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After playing Grand Prix Legends for just a few minutes, it becomes clear that this driving simulator is very different from all the rest. Forget about driving round the track with your foot to the floor (or thumb to the button!) then turning the wheel and driving round the corner. GPL is the first driving game I have played where you actually have to concentrate 100% of the time just to keep the car on the road. Lift off the accelerator whilst rounding a corner and you are likely to end up spinning off the track in to a nearby hedge!! Drive over a hump on the track too fast and the car will become airborne. The realism is increased with the knowledge that the cars and the tracks are all accurately modelled from the actual cars and tracks used in the 1967 season. It's interesting (for some) to see how the Silverstone circuit looked before all the modern safety precautions were brought in, or what it was like to drive round the 14 mile Nurburgring circuit. Unfortunately Sierra were not able to gain the licences to use the Cooper and Honda names in the game, so instead there are two 'fictional' cars, named Coventry and Murasama. These are the actual Cooper and Honda cars, just under a different name. If you look around the internet you can find a 'fix' to put the Cooper and Honda names and paint schemes back on the car!! The game also comes with a 100 page manual on how to drive the cars, which is well worth a read if you want to get the best out of this game, especially if you want to dabble in the multitude of settings for each car - suspension, tyre pressures, differential lock-up etc. On the down side, the tricky car handling can make it a very difficult game to get in to. For these people, there are lesser powered 'training' cars. Due to the fact that it is extremely easy to crash the cars, there is an option to turn damage detection off, useful for when you hit brick walls at 150 mph!
Also, due to the good quality graphics and high realism, your computer may well struggle to keep up. Make sure you have a decent 3D card, preferrably one of the 3dfx Voodoo range, and at very least a Pentium 2 300. There is an option to turn various graphical options off, but why spend £30 on a game just to turn half of it off? Races with 5 cars or more on screen at once require considerably more processing power to keep the frame rate reasonable: more than my Pentium 2 400 has got! To sum up, it's a great game, but requires much patience to get the hang of driving the cars quickly. It also requires a decent PC to run it on, so no 486's please.
I bought this album back in November 1993, and I remember being absolutely breathtaken by Bjork's voice, and generally the way it sounded like nothing i'd ever heard before. In fact, I think I bought the album on the strength of one song, which i'd seen a few times on the 'ITV Chart show' (remember that!?). I think an added insentive was that Bjork herself is not unattractive in the 'Venus as a Boy' video! 7 Years on, the album is just as impressive. I can't say it's an album that's always in the CD player, it's more like one of those albums you get out every few months or so, just to remind yourself how good it is. Since buying Debut, I've also bought the 3 Sugarcubes albums (the band she was in before she went solo, for those not in the know), and have been suitably impressed with all 3. Everyone remembers two songs from 'Debut': Big Time Sensuality and Play Dead. Personally I think the best songs are Human Behaviour and Come to Me, but there isn't one poor song on the album. Even if you don't like Bjork, buy this album, i'm sure it'll be in most bargain bins these days. GO ON, BUY IT!!
We have had Sky digital for about 6 months now. At the time I think the offer was 'FREE DIGITAL DISH AND BOX (but it costs £100 for us to fit it)' The main advantage of Digital TV is the crystal clear picture and sound quality, and you've got to admit that it is 100% perfect. On very windy days though the picture can get distorted and the sound can dissapear, which is extremely frustrating!! This is very rare though. Some people may be drawn to the fact that you can do online shopping from an impressively large range of shops, and the fact that you get e-mail access also. But anyone who owns a PC with internet access can get the same services quicker and easier. E-mail is especially difficult through the Sky box: trying to type an e-mail with the remote control is like trying to type an essay on a mobile phone. You'll quickly give up. One interesting idea is the SKY SPORTS EXTRA channel. They often show premier league matches and international cricket and give you the option to 'interact' with the program. For instance you can watch the game from the TV camera of your choice. This really isn't as good as you might imagine, since the director always picks the correct shot for the action, so you might as well not bother. The only real advantage to the interactive software is the ability to watch the 'highlights' from the match. Imagine coming home to watch the football at half-time, and the score is 3-3. You can watch all the goals using the highlights function, so you never miss a thing!! But you can't get ITV, for some reason.
Remember what your shiny new car looked like when you drove it off the dealers forecourt for the first time. The paintwork was spotless, the windows were clean and the tyres were black, not the grey colour that they are now. A few weeks ago I decided to buy a can of Tyreslick to see if it would improve the look of my car. So I washed and dried the car as per normal, and then applied the Tyreslick. You just spray it on the sidewall of the tyre and wait for it to dry. The result is actually quite pleasing, giving the tyres a permanent wet/shiny look. To be honest it probably gives the best results on cars with alloy wheels, just because of the contrast between the shiny wheel and black tyre. Carplan Tyreslick claims to but the black shine back on to your tyres for up to 14 days, and if the weather is good it will easily out-last 14 days. If you're splashing through puddles though it tends to fade a lot quicker, as you would expect. I would thouroughly recommend this product for anyone who likes to keep their car looking like new, although a lot of people probably don't see the point. At £5 a can it may be slightly pricey as you go through cans quite quickly, but thats the only downside.
There's not many people aged between 18 and 25 who have never come in to contact with arguably (very arguably) the greatest games machine of all time: the ZX Spectrum. The Spectrum came in many different versions, the most popular being the 48k and 128k +2. Personally I had a +2, with built in tape player (just imagine that kids). It came from the days when games were simple but extremely playable. Games cost as little as 99p, and, due to them being so easy to program, there were litterally thousands of games on the market, most of them crap. Compare that to todays games, which, at the top end of the market can cost thousands of pounds to make, and months of work. The technical specifications were fairly average for it's day. 16 colours (technically 15 because BLACK and BRIGHT BLACK were the same colour!) compared to todays 16.7 million, 128k of RAM compared to todays average 65536k, and a tape player to load your programs from, compared to Hard disks, CD or DVD. One thing that is often forgotten about the spectrum, is that it was probably responsible for bringing computer programming to many people. Every Spectrum had the BASIC software language on it, which is a very good language for learning programming. I would say that the Spectrum was almost the Playstation of it's day, at least as far as it's popularity goes. And it just goes to show, that games don't need to be as complicated to be enjoyable. I suppose it's just what you get used to.
It's difficult to compare Vic and Bob to any other comedians, because I think they are so different to anything else that has come before them. Personaly I think they are far away the funniest comedians in the past 10 years, nobody even comes close. At the beginning and end of every show there is a surreal comedy song, often involving 1 or more of Vic's even more surreal sketches. If you've never seen 'A specially formed ice arch for climbing over Doves', or 'A Kestrel having sex above a television set' then I would advise you to watch!! They also do many sketches, for example, the bra wearing men, the farting Frenchmen and Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye, sitting on the dock of the bay, waiting for a ship to come in, then...er....go out again. No ships ever come in, ever. I can well understand some people not getting the joke at all, as I think that they are truly a 'Love them or Hate them' kind of act. True Reeves and Mortimer fans can often be heard in Pubs up and down the country, reciting the lines of R+M sketches in the vain hope that someone else will find it funny. They usually fail. I shall leave you with one of the all time great R+M gags. BOB : Vic, have you farted? VIC : No BOB : What, never??!! ...tap the bongo's, play the shoe heels, comb hair with squirrel etc etc...!!!! As I said, some people just don't understand!
Like many people, I would guess, my first car was a Peugeot 205. To be precise, a 1988 1.1 GL 5 door. I'm sure there's thousands of people out there right now, looking through the pages of Autotrader, trying to find a first car. Something cheap, under £1000, but at the same time they want something with a bit of style, a bit of cool about it!! The Peugeot 205 is your answer!! Much more interesting than the bland, over-popular Fiesta, or the even more bland Vauxhall Nova, or even the blandest of bland Austin Metro! What i like about the 205, is the fact that it still looks reasonably modern even today, 17 years after the first one rolled off the production line. The handling of Pug 205's is very good, due to the cars low weight and simple but effective suspension set up. The standard car's do tend to give a lot of body roll in the corners, but they are fairly tidy handlers which shouldn't get you in to trouble. The Gti's are better with their lower stance cancelling out most body roll. After December 1987, the 205 got a new dashboard and the new 'TU' series of engines. They were light and reasonably powerful, meaning even the 1.1 was quick enough for most people. The only car to avoid is the 954cc engined cars, which struggled, especially with a few passengers on-board. Decent F,G and H plate cars can be picked up for well under £1000 these days, and with a bit of care and attention, not much should go wrong. They are surprisingly well made for a small french car, much better than it's Citroen AX sister, with which it shares many mechanical parts. When test driving, just check for the normal items, and make sure it starts well from cold. Engines can get a bit smokey with very high mileage, especially the 'XU' engined 1.6 and 1.9 Gti, which tend to live rather hard lives. Other than that, a fairly sound car.
The Second coming was quite a radical departure from the First Album, and this probably accounts for the majority of Roses fans being dissapointed when it was first released. I think this was to be expexted though, since the lads had grown up a lot since the late 80's. I feel the emphasis had shifted away from Ian Brown, and towards John Squire and it is him who takes the lead in many of the songs on the album, with his impressive guitar riffs. The album needs to be listened to in it's own right, not being constantly compared to their original masterpiece. There seems to be much hatred from many people towards John Squire, blaming him for the break up of the Stone Roses etc, but if people would forget about all that and listen to the album, they will see that it is one of the greatest albums of all time. OK, i'm going a bit over the top, but listening to the album with an open mind makes you realise that maybe it wasn't so bad after all.
I've recently changed all four tyres on my car for Pirelli P700Z's. This cost a not inconsiderable sum of £220. I would have to say I have never spent £220 and been so dissapointed!! These tyres are good, but not exceptional on dry tarmac, and they do tend to squeel if the car is pushed moderately hard in to a tight corner. Also, on close inspection the tyres seem to be wearing quite quickly. I think maybe the tyre sidewalls are quite soft, causing the outer edge of the tyre to dig in when taking fast corners, thus wearing the outer edge very quickly. The wet weather performance I feel is very poor. On a wet roundabout there is just no grip whatsoever. 3rd gear wheelspin should not be possible in a Punto, but it is with these tyres on!! The only good thing I can say about them is that they seem to clear standing water very well, and you don't have to worry about aquaplaning through puddles.
I previously owned a Punto 55S, which, whilst being a good looking, spacious car, was rather slow to say the least. When I saw a Broom Yellow Punto sporting on my local fiat dealer's forecourt last year I knew it had to be mine!! Don't be fooled by the fact that they've only got a 1.2 litre engine. With 86 bhp they can keep up with Saxo VTR's no problem. Some people complain that the interior is a bit plasticky, but it's reasonably well put together and nothing has dropped off (yet). My only real complaints with the car are that the seats really aren't big enough. You tend to fall out of them when taking corners too quickly. Also, Fiat have managed to make the suspension so firm that you feel every bump, but still get too much body roll in the corners. How did they manage that!!?? It will never keep up with a 106 or Saxo on the tighter, twistier corners, but the 185/55/14 tyres do generate enough grip for the longer faster bends. Also, don't buy this car if you plan on doing a lot of motorway driving. 4000rpm @ 70mph in 5th gear means economy is very dissapointing on the motorway. It really needs a Sixth gear (which the new punto gets!) All in all, it's a good looking, reasonably quick, cheap car. Oh, it's reliable too, which is a first for Fiat!