Internet highlights – w/c 14th March 2021

20 03 2021

Ingenious ideas.


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Once Upon A Tyne – by Ant & Dec

14 03 2021

I’m not going to claim that this was a high-brow read, it only took me five days. It was just reading a chat between friends as they went through the 30 years they’ve been on telly together. I was a bit too young for them in Byker Grove, but from SM:tv Live onwards I’ve watched most of their work and just enjoyed their “company”! And this book was the same, just felt like you were sat with them while they hung out and reminiscied.

I was concerned there might be a fair amount of overlap with their first book, but given how long it had been since I read that, it wasn’t too bad, that one had more of a personal focus, whereas this is mostly their career.

For the most part, each chapter covers a different programme they’ve been in together with a couple of bonus chapters for bits and pieces, and the royal family. I found the DNA Journey chapter interesting, probably because I never saw the programme!

It could have done with maybe one more proof read, there was one point they referred to the Queen as HRH instead of HM, and there was a sentence where I think a word was missing, but it’s not the end of the world.

The book is full of photos, which makes it really enjoyable (and even quicker to read!), and because of this, every page is glossy paper, and because of that, the book weighs nearly a kilo, even though it’s less than 300 pages – madness! Made it a bit tricky to read while falling asleep at night, but worth it to enjoy the photos properly.





Internet highlights – w/c 7th March 2021

13 03 2021

Bookshop with free-roaming kittens who need adopting.


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The Midnight Library – by Matt Haig

8 03 2021

I was so so tempted to get this book last year, but exercised excellent self-control and waited until the paperback came out last month!

Nora is not happy in life, decides to end it, and finds herself in a library. This library is between life and death, and offers her the chance to try out all the different lives she could have lived if she’d done things differently. If she had or hadn’t done things she had regretted not doing or doing – be that a massive life choice or a tiny one. There is a book for every single life she could have lived – it’s an infinite library. When she enters a life she doesn’t go back to when the decision was made, she goes into what that version of her life is at this point in time.

With any book that has parallel universes, it’s going to be tricky to please everyone. I think this did a good job overall, a couple of bits bothered me, but I think I’m a very logistical person, so my mind goes into the mechanics of it all when maybe I’m meant to be focussing more on the story!

I guess I had two issues with the way it was done

  1. There’s a lot of talk about there being infinite versions of her life, but when she undoes one regret, possibly very early in life, she’s only presented with one version to try out. But there should be another infinite amount of ways it went based on all the other decisions in her life, and there’s never any mention of all the other ways it could have gone.
    There is one point near the end where this is sort of addressed, but the only response given is that “it’s more complicated than that” as something else is going on, which was a little unsatisfying.
  2. I found it very odd that when she went into a life, she had slightly different bodies, maybe fitter, maybe a bit more insulation, maybe some scarring, so her body has all the changes of the life lived, and yet in her memory, in her mind, she has no recollection of anything that’s happened since the decision that took her down another path. This means she often doesn’t know where she is, the names of the people around her, what she does for a living. To me it felt a bit inconsistent, but as I said before, I think this is because I look too much at the detail. And to be honest, without this, I don’t think the story would work, so it’s definitely forgivable!

The only other thing that bothered me a bit that with some of the first regrets that she tried to undo, she was suddenly HUGELY successful in whatever area that was – yes she may not have been happy, but she was the best at what she did, be that music, sport. This did settle down though as the book went on. Maybe, from my first point above, the book the librarian found for her was the most successful version of that subset of universes!

Please don’t see this as a complaint or a reason not to read this book I really enjoyed it! The concept was brilliant, and the ending itself really satisfying. As I said, I’m just picky when it comes to logistics!

As is often the case, and particularly with Matt Haig books, here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

  • ‘”And I know you’ve got mental-health stuff”
    “Everyone’s got mental-health stuff.”
    “You know what I mean.”‘
  • “There was an old musician’s cliche, about how there were no wrong notes on a piano.”
  • “A person was like a city. You couldn’t let a few less desirable parts put you off the whole. There may be bits you don’t like, a few dodgy side streets and suburbs but the good stuff makes it worthwhile.”
  • ‘”You’re overthinking it.”
    “I have anxiety. I have no other type of thinking available.”‘
  • “Human brains take complex information about the world and simplify it, so that when a human looks at a tree it translates the intricately complex mass of leaves and branches into this thing called ‘tree’.”
  • “It is easy to imagine there are easier paths, but maybe there are no easy paths. There are just paths. […] Really most lives contain degrees of good and degrees of bad.”
  • “Nora wanted to live in a world where no cruelty existed, but the only worlds she had available to her were worlds with humans in them.”
  • “When you have worries about things you don’t know about, like the future, it’s a very good idea to remind yourself of the things you do know.”
  • “The prison wasn’t the place, but the perspective.”

There was also a quote that sounded like a retelling of 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1-3, but it contains relatively chunky spoilers, so I won’t post it here!





Internet highlights – w/c 28th February 2021

6 03 2021

EU bringing in “Right to repair” to have appliances last for longer.
Why The IT Crowd is excellent.
All the sitcom references in WandaVision.
Women ignored for being women.
How TV shows hid or used actresses pregnancies.


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Internet highlights – w/c 21st February 2021

27 02 2021

Why you should get a cat.
How people have dealt with rude customers.
How people have dealt with rude customers (part 2).


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And Then There Were None – by Agatha Christie

23 02 2021

I recently read the following quote from Val McDermid: “Agatha Christie is the gateway drug to crime fiction”, and am finding this more and more so to be true! Having read Murder on the Orient Express last summer, I asked for another for Christmas – my brother got me this and it was excellent!

I don’t know if this true of all of her books, but in the two I’ve read, they’ve started by introducing a whole load of unrelated characters, and then starting to tell the story, this means they can take a while to get to grips with, but in this one I kept a couple of post-its in pages with info that was helpful to flick back to frequently, eg the character intros, why each of them had journeyed to this tiny island, and the rhyme that gives the structure of the story, “Ten little soldier boys” (although it’s had other names in the past, which have also been the title of the book, but have since been deemed less than PC).

But fairly soon, all of them were familiar, and I was hooked! I kept grabbing it to see who was going to be killed off next (it brings out a very dark side!) and if the people I thought might be responsible really were – completely addictive.

I will certainly be asking for another for my birthday!





Internet highlights – w/c 14th February 2021

20 02 2021

Chocolate bars that have shrunk and grown over the years.
Things that are dirtier than we realise.
Plot holes that aren’t plot holes.
People showing their stupidity on the internet.
Pancake art.
Great outfits from Monica, Rachel & Phoebe.
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Internet highlights – w/c 7th February 2021

13 02 2021

Problems colour-blind people have.
Changes in the Harry Potter films from the books.
Things to give up for lent in 2021.


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Dave Gorman vs The Rest Of The World – by Dave Gorman

11 02 2021

When I was putting together my Christmas list (I can hardly say “writing” my Christmas list when I was pulling links together!) I thought how there was only one Dave Gorman book I hadn’t read, and so it was about time I did!

It’s a very simple concept, one day Dave Gorman put a tweet out into the universe asking if anyone wanted to play a game (real life games, not video games). He got replies, and went to play games with those people! There’s a bit in the middle of the book where someone wants to work with him on this “project”, (he definitely has previous with “Googlewhack Adventure”, “Are you Dave Gorman”, and “America Unchained”) but he says no, it’s no project, just something he’s doing for fun in his time off…. He doesn’t explain how he got from there to publishing it in a book!

The games range from Ultimate Frisbee to an Egyptian laser chess game to Cluedo to a random Cornish skittles game. The book is just him talking about the experience, the places he went, the people he met, the games he played. And just with his eye for detail (enjoying the simplicity of Cribbage having 2 pegs for scoring so you never lose your place), and his gentle chatter, it’s a lovely book to read. He met some lovely people, and some complete weirdos (including people who play Monopoly with REAL money), both of which made for fun reading!

For most of the book he keeps a scoreboard of him vs the rest of the world, though it does seem to go missing for some of the middle of the book (And I’m not sure there was a final total)! And for the less common games he puts an explanation in a handy box so we know what’s going on. As a fan of structure, this was pretty pleasing.

As ever, some of my favourite quotes and observations from the book (the last one is the most beautiful):

  • “There’s something oddly energising about sparking a memory from nowhere like that. I don’t think it’s the memory itself that does it. I think it’s the excitement at discovering your brain is so much bigger than you realised.”
  • “At Stockport bus depot I stood and waited. There were maybe fifteen fellow travellers at the same bus stand, all eyeing each other up carefully. No queue had been formed but we’d all made a mental note of the order in which we’d arrived.”
  • “There’s an unhealthy part of my personality that tends to obsess and collect; that will take things to extremes. I can be a dog with a bone at times. But I didn’t want to let it happen again. Not with this. It wasn’t a treasure hunt. There wasn’t a prize for playing the most games in the shortest amount of time.”
  • “I feel naked if I’m not wearing a watch and yet, when I want to know the time, I sometimes find myself checking my phone first.”
  • “There are no referees in Ultimate. Ever. At any level. Messing around in the park? No ref. Playing a rival club? No ref. World Championship final? No ref. Players call their own fouls and have to settle their own disputes. If you’re going to play Ultimate, you just have to accept that paying the game fairly is more important than winning.”
  • “I would’nt describe Liskeard as a pretty place. It’s more prosaic than that. If you think of all the little villages around and about as gorgeous old vintage sports cars – high maintenance, impractical, but lovely for looking at – then Liskeard is the rusty but trusty family saloon. And while those vintage automobiles are all very well, when you want to do the shopping you know which car keys you pick up. (If you want to stick with this motoring analogy, it follows that Plymouth is, um … a transit van.”
  • “I have grown snobbish about the world world of ‘organised fun’. I suspect I’m not alone. Holiday camps? Karaoke? Guided coach trips? […] I instinctively recoil from such things but I don’t know why, because all empirical evidence suggests I’ll enjoy them.”
  • “When we throw our cynicism aside there’s so much more to enjoy.”