed to be cool any more, with smokers looking like outcasts as they lurk in doorways and on street corners.

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                          19.07.2007 22:39
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                          More structure needed, More funding required

                          Of course sport should be compulsory from an early age but maybe more enphasis should be put on actual fitness rather than just sport itself. I would also question whether teachers are given the proper training to carry out their task.

                          My own experience of sport in schools was a teacher getting two teams together and having a game of football. No skills were taught or learned. No tactics were mentioned and not even any basic training. If you already had some skill then you were expected to play a bigger part. If you were no good at football then you were left to your own devices and simply forgotten.

                          As I do not have children and it is a long time since I was at school I am unable to comment on the current state of affairs in schools but given the health problems such as obesity and all the future problems that this can bring then surely sport and fitness have to be promoted as well as the benefits of a healthy diet. This may involve more funding in the short term but surely the benefits in the long term would far outweigh this.

                          I do not think children should be forced to take things further but if a talent is spotted it should be encouraged and more facilities should be available outside and in addition to schools.

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                          • Egg Money / Bank / 42 Readings / 39 Ratings
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                            13.07.2007 19:08
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                            A great card if it fits in with your spending habits

                            An Internet based credit card account which is great for people who don't want to buy on credit. But gives you the added protection of a credit card. This card has 3 interesting features:-

                            1) Pre-loading. This simply means that you do not actually have to use it as a credit card but like a normal bank account. You can set up a regular monthly payment from your current account and top up any time you like. As it is an internet only account you can keep an eye on your balance and make sure you never go into the red.

                            2) 1% cash-back on all purchases (more for some selected retailers such as 5% at Dixons and CDWow. - check website for latest offers)

                            3) 4% interest received on positive balances. Although it should be noted that this rate has not changed for some time despite interest rate rises elsewhere.

                            The website is easy enough to use though sometimes a little slow and remember that it is an internet only account so no paper statements, just an email alert when your statement is ready. If you have any problems or reasons to contact them this can be done by email or phone and they are usually helpful.

                            Of course when assessing any financial product it is important to ask yourself whether it is right for you. If you would use it as a normal credit card and pay off your bill every month then the pre-loading and interest received will be of no relevance. Also the cash-back element is only worthwhile if you pay off your balance in full every month as any money received would be cancelled out by interest charged (an typical rate of 7.9% APR). In fact if you purely want a cash-back card you can get up to 3% elsewhere. Check a good comparison website such as moneysavingexpert (see my earlier review) to find the best product for you depending on how you spend.

                            I would say that unless all 3 points appeal to you then this card probably is not for you but for the moment it is just right for me.

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                              10.07.2007 21:56
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                              A good way to spend a few hours of even a day.

                              Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL Tel: 0161 235 8888
                              Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm (some special events outside these times)
                              Closed Mondays (except Bank Holidays)
                              www.manchestergalleries.org

                              The good thing about Manchester in general is that most places of interest are within easy walking distance and there are 4 free bus services around the city centre (1, 2, 3 and 4). The no2 from Victoria station stops at the gallery or the tram system stops at Mosley street or St Peters Square.

                              If your knowledge of art stops at Rolf Harris and impressionist bring to mind John Culshaw or Rory Bremner then do not let this put you off visiting your nearest art gallery. You may be pleasantly surprised.

                              I do not pretend to know much about art and I suppose this is why I have only recently rediscovered the joys of looking around Manchesters art galleries. For this reason I will not go into too much detail about individual pieces or artists as everyone has different tastes.

                              There really is more to this award winning gallery than you may realise and if you live or work in the city or even spending a day in Manchester you could do worse than spending an hour or two in here. A ramp is provided for wheelchairs and buggys (wheelchairs can be borrowed) and toilet and baby changing facilities are provided with lift access to all 3 floors.

                              Here are just a few of the highlights.

                              As you enter this impressive building you are immediately greeted by staff who will happily point you in the right direction if you are looking for a particular gallery. From paintings to sculpture, decorative art, pottery, furniture and much more, its all here. Three floors spanning six centuries of art and design.

                              On the ground floor you will find works featuring Manchesters 200 year textile history to contemporary works featuring LS Lowry and Adolphe Vallete. This floor also houses the shop cafe and toilets.

                              The first floor includes 18th and 19th century landscapes and portraits, Pre-Raphaelites, Victorian art and design to 20th century contemporary art. On this floor you will find William Etty's huge "Sirens and Ulysses" which is currently being restored. You can find out all about the restoration in great detail and even watch and ask questions as the conservators carry out their work.There is also an interactive gallery for children.

                              On the second floor you will find the Craft and Design gallery and the most impressive space the building, the special exhibitions gallery. You can usual expect a well presented mix of audio and visual installations in this gallery. Until 2 September 2007 this houses the excellent Kylie Minogue exhibition with hundreds of items of memorabillia, awards and many of her costumes on display (see earlier review). Another recent exhibition was a retrospective of sixties designer Joe Columbo with items of furniture including chairs sofas and complete rooms as well as other works of this iconic designer. If you only have a limited time make sure you at least visit the 2nd floor.

                              To really get the most out of your visit particularly the special exhibitions, it is worth looking out for the curators tours where you can find out more information and ask questions and these are of course free but booking may be necessary.

                              There are always many special events such as artist talks and lectures and even tours of Manchester throughout the year and currently there are many events based on the Kylie exhibition for both adults and children most of which are free. Check the website for more details.

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                              • Icesave / Bank / 23 Readings / 21 Ratings
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                                09.07.2007 21:10
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                                High interest, Simple to set up

                                With the amount of competition in todays market it is increasingly hard to keep track of where to put your hard earned cash.

                                In the last few years many foreign banks have been trying to get into the UK market. Dutch bank ING brought us a straightforward simple to use account then Indian bank ICICI offered better rates and now Icelands Landsbanki have their Icesave account.

                                These banks seem to be vying with each other at the moment and interest rates are constantly changing. I would check a website such as moneysavingexpert (see my earlier review) or check the individual sites of the banks for up to date info.

                                From 13 July 2007 the rate for Icesave (min deposit £250) is 6.20%

                                What makes this account stand out is their guarantee that the interest paid on balances over £250 is guaranteed to exceed the Bank of England Base Rate by at least 0.25% until 1 October 2009 and thereafter not to be lower than the Bank of England Base Rate until 1 October 2011. This should give at least some peice of mind.

                                You may of course get a better rates through savings accounts which are linked to your current account but this ties you to one provider and rates tend to drop after the initial offer. What Icesave offer is a straight forward stand alone account.

                                The website is easy to use with the usual security questions and password and then you can transfer your money to and from nominated accounts.

                                I have been using this account for several months without problem though one drawback is that they do not accept cheques, just electronic transfers. Presumably to keep down costs.

                                I would certainly reccomend this account particularly for the guaranteed rate.

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                                  06.07.2007 22:42
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                                  Good ISA account

                                  Check the financial pages of the papers for the best rates for mini cash ISA's you will notice that many banks and Building Societies come and go as they raise their rates only to drop them again once you have opened the account.

                                  Kent Reliance is however consistently near the top of the list over the longer term.

                                  This building society can trace its history back over 150 years and has over £1.5 billion of assets.

                                  My wife opened the Direct variable rate mini cash ISA at the time of writing this postal account pays 5.96%. You can download an application form from the website or request one by phone.

                                  Cheques can simply be sent in the post and a receipt is sent back and if you need money you can access easily by postal request.

                                  Under ISA rules you can invest up to £3000 per tax year and you can open the account with just £1.

                                  Anyone opening a Building Society account in the last few years will know that you usually have to sign a charity clause so that if they merge or demutualise for typically five years after you become a member,you sign away your money to charity but Kent Reliance have dropped this clause to encourage more people to join.

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