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since 30/11/-0001


Man With A Horn - Eric Alexander 23/07/2002


Man With A Horn - Eric Alexander The Vines come with a high reputation and a lot of expectation on their shoulders. And this is still their first album released last week. People have been talking about this group for a long time; comparisons with Nirvana have been especially rife. Now it is time to see just how good this really is and if they live up to that. The Vines are a young Australian four-piece rock band from Sydney. The front man is Craig Nicholls who writes all the songs, lyrics and music as well as vocals and guitars. He is clearly talented, both instrumentally and with the construction of the songs. The music is good and there are already signs that the lyrics could get better and better. Patrick Matthews is on bass, Ryan Griffiths on rhythm guitar and Hamish Rosser on drums. They are essentially a rock band, but do not have the image of rockers yet. The album also contains a great mix of sounds. There are the fast paced and loud guitars on some, but also some slower ballads and softer tones. Plans are already going for a second album, and at the moment things look rosy from The Vines. Craig Nicholls designed the albums artwork as well. It is actually a pretty good painting of a tropical jungle scene, with of course lots of vines in the vegetation. On the inlay all the lyrics are printed out. The band does do some great lyrics, but also some rather pointless ones. They actually write down AAAAAAHHHHHHH X 8 down in words, a bit of a waste of time and they do this sort of wailing quite a ...

Heartbreakers [Universal] - Various Artists 19/07/2002


Heartbreakers [Universal] - Various Artists The Stereophonics, the boys from the Welsh valleys hit the big time with their first recording ‘Word Gets Around’. This is their second ever album released in 1999, and it is more than a match for a follow up. I would always give the Stereophonics a lot of time. They are hardly manufactured; just some lads that could play and sing that have known each other for years coming from a poor area. They are talented people in the three-piece band, with Kelly Jones the stand out front man. They also manage to behave themselves impeccably and keep off the tabloids pages. The manage themselves well and have come up trumps here to prove they are one of the best at the time of the release and no flash in the pan. The album opens with ‘Roll up and Shine’. This is a good opener with a very loud introduction, which has some of the distinctive vocals of Kelly Jones almost immediately. It is not an excellent track, but a good build up and plenty of guitars to keep going. Second is the much better ‘Bartender and the Thief’. This is my favourite track off the album and probably the best ever from them. Much more pace and fast flowing lyrics to this one as well as the loud and alive guitars. Great energy and a good message behind as it narrates a story of two con people. Excellent ‘Hurry up and Wait’ is a real change down several gears in speed. Slower and of great quality, showing how deep they can go and the variety within. Asking a ...

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PC) 17/07/2002


Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PC) The fact that this game is called Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 suggests there have been others before it. Tony Hawk 3 came out some time ago on other games platforms, but has only recently made the move to PC. The other titles in the series have moved down well, as well as being classic games. Will the third be as good? The Tony Hawk series have been a pleasant success story. Hawk himself is one of the most famous skaters of all time and also one of the most commercial having put his name to these. This game is a straight skateboarding simulation game. You are the skater aiming to do as well as possible, impress people and score points. There are several methods of play. A free skate allows you to spend as long as you want in the level, providing you have first unlocked the level. A single session lets you play in the levels as well, but putting a two minute time constraint on, in which you are to try and set as higher score as possible and beat records. Finally career mode is the best on the game. You work through the game completing a series of goals in each level. As you progress you unlock more levels that you can play outside the career. At the end of it all once you have completed all 54 goals from the 9 levels you get an extra bonus, a cheat, another skater or level is also revealed. You work through the levels unlocking them periodically when you reach a certain level. This means that not all the levels are open to you from the start and adds time to the game. There ...

Ali G - Aiii (DVD) 16/07/2002


Ali G - Aiii (DVD) I am too young to remember Mohammed Ali in his prime. All I see is a weak and frail man savaged by his illness. However his catchphrases are famous, taunting opposition, changing from his slave name to Nation of Islam and refusing to fight in Vietnam. Apparently he could also box a bit. Ali does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a biography of one of the greatest sportsmen and characters in sport ever. It follows the real life of Mohammed Ali through a decade from 1964 to 74 and includes all the famous events in his life, bouts with Sonny Liston and George Foreman. What a job it must have been to do make a film about such a person. The film begins with Cassius Clay as the young and big-mouthed challenger who surprisingly beats Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight championship of the world and especially the peoples champion. Vietnam, Malcolm X and losing several years of his career due to Nam before ending with the ‘rumble in the jungle’ beating George Foreman. The main problem with the story line is each event is just too famous. I know all this and I was not around then and not a particularly large fan of boxing. The film could do very little to surprise me, and could only disappoint when they left things out or did not do them as well. Still the film was well done, all the famous ‘float like a butterfly’, ‘what’s my name’ and so on were well delivered and the film did have a lot of class about it. Ali’s personal ...

Moshi Moshi - Various Artists 14/07/2002


Moshi Moshi - Various Artists Oasis are back with a bang after two less than spectacular offerings Heathen Chemistry is a step back on course to old and better stuff from the Manchester lads. Many people will have been looking forward to this album from Oasis. This, their fifth LP coming off the back of some poor works, love lives and new line ups could have had the potential to finish the band off. Two successful singles releases, some great live dates and a number one album later things are starting to look up. This is a much better album with some great tracks and some average tracks. That seems to make it a good effort and gives a chance that this is a new start for the band and better stuff is to come. Some of the tracks such as (Probably) All in the Mind, Born on a Different Cloud and Songbird are all great songs and there are no really bad efforts. Songbird and She is Love does however come from a thirty something band that do seem to be slowing down and calming down. Liam writes Songbird and this is a genuinely sweet and kind song, all about his new loves. Maybe the old wild Oasis are departing, but this still results in a damn fine album. Most Oasis fans would love this album, simply because it is one of the best they have done for some time and goes right back to the beginning. Other people could point out that it is still not a patch on Defiantly Maybe, and maybe some people really don’t care. The song writing in this is shared between the Gallagher’s and also now Gem Archer ...

Gold Against the Soul (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Manic Street Preachers 04/07/2002


Gold Against the Soul (Parental Advisory) [PA] - Manic Street Preachers This was the latest album I brought from the Manic Street Preachers, having been a fan of both their most up to date stuff and older albums. This is a relatively unknown work from them, though is really an excellent album and deserves more than the shunning that some people do to it. This is the second album made by the Welsh band, The Manic Street Preachers, following from ‘Generation Terrorists’. It was released in 1993 under the Sony label. This is perhaps one of their lesser-known albums after their start it was followed by the Holy Bible which was Richey James at his tortured best and really forgotten with the new stuff without James. This album does not have the same darkness or edgy current affairs and political ideals to it as the other early Manics stuff, but still remains a top album full of quality tracks. It is clearly easier to get into Gold Against the Soul than the others, just as above it does not have the complicated lyrics and depressant feel. It could be criticised as too commercial and against what they as a band are singing out about. This has a much more mainstream rock sound to it, although still has some top quality lyrics and lovely moments. The guitars are excellent, especially on some tracks and they can actually sing a bit. There are only 10 tracks on this album, a change from their debuts massive 18, but more than make up in quality than quantity. 1. Sleepflower - An excellent way to open the album with high energy and full ...

The Fast And The Furious (DVD) 02/07/2002


The Fast And The Furious (DVD) …but still a great film. When making a typical blokes film there are some simple ways to succeed. Cars and women are a good starting point, so the Fast and the Furious wins there. This however is a good film, as well as action and fast cars it is a very enjoyable watch. The film follows a plot that is neither complicated or outstanding, but gives a good excuse for some racing and shoot outs. Brian O’Connor is an undercover policeman who’s mission is to end a spate of truck robberies of electrical equipment. The suspects are part of LA’s street car racing ring, so he goes undercover to get his catch. Through driving ability and a job in a auto shop he gets in with one gang and a perfect position to find out who is pulling the jobs. Basically it is a good an excuse as any to have some races, explosions and crashes that all get out of hand with some killings in the end when the police move in on the wrong people, love interests and another robbery. Not a hugely complicated plot to follow, or anything much to it but it still comes out with some good twists along the way. The action is excellent, some of the races look impressive at speed and there are some good crashes. The street racing ring provides the supped up cars and it is a nice spectacle as well as looking good on screen. At the end there are more spectacular effects with an armed chase, outrunning a train to the crossing and more racing. Simple but effective. There is action from the ...

Senegal (National Team 2002) 26/06/2002


Senegal (National Team 2002) Pele famously predicted that an African nation would win the World Cup before the year 2000. His vision into the future may not have been as good as his talents on the pitch, but he may not be far out. Cameroon made the quarter-finals in 1990, and it looked likely that Pele would be right and African football started to emerge. Unfortunately no one has done any better until Senegal equalled that in 2002. Not many people will have heard of Senegal before this World Cup. A small African nation that is the furthest west in the great continent with French colonial ties were unknown on the football stage. Again the signs where there that it would be an interesting first World Cup for them. At this years African Nations Cup Senegal came runners up to one of the biggest forces in Africa, losing narrowly to Cameroon. A physically fit and ambitious team was taken to the World Cup, left with France and Sweden out and now several of the stars are signing for English top teams. The World Cup draw would have scared most nations in Senegal’s position. They opened their first ever World Cup finals game at the opening game against holders France. Also in their group were Uruguay, hosts and winners of the first World Cup and European strong team Denmark. The game against France was special. All bar the two reserve ‘keepers play their club football in France, their first language is French and under colonial rule formerly. Patrick Viera, like many of the France team was ...

Korea Republic (National Team 2002) 23/06/2002


Korea Republic (National Team 2002) North Korea made history in 1966 when they became the first Asian team to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup, thanks to a shock 1-0 win over Italy. South Korea made a fine example of history repeating itself to book their quarter-final spot in 2002 with a 2-1 golden goal by Jung-Hwang Ahn against Italy. Now they have gone one step further by becoming the first Asian team to reach the semi-finals, who would bet against them beating Germany? It has been that sort of World Cup, all referees and linesmen errors aside Korea have made this to be one of the most memorable World Cups, and their achievement is more than just a flash in the pan. It could start a new Asian revolution, Japan also made their mark and China had a first appearance and the shift of power to Africa and Asian away from traditionally strong Europe and South America. South Korea had not won a game in the World Cup before this tournament. Their neighbours to the north in 1966 shocked a few people with their achievement, but since then little has happened. South Korea have regularly qualified for the finals, consistently since 1986 and Japan debuted in 1998. South Korea ran Germany close in 1994, but has not threatened to burst onto the scene. Given the World Cup to Japan and Korea was a bold move by FIFA, but a mind blowing success. The treatment of players and fans has been exceptional, everywhere the English team went they were met by jubilant fans. The game has grown a huge amount in popularity, ...

Holy Bible - Manic Street Preachers 20/06/2002


Holy Bible - Manic Street Preachers In a word this album is outstanding. For a few more words read on. This album well reflects the Manic darkest hour. By saying that it is also one of their best ever pieces of works, more an image of the dark lyrics and tone to the songs. It is a breathtaking piece of music with some of the best lyrics I have heard and some excellent songs musically. This is Richey James at his best and most depressed, before his disappearance. That is what makes it such as good work. Richey James was having troubles before this album, this is his last work from the Manic Street Preachers with him in their mists. He is more famous for his lack of talent with instruments than with them, but was the drive behind them and writer. The inlay describes him as ‘design’ and less true guitar. Lead singer James Dean Bradfield makes up on the guitars and in the bargain can even sign. Richey’s partner in song writing is the bassist Nicky Wire, he took very much an assistant job, but is now writing all their songs and has talent in his work. Drummer Sean Moore completes the line up. ‘The Holy Bible’ was released in 1994, the Welsh bands third album under the Sony label. The most amazing thing about the album is the lyrics. They are the expressions of someone who was deeply troubled, but is a true artist. The quality comes across in the words, and you have to read all the words off the album to get the full impact. With his depression comes a fairly obvious dark tone ...

Recipes for Cakes and Biscuits 09/06/2002


Recipes for Cakes and Biscuits Having finally come down from the ceiling following the Argentina game and some serious celebrations here is one of my favourite recipes, for double chocolate chip cookies. They are very simple to make, so easy they are one of the only things I am able to do all by myself in the kitchen as well as tasting great and being full of chocolate. Ingredients – 8 oz Butter 8 oz Caster Sugar 10 oz Self Raising Flour 2 oz Coco 6 oz Chocolate (any sort to your taste) 4 tbs Sweetened Condensed Milk (Nestle) Method – 1. Cream together the sugar and butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon until all the butter has gone into the mixture and it is fluffy 2. Add the milk, flour and coco powder to the mixture along with the chocolate, after having the chocolate chopped into small pieces. Mix well. The mixture should not be moist, though come to a firm ball when pressed in hands. 3. Combine the mixture into small balls about an inch in diameter using your hands. Put the balls onto a tin, the amounts should give about 40 cookies. 4. Cook for about 20-30 minutes depending on heat of oven at least until they cookies are well cooked, spread out and firm. 5. Eat up. A very simply recipe and the cookies are very tasty. Enjoy them for any snacks and full of chocolate for any chocoholics. Chris

Everything that starts with A ... 06/06/2002


Everything that starts with A ... Some people may be aware of a little football game happening tomorrow. England Argentina is a crucial game for both teams trying to advance in the World Cup finals and has lots of old rivalries attached to it. Another slight problem is the timing. At a 12:30 kick off on a Friday many people will be at work, so in need of some excuses to get time off and watch the match I have prepared a guide for you all. The most dedicated and clever fans will have already been well prepared for this game, and to write this opinion now will serve little purpose. If you fail to turn up on Friday claiming a cold or headache it will look a little suspicious and you may find you have no job to go back to on Monday. The best people will have taken the week off to avoid this problem, as well as sampling such delights as Russia v Tunisia, China v Costa Rica and the big one, South Korea and Poland. If you still want to catch the game here are some tips: 1. Illness. The run of the mill excuses such as a cold or headache could work on any other day, but not this time. People will have already done this and bosses may be smart enough to see through it. Be inventive, either have an illness that makes the boss look in an encyclopaedia for 20 minutes to see just what you have or something exotic. Suggestions include Yellow Fever, Diphtheria and 2. Close Death. Claiming the bereavement of a close relative is a good one, but again is well used. It also has side effects, a complicated web of lies ...

Italy (National Team 2002) 06/06/2002


Italy (National Team 2002) I am back after exams and an illness to write on ciao and what a surprise another football opinion. I seem to enjoy the World Cup section here, this time on one of the favourites for the tournament Italy. A continental newspaper recently made the point in mock outrage that World Cup games starting in the morning and wondered at the Italians ability to cope. They like to watch the game over an evening meal with the family, and now will have to fit 10:00 starts around work. This still did not stop over a third of the whole country tuning in to watch a confident and stylish performance against Ecuador in their first game, a performance that only heightened their chances after disappointing performances by other favourites like France, England and Brazil. Italy are one of the most accomplished European teams of all times. A role of honour stretching to back to back titles in 1934 and 1938 made them the first team ever to successfully defend their crown in the second and third ever World Cups. Other successes in 1982 World Cup and runners up twice make them close with Germany to the best European football nation. Add to another European Championship and runners up only in the last minute to France in Euro 2000 they have a pretty fine record. They do this with a flair and typical Italian class and style and have produced many stars, Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli, Roberto Baggio, Franco Baresi and Dino Zoff spring to mind. It is with little surprise that Italy claim to be one ...

Wrigley's X-cite 30/05/2002


Wrigley's X-cite I like to chew gum. The mint taste is a nice feeling, as well as the comfort of having something to chew in your mouth. It is even proved to be good for you with the saliva produced for your mouth, but this is no reason to stop brushing your teeth. I spend two and a half hours in an exam yesterday with my piece of gum to keep me going. When I saw a new product in my local shop in the chewing gum section I could not resist having a try of it. The new product was X-Cite gum made by Wrigley’s. In fact I was not even sure if it was gum when I first brought it, they have gone for a total redesign of the pack and the gum itself. Packaging – The pack comes if two separate colours in accordance to the flavours below. Like the gum it is a totally new idea. You get a cardboard box, which is about 6cm by 3cm and 1 cm deep. To open you pull a little piece of card away from the packet and out of one end the middle slides out containing the gum, sort of like a match box. It is inventive, though I don’t like the card and it is more complicated than traditional packets. The Gum – The gum comes in a totally new variety. Instead of sticks or pellets they are in little pearls or balls. Each ball is tiny, around 1cm in size and there are around 40 or so in each box. They are all coated in a crunchy outer layer as are the gum pellets you can buy, then a small gum ball that you chew. Interesting idea, I am not too taken with in, but at least it is ...

Roy Keane 27/05/2002


Roy Keane For once the biggest piece of news coming out of Japan and Korea was not about David Beckham’s toe, but a rather sensational bust up between Roy Keane, Irelands skipper and midfield star and manager Mick McCarthy. It ended in the Manchester United star being sent home in disgrace and a pretty undignified end to him international career. I was a big admirer of Roy Keane as a player. He is and still is one of the best midfielders in the English game at the moment, in his role maybe the best in the world. Having stared from humble beginnings from working class family in Cork he was spotted by a scout from Nottingham Forest playing for a local side. Brian Clough was prepared to chance him, at only 19 Keane made his debut against Liverpool at Anfield. His glowing performances for Forest earned him the young player of the year award in his second year and attracted the attention of several top clubs. When Forest were relegated soon after Keane signed to Manchester United for £3.75 million at only 23. At Manchester United Keane has blossomed into a top quality midfielder and a key part of the success that made them the team of the decade. Despite not being too much older than some, Keane was inspirational to the likes of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Neville and so on. With United Keane won the double twice as well as the league and internationally competing in the World Cup 1996. A knee injury saw him miss out on several games and come back stronger as well as missing out ...
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