I CAME, I SAW AND I CONQUERED …ME AND MY COPYWRITING COURSE DREAMS!

I FINALLY GRADUATED WITH A DISTINCTION IN MY COPYWRITING DIPLOMA!

For those of you who follow me on social media, you’ll have recently learnt that I had some great news last Easter Monday.  After 181 days of doing an online CMP(College of Media and Publishing) Level 4 Diploma in Copywriting, I got the news that I had passed with a DISTINCTION grade.

I am over-the-moon because I gave it absolutely everything I had.  I put my heart and soul into it.  I am a perfectionist by nature and so had set my heart on getting a Distinction.  I am not going to lie to you, I would have been pretty gutted if I had not got a Distinction.

I enjoyed the course that much that I would now love a career as a Copywriter.  As the course progressed I sort of fell in love with it(sounds a bit strange perhaps)?  I love writing and so got such a buzz at completing the assignments.  Copywriting really does feel like my true calling in life.

I have to congratulate CMP for putting together such a fabulous course.  It was challenging at times for me, but always felt challenging in a good way.  At times it really stretched me and I loved this about it.

My tutor Lucy was incredible with me.  She was constantly helpful, encouraging and supportive.  Her expert guidance made me believe in myself more.  I messaged her numerous times to say I was struggling with my latest assignment, only for her words of help to give me that final push in attempting to write it.  Lucy’s constructive criticisms have now made me become a better writer without a shadow-of-a-doubt.  I owe Lucy a lot, thank you!

There are too many other people to individually thank in this blog(and it would get boring to read me just listing names), for the support and encouragement they showed me during my time doing this course.  If you are one of these people then I truly cannot thank you enough.

The original plan post-passing my course, was to then go back to my old uni careers department and ask them for some help with me looking for a Junior Copywriter job.  However, the current circumstances with the Coronavirus situation mean this will have to be postponed for the time being.  I have therefore decided to do another online course with the CMP.  To compliment my Copywriting one, I’ve decided to do a SEO(Search Engine Optimisation) content writing course.

Doing another course is a great way to improve my CV further, as well as helping with my mental health.  Regarding the latter, positive mind occupation is a key coping strategy I use with my contamination OCD.

I just wanted to socially document this latest academic achievement in my life by doing a short blog about it.  I came, I saw and I conquered my Copywriting course dreams. Now it is time for the next chapter, now it is time to conquer even more!

 

 

 

 

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LAST TANGO IN…..A BIT OF A LET-DOWN! Last Tango in Halifax – series 5 – episode 4 review.

 

Writer and creator Sally Wainwright, is a genius in my eyes.  Her Happy Valley for example, is one of the greatest TV dramas ever made.  I have also always been a big fan of Last Tango in Halifax too.  There is something very British about it.  It is quirky, funny and emotive, as well as the acting always being superb.

However, series 5 of Last Tango was a bit of let-down. Indeed, the fourth and final episode last night was rather corny and weak.  There was a lack of any narrative tension built-up within these four episodes.  I didn’t really care last night what happened to Alan’s (Derek Jacobi) brother Ted (Timothy West), because we never really got to know him that well as a character anyway.

I found the unlikely scenario of the young lad Harrison (Liam McCheyne), driving Ted to the seaside completely unbelievable.  Harrison looked about 12, yet we were supposed believe that no member of the public would have spotted him driving and so reported him?

Another unbelievable aspect was Celia’s (Anne Reid) continued obsession with wanting a new kitchen.  I know she is supposed to be a snob, but would anybody really care that much about it? Another disappointing narrative strand that got resolved, was us finding out who had painted the giant giraffe on the outside of Gillian’s (Nicola Walker) barn.  It turned out to be a mate of Raff’s (Josh Bolt), in some half-baked scheme to try and raise some funds for Gillian.  It just had a anticlimactic feel about it all, together with other narrative strands.

There was this scene near the end where we saw Alan and Celia in church together.  Some would argue it was a brilliantly acted emotive scene.  I on the other hand, found it really drawn out and dull.  I also didn’t really get the point of us seeing teacher Ruth (Lu Corfield), at home having an F-word exchange with her husband.  Was it supposed to show us that Ruth was stronger than we had thought, thus not the stereotypical victim?

Having said all of that, this final episode was not a complete car crash.  It still maintained this charming quality about it all which I adore.  This comes from the brilliance of having two elderly actors in Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, star as the two main characters.  It just lacked the usual Sally Wainwright brilliance in my view.

Has this show now run its course I wonder?  Quite possibly is my answer.  I would have made this the last series and dramatically killed off Alan or Celia, preferably the former.

I really expected to have enjoyed this series 5 finale, but yet again I have to be honest and say it was a bit of a let-down for me.  Roll on series 3 of Happy Valley I say, because I’m just not sure how much more of Last Tango in Halifax, I can now take! 3/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FIGHTING BACK FROM MY CHRONIC PELVIC PAIN NIGHTMARE!

This is a blog that I feared I would never be able to write one day.  It is about celebrating the miraculous improvements I have made regarding my chronic pelvic pain.  I had tears in my eyes the other day when I thought about the dark days I once had with this hellish condition.  I never stopped fighting though, even when things looked really bleak!

I was twenty-one years old when the horrendous symptoms started.  I had abdominal pains and was wanting to wee a lot.  Then, I noticed excruciating pain whenever I ejaculated.  As the days went on my symptoms got worse and worse.  I had to drop out of university such were the severity of my symptoms.  I was literally wanting to pass water EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY!

It took TWO YEARS to finally get a correct diagnosis.  Phew, it was not prostate cancer I was told.  Nevertheless, what I had was a condition called Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis.  In layman’s terms this meant I had a prostate infection.  The constant weeing was a consequence of the infection I was told.  There and then I was diagnosed with an irritable bladder for LIFE!

With medication for my bladder, I finally was well enough to go back to uni.  Nevertheless, as a result of the numerous infections, I was left with excruciating chronic pelvic pain.  I would have this pain EVERY DAY FOR TWENTY-THREE YEARS!!!

I have been asked pretty frequently through the years as to why I am still single??  These people don’t know what kind of hell I’ve been through.  There were girls I knew liked me at uni, but I never did anything about it because getting aroused hurt my inflamed pelvis too much.  This really got me down.  My depression with this situation got that bad that at one point I can remember feeling completely emasculated, it broke my heart.

I could not tell these women who liked me, that my bits were too sore because I felt too embarrassed.  That was then though and this is now.  I no longer feel embarrassed about revealing such personal details.

I finally graduated, but the pelvic pain persisted.  I used to be so sporty in my youth and late teens before all of this happened.   I used to play cricket and football for various teams.  I absolutely loved going to gym.  Exercise was a fantasy at this point though because it hurt to even just walk one hundred yards.  This again broke my heart as well as completely demoralised me.

Over the years I saw numerous physios for my pelvic pain, all unsuccessfully I must add. Nevertheless, around twelve months ago I got in touch with a physio who was a pelvic pain expert.  I was hopeful she might be able to help me, but I was also pretty scared because she felt like my last hope.  I can still remember an old frustrating Psychologist of mine doubting my somewhat blind insistence, that my pelvic pain would indeed get better one day once I’d found the right physio.  What if she was right and I was wrong, what then I worried?

I am not fully sure what specifically got me a lot better, but what I do know is that it has definitely been down to two things.  Firstly, I had internal pelvic floor trigger point release from this amazing physio(google it, it’s very invasive and not pleasant).  Secondly, I tried going to the gym again.  I was truly fed up of looking like Mr Blobby.  I started off very slowly building myself up nice and gently.  I tried to see how much I could get away with regarding my pelvic pain.

My pelvis situation improved that much that I stopped needing to go to physio can you believe?  I have now been going to the gym for around EIGHTEEN MONTHS and this is the best my chronic pelvic pain has ever been.  I can run now, I can cycle now and I can row. The other day I was thinking how far I have now come in terms of my pelvic pain recovery, and I almost broke down in HAPPY tears.  It feels like I have my life back now.

Today, I can exercise regularly more or less pain free.  No longer does my sexual identity feel stripped away from me.  I now feel like I could finally cope with a girlfriend.  I am not cured don’t get me wrong, but I am tonnes better than I once was.

I wanted to write this blog to celebrate how much my pelvic pain has improved.  I also hope my sharing gives hope to other men out there who are currently struggling like I was.  Perhaps you have a partner or husband who is suffering with chronic pelvic pain? Believe in hope my friends because things can change for the better.  Look at me, I am living proof that they can!

Love and best wishes, Andy x.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HELLO BLOG, IT’S BEEN AWHILE!! AN UPDATE AND THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MYSELF!

Hello everybody, it has been awhile my friends!

I guess I haven’t written a blog since March 2019, because quite frankly I didn’t feel the need to.  I have been super busy with my OCD recovery and trying to improve my CV(want to get into writing).  I didn’t feel the need to unburden myself in a blog like I used to.

I am still enjoying writing the TV show reviews for Tellybinge.co.uk. Nevertheless, I decided to stop sharing them in my blog too because it became a hassle I could do without, i.e extra work.

The OCD is still with me don’t get me wrong, but it’s not causing me the same amount of distress like it once did thank goodness.  There was a point in my life about eight years ago where I did not want to be here anymore.  Whereas now, I feel lucky to be alive in fact.  I’m grateful to live my life now, in a way that I’ve never experienced before.

I’ve lost the bitterness that I once had about my life.  For those of you that don’t know really know me, I’ve suffered with very serious physical and mental health issues since I was about sixteen to seventeen years old.  I’ve learnt that being angry all the time just makes me tired and sad all of the time.  It is wasted energy, so I’ve decided to try and not be a victim anymore.

This newfound inner peace I now have about my life I think is down to me maturing(now in my early forties), the mental health meds and also continuing to practice CBT(Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

Why then have I decided to do a blog again all of a sudden you may ask??? Well to be honest, firstly, I needed a therapeutic unloading of how I’m feeling right now.  I feel like a bit of a cry if I’m honest.  My sister’s eight year old dog got rushed into the vets over the last few days.  It is touch and go whether he’ll make it(acute kidney failure), we get the all important test results back in two days time.  I should point out that I had a therapeutic cry yesterday about it all in fact, so don’t be worrying I’m holding my feelings back.

I know I’m biased, however he really is the perfect dog.  Like his Uncle Andy(me), he’s super cute, intelligent and really funny ha ha!  No seriously now(about the dog), he makes Lassie look like Mr Bean, I’ve never met a more intelligent animal.  He is that bright that we’ve all been convinced for months that he considers himself to be human and not dog ha ha!

My second main reason for writing this blog, is that I wanted to cheer myself up by writing down some things that I like about myself.  I saw somebody I follow on Twitter do a blog of twenty-six things they like about themselves.  I’m not sure I could get to twenty-six, so I’ll aim for ten good ones(ever the perfectionist ha ha.)

Here goes then.  I hope you don’t mind me showing-off about myself, however it’s all done in the name of trying to cheer myself up!

1.  MY BRILLIANT SENSE OF HUMOUR – My dad was a constant joker and so I think me being one too, must be a genetic type thing.  Laughter is my main coping strategy in life.  No matter what rubbish life throws at me(within reason of course), then I try and find the humour in it.  It’s either you laugh or cry and I try and do the former most days now!

2.  I’M VERY MORALISTIC –  By this I mean that I have good strong morals.  I always open doors for people.  I always make a big point of saying ”thank you” to the till operator in a shop.  I always let old people get on the bus before me.  I always stand up on public transport if an elderly person can’t find a seat.  I am like this because my dear mum and dad brought me up the right way and I love them for this!

3. I’M STILL VERY SENSITIVE –  Years ago I used to be too sensitive I’ll admit.  Whereas now, I think I’ve found a nice balance.  I love being so open with my feelings and wearing my heart on my sleeve.

4. MY FASHION SENSE – I love my unique fashion sense should we say ha ha.  I hate unoriginal things in life, so I try and apply this to what I wear.  I have my own look(with a scarf usually).  I guess I want to stand-out a bit, look different in an attractive sense.

5.  MY ABILITY TO TALK……….LOTS!! – I love how chatty I am.  Seriously, just imagine the most talkative person you know of, THEN TIMES IT BY TEN AND THAT’S ME hahahaha! I can talk to anybody about anything, and be amusing with it!

OK, I’m going to stop at 5, I’m struggling ha ha! No, I’m not going to remark on my AMAZING GOOD LOOKS or my MASSIVE INTELLIGENCE cos that would be too big-headed, even for me hahahaha!

Thank you for reading this blog.  I have really enjoyed writing it and it has really been therapeutic for me.  I started off writing this blog all sad, but now I end it having made myself chuckle.

I just hope and pray my sister’s dog pulls through.  Take care my friends and I’ll write another blog soon.  Thank you and best wishes, Andy x.

 

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THE BAY – Series One – Episode One review.

Upon reading that The Bay was a new missing child drama, I came over all Brenda from Bristol, i.e ”NOT ANOTHER ONE.”

Yes, in recent years this has now become a much-exhausted TV genre.  I loved the second series of The Missing though, in fact it is one of my most favourite dramas of recent years.  However, the missing kid thing has now been done to death.

Did I really want to watch another drama in this field, but this time set in Morecambe Bay?  Not really was my answer.  Therefore, as The Bay started on ITV1, I was viewing it with my exhausted sceptical hat on.  Soon my sceptical hat was off though because very early on I became hooked.  Sex, lies and the law, all made for a cracking start to this opening episode.

Some critics will argue it is far too much like Broadchurch in a multitude of ways.  The production, the haunting music and the storytelling all appeared like we had seen this somewhere else before.  This might be true, but that in turn does not necessarily mean The Bay is unoriginal and so a flop.

For me, the narrative had enough twists and turns in it to make The Bay appear unique.  It is like it bottled all the best bits of Broadchurch and then came out with a slightly altered, but still successful formula.

The main lead in this first episode was DS Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie), a Police Family Liaison officer.  Morven has appeared on our screens a few times now in different things (The A-Word, The Replacement), and I have been mightily impressed by her acting every time that I’ve seen her.  Lisa’s latest case was that of two missing teenage twins.  She takes her job seriously but also likes a night out, and it is this latter aspect that puts her firmly into a very comprising situation with her latest case.

All the rest of the cast were excellent as you would expect.  Worthy of a special mention are the twin’s parents Sean Meredith (Jonas Armstrong) and Jess Meredith (Chanel Cresswell).  Chanel shone brightly as the panic-stricken mother, constantly on edge.  Jonas delivered a strong performance too and didn’t overact his part as the somewhat mysterious and adulterous stepdad.

Equally as impressive was the performance given by Daniel Ryan, who plays DI Tony Manning.  Having only ever seen this actor before play Dan in the comedy-drama Mount Pleasant, I thought he showed his versatility well here.  Firm but fair was his role and it did not seem like a copied performance from elsewhere.

As this was the first episode, there was plenty of setting things up for the proceeding weeks ahead.  Who was Lisa’s son, Rob Armstrong (Art Parkinson), secretly talking to on his computer I wonder?  Lisa’s daughter, Abbie Armstrong (Imogen King), got chatty with a local labourer called Vincent (Adam Long), so no doubt he has a significant role to play in all of this somewhere along the way.

Yes, as already stated this programme was not the most original but it was captivating, engaging and brilliant entertainment throughout.  It deserves to be watched by many and cherished as the northern version of Broadchurch.

Hands-up time, I started off as a sceptic but ended up enjoying it immensely! 4/5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MotherFatherSon – series one – episode one – a review.

MotherFatherSon, a powerful stylistic BBC Two thriller that promised so much with a stellar cast, and in the main this first episode duly delivered.

You had to concentrate all the way through this though, otherwise you would have felt snookered on multiple occasions.  I did concentrate hard, but even then found myself perplexed at certain times.

If you were hoping for the OAP follow-up version of An Officer and a Gentleman, starring Richard Gere, then you will have been somewhat disappointed because this was anything but a romantic drama.  Yes, Gere was as gorgeous as ever here, but his character this time around had a certain impressive menace about him.

In this drama Richard Gere plays a character called Max Finch, a media mogul from the US.  Think of a better looking Rupert Murdoch and that pretty much sums him up.  Everybody fears Max due to the power and influence that he holds due to his media empire.  We saw him have tea with the British Prime Minister Jahan Zakari (Danny Sapani), then moments later meet the leader of the opposition Angela Howard (Sarah Lancashire).  A black British Prime Minister and the first female leader of the Labour Party, oh how one can only dream but I certainly believed it.

Alongside Max, the other two main protagonists in this were his ex-wife Kathryn Villiers (Helen McCrory), and their son Caden Finch(Billy Howle).  Both performers gave tremendous performances in their roles.  Kathryn is of English aristocratic stock and in her spare time we found her working in a homeless shelter.  The emotional scene of the two of them in a restaurant together as they recalled a deeply treasured family memory, was a brilliant bit acting by both worthy of a special mention.

We initially found Caden on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  He appeared to be out of his depth as editor of Max’s British broadsheet newspaper The National Reporter.  I thought Billy Howle gave a super portrayal as a constantly conflicted soul.  He appeared to fear his father, fear his job and in general be afraid of life.  More will no doubt be revealed as to why he is like this as the weeks proceed.

I must now mention the full-frontal male nudity sex scene featuring Caden.  On the plus side, it was great to see this shot for a change from a heterosexual female perspective.  Nevertheless, this scene felt somewhat out of place with the rest of the narrative.  It felt like a TV show within a TV show if that makes any sense?  That said, I guess it was all about the subject of power.  Meaning that Caden felt that emasculated from not holding any sort of real power in his general life(family and at work), so the only place he could try exerting some power was in a sexual encounter with a woman.

The bit of the narrative though that almost went over my head completely, was the strand concerning phone hacking and a missing girl.  It looks like it might have something to do with Caden and Max (the phone hacking bit) …..I think.  Again, expect more to be revealed as this striking drama goes forwards.

I loved the stunning mise-en-scene throughout which made this drama standout in a positive way.  It gave the narrative a stylish, slick and very modern feel.

All-in-all, I found this first episode a very believable piece of work that made for some pulsating viewing along the way.  Worth sticking with to see how it all unfolds. 4/5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BBC, BBC DRAMA, BBC ORIGINAL DRAMA, EMOTION, ENTERTAINMENT, MENTAL HEALTH, POPULAR CULTURE, SARAH LANCASHIRE, TELEVISION, THE ARTS, TV, TV REVIEW, UK TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Time with Alan Partridge – episode one review.

A lukewarm and semi-triumphant return, this is my verdict of This Time with Alan Partridge.

Before this new comedy show aired, I would have said that the great comedy character of Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), was a bit of a Marmite figure, i.e. you either loved or hated him.  For years, I had firmly been in the loved him camp.  In fact, his series in the late 90’s entitled I’m Alan Partridge, is one of my favourite comedy shows of all-time.

With all this in mind, I am now going to completely contradict myself here with my view of his new BBC One show.  As the ending credits rolled, I found myself in the rather unaccustomed position of thinking it was just O.K.  I smiled throughout and even chuckled out loud at one point, however at no stage did I get hysterical with laughter.

I liked it without ever loving it.  I guess I am guilty of comparing it to the hilarious I’m Alan Partridge series.  It was noticeable in the credits that the amazing comedy writer Armando Iannucci, did not contribute to this first episode.  He was one of the main writers of this earlier series of Partridge.  Could it well be that without Iannucci, Partridge just is not as funny perhaps?

The premise of this new show took the form as a sort of parody of The One Show.  With the regular male co-host away ill, this was Alan’s chance at the big-time once again by filling in for him.  Alongside him, was the regular female co-host called Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding).   Susannah acted her role brilliantly and it was important that her character was amusing in her own right too.  Nevertheless, the key comment here is me saying that she was amusing rather than being hilarious.

Some of the gags were funny it must be acknowledged.  Particularly amusing was when we met Alan’s overly nervous friend Simon Denton (Tim Key).  His own segment of the show being ruined by him not being fully au fait with the technology surrounding the swipeboard and social media.

The segment about hand cleanliness was witty, with the highlight being the classic Partridge handshake at the end.  Lynn (Felicity Montagu), was the star of the show though.  I loved her fierce loyalty towards Alan still.  I am speaking here of when she complained to him that Jennie had nicked two of his jokes.  I also loved her little bitchy tale to Jennie, where she inferred that Jennie looked like a prostitute.  The more we see of Lynn in this series then the better it will be.

Some other bits of the comedy writing did not work as well and bordered on the corny.  I am thinking here of Alan’s demonstration about going to the loo on the train without using your hands.  I did chuckle at the giraffe disguise of the computer hacker, however that was it as far as that segment was concerned.  It was just trying that bit too hard to be funny for me.

Will I watch episode two?  Of course, because it is Alan Partridge after all.  However, this first instalment was not as funny as I thought it was going to be.  I certainly do not concur with the view that is now held out there by some, that this is already one of the greatest TV shows of 2019.

This Partridge was only lukewarm as I said at the top, whereas I always prefer mine steaming hot. 4/5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BBC, BBC COMEDY, BBC1, COMEDY, ENTERTAINMENT, POPULAR CULTURE, TELEVISION, THE ARTS, TV, TV REVIEW, UK TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment