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since 12/06/2000


Mission: Impossible 2 (DVD) 04/08/2000

A Worthy Sequel

Mission: Impossible 2 (DVD) Some people who enjoyed the first Mision Impossible will be disappointed with the sequel. Whereas the first film was dark and mildly sinister, the sequel is light, airy and great fun. Tom Cruise excels as the secret agent Ethan Hunt, and British actors Thandie Newton and Dougray Scott are good in their supporting roles. The plot is a little on the silly side, but that's only to be expected, and the spectacular car chases and daredevil stunts more than make up for it. It's a truly international film, which is unusual, and should make the film appeal more to international audiences. It speeds along at a fair old pace, and with characters assuming each other's identities, you have to concentrate to make sure you don't miss anything. It's a great summer film, suitable for a wide audience. ...

Marie Claire 27/07/2000

The Intelligent Glossy

Marie Claire I have been a subscriber to Marie Claire now for a couple of years and it's definitely the best women's glossy on the market. The features it runs are much more in depth than the others, and it focusses on the issues affecting women around the world. The journalism is first - rate and Marie Claire has won several awards for it's investigative pieces. It's not afraid to tackle issues other glossies shy away from, and takes a campaigning stance on many women's issues. This is probably because its readership tends to be older than the teenagers reading Company or Cosmo. It also has everything else you'd expect from a glossy - fashion, food, beauty and a problem page. It's a little more expensive than the others if its like, but its well worth the money. ...

Hello 27/07/2000

Best Celeb mag around

Hello I love Hello. You know exactly what you're going to get with each issue, and that's a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous. Hello's unique style of journalism with no controversial or searching questions means that the text is not a riveting read, but there are acres of glossy photos to compensate. Hello focusses heavily on UK celebs, and the aristocracy. Many times they do a feature on aristos the rest of us have never heard of. They are famous for their "weddings" issues which are always suitably over the top. Hello has a broad cross section of celebrities in its issues, and doesn't get hung up on the awful Beckhams as OK does. The mag is suitable for all - you won't find anything offensive! There are also puzzles, travel tips and recipes. Something for all the family!! ...

Company 27/07/2000

Another Clone

Company It's a pity that Company seems to have fallen in the same trap as Cosmopolitan and new Woman magazines. There is nothing really to differentiate the one from the other, but is this necessarily a bad thing? For the cover price of approximately £3, you get a decent combination of fashion, beauty, real life stories and features relevant to young women in the 21st century. Company seems to steer clear of the more sexually explicit stuff that features so heavily in Cosmo. At the moment there is a great deal of competition in the women's magazine market, so all titles are giving away freebies - books, bags and flip flops for example. Company is light, easy reading - perfect for a train or plane journey, or to while away the hours on the beach. ...

The Wedding Singer (DVD) 05/07/2000

A feelgood film

The Wedding Singer (DVD) The Wedding Singer was the film that launched Adam Sandler's career - but after the Waterboy don't let that put you off. Set in 1985, it tells the story of Robbie Hart, who makes his living singing at weddings. He meets Julia (Drew Barrymore) who is a waitress at the same events. They are both engaged to other people, but after Robbie's fiancee jilts him at the altar he begins to fall in love with Julia - but does she feel the same way? The Wedding Singer is an easy to watch film, with no deep and meaningful plot lines and some very funny moments. The 80s music and fashions are just as I remember them, and Julia's fiance Glen is funny as the guy who thinks he's Don Johnson. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler turn in good performances as the main characters, but the subsidiary characters are less memorable. The film goes down hill in the last 20 minutes which is set in a plane on the way to Las Vegas, and features a cameo appearance by Billy Idol..... having said that, it's a good family film, without too much swearing, and no sex and violence. ...

Lonely Planet Mexico City - Lonely Planet 05/07/2000

Very Comprehensive - a must read

Lonely Planet Mexico City - Lonely Planet We visited the Yucatan area of Mexico last autumn and found the Lonely Planet guide to be indispensable. It gives the warts and all picture of the country, along with recommendations of places to stay, visit and eat. The only problem with the Lonely Planet is it isn't that Lonely, and we saw several other visitors with the same book. This means that everyone seems to be going to the places recommended in the books, and other equally good places may get overlooked. Don't treat it as a Bible, and you won't go far wrong. As with all Lonely Planet publications, there's a comprehensive section on history, culture, arts and crafts and a phrase book section. Although these cover the basics, they don't go into a great deal of depth, so if you're particularly interested in a certain area you will probably end up getting another book. having said that, it's a great introduction to the country. ...

Tokyo (Japan) 30/06/2000


Tokyo (Japan) Most visitors to Japan will either visit or pass through Tokyo. Once you get over the sheer size of the place, it's a good city to pass a few days in. The underground is efficient and clean, and will take you everywhere you need to go. It does get very crowded in rush hours though. We stayed in Ueno, home to the famous Tokyo Zoo. We did visit the zoo, but I wouldn't recommend it. The main attraction is the pair of giant pandas, which weren't on display when we went. The other animals are held in very small enclosures and look depressed. The zoo gets incredibly full and the whole experience was rather depressing. The national museum is also in Ueno and is more relaxing. They have a good collection of japanese artefacts such as pottery, swords and kimonos and all labelled in English. The main shopping area in Tokyo is Shinjuku - home to the busiest undergreound station in the world. There are several huge department stores here which are fun to look round. Another place for car nuts is the Toyota Amlux - a large car showroom where you can't buy a car! All the current production models are there for you to crawl all over. If you have kids, Tokyo Disneyworld is a short train journey away. it's small enough to see the park in a day, and even if you don't understand japanese it doesn't really matter. Tokyo's not the cheapest city, but it's worth seeing once. ...

Strathclyde University 30/06/2000

Good Social Life - and the teaching's not bad either

Strathclyde University I was a BA Hons student at Strathcylde between 1990 and 1995. Strathclyde has been a Uni since the 60s, and has a good reputation for Engineering and Business Studies. The campus is in the city centre, and is compact although extremely hilly - wheelchair users would find getting around almost impossible. The Business School is extremely commercially focussed, and as a result the courses are very practical in nature with lots of project work and presentations. The Arts faculty is less so, but is coming round to the idea that not all Arts grads go into teaching. Accommodation at Strathclyde is limited, with only one year in halls guaranteed. The flats on campus are good quality, but the less said about the one catered Hall, Baird, the better. Let's just say it's like a time warp - go through the door and your back in the 50s. Strathclyde has a huge student union with facilities spread over 8 floors. The sports centre is modern and well equipped, and the older pool was renovated in the early 90s. All the sports facilities are availabe at a nominal charge (was 10p). Strathclyde is a very "down to earth" Uni and does not attract the Oxbridge rejects that Glasgow or Edinburgh does. There are a high number of overseas students expecially from Malaysia and Scandinavia. Social facilities are excellent as the Uni is a short walk from all the pubs and clubs in central Glasgow. ...

New York, John F. Kennedy, USA (JFK) 28/06/2000


New York, John F. Kennedy, USA (JFK) Arrival at JFK feels like it should be exciting - after all it has to be one of the best known airports in the world. The main problem is immigration. Everybody with a non-US passport is questioned by officers who don't have a sense of humour and this can take ages to clear if there are a lot of people who don't speak good English. Once they've stamped your passport, baggage reclaim is OK - no better or worse than any other big airport. The problem with baggage is that you need coins for a trolley - and there's nowhere to get change. Beware of "helpful" people who offer to help with your luggage and then ask for a "tip" in return. JFK is some distance from Manhattan - best to jump on a bus. The departure facilties are OK but can get crowded - and the Duty Free shop was a big disappointment compared with those in the UK. Very small, with limited choice. Plenty of bookstores and places to grab a coffee though. JFK is still probably the best bet for those travelling to New York - Newark's just too far out. ...

Osaka - Kansai, Japan (KIX) 28/06/2000


Osaka - Kansai,  Japan (KIX) Kansai is Japan's nesest international airport, serving the cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. It's built on reclaimed land in the sea, so it makes for an interesting approach as you get closer and closer to the water. On arrival in the terminal, be prepared for a hike - Kansai is enormous and your hike to immigration will involve lots of corridors and flights of stairs. Goodness knoes how a wheelchair user or someone with a pushchair would manage. Immigration are efficient and as long as your paperwork is in order you shouldn't wait too long. Once through immigration bagage collection is efficient too. I wasn't stopped by Customs, but several westerners were. Officials speak English, so you should have no problem with their questions! There is a railway station in the airport which is the best way from the airport to Osaka, and then you can connect on to the rest of the japanese rail network. As i only used Kansai on arrival, not departure, I can't speak for the departure facilities, but it was all very clean, very modern, with lots of space. ...

Glasgow (Scotland) 28/06/2000

Miles Better!

Glasgow (Scotland) Even after the "Glasgow's Miles Better" ad campaign of the 80s, Glasgow is still trying to shake off it's hard man image. However, there is more to the largest city in Scotland than Taggart and Old Firm Derbies. The main square in Glasgow, George Square, is the centre of everything. You can take a guided bus tour which may help you find the way around. The city centre isn't huge, but a lot of the attractoins are outside the central area. A must see is the Burrell Collection on the south side of the city. This collection from all over the world was donated to the people, and entry is free. Also worth seeing is the People's Palace museum which tells the story of ordinary Glasgow people. Glaswegians are known for their friendly manner. Accommodation is cheaper than in Edinburgh, but gets more pricey in summer. There are lots of students in Glsagow, as it has three Universities, so there are plenty of bars and restaurants. The licensing laws are liberal, and drinking goes on till late - be warned! ...

Edinburgh (Scotland) 28/06/2000

Beautiful - not to be missed

Edinburgh (Scotland) Edinburgh is my home town, but growing up I didn't appreciate how lucky I was. Edinburgh is teeming with things to do. The main attraction is the Royal Mile - a long street running between Edinburgh Castle at the top and Holyrood Palace at the bottom. The Castle isn't very good value for money, although you can see the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. It can also get extremely crowded with tour parties in the summer months. You could easily spend a day wandering down the Royal Mile, in and out of all the small side streets. A good way of getting your bearings may be to take a bus tour which passes all the main sites. Accommodation can be difficult to find, especially during the Festival in August and early September. The tourist office at Waverley are very helpful. The best time to visit is during the festival as the city is really buzzing with lots going on in the streets day and night. Bars open late, and there's a great choice of places to eat. You'll need more than a weekend to see Edinburgh properly. ...

Oxford (England) 28/06/2000

Lovely City, just don't bring the car!

Oxford (England) I have lived in Oxford for four years now. Oxford is probably best known for the University, but it is also the home of Rover (soon to be BMW) so it isn't all gowns and mortarboards. The city centre is dominated by the various colleges of the University, and the best way to get to grips with which is which is to take one of the open top bus tours which run regularly from the bus and train station. Wahtever you do - don't drive in. Oxford's controversial transport strategy has closed streets and pushed up the price of parking. Unless you're only going to be in town for an hour, it's better to leave your car at the park and ride and take the bus into town. Oxford is compact, and can be easily seen on foot. Most of the colleges are open to the public, but opening times for all are different. One of the nicest is Christ Church, with lovely meadows going down to the river. If eating in Oxford, there's a good selection of restaurants and prices. Some of the best are : The Opium Den (Chinese), Mongolian Wok, Browns and Chopsticks on the Cowley Road. Oxford is best avoided in the peak of summer as it gets very crowded with foreign students and tourists. ...

Japan Airlines - JAL 28/06/2000


Japan Airlines - JAL I was lucky enough to travel business class to Osaka with Japan Air Lines last year and their service cannot be faulted. All business class passengers are offered a "menu" of services from which you can choose two options. They offer things like hotel discount in japan, vouchers for rail travel, extra points on the frequent flyer programme and chauffeur transfer. I went for the chauffeur transfer and a car and driver arrived at my home, transported me straight to the check in at terminal 4 with the minimum of fuss. All the check in staff were polite and courteous. The place was modern, with the latest in flight entertainment systems. There is a choise of Japanese or Western food, both of which are excellent and well presented. The flight attendants are attentive but not overly so - they will leave you alone if you don't want to be bothered. The only bad thing was the safety briefing - the tape had been very badly dubbed into English which made it good for a laugh but not particularly informative. If I could afford it, I would definitely go JAL business class again, if only for the amazing electronic toilets in the special lounge at Narita airport! ...

Greg Rusedki (GBR) 28/06/2000

more disappointment

Greg Rusedki (GBR) It had to happen, didn't it? It wouldn't be Wimbledon without a UK hope going out in the first round. The expcectation placed on Rusedski, and to an even greater extent on Henman, must make playing at Wimbledon a nerve racking experience. Rusedski's form has been hit amd miss for a while now, and even his powerful serve couldn't save him from defeat at the hands of the professional tour's "worst" player who had lost something like 22 matches in a row. Wimbledon always throws up shocks - Hingis went out in the first round last year - so it's unfair to criticise Rusedski too much. British hopes now rest with Henman, who judging by yesterday's first round performance will be be lucky to get to the quarter finals. I think we will have to wait for another year to see a British man winning Wimbledon. ...
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