August 2020 Introduction:
We’ve made it to the end of my first year of Bolt journal entries. Thank you to everyone that’s been reading them so far, I’m glad they’re proving entertaining. This month isn’t too eventful, but there is naturally lots of talk about Christmas, with one particular treat for myself that I was very excited to order! So I hope you enjoy as always!
Monday December 2, 2002
I couldn’t get to uni today. There was a signal failure on the railway line, so trains were suspended when I tried to go in this morning. Buses were provided, but there were so many people that they just filled up really quickly. So in the end I just gave up and came home. I’ve read about the topic in my textbook and it’s not too bad anyway.
I also got some CDs today. Last month I took up a newspaper promotion for some CDs at a cheap price, so I bought Greatest Hits albums for Fleetwood Mac, Meatloaf, The Three Degrees, The Byrds & Bob Dylan. They’re all very good, so it was a good deal.
I’ve also ordered my Christmas present. My parents are going to pay for it, but I’ve ordered it already to make sure it arrives on time. It’s the Freddie Mercury Solo Collection, with 10 CDs and 2 DVDs! It’s been out for a couple of years, and all the reviews I’ve seen make me sure it’s going to be worth the money. It contains his solo albums, plus lots of rare tracks (demos, sessions, outtakes, alternate versions, other rare songs, etc). The DVDs are his Video Collection (which I already have on its own) and a documentary. There’s a 120 page book in there too. Hopefully it will arrive soon!
Thursday December 5, 2002
I’ve started buying some Christmas cards for various people today, so all I now have to do is decide on presents! I bought a couple of CDs for myself too – The Only Fools and Horses Album (there’s some great songs on there) and Christmas Hits (with 50 tracks including Slade, Shakin’ Stevens & Cliff Richard). Apart from that, my studies are going fine, and there’s just over a week left until we break up.
Monday December 9, 2002
The Freddie Mercury Solo Collection has arrived and it looks even better than I expected! The book is huge and contains lots of stuff, including track information, lyrics and lots of photographs (and I mean lots, and big ones too). I’ve started listening to the CDs (I’m on the first one at the moment) and so far it sounds great. Well worth the money I think.
Here’s the list of CDs and DVDs:
- CD 1: Mr Bad Guy album
- CD 2: Barcelona album with Montserrat Caballé
- CD 3: The Great Pretender album
- CDs 4-5: The Singles – with alternate/extended versions of many songs, such as various remixes of Living On My Own
- CD 6: Instrumentals
- CDs 7-9: Rarities – Includes Mr Bad Guy and Barcelona sessions, plus other sessions on CD 9. Plenty of demos and outtakes here.
- CD 10: David Wigg Interviews
- DVD 1: The Video Collection
- DVD 2: The Untold Story – by those who knew him best
And apart from that, uni went fine today – my morning lecture actually finished half an hour early! So that was good.
August 2020 Note: I published a lengthy review of the Solo Collection box set in October 2019 if you want to find out more about it. And at a later date I’ll embark on an in-depth exploration of Freddie’s solo work as part of my ongoing Queen At 50 review series.
Wednesday December 11, 2002
The Freddie Mercury set is great. I won’t go on about it as some people may not be interested, but I’m enjoying it. And I’m doing some work today as usual. I’m glad it’s my day off, as the weather’s horrible. Still, we did get some snow at the university yesterday. We hardly ever get any where I live though, as we’re near the sea. Only a couple of days to go until I finish for the holidays.
Friday December 13, 2002
Typical. I finally finish at uni for Christmas and what happens? I start the holiday with a rotten cold, that’s what! So I don’t feel too great at the moment, although I’m happy that the holidays have started. The weather’s not great either. There was snow on Tuesday, although sadly it didn’t stay around for long, and last night we had thunder and lightning and lots of rain! It’s still quite cold as well.
I haven’t got much planned for the next 4 weeks. I must do some work as I have a couple of assignments to do and an exam to revise for. I might do a bit of revision on the other subjects too, just to make sure I’m up to scratch on them. I’ll get rid of this cold first though, I don’t feel like doing much at the moment.
Tomorrow my parents and I are going to do some Christmas shopping and get a few extra things that we still need. Nan will hopefully be coming down for Christmas too, so that will be good. And I’m going to a Christmas disco next Thursday at my old college so I’ll meet some friends I haven’t seen for a little while.
Sunday December 15, 2002
My cold is going, thankfully. I went with my parents to do our Christmas shopping yesterday, even though I felt a bit rough, as it was good to get some fresh air. I saw the documentary DVD from the Freddie Mercury Solo Collection last night, and it’s very interesting. The rest of the CDs are great, I’ve heard them all now and I’m going to listen through them all again, they’re that good!
The British Comedy Awards were on TV last night, although I haven’t watched any of the new comedies, not even The Office. I’ve heard that it’s very good though, so if they repeat it from the start I might try and get around to watching it. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Michael Palin (from Monty Python, Around The World In 80 Days, other travel shows, etc), so that was well deserved. It was presented by Eric Sykes, another great comedian.
Friday December 20, 2002
I went to a disco at my old college in Exeter yesterday, on their last night before they break up for the Christmas holiday, and I saw some friends I hadn’t seen for a while, which was cool. The disco was ok, although it wasn’t really my type of music (Blue, Westlife, Gareth Gates, Cheeky Girls, Las Ketchup, etc), but everyone still had fun. And they did play Queen (We Will Rock You), Shakin’ Stevens (Merry Christmas Everyone) and, of course, Slade (Merry Xmas Everybody). A Christmas disco without that last track is not a Christmas disco! So there was some decent music there.
Afterwards I stayed overnight with my best mate. We didn’t do much today before I came home, as they were all getting ready to go home too, but it was nice to hang out with him again, along with a few other people who I hadn’t seen last night.
Monday December 23, 2002
Nan arrived on Saturday evening, and she’s settled in fine. She’ll be staying for a couple of weeks. I haven’t done much since I last wrote, other a little bit of uni work.
Joe Strummer from The Clash sadly died of a heart attack today – he was 50. I don’t know a lot of their stuff, I’ve only got 3 songs on compilations – Should I Stay Or Should I Go?, Rock The Casbah and London Calling – but they are good songs. He’s got 3 daughters too, so it’s not a nice thing to happen at Christmas. RIP Joe. Even though I don’t know them too well, their music is certainly better than what’s in the charts now!
Wednesday December 25, 2002
Hope everyone’s having a good day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
I got some deodorant, shower gel and money mainly today, as I already had that Freddie Mercury set as my main present. My parents got some good presents too. My Dad and I gave my Mum a walkman, as she likes listening to books on tape, and my Dad got a DVD of The Professionals Series 1 from Mum and I. I’ll probably watch them too, I’ve never seen them before. Nan got some nice presents from us too, including sweets and pot pourri.
We’ve got lots of food to stuff ourselves with over Christmas too, I’ve just had a lovely Christmas dinner. The jokes in the crackers are still as bad as ever, and the little gifts weren’t too exciting – a mini phone book, a mini notepad, mini crayons and a snake’s head that you wear on your finger.
Television’s not super for the most part. There’s over 3 hours of soaps on tonight! People can survive for one night without them surely! The new Only Fools and Horses episode is on tonight though – Strangers on the Shore. It sounds like it will be very good. Last year’s special had to have a few bits quickly rewritten as 2 cast members died (Uncle Albert and Mike from the pub), and it wasn’t quite up to the usual standard, but it was still good.
Saturday December 28, 2002
Well, Christmas has been and gone. Well it hasn’t technically, it finishes on January 5th I know, but the main two days are over with. It’s been a good Christmas though, and the Only Fools and Horses special I mentioned was brilliant. I haven’t done any work over the past week, but I’ll do some revision this week and next week before I go back to uni.
Tuesday December 31, 2002
So it’s nearly over, another year has flown by! I’m not doing anything special tonight, just staying at home with Mum, Dad and Nan, so we’ll see in the New Year on the TV, with some champagne of course! Teletext is celebrating its 10th anniversary too – it replaced Oracle on 1st January 1993, and it’s got better ever since.
It’s been a good year overall I think, and I’ve bought quite a few DVDs and CDs too! Here’s a quick look at what’s happened during my year:
- January – My first ever journal entry was on the 6th. Had some uni exams which went fine. Had a filling at the dentist. So not a very interesting month overall!
- February – Started a new module – Management Concepts & Practices – at uni, probably the least interesting of all the modules I did this year. Plenty of other work to do at uni too. This year the assignments seem a bit more spread out, which is better.
- March – Easter holidays started this month, 5 weeks to revise for exams. Sadly, the Queen Mother died at 101 this month.
- April – Saw the procession of the Queen Mother’s coffin to Westminster Abbey and her funeral on the TV. Pretty much finished buying Queen’s albums too.
- May – Went to see an ABBA tribute band – Bjorn Again. They were absolutely brilliant. I also went to a wedding reception, which was very good. I had some exams in May too. Big Brother came back – *yawn*. Latvia won the Eurovision Song Contest, but we were 3rd, which was good considering how rubbish our song was! Finally, Robbie Williams was voted the greatest man in music in a VH1 poll. Freddie Mercury came 5th, though he should have beaten Robbie.
- June – The two Golden Jubilee concerts at Buckingham Palace were great, I’ve got them on DVD now. Brian May playing God Save The Queen on the palace roof was one of the greatest moments. Elsewhere, Germany thrashed Saudi Arabia 8-0 in the World Cup. England didn’t do bad, but weren’t particularly great either. At least we beat Argentina 1-0, we needed revenge on them, and we got past the group stages. There was also shock as France was knocked out. We were knocked out by Brazil 2-1. As for me, I had a week-long bookkeeping course which was ok. And at the end of the month, I found out that I’d passed my first year at uni! So all in all, perhaps the best month of the year.
- July – I went out with some old college friends to a pizza restaurant. My summer holidays had already started before theirs – 13 weeks off I got in total! Still, even in the quiet holidays interesting things happen, as we found when a baby seagull fell down our chimney! We managed to get it out and it survived. Nan came down to stay too. Wimbledon arrived again, and again Tim Henman didn’t get beyond the semi-finals. The Commonwealth Games also started. Jonathan Edwards won the triple jump, and Paula Radcliffe did very well (she was BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December, very well deserved).
- August – I took part in a charity It’s A Knockout competition, which was great fun. Plus I got a university certificate saying I had got an average first class pass in my first year! Pity it doesn’t count towards the overall degree mark (50% each in Years 2 and 3 for that). And it was my 19th birthday! I got money mainly, most of which I spent in September. Our country did well in the Commonwealth Games overall with 105 medals! Australia got the most though, helped by Ian ‘Thorpedo’ Thorpe in the swimming pool. The European Athletics Championships were soon after that.
- September – We went to London for a week. I spent most of my birthday money in the HMV store in Oxford Street, getting plenty of CDs, all great. We also did a backstage tour of the National Theatre, and went over the ‘wobbly’ Millennium bridge, although it doesn’t wobble now. After we came back, we bought a digital set-top box for our TV, only to find our aerial isn’t strong enough. I also bought, and am still enjoying, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and Grand Theft Auto 3. Both games are great.
- October – I started my second year of uni, and we bought a new DVD/VCR player. Angus Deayton was sacked from Have I Got News For You. It’s been interesting with the guest presenters since though.
- November – Me and some friends went back to that pizza restaurant to celebrate a mate’s birthday. Children In Need raised £13 million on the night, they’ve probably got much more now. It was also 50 years of the pop charts, and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was voted the best #1 of the past 50 years.
- December – For the first time since I started, I had to miss a day at uni thanks to major cock-ups with the trains. My parents paid for a great Christmas present – The Freddie Mercury Solo Collection. I went to a disco at my old college, and it was good to see some old friends. Nan came down to stay (she’s still with us, she leaves this coming weekend). Joe Strummer from The Clash sadly passed away. And the new Only Fools and Horses special saw them back on form, it was better than last year’s episode.
So it’s been a nice year all in all. And now all that’s left to say is:
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND BEST WISHES FOR 2003!