2020 Review

A collage of 9 photos of Glen. The top row shows him standing by a blue police box, holding up a pint of cider in a pub, and standing near Tower Bridge. The second row consists of 3 face shots, 2 of which show him smiling while the third shows him talking during a Zoom call. And the bottom row shows him wearing 3 different masks, one of which has guitars on, one with text saying The Shows Must Go On, and one with a pattern of blue and white.

2020 – the year that nobody wants to look back at. Referring to perfect vision as 20/20 will forever carry a certain irony with it now. And let’s be honest, if you were to try and sum up the year with a word or phrase, there isn’t much that’s family-friendly that truly does it justice – other than dumpster fire perhaps, which I’ve seen a lot of people use very accurately.

Granted, 2021 hasn’t started off any better, but that’s because we’re still experiencing the fallout from the damage caused by its unruly predecessor. 2021 has its work cut out trying to repair that, and it will undoubtedly require the assistance of 2022 and beyond to achieve it. However, 2021 is giving us a lot of reason to be hopeful, so there is definitely light at the end of this long, dark tunnel we’ve all been stuck in.

Normally when I do these annual reviews, I just list things month by month. But as time itself shuddered to a halt and stopped making any sense in March, with all the remaining months rolling into one, I’m just going to summarise things in categories instead. That way you can skim through to the sections that interest you most if you don’t want to read everything. The items mentioned here, and many others, have all been discussed in my Favourites posts during the year, which you can read for a lot more detail.

So I hope you enjoy this post and, apart from the first section, I hope it reminds you of some of the more pleasant distractions from the last 12 months!

Covid & The New Normal

Let’s get the boring part out of the way to begin with. When we were placed into our first lockdown back in March and there was a wave of panic buying, that was the first time in ages when Mum and I had felt truly anxious, as it was really difficult and time-consuming to find anything in the shops and virtually impossible to get groceries online. We managed, just about, but were very worried that we would struggle if that continued for too long, and I researched various support options just in case. It was comforting to know that there were plenty of volunteers, charities, etc who could help us if we really needed it.

Fortunately, after having been caught off-guard like the rest of us, the supermarkets adapted fairly quickly and the panic buying soon stopped. And, to their credit, Sainsbury’s automatically recognised my elderly, blind mother as someone who needed to be on their priority list for online deliveries. We’ve had great service from them all year since, for which we’re very grateful. It’s really given us peace of mind, so many thanks to their staff and delivery drivers.

I still had to go to the store in person on a few rare occasions when essentials weren’t delivered. However, despite feeling very safe due to their extensive measures, I still encountered difficulties with finding items, using the self-service checkout, using their barcode scanning app, etc, and couldn’t always find staff for assistance.

So online has been a lot better. We had shopped with them that way before, back in Devon, so it wasn’t new to us. But when we moved to London we switched to shopping in person as our nearest store is easy to get to, has a good selection and the staff are very nice, plus we weren’t sure if delivery vans could park down our busy road. But shopping online has been easier than we expected, and there’s a lot more choice as they deliver from a much bigger store not far away, so we’ll carry on shopping that way even after the pandemic ends.

With that sorted, therefore, Mum and I have effectively been living in lockdown since the end of March last year, even when restrictions were eased quite a bit. I’ve had quite a few long walks, as I’ll mention a bit later in this post. But apart from that, the only other reasons I’ve been out are to meet a friend for a birthday meal in August, meeting another friend for a walk in Battersea Park in September, attending my Uncle’s funeral (thankfully he didn’t get Covid), a few rare trips to Sainsbury’s (as noted above), a couple of haircuts with my mother, and a few visits to our local GP surgery (not Covid-related). That’s it.

Glen sitting at a table in a pub, smiling as he holds up a pint of cider. In front of him is a dinner of streak and chips, with peas, mushroom and tomato.
Photo by James Buller

Of course, it’s not been nice staying away from other people, and like everyone else I do yearn for the time when we can get back together again. However, building a social circle since moving to London 4 years ago, and making other friends online since starting my blog 5 years ago, in addition to the friends I already had from work and school prior to that, has helped such a lot during these strange times. Not only did I have those lovely meetings in person with a couple of friends over the summer, but many of my other mates have also kept in touch in various ways, ensuring I don’t feel too isolated, which I’m extremely grateful for, so thank you!

As for my career, I was already a homeworker, so nothing changed on that front. And keeping myself occupied in my leisure time hasn’t been an issue either. I’ve always been someone who’s happy in my own company, and I can always find things to watch and occupy myself with if I have to. Doing various things on my blog has been a great way to fill the time and offer some distractions to others, particularly my regular series of Favourites posts, Queen reviews and journal entries, which have given me a good routine to focus on. And I’ve enjoyed lots of entertainment as well of course, which I’ll mention during this post.

As for the virus itself, my mother and I haven’t had it yet as far as we know, and I’ve been as careful as I can not to bring it home to pass on to her. We were both ill last February, but we think we just had very heavy colds for a few days. I have been keeping a daily log for Mum and I using the Covid Symptom Study App though, which over 4 million people are using to contribute to research into the spread of the disease. I had a Covid test in the summer too, because I was invited to take it for research purposes, and it came back negative. It wasn’t very easy to do with a visual impairment though. I reviewed both the app and the test in my August Favourites. My iPhone 6 isn’t compatible with the NHS Test & Trace App, so I haven’t used that. I also set up a Covid Resources page during the year, with links to information and sources of entertainment, so I hope people found that useful.

A Covid home testing kit, including instructions, a disposable swab, a vial and a biohazard bag to put the swab into, identification labels, and an unfolded box in which to return the test to the lab.

Ultimately, I feel very fortunate that I was able to adapt and find ways to fill my time during the past year, after a period of adjustment to the temporary ‘new normal’. Being able to get everything we need easily, staying in touch with others and having a good routine has really helped. Many people haven’t been so lucky though, I know, and my thoughts are with all those for whom 2020 didn’t go well for whatever reason. My Uncle’s passing during the year was naturally the low point for our family, but it wasn’t unexpected given his age and general health, and it wasn’t due to Covid, so it didn’t affect us as badly as other losses that many people have had to endure this year. We got off relatively lightly in 2020 all things considered.

It’s also really important, of course, to say a huge thank you to all our heroic health & care workers, scientists, charities, fundraisers, retail staff, farmers, food suppliers, manufacturers, delivery drivers, hospitality workers, teachers, home-schoolers, communications companies, transport operators, utility firms, council employees, cleaners, security personnel, news providers, TV & radio broadcasters, entertainers, construction workers, engineers, and a multitude of other key workers and volunteers who have helped us get through the year, and will continue to do all they can for us in 2021 and beyond. Despite the immense pressures imposed on them by the virus, the government’s poor handling of the pandemic and the economic devastation it’s all caused, they’ve continued to dedicate so much of their valuable time and energy on behalf of us all. So we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

And an honorary mention must also go to 100-year-old Captain Sir Thomas Moore of course, whose sponsored walk raised over £30 million for NHS Charities Together, and he’s since created the Captain Tom Foundation. He’s been a real inspiration and a beacon of light to so many, he celebrated his 100th birthday in style, and he’s regularly been in the news all year. He was even featured in London’s New Year display at the start of 2021. So I’ve mentioned him in many of my posts this year as a result, along with some of the other fantastic fundraisers and charity music releases that have come to my attention. There are so many people who have raised so much money and awareness during this pandemic, it’s been wonderful to see.

Disability

I’m very glad I was able to meet several visually impaired friends during the first few months of the year, before we were all locked down:

Beyond that, everything disability-related that I took part in, produced or watched was done from home:

Some other organisations are also worth mentioning:

  • Sight Village, which exhibits products and services for visually impaired people, went online this year. You can see the videos from Day 1 & Day 2, and there’s a new online information event on 19 & 20 January 2021 (which won’t be saved for later viewing so be sure to catch it live!).
  • Youtube unveiled the ability to add multiple audio tracks to videos by including a selectable audio description track on the trailer for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. I don’t think the feature’s been rolled out any further beyond that initial demonstration, but hopefully it will be at some point.

And some other people deserve a shoutout as well:

  • Dr Amy Kavanagh set up The Staying Inn as an accessible and inclusive online space for quizzes, crafts, book clubs, activism, education, etc, and you can watch some catch-up videos from their sessions. I haven’t been to their events myself, but I’m delighted it’s been a success for those who need it.
  • Casey Greer from How Casey Sees It, with her best friend Cassandra Mendez, launched a new podcast called Rare With Flair.
  • Visually impaired Youtubers I came across for the first time included Bird Nerd Sophie and Delagrande, plus Mona Minkara with her audio described travel documentary Planes, Trains & Canes.
  • I’ve created a Lockdown Disability Playlist featuring some of the videos created by or for visually impaired and disabled people during the pandemic.
  • I also have long lists of blogs, video channels and podcasts relating to sight loss and other disabilities if you want more to look through.

Walks

Walking inevitably became a big part of my year, as there wasn’t much else to do in the end, and it was important to get out for fresh air as much as I could.

In the first few months of the year, when things were still normal, I had some nice walks in Central London, including one from Waterloo that took me to Burgess Park and the Surrey Canal, and another that took me by the Tardis-like police box outside Earls Court Underground Station.

Selfie of Glen smiling, in front of a big blue police phone box that looks like Doctor Who's Tardis.

Later in the year I also managed to take a few walks in Central London during September, but nearly all of my strolls during the pandemic have been around my local area in Newham. I discovered that by signing up to Strava and using the app to record each of my walks, I could then combine them all into one big map on CityStrides, to show me all of the streets that I’ve already done. So I’ve been using that to walk as many of the streets in my local area as possible, filling in a little bit more of the map with each outing. It’s really encouraged me to explore my area in detail and walk further than I otherwise would have done, and it’s been very rewarding to see the map fill up as I tick off more of it.

According to Strava and CityStrides, since I started doing this on 24 July (or the 146th of March in 2020 terms), I’ve walked:

  • 200.64 miles in total, consisting of 174.22 near my home, plus 26.42 in Central London.
  • 6.47 miles per walk on average, with the longest being 11.35 miles.
  • 3.5 miles per hour, roughly.
  • 181 streets completed in full, 0.46% of the 39,181 streets in Greater London, with good progress made on sections of other long streets, in parks, etc.

So I’m really happy with that, it does feel like I’ve achieved quite a bit! And I’ll see how much more of the map I can complete during 2021.

A yellow stencilled sign on the pavement, showing figures of a man and a woman separated by a double-ended arrow. Capital letters beneath them say Keep Your Distance.

The large boating lake in Regent's Park in the sunshine.

Plays & Musicals

I can’t wait until I’m able to return to the theatre again at some point, and I very much hope that 2021 is a better year for everyone in the industry.

There is no true substitute for the live in-person experience, that’s for sure. But until we can all return, many venues, shows and performers have done their best to keep us entertained online instead, which is greatly appreciated. It’s given lots of people across the world a rare opportunity to see shows and performers that they normally wouldn’t have access to and may never have known about otherwise, and has promoted just how wonderful theatre can be to those who were less familiar with all it has to offer. Even when the pandemic is over, having an online offering would still be great I think, as even in normal times there are lots of people who can’t attend the theatre easily or at all.

Thank you to those shows that have been making the effort to include audio description as well, and to VocalEyes for highlighting them in their Interval newsletters. It’s ensured that visually impaired and blind people can at least access some of the productions that are shared online, even if it’s a relatively small proportion of them. Some shows were provided with captions as well, and one or two even had British Sign Language.

Before everything shut down and all my remaining bookings were cancelled, however, I was at least able to attend some performances in person at the start of the year:

In front of a blue stage curtain, with bright stars projected on to it, is a tall arch spanning the width of the stage, featuring lit-up words that say Disasters In Magic Charity Fundraiser.

For the rest of the year I’ve had to watch plays and musicals online, and I’ve seen quite a few.

  • National Theatre – They generously posted several shows for free during the year, among which I enjoyed Frankenstein (reviewed here), Treasure Island (reviewed here), Small Island with audio description (reviewed here) and their Dick Whittington pantomime (reviewed here). They also now have an online streaming service called National Theatre At Home, where you can watch a variety of plays for a regular subscription, all of which have captions, and some even have audio description and BSL. I haven’t tried it yet, but I might give it a go during 2021.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe – In December Mum and I also enjoyed the audio described version of their festive production, Christmas At The (Snow) Globe, featuring Sandi Toksvig.
  • Graeae Theatre – In June this organisation of disabled performers shared a video of Reasons To Be Cheerful, which I’d previously seen in person but enjoyed watching again online. Audio description was provided, but as a separate audio file on Soundcloud, which wasn’t so convenient for me. The video had captions for those who needed it though. Later in the year they also posted a fun new recording of Spasticus Autisticus.
  • Our House on Youtube – I was very pleased to find a copy of the Madness musical online in August, which I enjoyed watching.
  • Hamilton on Disney+ – I finally got to see what all the fuss was about when I tried this out with audio description. It didn’t really appeal to me much, as I noted in my review in August, but I’m glad I tried it, and I can understand why it’s popular now.
  • Theatre Support Fund – I happily bought some Shows Must Go On merchandise as my little contribution to their fundraising in September. They’ve already raised over £500,000, and you can still buy their stuff.

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Stand-Up & Improvised Comedy

In January, I went with a friend to the nerdy comedy show An Evening Of Unnecessary Detail, part of a series of shows by Festival Of The Spoken Nerd. We particularly enjoyed the section by Geoff Marshall from All The Stations, but all of the guests were good.

Beyond that though, the other comedy gigs I’ve attended have been online:

  • Mischief Theatre – I loved their hilariously improvised Movie Nights in December, and I’m looking forward to seeing more in January, for which there’s now a trailer using footage from December’s shows. What with those, Magic Goes Wrong and their Goes Wrong Show, plus the watch-alongs and various sketches on their Youtube channel, the hard-working team have been providing a lot of much-needed merriment for people!

Museums

I managed to visit a nice selection of museums at the start of the year before everything closed down:

Robotic research vehicles for studying the surface of mars. One is very small, with the body consisting of a shining gold box, while the other is much larger and covered in solar panels. Both vehicles have 3 wheels on each side, and a long pole sticking up with cameras and sensors on the top.

Statue of Buddha sitting in the lotus position, legs crossed tightly beneath him, his hands in his lap, back straight, and eyes almost closed as if in deep contemplation. He has a small crystal between his eyes, just above eye level, and his head is surrounded by an ornate halo.

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Beyond that, there were some online museum videos that I watched during the year:

Quizzes

I’m one of that rare breed of people who didn’t take part in a Zoom quiz during the year, as there weren’t any with my friends to get involved with, and I didn’t fancy entering a large video conference full of complete strangers. It’s not like going to a pub quiz in person where you can pick a team and have a natter to the people next to you, it’s not quite the same. So I preferred having Zoom chats with individuals or small groups where it felt much easier to have some direct engagement and input

However, I did have a go at a quiz run by the Nystagmus Network, where you had to click on multiple choice answers, and that series of regular quizzes helped to raise a bit of money for them.

And I’ve enjoyed some of the quizzes that were streamed on Youtube during the year, either by attending the live streams or watching the recordings later on. These have included:

I’ve compiled a long playlist of selected quizzes on my channel for anyone who’s interested in trying some out. I didn’t watch all of them, just a few, as there were far too many altogether. But I enjoyed the ones I saw.

Games

I signed up for the trial of Apple Arcade early on in the first lockdown, and experimented with a few games including Spyder (reviewed here), What The Golf? (reviewed here) and Tangle Tower (reviewed here). I didn’t continue my subscription, but that was more due to lack of time rather than interest. I’ll try and set aside a bit of time for some more gaming in 2021 if I don’t get too distracted by other things!

And talking of Apple, I also gave my reactions to their Catalina operating system when I finally upgraded to it in April, talking about its accessibility and the splitting up of iTunes into separate programs.

I also had fun trying out the Escape The Room games on the Amazon Echo, as reviewed in April.

Movies

Sci-Fi & Fantasy

As noted in my JanuaryFebruary-March posts, I enjoyed Series 12 of Doctor Who, as it built on the foundations laid by Series 11 really well and added much more to it. And during New Year I really liked the latest special, Revolution Of The Daleks.  I bought the Blu-ray steelbook for that series and soundtrack album of course, along with the Blu-ray steelbook editions of Series 5, 6, 7 that also came out during the year. It was also fun to see some of the show’s stars being interviewed by HBO Max & James Corden, and the charity Christmas quizzes that I mentioned above. So roll on Series 13, which has been inevitably delayed but is on its way, and I’m looking forward to seeing John Bishop as a new companion.

My big box set binge this year, however, was The X-Files. Watching all 11 seasons on Blu-ray plus the 2 movies took up a nice big chunk of my time, it’s fair to say! I finally finished it all in August. It does go downhill in the later seasons, dipping particularly during Mulder’s absence, but I still enjoyed going through it all, and there are good behind-the-scenes extras as well. I also checked out the spin-off series The Lone Gunmen online, but wasn’t so keen on that, and I’m not bothered about Millennium either. The main series is the important thing, and I bought the soundtrack albums for the show & movies too. See my February & March post for more details.

Cover for the Blu-ray set of The X Files, with all 11 seasons, 218 episodes, on 60 discs. The image shows Mulder, Scully, Skinner and the Cigarette Smoking Man in front of a bright light.

I also went on a nostalgia trip by buying the DVD collection of all 3 series of The Demon Headmaster, a classic children’s show from the 90s that still holds up well, with the fantastic Terrence Hardiman in the lead role. I also checked out the modern sequel that launched in 2019, for which a second series is on the way. You can find out more about all of that in my Christmas post.

Front cover of the DVD for The Demon Headmaster, showing the title character with his glasses in his hand as he looks over to the side, seemingly at us. The strapline says Danger, do not look into his eyes. The DVD is rated PG.

I also enjoyed an old show on Youtube that I’d never seen before, called Crime Traveller,  starring Chloë Annett (best known as Kristine Kochanski in Red Dwarf). You can see my review of that in my January post.

And I continued to watch the latest series of The Flash on Sky, which saw some big changes and came to a premature end due to the pandemic, but was still fun, and hopefully we’ll see it back again soon.

Dramas

Apart from science fiction, other dramas I enjoyed this year included:

  • After Life – Series 1 & 2 – I reviewed Series 1 of this Netflix show in my February & March post, and Series 2 in April, and I’m looking forward to Series 3, which Ricky Gervais has said will be the final one. There are outtakes compilations for Series 1 & Series 2 as well, of which the second is the longest and funniest (though be warned there’s a lot of adult humour if you don’t know the show).
  • Quiz – The new ITV drama about the Charles Ingram cheating scandal on Who Wants To A Millionaire?, which I reviewed in April.
  • Outlander – Series 5 – I saw the entire season this year, which finished in May, but there wasn’t so much action this time, and the finale felt repetitive and unnecessarily extreme, so I’m not sure if I’ll continue with it any further when it returns. I think it’s passed its peak.

Audiobooks

I haven’t listened to many books at all this year, but on Audible I have enjoyed a couple of things:

  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – I was gifted the audiobook of this novel by my friend Claire for Christmas, about a group of retired people who try to solve a murder in their village. My mother and I are currently listening to it bit by bit as we have our dinner each day, so we haven’t finished it yet. But we’re enjoying it so far.
  • Locked Together – This is a free series of podcasts where comedians chat to each other about how lockdown has affected them, and they’re quite funny.

TV & Radio Comedy

Comedy is always a great form of relief and escapism, no more so than this year, and there have been lots of TV and radio shows that have given me a good laugh, including:

  • The very funny new series Staged, with Michael Sheen and David Tennant trying to rehearse a play during lockdown. There’s such a great chemistry between them, and they’ve had big guest stars as well. It’s been great to see them back for a second series in this new year.
  • The opening monologues and a few other sketches from The Late Late Show With James Corden on Youtube. I’m not interested in watching the shows in full, as I don’t know who most of his guests are or have any interest in them. But his introductory segments recapping the latest news events have been enjoyable, and have given me a brief overview of what’s happening in the USA without being too heavy, as well as highlighting some of the odder stories and having fun banter with the members of his house band.

Other Online Comedy

I’ve been enjoying loads of other comedy videos on Youtube during the year, with some of my favourites including:

  • Mandy Dassa – Choose Your Own Adventure Game – A clever and funny series of linked videos where you have to make a choice at the end of each one.
  • Michael Spicer – His Room Next Door series, with his exasperated attempts to advise politicians as they make important speeches and announcements, has been consistently funny. He’s had a lot of material to work with, after all!
  • Tim Vine Televisual – He’s continued posting lots of silly little sketches since finishing his original year-long series, including an advent calendar.
  • Who Said That? – A fun little gameshow hosted by hosted by Mark Olver, featuring different comedians in each episode, where they have to guess each other’s answers to silly questions posed by each of them in turn.

I also follow lots of my favourite comedians and comedy shows on social media, along with other light-hearted accounts that share humourous content including TV channel Dave, Jason (Nick Motown), Moose Allain, Pundamentalism & Very British Problems, plus accounts and newsletters alerting me to upcoming comedy shows, DVD releases, etc. They’ve ensured that there’s always something to raise a smile in my news feeds every day, so I don’t fall into the trap of doomscrolling too much. The Dave channel also supports the Campaign Against Living Miserably to combat loneliness, which of course has been extremely important for many people this year.

Music

Music is also as important to me as comedy, and again I’ve enjoyed a lot of that this year.

In particular, my favourite band Queen have played a big part in keeping me sane and distracted, including:

  • Rock The World – The BBC4 documentary from 2017 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their News Of The World album, which I saw the repeat of this year and reviewed in May.
  • Finding Freddie Podcast & Peter Freestone’s Channel – These videos with stories about Freddie have been really fun. Peter was Freddie’s personal assistant, and his channel was launched only recently, so there’s a lot more to come from him.

Also on my blog this year:

From other famous artists I’ve also enjoyed:

  • AC/DC – Power Up – Their great new album. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but is still enjoyable with their classic sound.

And I’ve seen lots of music videos on these channels too, which are well worth digging through:

And some other random individual highlights include:

And that’s just a selection! There were lots of other songs mentioned throughout my Favourites posts this year. Check out myLockdown Music playlist for the videos I’ve listed above and more!

Blog Stats

My blog has been the ideal place to immerse myself in a variety of projects to keep myself occupied during the pandemic, with my deep-dive Queen At 50 reviews, my nostalgic throwback journal posts and my regular Favourites posts, along with a few other bits and pieces I’ve published along the way.

I don’t promote my content heavily or post frequently on social media, because I’m not aiming to be a big star or a major influencer particularly. Maintaining such a position requires a lot of time, effort and creativity, and I’m quite happy with one career as it is! So this has always been just a hobby, and as such I’m always grateful to anyone who stumbles upon me and enjoys what I have to offer. And there’s continued to be steady growth in subscribers across all of my platforms, so a big thank you to all who signed up to follow me in 2020! 🙂

My blog continued to get the attention of a lot more people, with:

  • 41 new followers (taking me up to 223 in total)
  • 39,259 views (up from 24,080 last year)
  • 29,459 visitors (up from 16,470 last year)
  • 1.33 views per visitor (slightly down from 1.46 last year)
  • 45 new posts (slightly down from 51 last year)
  • 159 likes (up from 129 last year)

The most popular posts were quite a mixture as usual, and it’s mainly older content rather than anything from the last year. The top 5 are all scam warnings, where I break down clearly fraudulent emails I’ve received. I didn’t actually publish any new scam posts this year, but people keep stumbling on my old ones via search engines. So it’s great that my posts are educating so many, and hopefully a few of them have stuck around to check out my other stuff too. Beyond that there are all sorts of other things.

So the view counts for my top posts are as follows:

  1. Scam Emails – Royal Mail Delivery = 6,593. There must have been another Royal Mail scam going around in November, as this post had a massive surge of interest with 4,027 views in that month alone! In December it then had its second highest view count in the year, with just 825 views, so you can see how different November was!
  2. Scam Email – Apple iCloud = 3,115. This peaked during the last 4 months of the year, with 1,070 views in December, so clearly there were more iCloud same going around then.
  3. Scam Email – IMF Compensation = 2,699. This consistently gets 200-300 views most months, and doesn’t peak at any particular time.
  4. Scam Emails – Netflix Billing Problems = 2,560. September was the peak for this, with 835 views, with over 400 in June and August. Otherwise it doesn’t see a lot of activity.
  5. Scam Email – TV Licence Warning = 2,260. Over 400 views in June and September, and over 200 in the surrounding months, but no major peaks.
  6. Red Dwarf – Series 1-8 – Blu-ray Box Set Review = 874. See how much difference there is between this and the scam posts? Still a decent figure though, but then it is a popular show.
  7. Mock The Week – My Studio Audience Experience = 711. As this is regularly on TV, I’m not overly surprised that people who want to attend are stumbling upon this.
  8. Blogs, Videos & Podcasts – Sight Loss = 661. Of all my dedicated links pages to be the most popular, I’m pleased it’s this one. Every so often I notice that a number of links are being visited there, so it’s good to know I’m helping people to discover other great bloggers.
  9. My Favourite Computer Games – Part 1 = 626. I don’t know why this became popular in the latter half of the year, peaking at over 100 views in the last 2 months, but I’m glad people are enjoying it. There wasn’t a clear link to the following part, however, which may explain why parts 2 & 3 haven’t made much of an impression, so I’ve added a link at the end now.
  10. The Last Leg – My Studio Audience Experience = 618. This was popular at the start of the year, then the views instantly dropped off after March, reflecting the fact that they could no longer have an audience present.
  11. Living With Nystagmus = 575
  12. Freddie Mercury – Never Boring & Solo Collection Reviews = 560
  13. Audio Description & DVD Navigation = 558
  14. My DVD & Blu-Ray Collection = 540
  15. Harry Potter Studio Tour Review = 536
  16. Queen At 50 Reviews – Live Around The World with Adam Lambert = 493
  17. The White Album (The Beatles) – Box Set Review = 342
  18. Only Fools And Horses The Musical = 295
  19. Scam Emails – Amazon & Barclays = 261
  20. Queen At 50 Reviews – Debut Album = 253

I’m pleased to see a couple of my disability posts and a few of my Queen-related reviews in the latter half of that top 20, along with other music posts too. It’s a nice mixture.

Most views came from the UK (20,500) and USA (8,579), but I also had quite a few visitors from India (997), Canada (990), Australia (777), Nigeria (665), Ireland (568), Germany (434), the Philippines (324) & the Netherlands (321), .

Youtube Stats

My Youtube channel had 62 new subscribers during the year, taking me up to 580 in total. And my videos had 25,209 views with 877.2 hours of watch time. That’s about half the viewership I had in 2019. But then I haven’t been posting anything special there, focusing mainly on my blog instead, and people have had a lot of other things to watch online in 2020. And the figures I did achieve were still very impressive considering I’m only a small creator, so I’m perfectly happy with them!

The most popular videos include all the ones that still exist from the top 10 last year (as a few were then deleted). And they’re mainly old videos from 2016-2019. It’s only when you get into the top 20 that you find videos from 2020. So it’s interesting what continues to be popular!

The view counts for my top videos were:

  1. New York Streets & Times Square – May 2000 = 2,124. Less than last year (3,273), but it’s still getting regular hits. While most views came from the usual places  (Youtube’s search and recommendations, plus Google searches), there were nevertheless a few views still being generated by the 2019 Gothamist article in which it’s embedded.
  2. Def Leppard – Hysteria (30th Anniversary) – Unboxing = 1,616. Weirdly this is practically the same number of views as last year (1,622)!
  3. Barking Station – 13 May 2017 = 1,491. A bit less than the 2,304 views it had last year, but there are clearly still plenty of railway fans curious to take a look.
  4. Living With Aniridia = 1,398. Only slightly less than last year (1,590). I’m really pleased that this is still getting so many views 4 years after it was published.
  5. Red Dwarf – Series 1-8 Blu-Ray Set – Unboxing = 1,394. This was published in 2019, when it earned 816 views, not enough to get on the list. So I’m glad it’s continued to perform well this year.
  6. Living With Nystagmus = 1,342. Last year it beat the aniridia video by some margin with 3,043 views, but this year it’s much more level with it. And again I’m glad it’s continuing to get attention.
  7. Busker – Contrix (Beatboxer) – 10 June 2017 = 1,024. Who’d have thought a random musician I filmed during a walk in London 3 years ago would still be one of the most popular videos on my channel now? Last year this has 1,427 views, so it’s still holding steady.
  8. Audio Description On Youtube = 967. This wasn’t in the top list last year, when it had 769 views. So it’s gone up this time around, and increasing interest in this form of accessibility can only be a good thing.
  9. My Visual Impairment Aids & Gadgets = 931. Not far off the 986 views it had last year, so I’m happy this is still getting regular attention.
  10. World Trade Center 2000 = 796 views. It’s not surprising that this had more views than the previous year (303), given the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
  11. Being In A TV Audience = 525
  12. The Beatles – White Album (Super Deluxe Edition) – Unboxing = 411
  13. January 2020 Favourites = 401
  14. Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 11-12 = 347
  15. Lockdown Favourites – Week 5 = 299
  16. Barking Park & Abbey – 13 May 2017 = 293
  17. Southend – 12 August 2017 = 272
  18. Christmas 2019 Favourites = 271
  19. Def Leppard – London To Vegas – Unboxing = 250
  20. Freddie Mercury Unboxings – Never Boring & Original Solo Collection = 246

My What Is Normal? documentary narrowly missed out on the top 20, reaching 21st place with 244 views, so deserves an honourable mention too.

Other quick stats:

  • The vast majority of viewers were from the UK & Canada, unsurprisingly.
  • 39.2% of views were on a mobile phone, 30.6% on tablets, 23.0% on a computer, 5.4% on a TV and 1.3% on a games console.
  • 49.3% of views were on an Android device, 21.1% on Apple’s iOS, 15.9% on Android, 6.4% on Apple’s Macintosh and 1.9% on smart TVs. Beyond that, there a few views on games consoles including PlayStation, Xbox & Nintendo Switch, along with views on Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Tizen, Windows Mobile and more. People are watching in all sorts of ways, it’s quite fascinating really.
  • 10.3% of views (2,584) were with the captions I’d provided, which is a significant proportion, so they’re clearly worth doing.

Other Social Media Stats

There isn’t anything special to say about my other platforms, but they all had a gentle increase in followers, so I’m pleased they’re still ticking up nicely:

  • Twitter = 958 (up from 808 last year)
  • Instagram = 404 (up from 361 last year)
  • Facebook = 130 (up from 103 last year)

Conclusion

There you have it, that’s my summary of the year, and I hope you enjoyed looking through it. Remember, you can find a lot more detail in my Favourites posts, useful links on my Covid-19 Resources page, and videos to enjoy in my lockdown playlists.

Who knows what 2021 will bring? It’s already off to a pretty rough start, which wasn’t unexpected in some ways. But there’s a lot of hope thanks to the vaccines, which my mother will be getting fairly soon with any luck. And the experts are constantly learning more about how the virus behaves and the treatments that can help people to recover from it. We’re in a much better position to fight back than we were this time last year, and we’ll continue to make progress in the months ahead. Even if new variants shake things up a bit, the vaccines can be changed pretty quickly. They may delay us, but they won’t defeat us.

So we will get through this. We just have to continue being patient and vigilant, by obeying the rules, working together and being kind to each other. We are getting there, bit by bit, the end is in sight. And in the meantime, I’ll continue blogging as always, with my regular Favourites, old journals & Queen reviews, along with anything else that springs to mind.

Many thanks for following and supporting me in 2020, and I wish you all the very best for 2021. I hope it ends up being a much better year for all of us! Take care of yourselves and stay safe! 🙂

Author: Glen

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

2 thoughts on “2020 Review”

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