Welcome! Log in or Register

smeagol28

smeagol28
  • 0
  • 12
  • 0
  • 2
  • 197
  • 275
  • Crowns
  • Premium reviews
  • Express reviews
  • Comments
  • Reviews rated
  • Ratings received

Member since: 14.05.2006

People that trust me

People I trust

Users that trust you
  • Sort by:
    • Pringles Mini / Snacks / 24 Readings / 20 Ratings
      More +
      07.08.2006 14:29
      1 Comment

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Stupidly small pringles.

      THE PRODUCT

      - 5 mini packs of Pringles (23g)

      - Price £1.08 (buy one get one free at ASDA at the moment)

      - Suitable for veggies and vegans

      - comes in original, sour cream and a mixed (original, sour cream and salt and vinegar)

      - 118 cal per pack (about the same as a bag of ordinary crisps)

      - Sodium 0.12g per pack


      WHAT I THOUGHT

      Pringles, I love them, so imagine my joy in finding these little beauties handy packs ideal for lunch boxes. The packs looked a reasonable size UNTIL I OPENED THEM!!!!
      How small are these!? I felt like Gulliver eating them. You get about 36 in a pack but they aren't much bigger than a 50p.

      The packaging is good as it prevents them getting squashed (they come in a clear little tray) but it does make it a bit deceptive as I thought that they were a lot bigger than they were.

      Ok in their defence I am a greedy fat pig as far as Pringles are concerned (there is an unfortunate incident when I tried to sober up by scoffing almost a whole tube!) but come on, they could be a bit bigger.
      Taste wise they taste great, just like their larger counter parts. The original ones are quite salty but I like that and the other flavours I have tried taste great too.

      Price wise I feel a bit cheated, they were ok this time as it was buy one get one free but when you consider you can get 6 bags of proper crisps for slightly less they seem a bit dear.

      Nice but treat yourself to some bigger ones!

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • Hoboken Hollow (DVD) / DVD / 19 Readings / 18 Ratings
        More +
        03.08.2006 16:59
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        3 Comments

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Red neck weirdos buthchering people

        Hoboken Hollow (2005).

        Another saturday night, another trip to the video shop. I actually wanted to get Wolf Creek out but it wasn't there so I ended up getting this out instead. On the back it sounded a similar sort of film - travellers going missing and end up meeting a psychpathic nutter, you know the usual stuff. Although I'd never heard of it, I thought that I would give it a go.

        Well, this film is set in Texas (as they always are) and is supposed to be inspired by 'true life events'. How much is true I don't know but I think the key word here is 'inspired' .

        THE PLOT

        Travellers, immigrants and transients have a habit of going missing in the Hoboken ranch area in Texas. The Brodrick family that owns the ranch is only too happy to take in any travellers seeking work. Once there the unfortunate workers find themselves being kept as slaves with no hope of escape or rescue. They are kept alive so long as they work and keep their heads down. If they are lucky they might even get fed some 'jerky'. Try to leave the place or kick up a fuss, then torture and death follow.

        Trevor (Connery) is one of these such travellers. A recently divorced war veteran that is plagued by nightmares (as they always are in America), he has the unfortunate pleasure of stumbling across the ranch. The story of his nightmare unfolds.

        Coupled with this J. T. Goldman (Madsen) is trying to buy the land that the ranch is on. He's desperate to find the skeletons in the closet of the Brodrick family ( I would think that there would be quite a few!)


        CAST

        Trevor - Jason Connery
        Clayton - C. Thomas Howell
        Parker Hilton - Randy Spelling
        Wheldon Brodrick - Mark Holton
        Junior Brodrick - Jonathan Fraser
        Mrs Brodrick - Lin Shaye
        J. T. Goldman - Michael Madsen
        Sheriff Greer - Dennis Hopper

        DIRECTOR
        Glen Stephens - also directed Rivers End and Firedogs

        OTHER STUFF
        Genre - Horror
        Running time - 1hr 34 mins
        Certificate - 18

        VERDICT

        Well what do you know, there's another family of in-bred, sadistic nutters in Texas! The film is hardly ground breaking but the idea of getting the victims to do a bit of work before they die is a bit different. It is in the same vein as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses and Hostel etc. with a bit of 'The Usual Suspects' thrown in at the end for good measure.

        WARNING This film contains a rape scence and it is extremely gory from the out set. There are graphic scenes of torture and beware of the 'jerky'!

        The film begins by showing a couple of men that have managed to escape the ranch. It shows them being hunted down, tortured, killed and disposed of. You are left knowing exactly what happens to those that try and escape well before you are introduced to the main characters of the film.

        The film has a voice over narrative at times which came in really useful at the beginning. The beginning was just so muddled and confuing that I sat there annoying hubby by having to keep asking 'who's that?' all the time. So many characters appear with no explanation of who they are, they all look dirty and wear the same shirts (well almost). It was the same at the end when you had a load of people running round in the dark.

        The film is also packed full of cliches e.g. the inbreds deranged child, the 'sheriff', the village 'idiot', Texas being full of nutters etc. A note to all backpackers though - if a manky toothed Texan red neck in a rusty van offers you work on a ranch or even a lift, just say NO!

        There are a few shocking moments that make you cringe but it isn't really scary. If you love gore then you won't be disappointed with this. I would say that it is gorier than the recently hyped Hostel. It is a bit of a blood bath from the beginning and the gruesome special effects are quite good.

        The big names in the film (Hopper and Madsen) are barely used in it (much to my disappointment). The performances from the others was ok but it ain't going to win them any Oscars. It didn't really develop the characters so you didn't care that much if they died (ooooh, sounds a bit harsh).

        There is no real twist either as things that could have been saved until the end are revealed too early in the film. You are even told how many people survive at the end. I found this to be quite disappointing plot wise.

        For a film I hadn't heard of, it was better than I thought it would be. I would recommend it but its not for the squeamish. Don't expect to be blown away though.

        THERE WERE NO EXTRAS ON THIS DVD!!!

        Thanks for reading xxxxx

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • Underworld: Evolution (DVD) / DVD / 31 Readings / 29 Ratings
          More +
          18.06.2006 12:55
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          6 Comments

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          More cack from Wiseman

          Another saturday night spent with a DVD and wine. There was nothing good left in the video shop, so after half an hours deliberating between this and the 'Dukes of Hazzard', I decide to impress the hubby with this one. As I left the shop I was already regretting the decision, Johnny Knoxville was much more appealing.........damn it!

          I hated the first 'Underworld' so why had I got this one? Dunno but with a heavy heart I resigned myself to an evening of having to watch Kate Beckinsdale's leather clad arse running around.....Sigh, but its vampires, theres bound to be some long haired gothic prince of darkness for me to watch. Feeling a little more hopeful I send hubby to the kitchen to open the wine.

          The film starts with flash backs to what happened in the first film, none of which I could actually remember (maybe too much wine on the evening I watched that one). So the first half hour was spent with me asking, Who's that? Whats he doing? etc...
          By now I can tell that the hubby is getting irritated by my constant questioning so I decide to shut up and watch it.

          THE FILM

          Released 2006
          Run time .... 106 mins
          Genre...Horror / action
          Certificate .... 18
          Director.... Len Wiseman

          CAST

          Kate Beckinsale .... Selene
          Scott Speedman .... Michael Corvin
          Tony Curran .... Marcus Corvinus
          Shane Brolly .... Kraven
          Derek Jacobi .... Alexander Corvinus
          Bill Nighy .... Viktor
          Steven Mackintosh .... Andreas Tanis
          Zita Görög .... Amelia
          Brian Steele .... William Corvinus
          Scott McElroy .... Soren
          John Mann .... Samuel
          Michael Sheen .... Lucian
          Sophia Myles .... Erika
          Richard Cetrone .... Pierce
          Mike Mukatis .... Taylor

          THE PLOT

          Beckinsdale is back as Selene the vampire that kills Lycans (or werewolves to you and me). Sadly her arse hasn't got as fat and saggy as I would have wished but I read that she had the worst tits in Hollywood so this brings me some comfort as I watch the film.

          Anyway, the Lycans and vampires hate each other after a feud stemming from 2 twin brothers many years ago. One Markus was bitten by a bat and turned into (yes you've guessed it) a vampire. The other, William was bitten by a wolf and turned into a werewolf. Methinks the their dad should have taken better care of them really. To have one son bitten by a rabid animal is bad enough but 2??? Thats just plain careless.

          Markus and the vampires capture William as he's a bit too dangerous and bites too much (pot, kettle and black spring to mind). The vampires led by the double-crossing Victor (Nighy) from the first film lock up William much to his brother Markus' annoyance (maybe he fancied having a pet dog or something). William is trapped in a secret prison cell and Markus wants to find him.

          Their dad, brother Caedfael, sorry Alexander Corninus also turns up looking for his kids. He's immortal (don't ask me how).
          Selene is also mixed up in the plot and is determined to discover yet more truth about her family....blah, blah, blah.

          Alongside this a half wit sorry cross breed was created in the first film. He's called Michael and he gets to screw Beckinsdale. I would have liked the brazen trollop to have gotten pregnant by this tryst and have given birth to some hairy bat/ wolf thing but that didn't happen sadly. Can vampires get pregnant and have babies?

          Michael is a bit pointless. You would expect a cross between Lycans and Vampires to have special powers but he's a bit wet and weedy but he can go out in the day time....great!

          The film ends with it being set up for the third film. Yes, it seems that Wiseman has jumped on the trilogy band waggon. Just had a horrid thought though...what if he makes more???? Please god noooooooo! Someone has got to keep his missus (Beckinsdale) working I suppose.

          THERE WERE NO EXTRAS AS IT WAS A RENTAL COPY!!!!!!

          VERDICT

          The film is a bit naff really. The special effects aren't that special and a number of things bother me:

          1. If Selene is a Vampire why does she have to travel by helicopter? Why can't she just turn into a bat and fly?

          2. Why were all the blokes ugly? Michael looked too much like Kraven. This confused me for about 45 minutes.

          3. How does her leather cat suit repair itself after she has been shot through it? Do they make kids clothes out of this self repairing material?

          The performances weren't spectacular even off the golden oldies like Jacobi and Nighy. The story was lame. It tried to nick loads of ideas from Greek myths but kinda failed miserably. The prison could have been done much better, I'm thinking boobie traps etc like on the Goonies and Indiana Jones.

          I also think a bit of humour might have livened things up too. The film took itself too seriously and was up its own arse. With the vampire genre you expect the odd wise-crack. I can't think why it got an 18 certificate either. The 'gory' bits weren't that bad.

          All-in-all it was rather disappointing. So, back to my question, what do you get if you cross a vampire with a werewolf? The answer is a pile of shite!

          I wouldn't recommend this film.

          AVAILABILITY

          Amazon - £10.89
          Play.com - £12.99 delivered
          HMV - £12.99 delivered

          Thanks for reading,
          Vicki

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • Wild! - Erasure / Music Album / 30 Readings / 31 Ratings
            More +
            04.06.2006 15:21
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            9 Comments

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            A great early Erasure album

            Some say I have a strange taste in music, some say its diverse. Others say I have a shite taste in music but I prefer the term eclectic. Anyone who has read my other music reviews will know that I am rather partial to a bit of rock. However there is another side to me.....ooooh yes, I am a huge Erasure fan. I just love their electro pop stuff and no-one can pull off PVC cowboy suits quite like Andy Bell.

            A BIT ABOUT THE GROUP

            Well, I say group, its more of a duo as there are only 2 members; the wonderfully flambouyant Andy Bell and the keyboard maestro Vince Clarke (formerly of Yazoo and Depeche Mode and most other 80's bands that featured synths).

            The group was formed by Clarke in 1985 with Bell being one of the last people to respond to an advert placed by Clarke in a magazine. After hearing countless demos Bell was finally picked as 'the chosen one' and Erasure was born.

            DISCOGRAPHY

            1986 Wonderland
            1987 The Circus
            1988 The Innocents
            1989 Wild!
            1991 Chorus
            1992 Pop! The first 20 hits
            1994 I Say I Say I Say
            1995 Erasure
            1997 Cowboy
            2000 Loveboat
            2003 Other People's Songs
            2005 Nightbird

            THE ALBUM
            Original release date: 24/10/1989
            Label: Warner Brothers

            TRACK LIST

            1. Piano Song [Instrumental]

            The album begins with a nice bit of tinkling on the old piano with the syths accompanying. The album also ends with the same track but on the latter one Andy bell sings for the 'Grand Finalle'. It reminds me a bit on the theme tune to 'Twin peaks'. Short but sweet.

            2. Blue Savannah

            This was one of the singles off the album. I haven't a clue what is singing about. What is a 'Blue Savannah'? Bell's voice has a strange haunting quality about it on this track. This is set against a funky disco beat. A great pop tune guaranteed to get you singing along and dancing.

            'Racing 'cross the desert/ At a hundred miles an hour/ To the orange side/ Through the clouds and thunder.'

            3. Drama

            This one starts off quite slow before it builds up to the chorus. Its a great dance-a-long tune with strange dirge like backing vocals. Very camp, extremely theatrical - great stuff!

            'Your shame is never.....ending/ Just one psychological drama after another.'

            4. How Many Times?

            A gorgeous little ballad. Bell's voice is simply amazing on this track. It starts with the synths and drum machine before Bell's whispery/ haunting vocals break in. The whole track is quite gentle and quite different to the more disco-like tracks that surround it. Its so sweet that I think that I'm going to cry now.....kinda gets you all emotional......sniff....

            'How many times/ Will I regret the chances taken? Why do I end up always the one who is mistaken?'


            5. Star

            Hooray! Something more upbeat to get me dancing again. Yeee Haaa! Thats more like it!!! Another big hit from the album and a dance floor winner. Energetic synths, big lively vocals and a sing-a-long chorus.

            'We go waiting for the stars/ To come showering down? From Moscow to Mars/ Universe falling down.'

            6. Gloria

            This track is a bit dodgy. It has latino rhythms but to me it sounds like Madness(the group) on Tequila! Still its a fun song that ends with some flamenco guitars. Bell is on form again with the vocals, shame its a bit of a naff song but at least it doesn't take itself too seriously. Ole......Ariba!!!!!

            'Oh Suzi you're shaking your red hair/ Disco diva y flamenco chico/ You know the eyes'll all be fixing on you tonight/ La bonita a la vista de un marinero'

            7. You Surround Me

            This is quite a slow song with more of Bell's soft haunting vocals. The synths are quite muted on this one compared to some of the other tracks. Its a nice little tune though but I find the backing vocals a bit much towards the end.

            'Don't ever let me take you for granted/ You've got your finger on the pulse of my soul.'

            8. Brother and Sister

            Hmmmm, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this one when I first heard it. A great funky intro but it doesn't sound like Andy Bell in places. There are OTT opera/theatrical bits mixed with the funky disco beat. It works well and it grows on you after a few listens.

            'Brother& sister & father of mine/ Keep us together & keep us in line, A lot we depend on, a lot we can do/ Send love to mother, I'll be good to you.'

            9. 2,000 Miles

            Another track thats a bit on the naff side. I think the biggest downfall of this one are the duff uninspired lyrics. There is also some slightly robotic sounding music at the beginning that continues throughout the track as well as some over powering backing vocals.

            'Don't go beating me like that/ I'm glad you won't be coming back/ I need to be at least 2,000 miles away from you.'

            10. Crown of Thorns

            This sounds like it is being sung by a medievel minstral accompanied by synths of course).
            Its a very dramatic song thats fantastically sung. Great fun.

            'And here we stand/ In old England's land/Shattered glass on the ground/ There are no words/ To console this earth/ To restore old England's pride.'


            11. Piano Song

            The track that started the album ends it, only this time its a bit longer and has lyrics. Bless him, he sings his little socks off on this track. A slow, understated melody that just allows the vocals to do all the work.

            'Never get angry at the stupid people/ Though I go crazy at the dullness of my life/ Sit and I stare into a dusty window? An empty face stares back at me and cries.'

            THE VERDICT

            I know Erasure aren't to everyones taste and I have generally found a bit of snobbery towards them but I think that they are a great, fun band. They add a bit of sparkle to everything that they do. My kids would disagree though. They have been brought up on a strict diet of rock music so when I played this they looked horrified (even more so when I felt the urge to dance around the kitchen to it). They will learn though! Oh the joys of Erasure!

            I would recommend this album as the good far outweighs the bad on it. The weaker tracks such as 2000 miles and La Gloria are such fun that you can't help but enjoy them and sing-a-long. The stand out tracks for me are 'Blue Savannah', 'Drama!', 'How many times?' and 'Star'. Andy Bell's voice is worth the cost of the album alone - boy can that guy belt out a tune.

            However, if I have inspired you to go out and buy just one Erasure album I would suggest that you bought 'Pop! The first 20 hits' as it is excellent (it features most of the best tracks off this album). It doesn't have a bad track on it and you'll probably recognise most of them.
            So go on, get your dancing pants on and enjoy yourself!

            AVAILABILITY

            Amazon £6.97
            Tesco.com £7.74 delivered
            HMV £8.99 delivered

            Thanks for reading, Vicki xxxxxxx

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              25.05.2006 15:20
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              7 Comments

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Another piece of rock history

              *** PLEASE READ MY REVIEW FOR USE YOUR ILLUSION 1 FIRST ****


              THE BAND
              As this is a 2 part review please see my review for Use Your Illusion 1 for band details and history. I don't want to bore you by repeating myself.

              THE ALBUM
              Use your Illusion 2
              Released 1991 on Geffen
              Produced by Guns n Roses and Mike Clink.

              TRACK LIST

              1. Civil War 7.36 mins

              This is Roses' bash at an anti-war song and its not a bad effort. It starts with a piece of dialogue from the movie 'Cool Hand Luke'. Add a bit of whistling by Axl and some stellar guitars from Slash and you have one of the best tracks on the album. Deep rhetorical lyrics help to underpin Roses message here. The gentle guitars are a perfect match for Rose's gentle tones

              ' Look at your young men fighting
              Look at your women crying'
              - very Homer/Iliadic.....

              It was the only song on the Illusion albums that Adler appeared on before he was booted off in to obscurity. Enter Mr. Sorum please.

              2. 14 years 4.17 mins

              This is a rockin' piano dominated track penned by Messeurs Stradlin and Rose. Izzy sings lead vocals on this one with Axl demoted to piano and backing vocals. It has a bit of a blues feel to it and it was one of my favourites as a 14 year old moping about in my bedroom. I think the chorus must have struck a chord,

              ' But it's been 14 years of silence, its been 14 years of pain. Its been 14 years that are gone forever and I'll never have again.'

              - what a miserable kid I must have been. Its a bit scary to think that I am twice that age now!

              3. Yesterdays 3.13 mins.

              Yesterdays is a nice little melody with a hint of blues thrown in for good measure. Its quite a catchy little number if a bit of a glum retrospective lament about the past. Big powerful guitar riffs with a chilled out guitar solo.

              ' Whooa, Yesterday's got nothin' for me'

              4. Knockin' on heaven's door 5.36 mins.

              After they played this at the Freddie Mercury tribute in 1992, this became one of their biggest hits. A cover of Bob Dylan's song it starts well enough. However, sometime after the guitar solo and the 'telephone call' I think it loses the plot. There are too many female backing singers and it sounds a bit wussy. Its all a bit overblown and drawn out. It features 'The Waters' on backing vocals. It was also in the 'Days of Thunder' movie.

              5. Get in the Ring 5.29 mins

              After the girly, wussy end to the last song its good to hear the lads find their balls again. This is probably the song that made the album famous due to the controvousy that it caused. It is laden with expletives so anyone that is easily offended had better close their ears.
              It started off innocently enough as a punk-esque little number originally penned by Duff. There are some bluesy guitars at the beginning but the tempo begins to change as Axl venomously screams,
              'I sense a smell of retribution in the air...'

              There then follows the infamous rant at the press, you tell 'em Axl! More swearing than in an episode of the Osbournes, but hey, thats rock n' roll!


              6. Shotgun Blues 3.23 mins

              There then follows a pacey rockin' number called 'Shot Gun Blues'. Written by Axl it's allegedly a dig at Motley Crue's frontman Vince Neil (lets face it who wouldn't like to punch the pie-eater). Anyway, he's supposed to have called Axl and Izzy a pair of wussies (or at least something that rhymes with it!) and so started a long running feud.

              ' An now your're blowin' smoke
              I think you're one big joke...' (as do we all now Vince)
              A proper rock song without all the frills.

              7. Breakdown 6.58 mins

              The beginning of this song sounds a bit like country music to me. Yet again Axl chucks in a bit of whistling. The song is quite gentle and mellow as Rose's lyrics drift through the memories of his troubled past (again). Its quite sad and reflective in places but the guitar solo is brilliant. A vocal showcase for Rose as he hits them notes and holds them and then holds them some more!

              ' Remember in this game we call life that no one
              Said its fair'
              Beautiful lyrics accompanied by a fantastic tune.

              8. Pretty tied up 4.46 mins

              The perils of rock and roll decadence!
              This is another Izzy Stradlin tune which also features him on Sitar. The track starts with the sitar before the guitars explode in. A great rock n roll track. However, there maybe something slightly prophetic in Stradlins lyrics,

              ' Once there was this rock n' roll band
              Rollin' on the streets
              Time went by and it became a joke...'
              Too bad it did for a while with in the squabbling and the long running 'Chinese Democracy' saga.

              9. Locomotive (Complicity) 8.42 mins

              'Gonna find a way to cure this loneliness
              Yeah I'll find a way to cure the pain'

              This is another long on by Slash and Axl. The layered vocal technique on this track give a somewhat distorted sound to them. There are some fantastic riffs as it hurtles along. One of the rockier feeling 'long ones', however it gets a bit whiney in places. I find it grates on me after a while and the ending becomes a bit repetitive.


              10. So fine 4.09 mins

              This is one of Duff's songs which is dedicated to Johnny Thunders (guitarist with the New York Dolls that died from an overdose). Its a much more mellow track and Duff sings it well. Axl croons along too but tends to take more of a backseat on this one. The lyrics appear heartfelt and its a nice tribute,

              'If you could only live my life
              You could see the difference you make to me'

              11. Estranged 9.20 mins

              Another big epic follows, this song was written about a messy break up. Its quite a sensitive and emotional track.

              'Still talkin' to myself and nobody's home'

              Its another one of Axl's so I guess he has plenty of experience to draw upon. However, its not the lyrics that are the most memorable thing on this track (it takes about half the song before it even reaches the chorus). A special mention has to go to Slash and the guitars. They are sublime on this track (he even gets a special mention on the inlay). Melodically superb.

              12. You could be mine 5.48 mins

              This song was originally written by Rose and Stradlin during the 'Appetite for Destruction' period and it shows. This has a grittier sound to it with some pacey drumming and ballsy guitars. The lyrics are much edgier too,

              ' With your bitch slap rappin'
              And your cocaine tongue
              You get nuthin' done'.

              It is famous for being in the Terminator 2 film. A great rock song more like the old style Guns n' Roses.

              13. Don't cry (alternative lyrics) 4.42 mins

              Is this a bit of cheating going on? Did they run out of songs? Apparently there are 3 versions of this song; the original demo of 1986, the finished version on 'Use Your Illusion 1' and this one which is essentially the same tune but with different lyrics. The songs are still about the same thing - falling out of love. Its just that the song 'Don't cry' was so old that Axl no longer felt that the lyrics were fitting and so rewrote them.
              Its a sad and moving song with Axl displaying a softer side to his vocal range. Shannon Hoon (Axl's cousin and singer with Blind Melon) again lends a hand with the vocals.
              The guitars are excellent, my only gripe being that Slash could have included another solo of say 1.22 mins go that there would be no room for the god awful 'My World' that follows!

              14. My world 1.22 mins

              NOOOOOOOOO Axl, what have you done? What the hell is this S**t?
              The Use Your Illusions were Axl's babies. I'm sure he saw them as groundbreaking and career defining, so why the hell did he shove this crap at the end? Okay its memorable but for all the wrong reasons. It is just 1.22 mins of arsing about with some synths with some women groaning in the background - really dodgy stuff.
              'Guess what I'm doing now' urges Axl at the end. Wouldn't we all like to know Mr. Rose. Where the hell is 'Chinese Democracy'?

              AVAILABILITY

              Amazon £7.97
              Play.com £9.49 delivered
              HMV £14.99 delivered

              SO WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

              Both albums shot straight to the top of the charts with 'Use Your Illusion 2' reaching number 1 and 'Use Your Illusion 1' reaching number 2 (confusing!?)

              Izzy left the band and went on tour as 'Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds'. Can't think why I've never heard of them! They have since split and he has done some solo stuff.

              Guns n' Roses went on to record an album of covers called 'The Spaghetti Incident?' which was critically panned (it was a bit shite in places). It was the final nail in the coffin. The rest of the band soon quit or were fired by Rose.

              Slash formed 'Slash's snakepit' and then moved on to playing Blues music. Fortunately all that changed in 2002.
              Duff also had some side projects but teamed up with Slashand Matt Sorum again. They roped in Scott Weiland (ex-Stone Temple Pilots) and Dave Kushner (a mate of Slash's) and Velvet Revolver was born (Izzy was also involved at the beginning).

              Steve Adler struggled to clean up his act. He suffered strokes and heart attacks. He has tried to get back into the rock circuit and was recently milking 'Appetite for Destruction' by touring as 'Adlers Appetite'. They are probably touring at pubs near you!

              Sadly, both Shannon Hoon and WesArkeen that featured on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums died of drugs overdoses in 1995 and 1997 respectively.

              Axl is the sole original member of the band left. Dizzy Reed was still working with him (at least he was last time I heard anything but that could have changed by now). The long awaited GN'R album called 'Chinese Democracy' still hasn't materialised. Musicians and producers come and go (Mike Clink, Moby, Buckethead, Brian May and Robin Finck to name but a few).
              Axl, the world is waiting

              THE VERDICT

              As a 14 year old, Guns n' Roses could do no wrong in my eyes. Even 'My World' was tolerated as it was a bit rude. However, 14 years (and a bit) later, I am a bit more critical.

              With the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, GNR cemented their position as a stadium band (although I don't think that it sits too well with all members of the band). The albums were big and ambitious. I think they just about managed to pull it off. Songs like You could be mine, Civil War and Breakdown are stunning.

              You can feel Axl Rose's pull on the band. I think that with these albums he took the band in a direction that they weren't all together happy with and the strain shows at times. I think the others in the band are more suited to playing rawer, heavier good old rock songs instead of the ballads that Rose thrives on. Use Your Illusion 1 showcases their talents more (which is why I prefer it to number 2).

              Use Your Illusion 2 has some great tracks on it (My World aside) but it is a bit too heavy on the epic long tracks. Some grittier and rockier tracks might have helped it a bit more. I would recommend it to all rock fans, particularly if you like Aerosmith and the Stones.

              EPILOGUE

              So are the albums as good as I remember them? Did 'Time fade the pages on my book of memories'? Well no, not really. I'm afraid that some of the songs do seem a bit like fillers these days. I think that it could be edited down and put on one album, but boy WHAT an album it would be. I'd pick,
              Civil War
              Pretty tied up
              Dust n, Bones
              Get in the ring
              Estranged
              You could be mine
              November rain
              Shot gun Blues
              Bad Obsession
              Perfect Crime
              Dead Horse
              Coma

              Its been fun to revisit these albums as they remind me so much of my youth. Thanks for reading and well done if you have read them both together, I hope I haven't bored you too much
              Vickixxxx

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                25.05.2006 15:18
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                3 Comments

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                A piece of rock history

                PROLOGUE

                14 years ago these albums were constantly played at full volume in my bedroom. Screams of 'turn that bl**dy music down' still echo in my mind when I think back to those days. How will the albums fare now the tragic truth that Axl won't marry me has been realised? Are the albums as good as I remember them or was I blinded by love (and that kilt mmmmmm)?


                A BIT OF HISTORY

                Following the massive success of their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, the hype and expectations surrounding the simultaneous release of the 1991'Use Your Illusion' albums was huge. The 'Use Your Illusion' title came from a painting that Axl had seen by the artist Mark Kostabi.

                1991 had been a turbulent year for GnR. Axl had seen his wedding to sweet-heart Erin Everly annulled. Izzy Stradlin had been arrested for publicly peeing on an aeroplane then he buggered off after the album had been finished but before they had started touring. Replacement Gilby Clarke (ex-Kills for Thrills) was drafted in to replace him. Original drummer Steve Adler had been chucked out for his continuing drug addictions and ex-Cult drummer Matt Sorum had stepped into his shoes.

                With Axl becoming increasingly domineering and erratic, further cracks were beginning to appear within the rest of the band. Slash and Duff were also battling with their own addictions. The 'Use Your Illusion' albums occured just before everything fell apart.

                THE BAND

                W. Axl Rose - Vocals
                Michael 'Duff' McKagen - Bass
                Izzy Stradlin (Jeff Isabelle) - Guitar
                Saul 'Slash' Hudson - Guitar
                Matt Sorum - Drums (original drummer Steve Adler features on 'Civil War', UYI2)
                Dizzy Reed - Keyboards

                DISCOGRAPHY (ALBUMS)

                1986 Live! Like a Suicide Uzi Suicide
                1987 Appetite for Destruction Geffen
                1989 G N' R Lies Geffen
                1991 Use Your Illusion I Geffen
                1991 Use Your Illusion II Geffen
                1993 The Spaghetti Incident? Geffen
                1999 Live Era: '87-'93 Geffen
                2003 Greatest Hits Geffen

                THE ALBUM

                Use Your Illusion 1
                Released 1991 on Geffen
                Producers Guns n' Roses and Mike Clink.

                TRACK LIST

                1. Right Next Door to Hell 2.58 mins

                Axl had been a bit of a naughty boy and had gotten arrested for smashing a wine bottle on his next door neighbours head (in his defence she had attacked him with a chicken bone). This song was inspired by these events.

                ' I said I'm right next door to hell
                An so many eyes are on me'

                The fast tempo blistering beginning is a great start to the album. With Axl's shrieking and some meaty guitars you are left with high hopes for the rest of the album.

                2. Dust n' Bones 4.55 mins

                A chilled-out, bluesy second song follows. This was written by Izzy, Duff and Slash supposedly when they were high on drugs (maybe thats why its so mellow).

                'He lost his mind today
                He left it out back on the highway
                on 65'

                3. Live and Let Die 2.59 mins

                Guns n' Roses then take on the McCartneys as they cover the James Bond theme. Lets face it my cat could sing better than Sir Paul McFartney (sorry not a fan). Its a great cover of the original but I'm not a great fan of this song, I prefer them when they sing their own stuff. The riffs are great, Rose's vocals are superb (how does he hold them notes without his rectum prolasping?) It also features a horn section that gives a fuller sound to the track.

                'What does it matter to ya
                When ya got a job to do ya got to do it well
                You got to give the other fella heeeellllllllll'

                4. Don't Cry (original) 4.42 mins

                The original finished version of 'Don't Cry' (one with adapted lyrics appears on 'Use Your Illusion 2'. I belive that its one of the very first songs that they wrote. It featured on their original demo but they didn't feel it was right for their debut album and it was shelved.
                Its a ballad but a good one, it is sung so tenderly. Axl's cousin Shannon Hoon (singer with Blind melon) guests on vocals (it sounds like a woman to me though).

                'Talk to me softly
                Theres something in your eyes
                Don't hang your head in sorrow
                And please don't cry'

                5. Perfect Crime 2.22 mins

                The next track kicks you up the ass and wakes you up again. This is short and sweet track, 2.22 mins of explosive aggression.
                It hurtles along at break neck speed right from beginning with Axls screams. A similar vibe to 'Garden of Eden' but with afew sirens thrown in for good measure.

                ' Perfect crime
                Goddamn it it's a perfect crime'

                6. You Ain't the First 2.32 mins

                Another relatively short one follows. Its another one of Izzy's so you are gently easied in with some gentler acoustic melodies. It reminds me of old cowboy movies this track - just think of a swaggering John Wayne.
                Its ok but it lacks punch. Shannon Hoon lends his vocal skills and Tim Doyle plays tambourine.

                'You was just a temporary lover
                Honey you ain't the first
                Lots of others came before you woman
                Said but you been the worst'

                7. Bad Obsession 5.26 mins

                Mike Monroe guests on the saxophone and harmonica on this track. Its another one of Izzy's and so it has that tell-tale blues feel about it. The guitars and harmonica work well to give it a dirty, sleazy edge.

                'Maybe you'll do better next time
                Punk!!'

                8. Back Off Bitch 5.01 mins

                Yet another one of Rose's anti-women rants. This track often reminds me of 'You Could Be Mine'. It has the same raw energy and pent up aggression. It was supposedly written about Axl's ex-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour.

                'Face of an angel with the love of a witch
                Back off, back off bitch.'
                He's an angry guy that Axl!

                9. Double Talkin' Jive 3.19 mins

                This ones penned by Stradlin again. With its funky guitar sounds this one is definately more about the tune than the lyrics. It features an understated acoustic guitar solo by Slash at the end.

                'Double talkin' jive
                Get the money motherf**ker
                Cause I got no more patience'

                10. November Rain 8.53 mins

                Axl's very own Bohemian Rhapsody. This song has everything including a full keyboard orchestra. Everything about it is big but its also a bit cheesy (I can't help but think of the video at this point). I do love the song though even its overblown ending, Slash's solos are exceptional(if a little greedy).
                The lyrics are really poetic and moving and the riffs are fantastic. The whole song just has an epic feel to it. A classic!

                'Cause nothin lasts forever
                And we both no hearts can change
                And its hard to hold a candle
                In the cold November rain.'

                11. The Garden 5.17 mins

                There is a psychedelic tripping feel to this song, its not really very GN'R. It has a sinister darker side to it as well, with Slash's slide guitar helping to create the mood. Alice Cooper guests on vocals - he does menacing well!

                'Turned into my worst phobia
                A crazy man's utopia
                If you're lost no one can show ya
                But it sure was glad to know ya'

                12. Garden of Eden 2.36 mins

                This is a very fast tempo song with Rose just firing the lyrics manicly out like a man possesssed. The furious nature of his singing is matched by the ferosity of the guitars. Its a shame the serious nature of the lyrics are somewhat lost in this song.

                'Most organized religions make
                A mockery of humanity
                Our governments are dangerous
                And out of control'

                13. Don't Damn Me 5.15 mins

                Is this another rant at the press and their critics? Or is it Rose having a nervous breakdown before us? Certainly the lyrics might suggest the latter

                'Sometimes I wanna kill
                Sometimes I wanna die
                Sometimes I wanna destroy
                Sometimes I wanna cry'

                The track has an aggressive feel to it which is mirrored in the guitar riffs.

                14. Bad Apples 4.25 mins

                Another one with attitude and a slight bluesy feel to it. It was written by Axl, Slash, Izzy and Duff. Fantastic grinding guitars accompany an outstanding performance by Dizzy Reed on piano.

                'If it were up to me
                I'd say just leave me be
                Why let one bad apple
                Spoil the whole damn bunch'

                15. Dead Horse 4.17 mins

                This one is written by Rose and is another of his depressing introspection ones. After a slow start and a earsplitting scream the song picks up nicely. Great riffs and plenty of balls make this one of my favourites on the album.

                'Sick of this life
                Not that you'd care
                I'm not the only one
                With whom these feelings I share'
                Listen out for Mike Clink on the nutcracker.


                16. Coma 10.08

                Another long one by Slash and Axl. This is a bit of an emotional epic full of twists and turns. It starts with the the bassline being played like a heartbeat before the vocals come in. The song is quite intense as it moves from spaced out moments to parts where it sounds like 'Casualty' in the background. Add on top 'the bitches' 'bitch slappin' Axl itslike nothing you have ever heard before. I have read that the doctors voices that feature on it are the ones that saved Axl from a drugs overdose - now theres a way to say thanks! Its a great song to end the album on.

                'Hey you caught me in a coma
                And I don't think I wanna
                Ever come back to this...world again'

                AVAILABILITY

                Amazon £5.97
                Play.com £9.49 delivered
                HMV £14.99 delivered

                THE VERDICT

                Use Your Illusion 2 is generally regarded as the better of the 2 Illusion albums but I would have to disagree. I much prefer this one. Alright number 2 contains all the 'biggies' but its for that reason that I much prefer this album.

                'Use Your Illusion 1' has a much rockier feel to it. I think that the rest of the band (not just Axl) have been allowed to flex their creative muscles and the result is a great mix of epics, ballads, blues and rock. I do feel though that both albums have too much piano in them. I prefer the sound of guitars more but thats just a minor critisism.

                I would recommend this album to all rock fans as it is a classic. There are some fantastic tunes on it, my personnal favourites being Bad Obsession, Don't Cry, Dead Horse and Coma.


                Thanks for reading this far, please read the second one,
                Vicki

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
                • Mutter - Rammstein / Music Album / 34 Readings / 32 Ratings
                  More +
                  19.05.2006 18:24
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)
                  7 Comments

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  A classic metal album thats errr German

                  Pyrotechnics, German words, big loud guitars. It could only mean one band - the mighty Rammstein.

                  THE BAND

                  Rammstein formed in 1993 in East Germany. They took their name from the location of a German air disaster.
                  They are usually pigeon-holed as industrial but there is rock, metal, electro stuff all in there and its rounded off with a punk attitude. They sing in German too, but don't let that put you off.

                  Rammstein are :-
                  Till Lindemann - Vocals
                  Richard Krupse-Berstein - Guitars
                  Paul Landers - Guitar
                  Oliver Riedel - Bass
                  Christophe 'Doom' Schneider - Drums
                  Christian 'Flake' Lorenz - Keyboards

                  DISCOGRAPHY

                  Herzeleid - 1995
                  Sehnsucht - 1997
                  Live aus Berlin - 1999
                  Mutter - 2001
                  Reise, Reise - 2004
                  Rosenrot - 2005

                  THE ALBUM

                  This album is their 2001 offering - Mutter; the album that probably kickstarted their rise to fame. Its on the Motor Music label which is a division of Universal Music.

                  TRACK LIST

                  1. Mein Herz Brennt (My Heart Burns) - 4.39 min

                  This song is about a bogeyman/sandman. Think of it as a German 'Enter the Sandman' by Metallica. It starts with an orchestra of violins blasting out at you. Till then growls and snarls his way throughout the song. A great opening track but he orchestra/violiny bit reminds me of James Bond music.

                  2. Links 2 3 4 (Left 2 3 4 ) - 3.36 min

                  The track opens with marching noises and this is carried on with the lyrics. The mighty guitar riffs in this track are just so big and imposing.There is just so much going on in the track acoustically but it somehow just all sits effortlessly together. The song slows in places just long enough for you to catch your breath before it fires up again. Excellent!

                  3. Sonne (Sun) - 4.32 min

                  Eins, zwei, drei......you are counted in (in German of course) before the explosive guitars crash in. This is probably the most well known Rammstein track. It is certainly the first one I heard and it got me hooked right from the very beginning. It is a somewhat dark and menacing song with a heavy industrial feel to it.
                  The lyrics are quite simplistic ( Hier kommt die Sonne - Here comes the sun) but that just adds to its menace and foreboding.Not even the operatic warbling in the background ruin this track.

                  4. Ich Will (I Want) - 3.37 min

                  Ich Will growls Till menacingly. This to me seems like a big list of I wants and indeed that is what it translates as. A great sing-a-long track with powerful guitars. There is an audience sing-a-long at the end which I don't usually like. It sounds great here though.

                  5. Feuer Frei! (Fire at Will!) - 3.08 min

                  After a quiet start, the blasting siren noises at the beginning of this track just whack you in the face. Bang, Bang screams Till - this track is certainly fast and furious. It was featured on the xXx soundtrack (did you see the clever link there?) The track swaps from its gentler melodies to frantic, full-on, in-your-face riffs right up until the final bang bang.

                  6. Mutter (Mother) - 4.28 min

                  The gentle and calmer opening stands in stark contrast to the previous track. This is a slower song but its BIG, angry and powerful. Epic guitar riffs accompanied by Till's growls of 'Mutter' make this a worthy and memorable title track. It's not a particularly nice ode to mothers, with one of the verses translating as,
                  "For the mother who never gave birth to me
                  I have sworn tonight
                  I will send her an illness
                  and afterwards make her sink in the river"
                  - charming!

                  7. Spieluhr (Musicbox) - 4.46 min

                  The track begins with Till speaking before the heavy guitars come in. I'd always liked the song but I wasn't sure what it was about so I looked up the translation. It is about a child buried underground with a little music box. I'm not sure if they were playing dead or not. Anyway after I had read the translation of the lyrics and relistened to the song, it sent shivers down my spine.
                  I had always thought that it was Pinky and Perky that turn up to do a bit of singing but I know that it is supposed to be the child singing in a nursery rhyme type way.. The song ends with the sound of the music box stopping. It is a very powerful and moving climax to the song.

                  8. Zwitter (Hermaphrodite) - 4.17 min

                  There seems to be a taunting nature about the cries of Zwitter, Zwitter at the beginning of this track. With its pounding guitars and drums, it has a faster pace than the previous track.

                  9. Rein Raus (In Out) - 3.09 min

                  oooh eeer, I wonder what this one could possibly be about? If you hadn't guessed then the cries of 'tiefer' (deeper) might also be a give away. However, if you didn't know the translation, the sexual nature of the song wouldn't be obvious. Alright the pounding rhythm might be a clue but it doesn't sound dirty or sleazy. Great guitar solos and keyboards.

                  10. Adios (Goodbye) - 3.48 min
                  This is a very fast paced song. The drums on this one are exceptionally good.

                  11. Nebel (Mist) - 4.54 min

                  This is quite a haunting track that slowly builds up. It starts off subdued but you are just waiting for it to burst into life. When it does happen it doesn't disappoint all those melodic keyboards had just been teasing you. A cracking end to a cracking album.

                  AVAILABILITY

                  Amazon - £6.97 - a bargain!
                  Play.com - £9.99 delivered
                  HMV - £16.99 delivered

                  THE VERDICT

                  On paper you would think this to be crap and in truth it should be. A German metal band just conjeurs up images of Eurovision to me (and strange images of David Hasselhoff but lets not go there).

                  However, Rammstein are something else. They are big and they know it. There is such a fullness to their sound yet they still maintain a raw, powerful and rugged edge. They generate such an immense industrial/rock/electro/metal sound that they just have to be listened to.

                  This album is quite simply amazing. There isn't a duff track on it It doesn't matter that its in German and I don't know what the hell he's on about. He could be singing about what he buys from the shops for all I know but it still sounds great.

                  Till's vocals just suit this style of music so well that I think the fact that it is in the very gluttral German actually enhance the songs. The vocals are just so strong and powerful that you can't fail to be impressed.

                  I can not recommend this album strongly enough. If you are a rock or metal fan I think that you will love this album.

                  Thanks for reading, Vicki

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                  • More +
                    18.05.2006 12:38
                    Very helpful
                    (Rating)
                    3 Comments

                    Advantages

                    Disadvantages

                    Your annoying plastic pet

                    I bought 2 of my kids a Tamagotchi each for Christmas and I would say that now 3 1/2 months later, the novelty has just worn off (coincidently this is how long the battery lasted!).

                    -------The product-------

                    This is a Tamagotchi version 2 which means you can connect to others by means of an infra red port. They can play games and exchange items this way.

                    It comes in a kind of blister pack which is tricky to open. Take care that you don't bin the rather extensive insructions as well.

                    I got mine from Toys r us (£12.99) but I have seen them for £11.99 in Tesco.

                    They come in a variety of colours but I recommend that you get one of those round the neck mobile phone strings to put it on (you can pick them up for around £1) as the Tamagotchi's are small and easy to loose.


                    -------Setting your Tamagotchi----------

                    When you finally get into the thing you will be able to set it. You enter your childs DOB (I think the Tamagotchi's are supposed to celebrate it but we haven't had a birthday yet). If you stick a pen in the hole at the back you can also reset it.

                    You then need to set date and time etc. It is important that you do this right as the Tamagotchis 'sleep through' you don't want the thing beeping at you all night! They also do 'seasonal activities'. When you haven't played with it for a bit and you look at it, you can sometimes catch it doing things like putting up christmas trees, watching the Easter bunny and building snowmen. They also do the day-to-day stuff like watching TV and having baths etc.

                    Once you have done all this your egg will appear on screen. You just have to wait for it to hatch. Once it does you can name it (there is space for 5 characters). A black blob is a boy and a clear blob is a girl. Congratulations you are now the parent of a beeping, pooing spodge!

                    --------The Icons---------

                    Now you are up and running you need to know about the icons. These are at the very top and the bottom of the screen. There are 10 in all. To select the icons scroll through using the first button (A), to select press B and to cancel press C.

                    1. The status icon.

                    This displays the hungry and Happy meters (4 hearts that you should try and keep full), the training bar (you get further pieces of bar for praising or disciplining the tamagotchi accordingly). It also shows the age, weight in pounds, generation number, name and the number of points you have (just press B to scroll through).

                    2. The feeding icon.

                    You can choose to give your tamagotchi a meal, a snack or a treat. The meals and snacks change depending on the development of your Tamagotchi.
                    A meal will fill 1 hungry heart and a snack 1 happiness heart. If you give it too many snacks it will get tooth ache (it will beep and display a tooth).
                    You can buy your tamagotchi treats from the shop.

                    3. The toilet icon.

                    Go to this icon to clean up any little 'acccidents' that your tamagotchi may have had. If you see wiggly lines around the tamagotchi and you press this icon in time then your tamagotchi will deposit its load in the toilet. It looks funny doing this. Tamagotchis poo quite frequently (every couple of hours or so). If you leave poo next to your tamagotchi for too long it will become ill and a skull picture will appear.

                    4. The games icon.

                    Here you can choose to play games, go shopping or play with the items you have already bought.

                    GAMES
                    When your tamagotchi is born you will only be able to play one game. As it grows up more of these games become unlocked.
                    There are 4 games :- jump, bump, heading and slot.
                    Play these games to earn points to spend in the shop.

                    Jump - Three circles will light up one at a time. Press the corresponding A,B or C button as fast as you can in order to make the tamagotchi jump further and earn more points

                    Bump - Try and get as much health as you can on the health bar so as to defeat your opponents. You need to win the round to advance to the next one (there are 8 rounds).

                    Heading - Move left or right (A and C) and then press B to jump to head the ball 20 times to win max. points (100).

                    Slot - Bet between 1 and 9 points. You need to try and get 3 circles. Triangles give you less money than circles and 3 crosses will earn you nothing. (Max 900).

                    Playing games will decrease the weight of the tamagotchi.
                    Now you can spend all your hard earned points in the shop!

                    The shop keeper will sell 4 things at a time. These are treats for your tamagotchi and items that it can play with (certain items can only be used by tamagotchis that are adults, or children etc). There are 5 secret codes for getting extra items. These are free the first time you use them but if you want more you have to pay next time.

                    SECRET CODES

                    When the shop keeper appears press the A button until he flings his arms in the air. You can now enter your 8 digit code.

                    Costume CBAACABC
                    Hair gel ACBCABAC
                    Steak BACBCACB
                    Love potion (honey) BCBACABA
                    Cake (this is sometimes a different costume) ABBACBCC

                    All items can be viewed and played with through the items menu in the games icon.

                    5. Playmate icon

                    Her you can play games with friends if you connect your tamagotchis by using the infra red ports.

                    6. Training icon

                    You can choose to praise or give your tamagotchi a time out here. If your tamagotchi is in a bad mood (it usually beeps at you) you can praise it to cheer it up. You will earn more training bar.

                    If your tamacotchi is misbehaving (e.g. beeping when its happiness and hungry meters are full or it sends a poo as a present and giggles) you can give it a time out to earn more training points.

                    7. Medicine/health icon.

                    Go to this if your tamagotchi has tooth ache or the skull icon is showing. It may take a coulpe of goes to cure it.

                    8. Light icon

                    You can turn the lights out on your tamagotchi when it is in bed. It will beep to tell you that it is asleep. You should turn the lights out then so it sleeps better. The lights will automatically switch on when it wakes up in the morning.

                    9. Friends icon.

                    Here you have a list of all the people you have connected with (rather like a tamagotchi's little black book). It will show your friends name. gender and how compatible you are (shown by smiley faces and hearts).

                    You can also opt to send a present to a friend either a treat or one of your items. Just wrap it up then connect via infra red. The more you send the more compatible they become.....fickle little things!

                    10. Attention icon.

                    This icon can't be selected but lights up when yout tamagotchi wants something. Check health and happiness etc.

                    ---------Tamagotch growth cycle------

                    Sounds a bit like school doesn't it!!

                    A tamagotchi will go through a number of stage, baby, child, teenager, adult and old person. It will change in appearance at each stage. What it becomes at each stage depends on how you take care of it. 1 tamagotchi year is roughly 1 day so the changes are good as they keep the child interested. Each tamagotchi lasts just over a week in my experience before it falls in love has a baby and the dies (leaving the baby behind as the next generation). The new baby can be renamed and inherits its parents items and money (very nice!), but if your tamagotchi dies before it reproduces you loose all the items and money you had.

                    If your tamagotchi reaches about 6 years and still hasn't found it's 'soul mate' some ugly old hag comes around and tries to pair you up. Should you choose to fall in love then you get fireworks and then lumbered with a baby. The adult only then lasts a day or so before disappearing leaving the baby - they aren't the best of parents these tamagotchis!


                    ---------What I think about them-------

                    All in all I have been quite impressed with these. They aren't too annoying as you can turn the sound off (just press A and C together). We have lost them a couple of times but they beep every now and then so you can track them down.

                    They are pretty robust, one of ours almost survived the washing machine. It worked for a bit before finally giving up the ghost!

                    The only draw back that I have found is tracking down spare batteries. I thought they might have lasted longer than 3 months which is how long it took for them both to run out. On the plus side you do get plenty of notice before they go and you have the option of down loading the data so you can save it.


                    The kids have lost interest in them a bit but they still have a play with them every now and then. In the mean time I lovingly tend their every need to keep them going.

                    I think that a version 3 is due out soon with more characters that the tamagotchi can change into, so it might be worth holding on before you buy one.

                    Comments

                    Login or register to add comments
                    • More +
                      17.05.2006 15:40
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      3 Comments

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      Reznor's career defining double album

                      THE BAND

                      Nine Inch Nails is a band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1988 by Trent Reznor. The only constant member is Reznor with other musicians coming and going. Trent Reznor IS Nine Inch Nails. Other members featured on The Fragile (and at the live shows) are:-
                      Robin Finck - Guitar, Synthesizer
                      Danny Lohner - Bass, Guitar, Synthesizer
                      Jerome Dillon - Drums
                      Charlie Clouser - Synthesizer, Theremin

                      The genre is a bit harder to pin down. They are usually classed as industrial but there are so many different sounds to them: metal, rock, punk, electro, goth - you name it Reznor's done it.


                      DISCOGRAPHY

                      Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
                      Broken- EP (1992)
                      The Downward Spiral (1994)
                      The Fragile (1999)
                      With Teeth (2005)

                      Nine Inch Nails also use the Halo numbers to catalogue their releases.

                      THE FRAGILE

                      NIN's fourth major release is the two-disc album The Fragile (1999) or Halo 14. The Fragile went double platinum in January 2000. It was released on Nothing records label.


                      TRACK LISTING

                      LEFT
                      1. Somewhat damaged
                      Its pumping opening riffs are similar to those of the downward spiral album.

                      2. The day the world went away
                      Slightly gentler than track 1. The blazing guitars rudely interupt the relative quiet about half way through the song. Finishes with Reznor chanting.

                      3. The frail
                      Piano led instrumental, each note seem laboured.

                      4. The wretched
                      Great sing-a-long chorus, 'You know this is what it feels like'. Excellent performed live!

                      5. We're in this together
                      Some strange noises before the industrial sounding syths kick in. More industrial sounding than the previous tracks.

                      6. The fragile
                      Title track off the album.

                      7. Just like you imagined
                      An instrumental with slow melodic pianos.

                      8. Even deeper
                      Dr. Dre gave mixing assistance on this one proving just how diverse Reznor can be

                      9. Pilgrimage
                      Wow!Chanting buddha boys choir and marching percussion - sounds crap I know but trust me it works!

                      10. No, you don't

                      11. La mer
                      another simple piano melody that gradually builds into a powerful drum climax

                      12. The great below

                      RIGHT
                      1. The way out is through
                      a slowly-building track that is kind of reminicsent of "The Downward Spiral

                      2. Into the void
                      Into the Void," has echoes of "Closer"

                      3. Where is everybody?

                      4. The mark has been made
                      an instrumental

                      5. Please

                      6. Starfuckers, Inc.
                      "Starfuckers, Inc." is a bit of a dig at Reznor's former friend and protégé, Marilyn Manson aka Brian Warner. Manson and Reznor eventually kissed and made up, and Manson even appeared in the video for Starfuckers, Inc.

                      7. Complication
                      Another instrumental

                      8. I'm looking forward to joining you, finally

                      9. The big come down

                      10. Underneath it all

                      11. Ripe (with decay)
                      an instrumental full of stringed instruments, piano and NOISE. A cool track and a great one to end on.

                      THE ALBUM

                      In interviews before the album was completed, Reznor said he was considering organizing the album so that one disc had the instrumentals and the other had the songs with lyrics. These plans changed when Bob Ezrin (producer of Pink Floyd's The Wall) suggested an arrangement of tracks that would strengthen the "four corners of the album"-namely the beginnings and ends of each of the two discs. I'm glad Reznor took his advice.

                      The music just flows effortly from one track to the next without a pause. To fully appreciate the album its best if you listen to it uninterupted (easier said than done at almost 2 hours I know).

                      The songs are full of Reznors trademark lamentations, self pity and desperateness. In a way the album feels quite voyueristic as Reznor bares his soul. It is a highly emotional album and so doesn't always make for easy listening, but thats what I love about Nine Inch Nails.

                      There is an honesty about the songs in that they don't cater for the masses - they are more a cathartic outlet for Reznors self pity. That said and done its some great music. It wouldn't be Nine Inch Nails without a bit of wallowing in self pity!

                      The album has a bit of a prog rock feel and it was certainly a risk to include so many instrumentals. However, I think this album is brilliant. Its epic, its big, its shamelessly self indulgent and the music is fantastic. I love the way it flows from quiet whispery bits to BANG in your face, kick ass music.

                      Its not going to be to everyones taste this but I would recommend this album if you like dark, industrial, rock, syth music or if you like Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode or Ministry.

                      AVAILABILITY

                      Amazon £12.99
                      play.com £14.99 delivered
                      HMV £17.99


                      (c) Vicki.lyon

                      Comments

                      Login or register to add comments
                      • More +
                        17.05.2006 15:07
                        Very helpful
                        (Rating)
                        1 Comment

                        Advantages

                        Disadvantages

                        A crude, rude and funny film

                        The 40 year old virgin

                        TECHNICAL STUFF
                        Genre: Comedy/ Romance
                        Certificate: 15
                        Year of release: 2005
                        Director: Judd Apatow (Cable guy, Anchorman)
                        Writers: Steve Carell and Judd Apataw
                        Running time: 116 min.
                        Universal Pictures

                        CAST LIST

                        Steve Carell - Andy Stitzer
                        Catherine Keener - Trish
                        Paul Rudd - David
                        Romany Malco - Jay
                        Seth Rogen - Cal
                        Elizabeth Banks - Beth
                        Leslie Mann - Nicky
                        Jane Lynch - Paula
                        Gerry Bednob - Mooj
                        Shelley Malil - Haziz
                        Kat Dennings - Marla

                        THE PLOT

                        Andy Stitzer is a collectable obssessed geek. His life revolves around his job as a stock supervisor at Smart Tech and he is 'a 40 year old virgin' (no suprises there then'. Any way, he is outed as a virgin one night when he is playing poker with some of the guys from work. These guys who had previously virtually ignored him or thought him to be a serial killer, suddenly make it their mission to get him laid. The usual goading takes place, to which Andy replies,
                        " I respect women, I respect them so much I stay away from them"

                        There then follows a catalogue of disasters and misunderstandings which reveal that his work mates, David, (a guy who can't get over a girl that left him), Cal ( a sexually well-experienced 'stoner') and Jay(a serial womaniser that cheats on his girlfriend) have less than perfect love lives anyway. Coupled with this, Andy meets his soul mate a single mother called Trish. She runs a store called ' We sell your stuff on eBay'. He doesn't dare ask her out as he thinks that sex would be a problem.

                        When he does ask her out the usual problems of disapproving kids and misunderstandings occur. Plus, how will he admit that he is a virgin. Will it be a happy ending for Andy and his friends?


                        EXTRAS

                        - You know how I know you're gay?
                        This is a deleted scene from the film. It builds on one of the running jokes from the film 'you know how I know you're gay'. The scene features Cal and David having said 'discussion' whilst playing a game (I think it might be Mortal Kombat). Anyway, the banter is quite funny and very rude with fanny packs, baby blue pants and the musical Rent being mentioned as measures of gayness. Its pretty funny and one of the few extras that I have seen that seem worth while.

                        - Andy's Fantasies
                        Again this is the extended version of a scene from the movie. It features a porn star getting her knockers out (not my cup of tea personally but I'm sure most blokes will appreciate her fine assets). The scene continues with his fantasy about a news reader etc... It isn't particularly amusing - one for the lads I think!

                        - Cal and Paula
                        This is another discussion type scene featuring (surprise, surprise) Cal and Paula. The general theme is about sleeping with people and why they are shaggable. Mildly amusing.

                        - Deleted Scenes
                        The obligatory deleted scenes. As always some are funnier than others.

                        There is a full commentary on the film and all the extras have the option of having the commentary on or off ( I personally can't be arsed with commentaries, I find them annoying).

                        VERDICT

                        I enjoyed the film. I thought it was very funny and crude (just how I like my comedies). For me though the 2 Asian guys were the funniest guys in the film, especially the one that came from Brooklyn.

                        There are some hilarious scenes in the film. Some of the best feature a chest waxing and a drunken woman that Andy picks up. There is also some genuinely funny banter between all the characters as well as a good look into the male pscyhe (how to tell if a girl is in just the right state of drunkenness to pull).

                        The ending is a bit predictable and soppy but they tend to be like that in this sort of film. I wouldn't say that it lets the film down at all.

                        The sound track is great. It features some great funky tunes and has a real mix of stuffin there. There is everything from Lionel Richie's Hello, The age of aquarius to Get Ur freak on by Missy Elliot.

                        I would recommend the film to any one that has grown up (or not grown up like me) with the American Pie films and enjoys some crude humour. Enough romance to keep the girls happy, enough juvenial toilet humour to keep me and the lads happy!


                        Thanks for reading,
                        (c) Vicki.lyon

                        Comments

                        Login or register to add comments
                        • Jaws 25th Anniversary (DVD) / DVD / 26 Readings / 24 Ratings
                          More +
                          14.05.2006 20:10
                          Very helpful
                          (Rating)
                          3 Comments

                          Advantages

                          Disadvantages

                          25th anniverary of classic film

                          Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Da Da Da Da (sorry!!!)

                          This is the two disc 30th anniversary edition DVD of Spielberg's 1975 classic Jaws. The film is on disc 1 and the goodies (extras) are on disc 2.

                          -------THE PLOT------

                          For those of you who haven't seen it ( and I don't think it can be many of you) heres the basic plot.
                          A great white shark is terrorizing the summer resort of Amity, Long Island. The dozey mayor (Hamilton) wants to pretend that it's not happening as it would harm the summer trade but officer Martin Brody (Scheider) thinks differently. He enlists the help of shark specialist Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) and the old sea dog ( and for my money the star of the film) Quint (Shaw) in order to hunt the beast down. The three set sail on Quints rust bucket of a boat called the Orca and a game of cat and mouse follows until the eventual explosive 'show down'.

                          ------- CAST AND CREW -------

                          Director - Steven Spielberg
                          Screenplay - Carl Gottlieb and Peter Benchley (the film was based on Pter Benchley's 1973/4 novel of the same name).
                          Composer - John Williams
                          Producers - Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown.

                          Martin Brody - Roy Scheider (can you believe that they considered Charlton Heston for the part? Ben Hur slays Jaws!)
                          Ellen Brody - Lorraine Gary (she should be eaten just for the sequels!)
                          Quint - Robert Shaw
                          Matt Hooper - Richard Dreyfuss
                          Mayor Vaughn - Murray Hamilton
                          Meadows - Carl Gottlieb
                          Hendricks - Jeffrey C. Kramer
                          Chrissie - Susan Backlinie

                          ------EXTRAS------

                          - A look inside 'Jaws. - 2 hours behind the scenes documentary containing interviews by Spielburg, Dreyfuss and Scheider.

                          - 1974 Steven Spielberg interview.

                          - Interactive shark facks.
                          You click on bits of the sharks body to learn intersting facts about sharks (this kept my 8 year old amused for ages).

                          - Still gallery

                          - Story boards

                          - Deleted scenes.
                          There's not many of these but the one with Quint singing had the kids howling with laughter. Why was it cut?

                          - Outtakes

                          Running time: 119 mins
                          Body count : 5

                          ------WHAT I THOUGHT OF THE FILM ------

                          I remember watching Jaws as a kid and loving it. I think that is when you should first watch it so as to fully appreciate it.
                          Watching it again as an adult, I still enjoyed the film. The head in the boat scene still made me jump (I had forgotten about it). Ok, the special effects don't look so special any more (did they ever?). My mum assures me that they were 'really good for the time', but I'm still not convinced. The kids have got scarier looking bath toys than that shark! However, big rubber shark aside, the under water sequences are great and beautifully shot.

                          The film is a classic thriller that is packed full of suspense but I think it's the music that truly makes this film. It is such a memorable and fantastic score; it is now infamous and has been much parodyed.

                          There are some fantastic performances from the cast but my favourite has to be Quint. I loved listening to his stories (he's like one of those elderly relatives with their war stories). I love the way he just breaks into song when the going gets tough plus he looks as hard as nails. He's a bloke I'd like to go for a pint with.

                          Enough of Quint, I would recommend this DVD if you like all these extra commentry things ( I don't personally). If you don't just buy the basic DVD but buy it you must!!!!!

                          Retail: £16.99 from Tesco

                          Certificate:15
                          Genre: Action/Thriller

                          (c) Vicki.lyon

                          Comments

                          Login or register to add comments
                          • The Devil's Rejects (DVD) / DVD / 26 Readings / 24 Ratings
                            More +
                            14.05.2006 17:57
                            Very helpful
                            (Rating)
                            4 Comments

                            Advantages

                            Disadvantages

                            A mediocre horror film

                            Release year:2005
                            Certificate: 18
                            Genre: Horror
                            Director: Rob Zombie

                            CAST
                            Sid Haig - Captain Spaulding/James Cutter
                            Bill Moseley - Otis B. Driftwood
                            Sheri Moon - Baby Firefly/Vera-Ellen
                            William Forsythe - Sheriff John Quincy Wydell
                            Ken Foree - Charlie Altamont
                            Matthew McGrory - Tiny
                            Leslie Easterbrook - Mother Firefly


                            The Firefly family from Zombie's 'House of 1000 Corpses' take centre stage again for this gorefest.

                            Whilst 'happily' sleeping in their beds the family is surrounded by cops and make a run for it. After a shoot 'em up one of the freaks is dead, mother is captured, Tiny is left looking confused in the woods and Baby and Otis have escaped. They make a quick phone call and meet up with their Marx brother obsessed pa - the hilarious Captain Spaulding. Cue plenty of violence and mayhem as the family flees to evade being captured by the just as twisted Sheriff Wydell and his bounty hunters.

                            There is a drawn out torture/murder scene in a motel that kind of over steps the mark. You know who's going to die and are left saying 'get on with it'.

                            I approached this film as being a fan of house of 1000 corpses but I was left disappointed. House of 1000 corpses is a love it or hate it film. I loved it as it was really different from the last few horror I'd seen. There were some totally gross out moments but the characters were so warped and twisted that it was funny too.

                            I watched 'The Devils Rejects' with the same kind of expectations, ok the gross out moments were there but the plot was thin on the ground. It was just violent for the sake of it - it didn't add anything to the movie. The characters were as gross as ever but Zombie seemed to have lost the arty direction of his first movie.

                            With 'House of 1000 Corpses' it really felt different (although along the same line as 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre') but Devils Rejects was just your average slasher movie but a bit more twisted and gory.

                            Zombie also seemed to ignore the Dr. Satan aspect that was in 'House of 1000 Corpses'. I was hoping that this would be built upon and explained in this film. The ending also felt more 'Thelma and Louise' compared to the twist that came at the end of 'House of 1000 Corpses'.

                            Still, it wasn't all bad and passed 104 minutes well but I wasn't left saying "WOW" like at the end of the other film. It was a bit more 'seen it before'.The star of the film (as in the first) was Captain Spaulding. I liked seeing his pikey pimp friends but that wore thin towards the end.

                            The soundtrack was good and added to the movie. However, the only special feature on the dvd was the trailer, so nothing special there.


                            If you liked 'House of 1000 Corpses' then you will be disappointed by this. If you didn't like it then this will probably be too sick and gory for you.

                            (c) vicki.lyon

                            Comments

                            Login or register to add comments