Russell Howard – Stand-Up DVD & Netflix Reviews

Wonky-eyed and from the Westcountry like me, Russell Howard is one of my favourite comedians, and not just for those reasons. I like his upbeat energy, positivity and common sense views, and he has a great variety of material in his routines, including crazy anecdotes about himself and his family, amusing observations about the weird and wonderful things he’s seen, and his reactions to people and events in the news.

I therefore took the opportunity to see him live at the London Palladium recently, and he was brilliant, unsurprisingly. So I thought I’d also do quick reviews of his DVDs and Netflix specials, just like I did for some other comedians whose shows I attended last year, as it’s always fun to watch them again. None of this is sponsored or gifted, and be aware that there is a bit of strong language and adult humour in some of the clips I’ve embedded. And with that, I hope you enjoy!

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March 2023 Favourites

Hello again, and welcome to my next monthly roundup. Now that I’ve settled into my new job (for which I’ve had a nice gift and my hours have just increased from 22 to 25 per week), things are getting back to normal again.

So there are no major announcements about my life this time. And I haven’t been to any theatre shows or exhibitions this month, as I wasn’t able to make it to the Super Power Panto in the end. But I have used the first salary payment from my new job to book a few shows, in addition to a couple of things I already had in the diary, so the cultural side of things will pick up very soon.

All of which means this was a relatively relaxed month, but I can still mention some bits and pieces I did while out and about, and some entertainment that I watched at home. So I hope you enjoy my latest post and video update!

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Jimmy Carr – Stand-Up DVD & Netflix Reviews

Jimmy Carr is a stand-up comedian who I’ve been a fan of for several years, and at the time of writing he’s the only comic I’ve got around to seeing live twice, albeit with far too long a gap between the two shows. The first time was at The Princess Theatre, Torquay in July 2012, where I actually got to meet him, and then much more recently I saw him at the New Theatre, Oxford in November 2022. I’ll make sure it’s not another 10 years before I see him again!

His humour is often very rude of course, including subjects that are taboo or controversial, so he’s not to everyone’s taste, and that’s perfectly fine and understandable. Nobody has to watch him, and if you’re not a fan of his then don’t read this post.

But I personally feel comfortable with his style of humour. He’s said himself that he’s an equal opportunities offender, in that anybody and everybody is a target for his humour, and thus nobody is singled out. And, like all the other people who choose to attend his gigs or buy his DVDs, I know exactly what I’m getting into. I know that he’s just telling jokes and not expressing his actual opinions, and his jokes don’t reflect my personal views either. I also know that he’s a nice guy from meeting him in person, and I know that he’s clever and insightful about jokes and comedy from both his stage act and his interviews.

So, following the pattern I’ve adopted with other comics whose shows I’ve attended in recent months, I thought I would rewatch and review all of his stand-up shows that he’s released on DVD (a few of which are also on his Youtube channel alongside lots of clips), and more recent gigs that were published on Netflix. Each show includes lots of great jokes and banter with the audience, and sometimes other elements for a little bit of variety. And his DVDs contain a lot of extra features, he’s been quite generous with those too, even going to the effort of narrating the menus and adding comedy subtitles on the earlier releases.

So here’s my little run through of his DVDs and online shows, none of which are sponsored or gifted, and I hope you enjoy!

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Derren Brown Reviews – TV Specials

Following on from my previous post about Derren Brown’s various TV series, this time I’m revisiting his TV specials, including his televised stage shows. I own 4 specials and 5 stage shows on DVD, but the rest haven’t been released on disc. Most of these shows are on All4 as well though, and some are on Derren’s Youtube channel (in full along with many shorter clips), as he generously posted a lot of shows online during the Covid pandemic. So I’ve been able to rewatch all of them recently in one way or another.

Derren’s specials are all one-off shows (or occasionally two-parters) focused on a very specific subject, event or person. Nearly all of them were an hour long when originally broadcast (so around 45-50 minutes without adverts), with a few exceptions that lasted 90 minutes (so around 70 minutes without commercials). They’re always thought-provoking, and a few of the darker ones resulted in complaints (and thus extra publicity) from people who didn’t understand what he was doing or trying to achieve. But I find them all fascinating and fun to watch in any case. Likewise his stage shows are all amazing to watch, and I’ve grouped them together in one section at the end as I don’t need to go into heavy detail about them.

As mentioned before, none of this is sponsored, I’m just writing about them as a fan. And there are a few spoilers in here if you haven’t seen the shows before, but then it’s pretty common knowledge that Derren’s experiments pretty much always succeed as intended. The thrill is from seeing how he does it and the impact it has on those involved. So I hope you enjoy my descriptions and reviews.

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June 2022 Favourites

Hello again, and welcome to my roundup for another busy month. Apart from having nice walks to enjoy the sunshine as usual, I’ve also been to a few theatre shows, watched the Jubilee celebrations at home, and enjoyed various other programmes on TV and online.

However, they’re not the only things keeping me occupied. I recently revealed that I’m being made redundant, after 17 years in a role that was created specifically to harness my IT skills in a local authority print unit. My entire department is being closed, with all the work being outsourced, and therefore I’m on the lookout for a new challenge. I don’t have to rush into anything, as I’m in a fortunate position where I can take my time to find what feels right for me, so I feel quite calm about it all so far. And it might even be that my mother and I move to another part of London, as that’s something else we’re tempted by and are considering given the circumstances, although that’s by no means definite at this point.

But if you have any advice for job hunting or moving, or know of any paid work or volunteering or nice properties that might interest me, please do feel free to get in touch by social media or email. Career opportunities can be related to my current line of work (variable data and print production) or in other areas I enjoy (IT, accessibility, assistive technology, sight loss, disability, museums, theatres, research projects, blogging, Youtube, etc). There’s lots of options to consider, and I will of course keep you posted of any developments!

But anyway, here I’m going to focus on the happier side of recent events, and there’s plenty to get through. So let’s get straight to it, and I hope you enjoy!

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May 2022 Favourites

From high in the sky to deep underground, including my first time riding 2 different modes of transport and my first London museum visit in ages, plus stand-up comedy, TV shows and music, there’s been a lot going on this month. London really is feeling alive and back to normal again, which is wonderful. So I’ve got a lot to get through here as usual, none of which is sponsored or gifted, and I hope you enjoy this latest roundup!

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Ricky Gervais – Stand-Up Reviews

Comedian, actor and writer Ricky Gervais recently dropped his latest stand-up special on Netflix, which had naturally been delayed by the pandemic. So not only have I just watched that, but I’ve also rewatched his other stand-up shows too, which are still funny. So I thought I’d do a review of them while I’m at it. None of this is sponsored, I just decided to have a bit of a Ricky binge as I’m a fan of his stand-up. I hope you enjoy.

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My MK Getaway – Codebreakers, Computers & Collectors

It’s been a long time but, now that things have finally opened up again, I’m happy to say I’ve just had my first little holiday in over 2 years. While I’ll always be obsessed with exploring London itself, I’m also keen to poke around places further afield a bit more, as it’s so easy to hop on fast trains out of the city, to practically any part of the UK, unlike where I used to live. I’ve settled into London very well over the past 5 years, even if I have been largely stuck indoors for the last 2 of them, so I’m looking forward to broadening my horizons.

So at the end of March I spent a week in Milton Keynes. Hardly an exotic location, I know, but still an enjoyable and worthwhile change of scenery. And it was all off my own back, meaning nothing here is sponsored or gifted.

As well as seeing an audio described theatre show, which I’ll mention in my next post, I also spent a few days checking out the most famous museums in the area, marking the first time I’ve been to such places since the pandemic began. So that’s what I’m going to tell you about here, focusing primarily on the most significant location – Bletchley Park – as what was achieved there was nothing short of extraordinary, but there are a few other things to mention as well. And I’ve also uploaded some video clips I recorded at Bletchley Park, which will give you a small sense of the atmosphere, so do check that out too.

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February 2022 Favourites

Well, what a month this has turned out to be, as the world lurches from dealing with a nasty microscopic invader to a much larger and more evil one. I’m not remotely qualified to talk about the catastrophe unfolding overseas, but my thoughts are with the Ukrainian people at this unimaginably horrific time, along with all those working to support and defend them, and all the journalists reporting from the area. A lot of courage is being shown out there against the onslaught, supported by unprecedented unity amongst countries around the world, all far greater than Russia had bargained on.

There are many ways to help the Ukrainians, including donations to appeals by the Disasters Emergency Committee, British Red Cross,¬†UNHCR Refugee Agency & United Help Ukraine, along with children’s charities¬†Save The Children, UNICEF & Voices Of Children, as some examples. But it’s also important to find ways to help yourself, your children and others, given that a lot of the news is very distressing. For example, there’s no shame in muting words on Twitter, unsubscribing from news feeds, and generally reducing how often you access the news on TV and online, as I’ve been trying to do. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, it just gives you control over how much you’re exposed to it, so it isn’t too distracting or overwhelming. It’s also great to see that the BBC are making use of shortwave radio and the dark web to make the news available to Ukrainian and Russian civilians who would otherwise be prevented from accessing it.

All of that has completely overshadowed everything else of course, in what was already a busy month for news, with the final Covid restrictions being lifted in England as we cautiously return to relative normality, the excellent gold medal won by Great Britain’s female curlers and the silver won by the men in the Winter Olympics (and good luck to our Winter Paralympians too!), plus the rough weather from Storm Eunice that caused myself and many others to get sucked into a live stream by Big Jet TV, of planes attempting to land at Heathrow, with Jerry Dyer‘s entertaining commentary. There’s certainly been a lot going on!

As for me, however, things have been pretty quiet this month, as expected. I’ve been out and about a little bit, but otherwise it’s mainly a few TV shows and films that I have to mention in this month’s post and video. So this is going to be relatively short, but I hope you enjoy!

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January 2022 Favourites

Hello again, welcome to my first roundup post for 2022. It will come as no surprise that this has been a pretty quiet month, due to the traditional lull in activity after the madness of Christmas, coupled with the need to be cautious due to the Omicron variant. A few people I know have caught Covid for the first time recently, and it hit them worse than a normal cold or flu – but crucially their booster jabs provided the vital safety net that stopped it becoming severe, so they were fine. It’ll get me eventually, I have no doubt, and I know my booster will protect me when that time comes, but I’m doing my best to swerve it for as long as I can.

Nevertheless, I have been out and about quite a bit this month, mainly for walks by the Thames and in nearby parts of Central London – including some sights along the North Bank – so I can continue ticking off streets on the map that I’ve been gradually filling in since 2020. I haven’t gone to any theatres or museums, but I do have plans to get back to them soon. My calendar for the year is already starting to fill up nicely, with a few things booked in for March for starters, including a little getaway for a week, and other stuff beyond that.

So as I haven’t got any outings to talk about, this month’s Favourites post and video is purely about the entertainment I’ve been enjoying on TV and online. There’s nowhere near as much as at Christmas of course, and there’s one show in particular that’s had considerable attention online, but there are other bits and pieces to mention as well. And none of this is sponsored as usual. So I hope you enjoy!

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