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since 19/09/2001


Grand Theft Auto (PC) 12/11/2001

The Thief, The Gangster, His Lover and Her Dog

Grand Theft Auto (PC) The phone is ringing. You have 30 seconds to pick up. Only trouble is you can't find the damn thing. Your car is trashed and so are most of the ones that you have passed along that route. The cops are chasing you and your boss is gonna kick your ass. You have just crashed into the fantastic world of Grand Theft Auto. I am talking about the original here guys, not the London one and not the second one (don't get me started on that one - I am so lost on it!). This is a game of speed, reactions, and most of all FUN!!!! From start to finish (that can be a long way off!) you are totally engrossed in the streets and neighbourhoods of Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City. Maps are provided with the game so that you can navigate your way around (you will find that they come in VERY handy sometimes and other times are just a nuisance!). Basically you are a pawn. You work for some hard gangster who is sending you out on all these missions for him. Some are hard as nails like dropping suspiscious packages off bridges. Some are ridiculous like picking up someone's dog. Some are just fun like the one where you get in a van and use a remote control to direct a little toy car around to blow someone's car up. There are many ways to collect such missions. There are the phones that are located in a particular place, depending upon what city you are in (each city has a few levels and then, once those are completed you move onto the next city). - There are generally a few phones ... 05/11/2001

Please, please, please, do YOUR bit Did you know that 24,000 people die every day across the world from hunger? Did you know that not all of those people are in the third world? is one of those sites that makes everyone feel like they are doing their bit. A UN supported site, thehungersite is an excellent site, easy to navigate and very worthwhile spending 2 minutes at EVERY day. I started going there back in 1999 when I was sent a link to it by my mum. Very soon after there was an article about internet sites that donate money to charities and this was one of the few listed legitimate. It is so easy to navigate and there is also thebreastcancersite and therainforestsite. The rainforest site has only recently come back online since the site changed managment hands (don't get that - thought it was a UN thing, but hey, what do I know!!!) This brings me neatly onto my gripe. This site was originally solely but within a year there was also,,, and It would take a maximum of 5 minutes to navigate your way through each one (displayed at the top of the main page) and click on the “donate free…..[insert relevant free donation, whether it be food, mammograms, care, etc.]”. However, about two months ago I went in for my daily donation and found that the site was “undergoing routine maintenance”. I went back every day to see if the “routine maintenance” was ...

Habitat (Shop) 02/11/2001

Habitually bad, HabiTAT

Habitat (Shop) Well, I am a home-improvement addict. I love Habitat as a rule. It is everything right about the world in what it sells, it is the staff and sales system that fail it. Habitat is the ultimate in snobby interior stuff! It sells everything from candles to glasses to cushions to tables and chairs. There seems to be a Habitat in almost every city and although not cheap it sells VERY nice products. Everything is very trendy and colourful. I have been shopping there for as long as I can remember - even before I was able to pay for it myself! But this op is not about all that is great in Habitat, in fact quite the opposite. When I bought my first house (a little over a year ago - how about that for a 21 year old!!!!), I knew where I was going to shop for it! I found a table that screamed my name and begged me to take it home. Well, what could I do? I signed on the dotted line and arranged to pick it up three weeks later (once it was in the shop - they said two to three weeks). Three days after the initial purchase they said that the product was there to be collected and I asked if they could hold onto it for another week until I could collect it. It took 10 minutes on hold for them to come back just to say "can we call you back"! In the end that was not a problem so we collected it in due course and took it home. Little did I realise that they had given me the wrong table. It said on the receipt that it was a particular table and in actual fact they gave me one ...

Valvona&Crolla (Shop) 23/10/2001

A little piece of Italy in Scotland

Valvona&Crolla (Shop) Valvona and Crolla in Edinburgh is a shop like no other I have ever visited. I have heard it compared to Sarti's in Glasgow but in my opinion it is far superior. Valvona and Crolla is situated off the top of Leith Walk, in Elm Row. It started in 1934 as a small shop but in the early 1990's it expanded backwards leaving less of a stockroom and more space for it's products. In the mid-1990's it again expanded, buying property behind it and opening a cafe. The products are of the freshest and finest quality to be found in Scotland. Fresh fruit and vegetables are imported directly from markets in Milan and the bread is baked freshly on the premises. Apart from the fruit and vegetables and bread, Valvona and Crolla sells a huge range of cheeses and meats, mainly from Italy but from France, Britain and other countries. Such delicacies as Lonzo Arrosto (Pork with Rosemary) and Bresaola (cured beef) sit alongside the old favourites of Prosciutto (Parma ham) and Milano Salami (a typical Italian salami that is a favourite of customers). Cheeses such as Gorgonzola come in a number of different varieties from the very soft and mild to the stronger and firmer types. The parmigiano is something that would have to be seen to be believed. It sits behind the counters as a whole cheese as big as the wheel of a car, if not bigger. Pieces of a size to be comsumed at home are displayed on the counter as well as the possibility of requesting an enormous piece (I don't know if anyone has ...

H & M (Shop) 20/10/2001

More clothes than you could shake a credit card at

H & M (Shop) When I was 12 I was taken to a place in London called Hennes to buy me a dress. I got to look around for about thirty seconds flat and that was it. This was an amazing event. I had been reading Just17 for soooooo long and all the fashion pages had stuff from hennes on them and I was soooooooo upset that they didn't have Hennes in Scotland. When I finally moved to Glasgow in 1998 I heard that they were building a new shopping centre and that they would be opening the first Scottish H&M store. What is the connection between the two??? They are the same thing. Hennes is short for Hennes and Mauritz, not, as most people would think, the founders of the store but Hennes means "hers" in Swedish and the the guy that started it up bought some place called Mauritz - confused???? Never mind, forget that! ******THE STATS******** According to the wonderfully informative website H&M was established in 1947 and there are now over 700 stores in 14 countries, employing about 30,000 employees! (wow, a lot of statistics that mean very little to you guys there wanting to know about what they sell!!!) H&M sells men's, women's and children's 'apparel' (that's clothes to you and me!!!). The clothes are of an excellent standard and are incredibly cheap. ******WOMEN******** As well as normal clothing you would expect from a clothes store H&M also do women's underwear, swimwear and nightwear and accessories. They have a larger sized section for those women who are not between ...

Fopp 03/10/2001

Fopp is no flop

Fopp FOPP was originally favoured by the vinyl junkies of yesteryear!!! Somehow, it became a haven for all indie music lovers in around Scotland (well, as far as I knew!!!). Fopp now has 8 stores – one each in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Leamington Spa, Bristol, Dundee, Sheffield and two in Glasgow. Stored are planned for Nottingham, London, Leeds, Birmingham and many other cities and towns in the near future. For more info on that, you can go to (this is where I found out the bulk of the facts about the history of the store, for anyone who is interested) It is a music shop that specialises in Indie/Alternative music. It started out in Glasgow’s trendy and studenty West End in the early 1980’s but quickly became hot property due to its cheap records. It moved premises again and again within Glasgow, stopping to expand to Edinburgh and Aberdeen in the early 1990’s. Since then the company has grown and grown – opening up new stores all over the place. But that is of little interest – you want to know what it sells, and that all important question – HOW MUCH DOES IT COST??? Well, that is not as easy as it looks. It sells everything you could want from an independent music shop, born on the wrong side of the tracks from rivals (yes, they really are rival in Glasgow!) HMV, Tower Records and Virgin. They have the typical chart disasters such as Britney, Posh, Geri and Five but they are placed close to the entrance so none of the ...

HMV (Shop) 30/09/2001

Roll up, roll up, roll up, discounts galore

HMV (Shop) I don’t think I have ever been to HMV when there hasn’t been some offer on some of their products. Whether it is a 2 for £22 CD sale or a 4 for £20 video sale, there is always something from this, my favourite mainstream, chain music shops. HMV sell everything you could want from a music shop and more: CD’s of every genre – pop, rock, classical, alternative, easy listening, folk, world music, spoken word books, etc; Videos of both TV and film, even selling some foreign films, musicals and oldies; DVD’s are ever-expanding their reach in this store; There is vinyl available for all you budding DJ’s and MC’s There is also a wide range of accessories for your Hi-Fi, Personal CD player, with blank tapes, CD’s, videos, holders for all of the above, batteries, headphones, cleaners, etc. Books available are some of the more trendy reads and also a lot of biographies of people in the music industry. Often you find that the books are offered at 2 for £10 which again is a fantastic bargain; HMV also has a large selection of computer and console games available. There are a range of shop sizes. In Glasgow there is a couple of HUGE shops and also at least one littler one. However, like the old saying – size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it that counts!!!!!! All the shops, big or small sell a wide selection of products available. If they don’t have what you want in store ...

Strathclyde University 29/09/2001

Strathclyde, The Place of Useful Learning

Strathclyde University Strathclyde University in the centre of Glasgow was my first choice for a university. Having decided I wanted to study Geography and American Studies I was willing to sacrifice the latter to take up the chance to go to the university recommended to me by both my geography teachers at school. The very first thing that gave Strathclyde a high rating in my books was the fact that of all the universities I applied to or even just expressed interest in, Strathclyde was the only one interested in more than just my academic qualifications (I had mediocre marks, not enough to get in, but I had spent a year well an exchange student in the USA). So, anyway, I was in and very excited to boot! First year geography at Strathclyde is so much more than just that. You are REQUIRED to take 5 courses well a first year Arts and Social Sciences student. But you are not limited to the huge range in that faculty. You can choose from classes in the business school or even one from the other faculties. So, I took Geography, Sociology, Politics, Psychology and Scottish Studies. But that was just my choice. Other friends took French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German, European Studies, English, etc. This list is immense. But this is only one faculty. There is a well-respected Law faculty, an equally highly rated Business School (even has its own hotel and conference centre!!!!), an engineering faculty, an education faculty (located at the Jordanhill Campus, free bus services from the ...

10 Things I Hate About You (DVD) 28/09/2001

10 Things I Hate About This Film

10 Things I Hate About You (DVD) 1 – 10. NOTHING!!!!!!! Yep, it’s great!!! Based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, this 1999 film centres around the lives of the Stratford sisters, Kat (Julia Stiles – Down To You, Save The Last Dance) and Bianca (Larisa Oleynik – Baby-Sitters Club), in a high school in Seattle. The lives of the two are dominated by their doctor father who’s mission is to protect his girls from the dangers of boys! When Bianca is asked out by the boy of her dreams her Dad creates a new rule that cannot date until her older, man-hating sister, dates herself. This causes family tensions from all sides and the plot thickens. Kat is a rampant feminist who has been hurt in the past and has sworn off me for life and Bianca is desperate to be well popular well possible and that also involves dating the most popular boys in the school. A new boy, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Third Rock From The Sun) arrives at the school and falls instantly for Bianca. He hears about her Dad’s rule and sets about to find a date for Kat so that he, himself, can date Bianca. Sounds complicated? You ain’t seen nothing yet! He sets out to find out everything about Kat by enlisting the help of Bianca herself (made to think that he is doing this so that she can date the poser – I mean model!!! – Joey. He then finds Patrick (the scrummy Heath Ledger!!!) who he thinks may be the only boy in the school who would possibly date her. Well the plot ...

Cruel Intentions 28/09/2001

Cruel Liaisons and Dangerous Intentions

Cruel Intentions Based on Dangerous Liaisons, Cruel Intentions is one of my favourite films of ALL time. The plot is VERY complex but the acting is superb and the evilness of it all is fascinating and exciting. Sebastian (Ryan Philippe) and his stepsister Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar – Buffy!) are rich, spoilt and obnoxious. They are also a pair of slappers who have no respect for those around them. There is an almost incestuous erotic tension between the two throughout the film but that is a sideline to the main plot. Sebastian is bored of having flings with pretty girls that just can’t say no to him. He wants to have to do some work to get a date. Kathryn comes to the rescue with an article about Anette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon), a girl from out of town, who has just moved to Manhattan where her dad is to become principal of Manchester, the school that they attend. Anette has been interviewed to tell people why she is choosing to stay a virgin until she is married. This is all that Sebastian needs to hear to set his plan in motion. However, it is with Kathryn’s connections that he is to get the opportunity. She needs a favour from him and she has the wager to put him in the mood to succeed. Kathryn will get his 56 Roadster or Sebastian will get to sleep with her. At this point the plot thickens. There are so many pawns in this game of cheating and betrayal, it is hard to know how is on the side of good or bad. I will give no more away, otherwise I would ...

Theme Hospital (PC) 27/09/2001

Maybe the NHS isn't as bad as you think

Theme Hospital (PC) Tired of the NHS??? Or perhaps you believe that it can do no wrong. Well, this is your chance to find out how it feels to be in control of a hospital first-hand. You buy the land, you put in a reception area, complete with benches and drinks machines, you build a GP’s office, a psychiatry room, a staff room, an operating theatre and then you hire the staff to go in them. Sounds like fun? IT IS!!!!! Your patients start coming in in dribs and drabs and then all hell will break loose. You will find that you don’t have enough benches, beds or doctors to keep up with the people. The queues will get out of control and you don’t know what to do. Sounds like the NHS, doesn’t it??? Well, you CAN have your say this time! Kick the patients out if you like. Or perhaps that is a bit too much of a hard-line approach – perhaps you would rather hire another doctor or train one to become a surgeon. YOU DECIDE. You have caretakers, receptionists, doctors and nurses. All have their own jobs to do and different skill levels in those jobs. You have to have money to hire them and then it costs you money to keep them there. Take care – have too many and you will find that you lose money all the time. Patients get thirsty, cold, sick and also get unpleasant attacks of the runs. Build toilets, radiators, drinks machines and have a good few doctors handy to take care of those annoying little twerps that insist that they are entitled to care. But ...

Theme Park World (PC) 27/09/2001

Scream if You Wanna Go FASTER

Theme Park World (PC) Imagine your favourite ride at the shows. Imagine your favourite theme park. Imagine you were the boss of that theme park. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, you are pretty much imagining what it is like to play Theme Park World. I am not going to go into all the details of when, where and how the idea came up but it is here and it is fab! In the beginning (no, this is not an excerpt from the bible but it could well be the TPW bible!) there are four parks. You can only get into two to begin with but by making those parks extra successful you can build up points to proceed to the other parks. Each park is on it’s own little island. You are given a set amount of space within which to build your park. You have a budget to buy paths, shops, rides, and staff. Once your park is open you begin to make money from visitors. These people (all kids) arrive by bus, boat and plane and pay for their entrance fee at the gate. Once they are inside the park they are at your mercy. You decide how much it will cost them to buy a drink or a burger, how much they can win on one of the sideshows and how many people can go on a ride at a time. You will also have to install security cameras to check up on those who drop litter, let off stink bombs and other such delinquent behaviour (tsk, tsk!). There are security guards, cleaners, entertainers, mechanics (to mend the rides) and scientists (to research new rides, shops, sideshows and features like toilets, trees, sculptures, ...

Schuh (Shop) 27/09/2001

The saviour of any girl's wardrobe floor

Schuh (Shop) Schuh is my little piece of heaven on the high street. When a girl can't find clothes that suit her, what is she to do? Shop for shoes, that is what!!!! As the proud owner of nearly 30 pairs of shoes, I am ready to testify that Schuh is my alternative desert island disc! Seriously though, this is a shoe shop based in Scotland that sells name-brand shoes from Acupuncture to Adidas, from Nike to New Balance, from Caterpillar to Converse. It also has its own range of shoes. They sell sensible shoes such as the kind that your parents would allow you to walk straight out of the shop in to the kind of boots that not even the least self-respecting lady of the night would wear - think Julia Roberts in the early shots of Pretty Woman and you have what I am talking about! Their range of trainers is outstanding. Now for the nitty-gritty - prices. Well, considering that I have trouble forking out more than £40 for a pair of shoes, I would say that Schuh win hands down. Their range of products is not a far cry from say Shelleys or Office but their prices are a fair bit lower. Also, they have the most fantastic sales racks that seem to be an almost permanent fixture. If you get their early enough you can usually find that pair of neon green snake-skin vecro-fastened steel-toe capped thigh-high boots that you have been hankering after for months, massively reduced from £300 to a mere £20. Ok, somewhat of an exaggeration but you can get pretty top-of the range shoes and trainers at a ...

Boots (Shop) 22/09/2001

Boots. For all your needs

Boots (Shop) Boots is a personal favourite of mine. What can I say - I am a health and beauty freak. I love everything that smells nice and have at least 15 different kinds of shampoo and conditioner. Stores range in size from the tiny ones found in train stations to the huge ones, covering 2 floors or more on main shopping streets. On a political, environmentally friendly note Boots test none of their products on animals so I feel safe and contented buying anything of theirs. Boots products are extremely reasonably priced, and they even have an Advantage card for people like me - total addicts!!! Not only do Boots sell their own name products but they sell a huge range of name-brands. From Loreal to John Frieda, from Rimmel to Revlon, nothing seems to be amiss in these stores. Boots also have exceptionally good offers on all the time. They have a large selection of products in a 3 for 2 offer as well as some buy one get one free offers. As a result it is hard to pay full price for anything which is definitely an advantage. All in all, there is nothing that can be said against a store that provide baby clothes, pharmaceutical products, photographic developing, health and beauty products and even have many stores providing an opticians service. They even sell delicious sandwiches in an interesting and imaginative range. They do wraps and bagels and ordinary sandwiches, with a large healthier range for those who want and even for those who don't. Their Meal Deal comes ...

Down Under 19/09/2001

In a Sunburnt Country

Down Under Having been introduced to Bill Bryson about 5 years ago with Lost Continent, his writing has struck a major chord with me. From that first book, I raved about him and found a large group of people ready to agree with me. So, I borrowed, stole and bought every book of his that I could lay my hands on. However, his Walk in the Woods was of great disappointment after such rave successes of Notes From a Small Island and then the unbelievably hilarious Notes From a Big Country. This book, however, has brought him way back up to the top of my list. I would imagine that any native Australian reading it would be honoured to read of his love for such a vast and seemingly unknown country. I myself have never been there and some of his preconceived ideas of the island and its inhabitants were very similar to that of myself. His fascination with the flora and fauna makes for hilarious reading with his statistical evidence to support his claims of the dangers lurking around every corner of the continent. He has a keen eye and ear for the people - reflected in many of his other books - that not only reflects his warmth towards Aussies but also their idosyncrasies and humorous pass-times and comments. He goes into some detail of his perception of the game of cricket which I re-read a number of times, in stitches every time. He not only details the cities but the tiniest of towns and those strange stops at the side of seemigly never-ending roads. Through reading Down Under I ...
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