Advantages Five things that I love
Disadvantages They're not that important
Five Things That I love:I was going to do the Things that Really Annoy Me café piece but I'm such a laid back, happy-go-lucky kind of guy I just couldn't think of any. Apart from people using their mobiles on trains that is, I hate that. And when you find an empty seat on the train only to have some really fat bloke sit next to you and squash you against the window, that bugs me as well. Other people on trains in general really, but that's it. So I thought I'd jot down a few things that I love. Not the big important things like family and friends or having a nice job and house, but the little things that makes the days so much more pleasant. I realise I should probably do ten, but I don't want to be greedy.
Stand Up Comedy~
Stand up comedy has to be one of the rawest forms of entertainment around. To stand on stage, draw the attention of a room full of people and make them laugh, and laugh again and again for 20 - 30 minutes is pretty much the most daunting thing I can imagine. Laughter is such a simple human pleasure and to be in a room full of people, enjoying the same jokes and humour is a wonderful experience.
I don't really have a preference for watching live or on TV. With TV you are more likely to be watching someone who is established and whose style you will know. This is more like going to a concert where you know all the songs that are being played. Because you know you like the act you can sit back, relax and wait to be entertained. The same is true when you go to big theatre one man shows.
Watching stand up in a comedy club is a completely different experience. More often than not, out of four or five turns you will have seen only one or two before which leaves a lot of room for the unexpected. In these clubs there is a very real tension in the air when a new act approaches the stage. Firstly you're wondering what sort of comedy it will be. Will they be aggressive, edgy or political? Maybe they'll be observational or off-the-wall, who knows but one thing's for sure they'd better be bloody funny. The majority of acts you see are journeyman comics doing the circuit and are pretty much interchangeable, but when you see someone new, someone different you can feel the excitement in the room. I remember one show that had Harry Hill and Sean Locke in the opening slots, unknown at the time they blew away the room with hugely contrasting acts. Phil Jupitas was the compere that evening and the remaining acts just couldn't keep up. While I have never seen a stand up defeated by hecklers I have seen them beaten by apathy. The same show was closed by Jenny Éclair who had an absolute stinker, nothing she tried worked and the room was virtually silent as she wound through her material, no one even bothered to heckle. At the end, all she could do was apologise and shuffle off stage.
I can't believe there are people who will buy a DVD and never watch the extras, I just can't understand it. I am totally addicted to them and feel genuinely cheated when I get a DVD that has none, and nothing gets me more excited than when I see the words '2-Disc Special Edition'.
'Making Of' documentaries, cast & crew interviews, 'how they did that' FX pieces - you name it, I'll watch it. And not just once either, every time I get out a DVD to re-watch I have to see at least a couple of the extras as well. Don't even get me started on cast commentaries, there are so many films and shows that I have which I will only watch with the commentary tracks turned on or even watch back to back switching the commentary on and off.
When I'm in Virgin filling out a three-for-£20 deal I have two criteria. Firstly, and most obviously, I must actually want to watch the main feature, be it a film, TV series or music. Secondly, if it comes to a choice the one with the most extras will win easily. In fact, it would have to be a very good film for me to buy it without any extras.
My favourite extras? That would have to be the Red Dwarf series. All eight DVD's have exemplary extras with hours of original material that easily stand up to repeated viewing, and the cast commentaries are superb. Scrubs DVD's have a lot of good interviews and original pieces although the commentaries are bit hit and miss. The Lord of the Rings special editions have hours and hours of extras.
The biggest sinners? The X-Files series are always a disappointment. The interviews are pretty thin and there is no input from the two stars. My biggest disappointment is with films by the Coen brothers. Many of their films have been released with no extras at all which for such original film makers is a crying shame.
The internet ~
Can you remember a time before the internet? Obviously you can but you know what I mean. I've only been using the internet for ten years, which means I'd lived plenty more without it but for the life of me I can hardly remember how I got anything done then. There is barely any part of my life that isn't touched by the internet in some way. What do I use the internet for? It's tempting to say 'everything' but that is patently untrue so let me try to group things. Shopping: 90% of things I buy I will research on the internet first, I can then compare prices on the internet and then, more often than not, I will buy it on line as well. Education: when I was studying for my degree I was able to do so much research on line, books are never mis-filed and it is always open. Working in IT, if I ever need to find anything out it is always on-line somewhere. Living: I found my house and mortgage on-line, I get my jobs on-line, I found my car on-line. If I have a question about health, DIY or virtually anything the answer is on-line.
The scale of the internet is incomprehensible, I probably spend 4 or 5 hours a day on there when I should be working and I'm barely tickling the surface. The best thing about the internet is that you can be surfing away and unless someone is right behind you it looks like you're working.
The internet is very addictive; it has made me a junkie for so many things. I'm a news junkie, forever checking BBC on-line for the latest items. I'm a stock market junkie, checking my portfolio every 20 minutes to see if the prices have ticked up 0.25p. I'm now a Ciao junkie, devouring reviews on products I'm never going to buy, books that I'm never going to read or films I'm never going to watch (you all know who you are).
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