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The Very Late Review 7


And now for something a bit different, as we return to the quite-well-loved feature The Very Late Review. In this occasional series, I ask readers of the blog to review and rate (out of 10) a wide range of people, things, films, cereals and experiences. Sometimes because I’ve missed out on them myself, sometimes just out of curiosity as to the public mood, sometimes with the aim of providing a ‘bluffers’ guide’ for other readers, since in this complicated world it’s impossible to keep up with even half of what’s going on.  We are as usual indebted to Megan, who has collated the verdicts, written them up, and calculated overall scores.

After a few rounds of the Very Late Review we’re now in the fortunate position of having a huge treasury of reviews across many disciplines, and are on the way to the ultimate 10-year goal of being able to provide an instant and reliable consensus on pretty much everything. Some time around the end of the year I will give someone the immense job of cataloging ALL the Very Late Reviews into one huge Wiki-type document which we can keep adding to. But anyway. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here is the latest edition. Megan, with remarkable conscientiousness, included at least one quote from everyone who took part.

To have your say in the Very Late Review 8, check the end of this blog, where there’s a list of new items to review. As ever, the rules are: only mark things out of 10, and don’t review things if you’ve not actually experienced them to some degree. And the last rule is that you can override these rules if you really feel like it, because this is only for fun. Thank you. Over to Megan.

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Since universities are just starting up in the UK (have been in session here for three weeks, though), I am going to talk a bit of methodology (for the ratings), something professors and lecturers LOVE to hear about:

  • I did not include a rating number if the reviewer admitted not having seen/read/visited/eaten the item they were reviewing. Except when I made mistakes.
  • I split houmous and salami’s ratings into two numbers. When I remembered.
  • When people gave separate ratings for the film and book of Time Travel(l)er’s Wife, I averaged them.
  • Excel displayed fuzzy_ducky’s extraordinarily out of range score for The Sky (100000000000000000001/10) as a exponential code thing that I couldn’t figure out.
  • I am not a statistician and don’t actually know what I’m doing.


I also must commend Mr Watson for confounding the Canadian. While I know who Ant & Dec are, 90% of y’all’s references to them were alien to me. And in Canada (well, the English-speaking bits), we tend to spell ‘houmous’ as ‘hummus’, but I knew about that weirdness having been (mostly) vegetarian when I lived in the UK many years ago. Typing ‘houmous’ is hurting my fingers and brain, though.


Enough of my blithering, here’s what you all thought of this Very Late Review’s selections:


Ant & Dec

Get their best reviews from ‘Byker Grove’, which I gather was one of their earliest TV projects. Few people actively hated them, though many were ashamed to acknowledge that TV’s most ubiquitous pair were still held in high esteem in their eyes because it is ‘uncool’ to admit such a thing. Others just flat out love them, though. Aislinn even admitted to boosting her rating a bit artificially because she wanted them to get an overall score of 7 or 8 out of 10, which is very nearly as adorable as Rachael calling her rabbits PJ & Duncan.


Memorable quotes: ‘They are the equivalent of Methadone; I don’t use it myself and I find it highly distasteful and yet it provides a lot of comfort to the less fortunate.’ (Josh); ‘I’ve met them! Back when they were PJ & Duncan, but I have photos and autographs and they were just so lovely. As my mother said at the time “what canny bairns”. I nearly died of embarrassment but they were great.’ (Katy); ‘It is partly their fault that I will never go paintballing, because I was so traumatised by one of them  losing his sight in that terrifying Byker Grove episode’ (Laura-B); ‘I was a big fan of SMTV Live as a smaller person, and Ant, Dec and Cat were all happy smiley fun. Now that they do grown ups TV I want to smash their heads together.’ (Misha); ‘My head tells me I should dislike them intensely, but my heart won’t let me.’ (heatheroo);  ‘As a 9 year-old, I was slightly indignant that they brought too much comedy to (what I considered) the incredibly gritty Byker Grove.’ (Lindsay)

Average score: 6/10 (sorry, Aislinn)

Diving score: 6.5/10


Full marks: 2 out of 25 reviews

Nul points: 2 out of 25 


Time Travel(l)er’s Wife

A very interesting mix here. Confusing, yet not confusing. Romantic, yet stalkily unromantic (see clembear’s comparison to Wurthering Heights). Excellent, yet really not very good at all. It was quite a few people’s favourite (or near favourite) book, but none of you rated the film highly. (I have not read the book, but tried to watch the film on a plane to Iceland when I couldn’t sleep. I drifted in and out of consciousness for the full running time, but I’m not if it was because of exhaustion or sheer boredom. Very confusing.)


Memorable quotes: ‘I haven’t read the book, but when I worked a WHSmith I made a lovely display of them, so the only thing I can say about the book is that it’s very stackable.’ (Helen (@iamanicelady); ‘The relationship between the two main characters Clare and Henry is beautifully written and I felt like I was being taken on a journey with them both.’ (Rozzie); ‘I think they simplified the film too much and missed some of the most important parts.’ (Anji); ‘I thought the book was one of the most disappointing things I have ever ever read…and don’t get me started on the pointless, horrendous film version of said book.’ (Laurs); ‘The film wasn’t as good so it gets a point knocked off. Also it uses the American spelling of “traveler’s” which shouldn’t annoy me but does…’ (Iona); ‘Film was ok, the guy was hot!’ (lisan66) (Very true. Even hotter in real life, BTW.)

Average score: 5.5/10

Diving score: 5.5/10


Full marks: 1 out of 21 reviews

Nul points: 1 out of 21

Salami (and Houmous/Hummus)

Although Mr Watson offered houmous as vegetarian alternative (as so many party hosts do), a lot of non-veggies decided to weigh in too, particularly as a lot of people just aren’t keen on salami (though several weren’t keen on houmous either). I found it intriguing that amycool hasn’t tried hummus despite her boyfriend’s dedication to it, but yeah, the smell can be quite off-putting at first. But please! Try it! (I’ll get my friend Christine to make you some; it’s the best ever.)

Memorable quotes: (Salami) ‘Cannot live without it. Sainsbury’s used to do some pre-sliced with some kind of cheese round the edge, thus satisfying 2 cravings at once.’ (squoozles) (Good lord, that sounds amazingly deadly.);The only thing that puts me off is that the little white bits in salami are just pure fat. If you took all the white bits to one side and just stuck them onto your body, you’d have the same result as eating them, and that’s science.’ (Ivan) (His whole entry is very, very amusing.) (Houmous) ‘Oh how it can vary. When it’s good, it’s oh so good, but the low-fat/cheap versions can be a bit gross. And you don’t want it to go off… obviously. (Someone); ‘I think I generally prefer food that isn’t lumpy and is less funny smelling.’ (Kate B); ‘Some people think it’s a bit pedestrian to have at dinner parties and stuff, but put it in a nice dish with some coriander on top and olive oil and fancy little toasted breads or biscuits and it is the best thing ever.’ (Madeleine)


Average score: 4/10 for salami, 7/10 for houmous

Diving score: 4/10 for salami, 7.5/10 for houmous


Full marks: 0 out of 10 reviews for salami, 1 out of 13 for houmous

Nul points: 2 out of 10 for salami, 1 out of 10 for houmous


Potholing/Caving

A lot of people critique the whole business of potholing based on the fact that it just sounds really damp, cramped, and terrifying (says even MusicalLottie, who helps teach the basics of caving) and I have to agree somewhat because it sounds a bit like the basement of the cinema that no one ever goes in and we suspect inspired the set designers in Hostel. But I digress. Again. This is not an activity for the claustrophobic, but can have its exhilarating moments. Not a popular choice overall, though.


Memorable quotes: ‘I’m not particularly claustrophobic but the thought of being trapped in a hole barely large enough to accommodate my then tiny body is not a pleasant one.’ (amycool); ‘Our guides (told us) that the water in a particular bit of the cave is shallow enough to stand in so we could all get off our tubes… only for 10 gullible fools to disappear under the water.’ (EmT); I’d rather get wet than force myself senselessly into the side of a hill.’ (Lex) (I just loved how this sounds out of context, but lex (sorry, not sure if male or female) did say more interesting stuff that makes this make sense.); ‘I should have a high score for this seeing as I lead caving sessions at work, but ours are a man-made ’system’ of tunnels. So nice and safe, dry, non-scary and rather easy – though I still come out black and blue.’ (MusicalLottie); ‘Why oh why would anyone do this? How can crawling through dark, damp places that seem too small for sensible people ever be fun?’ (Laura); ‘It strikes me that you have all the effort of walking up a mountain but none of the view.’ (SamJJ)


Average score: 3/10

Diving score: 2.5/10


Full marks: 0 out of 10 reviews

Nul points: 2 out of 10


The iPad

My boss, who doesn’t have a laptop because he thinks they are flimsy, has an iPad. He travels a lot, so he wanted it for reading and doing crosswords. However, he travels a lot in places where he is likely to get mugged for his iPad and he doesn’t like the crossword apps he’s found, so it’s not nearly as useful as he had hoped. Anyway, the general consensus among y’all is similar: it’s kinda neat, but too expensive for what it is.


Memorable quotes: ‘iPad seems to do everything except that thing that you would really find useful; playing a DVD, for instance. A procrastinator’s best friend. Very expensive alternative to A4 sheet of paper/book/newspaper. Pretty though.’ (ChrisP); ‘I love Apple. They make pretty things but if you have a laptop already then very little reason to have an iPad. I know someone who is now using to prop up a computer monitor. Says it all.’ (Tim); ‘Never touched one or used one but I hate them because I love actual physical books. The world would be a terrible place without book smell.’ (Lydia) (This is true, but I still think Kindles are pretty cool.)

Average score: 3/10

Diving score: 3/10


Full marks: 0 out of 10 reviews

Nul points: 4 out of 10



India

Sadly, too few of you have been to India to really assess its grandeur (so few, in fact, that I didn’t do a diving score). Even those who have been say it is overwhelmingly full of stuff and people. But, I think we can generally agree that it is difficult, fascinating, and somewhere worthy of adventuring in.


Memorable quotes: ‘An absolutely incredible place. One of those ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ situations: I love the busyness and the colour and the narrow streets and people and cars and cows everywhere but some people find it too much.’ (Becca, who also recommends a Kevin McCloud documentary called “Slumming It”); ‘Far more complicated than my narrow experience of it.’ (Clembear); ‘Never been there, but love my indian takeaway.’ (fuzzy_ducky)

Average score: 9/10


Full marks: 0 out of 3 reviews

Nul points: 0 out of 3


The Sky

Well, the sky is pretty rad. A few hinted that watching the sky might be more amazing than watching anything else (I fear the infinite, so I cannot stare too long, especially at night). And, as Ally said in her great review, ‘I don’t think you can rate the Sky out of ten when it’s so important and exciting. It’d be like blasphemy, only not really.’ Regardless of the controversy over rating something unrateable, Watsonians think the sky is awesome.


Memorable quotes: ‘Then on top of just how amazing it is just to look at the sky, there’s also the wonder of stellar exploration; as Carl Sagan said “the sky calls to us”. Things that humans have made are on or passing by other planets. There are people living in space *right now*. How frikking amazing is that?!’ (Tibbs, who gets props for name-dropping Sagan); ‘A couple of my relationships have largely involved gazing together at sunrises, sunsets, clouds and stars. Of course those relationships didn’t last, so maybe girls aren’t as impressed by it.’ (JontyLarr, with whom I disagree); ‘Should be commended for it’s colour choice and dedication to the job.’ (Lauren); ‘How does one review the sky?’ (Kathryn); ‘Overrated. I prefer the sea.’ (Daniel) (My fear of the infinite prevents me looking at the sea for too long as well. Sigh.); ‘I like the sky. There has been a book about it falling down, a poem about it being red at night and a song about it being a big blue man.’ (Aislinn)


Average score: 3.7037E+18/10 (seriously, what does this mean? No more 21 digit numbers, please.)

Diving score: 10/10


Full marks: 18 out of 25

Nul points: 0 out of 25


Phew, that was longer than usual. Thanks again to everyone, including Mark, for letting me take over your bandwidth and computer monitors yet again. You are very funny people. Now I’m off to look up Byker Grove on YouTube.

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And here are the review items for next time, with, as usual, brief explanations of why I want them reviewed:

THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO ETC) by Stieg Larsson (books; have completely passed me by; now everyone is reading them)

YOGA (activity; have never tried it)

SEVEN DAYS (TV show, Channel 4; have missed it)

RICHARD BRANSON (multi-millionaire; can’t work out if he seems nice or not)

SURFING THE VOID by Klaxons (album; haven’t heard it yet; quite liked last album)

ISRAEL (country; as a tourist destination, not as a political/religious entity, which is a more complicated discussion)

COFFEE (drink; this is for people who can’t review any of the others, and don’t want to be left out altogether)

Reviews as Comments on this blog, as usual. Thank you for participating!

55 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    I’d forgotten about this!

  2. Laura says:

    The Millennium Trilogy – Better than I expected as I don’t usually go for ‘crime’ or ‘conspiracy’ as genres. Very well translated, too, apart from the titles which are, at best, clumsy. I did, however, find there were large swathes where I would find myself drifting off because Larsson was writing about something financial sounding. Mean score: 7.5

    Yoga. Too dull for words. Yes, it is incredibly tiring and it does make you jolly bendy but it is just so boring. And classes last for at least 90 minutes. WTF? Who has the time for that? 3/10.

    Richard Branson. My dad met him a few times and said he was very funny but with an incredibly short attention span. 6/10

    Coffee. Gross. It tastes disgusting no matter how much milk or sugar you put in it and it gives me the squits. Not nice at all. Would give it a minus score but will stick to the rules and give it a big fat zero.

  3. deanna says:

    aww, i can’t review any but the coffee. i love coffee. coffee is life! i like it very strong, often with soy milk and chocolate stuff. my family know that if i have to be woken up early, they’d better bring me a mug of it or i’m an absolute grouch.

  4. amycool says:

    Yoga – Although I’ve never attended a proper class, I did buy the kit and a book and had a go myself. The first few weeks are only about 20 minutes long and then it increases in time and difficulty as you go. The problem I found was that I never got any bendier. At all. I think I must have increased in strength as I could hold the very painful poses for longer (that or I got more used to pain) but when it came to touching anywhere near my toe region, I was miles away. Perhaps I have something wrong with my legs. My favourite bit was the meditation at the end, although the downside of doing this at home is that you have to listen to your boyfriend’s mum humming Angels by Robbie Williams and it’s quite offputting.

    Quite nice, quite fun, but got bored when I didn’t get stretchier – 6.5/10

    Coffee – Believe it or not (I imagine you will as I have no reason to lie) I have never drunk coffee. I used to make one for my Mum in the morning and I used to smell it on IT teacher’s breaths when they leant all over me, but I’ve never actually ever wanted to taste it for myself. I have had coffee flavoured chocolates though, such as Revels, and they’re okay but probably my least favourite of the Revels. Part of my wishes that I drank coffee to wake me up but I’m suspicious of things that alter how I feel to such an extent.

    I shall follow the rules and refrain from voting on this one.

    A big thank you to Megan for your hard work. It must have taken ages and it was a very enjoyable read! I’m looking forward to this one as I’m only vaguely familiar with most of the categories.

  5. Tibbs says:

    I am always happy to share the Sagan love. And now I will go watch symphony of science again.

  6. Ivan (@ivanbrett) says:

    Oh dear, I can’t review many of these this time!

    YOGA (activity) I totally read that as Yoda. Can I review Yoda? I mean, Yoga gets an 8/10 because it has names like ‘downward facing dog’ and stuff. But 10/10 Yoda gets, because greatest puppet ever appearing in sci-fi films is he. So. Yeah. Motion to add him to the review.

    RICHARD BRANSON (multi-millionaire; can’t work out if he seems nice or not) I’d give him a 5/10 because he is distinctly average, and he’s the sort of person who I’d not spend any time on. Onwards, then…

    COFFEE (drink) Coffee can be delicious and mystical, or boring and polystyrene-cuppy. I’m reviewing the proper stuff, which I love, especially blue mountain. Blue mountain comes from a mountain which is literally blue, and that’s what gives it such a lovely taste. 9/10

  7. Joelle says:

    I can only comment on Yoga today!
    I did yoga when I was about 12 or 13. Totally normal child I was, just hanging with adults and grannies.
    I loved it. I became more flexible and got better balance.
    The mats can make funny noises though, and I didn’t overly enjoy the relaxation parts at the end where you ha to focus on one thing. Often my mind digresses easily.
    It’s the kind of thing you do when you need something to do with mild benefits and enjoy yourself.
    I’d give it an 8 out of 10.

    Also, that stupid number you got, whatever number is after the E, I think you take the number you’re multiplying by 10 and move the decimal point forward or back that much depending on wwhether it’s positive or negative. That could be completely wrong though. Yeah, I’m gonna fail my math exam.

  8. Kathryn says:

    COFFEE:

    Coffee is life. There is no life before coffee (at least, not in the morning). I’d drink it all day if I could find the time. I have to limit myself to three cups a day though. My med-student friend explained to me that after a period of drinking coffee regularly the caffeine no longer has any effect, but if you stop drinking it you experience mild withdrawal symptoms. Which might explain why it doesn’t seemt to have any effect on my alertness.

    Fairtrade coffee + milk + biscuits= perfect. 10/10.

  9. Rachael says:

    Coffee: Absolutely awful in both taste and smell. Poor man’s tea (except more expensive). 0/10

  10. Ingrid says:

    Yoga- hurts! really did for me anyway. After being forced by my swimming club to participate in an hour long session, i could barley walk the next day! Im not really a very yoga kind of person though, considering i cant even touch my toes. But i guess the mats are pretty comfy so… 4/10

    Coffe- I actually cant drink it. It makes me gag. I’ve tried it with sugar, milk, cream and even dissolved a humbug in a cup of it but nothing seemed to make it taste any better. Plus coffees smell is just… urgh! If i can think of one good thing about coffee is that holding a mug of it will keep your hands warm, so for that reason it gets 2/10

    Bye! Xx

  11. Misha says:

    Excellent work Megan!
    I feel slightly out of touch, but the only thing I can pass comment on is coffee. Occasionaly nice, keeps one awake, best with half a pot of sugar in it, but will make you buzz like a humming bird.
    5/10

  12. max says:

    To read the number you just move the comma the amount of places the number says. For example, 1.0E+3 is 1000. With numbers so large, though, the amount of zeroes is so large that you don’t even need to know the actual number… Just knowing it has 19 digits is enough!!!

    As for the current edition, I only really know coffee to which I give an 8/10. It would have gotten higher marks if it wasn’t so bad for you. But the truth is that it’s a delicious beverage.

    I never did yoga per se, but tried my hand at meditating a bit. The feeling I got, even being a completely untrained person, was sublime. So I generally approve of these type of activities: 9/10

  13. Johnny Reggae says:

    Hi, as a tradesman the coffee item is the one I’m able to comment on. Instant coffee should only be drunk if it is a “gold” variety which while being expensive has a rich flavour. This flavour can be totally ruined if boiling water is poured directly onto the coffee as this can scorch it. Try adding a small amount of milk first.
    Then there’s freshly ground coffee best enjoyed at the weekend as a treat. All coffee 8.6/10
    Finally god bless Richard Branson, inventor of the delicious pickle which is perfect in a ploughman’s. 7/10

  14. Wow! Sorry for being enthusiastic about the sky! But I’ll keep my rating to less then or equal to 10.

    Coffee: I’ve started having a cup every morning before a 12 hour day of school and study, and it keeps me going. Granted it makes me a bit too enthusiastic about even the most dreary things but it does seem a better option then to be moaning about everything and feeling tired and well, unhappy in the morning. The taste of some coffee, granted is kind of unappealing but there’s a very simple solution (but not very smart to use this solution if diabetic) – sugar. It sweetens the coffee, makes it delicious and well, gives you and extra kick.
    So, my informed and appropriate rating would have to be 10/10

  15. Steph says:

    I’ll second Ivan’s motion to add YODA to the list. 10/10

    YOGA: Pretty nice to do casually, only ever done the Geri Halliwell thingy at my friend’s house! 4/10

    RICHARD BRANSON: I think he seems nice. And I enjoy Virgin Train travel so no complaints from me :) 8/10

    COFFEE: This may be for the people that can’t review any of the other items, but I can’t, seeing as I’m teetotal. I will however give it a 6/10 because I was in this French coffee shop in Dieppe once and the grinding of the beans smelled AMAZING!

  16. lisan66 says:

    Yoga: I only ever done it for the last two months in secondary school as PE. It was an amazing way to relax, especially coming up to exams when we were all stressed out. I don’t really have a view about it as an exercise thing though. 6/10 for calming people down.

    Coffee: I don’t like the taste of coffee, but I LOVE the smell of it! I actually walk through one of the buildings in university to smell it in the mornings, eventhough it’s not the most direct route. Plus it keeps your hands warm on cold mornings. I’ll say 4/10, but I won’t drink it, ever.

  17. Kate B says:

    YOGA- I’m sure pretty much everyone in the world has tried yoga at some point in their life, whether optionally or not. And I still cannot understand why anyone would do it optionally. While doing it I can’t help feel a little self-concious and incredibly stupid and it always leaves my muscles aching for days afterwards. Perhaps it is an activity for slightly more bendy people. 3/10

    COFFEE- Digusting! No matter how much milk or sugar it still manages to be horribly bitter. I think I will always stick to tea. 1/10

    I hate giving two negative reviews, it makes me feel like a really miserable person, but sadly they are the only two things I have much of an opinion on and I happen to dislike both.
    Thank you Megan for doing all of this!

  18. Sarah says:

    Even though I don’t drink coffee, I still have an opinion on the smell, so I shall post this comment and let you decide whether or not to include it. Basically, I hate the smell, which is why I’ve never wanted to taste it. From the comments so far it seems to be a bit like marmite – love it or hate it. Ooh, if only we were reviewing marmite. LOVE it. Anyway, coffee… basically everyone where I work drinks the stuff so I am subjected to the smell almost daily, which doesn’t help. Also, I generally don’t like hot drinks (I’ll only drink hot chocolate in winter if I’m proper freezing) so that’s another thing against it. I can’t actually think of anything good about it so it gets 0/10 from me.

    Also, yoga… I did this once in PE at school (but not properly because I’m so very inflexible). Surely it’s just been designed so that flexible people can show off their flexibility?! Because if you’re not flexible enough for it, it’s very dull and seems near pointless. However, I did enjoy it slightly because it was basically an excuse to have a little snooze during school time. And it just looks like you’re meditating or something. Therefore, 3/10.

  19. Anna says:

    The Millennium Trilogy- I’ve only read the first one so far (finished it today, in fact), and I’m looking forward to going to bed so I can make a start on the second one. I do like a good crime novel, and this was a very good example. Though I did get a bit confused at times over which member of the Vanger family was who. But that could just be because I’m easily confused. 8/10

    Coffee- When I’m in charge I’ll make it illegal. Foul, evil stuff, and I don’t understand people who prefer coffee to tea. They’re obviously a little bit mad. 0/10

    Yoga- Never tried it, so I won’t give it a mark, but yoga is featured heavily in the childrens programme Waybuloo, which makes me more angry than a kids programme should. It makes In The Night Garden seems bearable, and In The Night Garden makes me want to put my foot through the TV in disgust.

  20. elin says:

    Hmm… I feel very inadequate when it comes to these reviews… I never know anything about anything…

    The Millennium Trilogy. This is Swedish, so automatically good (being Swedish I have to say this…) Though I haven’t read or seen it, and have no plans of reading or watching.

    Yoga. I’m much too lazy…

    Branson. Well, his influence doesn’t really reach me, as far as I know. No Virgin in Norway…

    Surfing the Void. Klaxons? Sounds unpleasantly noisy to me…

    Israel. Never been there.

    Coffee. Horrible bitter drink, that holds my family in a tight grip. In an aim not to become like them, I refuse to drink it. But it smells nice. 2/10

  21. Katie says:

    I’m thirding YODA. He gets 10/10, every single time. Especially german Yoda. Hilarious!

    Ok, so now YOGA. Haven’t got much of an opinion, apart from the general bendiness you get from it, which could always come in useful some day. 6/10!

    And coffee…hmmm coffee. It gets 9/10 from me, losing a point only because I can never make it to taste as good as it smells. But plus points for being similar in french, german, spanish, italian and portuguese, and basically every language i can think of, meaning coffee buying is easy anywhere!

  22. Katie says:

    I obviously meant the word coffee, not the actual substance. I am not aware that coffee changes hugely from country to country. Except of course, its better anywhere else but Britain.

  23. Someone says:

    Yay Symphony of Science!!! 10/10!

    THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – Tried reading it because was on deal in Sainsbury’s and I think that’s partly why they’re so big – because they’re sold at pennies! Haven’t got very far with it since starting over a year ago but I tend to do that with books (short attention span, or just bored easily. Watson books (and a few others) are pretty much the exception and keep me gripped till t’end). For me there’s too much detail and it all seems a bit superfluous – but I think the plot’s going somewhere so I may well finish it before I die. Don’t see myself seeking out other 2 though (I mean, by then I’ll probably be buying 1 pint milk bottles just to be on the safe side of wasteful… so I’ll be choosing my short-stories on font-size alone) or looking up the films. 3/10.

    YOGA – I’d like to do it but, again, I don’t have the attention span to be sitting about in stupidly crippling poses all day (seemingly). If Bill Bailey started up a class involving sleeping bags and moves like ‘the worm’ my view would of course be a whole different landscape. But that’s a given. 4/10

    COFFEE – I’m surrounded by addicts but I’ve not succumbed like my siblings just yet. The smell’s lovely enough but the taste is bitter. I could go for some chocolate coffee round about now – but that’s my addiction, and it’s like tomacco – kind of a completely different entity so can’t be taken into account right here, right now. To keep me awake I go for 2.5 sugars in a tea, and even that’s a last resort measure. So… 3.5/10

    All pretty mediocre marks, and with a few vague references in there, I think I shall go quietly now.

  24. JontyLarr says:

    Why am I being disagreed with?

    I know nothing about any of the new subjects other than that I once tried a sip of coffee, and that was enough.

  25. tothesky says:

    Yoga – 9/10. I used to go to sessions twice a week for a year a few yeras back, but then gym memebership became unaffordable for me and my work hours conflicted. I should do it more often now as I have the kit but I’m far too lazy and now I don’t have any room in my ridiculously small room. I did love it when I did it though. I do have to object with some Watsonians commenting that it is only for flexible or ‘bendy’ people though. It isn’t just about being able to touch your toes – there would be zero benefit from that. It’s about the stretching and the breathing, and being active. I know it doesn’t look very active to sit there in a certain pose, but believe me, you are working your muscles!

    Also, about it not being real exercise, it depends on what type of yoga you do and how active it is. There are loads (don’t know the exact amount!) of different types: something focus on breathing and meditation, others focus on actual movement. I did Ashtanga yoga which was very much movement based.

    Lastly, you do actually feel and notice your strength and flexibility increasing. It takes a lot of practise and patience, but the best feeling in the world (hyerbole of course) is to be able to suddenly find yourself in a position you were struggling to be in a month back.

    So it takes patience and dedication but it is definitely worth it!

    If anyone is interested, these videos show the whole Asthanga series, www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsiwAw6OcZ0.

    Coffee – 3/10 Ok in chocolate, frappuccinos are better, horrible as a warm beverage, smell is good but gets nauseating after a while.

  26. Laurs says:

    The only thing I can comment on here is coffee. And I’m afraid it’s not going to be a nice review.

    I hate the stuff, physically hate it. The smell of it makes me want to throw up, literally, I can’t be around people who drink really strong coffee. When I first started working at my school, I was often asked to make coffee for other people as I had more free time. I would have to do this at arms length, which is harder than it sounds, then carry it from the staff room up four flights of stairs to their classrooms, all without vomiting.

    Horrible stuff.

    0/10

  27. Megan says:

    Thanks to all who commented and to those who thanked me. Yes. Thank you.

    @JontyLarr I know plenty of girls who dig the sky, that’s all!

    As for these selections, I won’t weigh in too much now, but coffee is the only thing keeping me upright these days.

  28. K says:

    @Megan Re: 3.7037E+18/10 (seriously, what does this mean?) – It’s just Excel moaning again really. Try making your column wider, that usually sorts the presentation, though it’s not going to make the number any more useful. #nerdhelp #yesImanaccountantwhatofit?

    Stieg Larsson books – my mother’s decided I should read them, so the first one’s in my read-these-books tower, but she’s a very unpleasant woman & frankly there are a lot more books in there that I actually managed to choose myself, so an actual review may not be forthcoming for a while.

    Coffee – quite like the smell, can’t stand the taste. My caffeine addiction comes from pop, & withdrawal causes migraine unpleasantness. Sad really. 1/10.

  29. Josh says:

    (firstly, although I’m sure it’s been said before, 3.7037E+18 is 37,037,000,000,000,000,000 or 3.7 trillion (ish))

    (that’s if you using the old (read “archaic”) million/billion system by the way. 3.7 quintillion otherwise)

    Now… I haven’t experienced many of this week’s

    YOGA 5/10

    I’ve done it on the Wii so I can confirm it’s just kind of stretching. Bit dull. I prefer activities you can hurt people with. Points awarded for the names of the move. Oh, and that children’s programme where the flying things do “yoogoo” or whatever they call it; I really enjoyed that.

    RICHARD BRANSON 7/10
    Businessmen don’t have to be likeable. He’s very clearly not. But he’s the future of space travel so I’ve got to let him off. I think he’s paid off the debt to the world that Virgin Cola left us with and knows how to provide services. And once again, I feel I must point out, we’re not getting into space any time soon without him. His Friends appearance made me die inside but so does everything about every American programme’s “British” episode.

    COFFEE 6/10
    I’ve got into coffee recently, but too be honest, unless energy is needed, instant coffee is just not as good as instant tea. I do enjoy all other types though. A must after a nice meal.

  30. JennyB says:

    The two things I can comment on…

    YOGA: When I was in year 10 at school they gave those who were bad at sport (i.e. my friends and I) an oppurtunity to replace a couple of PE lessons with yoga. The instructor lured us in with those sessions, by giving us easy positions which were basically just lying down in some way, which meant we all signed up to do 6 weeks of after school sessions that turned out to be much harder with the sun salutations etc. The instructor was also a bit odd, especially when she told my friend she had a “beautiful pelvis” during a particularly embarassing looking position. Plus another one of my friends fainted during one of the classes, so I now always associate yoga with that. 4/10.

    COFFEE: Love the smell, tastes ok with sugar. Use it as a pick me up after a bad nights sleep, and agree that you do get withdrawal symptons when you stop drinking it regularly. Hate anything thats coffee flavoured though, always unpleasant when you bite into an innocent looking chocolate and get the shock of that horrible coffee after taste. Oh and on the tea vs coffee front its tea all the way! 6/10

  31. Noobayliff says:

    I can’t comment on any of these things,I’ve not read the millennium trilogy, although would like to, I haven’t tried yoga, or watched seven days though have seen the adverts so many times I feel like i have watched the show. Coffee is gross and so I have no comment to make except I think it is insipid and like drinking slightly flavoured hot dirty water.I haven’t heard the klaxons album and though i would love to I have never been to Israel and I don’t know Richard Branson personally so am unable to judge his character. So basicly i don’t know!

  32. cymruangel says:

    THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO ETC) – I have not read the books, and am told that this is a good thing, since I went to see the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the cinema and then had nightmares for 3 days. I am sure that this Steig Larsson chppy is very clever and all, but I am firmly against the sensationalist use of abuse to sell books/films. If you have a serious message, fine, but I’m afraid the Millenium Trilogy seems rather gratuitous to me.
    1/10

    YOGA – very relaxing, has helped my little sister no end, wish I had time to learn to do it properly. 7/10

    RICHARD BRANSON – He has his own island, which seems to be quite cool, but then so do a lot of Bond villains – is that just a coincidence? Has done quite a lot for British economy, is bad at hot air balloons but very good at trains. One day I would like to fly in one of his planes, to see what they’re like too. 7/10

    COFFEE

  33. cymruangel says:

    ooops, somehow managed to hit submit.

    COFFEE – can’t stand it. Have tried drinking it in various forms, but it is just ick. I don’t like coffee-flavoured sweets or desserts either. 1/10 (because other people find it useful for staying awake otherwise it would be 0)

  34. Mariam says:

    Coffee – I live off this stuff. I’m not an addict by any means, I just really like the smell and taste. I usually have two cups of iced coffee and one cup of regular hot coffee a day, but there’s an attractive boy working in the coffee bar at my university so no doubt that number will go up. I’m concerned that the next time I go for a blood test, they’re going to draw coffee and not blood. 10/10

  35. Adele says:

    I feel I can only really comment on coffee here, given that I either have no experience of, or have no opinion on, the other subjects.

    Coffee then, is something that has always bothered me. As an adult I feel it is something I really ought to like. “going out for a coffee with friends” always sounds like a grown up thing to do, but no matter how hard I try, I just hate it.

    There is also the coffee snobbery issue where you often hear people proclaim that’s it’s impossible to get a good cup of coffee in England. Well, let me tell you why that is; it’s because we are a nation of tea drinkers! You can get a good brew anywhere in the UK with the only downside of not having fancy flavoured syrups to go in it.

    So, to summarise my rant. Coffee: wish I liked it, but I don’t.

    0/10.

  36. BeastiePsy says:

    Millennium Trilogy: Only read the 1st one so far, but would say it’s one of the most unsettling books I’ve read. Although I read it on a sunny beach in Tenerife, it provided it’s own little black cloud over my holiday. Also, was far too long… probably could have covered the story just as well in half the time/pages.

    Richard Branson: Not met him myself, but a friend did some work for him many years ago, and nearly killed him by narrowly missing his head when he dropped a fluorescent lightbulb. apparently he was a very decent, stand-up (not like you, Mark) type of guy. Very approachable.

    Coffee: I could take or leave it until they introduced a Costa Coffee cafe in our building at work. Now I’m hooked. Have to have one every morning. The source of all early morning motivation.

  37. BeastiePsy says:

    Bugger, I forgot the ratings previously…

    Millennium: 6/10
    Branson: 7/10
    Coffee: 9/10

  38. JontyLarr says:

    @Megan – but if girls dig the sky that means they must have left cos of me and that ca…

    oh. oh, i see.

  39. Aphra says:

    YOGA: 2/10. I’m sure it’s good for some people because it makes them feel relaxed/invigorated/superior to other, less flexible people, but to me it’s nothing but pain and humiliation.

    Overall comments: It’s nothing but bending awkwardly while wearing uncomfortably strechy pants.

    RICHARD BRANSON: 4/10. He always strikes me as a bit of a jerk, but I think that has something to do with his insistance on turning up in obscure cameo roles in movies and television shows, playing Richard Branson. It just seems like such a power trip to ask to be involved, then insist on only playing yourself (poorly). More annoyingly, he’s managed to stay looking the same as he did a decade a go, which for a man with such a bad hair cut, is pretty good.

    Overall comments: I probably just hate him for his success.

    COFFEE: 9/10. Brilliance. Magnificence. Words fail me when I try to explain the special bond I share with coffee. However, I could only give it a score of 9/10, as I’ve seen its bad side: I have an aunt, who for forty years has drunk at least 2 cups of coffee a day, and the only thing she has to show for it is a set of teeth stained a permanent tan. When I was 7 or 8, I used to have a recurring nightmare which involved her biting into my arm with her terrifying brown teeth, which still make me nauseous today.

    Overall comments: Perfect, however, words of warning:don’t ever buy coffee from a petrol station, and remember to brush your teeth.

  40. Nuala says:

    Coffee 10/10!

  41. Linsey says:

    Can’t believe coffee’s getting a bad rep around here! It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it’s gotten me through my A-Levels, my old Saturday job (my boss said I ‘lacked enthusiasm’ about the job, so I drank a shitload of coffee throughout the day, making me look enthused on the outside so that I could die quietly on the inside. As I say, my OLD Saturday job.) and I’m sure it’ll do the same in uni. Although the quality isn’t always great (it’s never worth getting the Asda’s own brand stuff), I don’t really mind instant, ESPECIALLY WITH FULL FAT MILK, which makes it really creamy and lovely like it should be. Although the coffee shops do it a lot better (Cafe Nero is best, Starbucks is disappointing).

  42. Linsey says:

    Oh shit – I give coffee 9/10 (can be dire when done wrong) x

  43. Hannahq says:

    Coffee – I don’t like tea (it doesn’t taste of anything!) but I LOVE coffee. And energy drinks etc are disgusting, so coffee is good for that. Also, the whole going-out-to-a-coffee-shop-with-friends-and-having-a-chat thing is quite lovely. 9/10

    Yoga – I did yoga for a bit, but I’m the most unflexible person ever so it wasn’t great. I’d love to be able to do all the yoga positions, but I can’t and will never be able to, so it all seemed a bit pointless.
    I hear it’s supposed to be relaxing, but to be honest, being all redfaced and upside down in a roomful of strangers with someone talking about your “energy” isn’t that relaxing. I might even call it stressful. 2/10

  44. Hal says:

    Yoga 7/10 relaxing with an element of danger

    Danger factor comes from the fear of farting in front of the rest of the class – best yoga moment was when this happened to a particularly unfriendly old lady. The rest of the room was silent at the time, and we all knew who did it but had to pretend we hadn’t heard it…

    Also danger from the likelihood of crashing to the floor in an undignified heap when doing a bendy-balancy thing. Best crashes usually from pony-tailed greasy men who think they are in ninja training rather than a ladies relaxation class…

  45. Maddie says:

    Coffee : 10/10
    100/100
    100/10

    It’s Amazing.

  46. Madeleine says:

    THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY: I’ve almost finished the third book now and barring some kind of horrible ending I’ve really really enjoyed them. Exciting, fast paced but meticulously detailed, with one of the most kick arse female heros I’ve ever read. Great character and place development, complicated plots but I haven’t had any problems following. Apparently the movie isn’t very good, but David Fincher’s directing an American version and he is pretty tops so I’m looking forward to that. 8.5/10

    YOGA: Quite relaxing, I’ve done it at the gym with my mother and a room full of middle aged women a few times. Goes on a bit long though, about half an hour is enough but most classes go one – two hours and that gets boring. 6.5/10

    COFFEE: Doesn’t seem to keep me awake at all (I often have it as a kind of warm milk sustitute before going to bed) but I love the taste. NOT INSTANT THOUGH. Vomit. Brisbane’s not quite as good as Sydney or Melbourne for cafe proliferation, but there’s still plenty of places to get a nice soy latte. The one thing England doesn’t seem to have going on. 9/10

  47. Clembear says:

    Yoga – I do Bikram yoga from time to time which is where you do 26 poses in 40+ degree heat. Its quite fun as no one is really wearing many clothes, the heat is nice after you adjust to it, and it does improve flexibility, cardio and strength. And its very calming, although that might be the endorphins acting like lovely opiates. I’m a big fan, although there’s a bit too much nudity in the changing rooms. Put it away girls. – 9/10

    The Girl with identifiable characteristics trilogy (millenium) – Read the first one.
    Pros: It was pacy and I wanted to know what happened so I read it in a day. I learned abut Swedish Nazism. Interesting.
    Cons: He needs good editing – there’s a paragraph about her buying a new laptop which is off the Apple website. That could be excised. There’s more like this.
    Apparently its a comment on misogyny, with graphic scenes of sexual violence. I’m not sure the former excuses the latter.
    Abuse is treated like a plot point. Lazy!
    The lead male character is a fantasised autobiographical Swedish uber-mensch who battles capitalistic injustice and beds women all over the place. This is more a comment than a con, but its a bit self-indulgent.
    When you find out who the villain is, I was completely, utterly suprised, but so much so I had to check we’d met that character. It alludes to lots of mysteries and so plays with red herring ideas which is quite cool, but then does a twist that’s just really odd. This might be a comment on the nature of mysteries as a genre as absurd, or it might just be bad writing.
    In general: Is Sweden really that conservative that someone with tattoo and piercings is almost made into the Other? Lisbeth (good name) seemed like a old fogey’s view of an alternative person or what a mid90s alternative person from Seattle looked like. So 4/10.

    Coffee – Like the smell, love lattes, cafe au lait and espresso after boozy dinners as a way to wake up. Great, great, great with cigarettes. 9/10

    Richard Branson – excitable, nice to have entrepeneurs. Rumoured to be very, very unfaithful to his wife, so possibly not that nice a person. Unless of course she doesn’t mind, in which case good luck to them both. And he looks a bit like a lion. So 4 or 8 out of 10 (adultery dependent)

  48. Lydia says:

    YOGA – I did it instead of PE for a term at school a couple of years ago. I fell asleep. It was all kind of embarassing really. 4/10

    COFFEE – I love it. So much. I am one of the people that live because of it. Although I must say that other peope don’t like my love of coffee so much, because I sort of accidentally made my friend miss the train by convincing her we did have enough time to get some. Two days in a row. Still, 10/10

  49. Alex says:

    THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO ETC) by Stieg Larsson
    I have The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo sitting on my shelf unread. I bought it coz my housemate made out it was the best thing since The Da Vinci Code or something (haven’t read that either). I’ll get round to it eventually.

    YOGA
    I did Ashtanga Yoga a few times (think that was it). We didn’t realise it meant fast yoga. I was (unsuprisingly) shit at it. More because I didn’t know what any of the words the man was shouting at us meant and I couldn’t keep up than due to a lack of flexibility, but shit non the less. It was fun though, and my God it made you sweat. Hurt a bit. 6/10

    COFFEE
    I like coffee, it’s nice. 7/10

  50. Adam K says:

    Coffee. 0/10 And I don’t think many other people like it either, even though they drink it. Why else would there be seemingly thousands of variations of it on sale in Starbucks etc? people are just trying to cover up the terrible taste. Add the fact that caffeine doesn’t seem to affect me in any way, to my mind it’s horrible and pointless.

    Milennium. 7/10 The movie got great reviews but, really, I can’t see why. It’s dull dull dull. (you’ve got to remember it’s basically the story of a journalist and his research assistant on a long term project. Also, a horrible rape scene should disturb you, not bore you) So my review is based on the books. I polished all three off in just under 2 weeks, which is a sign I enjoyed them but if I had a criticism it would be too much detail in stuff that doesn’t matter. Most people aren’t hackers and so the specifics of every step of doing anything on the computer don’t need to be included. There’s a bit, too, at the start of book 2 which is totally irrelevant to anything in any of the books, which goes on for over a hundred pages, if I recall. In conclusion, good but too much information.

    Branson. Won’t give a score as I haven’t experienced him personally, but there’s a nice story or two about him in Chris Evans’ book. Seems a nice guy.

    This is all I’m qualified to talk about. And a little I’m not.

  51. Kate W says:

    Can only comment on some of these, but here goes:

    THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY
    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the only one I’ve read. Enjoyed it and thought it was well done – pacey, decent characters, well put together plot and a nice twisty ending – but not feeling compelled to read the others. I also found there was an awful lot of rape in it. Sounds odd to complain about violence in a thriller/crime novel, I realise, but the amount of specifically sexual violence against women did bother me in retrospect.

    YOGA
    I’ve done yoga a grand total of once and hated it. For something that’s supposed to be calming, it made me homicidally furious.

    COFFEE
    Love it, love it, love it. Life without coffee would be….considerably tireder and more headachey, for a start. It’s delicious and comes in so many lovely varieties, flavours and sizes. It’s also quite a useful way to help be more alert/stay awake when required. Mmmm, coffee.

  52. Kate W says:

    Oops – forgot the scores. Sorry Helen!
    Millennium Trilogy – 7/10
    Yoga – 0/10
    Coffee – 10/10

  53. Lora says:

    There seems to be quite a few of these I have no experience of however the ones I have..

    SEVEN DAYS – In theory I think this show has the ability to be as close to proper reality television as you can get but I found it just lacked that something. This was probably as you were just picking up random moments. Very unsure about the claim that the audience can shape/shange the programme too. As a media student though I like the attempt to look at reality in a different fashion, so 6/10.

    RICHARD BRANSON – Never sure what to think of him, he seems to be quite nice (on TV and such). 7/10.

    COFFEE – Not fond of the taste but it contains caffeine, therefore 5/10.

  54. Tom Beasley says:

    RICHARD BRANSON – Weirdy, beardy, smug… he should be a knob, but you have to appreciate the guy’s acumen. Nobody gets to where he is without having their head screwed on, so he deserves some points despite not being particularly likeable. 4/10

    COFFEE – What a hateful drink. It lures you in with its amazing scent, but then tastes like absolute shit. Then it tries to fool you into thinking you like it by bouncing you off the walls for an hour. It tries its absolute hardest to make you like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s crap. 1/10 (one point for the lovely smell)

  55. Andrew says:

    Well, this is most disappointing. It’s taking me ages to catch up with this blog (currently about halfway through June) so I thought I’d simultaneously skip ahead to October whilst maintaining my catching up, thereby allowing me to fulfil my obsessive compulsive’s need to read every entry while at the same time not missing out on current blog events. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of the Stieg Larsson books, have never done yoga, avoided Seven Days as I loathe reality television, couldn’t tell you The Klaxons from, er, some klaxons, have never been to Israel and don’t drink coffee. This means the only subject above on which I’m at all qualified to formulate an opinion is Richard Branson, and the very thought of doing such a thing makes my heart sink. Ah well – I’m sure I’ll find something to review next time.

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