You may have noticed that my activity on this blog slowed down in the last quarter. This was due to various distractions (some more welcome than others), a lack of direction (although that doesn’t normally stop me) and a desire to only write when I felt it worthwhile (ditto).

I guess I spent more time on my new blog to the detriment of this blog, and really does the world need another food blog? [UPDATE: the answer is a resounding ‘no!’ and so I have imported everything from there into this blog]. Also I wrote a few bits in my professional guise on LinkedIn: What can Star Wars teach us about internal communications?, 9 things I learned from recording a voice-over and 11 tips for checking what you’ve written (this last one regular readers might recognise as being sourced from this blog).

Anyhoo, kind of by way of explanation and apology to followers on this blog, here is a bit of a ramble about some stuff I’ve been up to or noticed while everyone was dropping dead, getting attacked or voting for shit in 2016.

One thing that I have got into after some encouragement from a now ex-colleague at work is podcasts. Serial was my first foray into this format and while both Season 1 and Season 2 where rather inconclusive, I enjoyed them along the way. I would listen to them at work during my lunch breaks while I went for a walk.

I then found that podcasts were available via Spotify and was delighted to find an Adam Buxton podcast. I am a big fan of Adam’s from The Adam & Joe Show back in the day (I recently bought the Best Of DVD and enjoyed some reminiscing) and more recently his Bug show on Sky which among other things introduced me to the music of Grimes. Adam Buxton’s podcast isn’t as regular as you might like but is very amusing and a relief from the stark reality of Serial. He has some interesting guests and a genuine interest in what they have to say.

Having exhausted Buxton’s back catalogue, I moved on to No Such Thing As A Fish a podcast created by the QI elves. I listened to both in the car, walking from the car to work, while I’m washing up, ironing shirts etc. Again it is amusing and also based around interesting nuggets of trivia. Sometimes I find the presenters a little too eager to find any old fact fascinating and are rather gratingly ‘Southern’ at times, but fundamentally it’s a good show. I haven’t bothered watching their tv show No Such Thing As A News as 2016 wasn’t a good year for news…

I may move on to Scrubious Pip’s Distraction Pieces podcast as a next port of call, but it is maybe a little too serious and long-winded for me. We’ll see. Siggy bought me the book (given that it mentions Adam Buxton in the description on Amazon) and so I might just read that first and decide. I’m also hoping that Serial will return at some point.

Maybe I should have used the last line of the paragraph before the last to segue into what I’ve been watching on tv, but instead I’ll just bolt on a bit about a couple of films I saw at the cinema and up to this point didn’t blog about.

Most recently, I went to see Passengers. Here’s the trailer:

In terms of story it was right up my street. Very much 2001: A Space Odyssey without the evil computer and at times just as boring. While 2001 is an undisputed cinematic masterpiece, Passengers sucked. It had some nice science fiction elements, but the story was formulaic and flawed. In the end it was rather farcical and no amount of Jennifer Lawrence swimming around in a skimpy swimsuit can compensate. It wasn’t anywhere near as good as Arrival and made me wish for a reboot of Silent Running.

Also a few months ago I went to see Marvel’s latest offering from their universe in the form of Dr Strange. Unsurprisingly this was a heavily effects driven movie and while that aspect was great, I found I couldn’t get behind Benedict Cumberbach’s character and certainly not Tilda Swinton’s – both actually seemed miscast and especially Tilda – I agree with those that complained that the role had been whitewashed. It perhaps didn’t help that the cinema was completely empty when I went to see it. It was just me and Siggy, and while initially it seemed kind of cool I was eventually cognisant of something lacking – the communal sense of belonging inside a shared experience that you get when the cinema is packed.

I also saw Rogue One a second time. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time and was happy to see kids on their school break enjoying it too, feel that sense of belonging to something bigger than my life and to join in and crunch a bit of popcorn (which I still say should be banned). It is definitely a film that needs to be seen on the big screen. Siggy hasn’t seen it yet as she’s been too busy at work, but she did agree to watch The Force Awakens with me a couple of nights ago. While she said she enjoyed it more than she expected to, I found that my dislike for the film has mellowed a little over time.

Well on that bombshell, that’s it for Part 1. In Part 2, I will share some thoughts about all the wonderful tv shows I have watched in 2016 and also about the PS4 game that has taken up over 100+ hours of my time…

(Why the photo of trainers? Well I didn’t buy any this year, but I thoroughly regret not buying a pair of the red Onitsuka Tigers when I had the chance…)