October was an overwhelming month so much so that I didn’t get around to uploading a new video for my YouTube or publishing a new post for my blog. I spent much of the first six days in my flat due to still being in my reclusive phase that I began in September. By the middle of the month, I felt so inundated by my workload from my recruitment agency as well as a personal issue at home that I hadn’t had to put up with for ages that I felt a little under the weather as a result of stress and decided to take the day off work. When I was better, I spoke to my agency founder and the person who ran the scheme I was working for about how I really felt in terms of working for the agency and we discussed some coping strategies as well as potential options to take when the scheme was over. After the meeting, I ended up swapping a couple of work days due to having more things going on at home. I even had an awkward moment towards the end of the month when I saw a person I had past difficulties with and hadn’t seen for a while in a public place, but I didn’t speak to them. Despite this, I eventually completed some tasks for the agency and dealt with the personal home issues. Some positive things about October were catching up with my friend from down my street as I hadn’t seen her for most of September and finally seeing the Matilda stage musical that I will discuss in more detail later on in this post.
In November, my workload was more settled as I completed the series of autism videos for my recruitment agency, therefore I had more time for blogging. I also made the decision to revert to volunteering for the agency from December onwards. Unfortunately, I fell ill with a cold during the last week of my paid scheme probably as a result of having no hot water or heating in my flat for a few days the week prior due to an issue with my boiler or it could have been a mini-cold as a side effect of a flu jab I had at the end of October. My boiler was fixed, but it stopped working again (it was fixed once and for all in January 2020). My highlight of November was the Blogosphere Festival 2019, which I will discuss in more depth later on in this post.
At the beginning of December I reverted to a voluntary role at my agency, which gave me more time to finish working on a YouTube video that took me six months to make. I even had some sort of misunderstanding with one of the support staff of the house my flat is in. In spite of this, I had my new storage furniture and office chair assembled, I saw the first Mamma Mia! film for the first time in ten years as well as the stage musical and Frozen II (I also watched Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again at my parents’ house before my Warner Christmas Break). I returned to Warner Leisure Hotels Holme Lacy House Hotel with my family for Christmas and while the break declined in quality with regards to some of their food and activities in comparison to 2018, there were improvements in some activities (e.g. most quizzes taking place in the main entertainment venue rather than a smaller lounge area) and the hotel staff were more accommodating to my severely autistic brother’s needs than they were on the previous break. For more information on what I thought of the Christmas 2019 break, please read my review on TripAdvisor.
Here are the YouTubers/YouTube channels, TV show and specials and events that helped me get through this quarter:
YouTubers and YouTube channels
Phelan Porteous (AKA Phelous. Warning: the below videos contain strong language)
Phelan Porteous (also known as Phelous, see embedded video links below) is a Canadian YouTuber who reviews animated films (most notably those that are considered the worst or those that are based on stories in the public domain) and knock-off toys. I first heard of him when I read someone’s IMDb review of a Dingo Pictures (a German company that made animated films that are considered to be rip-offs of Disney films and Studio Ghibli films) film where they said his YouTube reviews of Dingo Pictures films were hilarious, although I overlooked the fact that a photograph of his room was briefly shown in the Nostalgia Critic’s (real name Doug Walker) review of the animated version of The King and I (1999) about 16 minutes into the video.
The first Phelous review I watched was that of a rare animated Christmas special called Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa (2002) when it came up in my YouTube recommendations. I’m on the fence about the actual film due to its poor CGI animation and decent voice acting, but I like the way Phelous reviewed the film despite his questionable voice. Other notable reviews of Phelous’s that I watched were for another Christmas special called The Christmas Tree (1991), which I found mediocre but a bit better than Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa, and the Golden Films/GoodTimes version of Beauty and the Beast (1992), which isn’t as good as the Disney version, but its story was close to that of an abridged version of the story I read. Despite finding his review of Ali Baba and the Gold Raiders (2002) embarrassing at one point and a trope I cannot stand being used in his review of Nice Cats (1995), I enjoyed most of Phelous’s reviews I watched on the whole. The best thing about watching his reviews is turning on the captions so that I know when he imitates characters in the films he reviews.
The Aspie World
I first heard of this channel, hosted by a Welsh YouTuber called Dan who has Asperger syndrome, dyslexia, ADHD and OCD, when one of my friends who has Asperger’s shared a link to his video where he talks about celebrities who have autism or Asperger’s. While I already knew the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg had Asperger’s, finding out that Courtney Love had autism surprised me.
As inspiration for a blog post I wrote for my neurodivergent recruitment agency about autism hacks, I watched some of Dan’s videos about autism and Asperger’s hacks and apps that people with these diagnoses might find useful. I think Dan’s videos are very interesting and informative.
LaurDIY (real first name Lauren) is a Canadian YouTuber (the second one mentioned in this blog post) whose main content consists of DIY and thrifting videos. The first video I watched where she was featured was one where she and Rosanna Pansino tried weird cereals on Rosanna’s channel. At the same time, Lauren uploaded a video to her own channel where she and Rosanna decorated cakes.
Other videos of Lauren’s I enjoyed were a video where her mother learnt slang terms that were popular in 2019 and a thrift store showdown video that she did with her best friend Mia as well as an entertaining if slightly outdated video where she answers the most searched questions about herself.
Junior Bake Off
I remember watching one or two episodes of Junior Bake Off when it was originally broadcast on the CBBC channel. When it moved to Channel 4 in 2019, I was intrigued to see how it compared to the original CBBC series.
Notable changes to the Channel 4 series included the presenter and judge line up as well as the age range of young bakers taking part. Standout episodes were the ones where the bakers made their biscuit Showstoppers look like food such as pizza, dedicated their cake Showstoppers to their families including one of triplets rock climbing and inspired their pie Showstoppers by different countries around the world such as Turkey. Harry Hill was daft yet funny with presenting the series while Prue Leith and Liam Charles were sound judges.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea
I can’t remember if I read the book as a child or not, but I was still excited to hear that Channel 4 would be airing an animated TV special of the book on Christmas Eve. The animation was true to the illustrations in the book; the voice cast consisting of David Walliams (the narrator), David Oylelowo (the Tiger), Clara Ross (Sophie), Tamsin Greig (Sophie’s mother) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sophie’s father) was top notch; and the original Robbie Williams song Hey Tiger! is very jazzy and upbeat.
Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special 2019
I used to watch the original series of Gavin and Stacey from the late 2000s to the early 2010s and I can vaguely recall the 2008 special where the Barry residents spent Christmas with the Shipmans in Billericay. This time around, the Shipmans spend Christmas with the Wests in Barry. Although the 2019 special ended on a cliffhanger and Bryn (Rob Brydon) and Nessa’s (Ruth Jones) rendition of Fairytale of New York caused some controversy, it was interesting to see how the children of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page) and Smithy (James Corden) and Nessa have grown, there were some funny lines and there was a fitting tribute to Doris whose actress Margaret John died in 2011.
Matilda the Musical
When I was nine years old, I loved the 1996 Matilda film (starring Mara Wilson in the titular role) and the Roald Dahl book. Before I saw the stage musical in October 2019, I could remember seeing a medley of songs from the show on Children in Need a few years prior. The most memorable song from the medley was Revolting Children.
The musical is currently playing at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden, London. While I liked the set designs, the spirited cast (especially the girl who played Matilda), the choreography, the dialogue being similar to that in the book and the film and the songs on the whole (in particular Miracle, Naughty, When I Grow Up and I’m Here besides Revolting Children); there were a few flaws such as the songs being hard to hear in places, adults playing older schoolchildren being rather unusual, the modernisation in the song Telly (especially the Harry Potter line), a PE class filler scene and the story being messy in parts. Despite the flaws, I bought some show merchandise online.
I even had a lounge experience for £55.00 that gave me savoury snacks and a drink before the show, a copy of the programme and some chocolates and another drink during the interval. While it was lovely to have the lounge to myself as I was the only one who booked the experience on the day I saw the show, I liked most of the snacks and all but two chocolates, I didn’t think the overall experience was worth the extra money because I thought the savoury snacks would be more substantial ones such as sandwiches and canapés rather than the pretzels, vegetable crisps and cheesy bread snacks I had (I was also given Japanese rice crackers, but I didn’t eat them because I thought they would be too spicy for me).
Blogosphere Festival 2019
The Blogosphere Festival 2019 took place at The Yard in Shoreditch, London on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th November. I thought it was better than 2018’s Blogosphere Festival because not only was I more enthusiastic about it (despite Jordan AKA Hello Miss Jordan no longer being able to make it due to her photo shoot overrunning), but it took place over two days; I met Vix Meldrew for the first time; there was an altogether more appealing range of brands compared to the previous event including Lickd (a company that composes royalty free music that is based on chart music), Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Superdrug PR; and there was a good handful of panels and presentations I wanted to see. I will publish a more detailed blog post and YouTube vlogs about it in due course.
Mamma Mia! The Musical
As I began to revisit ABBA’s music earlier in 2019 and have already seen the 2008 film adaptation of Mamma Mia! (I will say what I thought of it and the sequel in Part 2), I fancied seeing the stage musical at the Novello Theatre in Aldwych, London. I saw a matinée performance of it on a Thursday afternoon in December. In the musical, 20-year-old Sophie invites three men (Briton Harry, Australian Bill and Irish Sam) who her mother Donna had relationships with in the past to her wedding and she is determined to find out which one is her actual father. The best aspects of it were the plot and dialogue being similar to that in the film, the music (there were songs in the show that were not performed in the film such as The Name of the Game and Under Attack), the choreography and the costumes worn by Sophie and Donna. I even got a free upgrade to the Dress Circle due to the Balcony area I originally booked my ticket for being closed and I also bought a combination pack of the programme and a brochure (they were probably on sale to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary). Some slight nitpicks of the show were the actress playing Sophie appearing a little too old for the role, some lyrical changes in songs and the sets being rather minimalistic, but they were beautiful nonetheless.
October, November and December 2019 Favourites Part 2: https://stompgal87.blog/2020/02/27/october-november-and-december-2019-favourites-part-2/
Phelan Porteous (AKA Phelous)
Nostalgia Critic/Doug Walker
Channel Awesome (official YouTube channel for the Nostalgia Critic’s reviews): https://www.youtube.com/user/achannelthatsawesome
Channel Awesome’s Nostalgia Critic page: https://channelawesome.com/category/videos/channelawesome/dougwalker/nostalgia-critic/
Fandom page about The Nostalgia Critic: https://thatguywiththeglasses.fandom.com/wiki/The_Nostalgia_Critic_(Show)
The Aspie World
Junior Bake Off: https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/meet-the-junior-bakers/
The Tiger Who Came to Tea: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-tiger-who-came-to-tea
Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special 2019: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000csm7
Matilda the Musical: http://uk.matildathemusical.com
Matilda the Musical official merchandise: https://shop.playbill.co.uk/stores/matilda-the-musical/
Blogosphere Magazine: https://www.blogosphere.biz
Hello Miss Jordan
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (U.K. website): https://www.krispykreme.co.uk
Mamma Mia! The Musical: https://mamma-mia.com/london.php
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored blog post. All opinions expressed are my own.