Journal Archive – August 2008

It’s once again time for more posts from my old journals. It was my birthday this month of course, and we had the Beijing Olympics on TV, plus there are the usual mentions of things like DVDs and news stories as well. So I hope you enjoy!

Note: Each time I publish a set of old journal entries, the previous post is backdated to its original year, so my blog remains tidy and chronological. You can see the posts so far on my Journal Archive page. Continue reading “Journal Archive – August 2008”

AD | Visually Impaired Theatre – States of Mind Review

Note: I received complimentary tickets to attend this production, but all opinions are my own.


It’s good to be back. After such a long absence from auditoriums, it was lovely to take a seat in a theatre again yesterday, to enjoy the premiere of a new and original play.

States of Mind was produced by Extant, the UK’s leading performing arts company of visually impaired artists, and was showcased at RADA Studios as part of the Bloomsbury Festival.

Christopher Hunter’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s earliest published work starred Gillian DeanRobin Paley Yorke, and was an intriguing premise, as I had learned in my exclusive interviews with Christopher and Gillian very recently (and many thanks to them again for their time). So I was looking forward to checking it out.

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AD | Visually Impaired Theatre – States of Mind Interviews

Note: This post is marked as an advertisement because I have been generously sent complimentary tickets to attend and review the show. I accepted them because I am very happy to support a production that features visually impaired performers and looks very interesting.


I’ve missed the theatre, it’s been 20 months since I last set foot in an auditorium. So what better time to make my return, than to see a brand new play that is produced and performed by visually impaired people, and is fully accessible for a visually impaired audience. That level of inclusion is courtesy of Extant, the UK’s leading performing arts company of visually impaired artists and creatives, whose work I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in the past when I saw Flight Paths.

The production, called States of Mind, is a contemporary dramatization of the poem Venus and Adonis, the first published work by Shakespeare. When the Bard wrote it, London’s theatres were closed because of the plague, so it’s rather fitting that this modern retelling was put together during the Covid pandemic.

In advance of its premiere on Saturday night as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, I was granted the opportunity to pose some questions to writer & director Christopher Hunter and actress Gillian Dean, who are both visually impaired (as is Gillian’s co-star Robin Paley Yorke).

So here Christopher gives us an informative introduction to the play, before Gillian gives an extensive and fascinating interview about her career and the play, and the accessibility of the performing arts for disabled actors like herself, and she gives a lot of advice for aspiring performers who want to get into the industry.

So, many thanks to Christopher & Gillian for giving up so much of their valuable time, amidst their busy preparations for the play, in order to share their insightful responses with me. Let’s get to it.

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iPhone 13 First Impressions & My Accessibility Settings

My trusty iPhone 6 was an excellent friend for 6 years, and only needed one battery replacement in that time. But with that second battery now dying and an increasing number of apps not being supported or updated any more, it’s time to move on.

Blue iPhone 13, with an Apple logo in the centre, and 2 cameras positioned diagonally in the top-left corner.Therefore, I’ve now bought Apple’s new iPhone 13, so I’m fully up to date at last. I’ve got the Blue 256Gb model, which looks and feels really nice, and is working really well.

With 7 generations between my old and new devices, there’s a world of difference between them, which isn’t remotely surprising. It’s a big leap forward in every respect – the screen is bigger and brighter, the audio’s better quality, the camera takes clearer photos and videos, and it’s much speedier at opening apps and doing tasks.

There are already lots of reviews and videos out there about the iPhone 13 and related models, by people who are much more professional and technical than myself. So I won’t go into detail about the technical specifications and all the features. I just wanted to share my first impressions as a regular user, after having it in my possession for a few days. I’m sure I’ll discover more about it as I continue to play with it.

This post isn’t sponsored by or affiliated with Apple in any way, and all opinions are my own. But I have included a couple of Apple’s videos for information and illustration, including their guided tour of the latest models.

So I hope you enjoy my overview and find it of interest. And feel free to let me know if there’s anything in particular about the phone or any apps that I should check out, as I’m looking forward to getting very well acquainted with my new companion!

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September 2021 Favourites

Hello again, I hope you’re all continuing to enjoy yourselves safely. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to get out to meet some friends and explore the city again at long last, as my aches and pains are continuing to ease off, now that I’ve figured out how I was over-correcting my posture problems. I’m still not cancelling my November NHS physio appointment yet, as I don’t want to tempt fate, but I’m feeling much better at the moment. So I seem to be moving in the right direction, touch wood!

That means I actually have some recent and upcoming London adventures to tell you about in this month’s post and video, as well as the usual mixture of entertainment I’ve been into. So it’s a bumper update this time. With the exception of a theatre show I’ll be mentioning, for which I’ve been kindly given a review ticket, nothing else in this post is sponsored or gifted. So I hope you enjoy!

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August 2021 Favourites

Hello there, hope you’ve been having a safe and enjoyable summer, especially if you’ve been able to get out and about more.

I still haven’t been out anywhere special because of the ailments I’ve been dealing with over the past few months, which I admit has been difficult and frustrating sometimes, as it’s so hard to get any proper help at the moment. Hence this post is a bit late this time around, as I’ve only recently felt up to doing it. I think I might finally be getting somewhere, thanks to some help from an osteopath at a private clinic and figuring out a few changes I can make myself, but I’m not entirely sure yet. And even if I am right, it’s going to take a while for my body to settle down and repair itself anyway.

In any case, I do have a referral for physiotherapy on the NHS, but the earliest they could give me (when I booked in July) was a phone consultation in November. So I’m going to take it easy and see if I can hold out until then. But if I get worse, or if the NHS cancel due to Covid pressures and give me another long wait, then I’ll have to pay to go private again, as 1 in 5 people are having to do right now. It’s important to say that everybody who works for the NHS is amazing and wonderful, and they deserve all our praise, love and respect, but the fact remains that the system is so woefully under-funded and under-resourced that it makes life very hard for staff and patients alike. So we’ll see how things go. But thank you to all the friends who have been keeping in touch and checking in on me, it means a lot.

Still, enough of all that. There are much more interesting things to mention in this month’s post and video, including my birthday, sports and lots of entertainment as usual. None of it is sponsored or gifted as always, apart from my birthday presents of course. So I hope you enjoy!

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Thank You Tokyo

They did it. After all the delays, controversies and restrictions that threatened to scupper their hopes and plans, Tokyo successfully managed to host the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, a year later than scheduled. It’s not been without understandable criticism in these extraordinary times, with suggestions that it should have been delayed further, among various other issues, and there were a few athletes and other personnel who tested positive for Covid both before and during the competitions. And the absence of spectators, along with the widespread use of face masks, hand sanitiser and other safety protocols, gave the events a very different feel to usual.

Nevertheless, they still went ahead, and turned out to be a great success, treating us to a lot of incredible sporting action as a result. And it’s all the more impressive given that the competitors haven’t been able to train in the usual way over the past year, often being stuck at home instead of using the normal venues and facilities that would otherwise be available to them. Congratulations to all the athletes and teams who took part, and well done to the event organisers, staff and volunteers for making the events happen.

So I’ve really enjoyed watching the Games – especially the Paralympics of course, but the Olympics were great too. It’s all given us some welcome escapism from the pandemic, despite the constant reminders of its presence and impact. And so I thought I would share some of my favourite highlights. I’m not sponsored by any organisations or people mentioned here, I just want to acknowledge and celebrate just a few of the many amazing achievements of the athletes who I enjoyed watching.

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AD | 6 Tips for Setting Up a Business When You’re Visually Impaired

This is a paid advertisement. I only share this type of content occasionally, when I feel it’s relevant to the themes of my blog and can be of benefit to my audience. So I hope you find it of interest.


Thinking of setting up a business as a visually impaired person? These six top tips for doing just that should help to get you started…

A pair of glasses being held up in front of a blurry street scene
Image Credit: Josh Calabrese, https://unsplash.com/photos/qmnpqDwla_E

There’s no denying that blindness and partial sightedness can have a huge impact on your daily life. Considering 66 percent of the UK blind population are unemployed, it’s clear to see that the job sector needs an overhaul. So, why not set up your own business?

Of course, it won’t be easy, and there are plenty of things to consider before jumping right in. From seeking advice on accessible commercial conveyancing transactions to finding the right technologies that work for you, there’s plenty to think about.

That said, it’s certainly not impossible, and who knows – you may even make a real mark on the employment scene for those with VI. In this article, we’re going to explore six tips for setting up a business when you’re visually impaired, so take a look…

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June & July 2021 Favourites

Hello again! Apologies for not doing a Favourites post last month, but I’ve continued to have issues with sciatica and other little aches and pains. I am a bit better than I was, but I still need a bit of help to get over it and reduce my risks going forward. It’s been frustratingly hard to try and see someone about it, but I’ve managed to book an appointment with an osteopath, and I hope things will start to improve more soon. And for the time being I just need to be careful!

Consequently I haven’t been out much, even after all legal restrictions were lifted here in England on 19 July. And when I do go out, even though I’m fully vaccinated, I’m still sanitising my hands, wearing face masks and socially distancing when appropriate – not out of fear, but out of simple respect for others. We can’t shut ourselves away forever and we do have to learn to live with the virus, but we can’t be complacent or selfish either. There is a balance to be reached. So I hope you’re all staying safe and being sensible, and you’re not being pinged too often with notifications by the NHS Test & Trace app (which I’ve never had as my phone’s too old for it – but I am getting a new phone soon, so that could change!).

In this latest post and video, therefore, I’ll mainly be sharing the entertainment that has kept me happily distracted as usual. But there is also one trip out that I’ll mention, and other bits and pieces too. And I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by anybody I mention here as usual. So I hope you enjoy!

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Queen At 50 Reviews – News Of The World – Part 1

1977 could have been the year that Queen’s reign came to an end. With punk rock very much in the ascendancy, having gained traction over the previous few years, there was a greater appetite for raw power and simplicity in rock music, rather than elaborate and fancy progressive rock. And Queen’s last album, A Day At The Races, despite being an excellent collection of songs, hadn’t sold quite as well as its behemoth predecessor A Night At The Opera, with some critics and fans feeling that it was more of the same without any notable improvement. So it was going to seem too repetitive if they did the same kind of thing yet again.

The band were perfectly happy to adapt and take on the challenge though, and indeed were already keen to try something different from the multi-layered, complex productions they felt they’d done enough of by this point anyway. So even without the emerging competition from the punk scene, it was already the evolutionary path they were heading down.

As a result, News Of The World marked a shift towards a purer hard rock sound, and took just 2 months to record (compared to 5 for A Day At The Races). The tracks still had some beautifully arranged harmonies and instrumentation thrown in, but not as lavishly and prominently as before. There was also a change in how evenly the writing credits were distributed, with 4 tracks now written by Brian, just 3 by Freddie, and an increase to 2 each for Roger and John. And the band produced the album themselves, with assistance from engineer Mike Stone, now they had the experience and confidence to do so themselves.

It all worked out very well, resulting in another great selection of songs. And so, as you’ll be accustomed to by now if you’ve followed my posts to date, this is my personal review of each of the tracks, including a look at alternate versions, music videos, live performances, covers, etc, along with other bits and pieces that I’m aware of.

In this first post, in addition to more general discussion about the album, I’ll be focusing specifically on the first 2 tracks – We Will Rock You & We Are The Champions – as they’ve had such a colossal cultural impact and there’s a lot to discuss in relation to them. In Part 2 I will then move on to the other great tracks on the album. So I hope you enjoy!

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