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since 30/07/2007


Philips TT 2020 Bodygroom 04/02/2009

Keep trim with less pain.

Philips TT 2020 Bodygroom For a man that likes to take a bit of extra care in his appearance, the Phillips Bodygroom turned out to be a fantastic investment. I like to keep my body hair trim and after having a few not so nice experiences with Veet for men (my skin got a bit too red in patches after use and the smell was just too rancid) and a bad experience with wet shaving, I had little to lose. The Packaging The Bodygroom comes in a cardboard box with a hollowed out space at the front of it and is actually itself contained in that sometimes irritating sealed plastic mold that often takes more than one attempt to get the product inside out of. I actually managed to cut the packaging with a pair of nail scissors, so it can be done! The Design of the Product The Bodygroom is a relatively small, handheld shaver that looks quite smart in black and silver plastic and it feels like a substantial plastic that would take a lot to break. The shaver head is foil and anybody who has used an electric shaver, particularly a Phillips one, would feel hardly any difference in sensation to the Bodygroom shaver when applied to the skin. The Bodygroom comes with a detachable trimming clip (a blue plastic trimmer that looks similar to the trimming blades barbers use.) I must admit that the type of plastic used for the trimmer looks less solid than the Bodygroom itself and after a year I have sadly managed to snap one of the little 'fork' ends although the trimming clip still works fine. The ...

Now, Vol. 1 [UK] - Various Artists 03/02/2009

Please Please tell me NOW is Now II on the way?

Now, Vol. 1 [UK] - Various Artists Long overdue for a re-release, the first ever Now album does not disappoint, offering a snapshot in time of the music of 1983 and containing 11 out of the 19 number 1 hit singles in the UK that year (the Christmas number 1 turned up on Now II.) I feel there is something for everyone on this compilation, a choice of familiar favourites and in some cases perhaps a forgotten classic or two. Rest assured that this collector's CD edition contains ALL of the 30 tracks that were included on the two original LPs and in their original versions too. "THE COVER/DESIGN" The 'digipak' is in my opinion an excellent choice over the traditional jewel case that CDs are packaged in because the cardboard gives this edition a unique feel and more importantly allows the edition to be a very good replica of the original LP. The cardboard certainly does have the feel of an LP cover and more importantly the paper dust sheets for the CDs are incredibly reminiscent of those that came with an LP. Some may feel a bit shortchanged at not getting a jewel case but I can only commend Virgin/EMI for delivering something that replicates the original as best as possible. The design is exactly the same as that of the original LP and in my opinion a lot more interesting than that of the current latest edition of Now (Now 71.) The letters 'N, O and W' on the front of the cover contain photographs of some of the acts that are featured on the double album offering the opportunity to laugh at the fashions, ...

Creative Zen 32GB 16/01/2009

Creative by name, Excellent by nature!

Creative Zen 32GB In short this is without a doubt THE best mp3 player I have owned. I would recommend this product to a fellow technophobe like myself; if you are looking for a palm sized, simple to use gadget to store audio, picture and video files, view/listen to them AND have remarkable audio and visual quality from such a small device, consider a Zen. WHY I DIDN'T OPT FOR AN IPOD Two broad reasons : 1) Far too many bad reports from friends who have tried the various ipods on offer but have ended up trading them in for mp3 players; 2) I really don't rate the ipod's sound output when compared to other mp3 players I have owned. THE ZEN The Zen can play videos, act as a photo viewer, even has an FM radio function and its own in built microphone but I mainly use it as an mp3 player. Given its internal memory of 32 gb and the option of using a SD memory card (much the same way as you use one for a digital camera/mobile phone) and expand the available memory at your fingertips even further, theaverage price for a 32gb Zen is a good investment in my opinion. I paid the same price for a top of the range Sony 8gb mp3 player in 2007 so I personally feel the current price of a 32gb Zen is good value for money. DESIGN Definitely a palm of the hand sitting gadget and I would agree that it is credit card credit sized. The Zen is just ever so slightly wider than a Sony Ericsson W910i phone, a few inches shorter and slightly less thick than the phone. The photos of the Zen ...

Guilty Pleasures, Vols. 1-2 (Three Times the Pleasure) - Various Artists 08/01/2009

Guilty as charged

Guilty Pleasures, Vols. 1-2 (Three Times the Pleasure) - Various Artists At the outset, it is worth noting that volumes 1 & 2 of 'Guilty Pleasures' are available to purchase separately but considering the two volumes are now being sold in a package that in some cases works out cheaper to buy than the two volumes separately, it is probably better value for money to buy this package. I picked this up because admittedly the artwork on the cover grabbed me but was surprised to see so many of my favourite 1970s and early 1980s hits like 'Afternoon Delight,' Starbuck's 'Moonlight Feels Right' and 'Bette Davis Eyes' all in one place. As the title suggests, I'm not sure whether the songs contained on the discs are ones you should readily admit to being favourites but they are irresistable nevertheless. Furthermore many of them have been written by some of the best singer/songwriters from pop's golden era including Neil Sedaka, Bruce Springsteen (Manfred Mann's excellent cover of 'Blinded By The Light') and Carol Bayer Sager. 'Guilty Pleasures' is unique because though it features really well known hits that are still played on the radio today, it is unlike the vast bulk of 1970s compilations that feature 'When will I see you again,' something by T. Rex, Mud's 'Tiger Feet' and loads of disco hits. Put simply if you're a) fed up of hearing the same songs over again on the radio and/or b) bored with finding 70s compilations with the usual suspects and/or c) eager to hear overlooked classics covering a range of musical styles that you'll never get ...

Greatest Hits - T. Rex 06/01/2009

Get It On Santa's List!

Greatest Hits - T. Rex Another T. Rex compilation? Initially that was what I thought but when I discovered it was a double album, things changed substantially. Unfortunately I never quite found a perfect T.REX compilation and ended up buying several to get hold of various tracks which always seemed to be missing on some CDs but featured on others (especially the seminal track 'Hot Love' which to many was the ignition for the UK Glam Rock phenomenon and also a huge #1 single.) I doubt there is such a thing as a perfect compilation but had the present compilation been around 8 years ago when I first got into T-Rex, I would have been one satisfied customer indeed! Between 1968 and 1977, T.Rex/Marc Bolan scored an impressive 18 top 40 hits in the UK, so essentially these could all fit perfectly onto one CD. However, this was far from the case until now. Each of these 18 hits is present (comprising most of disc 1) and there is no shortage of classic T. Rex album tracks on disc 2 to hopefully wet your appetite to look further into T.Rex's discography. DISC 1: As mentioned, disc 1 contains every top 40 UK single recorded by T. Rex/Marc Bolan, including an impressive 4 #1 hits ('Hot Love,' 'Get it on,' 'Telegram Sam' and 'Metal Guru') and therefore it is fair to say it is the stronger of the two discs because undoutedly most will know at least one or two tracks given the wide use of their music on TV adverts and soundtracks like Billy Elliott in recent years. In short, disc 1 provides a wealth ...

Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Timelord (DVD) 05/01/2009

Testimonial pictures galore!

Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Timelord (DVD) I am delighted that I purchased the Trial of a Timelord DVD boxset. Whilst fans of the new series may find the lack of CGI and 21st century special effects combined with a completely differing episode format and structure (namely an average story lasting 4 episodes as opposed to the now one story, one episode average) offputting, fans of the classic Who era should really enjoy this one! Compared to the recent Christmas special, this boxset of classic Who from1986 has an array of brilliant actors, pathos, scary monsters, shocking moments and just plain different storylines. Personally I find the dodgy special effects charming and in some cases just hilarious which adds to the entertainment value. The Trial of a Timelord (ToaT) is a fine example of a series arc with a common theme running throughout each serial and compared to the Key to Time,season which was also a series arc, ToaT is far shorter with only 4 interconnecting serials and in my opinion it has less 'filler' moments. Fans of the new series who fancy seeing what the other Timelords and the Doctor's home planet of Gallifrey's customs were like, look no further! ToaT is essentially the Doctor on trial by his own people, the Timelords, for being too involved or if you take my view for doing the right thing and saving the worlds/universe far too often. The 'evidence' adduced by the Timelords against the Doctor consists of footage from the Matrix (not the same thing as in the Keanu Reeves films) and essentially ...

The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles - Martin Roach (Editor) 04/01/2009

STILL the Bible of Pop.

The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles - Martin Roach (Editor) The "Virgin" Book of WHAT? I was a little surprised a few weeks ago to discover that after some 30 years the legendary Book of British Hit Singles was no longer published by Guinness but by Virgin. Aside from sentimental value however the change in publisher makes little difference to the overall value of this book. I will add that I would have greatly welcomed the change in publisher about 10 years ago when despite taking great care in compiling my christmas lists, 'Santa' would continually bring me the Guinness Book of "World Records" by mistake every year! WHAT IS IT? A previous edition of the Guinness Book was labelled along the lines of 'The Bible of Pop' and I personally agree. For those who are unfamiliar with the series the Book of British Hit Singles in basic terms has two listings sections, firstly by artist/band/duo etc whose hit singles have made the top 75 in the singles charts since 1952 when the charts as we came to know them were first compiled. Basically you can search for an artist such as ABBA and look at all of their singles that made the top 75 in the first section. The second section lgoes on to list the hit singles by title, providing the artist names alongside the title entries which then enables you to search for the entry in the artists section and find out even more information. The listings by title are often the first point of reference for most users I would imagine (more later.) In the listings by artist section, the entries also ...

Magic of Boney M. - Boney M. 04/01/2009

The BLACK magic of Boney M

Magic of Boney M. - Boney M. The main reason why I give this particular Boney M compilation the lowest possible rating is because hardly any of the tracks are the original versions of the songs. Ever since the 1980s, Frank Farian (Boney M's driving force) and others have remixed, edited and spliced the original recordings and sadly, this compilation is full of the 1990s remixes. Worse still, the version of the UK million selling Christmas Number 1 from 1978 - 'Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord' on this compilation has a minute and a half completely edited out! Many listeners who have not heard the original versions will not notice the difference, but those who are familiar with the 1970s versions will undoubtedly notice the slightly 1980s megamix drum sound on a lot of these tracks which makes them sound incredibly dated and offputting. The only saving grace is at least the original vocal tracks were left intact! As for the songs themselves, the compilation contains most of the UK top 20 hits from 1976 - 1979, including the often forgotten ones such as "Belfast" and "Painter Man." However, because they are not the original recordings, the experience of listening to them is quite dismal. Surprisingly the original album version of the classic debut hit 'Daddy Cool' is present as is that of 'Ma Baker,' which is why I also felt one star was justified. The inclusion of these originals however only begs the question WHY CHOOSE TO NOT INCLUDE THE ORIGINALS OF ALL THE OTHER HITS?? All I will say, as a final ...

100 Hits - 70s - Various Artists 30/12/2008

Budget Bargain!

100 Hits - 70s - Various Artists A brief overview of the 100 Hits series What have your experiences with budget priced compilation boxsets been like? Mine have been hit and miss but I believe the 100 Hits series, currently found in most supermarkets, WH Smith, music retailers and online naturally is a goldmine series bringing together the well known classics with quite a few of those tracks that rarely get tracklisted elsewhere on 5 discs, all for the average price of £6.99-7.99 (although if you hurry with the closure of both Zavvi and Woolworths, I have seen the titles priced at £5.99.) Furthermore, apart from the odd track, the series features the original recordings of the featured tracks. The liner notes are typically quite dull as is usually expected of compilations but the music featured on the discs speaks for itself. The main review. 100 Hits 70s was the first in the series I purchased and I can safely say the compilers know their music and have done a fantastic job in highlighting most of the music styles that pervaded throughout the UK charts during the decade. For the 70s fan wishing to reminisce or the music lover looking to expand their collection, this boxset is ideal. However, for those who view 70s music as simply disco, ABBA, Queen and Status Quo, look at other titles in the 100 Hits series or one of a number of other 70s compilations on the market that only feature the usual suspects. This boxset is perfect for those who want to get away from buying a compilation with the same old ...

Sign 'O' the Times - Prince 27/12/2008

The opus!

Sign 'O' the Times - Prince Quite simply for me this double album is Prince's opus. Heavily jazz influenced whilst combining Prince's ability to produce avant garde soul, funk and pop/rock numbers and the distinctive quirky qualities from a Prince record - what more could I have asked for? This was ahead of its time and perhaps for most in 1987 it was too ahead of its time. 'Sign 'O' The Times' is not a Purple Rain Mk II because in many ways it is simply years ahead of Purple Rain. When I first listened to the album I was instantly reminded of the production expected from Timbaland or The Neptunes who have undoubtedly derived much from Prince and for me though 'Sign 'O' The Times' as a social commentary is distinctly 1980s, its sound values are still pervading through American urban music today. Every Prince album marks a change in direction from the last so you do have to take each one as it comes although there are moments on the previous album 'Parade' from 1986 which serve as a familiar reminder. I stumbled across 'Sign 'O' The Times' at a bootsale marked up for £8 and it was still shrinkwrapped. I couldn't believe my eyes, Like some of the Beatles albums, the price for 'Sign 'O' The Times' tends to rise to £20 so shop around but every penny you spend will be worth it. I am going to review what I regard as the key tracks. Disc 1 Sign 'O' The Times - a social commentary about the AIDS epidemic, drugs, the Challenger disaster, the doom of humanity and various problems of the 1980s, some of ...

Singles+ - Four Tops (The) 25/03/2008


Singles+ - Four Tops (The) Overall, this is a fantastic Four Tops compilation in terms of liner notes, comprehensiveness and more importantly the quality of the recordings. I treated myself to this double album recently and was incredibly impressed with my investment. All the original recordings, which have been fantastically remastered without taking away the warm sound, and ultimately some of my favourite songs of all time. The Four Tops are probably one of the most remembered of the Motown acts and any fan of Motown will appreciate them, but even to the uninitiated, the Four Tops are probably one of the most accessible soul acts of all time and this album is a good starting point to anyone looking to build up a Motown collection. The Four Tops' sound is essentially classic Motown soul - four great singers, though the lead singer Levi Stubbs has one of the most impressive baritone voices, really distinctive and quite something. Fans of the 1986 musical film of 'Little shop of horrors' starring Rick Moranis should recognise Levi's vocals, as he was the voice of Audrey II - "FEED ME SEYMOUR!" Anyway, this compilation is extremely comprehensive, for not only does it contain pretty much all of the Motown hits, it also covers the days when the Four Tops moved labels to ABC records (not a commercial success in the UK) and then on to Casablanca and Arista in the 1980s. Not many compilations do such things as a lot of music buyers are aware! Therefore, this compilation also features the huge UK hits ...

Australia's Greatest Hits - Boney M. 25/03/2008

A much better greatest hits!

Australia's Greatest Hits - Boney M. In short, if you are looking for a one-stop Boney M compilation with the hits, this is the one to get, IF you can get hold of it. I have just written a review for the 2006 compilation 'The magic of Boney M,' which to be frank, is appalling compared to this 'Greatest Hits.' The main reason : The Greatest Hits (this product) contains most of the original versions of the tracks AND better still, the album versions. The only complaints I have is that the liner notes are very basic - just a list of the tracks and the usual copyright information AND sadly, the original unedited 1978 version of the Christmas Number 1 'Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord is not present.' All in all however - the original versions, bar from 'Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord' - the 1992 overdub of 'Mary's Boy Child' is essentially no different from the original bar under a minute edited out and the drums have changed. However, this is not the worst version of 'Mary's Boy Child' I have heard - that is left for the version on 'Magic of Boney M.' The tracks worth noting: Boney M were huge in the late 70s and all of the major singles from 1976 - 1980 are present, including naturally the million selling double A-sides 'Brown Girl in the ring/Rivers of Babylon' and 'Mary's Boy Child.' There are a couple of album tracks present and a fairly good cover of the classic 'No Woman, No Cry' is worth checking out- the infamous version of course was by Bob Marley & The Wailers. Boney M's music is essentially ...

Hit Parade - Paul Weller 13/03/2008

No rain on the 'Hit Parade.'

Hit Parade - Paul Weller Released for the christmas market in 2006 and because Paul also won the BRIT award for outstanding contribution to British music that year, a comprehensive greates hits, including songs from the Jam and Style Council days, as well as Paul's solo career was needed. After all, the man Weller had managed a 30 year career! Universal released a single CD and a twin DVD (both also called 'Hit Parade') but in my opinion, the 4cd boxset "Hit Parade," which I am reviewing is the most superior. Firstly - if you like to be a comprehensive music fan - go for the 4 cd boxset. It is well worth the price. If you shop around, you can get hold of it for the same price as the solo CD (I did) and logic dictates, the 4 cd set is going to be more comprehensive than a single CD. The single CD is good but it contains 23 tracks, this 4 CD boxset has 64. Furthermore, the single CD version is sorely lacking in Jam singles - a mere 7 out of the 21 (including both sides of the 3 double 'A' sides) are present but rest assured, this 4 Cd boxset has all 21. Now, my review of the boxset itself: Packaging - the sleak, black packaging for this boxset is probably the best I have seen for a CD boxset. It is nice and compact, about the width and size of a paperback novel. This is welcome because most CD boxsets are too big to store on a standard CD rack and thus have to go on bookshelves or in my case, inside a wardrobe! Overall - 10/10 for the packaging. The linernotes/sleevenotes - very ...

Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent d'Arby - Terence Trent D'Arby 16/11/2007

An opus

Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent d'Arby - Terence Trent D'Arby Considering this album was huge at the time, I find it amazing that Terence Trent D'Arby hardly gets a look in for the most part on any programmes that pay homage to 80s music. Quite possibly one of the most unique voices on wax, this is undoubtedly Terence Trent D'Arby's (or Sananda Maitreya as he is now known) finest opus (for me anyway) and after one listen, you should hopefully be left scratching your head and wondering why he seemed to fade away during the 90s. This album spawned 4 huge hits and would be worth having in any CD collection alone for these. 'If you let me stay' is probably my favourite hit because it has a really funky beat and catchy hook, plus the lyrics tell a story and the almost heart-wrenching plea of Terence's vocals really bring the track to life. A diamond of a song. 'Wishing well' was the follow-up to 'If you let me stay' and a huge US #1. Quite honestly I have heard nothing like it since and growing up at the time, there was nothing out quite like it in 1987. Very minimalistic in comparison to 'If you let me stay,' but an infectious arrangement that will get any foot tapping. 'Dance little sister' is a funky jam which is given away by the title. To me this one sounds a bit dated now but it is far superior to pretty much all of the so-called R&B out today. If only artists could return to making these sorts of jams but I digress. This one may require a second listen. 'Sign your name' is Terence's signature tune and it is one heck ...

TwentyFive - George Michael 14/11/2007

Twentyfive : Still not entirely comprehensive

TwentyFive - George Michael I always felt that George Michael's music has considerably been overlooked, in recent years because of his personal life and in the past probably because he wasn't seen as credible having been one half of the sugarpop Wham! As an introduction to George's music, this compilation is fairly comprehensive, featuring several of Wham's biggest hits (Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Freedom (2 UK No 1's) and both of the double A-side 'Last Christmas' and 'Everything she wants,' right up to songs specifically recorded for the compilation and the title of the compilation certainly matches the track listing. Had this been called 'the ultimate,' a substantial number of criticisms could have been made. I am reviewing the deluxe edition which contains a third disc and I shall indicate which discs are present on both the standard and deluxe editions. N.B. This is going to be a really long review so in short I think this compilation is a fantastic introduction to George's music but I add a caveat - there are certain tracks on disc 2 which I feel could have been left out to ensure key George classics (namely 'Cowboys and angels,' 'Kissing a fool' and 'I can't make you love me') were included. You should buy Ladies & Gentleman : The Best of George Michael to hear these. Disc 1 : For Living (both editions) This disc contains I suppose what could be regarded as the more uptempo/mid-tempo tracks from George's career and an impressive 12/15 of them are UK Top 10 hits including 3 ...
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