Hello again. I hope you’re all doing ok – especially my friends and followers in the USA, all our thoughts are with you right now. Black Lives Matter and there are many ways to get involved and show your support, while those taking advantage of peaceful protests to cause destruction and misery have no respect for peace and equality. I sincerely hope that stability and civility is restored very soon. We should all be pulling together at all times, but it’s more important than ever during this pandemic.
Here in England, our lockdown has been eased in recent days, even though many scientists, including some of the government’s own advisors, feel too much is being done too soon. And if the experts are wary, then so am I, because I trust their judgement the most. So I’m going to continue staying locked down while we wait to see what happens, and until doctors and scientists can reassure us that it really is safer out there. It’s important for me because I live with my mother, who is elderly and blind, so the last thing I want is to bring the virus home and infect her, so that she ends up in hospital where I can’t visit her. So I’m staying indoors to keep her safe, that’s my priority.
And while I’m doing that, I’m still keeping myself entertained, which is taking my mind off the news very effectively as usual. So I hope this week’s post and video, which as always doesn’t contain anything sponsored or gifted, is a nice distraction for you too!
As a quick opening note, please be careful about the many scams flying around right now. I recently had a clearly fake email claiming I’d made a payment to Microsoft, and the excellent scambaiter Jim Browning (now with a million subscribers) responded to a fake Paypal email to expose the scammers. Meanwhile, Dave from The Kiffness nearly fell for a Facebook scam recently. And it’s always safe to assume that freebies forwarded via Whatsapp are fake, including the free Nando’s offer that got passed around this week. So there’s a lot to be wary of. For more on email scams, see my Scams page, and there’s a section devoted to Covid scams on my Covid Resources page.
This week I saw another archive film shared by the British Museum, all about their Vikings exhibition from 2014. Again it was really interesting, with a massive ship at the centre of the gallery, lots of close-up views of the wonderful objects on display, and even a re-enactment of a Viking burial at the end. The music is mixed a bit too loud, even drowning out some of the narration in the intro altogether, but that aside it’s another wonderful tour that’s well worth watching.
This week the cast of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy held a very special reunion in One Zoom To Rule Them All, and if you’re a big fan of the films it’s essential viewing. There are lots of laughs and some interesting insights as well, it’s great fun. And it features many of the actors including Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis (who recently read The Hobbit in an 11-hour live stream for charity) and many others. I won’t spoil any of the surprise appearances, of which there are many, so be sure to watch until the very end. But it’s abundantly clear how much they love being in each other’s company just as much now as they did when they made the films. So it’s wonderful to see them all back together like this.
I also decided to watch Jumanji: The Next Level online, the most recent film in the series that I hadn’t yet seen. It directly follows on from the previous film, Welcome To The Jungle, throwing our heroes back into the video game again (because Jumanji is no longer the board game it was in the original film). But the game has changed since last time, not only giving them a new quest, but also changing their virtual characters in fun ways too.
So while it treads familiar territory, there are more than enough new scenarios, updates to existing characters, and other new characters to meet, which ensures it works very well. All of the actors, including Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and Jack Black, are on great form again, and it’s a really funny film with some cool action sequences and great special effects. So I’m glad I watched that, and I’ve now bought the Jumanji series on Blu-ray to keep, as they’re the sort of fun and humorous films I’d gladly watch again. And there is another sequel in development containing the same cast, so when they’re finally able to make that I’ll be looking forward to seeing it.
This week I’ve finally found time to start back on my X-Files Blu-ray box set, which I put on hold at the start of the lockdown. So I should finally finish season 5 this week, after which I can get on to the first movie, and I’ll let you know what I think of that. Every season has one or two episodes that are below par and a bit boring, just like any long-running show, but on the whole it’s been exciting to go through them properly from the beginning.
Beyond that, many of the shows I’ve been watching regularly are about to end their current runs. Have I Got News For You and The Last Leg: Locked Down Under have been responding to all the latest events wonderfully as always, with lots of laughs while getting serious points across too. I was glad that they extended The Last Leg’s lockdown series to a 5th episode (as it was announced as 4 in the original press release), and I hope they come back again soon. Meanwhile, Seasion 18 of Family Guy on ITV2 has just ended, and Season 6 of The Flash concludes on Sky One next week.
Other things will come along to replace all those shows of course, such as the new show Comedians: Home Alone on BBC Two, and other theatre and museum delights online. And I also have various ideas for other TV shows and films to check out online, either alongside or after The X-Files. So there’s no danger of me running out of ideas any time soon!
As always, I have a selection of videos across various themes that I’ve enjoyed this week, so I hope there’s something in here that you like too.
- BonGrahn Creative have hosted Episode 1 of their Covid Support Group, where a conversation about lockdown doesn’t quite go as well as initially hoped. Thank you to Tina for finding this one.
- Julie Nolke continues to deal with the big issues by asking: Where are the mimes?
- There are some topical sketches by Australian Sammy J on ABC TV that are fun to look through.
- The Virtual Quiz Club on Facebook recently held their second Only Fools & Horses quiz, and they do quizzes on many other shows and subjects too. They’ve raised over £25,000 for the NHS in the process, so it’s a really fun way to raise money for a great cause. Thank you to Claire for spotting this one for me.
- Shirley Șerban has a new Beatles parody called Zoom Together, based on the song Come Together. And this Monday she posted a lovely tribute to key workers based on a Bonnie Tyler classic.
- Of the many songs about Dominic Cummings that are being shared, my favourite so far has been The Durham Dash by Lockie Chapman, a parody of The Monster Mash.
- It’s been a great relief to see Brian May back online after his recent spell in hospital, which was more serious than we thought. He’s posted a video about his medical adventures, given a sincere thank you to those who have supported him, and delivered a very important message that everyone should take heed of right now. In short, his message is don’t be afraid to get medical help if there’s something wrong with you. People are dying from strokes, heart attacks, etc by not reporting it out of fears relating to the virus, yet hospitals are able to treat you very safely now.
- The Barenaked Ladies have performed a full group version of The Big Bang Theory Theme as part of their Selfie Cam Jams series, following on from the solo performance that was posted for charity a fortnight ago.
- In relation to another great comedy show, The Mr. Bean Theme has been beautifully recreated using a 78-Horn Ensemble by Marc Papeghin. The theme tune, composed by the legendary Howard Goodall of course, is called Ecce Homo Qui Est Faba, which translated from Latin means Behold The Man Who Is A Bean. That’s what the choir are singing in the credits of the TV show if you’ve ever wondered.
- Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot have produced a music video featuring their neighbours to accompany their cheerful and lively new single A Good Day Is Hard To Find, from their Manchester Calling album.
And finally, I thought I’d share some live nature cams, in case they help you escape to a world of peace and serenity for a little while. There are many more out there if you search for them, but here are a few I’ve recently come across:
- BBC Springwatch are broadcasting their own webcams, which you can enjoy either live on the BBC’s Youtube channel or by looking back at older streams.
- Explore Live Cams has lots of lovely options, including the East Coast Assistance Dogs that were highlighted on the BBC’s Click programme. The live feeds are also available on their Youtube channel.
- Nature Tec Cams is a great channel if you like to watch birds in particular, but they also have animals like hedgehogs as well.
- And to finish, this is just a short video rather than a webcam, but Andrew Cotter, known for posting amusing commentaries recently, has posted a very sweet clip called Mabel’s Dream, with his dog happily remembering life before lockdown. But if you miss Andrew’s commentaries, he’s actually done one on a different channel for Nala, the Winning From Home competition winner, in support of Dogs For Good.
And that’s it, I hope you enjoyed looking through all of that, and there was something of interest to you.
June is looking set to be a very interesting month, as a few exciting opportunities have come along in quick succession, although I won’t spoil anything just yet. But because of that, along with the fact that we are now up to week 10 and many lockdowns are being eased, this may be a good opportunity to scale things back to fortnightly updates rather than weekly. My ultimate goal is to get back to the monthly posts I used to do, but clearly that won’t be for some time yet, so you’ll still be getting my recaps more often than usual. But we’ll see how it goes, it’ll depend on how much I have to mention at any given time. If there’s a lot to mention in a given week, you’ll still get a weekly post. But my point is don’t panic if I don’t post for a week, it’s probably that I’m saving stuff up!
So until next time, I hope you’re all able to stay safe and well, whatever’s going on in your part of the world. Take care!