Christmas 2022 Favourites

Happy New Year, I hope you had a lovely Christmas! I know that various things including finances, strikes and the weather all conspired to make things difficult, and the economic woes will continue during this coming year, but I hope you were able to enjoy the festivities in whatever way your circumstances allowed.

Fortunately, despite my recent redundancy, my mother and I are in a comfortable and stable position, so we were able to enjoy Christmas in the same way we do every year. I went out to see a musical and a variety of festive displays, and at home there were plenty of things for us to eat and watch.

It hasn’t been entirely without issues though. The railway strikes and the snow in December prevented me from going down to Devon to see my ex-colleagues for a Christmas meal. And now, in early January, my mother and I have finally caught Covid, after 3 years of successfully swerving it. I’ll write more about it in a later post, once I’m sure we’re clear of it, suffice to say being fully vaccinated has clearly helped, as we’re recovering pretty quickly. Plus I’ve still been able to put together the traditional video that accompanies this post.

So let’s get into it. This is an epic bumper post, as festive roundups tend to be, and none of it’s sponsored or gifted. I hope you enjoy!

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Dara Ó Briain – Stand-Up & Mock The Week DVD Reviews

As I recently got to see the fantastic Irish comic Dara Ó Briain live for the first time in October, it’s only natural that I should go through his DVDs that I have in my collection, just like I’ve done for a few other comedians this year. It’s been a lot of fun to rewatch them yet again.

Dara’s shows are always happy and jolly, with great energy and a convivial atmosphere. Even if he’s having a rant about something or having a dig at someone in the audience, it’s always with a light-hearted air. Indeed, chatting to people in the front row and elsewhere in the room is a regular part of his act that he very much enjoys doing. He has an excellent rapport with people, and is very good at instantly spinning anything they say into a fun flight of fancy and building on it, and he sometimes talks about particularly memorable people from other gigs too. Then, at the end of each show, he always makes a point of crediting each of the people he’s spoken to in a suitably amusing manner, and inviting applause for them, in order to acknowledge the contributions they made.

He also likes to post cryptic “You had to be there” references on Twitter after each show, which only those who attended will understand, while the rest of us can only guess what must have been going on. So he makes every show feel like a unique, engaging, intimate experience for each audience, even in huge venues.

All of his DVDs come with subtitles and extra features, and there are a couple of extras in particular that appear multiple times:

  • There are live shows from Vicar Street in Dublin on 3 of his DVDs, which are edited down to remove any material that’s already in the main feature. They’re included because Dara always does some exclusive material for his Irish audiences, which include occasional words and references that non-Irish people won’t understand, but you still get the general gist of what’s going on. And there’s a lot of great chat between Dara and several of the audience members. So those bonus shows are well worth watching as well.
  • Every DVD has an In-Vision Commentary & Drinking Game, where Dara invites one or two comedian friends to watch the show with him, and they take drinks every time Dara says or does certain things. They’re not as engaging or exciting as the main feature, and on the last couple of DVDs the drinking game element has pretty much been dropped so it’s really just a chat. But they’re all interesting features to check out, as they’re not very long, it’s fun to see the banter between Dara and his mates, and he gives some nice insights into some of his routines.

So in this post I’m going to briefly review each of his DVDs, all of which are a lot of fun, along with a mention of a show I once saw online. Plus as a bonus I’ve tacked on reviews of my Mock The Week DVDs as well, in tribute to that show coming to an end. None of this stuff is sponsored or gifted, and I hope you enjoy reading about it!

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November 2017 Favourites

Hello again, welcome to my latest Favourites roundup. Once again it’s a varied package, with some disability blog posts and events, a museum tour, no less than three musicals, another outing with Fashioneyesta, my first trip to a Lush store, the delights of the Lord Mayor’s Show, and more. So I hope you enjoy looking through it al!

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Journal – Christmas 2012 (London Holiday)

Mum and I have just had our third trip up to London in quick succession. But whereas the previous 2 brief visits last year had been for my Nan’s funeral, and then a weekend to sort out a few bits and pieces, this latest trip was the chance for us to have a proper Christmas break, which we needed. It included a trip to the theatre to see The Lion King with a couple of my friends, along with various other outings. I’ve also included a few photos and a video that I captured on my mobile phone during the trip. So I hope you enjoy reading about it all!

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Journal – January-February 2009

So another year gets underway. These first couple of months have been fairly quiet, as is common after Christmas. But I did a bit more socialising and ate some lovely food in Exeter, and saw various comedies on TV. Plus there have been a few big stories in the news, including Obama’s inauguration and two very different plane landings. So I hope you enjoy!

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Journal – January 2007

Here we go with another year of my journal entries. These early weeks have been mainly focused on arranging trips away in the UK and abroad in the months ahead. But I also met up with some friends in Exeter, we had a bit more work done on the house, and there are other bits and pieces like TV shows, news stories, etc that I’ve decided to mention as always. So I hope you enjoy!

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Journal – August 2006

Time for another batch of entries from my journal. It’s been a fairly quiet summer month, but I did spend a nice weekend with a friend, acquired a new CCTV to help me read things at work, bought some more DVDs and celebrated my birthday, plus there are various news stories that caught my attention. So I hope you enjoy!

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