DontShootUK, correct me if I'm wrong, but would Classic Shell not be doing the same thing that Start8 does? Or does that go further somehow?
Both proggies do pretty much the same thing... replace the start button/menu. However, Start8 is customisable using Windowblinds. As far as I know, Classic Shell is not skinnable using WB... unless something changed recently. I somehow doubt it, though.
Thing is, Classic Shell is freeware so it won't cost you to try it. However, I gave it a go prior to the release of Start8 but switched immediately once that became available [which is a standalone for 5 bucks or as a part of the Object Desktop subscription].
For me, though, the choice was obvious... it has to be skinnable.