Christmas 2021 Favourites

Well, we made it through another odd year. We finished 2021 in a stronger position than 2020 in some important ways, and step by step we are getting back towards a sense of normality. But we still to be careful and patient, as opposed to carefree and complacent, and hopefully the situation will continue to improve during 2022.

In any case, despite the various restrictions we endured throughout the year, along with my own battle with sciatica and back trouble over the summer, I still got out and about quite a bit and found plenty to enjoy, as you’ll have seen from all of my Favourites posts. The latter half of 2021 was particularly busy, as I was interviewed on RNIB Radio’s Happy Hour by fellow blogger Holly Tuke from Life Of A Blind Girl, had the opportunity to interview visually impaired actor Gillian Dean about the premiere of a new play, finally got to attend a live performance of the Rocky Horror Show, and had an audio described tour of London Zoo, among other things. And being able to meet some of my friends after so long apart has naturally been the biggest delight of the year.

This Christmas has also marked my 5th anniversary of living in London! Granted, much of the past couple of years has been a bit of a write-off, but that just makes it all the more amazing how much I’ve achieved and crammed in so far, with public speaking, TV and radio interviews, podcast appearances, student documentaries, theatre visits, museum tours, the charity abseil, so many new friendships and connections, the attention my blog’s had in general, and many other things that I would never have imagined happening or being successful at before moving here. So in that sense, the lockdowns have been strangely beneficial for giving me a chance to relax and reflect on all of that, as well as giving me all the more impetus and confidence to expand my horizons even further going forward. So if you’ve played any part in my London journey so far, whether it’s just reading these blog posts, or chatting with me, or getting together with me in person, thank you so much! It always means a great deal that people take such an interest in my adventures and my ramblings.

So before I find out what 2022 has to offer, it’s time to wrap up 2021 with a traditional bumper post and video looking back at what I’ve been doing and enjoying during December and the Christmas period. As usual, nothing here is sponsored and all opinions are my own. I hope you enjoy!

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November 2021 Favourites

Hello again, hope you’re all keeping safe and well despite everything going on at the moment. I’m happy to say that I’ve had my Covid booster jab, which really helps to further educate and strengthen the immune system, and thus greatly reduces the chances of severe problems if you do get ill with the new variant. Plus Mum’s had her flu jab and I’m hoping to get mine at some point. So we’re as well protected as we can be for the winter now.

The latest developments haven’t stopped me going out and about and being generally busy either, as I’ve been making the most of my time. So during November I was interviewed on another national radio show, had lovely days exploring London Zoo and the Illuminated River project, enjoyed stage and film versions of a Dickens classic, watched the latest series of Doctor Who, saw various comedies, got absorbed in the new Beatles documentary, heard ABBA’s new album, and celebrated Freddie Mercury’s life on the 30th anniversary of his untimely passing. And none of it is sponsored or gifted as usual. So I hope you enjoy my latest post and video roundup!

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October 2021 Favourites

Finally. After all the pandemic restrictions and my recent health problems, it’s such a joyous relief to be out and about properly again, doing the things I enjoy.

So there’s quite a lot to mention in this month’s post and video, as I’ve been attending theatre shows for the first time in ages, taking nice walks, and enjoying a mixture of films, dramas, comedies and music at home. Plus I bought the new iPhone 13, which I’m very happy with as explained in my review, so the photos and videos you see going forward will be taken using that.

Apart from the theatre show States Of Mind, for which I was given complimentary tickets to go along and review, nothing else in this post involves any gifting or sponsorship. And all opinions are my own throughout. So I hope you enjoy!

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The Beatles – 50th Anniversary Box Sets

Over the past few years, The Beatles have released 4 big box sets celebrating the 50th anniversary of some of their classic albums – Sgt. Pepper, The White Album, Abbey Road, Let It Be – each containing a lot of fascinating extra material. Smaller and cheaper box sets were also available with fewer tracks, but I decided to buy the biggest super deluxe sets with everything in.

I had mentioned the first few sets in previous posts to some degree or another. But as they’re all broadly similar in various respects, and now they’ve just released the box set for their final album Let It Be, I thought I would take the opportunity to do a combined summary review for all of them. That way, it keeps everything together, enables some comparisons to be made between the sets, and has allowed me to take clearer photos with my new iPhone (you can click the images to see larger versions). You can also still watch the unboxing videos I posted for the Sgt Pepper & White Album box sets.

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Science Fiction, Triple Feature – Part 3 – My First Rocky Horror Live Show

After a long pandemic-enforced absence – during which madness threatened to take its toll, because time was anything but fleeting – it seems appropriate that my return to the glorious world of musical theatre was to the most infectious show of them all.

As a big fan of the film and the music, seeing Rocky Horror live has been on my bucket list for ages, as I’ve never had a good opportunity to go before. So when an audio described performance was announced by Sadler’s Wells as part of the current Rocky Horror tour, I was only too eager to jump to the left… I mean, at the chance… to lose my Rocky Horror virginity. So I bought myself a ticket, knowing that it was an afternoon out I was going to remember. For how long? For a very long time!

The Peacock Theatre, with Rocky Horror tour posters on the display boards outside. The theatre name is in gold lettering on a black canopy jutting out above the entrance, and above that is a black wall with 14 gold stars across it.

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Science Fiction, Triple Feature – Part 2 – Rocky Horror Soundtracks

Hot patootie, bless my soul, I really love that rock and roll! The legendary songs from The Rocky Horror Show, including the legendary Time Warp, are a crucial part of its joy and appeal, as they’re catchy, funny and occasionally moving. Richard O’Brien actually wrote some of the songs before he came up with the idea of Rocky Horror, and found that he was able to slot some of them in.

So as the second part of my Halloween trilogy – after discussing the film and related productions, and before I talk about my recent experience at the live show – I thought I’d do some brief reviews of the relevant albums and songs I have in my music collection, and a few of the other recordings I’m aware of, as it’s always interesting to hear different interpretations. I certainly haven’t mentioned all of the music that has ever been released in relation to Rocky Horror, but I have covered most of the commercially available releases. So I hope you enjoy!

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Science Fiction, Triple Feature – Part 1 – Rocky Horror Films & Productions

There’s a light in the darkness of everybody’s life. And during the pandemic, one such beacon for me has been the impending return of musical theatre. So when things finally did open up again, I was delighted to see an audio described performance had become available for a show that I’ve been eager to see for ages. And so last weekend I finally saw The Rocky Horror Show live in person. Suffice to say, it was well worth the wait!

I’ll tell you all about that on Halloween itself. But to build up to that, and to turn this into a special Halloween trilogy, I thought I would take a deep dive into my love of Rocky Horror first, by talking about the film, stage productions and other remakes in this post, and then tomorrow I’ll share my Rocky Horror music collection. I was going through all of that stuff in preparation for seeing the live show anyway – not that I needed any excuse to enjoy it all yet again in the first place – so I figured I may as well write about it too. So allow me to take you on a strange journey, and I hope you enjoy!

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September 2021 Favourites

Hello again, I hope you’re all continuing to enjoy yourselves safely. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to get out to meet some friends and explore the city again at long last, as my aches and pains are continuing to ease off, now that I’ve figured out how I was over-correcting my posture problems. I’m still not cancelling my November NHS physio appointment yet, as I don’t want to tempt fate, but I’m feeling much better at the moment. So I seem to be moving in the right direction, touch wood!

That means I actually have some recent and upcoming London adventures to tell you about in this month’s post and video, as well as the usual mixture of entertainment I’ve been into. So it’s a bumper update this time. With the exception of a theatre show I’ll be mentioning, for which I’ve been kindly given a review ticket, nothing else in this post is sponsored or gifted. So I hope you enjoy!

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August 2021 Favourites

Hello there, hope you’ve been having a safe and enjoyable summer, especially if you’ve been able to get out and about more.

I still haven’t been out anywhere special because of the ailments I’ve been dealing with over the past few months, which I admit has been difficult and frustrating sometimes, as it’s so hard to get any proper help at the moment. Hence this post is a bit late this time around, as I’ve only recently felt up to doing it. I think I might finally be getting somewhere, thanks to some help from an osteopath at a private clinic and figuring out a few changes I can make myself, but I’m not entirely sure yet. And even if I am right, it’s going to take a while for my body to settle down and repair itself anyway.

In any case, I do have a referral for physiotherapy on the NHS, but the earliest they could give me (when I booked in July) was a phone consultation in November. So I’m going to take it easy and see if I can hold out until then. But if I get worse, or if the NHS cancel due to Covid pressures and give me another long wait, then I’ll have to pay to go private again, as 1 in 5 people are having to do right now. It’s important to say that everybody who works for the NHS is amazing and wonderful, and they deserve all our praise, love and respect, but the fact remains that the system is so woefully under-funded and under-resourced that it makes life very hard for staff and patients alike. So we’ll see how things go. But thank you to all the friends who have been keeping in touch and checking in on me, it means a lot.

Still, enough of all that. There are much more interesting things to mention in this month’s post and video, including my birthday, sports and lots of entertainment as usual. None of it is sponsored or gifted as always, apart from my birthday presents of course. So I hope you enjoy!

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Queen At 50 Reviews – News Of The World – Part 2

Welcome to the second part of my review of Queen’s 1977 album, News Of The World. In the first part I looked at how the album was created, the character of Frank The Robot that graces the cover, the 40th anniversary box set, and some related documentaries and interviews. I then focused exclusively on just the first 2 tracks – We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions – as they naturally deserve a great deal of attention given their popularity and cultural impact.

For this second part, therefore, I’m going to look at the other tracks on the album. Even though they aren’t as widely played, and thus not as well known, as Rock You or Champions, there are some underrated gems here without a doubt. So I hope you enjoy!

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