Journal Archive – September 2002

Welcome to the next batch of posts from my old Bolt journal. This was the last month of my summer holiday before returning to university, and as such there wasn’t a great deal to mention. But I did have a nice lazy break in London with relatives, during which I got a big haul of music with my birthday money, plus I got hooked on a couple of new PS2 games. So I hope you enjoy this little collection of entries!

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Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 17-19

Hello again. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. Many of the restrictions are being eased at the moment, which is good, but a few are also being reimposed as and where necessary. So please keep taking all the necessary precautions that we’ve all come to know so well, including the new requirements for wearing face coverings (which are perfectly safe and there are valid exemptions, including for some disabled people). And do be aware that the self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days in England if you have symptoms or test positive for the virus. We mustn’t let our guard down now.

I have started going out a bit more regularly again, in this lovely hot weather we’ve been having, particularly for some nice walks around my local area. I’ve also been to my local supermarket to get a few things for the first time in 12 weeks, and had no problems there. I was in and out very quickly, with a mask on of course, and it felt very safe. And that was just during normal shopping hours on a Saturday, not the priority slot for disabled and elderly customers (which I’m very glad they’re still doing). So things have really settled down there, and all the hard working retail staff deserve a lot of credit, among the myriad of amazing people who have kept vital services operating in recent months.

But perhaps most importantly, I’ve finally got my hair cut! Even if it doesn’t look much from the photos, I can tell you it feels so much better, it’s much more manageable now. And everything was done safely – we now have to book appointments with our hairdresser instead of just walking in (and it doesn’t have to be far in advance, we got a slot within a few days), plus they’ve got hand sanitiser for customers, the staff are wearing visors and there’s a stringent cleaning routine.

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I do intend to venture back into the city as well, now that we’re allowed to use the Tube again. The last time I travelled on the network was March 14, nearly 5 months ago. But I have been keeping an eye on the situation. And because TFL have a very strict cleaning regime with no reported problems, there’s lots of travel advice on their website, the passenger numbers are still relatively low, others I follow on social media have recently been getting back on the Tube and other trains and feel safe doing so, and I’ve acquired face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser, I do feel it would be safe to travel at quiet times to see what it’s like. So if things continue to be alright, that’s what I intend to do during August. Hopefully that’ll enable me to start meeting up with friends again too. And, incidentally, talking of meeting special people, congratulations to Captain Sir Tom Moore on receiving his knighthood recently!

But of course, I’m still keeping myself happily occupied at home as well, so I’ve got various bits and pieces I can mention from the past few weeks in this latest post and video, none of which are sponsored or gifted to appear here as usual. So I hope you enjoy!

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Journal Archive – July-August 2002

Another week, another selection of posts from my old Bolt journal. Being at home on my summer holiday from university, there wasn’t very much to write about, so I’ve combined 2 months in one post here as they were relatively short. There are still a few points of interest though, including a house invader, a fun charity event, a surprise from my university, my birthday, a bit more sport that caught my attention, and some more music and DVDs that I bought. So I hope you enjoy!

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Journal Archive – June 2002

Here we go again, with another month’s worth of entries from my journal on the old social media site Bolt. People seem to be enjoying these, and you’ll notice that my entries have got much longer here. so I hope they continue to interest you. It’s fun for me looking back at them.

I’m not a football fan in general, but I do like to support our country in the World Cup, so it does get mentioned a lot this month. But there’s also the special Golden Jubilee concert for the Queen, socialising with friends, my final exams from my first year at university, and more purchases of music, videos and DVDs. So there’s quite a bit to get through here.

On the university front, it’s worth clarifying that I didn’t stay in student accommodation on site. I lived close enough to commute by train. So if you’re wondering why I didn’t just wander across campus to get some results immediately, that was why – I wasn’t there. So I wasn’t going to catch a train just to look at one result. It was more worthwhile to wait until all of my results were ready, or if I was meeting a friend in the vicinity.

It’s also interesting to see that I’m still buying a mixture of VHS videos and DVD discs at this point, as not everything I wanted was available on DVD back then. So this was a bit of a transition period, gradually moving from one format to the other where possible.

Anyway, with apologies for all the football mentions – or soccer for those of you across the pond – here’s how things went for me in June 2002. I hope you enjoy!

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Queen At 50 Reviews – Debut Album

Queen are my favourite band of all time. Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon produced such incredible songs, albums, videos and live performances throughout their reign, with their own exceptional and wonderful sound, gifting us a magical legacy that will live on forever. Their music always makes me feel good, or in tougher times it makes me feel supported, and I never tire of listening to them.

Freddie’s premature passing will forever remain a heartbreaking loss, as nobody else has (or ever will) be able to match him. Yes, of course there are many other fabulously talented singers and musicians whom I also love, but Freddie was very much a one-off, in the best possible way. There was even a scientific study analysing his amazing voice a few years ago.

It’s also important to acknowledge the contributions of Brian, Roger and John too, of course, all of whom are awesome musicians in their own right. And as well as being great performers, Queen are the only band where every member has composed more than one chart-topping single, and all 4 members were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. And there are many other impressive sales figures and single statistics out there, including 50 incredible facts from the Official Charts, if further proof were needed,

I first discovered Queen back in the 1990s when I went to see a tribute act in concert with some school friends. I already knew a few of their biggest hits, naturally, but the show opened my ears to so much more. I immediately got Queen’s Greatest Hits compilations, then in later years dug deeper to explore their albums and videos, and have continued to be in love with them ever since.

And we’re now approaching a highly significant milestone, as it will soon be Queen’s 50th anniversary – although exactly when you celebrate it depends on which date you use. They first performed under that name on 18 July 1970, hence I’m posting this exactly 50 years on from that date, as it’s as good a reason as any. However, the lineup was only finalised when John Deacon joined the band on 1 March 1971. So the latter is really more appropriate, and for that reason Queen are going to be officially celebrating their 50th in 2021. But hey, as our actual Queen has 2 birthdays every year, I think her majestic musical namesake can have 2 as well, right?

With that in mind, therefore, and because I have plenty of time to kill given the current worldwide situation, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to do a deep dive into all of their albums, DVDs and other bits and pieces, and write some reviews in the process. After all, there’s so much to explore, with such a wonderful variety to their music, and they weren’t afraid to be ambitious and experimental. Even now I sometimes discover new things that I hadn’t noticed before. It’ll take me a while to do all of this, of course – I’ll try and do a post every 2 or 3 weeks, but we’ll see how it goes. In any case, it’ll be fun to go through their output in detail, and I hope you enjoy coming on the journey with me!

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Journal Archive – May 2002

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday post, with another set of entries from my old journal on the former social media site Bolt. This month I went to see an ABBA tribute show and attended a wedding reception, as well as having to do revision for university, so I was quite busy.

The posts are starting to get a bit longer now, as there’s more to mention and I was getting more comfortable writing online at the time. And I’ve anonymised my friend’s names, using initials only to respect their privacy.

So let’s get on with it, and I hope you enjoy!

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Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 15-16

Hello again, I hope you’re all keeping well. Or if you’re not doing great at the moment, as is the case for a couple of my friends (who by strange coincidence have the same name), then I hope things improve very soon. And if you’re enjoying the greater freedoms that have been granted to us recently, then please continue to be careful and safe. As proven by Leicester here in the UK, which has had to revert to a strict lockdown again, we can’t afford to be complacent.

It’s also strange to think that we passed 100 days of lockdown in week 15. That seems to have gone by quicker than I’d expected – although I know for many that time will have dragged terribly, and certainly early on I found it difficult like everyone else. But I’m glad I’ve been able to settle into a new routine and adapt during that time. I did look into things like gaming, quizzing and exercising but, as I’d rather expected, they soon fell by the wayside! Connecting with friends, homeworking, blogging, music, TV and film have all got me through it, and are continuing to do so. And now it’s reasonably safe to go out and about again to some extent, which is good as well.

So here’s my latest post and video update for the past couple of weeks, with news on disability events and my first outings in months, along with films, comedy and music that I’ve been enjoying. None of it is sponsored to appear here, but I was paid to attend one event as you’ll see. I hope you enjoy looking through it all!

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Journal Archive – April 2002

Here’s the next instalment of edited entries from my journal on the old social media site Bolt, for my new Throwback Thursday series. I wrote these posts while I was at university, and as it was my first time posting about myself online I was keeping personal details to a minimum. And I’m just covering a single month in each post from this point, as my journal entries were starting to get a bit longer as I settled into it, though not by much.

After my previous post, I did get a question asking if I used any assistive technology at university, and the answer is yes. I had magnification and speech software, a CCTV video magnifier, and a scanner with OCR software so I could scan in typed notes and pages from books. I don’t often use speech generally, but when I was at university and had a ton of stuff of read, it was essential. I had funding help from the Disabled Students Allowance as well.

So questions are always welcome as usual. But now let’s get on with my latest set of archived posts. I hope you enjoy!

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Journal Archive – January-March 2002

Technically, this isn’t the first online blog I’ve ever written. Many years ago, not long after I’d started university, having set myself up with a study room and internet connection at home, I ended up joining a social media site called Bolt. I’d received an advert for it after signing up to Hotmail and decided to check it out.

Bolt no longer exists today, and Hotmail has long since been replaced by Outlook, but many features on sites like Facebook are similar to those that Bolt had. It introduced many teenagers and young adults to social media for the very first time, and I did make a few friends there, though we’ve long since lost touch.

Not only was it the first time I’d written anything about my life online, it was also the first time I’d started keeping any sort of diary at all. I started in January 2002 and continued until August 2004, at which point my life was changing again, as I had left university and was looking for a career. So the time was right to move on from the site, as I felt I’d grown out of it, and focus on other more important things.

But before I left I archived all of my Bolt posts for posterity, and then kept a much more detailed personal diary on my own PC from that point onwards, which I’ve continued to do ever since. I write entries that cover a single day, or a weekend, or an entire week, or whatever, depending on my free time and how much there is to write about. Looking back at my old entries has sometimes proven to be useful to remind me of things, and has given me many pleasant memories.

So while I have the time during lockdown, I thought I’d dig out my old journal entries and share them here, as a Throwback Thursday series. The posts have been edited where necessary to add relevant links, include photos and videos for illustration, remove references that make no sense out of context, and to protect the privacy of myself and my friends where appropriate.

My early Bolt posts you’re about to see here are also extremely brief and nothing like the rambling blogs I do now! But it’ll give you an insight into my university results and the entertainment I was enjoying at the time, including my growing love for Queen. So I hope you find them of some curious interest and a bit of fun.

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Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 13-14

Miraculously we’ve made it to the halfway point in the year, although admittedly it feels like a lot more time has passed. Months effectively haven’t existed for a little while now, with all the weeks just blurring into one continuous sequence. If weren’t for the titles of these posts, I would have lost complete track of how much time had passed since lockdown started!

So I hope you’re all continuing to keep safe and well. Our lockdown measures here in England are going to be eased significantly further from next week, and the government have ended their daily briefings, but as the virus is still in circulation we all have to remain very cautious. There will inevitably be local outbreaks, which may lead to lockdowns of certain towns and cities as and when necessary, but we just have to hope the entire country won’t be shut down again. The most vulnerable people who are still shielding will have to remain indoors until early August, when they can finally go out again if they feel ready to do so.

Regular readers will know that my mother and I have been voluntarily shielding, even though we’re not explicitly required to do so, for my mother’s safety in particular. The last time I went out, to do a little bit of shopping to top-up an online delivery, was just over 7 weeks ago. And that’s only the second such outing I’ve had over the past 14 weeks. Mum hasn’t been out at all since lockdown began.

However, by the time you read this, we will both have been out together to attend my Uncle’s funeral with my Aunt, so I’ll let you know how that went in my next post. I’m also starting to feel that the time is right to venture out for local walks soon for some much-needed exercise, as it does seem to be the case that being outdoors, socially distanced from others, is relatively safe. But I still don’t intend to use public transport for the time being, even though there are safety measures in place for train travel, as the risks still feel too great and there isn’t anywhere that I need to go. Some museums are reopening, but I’d rather continue to wait before I visit them again, and support them online in the meantime.

So that’s where I’m at currently. But now let’s look back at the past couple of weeks in my latest post and video, to see what’s kept me occupied and entertained, none of it sponsored or gifted as usual. I hope you enjoy!

Continue reading “Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 13-14”