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Stuff we like

Want to know what gets us going? We've got film buffs, Spotify bandits, bookworms and exceptionally amateur sportspeople within our ranks. Check out what they're into.

If you've seen, heard or read something great that we haven't, tell us!


Music

Our favourite featured tracks from the office soundtrack for this month. Click a tune to play.

Our playlists

October 18 Sounds

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September 18 Sounds

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August 18 Sounds

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Books

Storm12's current reading list includes

The Blood of Strangers - Frank Huyler

Ben

The Blood of Strangers - Frank Huyler

Ben

This small book of stories gives a glimpse into the world of an A&E department in a large American hospital.

Shocking. Surprising. Wry. Human.

The author used to be a physician and the tales he tells are gripping, surprising, revealing, moving and intriguing. Some are just a couple of pages long and others are much more complex and in-depth. They all reveal something fascinating about human nature when it's placed in a difficult position. Link to Amazon

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Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

Ben

Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

Ben

I read this book a few years ago and it was incredible: a moving, harrowing, realistic story of life in France before and during WWI, told from the point of view of a young man.

Birdsong stayed on my bookshelf after I finished it and as I write this I'm reminded of the mix of emotions I felt as I read it. I really ought to pull it out and read it again.

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Inside Alcatraz: My Time on the Rock - Jim Quillen

Michael

Inside Alcatraz: My Time on the Rock - Jim Quillen

Michael

I was inspired to read this book after taking a tour of Alcatraz whilst visiting San Francisco and found it gripping! I couldn't put it down. I found Alcatraz a fascinating place to visit, full of mythical aura and mystery and this book really brings to life the daily life and conditions for the inmates.

Written by Jim Quillen, (prisoner AZ586), who was sentenced to forty-five years after previously escaping from San Quentin prison where he'd been serving eighteen months for armed robbery, this book recounts his ten years served at America's most notorious prison. You feel like you are living every minute of Jim Quillen's life with him, and it feels like it is written in a very honest way. It tells the full backstory to his upbringing and how numerous silly teenage pranks and bad decisions ultimately set him on a road to breaking the law, getting arrested and doing time.

It captures and details daily life in the prison, solitary confinement, encounters with 'the Birdman of Alcatraz' and the famous 1946 escape attempt which led to the forty-six hour Battle of Alcatraz riot.

If you've visited Alcatraz then this book goes to further enhance that unique eye-opening experience. Equally too, if you are fascinated by the mystery and legend of the place, this book is a must read.

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The Paradox Trilogy - Rachel Bach

Stefan

The Paradox Trilogy - Rachel Bach

Stefan

Wow. Just finishing this recently, and I am blown away. Tomb Raider meets Star Trek AND Star Wars. Loved this book (that is crying out to become a movie) with a central female mercenary that plays in this action packed, sci-fi spectacular and awesomely graphic (in my mind) thriller.

This has a plot of galactic proportions and is touched with an unlikely romance with an old story of human sacrifice that all come together in a race to save the universe.

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The E Myth - Michael E. Gerber

Matt

The E Myth - Michael E. Gerber

Matt

Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

The E-myth book was a great read, especially as a business owner. It talks about the three characters that we must embrace being a leader (entrepreneur, manager and technician). The entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs and the fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work. This is most commonly, not the case.

 

Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy through growing pains to the mature business perspective. Most importantly, he draws distinction between working on your business and working in your business.

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Only Forward - Michael Marshall Smith

Paul

Only Forward - Michael Marshall Smith

Paul

This was Smith's first book and it's jam packed with enthusiasm and completely mental ideas!

I love this book, i've never read anything like it. It's quite traditional in the way it's written but what makes it stand out for me is the way the plot changes, turns and the fantastic way the story unfolds.

 

It's hard to review as I don't want to give anything away but throughout the whole book, it keeps you guessing as to what exactly is the whole thing about.

 

All I can say is read it! It's well worth it!

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Adverts

Coca Cola - 'Holidays Are Coming'

Mike

Coca Cola - 'Holidays Are Coming'

Mike

Love the way the soundtrack builds and the camera angles reveal glimpses before finally revealing the Coca Cola trucks.

Has a magical feeling and captures the excitement that Christmas is coming!

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Guinness - 'Good Things Come To Those Who ...'

Paul

Guinness - 'Good Things Come To Those Who ...'

Paul

This TV advert will always stick in my mind. It’s beautifully filmed, uses fantastic music and is so artistic. It’s one of the most creative adverts I can remember and is one of the reasons that I’m in the creative industry.

Filmed in black and white - iconically Guinness - it still makes me wonder at the cinematography which had only really been seen in films at the time, not in a TV advert.

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Snickers - 'Changing Rooms'

Mike

Snickers - 'Changing Rooms'

Mike

Joan Collins getting in a strop in the locker room - this is one of those adverts that instantly grabbed my attention the first time I saw it.

Such a strong ad that was part of an equally strong campaign - great use of humour coupled with instantly recognised celebrity figures, including Mr Bean and Mr T.

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Paddy Power - 'Jesus'

Tom

Paddy Power - 'Jesus'

Tom

This advert is hugely controversial but really sums up the brand that is Paddy Power!

Paddy Power really 'get' their audience and their adverts never fail deliver what they've come to expect and this is certainly no exception. This advert has since been banned in Italy due to the depiction of Jesus.

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Honda - 'The Cog'

Matt

Honda - 'The Cog'

Matt

Art direction at its best.

I love this Honda advert. As you follow the incredible one continuous shot, you're left with a real sense of achievement when the car is finally revealed.

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Cadbury - 'Gorilla'

Paul

Cadbury - 'Gorilla'

Paul

Yes, a gorilla playing the drums.

It has absolutely nothing to do with chocolate, it’s just brilliant. Enough said.

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Heineken - ‘The Dilemma’

Stef

Heineken - ‘The Dilemma’

Stef

Heineken’s ‘The Dilemma’ is a great ad and relates to every football fan - watch it with your mates at home or live at the stadium? Moral of the story, don’t abandon your friends on match day.

Can’t believe they managed to pull it off!

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Audi - 'Birth'

Mark

Audi - 'Birth'

Mark

The idea that an Audi R8 gives birth to an RS3 is a bit mad, but the graphics and the overall look of this advert is great. It’s pretty clever as well, showing that the idea of the RS3 was ‘born’ from the R8.

Idea that an R8 gives birth to an RS3 is a bit mad, but it's a great advert

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McCain- 'Daddy or Chips'

Mike

McCain- 'Daddy or Chips'

Mike

Such a memorable advert! Funny and lighthearted, McCain’s advert perfectly exemplifies what a good advert is, and everyone knows ‘you just can’t help yourself’ when it comes to chips.

The silly comparisons to inanimate objects is something we continue to mess around saying in our family to this day!

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Nike - 'Possibilities'

Paul

Nike - 'Possibilities'

Paul

There are so many great adverts from Nike. An, well, what can I say about “Just Do It”, it’s such an inspired piece of marketing. It works on so many levels and really encapsulates the entire ethos at Nike.

Bit of background - It was originally used as an advertising campaign in 1988 but it was so successful that Nike then took it on as their strapline and have used it ever since.

I think it’s safe to say when you think of Nike, you think Just Do It.

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Film

Netflix, Prime, the silver screen - you name it, we'll watch it. Current favourites are

Gone Girl

Ben

Gone Girl

Ben

Watched this the other night without knowing a great deal about it, but thinking it was a bit like Taken: butch and action-y. Gone Girl turned out to be a really gripping, clever and well-acted psychological thriller.

A recently-married couple's life gets a bit complicated when she (Rosamund Pike) disappears (gone girl..) without warning, leaving behind evidence that the disappearance involved violence. Her husband (Ben Affleck) is a bit of a cold fish and quickly arouses suspicion that he was somehow involved. The truth is rather more complicated.

 

The story is complex but entirely realistic and somewhat understated.

Oh, and it lasts two and a half hours yet my wife stayed awake for the whole thing, which says a lot!

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SPLIT

Paul

SPLIT

Paul

Another great film from M. Night Shyamalan, the guy who directed The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable and more. It's a cracking thriller and it's connected to one of his other films but I won't spoil which one for you.

Three girls get kidnapped right at the start and the film follows four main characters (well maybe 27), the three girls and Kevin Wendell Crumb, the kidnapper (amazingly portrayed by James McAvoy), who has been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and has 23 distinct personalities.

 

It's really engaging, scary in parts and as the film progresses it brings in some freaky supernatural elements that keeps you on your toes.

 

A highly recommended watch with some fantastic acting and a really exciting storyline. Watch.

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Legend

Paul

Legend

Paul

Everybody has heard of the Kray twins, and if you haven't, they ran organised crime in London for most of the 60's. One of the best things about this movie is that both twins are played by Tom Hardy. I don't know how they did it but it's filmed really well (especially when they're fighting each other in one scene) and two cracking performances from Tom Hardy wrapped up in one film.

Legend is a great gangster movie and follows the twins as they take over London. The twins are very different, Ronnie being completely crazy and wreckless while Reggie is calmer and more calculated, having to reign in his brother. Ronnie is eventually the cause of their fall from organised crime kingpins, shooting a high ranking member of an apposition crime syndicate.

 

There's a great supporting cast including Taron Egerton, Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Emily Browning, Tara Fitzgerald and there's even a few appearances from Duffy who did a lot of the singing in the Krays' club.

 

Defenately put it on your watch list!

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Dunkirk

Dunkirk

For those of you that don't know much about what happened at Dunkirk in 1940. A large number of allied forces were cut of and surrounded by German forces at the start of WWII and were in need of evacuation. This film highlights some of what happened over the few days of the Dunkirk evacuation.

I won't go into too much detail about what happened but I'll talk about the film in general. It was filmed slightly differently than I expected and was a little difficult to follow at times, as most of the film is one sequence of a few hours but then you see the same events happening from lots of different pespectives. 

There is some really good acting, the events that you see are amazing and I'm glad I watched it. But overall I'm not a massive fan of how it was filmed and I found it very slow moving, so if you're expecting a Saving Private Ryan type of film, I would probably give it a miss.

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Baby Driver

Baby Driver

I have to say, I wasn't expecting much from this film, I thought there would be some good action and the storyline would be a bit ropey.

However, I was pleasently supprised! With some big names in it, for more than just a cameo, the acting is great, the storyline is clever and the car chases are awesome! 

Really it all revolves around a romance between Baby (Ansel Elgort) and Deborah (Lily James) and Baby trying to hide the fact that he's a getaway driver, although he's being forced into it. Desporate to get away from his criminal activities, lets see how he gets on and will he drive off into the sunset?

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TV

Storm12's selection - the best of the box

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why is a Netflix original series based on a book written by Jay Asher. My partner works at a school and there has been a lot of talk about this from the students, so she was intrigued as to what it was all about.

Apart from being well written and acted, Thirteen Reasons Why has had a lot of attention due to the subject matter. It's about a high school student that takes her own life but before she does, she records 13 tapes, each of which has a reason why she decided to take her own life. Pretty heavy I must admit and I'm in two minds to whether I would let a young teen watch this. Part of me thinks it's good to expose them to this sort of mature content but it does depict some graphic scenes including rape.

 

Moving on from that, the series follow Clay, a former class mate, who finds these tapes on his doorstep and quickly realises that he's not the only one to have had these tapes. There are 13 episodes, one per tape, and we follow Clay listening through these emotional audio diaries. Full of mystery and teenage angst, worth a watch but warning if you are watching it with kids, there are so hard to watch moments.

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Just Tattoo of Us - Car Crash TV

Paul

Just Tattoo of Us - Car Crash TV

Paul

I spotted this on MTV the other day and let's face it, MTV is the place to go when you want something that takes absolutely no effort to watch.

So, the idea is simple, two people (friends, family, partners), choose a tattoo for each other and don't get to see it until it's permanently inked. It is truly unbelievable - I think I've seen one or two that have actually had nice tattoos, everything else has just been terrible. They range from ex-girlfriend names all the way to feminie hygiene products, yes that's right, two "best friends" and one of them picked to have a tampon tattooed on the other. It was a really well done but come on!

 

That's it from me, just thought I'd share that in case anyone wanted to see some people ruin their bodies for life!

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Loaded

Mark

Loaded

Mark

Two episodes in and Loaded has divided the critics, some labeling it genius, some crap. We're enjoying the exploits of the four guys who went from zero to £240m courtesy of their Cat Factory game app.

For us, what works is the mix in the lead characters - the brash marketing guy, the shy nerd, the ex-addict genius behind the app and the guy desperately trying to hold it all together while wracked with guilt over his new found fortune. Definitely worth a watch, even if you think you don't quite get it at first - Mondays, 10pm, Channel 4.

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GT - Grand Tour

Matt

GT - Grand Tour

Matt

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are back with The Grand Tour.

They're like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. Even though the new show is somwhat contrived, I can't help but still love to watch the natural chemistry, banter and car challenges between the three presenters. Episode seven and eight for me, are the best from the series. They're challenged to complete an epic journey across Namibia in three beach buggies, each built to their own spec.

 

It's an amazing adventure across some of the most incredible desert scenery Africa has to offer.
Go on, buy Amazon Prime and login

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Generation Kill

Paul

Generation Kill

Paul

So, do you really want to watch a seven part mini-series about the Iraq war? When it's written by the guys that wrote The Wire, YES!

If you're watching it for action then there's not as much as you might expect but it's superbly written and really gripping, but don't worry, you get some brilliant action along the way.

 

It doesn't pull any punches, you see the smart, well trained marines and then the contrast of some idiots in charge of the infantry units and their stupid decisions.

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Blacklist

Paul

Blacklist

Paul

So I'm now on season 4 of The Blacklist and I'm really enjoying it! It's fast paced, exciting and there's always some twists and turns in each episode. It's pretty well acted with James Spader taking the leed as Raymond "Red" Reddington who is the FBI's most wanted fugitive.

I'll try not to give anything away if you haven't already seen it but it follows Red after he inexplicably hands himself in to the FBI in order to capture the first name on his "Blacklist" of criminals that are so powerful and dangerous that the FBI don't even know about, all on the condition that he only talks to Elizabeth Keen, a young FBI profiler.

 

Spader is fantastic as Red with a swagger and style you would expect from criminal mastermind but with a hint to some injustice in a previous life that makes him really likable.

 

I hope this gives you a little insight into the series and makes you want to give it a go! I really would recommend it!

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McMafia

McMafia

Yet another cracking 8-part drama from the BBC. The story of McMafia follows Alex Godman (James Norton), an English raised son of Russian ex-mafia boss whose family has been exiled from their home country. Alex has spent most of his life trying to distance himself from his family past and is building a name for himself as a legitimate businessman.

After some significant events ocur, (I don't want to spoil anything for you), Alex gets drawn in to some activities that go against everything he's tried get away from. I'm on episode 3 and it's really gripping, well worth a watch, you'll get hooked!

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