Welcome to the next batch of posts from my journal. This has been the last month of my summer holiday before returning to university, and so there isn’t a great deal to mention. But I did have a nice lazy break in London with relatives, during which I got a big haul of music with my birthday money, plus I’ve got hooked on a couple of new PS2 games. So I hope you enjoy this little collection of entries!
Sunday September 1, 2002
Right, a new month, this year is flying by. Summer is nearly gone, and the nights are drawing in very quickly indeed. The weather is still nice though, which is good.
There are now various programmes on TV about September 11th last year, I’ll probably watch a few of them. It will be a sad day. Still, they did find someone who they thought had died in those atrocities. They only found him over the past week or two. His family and friends assumed he was dead, but he turned up in hospital suffering from amnesia. Strange but true.
Let’s hope the TV shows improve over the autumn. This week we’ve had I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, which is rubbish, just sticking a load of people in an Australian jungle and making them do silly tasks. The word ‘celebrity’ is used very loosely too I think. I like Tony Blackburn, he’s a great DJ, but I’m not bothered about the others.
Monday September 2, 2002
We’re getting to know a few of the kids who live nearby now. For ages they’ve been playing football outside our house (we live in a cul-de-sac, right at the top). That’s fine really, although it does get rather noisy sometimes. Sometimes a ball has also come into our front garden, and they usually come in without asking to get it back. If they do knock, they say “can we get our ball back?” in a fairly rude tone, with no “please” or “sorry”.
That changed today. A couple of days ago, my mum caught the kids in our garden again, and gave them, quite rightly, a bit of a ticking off. They were still not polite at the time really, but they went away. But it must have got to them a bit. 3 of them came round today and actually apologised! They were very polite and my mum got to know them a bit. They thought they had lost a ball in the trees in our garden. They couldn’t find it, and neither could I. But we said we’d let them know. We are on the right side of them now, they respect us a bit more I think. It might not have much of an effect, but it’s worth it.
There is a park nearby, but they don’t play in it. We presumed that it was because their parents didn’t let them. The real reason is apparently that there are lots of teenagers in there, and there’s glass all over the place (and these footballing kids are only about 10 or 11 at most I think). So if it was cleaned up, it would be good for them.
There was a 9/11 documentary on last night showing how America’s defences reacted to the attacks as they happened. It was very interesting. There’s another programme tonight that shows exactly how the towers collapsed. I’m watching these shows because it’s an event I know I’ll never forget, and I want to find out about it all really, you have so many questions in your mind. I’ll never forget where I was at the time, and nor will anyone else I don’t think.
Tuesday September 3, 2002
I met up with my best mate today. We didn’t do anything really interesting, just walked around some shops and chatted about the holidays and other things. After he went I bought a DVD for myself (The Young Ones – Series 1) and a PS2 magazine called PlayStation World (it comes with a great DVD, but the magazine itself isn’t as good).
I also saw that Queen’s album A Night At The Opera is out on DVD-Audio. It works on DVD video players, and it has the Bohemian Rhapsody video on it. The sound quality is supposed to be much better too, so I’m keeping it in mind, I might buy it. I’ve already got the CD though, that’s why I’m hesitating. Not much point buying it if it’s not significantly better.
Saturday September 7, 2002
My parents have offered to buy me a set-top box that receives digital TV through the aerial as a Christmas present, so I’ve been looking into it. It all looks fairly interesting, I’ve been looking at a box by Pace, although there are others available. I want to get broadband sometime too, but that’s only a thought at the moment.
Wednesday September 11, 2002
Everyone will remember the attacks of 9/11 last year, and my thoughts go out to everyone affected by it. Full credit to all the workers in America, especially the emergency services, the military, those who helped to clean up Ground Zero and anyone else closely involved. And to Americans in general, you’ve been admirable in getting through this.
2020 Note: As an aside, as my journal doesn’t go back that far, I do still vaguely recall the day of the attacks itself in 2001. I was still on my summer holiday, waiting to start my first year of university, so was relaxing at home. And we got a call from my Dad at work, telling us to turn on the TV. Which we did, and just watched the events unfold in horrified astonishment. The fact that I’d been on top of that building the previous year only added to that, as I knew first hand how impressive and special it was. And to this day I still feel incredibly fortunate to have been up there.
But anyway, back to the journal…
Today I went out shopping with Mum and ended up getting a couple of PS2 games for myself – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 & Grand Theft Auto 3. I’ve never owned versions 1 and 2 of either of those titles. Tony Hawk’s 3 is also platinum, so it’s only £20 instead of £40. GTA3 is still full price though, but I don’t mind. I did look into lots of reviews of both games, and these are supposed to be nothing short of awesome. So I’ll let you know how I get on with them, I haven’t got around to playing them a great deal yet.
Thursday September 12, 2002
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and Grand Theft Auto 3 are both awesome games! Even if you’ve never played games 1 and 2 of either series (like me), they’re great. I could go on forever about why, but I won’t. I must say, however, that GTA3 deserves all the praise and good reviews it has got. It’s amazing. The city is huge, there are lots of missions, you can do practically anything, you can be good or bad, steal any vehicle you like, etc. And I’ve only played it for a few hours! I’m hooked on both games. Once I’ve really got used to them, it will be even more fun.
Friday September 13, 2002
I went out to meet my mate again today. However, I also bumped into not one, not two, but 4 people I hadn’t seen in ages, so that was cool, catching up on things. Apart from that though, I haven’t done much else today. I’m doing quite well on Tony Hawk’s 3 and GTA3. But I’m off on holiday to London tomorrow, which will be good.
Saturday September 14, 2002
Today I travelled with my parents to spend a week with my Nan, Aunt and Uncle, and we’re staying at my Nan’s house. My Nan’s 94 and still in good health, and lives in a small house in East London. She has a ginger cat called Sandy who is also very sweet. She’s got a great fish and chip shop nearby, and also a bakery shop just around the corner that does lovely cream cakes and eclairs. She lives close to the high street with most of the major shops too.
So we caught the train this morning, and it takes about 3 hours, which isn’t too bad. I bought my CD walkman with me, and a couple of puzzle magazines, so I wasn’t going to get bored! When we arrived, we just had a lazy afternoon, then in the evening we saw the Last Night Of The Proms on TV, which was nice.
Sunday September 15, 2002
We did a bit of shopping this morning. The only interesting thing about that was that Mum bought a box of 3 CDs of classical music from Classic FM, called Hall Of Fame. The rest of the day was pretty lazy. I listened to the CDs, and they were very good.
Monday September 16, 2002
Today was a good day. We went up to Oxford Street and had a look in some shops there. We went to Marks & Spencer first and had a look around. Then we went to HMV, where I decided to treat myself as I’d got money for my birthday. It’s a huge store, much bigger than the one I live near. So I took the opportunity to buy quite a bit…
Special Offer – 3 for £20 (normally £9.99 each):
- Derek & The Dominos – Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
I only know Layla, but I’m glad I know the rest now! Eric Clapton is the lead person in the group, but they only did one album under this name I believe. The highlight is Layla of course – and the full version is 7 minutes long! When it’s on compilations, it fades out before the second section, which is a shame, as it’s beautiful. It’s not the longest song on the disc though. And the whole album is great.
- Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Reasons To Be Cheerful
This is a greatest hits compilation. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick is probably their most famous song, but the whole album is great. It’s also one of only a couple of CDs I own with an explicit lyrics warning, although swearing doesn’t happen that often, and it’s never in an insulting manner. It’s just a fun CD.
- The Seekers – A Carnival Of Hits
Mum wanted this one, so it was good to get it as part of the offer.
Hank Marvin CDs:
Hank is one of the guitarists in The Shadows, who I really like, so I got 3 of his albums today.
- Hank Plays Holly – As the name suggests, he plays Buddy Holly songs on this album, and it sounds great.
- The Singles Collection – This contains tracks by The Shadows and solo tracks by Hank himself. One particularly interesting track is an instrumental version of We Are The Champions, on which Brian May also performs. It’s a great version.
- Hank Plays Live – This is a great concert, and Cliff Richard makes a guest appearance on the last track – Move It.
- Electric Light Orchestra – Flashback – 3 CDs, 53 tracks
This is a great set. Their big hits are on here along with some previously unreleased tracks too. Roll Over Beethoven is included in its full version (7:49), which is good as compilations cut it down quite a lot.
- Marc Bolan & T. Rex – 20th Century Superstar – 4 CDs, 108 tracks
This was released last week in memory of Marc Bolan, who died 25 years ago in a car crash. He was only 29. The box set is great, containing tracks that he worked on throughout his career, including big hits, demos and unreleased tracks.
- The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations – 5 CDs, 142 tracks
This was a 30th anniversary set when it was released in 1993, so next year will be the 40th. And it’s a super collection. It has lots of their best known songs and some others that I don’t know, plus demos, unreleased tracks and live tracks. The most interesting thing, however, is the 5th CD, which contains recordings of the sessions related to various songs. There are also backing tracks on their own for some songs, and others have just the vocals. It’s very interesting.
I also tried to get a 10 CD & 2 DVD set about Freddie Mercury but it was out of stock. Hopefully I’ll get that one day.
Tuesday September 17, 2002
Today we went with my Aunt to do a backstage tour of the National Theatre, and we were in a small group of 8 people in total. It lasted just over an hour and was very interesting. The woman leading the tour was very knowledgable. She’s obviously done acting before, and she knows a lot about the business and the theatre itself. We got a leaflet to take away with us which had some interesting facts and information in it too.
After all that, we came home, buying some of the lovely fish and chips from the shop near my Nan’s house, and I had a saveloy with mine too.
Thursday September 19, 2002
Yesterday and today have been nice lazy days on the whole. Yesterday we just did a bit of shopping in the high street, but that was it. We had a surprise visit this evening though. My great-aunt visited with her son and daughter because her husband had died. He was old and his health had been quite poor. We’re not going to the funeral though, and none of us know them that well. They came to tell Nan really, and we just happened to be there. They’re very distant relations, so it’s the first time I’ve ever met them.
Friday September 20, 2002
Another lazy day today. Fish and chips for dinner, plus cream cakes from the local bakery… mmmmmmmm…..
Saturday September 21, 2002
We came home today after our nice little break. We didn’t do a huge amount, but I enjoyed it, and it was good to get away for a week. Nan might come down to us for Christmas, as she did last year, which will be nice if she does.
Over the week I listened to all of the CDs I bought on my walkman too, and all are superb. Now I’m at home, I can listen to them on my stereo, which means they’ll sound even better!
I go back to uni on Monday October 7th, so I’ve still got this week and next week left of my summer holiday.
Thursday September 26, 2002
Nothing too exciting has happened since my holiday. But we bought the Pace set-top box to get digital TV through the aerial. It does work but, as they warned, it looks like we need a stronger aerial. We know someone who might be able to do it, as he’s done work on our house in the past. He won’t be back to do any more until next year though, probably. Never mind, we’re not desperate to get digital TV to be honest, but it’ll be a nice little extra. So we’re keeping the box, because it will come in useful eventually.
Sunday September 29, 2002
I’ve said it already but I’ll say it again – Grand Theft Auto 3 is one of the best games ever! I’ve only had it a couple of weeks and I’m hooked. I should have bought that on its own, as Tony Hawk’s 3 has been pushed aside a bit, although I still play that and it’s still very good too. I’ll give it more attention when, if ever, I complete GTA3.
I’m doing well so far, I’m having no real problems. I’ve found plenty of walkthroughs and cheats just in case, but I’ve not had to use any of them yet. I’m still in Portland, I’m not rushing to open the other 2 areas just yet. I’m getting to know Portland as well as I can first. In terms of missions, I am in contact with El Burro of the Diablos (I’ve done a couple of his missions), I’m friendly with Salvatore, and Toni still wants some stuff done against the Triads.