Journal – November-December 2003


October 2020 Notes:

We’ve made it to the end of my second year of Bolt journal entries. I figured I may as well combine the last 2 months of the year, as I didn’t write a lot for November. As usual I talk about university, the latest DVDs I’ve been buying and the TV I’ve been enjoying. Plus there’s another top 100 list and a few of the stranger news stories that caught my attention, and of course there’s  Christmas and a brief review of the year. So I hope you enjoy!

Friday November 7, 2003

I’m halfway through this uni term already! I found out something useful today though – the Law tutorial we’re having on a Friday is every two weeks, with alternating groups each week. I didn’t know that, so I went in today when I didn’t have to. The other group there were doing the next tutorial in the course, thankfully, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. But it does mean that I get the day off on Friday every two weeks. So next Friday is a free day now. We’re also missing one Law lecture next Wednesday, as the lecturer has something else he has to do, so next week will be a bit shorter than usual, which is good. On the whole, Law’s probably the hardest subject in terms of the reading involved – there’s a lot of it, and you have to be able to interpret it correctly. But we can take copies of statutes and our notes into the exam, which helps.

Apart from that, I’ve bought a couple more DVDs. The first is Red Dwarf Series III, which looks really good. The other, which interests me even more, is Queen’s Greatest Video Hits 2. I’m a big Queen fan, so I’m looking forward to watching it. I had the videos on VHS, but there’s loads of extras on the DVD. I’ve had a quick look at the discs and I like the menus on Disc 2, as they play instrumental versions of 4 Queen tracks. And I mean the full backing track, not just a few seconds of it. There’s a couple of Easter eggs too, both relating to the song Who Wants To Live Forever. I’ve found them thanks to the internet, although I expect I would have found them by myself eventually.

Friday November 14, 2003

Well, that’s another week over and done with. As I’ve got this Friday off, I’m using the opportunity to get some work done. Not much else is happening here at the moment though. I’ve got a new bed to replace my old one however, which is much more comfortable.

Friday November 21, 2003

This week hasn’t been too bad, although part of my train journey is now replaced by a bus service for a couple of weeks, which adds extra time to it.

I’ve bought a few CDs this week, as I haven’t bought any for a while. They are:

I’ve also bought a couple of DVDs:

It’ll take me a while to watch all of those, that’s for sure!

And England are in the Rugby World Cup Final against Australia tomorrow! Australia are trying to wind us up a bit, so I hope we win. Good luck to England!

Saturday November 22, 2003

England have won the Rugby World Cup 2003!

Well done guys! We beat Australia on their home turf too, which makes it even worse for them. Somehow, they thought that taking the mickey out of us would make us lose. Fat chance of that. I didn’t see the match myself, but I’ll have a look at the highlights. And I know that it was a close match all the way. It went into extra time, and we were level until Jonny Wilkinson scored with seconds to go. We hear about football pretty much all year, but rugby doesn’t get as much attention, so it’s great that our team won. We’re also the first northern hemisphere team to win since the tournament started in 1987, so that’s another fact worth noting.

The other bit of good news is that Children In Need raised over £15 million last night, which is a record for the telethon. That’s not the end either, as the donations still keep coming in afterwards. On average, the final total for the year is double the figure given at the end of the TV show.

Friday November 28, 2003

8 weeks of uni done, 2 to go, and only a month left until Christmas. I’ve bought a few cards, but I haven’t done my Christmas shopping yet, it’s been too early. It would be great if Christmas started in December, and not October like many shops seem to think!

I’ve bought the new Bottom Live DVD this week (Number 5: The Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour), so I’ll watch that this weekend. I’ve also bought the third and last instalment of the Best Air Guitar Album In The World… Ever! They are a superb set of rock compilations, put together with the help of Queen’s very own Brian May. There are tracks on them that I didn’t own on other CDs, and even a few I didn’t know at all, which is great.

I saw the extended DVD of the Two Towers last week, and it’s great. The Return of the King, the final film, should be the best of the lot. I’ve started watching the new Rolling Stones DVD too, and it’s very good. It’s amazing that they’ve still got their energy. I hear Blondie have been doing some gigs in the UK too, and they’ve been getting great reviews.

The celebrations over England’s Rugby World Cup win have been going on all week, and they deserve all the praise they’re getting. The team are going to do a parade around London in December – on a Monday when many people will be at school and work, which is hardly fair on the public who want to see them! But it should be a great occasion.

Saturday December 6, 2003

The last month of the year – where has the time gone?! I’ve only got one week left at uni now, and that’s been going fine this term. I’ll do some revision over the holidays, mainly for International Accounting, as that exam’s in January.

I’m also planning to go and stay with my best mate from school, who’s now at Bournemouth University. We still get on really well and keep in touch often, so it’ll be nice to go and see him. He goes back to uni a week before me. But he has Wednesday and Thursday off, so I’ll be staying with him from Tuesday night until Friday morning.

There was a rather odd trial this week. A man has been convicted of cannibalism – yep, he ate another man. That’s bad enough, but he advertised for volunteers on a website, and people replied! Apparently, the victim consented to being killed and eaten, as it had been his dream since childhood to be slaughtered and eaten, though I’ve no idea if that’s true. Very odd in any case!

And that’s reminded me of another strange story to do with courts and food. A woman from Texas has been convicted of running over and injuring a McDonald’s manager – because she wasn’t given mayonnaise in her burger. She had gone to the drive-thru, couldn’t get mayonnaise, and started complaining. The manager came out to calm her down, and got run over. The judge described it as one of the most absurd cases he’d ever heard, and I’m not surprised!

As for music news, Mick Jagger is due to collect his knighthood from Buckingham Palace next week, much to the annoyance of Keith Richards, who said that it’s “not what the Stones are about”. They are a great and iconic group though, so Mick has certainly earned it.

Friday December 12, 2003

I’ve finished this term! Woohoo! I’ve still got some work to do though, and I’ll be doing various bits of revision during the holiday, but at least we don’t have to go in and learn anything new for a month.

This week has been particularly special for another reason. On Monday London was the host of the parade to celebrate England winning the Rugby World Cup. 3 open-top buses drove through the streets, with the major players on the top of the front one. There were thousands of people there, including many children who had skipped school – quite rightly, to be honest, as it was daft holding it on a weekday. The police didn’t bat an eyelid either. It looked great, and there were no reports of trouble. The players then had tea with the Queen and met Tony Blair.

On a sadder note, Ozzy Osbourne is recovering in hospital after a quad bike crash, in which he broke his collarbone, some of his ribs, and a vertebra in his neck. So I hope he gets well soon. It reminds me of the accident Rik Mayall had, and he was extremely lucky to live after that. It’s been good to see him back doing Bottom and other stuff since then. The new Bottom Live show I got on DVD is brilliant, incidentally.

But to finish on a happy story, a dog called Buster got a bravery medal for his work in the Iraq war. I saw him on TV this week, and he’s really cute. He’s well trained, and does a great job, but he’s only too happy to get lots of attention!

Monday December 15, 2003

“Ladies and gentlemen… we got him.”

The news of Saddam Hussein’s capture yesterday is all over the place at the moment, and that quote will go down in history. He surrendered without a fight, and of course will have to go on trial. So it’s great news just before Christmas that he’s finally being brought to justice.

Lord of the Rings won The Big Read, a search by the BBC for Britain’s favourite book. Hardly a surprise, especially with all the films out. And Harry Potter got to number 5. Here’s the full list.

  1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
  8. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  11. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  12. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  13. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  14. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  15. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
  16. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  17. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  18. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
  20. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  21. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
  23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by JK Rowling
  24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by JK Rowling
  25. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  28. A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving
  29. The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
  32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  33. The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett
  34. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  36. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  37. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  38. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  39. Dune by Frank Herbert
  40. Emma by Jane Austen
  41. Anne Of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
  42. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  43. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
  44. The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  45. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  46. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  47. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  48. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  49. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  50. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
  51. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  52. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
  53. The Stand by Stephen King
  54. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  55. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  56. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  57. Swallows And Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  58. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  59. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  60. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  61. Noughts And Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  62. Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
  63. A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  64. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough
  65. Mort by Terry Pratchett
  66. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
  67. The Magus by John Fowles
  68. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  69. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
  70. Lord Of The Flies by William Golding
  71. Perfume by Patrick Süskind
  72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
  73. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
  74. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  75. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
  76. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  77. The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins
  78. Ulysses by James Joyce
  79. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  80. Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson
  81. The Twits by Roald Dahl
  82. I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
  83. Holes by Louis Sachar
  84. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  85. The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  86. Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson
  87. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  88. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  89. Magician by Raymond E Feist
  90. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  91. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
  92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear by Jean M Auel
  93. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  94. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  95. Katherine by Anya Seton
  96. Kane And Abel by Jeffrey Archer
  97. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
  98. Girls In Love by Jacqueline Wilson
  99. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Also, Jonny Wilkinson won the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award, while Steve Redgrave got the Golden Sports Personality as the best of all the 49 previous winners (as the awards are 50 years old).

Away from the news, Mum, Dad and I went out shopping today, to get some last bits in for Christmas. I got a couple of music DVDs – a live Deep Purple show called Come Hell Or High Water, and a charity show from Knebworth in 1999 featuring acts such as Tears for Fears, Status Quo and Paul McCartney. I also got a couple of CD box sets, by Led Zeppelin and The Who.

Saturday December 20, 2003

Nan arrived last night – my aunt and uncle brought her down. They’re all fine, and Nan’s still going well at the age of 96! She’ll be staying with us into the new year, which is good. And I’ve been studying as usual. I haven’t been doing lots and lots, just general revision and stuff, although I do have a couple of essays to get on with as well.

Tuesday December 23, 2003

We’ve got a problem at home right now – our oven’s not working properly. The ignition in the main oven has worn out, and we’re waiting for the replacement part, which doesn’t look like it’ll come until the New Year. There is a small oven above it, which is also a grill, but you’d never fit a decent turkey in there. The cooker hob works as well. It’s just the main oven that’s packed up – what a time to pick! We’re coping anyway, and we’ll eat our turkey eventually.

There are still celebrations going on about our World Cup win, with a special friendly match against New Zealand to thank the fans (which we won). And it was good to hear that Ozzy Osbourne is out of intensive care, which shows he’s making good progress.

Thursday December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes to everyone who reads this. I got a nice bit of money, as well as some toiletries and handkerchiefs. We’ve also got various sweets and other goodies to eat of course. It’s the final Only Fools and Horses tonight, although in interviews John Sullivan has said he would bring it back again if the BBC really wants him to. I’ll let you know what I think of the episode tomorrow anyway. The rest of the Christmas TV isn’t actually that exciting. Lots of depressing soaps, World Idol, and loads of films that don’t really interest me. At least Red Dwarf‘s being repeated at the moment, they’re currently on series 5, so that’s something good.

Friday December 26, 2003

Christmas Day has been and gone for another year. We had a lovely Christmas dinner, despite the problems I wrote about previously with our oven. We had breaded chicken portions, which were delicious, with sausages wrapped in bacon, potatoes and vegetables.

The final episode of Only Fools and Horses was good last night. It’s not their best, but then none of this latest trilogy has been their best. Nevertheless, it’s always good to see them again. Their money troubles are now sorted (they’re not bankrupt, but they’re not millionaires any more either), Rodney and Cassandra finally have a baby (named Joan, after his mother), and Rodney’s also found out who his real father is. An interesting revelation, although Freddie the Frog was talked about in a Christmas special some years ago, so fans of the show will remember him.

Will it come back? Possibly. John Challis (Boycie) says he’d love to come back, and John Sullivan hasn’t ruled out doing more, so it’s possible. While they maybe should have stopped when the Trotters became millionaires, it’s not a big crime to bring them back every now and again. We’ll have to see what happens.

There wasn’t a lot else on TV yesterday of any real interest. The Queen filmed her message at an Army barracks, thanking our troops. And there was a celebrity charity edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, with Jim Davidson and a couple of Pop Idol judges among others, so that was fun.

There’s not much on TV today either for that matter. Thank heavens for DVDs. But I’m glad BBC2 are putting on comedy and music late at night, so that’s something good to watch before going to bed. So all in all, it was a nice, quiet Christmas Day yesterday, and I expect today will be quiet as well.

Monday December 29, 2003

The great comedian Bob Monkhouse has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 75. He’s done a lot of great work over the years, and presented many TV shows, so he’ll be missed by many. Apart from that, there isn’t much to say really. I’m still doing some uni work here and there, but otherwise I’m just relaxing and enjoying the Christmas break.

Wednesday December 31, 2003

Well, another year is nearly over, and the time seems to go quicker than ever. Nothing’s changed here, I’m still doing some work, and relaxing as well. Everyone else is fine.

The New Year’s Honours list has been announced, where various people get knighted, or become OBEs, MBEs, or whatever. The entire England Rugby Union squad have been recognised, after being rushed onto the list after their World Cup victory. Tim Henman has got an OBE for services to tennis, although there is speculation that he was added to ‘add interest’ to the list. I don’t really know why he’s got an honour, he doesn’t win much for us. Eric Clapton, a great guitarist, becomes a CBE, as does Ray Davies from The Kinks, while TV and radio presenter Chris Tarrant is made an OBE, and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee is knighted. There are many others, but they’re the ones that stick out in my mind.

And in another cheerful piece of news, a 67-year-old grandmother who had a heart attack on a flight was saved thanks to the 15 heart specialists on board, who were all going to a conference! So that was lucky for her!

And finally, here’s a quick recap of what has been quite a busy year:

  • January – I had an Information Systems exam, which I passed, like all the others in my second year at uni. Maurice Gibbs of the Bee Gees died, he was only in his 50s. And people are already fussing over the next Harry Potter book, despite it not being released until June!
  • February – I started my Audit module – the most boring of all the 2nd year subjects on my course. The space shuttle Columbia tragically exploded on its return to Earth, killing all 7 astronauts on Board, from America and Israel.
  • March – My Easter holidays started, taken up mainly with revision. And I bought a DAB Digital Radio, which has been great to listen to. Comic Relief, by the end of the telethon, raised a phenomenal £35,174,798, the first time they had broken £30 million on the night. And a couple set the world record for the longest marriage – 79 years
  • April – We had the police around to our house to talk about the kids that keep playing football outside. The trial of Major Charles Ingram, his wife and Tecwen Whittock, who cheated on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, came to an end. All three were found guilty. Paula Radcliffe set the women’s world record in the London Marathon. And David Jason got a Fellowship at the British Academy TV Awards.
  • May – My uni exams started. Thankfully, I passed them! Tony Blair was voted the Worst Briton (Channel 4’s 100 Worst Britons) A school banned parents from coming to School Sports Day, as it’s embarrassing for the kids, while naughty children at a school on the Isle Of Wight were made to travel home on a pink bus! Thanks to the awful Jemini, the UK got 0 points at Eurovision. And some stupid idiot rang 999 because his wife wouldn’t cook him dinner!
  • June – I finished my second year at uni. I treated myself by buying GTA: Vice City. I completed the story a while ago now, but I still pop it in for a quick go every so often. I saw the first Harry Potter film. And it’s good, but I think Lord Of The Rings is better. The new Harry Potter book also came out, with way too much hype around it. I was also very impressed with the live Queen (At Wembley) and Led Zeppelin DVDs I bought. Those and the extended cut of the Two Towers are probably my favourite 3 DVDs of the year.
  • July – I went to a college reunion, which was great fun. And we dug out some old vinyl of my dad’s and grandad’s, which turned out to make interesting listening. Comedian Bob Hope died – he was 100. A lorry carrying 10 tonnes of cheese caught fire on a motorway, turning it into a giant fondue. And a man glided across the English Channel, with wings attached to him, dropping out of a plane over Dover and landing in Calais.
  • August – I turned 20 – I’m no longer a teenager! And we had a heatwave for about 2 weeks in the UK, which made a nice change but it was a bit too hot! A woman in China set the world record for domino-toppling – over 300,000 of them! And the World Athletics Championships started, although Great Britain didn’t do well, getting just 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.
  • September – I had another lazy month before my return to uni. David Blaine started his next challenge – spending 44 days in a perspex box, with no food. He survived. And a man tried to mail himself in a crate, because he couldn’t afford the plane fare. He was caught, though.
  • October – I started my third year at uni, amazing how quickly that’s come round. Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor of California. Derren Brown played Russian Roulette live on TV – only for the police to reveal that it was, as many expected, fake, although there was still real danger involved. Crime drama/soap The Bill did an enjoyable hour-long live episode to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
  • November – England won the Rugby World Cup! President Bush visited the UK, which was protested by some people. Children In Need raised £15 million on the night.
  • December – London held a great victory parade for the Rugby World Cup team. Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces. Ozzy Osbourne was seriously injured in a quad bike crash, but is on the road to recovery. A man was convicted of cannibalism, and claimed his victim had consented to being killed and eaten. Comedian Bob Monkhouse died at 75, while Keiko, the whale who starred in Free Willy, died aged 27. But a grandmother on a flight was saved by the 15 heart specialists on board. Jonny Wilkinson won the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award. Mick Jagger received his knighthood from the previous round of honours. And in the latest New Year’s Honours, the entire England Rugby Union team get honours of some sort, while other honours went to Eric Clapton, Ray Davies, Tim Henman, and Tim Berners-Lee (the man who invented the World Wide Web).

So I hope everyone had a good year, and best wishes for 2004!

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger & Youtuber with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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