December 2020 Introduction:
Here’s another instalment of edited entries from my old journal, bringing us to the end of 2004. At this point I was doing a work experience placement at my local council, having graduated from university earlier in the year. And I was continuing to enjoy my music and DVD purchases as usual.
Unfortunately, my entries for December were accidentally deleted, and it’s the only posts I’ve ever lost. I think I might have been combining journal files together at the start of 2005 and missed it off by mistake, but I can’t remember for sure. So in its place I just wrote my usual summary of the year, and briefly mentioned the key points for December at the end of it, along with another top 100 list from the month.
That anomaly aside, however, I hope you find these posts interesting!
Monday November 1, 2004
Work experience is much the same as ever, nothing new to report there at the moment. However, I was interested to read that a pilot spin-off of Only Fools And Horses is being filmed. It’s called The Green, Green Grass, and is about Boycie and Marlene. They’re played by the same actors, but no other OFAH regulars will be in it. If the pilot is a success, it will be made into a series. Only Fools should have stopped when the Trotters became millionaires, so perhaps spin-offs are the best idea, as there’s plenty of good characters to use. I wonder what’s happened to the other spin-off that was planned, about a young Del Boy. Perhaps it’s on the back burner for now.
As for music, I haven’t got Queen’s new DVD yet. But a lot of old artists are bringing music out as it’s nearly Christmas, so lots of Greatest Hits compilations are out as usual. Cliff Richard, Elton John and Rod Stewart all have new albums out, although I’m not interested in buying them. There was a Rod Stewart concert on TV the other night though, and it was good.
Wednesday November 3, 2004
I managed to create an invoice template in the forms software on Tuesday. I had to use trial and error to get it to fit on the page when it was printed, but it didn’t take too long. I only have to make a few adjustments to it, as I didn’t have all the necessary details available to put on it to start with. I’ve also done some more spreadsheet work, as well as putting some more information into the new IT system.
Thursday November 4, 2004
A man from Action For Blind People came with Louise today. As I found out from their website, they are based at my old school, although they’ve only been there for about a year, which is why I’ve never heard of them until now. The monitor was no good after all – it was 17″, but so is the monitor I have at work, so it didn’t make any difference. However, he has got a 19″ monitor on loan to someone else, and they’ve had it for 6 months already, so he reckons it’s about time he called it in. I might hear from him soon about that. And the meeting with Louise went fine as usual. She told me a bit about the New Deal scheme, which I’ll go back on to after this placement. It’s amazing what’s available to you, they’re very helpful people.
Friday November 5, 2004
As usual for Fridays, I spent the day up in the accountancy department. I’ve finished a spreadsheet I was working on, and nearly finished doing an analysis of some income and expenditure figures. And now I’m halfway through my placement already! Fireworks have been going off for the past few days now, and there are plenty going on this evening, of course.
Monday November 8, 2004
I went out shopping with Mum and Dad on Saturday morning to help them find some birthday cards and other bits and pieces. And I also bought some stuff for myself too:
- Queen On Fire – Live At The Bowl (CD & DVD) – It’s a great live show, Freddie and the others are all on top form.
- Status Quo – XS All Areas (CD & DVD) – A new greatest hits compilation, but my old one was getting a bit worn anyway. The DVD has promo videos, live performances and other stuff. The only extra is a commentary, and that’s not for all the songs. But it’s still a good DVD. It’s the Quo, after all, how could it not be?
- Def Leppard – The Best Of (CD) – This is pretty good. There is also a DVD, but I didn’t get it on this occasion.
Friday November 12, 2004
Nothing special to report on the work front this week, as things are still much the same as ever. I haven’t done a lot of work with the forms software, because I need the full version of Adobe Acrobat to preview things (rather than print loads of pages out and waste paper), but it hasn’t arrived yet. We were supposed to have some training on designing menus and things on the IT system as well, but we didn’t in the end. I don’t think I’ll be using it anyway now, to be honest, as I’ve got enough other stuff to do. This week’s gone very quickly all in all. It certainly seems to have gone quicker than the other weeks, for some strange reason.
Saturday November 13, 2004
This past week seems to have gone very quickly indeed. The last 3 weeks of my placement will probably fly by just as quick too. I input some more information into the new IT system for the accounts team on Friday, but there’s nothing else special to report on the work front.
As for the news, John Peel’s funeral has now been held, following his death last month. And, talking of music, the new entrants have been decided for the UK Hall Of Fame, as voted for by Channel 4 viewers. Some artists already had automatic entry (Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Madonna & U2), but the ones voted for by the public were:
- 1950s: Cliff Richard & The Shadows
- 1960s: The Rolling Stones
- 1970s: Queen (Woohoo!)
- 1980s: Michael Jackson
- 1990s: Robbie Williams
Monday November 15, 2004
Today was fairly quiet at work, but importantly I learned that my boss has been asking around if there is a position open anywhere, as it looks like they want me to stay on for a few months while the new system goes live. And I’d be paid, although I’d have to compare that against my benefits. It would only be a short contract – 3 months or so – but it’s a great start! And who knows what that could lead to?
I also placed an Amazon order for DVDs this past weekend:
- Red Dwarf – Series 5
- The Thin Blue Line – Complete Series 1 & 2
- The Sweeney – Series 4 (the last series)
- The Good Life – The Specials (3 episodes which aren’t in the series releases, so it completes my collection)
- Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Saturday November 20, 2004
Louise was thrilled to hear that I could be getting a job at the council. The details haven’t expanded on what I was told before yet, but as an employee I’d have access to training and other stuff that I can’t do now, so it’ll be a good opportunity to get more skills under my belt. Mum, Dad and Nan were also very pleased when I told them.
As well as the good news about my job, I’ve also been invited to the office’s Christmas dinner on Friday 10th December (in the afternoon), which is very kind of them. And I’ve accepted, of course!
Children In Need‘s 25th telethon raised a whopping £17.1 million last night, a record for the charity. This total tends to double for the year’s final total. Since the telethon began 25 years ago, they’ve raised over £350 million (so nearly £370m including last night’s total). The show had something for everyone and was very musical.
I really enjoyed the cast of the new Mary Poppins musical performing some of their songs. It hasn’t opened in the West End yet, but it’s already so popular that it’s very hard to book tickets apparently. It was fun to see the cast of Coronation Street doing Oliver! as well. And the annual performance by the newsreaders was a strange tribute to Bananarama and Duran Duran.
So congratulations to everyone who worked so hard, as all the money’s going to a good cause. And at work, some people did come around the council from the Social Services division with strange wigs on (including flashing ears!) to collect donations from us.
Friday November 26, 2004
Another week at work has gone by, and I’ve definitely got a paid job with the project team for another 2 months! It’s the month with the Printing team that’s the issue now. That’s the only position that’s open in the council at the moment, and there is someone else also on work experience who would probably go for the job too, so I would have to go for an interview.
As for the work itself, I’ve been concentrating on the forms software, now I’ve got Adobe Acrobat to go with it. Only one week of the placement to go, and then I won’t be seeing Louise every week. A bit of a shame, as it was good to see her each week, just in case there were any problems. But they won’t just be leaving me alone – her colleagues Trevor and Janet will be keeping in touch with me after this for a while. So I’m glad about that. It’s always good to have some sort of support available, even if you find you don’t need to use it much.
As for home, our builder’s back doing some work. We’ve had the front garden dug out, to bring it down to ground level – we don’t use the garden, so it may as well be brought down and made into a flat area. It could then be converted into a driveway by the subsequent owners, simply by sloping the pavement (which the council need to do, as it’s their property). It’ll greatly help us sell the house in the future though – the people next door haven’t got anywhere to put a driveway. They did try and sell their house, but that might have been why it never appeared to be sold.
We had a bit of trouble with the digging out, as the people concerned could only come on Thursday, and not Monday as promised. But they did do a great job. I was at work, of course, but I’m told that they did everything professionally and correctly. We also had a bit of trouble when our builder tried to have some materials delivered (cement and stuff like that). They also didn’t come at the promised time, and when they eventually did after he tried phoning them for ages, the woman driving the lorry crashed it into somebody’s wall on the way to us, when trying to turn a narrow corner. So she had to wait with the householders for her manager, who then managed to drive it up our road. Still, at least our builder can get stuff done outside now, as he’s got everything he needs.
I’ve also got my Amazon stuff this week – The Sweeney, Red Dwarf, The Thin Blue Line, The Good Life and Harry Potter (which I’ll watch this weekend). So it’s been a good week all in all.
In the news, Dixons has decided to stop selling VCRs once its current stock runs out, because DVD players outsell them by about 40 to 1 in the UK. It makes sense, really – DVDs are better quality, often have bonus features, and take up less space on the shelf. It was rather inevitable, and it’ll be interesting to see if other retailers make the same decision soon.
Due to an oversight on my part, I accidentally deleted the journal for this month! So I’ll just have to do a brief overview instead. And as it’s the end of the year, I’ll do a summary of all the months of 2004 as usual. It’s been an interesting year, certainly a good one for me!
- January – I stay with a friend in Bournemouth for a few days, which is good fun. I have my International Accounting exam. I get addicted to Burnout 2 on PS2. Both NASA and Britain lose contact with their respective spacecrafts on Mars (although NASA still keeps contact with its second craft on the red planet), the Cheeky Song is voted the worst pop record ever by Channel 4 viewers, and the naked rambler finally completes his trek from Lands End to John O’Groats, despite having been arrested many times.
- February – I get 67% for my International Accounting exam.Janet Jackson has her ‘wardrobe malfunction’ at the Superbowl half-time performance, exposing her right breast, and causing thousands of complaints. And Les Gray, from 70s rock group Mud, dies.
- March – This month is pretty uneventful, as I just focus on uni work and revision. Only Fools and Horses is voted Britain’s Best Sitcom by BBC viewers. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King wins all 11 Oscars it was nominated for.
- April – I start to get ready for my graduation, including buying a suit. Concorde makes its final journey – by land and water – to a museum. We Built This City by Starship is voted the Worst Rock Song of all time, rather unfairly in my view.
- May – I start my final set of exams at university. The Sasser worm hits the web, hitting computers running later versions of Windows, and an 18-year-old ‘computer freak’ from Germany is arrested for it. Ukraine wins Eurovision.
- June – I finish my exams at uni. European elections take place. The 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings is celebrated. The National Lottery has its first triple rollover, for £22 million, which 6 people win. Former US President Ronald Reagan dies from Alzheimer’s, aged 93. Blind musician Ray Charles dies. Euro 2004 begins, and Wayne Rooney becomes a star, but we lose the semi-final against Portugal. The Radio 2 Sold On Song Top 100 is announced, and Bohemian Rhapsody falls to #2, beaten to the top spot by Whiter Shade Of Pale (Procul Harum).
- July – I pass my university degree with a 2:1 mark, and the graduation day is a huge success. I also start looking for careers, and am put in touch with a ‘New Deal’ adviser. And I get 100% on GTA: Vice City. Greece win Euro 2004. Sport Relief raises over £11 million for good causes.
- August – I turn 21! I start to talk to a lady called Louise about the Work Prep scheme, which could involve me getting work experience. My graduation souvenirs (photos, DVD, certificate) arrive. Dad falls ill after becoming really dizzy, and is taken to hospital. He’s still dizzy these days, but is back at work now. It’s apparently some sort of lesion in his brain, although it’s not serious. There’s not much doctors can do about it. We have some work done on the house – new front windows, new front door, a new bedroom for mum and dad, and shelves are put up in my bedroom. A cleaner throws away a bag of rubbish at an art gallery – only to discover it’s one of the exhibits! The Scream, a painting by Munch, is stolen from an art gallery. Athens, against all odds, host a spectacular Olympic Games. Paula Radcliffe drops out of the marathon, but a hero is made of Kelly Holmes after she wins the 800m and 1500m – she later becomes BBC Sports Personality Of The Year and is made a Dame in the New Year Honours. Matthew Pinsent gets his 4th Olympic gold, and is also honoured for 2005. The UK team gave a fantastic performance overall.
- September – After working with her on job applications, Louise comes back to me with an offer of a placement at the local council. I start playing Burnout 3. Queen’s musical We Will Rock You opens in Las Vegas.
- October – I start my placement at the council, and quickly settle in. Michael Fish presents his last weather forecast. John Peel, a legendary figure in the music industry, suddenly dies aged 65.
- November – My placement goes well, with my attention focused on the forms printing software. This leads to a job offer by the end of the month. We have more work done on the house, this time having the front garden dug out to create a driveway. George Bush wins the US election. Dixons stop selling VCRs, marking the beginning of the end for videos. Children In Need raises a record £17.1 million on the night. 5 artists are the first to be voted into the new UK Music Hall Of Fame, including Queen for the 70s.
- I start a 3-month job at the council, working down in Printing doing more of the forms production work. It’s not always busy, as it’s often a case of waiting for other people to do stuff for us. It’s still interesting though. And it’s interesting talking to my colleagues who have had lots of experience over the years, not just in printing. I’m also invited to the Christmas lunch with the JT team I was working with during my placement, and they pay for me!
- Nan comes down for Christmas, and we have a great Christmas dinner, discovering that it’s better to make your own pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) than buying them already made. I get a shirt and tie set, some handkerchiefs, and money for my presents.
- I buy more DVDs – Live Aid, Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King, and Lynyrd Skynyrd: Lyve From Steel Town. None of which I’ve got around to watching yet!
- Kelly Holmes rightly becomes the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, and is then made a Dame in the New Year Honours List. Most of our Olympic stars are also honoured, with Tanni Grey-Thompson also being made a Dame. Eric Sykes, Geoffrey Palmer, and Roger Daltrey are some of the entertainment stars to be recognised in the list.
- Band Aid 20 is the Christmas #1. It’s nowhere near as good as the original.
- Channel 4’s The Ultimate Film, listing movies watched by the most cinema-goers in history, is Gone With The Wind.
- Channel 4’s Greatest Christmas Moment is the original Band Aid single.
- Channel 4’s Greatest TV Treat of 2004 is the finale of Friends.
Planet Rock’s Top 100 Classic Rock Songs
Listeners to this radio station were invited to vote for their favourite classic rock songs of all time, and the results were announced in December. So here’s the full list:
- Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Deep Purple – Smoke On The Water
- Black Sabbath – Paranoid
- Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
- Eagles – Hotel California
- Led Zeppelin – Rock And Roll
- AC/DC – Highway To Hell
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower
- Derek & The Dominos – Layla
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
- Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
- Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
- The Doors – Riders On The Storm
- Cream – White Room
- Pink Floyd – Money
- AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
- The Doors – Break On Through (To The Other Side)
- Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing
- Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
- Led Zeppelin – Ramble On
- AC/DC – Hells Bells
- The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
- Rainbow – Since You’ve Been Gone
- AC/DC – Back In Black
- ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’
- Hawkwind – Silver Machine
- Bad Company – Can’t Get Enough
- Free – Wishing Well
- Cream – Badge
- Bad Company – Feel Like Makin’ Love
- Deep Purple – Strange Kind Of Woman
- Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell
- Boston – More Than A Feeling
- Deep Purple – Woman From Tokyo
- Thin Lizzy – Waiting For An Alibi
- AC/DC – Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution
- ZZ Top – Sharp Dressed Man
- The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
- Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
- Focus – Hocus Pocus
- Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
- Pink Floyd – High Hopes
- Golden Earring – Radar Love
- Cream – I Feel Free
- Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
- AC/DC – Thunderstruck
- Queen – We Will Rock You
- Bachman Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
- Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
- The Who – Pinball Wizard
- Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
- Alice Cooper – School’s Out
- Argent – Hold Your Head Up
- Queen – Killer Queen
- The Who – You Better, You Bet
- David Bowie – Starman
- The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
- The Who – Substitute
- Van Halen – Jump
- T. Rex – Get It On
- Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle
- The Who – Who Are You?
- ZZ Top – Legs
- Rainbow – I Surrender
- David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
- Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way
- The Beatles – Get Back
- The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)
- Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69
- Yes – Owner Of A Lonely Heart
- Status Quo – Down Down
- Uriah Heep – Easy Livin’
- David Bowie – Jean Genie
- Aerosmith – Love In An Elevator
- The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend The Night Together
- Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
- Queen – One Vision
- Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked
- David Bowie – Heroes
- Queen – Now I’m Here
- Alice Cooper – Poison
- Ram Jam – Black Betty
- Genesis – Mama
- Eagles – Life In The Fast Lane
- Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World
- The Yardbirds – Heart Full Of Soul
- Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
- Bon Jovi – Keep The Faith
- R.E.M. – The One I Love
- Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA
- Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
- Rush – The Spirit Of Radio
- Europe – The Final Countdown
- Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall
- Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown
- U2 – Pride (In The Name Of Love)
- Aerosmith – Walk This Way
- Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now