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It was my birthday this week. Whilst I don’t usually broadcast this fact because, well, I just don’t [must be the introvert in me] I did want to share some of my week with you. Mainly because it has been really quite interesting! Let me start by saying  that I usually book a week off work around my birthday as I don’t usually know what to do with my holiday. It’s rare that Alex and I will go away – cost is the main factor there, and now that we have Artie as well, it would make going away a little more difficult. When we’re off we usually do things like go to the zoo, maybe go to London. [We did that, but I’ll get to that later].


This week started by doing something that I’ve never done before! We went to see a live recording of a TV show called Taskmaster. I’ve never done anything like that before, and it was so interesting to see what happens when a show is being made. For this we went to Pinewood Studios in Slough [which I am sure is very near the Harry Potter Studio tour]. We chose to drive on this occasion which ultimately worked out easier for us. It took a little over an hour to get there which wasn’t too bad at all, and traffic had been quite calm as well. We chose to leave as early as possible, even if it mean waiting around a bit as the tickets are done in a first come first served basis [as they are free, the tickets are over subscribed to allow for no shows etc]. We were a good two hours early, but actually it was worth being early as the waiting area filled up really quickly around 4 o’clock. What was cool, and unexpected was that they gave out free beer to the people who were waiting. [I don’t drink, so it was a bit redundant for me].

Here’s a quick rundown of what Taskmaster is: Comedian Greg Davies sets the comedians tasks to do, and whoever does it the best/quickest wins points for that task. The comedians takings part in this series were Hugh Dennis, Mel Geidroyc, Noel Fielding, Lolly Adefope, and Joe Lycett. The comedians taking part changes in each series and it’s definitely interesting to see who does what and how. And it’s really interesting to see how people interpret the tasks that they have been given.

At the beginning of the show they are each asked to bring something specific in and that forms the prizes for the shows. For the show that we saw, the prizes were favourite subscriptions or memberships. In this case, the prizes consisted of subscriptions to clouds [and not an online cloud based service… actual clouds which felt a bit Night Vale-ian], cheese through the post, bacon through the post and a subscription to a newsletter about Cross Rail. Yep. They were the prizes.

Here’s an example of a task from a previous series:

We then see how they did for each of the tasks set to them, and who won overall and claimed the prizes. Obviously I’m not going to give away any of the tasks, or the winner! I wouldn’t want to spoil the episode for the people who may watch the show. But it was really, really good to watch. There was also a warm up guy doing a bit of stand up and interaction with the crowd – he was so funny! I wouldn’t be surprised if he did his own gigs. It’s a shame I can’t remember his name!

In all it took around 2 and half hours to record the show, which seems surprising considering the edited version is only about 45 minutes. But then, it’s so easy to go of track. There should definitely be an edited/ blooper episode. It was that funny!

Russell Howard

The following day was our London day. It’s quite traditional for us to go to London around my birthday, and we definitely do it more on mine than on Alex’s. Ages ago Alex bought us Russell Howard tickets – another comedian, if you didn’t know – for his stint at the Royal Albert Hall. We’ve been to see him before, when he was doing a warm up gig in the local theatre [total surprise there, and unexpected!] and it was  such a funny night that I knew that it would be good again, even if it was a bigger venue than when we saw him before.

The set up at the Albert Hall was really interesting. The stage was circular, and at the centre of the hall. I thought this was a nice touch because of how the hall is set up, and allowed for extra seating areas on the stage as well. When Russell was performing, he addressed the whole audience, not just one section. He was always moving, always fluid with the way the audience was set out.

We went up with two of our friends who also had tickets to see the show. Even though the show was in the evening we had a day of taking in the sights – and of course – Pokemon Go hunting. I find London very odd for Pokemon. I sort of expect it to be a bit better considering it’s a city, but actually I’ve caught better Pokemon in my home town and in places like Brighton. I have no idea why that is. London doesn’t seem to have all that much variation? What this means is we walked miles and miles. We stopped by Camden for some street food, went to Kings Cross [so that I could get kitted out with more Ravenclaw stuff!] and generally walked through lots of posh parts of London.

I love the Albert Hall. I love how it’s set up, and the ceiling as well! I didn’t take many photo’s though – not because I couldn’t but because I didn’t have my good camera and was relying on my iPhone camera which I find to be not that great. They allow you to take photo’s in the Hall, but for obvious reasons not whilst the show is going on.

Russell Howard was extremely funny. He covered a wide range of topics, from the treasure that is the NHS, the anger at was a stupid decision Brexit is, Teresa May, the politicians, what a twat Nigel Farage is, Trump in the White House, he talked about his family and their crazy antics, about mental health and how he wished he could help save people, and so much more.

What I felt was that Russell is far more in touch with the people of this country than our politicians. He can see what’s happening around him, the country and the sentiment and if only he could do something about that! Could you imagine him being an MP? It was such a great night out, I would definitely go and see him again. I was laughing throughout the whole show. What was really cool actually, a couple of my Facebook friends were also at this same gig. I really liked that touch!

So that was the two big events of the week. They happened side by side, so by Thursday I needed some down time. I picked up some crochet, but that’s for another blog!

I also have a couple more blogs lined up for the coming days as I’ve finished some knitting that I’d like to share separately, but I’ll leave it here today!