Ok, got Crunchbang installed. With its lightweight windowing system it certainly "feels" quicker but maybe that's because I want it to.
Everything seems to have been installed and provisioned, wireless card found in the laptop, WPA enabled. All good and fairly straightforward so far.
The only thing I've had trouble with is connecting to my NAS.
After a bit of digging around on the forums I found this post
So far I can't get the SMB browsing to be available on startup. I think it's something to do with the wireless connection being established after the startup script runs so...
...what I've done in the meantime is create a script with the line:
I then run this script manually after my wireless connection has been established.
Not perfect but a good start.