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since 11/07/2000


Millennium Dome, London 29/04/2002

It was ok

Millennium Dome, London Getting There: We went to the Dome during the Summerof 2000, it was a nice journey there. The Jubilee tube line there is very impressive and when we went, was working fine (although I do here it on the radio occasionally having problems). Now the Dome has closed, still use the Jubilee line to get to Greenwich which is still one of the best places to visit in London on a Sunday afternoon. The Exhibit : Once there the Dome was surprising for being quite nice to look at, and smaller than I expected. Even so inside it was very impressive and the space would make a wonderful arena for sport or concerts. The big problem was that all the attractions are so different and some are just not exciting enough. You go through the Body Zone (once you've queued awhile- we queued for about 30 minutes to get inside the Body Zone) and think well what was that all about. The Education Zones were more than a little patronizing, and also slightly sinister in a propagandizing way. However, the floor show was brilliant and very exciting. Worth seeing twice if you can. The dancers and acrobats were very talented and made a slightly over the top music score and story work remarkably well - very much indebted to Cirque du Soeil. Aparently the circus group are now getting ready for a brand new show for Summer 2002, worth checking out once it goes ahead. The Ameneties : The food was good, also good provision for toilets and rest places for all. Overall : The Dome was an ...

LBC 1152 MW - LBC 29/04/2002

Update Steve Allan and Clive Bull addictive

LBC 1152 MW - LBC I've been listening to LBC most over the last 20 years, except when Margret Thatcher attempted and almost succeeded in removing its licence when the airwaves were deregulated. Over the years I've listened to Steve Allan, Brian Hayes and Clive Bull. All still there together with Terese Birch and the ever reliable Douglas Camaron. I'm particularly addicted to Steve Allan when I get the chance to listen from 12pm to 2pm. However, I regularly drive with the breakfast show that gets me up to scratch with the news and up to date traffic reports. Clive Bull's show is the most addictive. It is just a phone in show from 9pm to 1pm, where most of the evening callers can chat about anything they wish to. Sometimes there are certain topics that are given out for discussio, but the way the evening works out can be very different to the way it may start. Regular slots are with Barrry Fox discussing IT on Tuesdays (but it does vary at times), and the regular "Turning the table quiz" between Weather Man and Bob the producer pitted against each other wtih a quiz sent in by listeners. Most famous of all is the open mike point in the show around 11:30 pm when its Bobs teabreak, where callers are live on air uncenored - be ready for a variety of voices, noices and musical interludes. Be particularly ready for the regular "Mooo's" of animal noise callers, most prevelant when there's a full moon. There are also several very amusing regulars like Adrian, and Chris from Chouch End. ...

Alliance & Leicester Online Banking 25/04/2002

Update - Online banking could be better

Alliance & Leicester Online Banking Start at I've banked with Giro Bank for over 10 years now, then it was taken over by Alliance and Leicester. Overall the banking service is very good. It is very simple to run your account at home via postal banking, phone banking and now online banking. The old service. The postal and phone services are very efficient and reliable. You have the usual paying in books and cheque books, and a supply of envelopes. These were originally pre paid, but since Alliance and Leicester took over Giro bank you need to pay for postage. The Internet Service. However, I recently signed up for online banking and this has not been too pleasurable. It is very confusing and difficult to log on. You have a user name that A&L send thought the post. You then sign up using this abd then you have to phone customer service to enable your service. Once activated it stills not finished. If you have several linked accounts they need to be linked seperately by phoning the help desk and waiting for them to activate. Even then I have only been able to make transfers from one account to another, but I still can't check individual balances. Once into the service the balance interface is clear, but functionality is not as good as other services. It is a minor complaint but Giro could learn from SMILE and EGG on user friendly interfaces.

Egg 25/04/2002

Updated - The best internet banking experience

Egg I have been with egg for two years now. Compared to both my alliance and leicester and abbey national internet banking accounts, egg is definitely the best experience. Setting up Start at Setting up is very straight forward. Fill in an online application form and set some sercurity details. Once completed you are sent written cofirmation with direct debit mandates to sign if you requested these. Adding services. The best bit is the ease of adding other services such as egg card or saving accounts etc. These all appear on the same user profile screen and you see a summary balance for each account. Using the services. Savings accounts. It is very easy to check a balance, transfer money to your account via a direct debit or debit card deposits. These can be done on a one off basis,or regular transfers. You can also debit your savings account into another account once a simple account set up form is completed. I have found transfers are credited or debited quickly (within 4 days usually) althought they do suggest you expect 5 days for transfers to complete. The interest rates at the moment are 5% for first 6 months, then 4% there after on the internet only savings account. Egg card. It is easy to check balances, you get money back on purchases, and extra money back if purchases made via the egg shop pages. Transferring a balance from other cards is very easy, and there is a low rate for 6 months for new cards that is very useful if ... 20/04/2002

theMutual - what's the point I have been a theMutual member for a couple of years now. Initially it had very good access and connections were reliable and fast. Recently like the rest of the web it has been less consistent. Problems. Email. However, the worse point is email. I have accoutns with other ISPs and I check emails from which ever has the best connection. This has been easy to set up for these accounts by simply checking SMPT and POP3 settings. For theMutual it has been impossible to do this as you are required to dial up to their dedicated line. Having now moved to broadband connection, I have a ISDN modem and I really don't want to keep logging on the theMutual on a voice line. Support. Worse still is there is little indication of any technical support anymore. There is no indication on the homepage of the fact that they are an ISP. Shares. With all the claims that are still being claimed for the joy of receiving 1000 free shares all fail to remind people that the shares are basically worth nothing (at current prices I think 1000 shares are worth 50p). If you are unlucky enough to have bougth shares at the height of the internet boom (like me) you will be very wary of investing in internet companies any more. If you want internet access almost anything else could be better.

Tate Gallery, London 20/12/2000

Tate Britain still open

Tate Gallery, London Now that Tate Modern is open, I hope people will remember the original Tate at Pimlico. It is a wonderful gallery with interesting room selections (if sometimes alittle too diverse in styles hanging next to each other). The gallery is always easy to get around, just big enough not to get bored, but small enough to retrace your steps if you want to return to a section. The special exibitions can get crowded, but are usually displayed very well, with good accompanying leaflets and guides. It is well worth joining as a Friend of the Tate as this will give you free access to all exhibit at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, and access to the Friends Rooms that are a nice detour away from the crowds. Remember that the Turner Prize exhibit is just about to end, and that the William Blake exhibit is still on - well worth seeing this one. The Turner Prize was very disappointing this year, and the winner Wolfgang Tillmanns was a very odd choice. But that's life hope next year there is something more interesting to select from. Back to the Tate Britain, it is a good time to go on Sunday's if you've got kids as you can get them a Art pack to produce their own masterpieces. Good canteens and toilets, lots of seating if you want it. And in the Clore Gallery the film theatre often show feature films for free during the month mixed in with documentaries and lectures. Check it out.

Mason Street Theater 20/12/2000

Shear Madness, but Shear Delight

Mason Street Theater In October my partner and I were in San Francisco for a well deserved break. While there we managed to take in lots of sight seeing and some culture. While walking the city centre, we came across the Mason St Theatre. Inside we saw posters for a show called Shear Madness. So we booked tickets for the nights performance. That night was probably the funniest we had spent in a long time. The show revolves around a hair salon in Castro, while the action takes place a murder is committed off stage... and the audience are then given the chance to help solve the crime. The show has been on for ages, in its third year now, and the role of the hair dresser Tony Whitcomb was played by a brilliant John Mc Givern. His timing and improvisations were excellent. It was worth the trip to San Francisco just to see the show. I'm surpised it hasn't been snapped up for touring in London - it would make a fortune.

Haymarket Theatre Royal, London 11/07/2000

Hard Times - the musical

Haymarket Theatre Royal, London The Haymarket is surptisingly a very cosy little theatre inside. At the moment Hard Times the Musical is playing, unfortunately not to a huge audience. I with my partner saw it on a Saturday evening with less than half the seats filled. However, the show is much better than this suggests. It is no masterpiece, but the tunes are very good, and the performances excellent. There is definately a better second half, and the tunes do change style from traditional musical type numbers, to jazz variations, semi modern ballards, more than a little Gilbert and Sullivan, and victorian music hall. This variety can spoil some of the atmosphere, but with a wonderful control of Roy Hudd as the narrator/ring master it works. It is a shame when any show doesn't get an audience, but more so when the show is actually quite good - better overall than Phantom of the Opera at least.

Regent's Park, London 11/07/2000

The Open Air Theatre

Regent's Park, London Dispite the dreadful weather, if there is a dry day the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park is a wonderful place to visit. The Park itself is an excellent place to wander around and have a lazy afternoon. This year the programme seems interesting with A Mid Summers Nights Dream and Alice in Wonderland being part of the session. Don't forget there is London Zoo close by, as are Madame Tausauds and the Planetarium. And not very far is the Wallace Colletion towards Oxford Street, which has recently been renovated including a fine cafe and restaurant. I've been converted to the place over the last three years and have always had a brilliant time. But, take a brolly just in case !
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