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since 24/09/2000


Amtico 31/07/2004

Not for the lazy

Amtico The subtle and mysterious world of floor coverings have now enmeshed me in their sleazy grip and I find myself strangely attracted to their icy visage… A couple of days ago, I was reviewing some of my reviews written for Ciao and I checked out which exactly had received the most viewings. When I found that a pretty drab opinion on Ikea laminate flooring had pulled in over 1000 readings, although the enormous majority weren’t by members, I thought that I would have to investigate further, and then did another review which has yet to touch anywhere near that figure, but decided that, Hey Hey we’re the Floor Coverers, people say we’re floor covering around, but we’re too busy singing… So here we are, back again in the whacky world of floor covering, with today’s subject matter being Amtico… Please note that the start of this review includes quite a lot of cutting and pasting from the Amtico website, but please persevere, I will get on to my own views eventually, and the vast majority of this review is all my own work (Davey Babe Age 6 and three quarters)… First things first and I just love to give you that little bit of insight to the manufacturers, so here’s the lowdown on the Amtico website at which also has the following links to relevant company sites: STRATICA - The unique construction of Stratica Eco-polymeric flooring combines the performance benefits of modern synthetic materials with unrivalled ...

Ikea Hemse Laminated Flooring 28/07/2004

dave27 goes 1 better

Ikea Hemse Laminated Flooring Mrs D once wrote a review about Ikea Tundra laminate flooring, although she stuck it under my name on Ciao. In those days, she was getting me a name as a bit of a churner, and blow is the depth of opinion which she offered (PS this article also got the most reads I ever received on Ciao!): *************** *************** *************** ***** All Mrs D’s knowledge I have had my Tundra Laminate Floor from Ikea for 2 years now and I have to say that it is the best decision I ever made. It's easy to keep clean and maintain and still looks as good as it did when originally fitted. Tundra flooring has a 15 year guarantee and is very hard wearing. I have two kids and two dogs, I have no stains as I did with my previous scotchguard carpet. Spills are easy to clean up and marks are none existant! I would certainly recommend Ikea Tundra to anyone considering it. Before I checked the prices at Ikea I had a quotation from Courts who wanted to charge me in excess of £2000, I contacted Ikea, purchased the flooring and materials for less than £500 and had their contractors fit the floor, all for less than £800! *************** *************** *************** ******* Now, tonight, I intend to move the world of laminate flooring forward just a little and I’ll try and give you the real lowdown on this smart little invention… I’ve heard laminate flooring being pooh poohed (technical description) for years, but I have to say, THEY’RE ALL WRONG … laminate flooring is very ... 28/07/2004

Neat little box of tricks Gott im himmel – when the hell (note interesting interplay heaven/hell, coincidental rather than planned – note to self: going a bit schizoid) exactly did e-mail become so completely indispensable? These days even the banks are demanding that you provide an e-mail address when you open an account, the staid old fruits! Now, being a tite old git as you may have remarked from previous correspondence, dave27 had abso blooming lutely no intention of paying for the privilege of having an e-mail account, despite how vital they are. Of course, you have to balance that against the fact that most free e-mail services these days are getting just that little bit ropey and there is an argument for paying at least something to ensure you have a reliable home for your cyber correspondence. I actually have a plethora of e-mail addresses – the standard Hotmail account, one at SoftHome, another at AOL, several associated with the websites I run and another at Operamail, but the other day I chose to reactivate the one I’d had for a number of years at Yahoo. I had used my Yahoo address when I’d signed up for a particular Internet service some time before and needed to use it again, so I had to go into Yahoo and ask them to make my Inbox live again, which was relatively easy to do, and I then recalled exactly what is good about the Yahoo service. One of the most significant advantages of Yahoo is its longevity – it has really stood the test of time and outlived all the other bandwagon ... 14/07/2004

More money Rpoints is just one of the latest in a long line of sites which pay you for clicking links and/or joining up for offers, only there’s one really big difference … they’re honest, and do actually pay out … who says so? Why, Squiggles, of course, and I believe implicitly anything which she tells me. According to her, the guy running the site is as honest as the day is long, and that’s a rarity in this day and age. Anyway, Rpoints is a reward site which costs you nothing but your time, and will even pay you £1.00 just for signing up – if you do want to join, you can do so by using this link - - both you and I will get £1.00 if you sign up for the site via that link. But why should you sign up? After all, you’ve done this a million times previously, haven’t you? And they never pay off, now do they? Well, actually this time, IT DOES. They don’t make any over the top claims about you being able to make a fortune, but they certainly do offer a very decent return for not very much time at all on your part. I’ve done an awful lot of wasting time on such programs, believe me, but this particular site does seem to be a good way forward, and I am very happy to recommend Rpoints without any hesitation (well, apart from the normal, don’t blame me if it doesn’t work out). There are several good features associated with Rpoints – the payout at just £10 is pretty low for this sort of program. They don’t make over optimistic promises – it takes a ...

Citizen Kane (DVD) 08/07/2004

What are they talking about

Citizen Kane (DVD) Citizen Kane is all about mysteries and riddles, with dark hints and subtle nuance. As the film commences, the newspaper magnate, Charles Foster Kane, lies dying, and utters as his last mortal word “Rosebud…” kicking off a quest to find out what he meant by it, as the film backtracks and works through the story of his life, in search of the truth. However, there is a far deeper and much more intriguing mystery, and that is exactly why this quirky little film has generated such critical acclaim, such that it is rated by many knowledgeable critics as the best film ever made. And that really is the crux of the entire problem with Citizen Kane. Because it’s so widely lauded, one goes into the viewing with the expectation of something really stupendous and awe inspiring, yet what you actually get is something quite feeble by comparison. I once sat down to watch it to see exactly what the fuss was all about. When it started I felt bored, but consoled myself that something would improve and that I should stick with it. As time dragged on and it went into classic documentary narrative approach, I continued to wait with expectation for the touch of majesty and wonder, but unfortunately it never arrived and I was left wondering exactly what the whole point was. I'm sorry, but I have to tell you this film is dull and vastly overrated and I cannot for the life of me, see what the fuss is for. I can see that the style is ace, that the idea is attractive and that technically it ...

BBC1 - The Young Ones 07/07/2004


BBC1 - The Young Ones cartoon humour arrived in the bbc 2 post watershed slot back in 1982 and the world was never the same again.... this was in the days of bachelorhood for the dave27 muse and i remember the rumours going around in young people land about this mad tv sitcom long before it exploded across our screens. me and my mates had picked up on rik mayall in the crap cult comedy prog, 'a kick up the eighties', when he had made a career out of a black country accent in the role of investigative reporter, the abominable kevin turvey, and were all ears when we heard about the new project. it was about a bunch of students living in a flat together, together with their grasping landlord, jerzy bulowski, played by the man with the tightest suits in showbusiness, alexei sayle, but that was about all we knew. i remember a collection of drunken, drugged up, layabout types huddled round a tv waiting for that first episode in hushed awe. but we were just not prepared for what was about to absorb our consciousness. that first series was scheduled for just six episodes and was penned by mayall, together with his girlfriend of the time, lise mayer, and ben elton, who made some cameo appearances in the show, but was then an extremely nerdy, studenty chap. the show was indeed about students, four of the worst students you could ever have imagined and it made huge stars of the participants. they were (in no particular order): rick, the people's poet, played by mayall, as the most ...

SEAT Alhambra 1.9 TDi 07/07/2004

Another wild idea from Mrs D

SEAT Alhambra 1.9 TDi I’ve written previously here about Mrs D’s preoccupation with cars, and, more particularly, her deep-seated desire and need to buy new ones. I've refrained from writing about her latest escapade for almost six months now, but I can hold back no longer. It is getting on for almost half a year now since she had her latest brainwave and decided that the Honda CRV which he had only 18 months previously was really not for her and she desperately needed a new car. Of course, it went a little bit deeper than that. Some time before she had been in a little bump with another vehicle. It is a long story, but suffice to say, she decided to overtake a guy who didn't seem to know where he was going at just the same moment that a third driver started moving past her. The inevitable happened and she and the last guy came into contact. The first guy, oblivious to all this, had turned off, and was well on his way, leaving the other two to exchange notes and insurance details. She coped with things pretty well, but maintained that the problem was the visibility in the Honda and she simply couldn't see the other guy. This meant, of course (fanfare), that she needed to change the car. And what is more she needed to get an even bigger model to accommodate our screaming brats, despicable dog, mountains of shopping and the odd case or two of wine when we come back from one of our trips to France. She tried out a Renault Espace, but objected to the smarmy insincerity of the salesman. Then ...

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (DVD) 05/07/2004

Darkness Darkness dragging me down

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (DVD) After the cartoon and sweets of the first two Harry Potter movies, it was always hinted that the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, would be very different. Created by a new director after the disappearance of the bland Chris Columbus, HP3 is much much (well, you know) DARKER… It smacks a little of the feel of many of the best Tim Burton films, and there’s an eerie claustrophobia about the whole thing. True enough, the dementors don’t have the full, horrific intensity of the Black Riders from the first Lord of the Rings epic, but it was always going to be a difficult trick to match the original thought in J R Rowling’s mind. While we’re at it, let’s get all the gripes out of the way. The werewolf isn’t particularly well done, Gary Oldman is a little off form and not as good as you would expect as Sirius Black, while the young actors don’t seem to be making much progress, and Michael Gambon is not a patch on Richard Harris. However, those moans are a little on the harsh side, because all other things being equal, HP3 is a damn fine piece of work, with all the depth and menace which was somehow missing from the first two films. It’s dark and cold and dank and creepy, with moody moments and is much more faithful somehow to the original than either of its predecessors. I am not going to offer any spoilers here, and you will doubtless already know what happens with the book having been around for some years now, and in a sense it’s not the plot ...

Signing Off - UB40 05/07/2004

Dole queue reggae with a message

Signing Off - UB40 Most of the 2 Tone era bands were hyper energetic dance bands, deeply ingrained with a love of Ska and Bluebeat and stomping the night away. Dexys Midnight Runners at one end of the spectrum, fronted by the EGO of Kevin Rowland were avowedly a soul band, with passionate romance in their hearts (Searching for the young soul rebels, indeed) before they became gypsies with Come On Eileen. Over on the other wing, there was the dub and loping, smooth reggae sounds and political comment of Birmingham’s UB40. Even the name was a STATEMENT writ large of a band who cared, in a deeply passionate way for their fellow men. They cared less for the intense fashion sense and front of many of their friends and colleagues and were pretty faceless and anonymous, but they managed to carve out a lengthy career in the charts, even though a lot of the latter success was owed to blanded out sounds and cover versions (Red Red Wine). In the beginning, however, when they emerged on Bob Lamb’s local Graduate Records and they were championed by John Peel they mattered in an awfully BIG way, with smooth skank sounds, classy, distant vocals and a lovely dub reggae feel. Their debut album, Signing Off, was released in September 1979 and stayed on the charts for a staggering 71 weeks. The cover art was based on the unemployment benefit card from which the band take their name. It was an excellent piece of work, combining a soulful and rootsy dub feel with political lyrics to create a very ...

Audi A6 1.9 TDI 04/07/2004

When I get me Audi out on the road

Audi A6 1.9 TDI Now please don't quote me on this, but I just nipped over to the Audi web site -- -- to do a quick bit of research for this review and it looks pretty definite to me that they are no longer doing a 1.9 TDI version of the Audi A6 saloon. They are doing a 2.4 SE manual, a 2.4 SE multitronic, a 3.2 FSI SE manual, a 3.2 FSI quattro SE manual, a 3.2 FSI quattro SE tiptonic, a 4.2 quattro SE tiptronic, a 2.0 TDI SE manual and a 3.0 TDI quattro SE tiptronic, but look, there ain't a 1.9 SE TDI anymore. Well, ever willing to go against the grain dave27 changed his company car pretty damn recent and went for the old version of the Audi before these new fangled mothers found their way onto our streets, and I certainly have got a 1.9 SE TDI to call my very own. The others mentioned above vary in on the road retail price between £24,020 and a whopping £43,025, should the fancy take you. I think my model was just over the 20 grand mark, but as I get mine via my job I don't need to worry about it, sorry. Anyway enough of the quick advert, let's get on with the show… It’s car changing time, and I was waiting an awfully long-time to ditch my old Renault Scenic Megane, which my hand originally managed to convince myself was actually a decent car -- well, sorry to disappoint you and change my original opinion, but by the end that particular car was starting to resemble something of a tractor in nature. Three years ...

ITV: The Jerry Springer Show 03/07/2004

Oh my word

ITV: The Jerry Springer Show The Jerry Springer industry is a wonder to behold - I mean do you actually believe there's a country like America - the wrestling is difficult enough, but this oddity is really too much to take - who do these people think they're kidding - are they for real? They could be, but I don't believe it. Jerry Springer is the ring leader, our host, our agent provocateur with the telling and ethical moral at the end - BE NICE TO EACH OTHER FOLKS (while I'm raking it in from the hatred and bile I'm peddling). There's no half measures in a Jerry Springer programme, with the protagonists a mile apart in their willingness to compromise, baring their soul and their deepest innermost feelings for the whole world to pick over and ogle. It's depraved, it's dirty and it's not very pleasant. You catch yourself watching it and you can't quite understand how you let yourself get seduced by it. This is EVIL and JS is the devil incarnate! People like Jerry Springer are smugly complacent and self serving, like many stereotypical Americans and his show symbolises everything that makes the average Brit retch at the very idea. It’s the running of the herd, the baying sheep who screech and cry for the blood of the pitiless bad guys … “This is Stanley … he is having an affair with his girlfriend’s goat, but also loves his mother-in-law (or some such foolish nonsense).” You can see them all now, the great fat bloated red necks with their wrestling thumbs down going at the baddies, ...

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Standard 7 Complete package 03/07/2004


Dragon NaturallySpeaking Standard 7 Complete package "computer, give me all the information you have on george bush." it's always been a cyberpunk's idea of heaven, forget the mouse and keyboard and bone up your vowels, it's time to drive your pc by voice alone. i've been suffering a bit lately with a bit of repetitive strain injury because of overuse of the old push-me-pull-you mouse and so i finally decided to try out a copy of dragon naturally speaking 4 to see if it manages to live up to the hype. a copy will run you a touch under 70 notes, but i got my copy as part of one of those freebie cd's you get on the front of monthly pc mags. it was a full version, and as the programs that come on the disks with pc pro are normally pretty reliable, i decided to take the plunge. you need to have a microphone to make the package work, but it's relatively easy to load up. it's recommended that you spend as much time as possible training dragon by reading out passages to it so that it can get to grips with your vocal inflections and accent, and this is always a bit of a drag, although the text you get with dragon is pretty interesting by itself, with excerpts from 2001, 3001 and dogbert's secret book of management. i did quite a bit from this latter text and it was all i could do to avoid laughing out loud (i'm actually exaggerating now, i mean you tell me how often you or anyone you know has ever actually laughed out loud at anything). anyway decent text does make the time pass and you can space it out over a few days if ...

Winkworth 27/06/2004


Winkworth Not them, but another just as bad Men are different from women – all that stuff about one being from Mars and the other from Venus is SOO true. The male of the species just wants an easy existence … you know the sort of thing I mean, no kids or dogs, a few pints with his mates, footie on the box whenever he wants, and a little women to wait on his every need, while Mrs wants THINGS TO GET DONE, and you to mow the lawn, wash up, put the toilet seat down, play with the kids, walk the dog, etc, etc, ET BLEEDING CETERA… Me and Mrs D fit very nicely into this little battle of the sexes and we’re exactly like the natural stereotypes of Mr and Mrs Normal. She’d been nagging me for ages to move house because we needed more space, we needed to be closer to the kids’ schools, she didn’t like the neighbours much (Add in your own reason ad nauseam), but I’d always remained steadfast: “I’m not moving and that’s it, end of story.” In the end, however, I finally relented, and you don’t need to know exactly why, believe me, but I did, and we decided (jointly) to sell our house and move on. Now that fairly mundane decision gets you off into all sorts of disastrous adventures, not the least of which is the ‘your life in their hands’ experience of working with estate agents … the profession (in the loosest sense) with one of the direst of all reputations, next to insurance men, used car salesmen and England midfielders. Well, we had little choice and so we settled on a local ... (now part of Kelkoo) 20/06/2004

Does just whata it says on the non existent tin (now part of Kelkoo) Kelkoo not shopgenie, I'm afraid Kelkoo ( is one of those neat little websites which helps you check out the best deals and get the very neatest price on virtually everything, and you’re always left wondering exactly what’s in it for them … are they on a cut from the suppliers? I guess they must be, because Kelkoo will even pay you for referring people to them from your website, and they don’t even have to buy anything for you to get paid. What nice people! A quick check at the Kelkoo home page reveals that they cover the following types of goods (and services): books and magazines, cars and motors, computers and software, digital cameras, DVD and video, electronics, fashion and lingerie, flights, games, consoles and toys, gifts and gadgets, health and beauty, some and garden, household appliances, mobiles, phones and faxes, money and bills, music, shopping 4 businesses, sport and fitness, travel and wine and spirits, although they’re best known and most useful for electrical goods and appliances, where there seems to be the greatest range in price. It works like this – click the household appliances link – you’re now given the option of laundry and cleaning, cooking, refrigeration and small appliances – go for fridges (under refrigeration) – now you’ve got a list ordered by manufacturer showing all the various models – select any of them and it will give you the full range of suppliers, along with a link to the relevant site. Of course, ...

One Hour Photo (DVD) 19/06/2004

Coming over all creepy

One Hour Photo (DVD) Robin Williams is generally Mr Good Time, Mad Eyed, 40 words a second MR STAND UP COMEDY, and very bloody good he is at it too. However, in recent years he has found his way into more dramatic roles and proven that he also has a fair amount of depth to his acting ability, and certainly knows how to play a bad guy. In fact, he’s bloody good at it. In One Hour Photo, he excels himself as Sy Parrish, the lonely guy who works in the photo development department at his local Savemart store, and who starts to become obsessed with the Yorkin family, although he is none too keen on the man of the family. He starts to imagine himself to be some sort of family member as he spends most of his days working on the family photos that Nina Yorkin brings in to get developed. His initial fascination soon comes to become an altogether more dangerous obsession, and when he finds that the husband is having an affair he doesn’t take it at all well, and decides to try and put things right. Williams is actually quite wonderful as Uncle Sy, a pretty creepy if lonely loser who lives his life through the family and wishes he could be part of their life. One Hour Photo is an interesting and intriguing thriller, replete with plenty of menace, which is all the more dreadful because of the very mundaneness of the lives of the characters. There’s something chilling about knowing that all of this could easily happen to you and yours and the nice little fell who works down Tesco stacking the ...
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