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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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.

Continue reading “Journal Archive – January-March 2002”

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!

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Lockdown Favourites – Weeks 11-12

Hey there, hope you’re all continuing to keep safe and well! Here in the UK lockdown has been eased further, including the re-opening of non-essential shops, the compulsory use of face coverings on public transport, and the partial re-opening of schools. So some small sense of normality is returning, albeit with lots of distancing and hygiene measures in place.

I’m still happy staying at home though, because I have no compelling reason to go out and my priority is still protecting Mum by not bringing the virus home. Our shopping’s being delivered every week, and despite the new rules public transport is still a no-go, as it’s only for essential journeys and distancing is much harder on a Tube train or bus. So there’s little incentive to go anywhere. Mum and I will be leaving the house to attend my uncle’s funeral with my aunt in a couple of week’s time, and I’m starting to feel more open to having a socially distanced outdoor meeting or picnic with a friend or two, as that appears to be relatively safe having been aware of others who have done it. But that’s about it.

In any case, I’ve been keeping myself very busy lately. I’ve actually been using Zoom for the first time recently, to talk to workmates, some friends and other people I’ll mention a bit later in this post. It’s strange how I didn’t get asked to do any video calls for the first 2 months of lockdown, then had one last month, followed by loads in June, about half of which are on Zoom. It’ll probably go quiet again in July!

And I’m also busy on my blog too. Hopefully you’ve already seen my Def Leppard – London To Vegas Unboxing, which I produced after they very kindly set me a copy of the box set to review. But if you haven’t seen it yet, do go and check it out. It’s the first time I’ve ever been sent a product to review, and I had no hesitation in accepting the offer as it’s from one of my favourite bands! I also have some other blog posts I’m working on too, by which I mean a couple of big series that should guarantee me regular posts over the summer and beyond. So I’m in no danger of running out of content just yet!

And of course my Favourites posts will continue, now on a fortnightly basis for the time being, as that frees up my time much more. So here’s my latest recap, with plenty to cover, including disability events & discussions, theatre, Blu-rays, comedy, music and more. So let’s get on with it, and I hope you enjoy my latest post and video!

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Lockdown Favourites – Week 10

Hello again. I hope you’re all doing ok – especially my friends and followers in the USA, all our thoughts are with you right now. Black Lives Matter and there are many ways to get involved and show your support, while those taking advantage of peaceful protests to cause destruction and misery have no respect for peace and equality. I sincerely hope that stability and civility is restored very soon. We should all be pulling together at all times, but it’s more important than ever during this pandemic.

Here in England, our lockdown has been eased in recent days, even though many scientists, including some of the government’s own advisors, feel too much is being done too soon. And if the experts are wary, then so am I, because I trust their judgement the most. So I’m going to continue staying locked down while we wait to see what happens, and until doctors and scientists can reassure us that it really is safer out there. It’s important for me because I live with my mother, who is elderly and blind, so the last thing I want is to bring the virus home and infect her, so that she ends up in hospital where I can’t visit her. So I’m staying indoors to keep her safe, that’s my priority.

And while I’m doing that, I’m still keeping myself entertained, which is taking my mind off the news very effectively as usual. So I hope this week’s post and video, which as always doesn’t contain anything sponsored or gifted, is a nice distraction for you too!

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Lockdown Favourites – Week 9

Hello again, I hope you’re continuing to keep safe and well. It was a strange Bank Holiday weekend for me. It started with the loss of my uncle, although fortunately he didn’t have the virus, and my mother and I are hoping to go to the funeral to support my aunt if the rules allow. And then of course we’ve had the Dominic Cummings scandal, which I’m not going to rant about, suffice to say there’s been a major misjudgement of the public mood by him and the government, they’ve lost a lot of trust and goodwill.

But apart from that, my week’s been fine and I’ve been quite productive, and I’ve also found many more pleasant distractions as always. So I’ll get straight on with this week’s post and video about what I’ve been enjoying over the past week. As ever, there’s nothing sponsored or gifted here, these are all my own opinions. So I hope you find it interesting!

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Lockdown Favourites – Week 7

Hello again! I hope you’re continuing to keep safe and well – and also staying alert, as is the new watchword here in England.

As I see it, the current small changes to our lockdown, as part of the government’s long term recovery plan, are basically urging people to use their common sense, as the virus is still circulating. We must continue to stay at home and work from home if at all possible, avoid other people’s homes, wash our hands and disinfect surfaces often, and stay 2 metres away from everyone. But provided those rules are adhered to, we have a bit more freedom – people in selected industries can go back to work, we can use outdoor spaces like parks more freely, we can walk or cycle or drive further to exercise, and face coverings are advised if social distancing isn’t possible (to protect others in case you’re asymptomatic).

So I hope people will continue to be careful and sensible, as we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet. And obviously for disabled people things are more complicated – it’s impossible to socially distance if you can’t see, for example, so you have to rely on others around you to stay away. Lucy Edwards has chatted with a couple of her fellow blind activists in a recent video about the new rules, if you want to hear their reactions to the new rules.

As for me though, my mother and I are still doing fine, touch wood. Last week I went out for the first time in over 5 weeks, as a couple of essential items were missing from our online shopping delivery. So I was very pleased to find that there were hardly any people and very few cars about, and that I was able to use the priority hour for disabled people at the supermarket, which was fully stocked and had social distancing measures very well enforced. So my risk of exposure was hopefully minimal.

But otherwise I’m still staying at home for the safety of my mother as well as myself, and I’ve continued to keep myself entertained in various ways. So let’s crack on with this week’s post and video to update you on my latest discoveries. As usual nothing is sponsored and all opinions are my own. So I hope you enjoy!

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