These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

I've been sat watching the wonderful #MoonLaunchLive on Channel 4, and it has just struck me how space endeavours are one of my favourite things; seemingly Apollos 11 and 13 in particular.

And I don't just mean I think they're cool; they seem to really connect to me. I had proper goosebumps when watching this show, as I did watching 'First Man' and 'Apollo 13'. And '2001: A Space Odyssey' for that matter.

So I thought I'd take some time and list a few of my favourite things:

Early Spaceflight

As mentioned in my introduction, my spine tingles whenever I encounter something that puts me in awe of the vastness of space.
No better narrative would seem to be that of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, or - just as equally - the Apollo 13 near disaster.

The dramatic retelling of these via 'First Man' and the appropriately titled 'Apollo 13' are two terrific films; and I should take this one step further and go watch 'Apollo 11' real soon.
Along similar lines, 'In The Shadow of the Moon' is a fabulous documentary.
And - whilst obviously fictional - the echoes of the universe from '2001: A Space Odyssey' had an equally gripping impact on me; especially when I saw it on a huge widescreen screen at the Bradford Film Festival in 2008.

More tangentially related, but thrilling nonetheless was a trip to the National Space Center a few years ago, and an evening with Brian Cox about many things about the universe I can't really understand!

Steam Trains

Perhaps a natural leap from such impressive engineering; have you been next to a steam engine? The sound and smell of a steam engine - particularly the big hundreds-of-tonnes ones - just elicits a response in me that I can't really explain, other than it really grabs my attention.

I had the good fortune to have a footplate ride in one a year or so ago, and it was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

I feel like I'm going to do more things to do with steam trains in the future; and if I find the right experience, I will hopefully fulfil my ambition one day of driving one.

Narrative Motorsport

Probably the most continuous narrative I have had in my life - memories of watching the Formula 1 from an early age; the sound of the race cars matched only by Murray Walker's commentary; I've followed every season of F1 for as long as I can remember.
And - whilst not every race is memorable - the races and seasons with the best stories certainly are.

Hill versus Schumacher
Lewis Hamilton's explosive first season and early Championship
Brawn GP's single year of magic
Jenson Button winning the Canadian Grand Prix (the longest one ever)

These days I get much enjoyment by live messaging one of my good friends during a race; but in the past it was all about sitting watching with my dad on a Sunday.

And this particular 'thing' goes beyond F1 - recently I've had a number of memorable days out with my dad and occasionally his snooker buddy Hector watching Sprint or Hill Climb racing.
I also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Silverstone earlier this year. And honourable mentions to the films 'Rush' and the superb 'Senna' which both captured two very famous Formula 1 rivalries.

A Really Good Playlist

Since my last few years of high school, I've felt like I had a knack for putting together playlists. First for compilation CDs for friends (and teachers!), often as sneaky alternative birthday presents.
The two I am perhaps most proud of are the #Oceanborn DJ Stead's Power Hour two CD special, and also the wedding playlist I put together - pretty much on the fly! - for two of my good friends' wedding.
Oh and the playlist for my 30th birthday was pretty fun to arrive at as well.

Actually the most enjoyment is putting the thing together, usually tailored to a particular situation or scenario. Some of them more odd than others, but always fun to spend a few hours deciding which track goes best into the next.

Douglas Adams Reading Hitchhikers Guide

I did start some new entries on this list like 'These Films, These Albums, These Books', but I've decided to keep those - essentially - favourite films, music, books, etc., for another day.

But keeping this on is maybe a bit of a cheat.

In terms of a 'single' book, the Hitchhikers Guide trilogy is undoubtedly the one with which I have the most emotional connection.
And what better way to experience it than to have the author read it to me, whilst I drift off to sleep - or whilst I drive down the motorway (though never both at the same time...).

Purest escapism.

BBC Radio 4 Comedy

It may seem a bit odd 'narrowing' my choice of comedy here to just one radio channel, but it is fair to say that a number of my comedy favourites have been on here.

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is my obvious and earliest-in-my-life choice - a shared love with both my parents and my good friend Karl in particular (with whom I would go on to see two live shows, including Humphrey Lyttleton's last).

More recently, John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme has tickled my funny bones, both on the radio and also live in York.

Other highlights from the Radio 4 stable including a live recording of Just A Minute in Leeds City Varieties a number of years ago, The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Mark Steel's in Town, The Museum of Curiosity, Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups, and so many quirky more.

The Pythonesque

I can't really talk to comedy without mentioning Monty Python. I've mentioned the Pythons themselves extensively on here - pretty much every experience I have had relating to Python has been pretty memorable - be it their original TV shows; watching the film trilogy at Hyde Park Picture House in my university years; meeting Gilliam and Jones on separate occasions; seeing Palin in person talking about his film 'American Friends' and seeing Cleese on his Alimony Tour; and - of course - seeing them at their very first live at the O2 show, and meeting them afterwards as part of the VIP package.

But it isn't just all things Monty Python; anything that can be called 'Pythonesque' gets right to my funny bones. A number of them are listed in the Radio 4 list above; but any form of surreal comedy gets to me. 'Whodidit' is a play we read at CADS a few years ago; the film 'Pity' at the Leeds International Film Festival in 2018; and 'The Beef and Dairy Network' podcast is a recent addition to my wonderfully surreal appetites.

Worms Armageddon

An odd direction now, but I don't think I have had so much fun out of a computer game than this particular iteration in the Worms franchise.

Countless hours playing games with friends throughout high school; 'Up North' is my team, and I can quite happily pick up my Banana Bomb and Super Sheep and inflict comedy damage throughout a variety of landscapes.

The sounds and animation bring back all those memories at the press of a spacebar. I hope there are LAN parties of Worms for many many years to come.

Driving the North Coast 500

Unquestionably one of the best holidays I've had. Of course in no small part by the company along the way, but getting to drive the North Coast 500 in my Molten Orange Fiesta-ST was spectacular, thanks to the views and the driving experience.

Jaffa Cakes

If a pack of Jaffa Cakes is my last meal, I will die a happy person.


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