2019 Review

Collage of 9 photos of me in 2019, some with friends and some by myself. They show me admiring the view from a bridge in a park, riding on the Emirates Airline cable car, wearing my green-tinted sunglasses outside the Science Museum, posing by a red postbox in the Postal Museum and a War Horse model at the National Theatre, enjoying a pub social, giving a conference speech, eating dinner on a vintage Tube train, and appearing on 5 News on TV.

2019 was a bit of a rollercoaster year for me, but it worked out well overall. I was very busy and active for the first half, then there was a dip during the summer with various things that came up all at once, before the final few months that gave me a chance to recharge and get back to normal, while also throwing in one or two surprises.

So as is traditional, I thought I’d quickly go back over the year, to recap on the many things that happened. Click on the headings for each month to see the Favourites post in each case, while there are links to more detailed review posts throughout the text as well. I hope you enjoy looking back at it all with me.

January

The highlight of the month, which remained one of the highlights of the year overall, was seeing the audio described performance of a A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic. It was an incredible production, and I’m sure it still is for all the people who saw it again this Christmas just gone. If they bring it back again next Christmas, do go and see it. Check out my full review for my experience.

Another fascinating event this month was the Conductive Coding Workshop at the Tate Modern (click that link for my full review), where we were able to weave our own creations using special conductive thread, which we could then connect to a computer to produce sound. That was very cool. I also went on an audio described tour of the Home Futures Exhibition at the Design Museum, and had a look around the Museum of Brands, which is an interesting place that’s often overlooked.

Our colourful woven creation, made of blue and yellow ribbons, white wool and rainbow coloured wool, on the desk next to a laptop, into which is plugged a small device like a Raspberry Pi, to be connected to our craftwork.

This was also the month in which the various visually impaired groups across London came together to form the city-wide London Vision organisation, so all of their information is conveniently in one place. During this month I enjoyed going to the New Year Party for the Newham group, and a social at the Camel & Artichoke with the South East group. I also enjoyed a game of Cards Against Humanity with the non-disabled social group Thinking Bob, although I haven’t attended any more events with them since. Nothing against them, it’s just that my time has been taken up by so many other things that I couldn’t justify paying the subscription any more, so I cancelled it. I haven’t ruled out rejoining them though.

Apart from that, I updated my old Mac’s operating system to Mojave 10.14, although some months later it died and I ended up buying a new Mac anyway. So I should really upgrade this new one to the Catalina operating system soon, as it’s been out for a little while now. In any case, upgrading a computer certainly doesn’t stop you getting scam emails, and I highlighted one about IMF compensation on my blog this month. I also responded to my nomination for the Bedroom Tag as well.

And for entertainment I enjoyed Bird Box on Netflix, which caused some debate because of the popularity of the Bird Box Challenge. There was also Series 4 of Outlander (to be followed by series 5 launching on February 16th 2020), and Gold repeated the classic sitcom 2Point4 Children, which doesn’t get shown on TV very often these days. And my big purchases this month were the box set The White Album by The Beatles, and the Blu-ray box sets of Red Dwarf – Series 1 to 8 and Doctor Who – Series 11, and you can click on those links to see my review posts.

February

This month I tried one of the Art Through Words sessions at the National Gallery for the first time, where they audio describe one of their paintings in depth, while you examine enlarged photocopies and tactile drawings of them. So that was very cool, and I should do another one of those at some point. I also enjoyed an audio described tour of the Fan Museum in Greenwich with London Vision South East, which was much more interesting than it might sound. I also explored more of the Europe 1600-1815 Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and visited the Victoria & Albert Museum Of Childhood in Bethnal Green for the first time.

Still life painting. In the centre is a large woven basket filled with fresh lemons, along with sprigs of lemon blossom, red carnations, blue delphiniums, two white roses, day lilies and a tulip. in the bottom left is a silver bowl filled with water, on a blue-and-white porcelain bowl. A goldfinch perches on the lip of the bowl, and a day lily floats in the water.

I also had fun playing the mobile game Super Tile Smash from Woodside Apps, shared an Instagram post about using my phone as part of Captivating! Magazine‘s #WeRCaptivating campaign, and added my star to the Rare Disease Day campaign.

March

This was an incredibly busy month. The biggest event was Naidex, which is Europe’s largest show dedicated to disability and independent living, for which I was an ambassador for the second year running. The highlight was a talk by Warwick Davis, plus I discovered interesting gadgets and apps, and chatted to lots of nice people including bloggers Chloe Tear and Carrie-Ann Lightley. Do check out my Naidex review for all the details.

The large entrance to the Naidex show in the Birmingham N.E.C. A large banner with a dark background across the top fo the entrance says Welcome To Naidex, with the first 2 works in large white letters followed by the word Naidex in red. Red circles at each end of the banner contain white text saying Free Entry.

I also attended the TFL Access All Areas exhibition, promoting the accessibility of London’s public transport. This was also very interesting, and you can see my TFL Access All Areas review to find out more. Plus I paid a quick visit to a Family Information Day  organised by Guide Dogs’ Children & Young People Services in conjunction with London Vision.

We also had Disabled Access Day, which promotes the accessible experiences that are available for disabled people. As part of this I had the honour of writing guest posts for The Old Vic Theatre and London Vision, and had a wonderful audio described tour of St Paul’s Cathedral.

View inside St Paul's Cathedral, with highly ornate ceilings, wall decorations, statues and furnishings.

I also went to various theatre shows during the month. The Old Vic – who underwent major renovations last year to make their building a lot more accessible – kindly gave me complimentary tickets to see an audio described performance of The American Clock, for which I wrote a review. Plus I enjoyed seeing the audio described performance of Alys, Always at the Bridge Theatre, and the innovative production Flight Paths by the Extant company at the Albany Theatre, performed by 2 blind actresses who integrated audio description into the performance.

In addition, disability charity Leonard Cheshire also generously gave me complimentary tickets to their Cheshire Chuckle Comedy Night, which was great fun, as you can see in my full review.

Tim Renkow, sitting on a chair on the Backyard Comedy Club stage as performs his set. He is wearing a black t-shirt, the white pattern of which is obscured by his left arm across his chest, which has a tattoo covering his forearm.

Then there were museum visits, including a great audio described tour of the Postal Museum, about which I wrote a review for VocalEyes, and a fascinating audio described tour of Tower Bridge with London Vision South East. And I enjoyed exploring The Sun: Living With Our Star at the Science Museum,

I also gave some assistance to the British Museum’s Access All Senses event, in their Parthenon gallery, demonstrating to non-disabled visitors the benefits of touch description and audio description. Plus, courtesy of tickets I won through the Evening Standard, I attended the grand reopening of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. However, the staff hadn’t been made aware of the audio described guide that had been produced by VocalEyes, so I wasn’t able to use that. I was still able to use the regular guide and my monocular to enjoy it as best I could, but I still need to go back and try the descriptive guide as well. It is a stunning artwork.

The highly detailed and ornate painted ceiling, stretching the length of the long hall in the Old Royal Naval College.

I also had a unique experience at the Tube Train Supper Club with my friends, where we got to eat a lovely meal in a vintage London Underground train carriage. And in terms of entertainment, I enjoyed watching the All The Stations – Ireland documentary series on Youtube, and started working my way through the QI DVD boxsets, which kept me going for a good few months. So, all in all, March was one of the busiest months of the year by a long shot.

April

This month wasn’t anywhere near as hectic, but there was still a fair amount going on. I had a great Backstage Tour of the National Theatre with London Vision South East, I went on an audio described tour of the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Savile Row led by Caroline Dawson, and I visited Smoke & Mirrors: The Psychology Of Magic at the Wellcome Collection. They were all really interesting.

Glen standing with a large wooden frame horse model used in War Horse.

I also took advantage of the lovely weather over the Easter weekend to go for some nice walks, including a random exploration of the Lee Valley area, a wander through some parks in Beckton, and a pleasant afternoon in Little Ilford Park. Click each of those links for my photos on Instagram.

The Beckton Corridor, a long tree-lined walkway, with the sun shining through the gaps in the leaves and branches that meet each other overhead.

I also wrote about a TV Licensing scam email to make people aware. And on the entertainment front, I enjoyed watching Derren Brown: Sacrifice on Netflix, and the Bohemian Rhapsody movie on Blu-ray.

May

Much of May was spent preparing for the Aniridia Network Conference the following month, plus I was recorded for a podcast interview and filmed for a student documentary, both of which were published later in the year. So I’ll mention all of that later in this post.

Out and about, meanwhile, I very much enjoyed Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels at the Barbican, and checked out the Beasts Of London experience at the Museum Of London. And at the V&A Museum I had a good look around the Mary Quant and Food: Bigger Than The Plate exhibitions, and completed the final two rooms of their Europe 1600-1815 exhibition.

A line of 5 mannequins wearing different varieties of miniskirts designed by Mary Quant.

I also highlighted a Royal Mail Delivery scam on my blog. And on TV we had the big finale of The Big Bang Theory, which I really enjoyed, as you see in my full review. I also watched the Doctor Who Blu-rays for Series 11 and the Resolution New Year special, along with the soundtrack, and you can see my full review of those too. I also completed the latest series of The Flash and Not Going Out, and I was delighted to see Taskmaster return.

June

The highlight this month was a wonderful weekend break to Liverpool with my then-girlfriend Claire, and we had a great time exploring various sights of the city, including Royal Albert Dock, The Beatles Story, the River Mersey, a boat tour on the Dazzle Ferry with a stop off at the U-Boat Story, and a Liverpool Sights Bus Tour. You can find out all the details in my extensive review post.

The 3 ornate buildings known as The Three Graces in Liverpool. The Royal Liver Building is the tallest of the three, and has a tall spire with clock faces on each side, and a bird with outstretched wings on the top. The Cunard Building is shorter, and is a very simple rectangular box shape, but it's still very wide and deep, The Port Of Liverpool building is the widest, with a small domed spire on each corner, and a large dome on top of a raised section in the middle.

I also attended the Aniridia Network Conference in Birmingham, where I was helping out with the social media, photos and video coverage, and most importantly gave a speech about growing in confidence with aniridia. So I’m glad that all went well, and I got to meet a lot of lovely people in the process. The next conference in 2020 is the Aniridia Network Conference, which the Aniridia Network are hosting in London over a few days in August. So that will be interesting.

I was also featured in a podcast by Leonard Cheshire for London Tech Week, talking about how assistive technology helps me. The podcast was republished later in the year on the charity’s newly branded podcast The Disability Download, which is worth subscribing to.

I also enjoyed an audio described tour of the Van Gogh And Britain exhibition at Tate Britain, which had by far the biggest turnout for any such tour I’ve ever been on. And, while being filmed as part of a second student documentary, I had a look around the Driverless: Who Is In Control? exhibition at the Science Museum.

I also had a nice long walk finding all of the items on the Sculpture In The City trail in London (with photos hereherehere and here), plus I had lovely strolls along the Thames Path and around Finsbury Park.

And as for entertainment, I enjoyed Toy Story 4 at the cinema, season 5 of Black Mirror on Netflix, Good Omens on Amazon, Def Leppard’s CD Collection Volume 2 box set, and the Bridges To Bremen Blu-ray by The Rolling Stones.

July & August

My fortunes took a bit of a dip over the summer for various reasons, although I have since got closure on all of the matters in question, so everything’s good now.

Firstly I was called up to claim my Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which are replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). So I had to fill out a huge form, enclosing medical evidence and other supporting documents, and then go to a face-to-face assessment. Luckily my hard work paid off and I was awarded the benefit later in the year, but the application process is deeply flawed, and many disabled people unfairly lose out. It’s a money-saving exercise by the government that’s ended up costing them a lot more, especially as 75% of appeals are successful, not counting others who could also have appealed but were dissuaded from doing so by the DWP. It’s all a big mess.

In addition. I also had a severe foot infection, which resulted in a lot of swelling at first, and then a very bad case of eczema. But thankfully that’s cleared up now, with only a gradually fading scar left. And at the end of August my girlfriend and I made a mutual decision to end our relationship, but we’ve thankfully remained close friends ever since.

On the plus side, however, there are still good things to mention for those two months. In particular, I loved seeing the audio described performance of Only Fools And Horses The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket that Claire very generously treated me to, as I’m a big fan of the TV show. It’s really funny and the songs are great as well. You can find out much more about it in my detailed review post.

Cover of the programme for Only Fools And Horses, The Musical. Below the show logo is a large image of the yellow three-wheeled Reliant Regal van facing us, with 2 pink fluffy dice hanging from the rear view mirror in the centre. Del Boy and Rodney are leaning out of their side windows, with Del Boy waving and smiling with a cigar in his mouth, while Grandad is on the roof rack holding on tightly.

I also enjoyed An Evening Of Unnecessary Detail at the Bloomsbury Theatre, which is a show by Festival Of The Spoken Nerd. The performers included Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe from All The Stations and comedian Bec Hill, among many others.

I also went on a couple of great audio described tours. The first was at the Sir John Soane’s Museum, which is an incredible building with so much to admire inside, while the other was a tour of the Manga exhibition at the British Museum, which is an artform I hadn’t been very familiar with, so it was great to get such a detailed insight.

Model of manga character Astroboy, striking a defiant pose with fists in the air, while wearing black pants with a green belt around his waist, and tall red boots on his lower legs.

I also took another nice walk along the River Thames, from which you can see photos of the Millennium Bridge, historical images under Southwark Bridge, the section from London Bridge to Tower Bridge, and my final stop at St Katharine Docks. I also had a lovely long walk alongside the Regent’s Canal too, and I explored the modern art creations on display as part of the Frieze Sculpture Park. All of the links in this paragraph will take you to my photos.

Sculpture of a small house in the shape of a sphere, with a pointed thatched roof, white walls with thick black stripes going across and down around it, and a window with a small window box containing red roses.

I also had a nice time at the first Young Persons Pub Social held by RNIB Connect London, and have been to quite a few more since then. And I popped along to the annual Newham Show, which had a variety of entertainment and people to meet.

I also saw the Yesterday film at the cinema, which wasn’t bad and was worth a watch, but it  didn’t live up to the hype. And I listened to The Authorised Biography of The Beatles by Hunter Davies on Audible, which Claire kindly bought me for my birthday, and it was very interesting. I also saw Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes on Gold, where they remade the 3 episodes for which the original footage has been lost, and they were pretty good.  And I treated myself to the DVD box set of The IT Crowd, so it was fun to watch all of those. And talking of IT, my big purchase of the month was a new 27-inch iMac, as my old one finally gave up on me. And it’s been serving me very well since then, touch wood.

September

The major thing this month was the publication of my documentary What Is Normal?, and I of course wrote a blog post about how it all came together. It was made by a wonderful group of students from Met Film School as part of their media studies degree, and features an interview with me, a look at the Microsoft Soundscape app, and some footage from my personal archive. And it got a lot of positive reactions.

Scope also shared a post by me on their Big Hack website, about the iPhone accessibility features & apps that I use, though little did I know I would have a much bigger involvement with that project just a couple of months later. I also contributed to a post by Holly at Life Of A Blind Girl about the spectrum of vision impairment, and a post by Age UK Mobility about the most accessible attraction in the UK, plus I got a surprise mention in a list of recommended bloggers in Able Magazine.

Able Magazine article by Holly Tuke, entitled Why The Online Disabled Community Is So Important. To its right is a sidebar recommending the bloggers When Tania Talks, Fashioneyesta, Carrie-Ann Lightley and Well Eye Never.

I also had another lovely walk along the Thames from Albert Bridge to Wandsworth Bridge and went to another RNIB social, over a weekend when my foot infection was starting to clear up a bit.

Statue of a man and and a woman holding a smiling baby up in the air between them.

rewatched all 5 series of Chuck on DVD, along with newly purchased DVDs of At Last The 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set, where you can see the stars who would go on to form Monty Python and The Goodies, along a very young David Jason. You can see the Python style developing very clearly in these shows, they’re pretty funny. I also bought the 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe box set of Abbey Road by The Beatles, following on from the 50th anniversary box sets released for Sgt Pepper and The White Album in previous years. And I got Backbone by Status Quo, the first album produced since Rick Parfitt’s death, and it’s great.

October

This was a pretty quiet month, although given how crazy November turned out to be, fate was giving me a rest to prepare for it unbeknownst to me. Nevertheless, there were various bits and pieces to mention.

For a start, the remaining loose ends from July & August were being dealt with, in that I learned my confirmation that my Personal Independence Payments (PIP) application had been successful, which was a huge relief, and I received the eczema diagnosis and treatment for my foot. I was able to get out a bit during the month to meet friends as well, both individually and at another RNIB social, which was good. There was also an exciting adventure I was due to go on, but it had to be postponed. However, I have my fingers crossed that it’ll happen very soon…

I also helped to test an early demo of a brand new audio game called Pitch Black, and subsequently contributed to their Kickstarter, which surpassed its targets so its currently in development. I haven’t really done any gaming for a while, but I enjoyed testing this, so I’m looking forward to having a go the full version. As well as their Kickstarter, you can follow the game’s development on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

And another piece of big news was Apple’s new set of emojis in iOS 13.2, because they included emojis for disability, gender and mixed race, making them more inclusive. So that proved very popular across social media.

A grid of 9 disability emojis, including a hearing aid, a guide dog, a bionic arm, a wheelchair user, a deaf person, a long cane user, a bionic leg, an assistance dog and a powerchair user.

I also bought the Never Boring box set, featuring remastered tracks from Freddie Mercury’s solo career, which I enjoyed listening to, although it’s nowhere near as amazing as the original Solo Collection box set that I got many years ago. Check out my review post for all the details.

Plus I got the Blu-ray of Toy Story 4, the latest Blu-ray edition of An American Werewolf In London featuring a brand new restoration and even more extra features, and the steelbook Blu-ray of Doctor Who – The Specials, which were David Tennant’s final episodes following the end of series 4. And on Netflix I finally discovered what all the fuss was about in relation to Stranger Things, as I enjoyed watching all 3 seasons. The Flash also returned to TV for a new series too, which has been as great as ever so far, so I’m looking forward to its return shortly from its mid-season break.

In terms of comedy, Would I Lie To You? also returned, and was notable for featuring blind comedian Chris McCausland, who you can also follow on Twitter. He’s appeared on a few TV shows this past month in fact, so he’s doing very well for himself, quite rightly. Other enjoyable comedies I saw during the month were Dave Gorman’s new show Terms And Conditions Apply (basically Modern Life Is Goodish with celebrity guests), a Halloween special of Not Going Out, and the return of The Last Leg. And it was also announced that Red Dwarf would be returning for a feature-length special in 2020, which I’m really looking forward to.

November

This month proved to the start of more unexpected and exciting opportunities, as I was invited to appear in the media! Scope had conducted a survey to help promote their Big Hack project, highlighting the trade that businesses are missing out on by having inaccessible websites and apps. I was mentioned in an article in The Independent on 2 December, and I made my first appearance on British radio, speaking to the BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones on the 29 November edition of Tech Tent. Rory and his producer were wonderful with us, and I felt very comfortable doing the interview. I was pleased with how it came too, although little did I know that was effectively a practice run for what came at the start of December.

I was also a prominent figure at this year’s Sight Village exhibition for the visually impaired, where I helped out on the VocalEyes stand for a day, promoting audio description for theatre shows, museums, heritage attractions, etc. And we were right next to the stand for my old school, the WESC Foundation, as it happened. So I was able to chat to Charlie from Vocaleyes and Richard from WESC throughout the event, as well as the many visitors who came to our stand. So it was a busy and fun day. You can find out more zfin my Sight Village review post.

Elsewhere, I went on a special course for the visually impaired about the Parthenon in Ancient Greece, organised as part of a research project by Dr Ellen Adams from King’s College London. So we got to handle models and look closely at paintings with the aid of audio description, had an audio described tour at the Parthenon gallery in the British Museum, and had a special session at the museum handling antiquities from the period. It was fascinating to study it in so much detail, and in such an accessible way.

Statue of a naked young man reclining on a rock. The statue shows signs of wear and tear, and his hands and feet are missing.

I also had a good look at the first 4 bridges on the Thames that have been artistically lit for the lluminated River project, using special audio description tracks from VocalEyes to understand them further and enhance the experience. More bridges will be lit up in the months ahead – 15 in total by the time it’s finished – so I’m looking forward to seeing the rest.

I also highlighted a couple more scam emails for Apple iCloud and Netflix, at least one of which was written by a scammer called Spyus. They panicked and took their website down after I mentioned them, but soon put it back up again, as scammers inevitably do. It’s a shame that lonely losers like that have nothing better to do than take advantage of vulnerable people.

My big purchase of the month was the Monty Python’s Flying Circus – Norwegian Blu-ray Edition box set, which features all the episodes fully remastered and uncut, with lots of exclusive bonus footage. It’s a fantastic set, with the quality being a huge leap from previous DVDs and TV repeats, so I’m delighted I upgraded to that. Plus I bought the new Blu-ray set of Fawlty Towers, which is just a slightly upscaled copy of the remastered DVD edition that came out previously, but as it’s one of my all-time favourite shows it was worth the upgrade. It includes audio description and audio navigation too, which is brilliant.

I also bought Dad’s Army – The Lost Episodes, The Big Bang Theory – Season 12 and The Rolling Stones – Bridges To Buenos Aires on Blu-ray, and Tim Vine – Sunset Milk Idiot on DVD, all of which I’ve now watched and they’re all great. I enjoyed the new comedy The Cockfields on TV too, and this month we learned that Taskmaster is moving to Channel 4, which will be interesting to see later this year. The new album From Out Of Nowhere by Jeff Lynne’s ELO was also a nice treat to get this month as well.

December – Adventures, Food & Entertainment

December began with my first ever TV appearance, discussing the accessibility of websites and apps for Scope’s Big Hack campaign. I appeared live on Channel 5 News on 2 December, where I was interviewed by Claudia-Liza Armah, along with Krissie Barrick from Scope. A captioned version is available on Twitter & Facebook. I was quite nervous going into it, but everyone was so nice and looked after us so well, so the interview went really well. This was my biggest achievement of the year, as if the last 12 months had been building towards it without my knowledge. So I’m very proud of it.

You can find out all the details of my collaboration with Scope in my blog post entitled The Big Business of Digital Accessibility.

Beyond that, I was busy in other ways during the month. I went on a very interesting audio described tour of the Troy: Myth & Reality exhibition at the British Museum, and enjoyed exploring the Play Well exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.

Painting entitled Ulysses and the Sirens. It shows Ulysses, a tall bearded man, tied to the mast of a ship being rowed by a group of men. His eyes are wide open, transfixed by the beauty of the three naked mermaids who are trying to climb on to the boat to reach him.

And in terms of festive outings, I saw the Oxford Street lightsJohn Lewis’ Excitable Edgar window display, the Flannels Store montage of photos by David Bailey (of which I made a video), the Chelsea Christmas event, the Harrods lights and windows, the decorations in a local Barking shopping centre, and took a trip to Devon, where I met a close friend in Exeter and had the Christmas meal with my workmates in Torquay.

We ate well over Christmas of course, enjoying tasty treats from Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Walkers Shortbread, and a lovely Lindt Advent Calendar too.

And there was a lot of entertainment to enjoy as well. My repeat appearance on Leonard Cheshire’s new podcast, The Disability Download, was published this month, in Episode 5 – Talking Assistive Tech. And on TV, highlights included sitcoms like The Goes Wrong Show, Not Going Out, the new Season 19 DVD by The Simpsons, topical shows like Cunk & Other Humans, A Year In The Life Of A Year and The Last Leg, game shows like 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, QI XL and The Big Fat Quiz, other comedy like Tim Vine’s Sunset Milk Idiot DVD, unseen sketches by The Two Ronnies, and Bec Hill on The Jonathan Ross Show, dramas like How To Be Human (an online short film for which I was one of the consultants for their audio described version) and Worzel Gummidge. I also enjoyed watching the Paddington films and the Elf movie for the first time.

As for music, I enjoyed listening to Junior Choice and Matt Lucas’ TV Themes on the radio, and I bought various downloads including the Only Fools And Horses Musical Soundtrack, Suzi Quatro’s single Heart On The Line, the WHO album by The Who, and the charity Christmas number 1 single I Love Sausage Rolls by LadBaby.

I also made a post answering my nominations for the Disability & Sunshine Blogger Awards. And just for fun, I wrote an epic trilogy about my favourite childhood TV shows, looking at my favourite animated shows, game shows and other shows, which was wonderfully nostalgic and has been quite popular with some of my followers.

Statistics

Here’s a quick look back at some of the stats from the past 12 months. I don’t keep an eye on them too closely during the year to be honest, as blogging is just a casual hobby for me, not a career like it is for some, so I keep myself relatively low-key really. But even with that somewhat laid-back approach in mind, I’m doing very well.

Followers

As the end of the year, my counts were as follows:

  • Blog = 182 followers (up from 132 last year)
  • Youtube = 518 subscribers (up from 400 last year)
  • Twitter = 808 followers (up from 570 last year)
  • Instagram = 361 followers (up from 300 last year)
  • Facebook = 103 followers (up from 63 last year)

They’ve all continued to increase very slightly in the first half of January as well. Huge thanks to everyone who keeps an eye on what I do, I’m always delighted and humbled that it’s of interest and use to so many people. After all, I wouldn’t have any incentive to keep doing this if nobody was interested. Could I top 1,000 Twitter followers, 600 Youtube subscribers and 200 blog followers in 2020? It’ll be interesting to find out!

Blog

This year my blog received 24,080 views (up from 19,657 in 2018) and 16,470 visitors (up from 13,718). So all those figures have ticked up very nicely. The most views came from the UK (13,247), USA (3,994), Ireland (1,037), Canada (503), India (494), Australia (446), Germany (396), Nigeria (328), Philippines (257) and France (206). In total my blog was viewed in 147 countries! That’s quite a reach!

15,451 views to the blog resulted from search engine results, 395 from the WordPress Reader, 331 from Facebook, 266 via Twitter, 180 from Youtube and 30 from Instagram. Interestingly, 56 views came from Euan’s Guide, who kindly featured me in 12 disabled bloggers to add to your reading list in 2018, unless they’ve mentioned me elsewhere and I don’t know about it. So a special thank you to them, being included there has really helped!

As for the most popular posts, 2 scam email alerts top the list, getting nearly 2,000 views each, which just shows how prevalent those scams are. The others in the top 10 are a mix of posts from the current year and previous years, so a lot of my old content is still being noticed, which is cool:

  1. Scam Email – IMF Compensation from January 2019 (1,929 views)
  2. Scam Emails – Royal Mail Delivery from May 2019 (1,857 views)
  3. Harry Potter Studio Tour Review from January 2018 (1,369 views)
  4. The Last Leg – My Studio Audience Experience from July 2017 (1,275 views)
  5. Living With Nystagmus from February 2016 (1,015 views)
  6. Red Dwarf – Series 1-8 – Blu-ray Box Set Review from March 2019 (718 views)
  7. Christmas Q&A from December 2017 (715 views)
  8. Mock The Week – My Studio Audience Experience from July 2017 (686 views)
  9. Audio Description & DVD Navigation from March 2016 (460 views)
  10. Scam Email – Adult Site Blackmail from July 2018 (400 views)

Youtube

My videos got 50,856 views in 2019, which is very impressive for me! The most viewers came from the UK (32.5%), USA (15.3%) and Germany (4.5%). The top 10 videos were an interesting mix of my adventures out and about, disability awareness and entertainment from across the past few years:

  1. Fashion Show – Latex & Apparel – Alexandra Palace (12,509 views) – I unlisted this some time ago, as it doesn’t fit the tone of my channel any more. It was from my first year in London in 2017, when I was being very random, exploring all sorts of weird and wonderful things. But it is on various playlists, and probably forums and websites as well. Plus it’s not doing anyone any harm and it’s still driving traffic to my channel. So I’m happy to keep it hidden away for now rather than delete it.
  2. My DVD & Blu-ray Collection Part 4 – TV Shows (4,391 views) – This video in the series from 2016 appears to have had a big boost in views from people searching for Only Fools And Horses DVDs, which is nice. That said, I have plans to scrap all those videos and post a new one soon, to bring things up to date and streamline my channel.
  3. Living With Nystagmus (3,403 views) – Very happy with that, I’m glad this 2016 video is still getting attention.
  4. New York Streets & Times Square – May 2000 (3,273 views) – The bulk of these views appear to have come from readers of New York’s Gothamist website, who I’ve only just discovered embedded the video in an article entitled Ancient ‘Road Trip’ Movie Poster Uncovered In Brooklyn Subway Station. It generated 1,307 views to my channel with a watch time of 28.9 hours, so thank you Gothamist!
  5. Barking Station – 13 May 2017 #AllTheStations (2,304 views) – 70% of the traffic to this video is from people searching for “Barking London” or “Barking Station”. That may have something to do with the reopening of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, or the new Barking Riverside station that’s being built.
  6. Fashion Show – Lingerie & Urban Wear – Alexandra Palace (1,751 views) – Again, this 2017 video is unlisted for the same reasons as the top video above, but it’s clearly still popular.
  7. Def Leppard – Hysteria (30th Anniversary) – Unboxing (1,622 views) – Another 2017 video that is still getting attention. A lot of Def Leppard fans out there it seems. Good for them!
  8. Living With Aniridia (1,590 views) – I’m delighted that I’m continuing to raise awareness of such a rare condition with this video from 2016. Occasionally I’ve considered re-filming the 2 videos about my conditions, as the narration and visuals would both be much better these days, and one or two elements are a little bit out of date. But as people are still watching them and finding them useful, plus they’ve been shared in rather a lot of places now, and I still get occasional comments on them (all positive), then they seem to work well as they are for now.
  9. Busker – Contrix (Beatboxer) (1,427 views) – I’m completely ignorant of the beatboxing scene and only caught this guy on video by chance in 2017. But he’s very popular, because he’s very good to be fair.
  10. My Visual Impairment Aids & Gadgets (986 views) – I’m very pleased this one has proven popular. I think it’s alerted some visually impaired people to things they didn’t know about, and educated people with normal sight about some of the aids that we use.

Conclusion

So it’s been another action-packed year altogether! Despite a few bumps in the road along the way, as we all have from time to time, my London life continues to generate all sorts of wonderful delights, amazing experiences and unexpected opportunities. So goodness only knows what 2020 has in store, beyond the few awesome things I already have planned.

Thank you so much to everyone who I met and had contact with during 2019, and everyone else who has been following my adventures along the way. Your friendship and support means the world as always. Here’s to the next 12 months, let’s see what it brings! 🙂

Author: Glen

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

2 thoughts on “2019 Review”

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