The 'every word I write is shit' feeling is not unique. All writer's forums talk about the same phenomenon. And as much as my inner critic can be loud at times, it never takes over. I can keep going until the self-doubt disappears or shrinks enough. It doesn't impede my life. Just yesterday, I read the entire book from start to finish - all 69,000 words of it. And as much as there's still stuff to do with it, I felt like I will get there one day. One day before October, is the plan.
Yesterday's read through took about six hours. The vast majority of that was spent reading the text, but it did include breaks. I needed time for cups of tea, wees, and YouTube breaks. YouTube breaks are the thing I do when I need a new burst of energy without moving. I have a go-to list of videos I watch. They can be categorised as 'Amusing', 'Hilarious' or 'All the Feels'. A few minutes of something new wakes me up and refreshes me before I move on to the next chapter. They can be applied at any time, but definitely useful when a lull needs to be energised. So without further ado, let me share my current go-to enliveners.
1. The Queen and CowsAt five seconds long, this is definitely short and sweet. I tend to watch it over and over until I'm mentally replenished. The Queen spotting cows. It's as simple as that. As Patricia Hodge might say, 'Such fun!'
2. Marion's Big BreakI can't tell you how many times I searched for this video when I've wanted to perk myself up. For cloistered nuns and solitarily confined criminals with no Internet access, this is the BBC interview with the expert on South Korea - Robert Kelly It's the clip that keeps on giving. First it's young Marion trying out a comedy strut, then it's baby James entering on wheels, and finally it's their mother, Jung-a-Kim realising what's happened and trying to sort it. It never fails to make me howl.
3. Madeley and PartridgeIt's been a long-held jape that Richard Madeley and Alan Partridge are the same person. Indeed, I've taken quizzes where I've read a statement and had to decide which of them said it for real. The fact that one of them is a fictional character and the other a DJ on North Norfolk Digital is neither here nor there. (See what I did there? Ha! I'm funny.) This clip is a recent addition to my brain-break video selection but fits in perfectly. Comedy gold.
4. Giggling VictoriaOK, I'll hold my hands up. This one might be a bit niche. If you don't know the quiz, Only Connect, you might not find this anywhere near as heart-warming or amusing as I do. But for those that do, the sight of the magnificent Victoria Coren Mitchell, losing her shit and laughing in the faces of the struggling quiz team is perfection.
5. Jimmy and the BuskerI love this. Soz, but I just do. A lone busker singing an old Bronski Beat song in Berlin. A random guy walking his dog, stops and joins in. The busker takes the tune, the dog-walker takes the harmonies. They sing to the end. At that point the busker looks at his singing companion and realises it's... wait for it... the lead singer of Bronski Beat, Jimmy Somerville! Cue smiles, sighs and happiness from me, every single time.
6. Remember Henry Kelly?
This one should be classed under 'Comedy' and on one level it is. But that doesn't explain the goosebumps and nostalgia that the theme tune of Going for Gold brings. Relive your youth with this - Ambassador, you are spoiling us! - theme music, and enjoy the verses, key changes, and what musician types refer to as 'the bridge'. It makes what was once an innocuous daytime quiz appear more like a motivational tool for Olympians and the armed forces. Listen and feel stirred.
7. Satire at Eurovision
I know, I know. It's done for another year, I have to get over it. But look, this is funny for ESC haters as well as those of us that love it. One of the Swedish interval acts in 2016 was this beauty. Taking the absolute piss out of the entire shebang, the hosts - Petra and Måns - delivered a song and dance belter, with cracking lyrics and a tonne of in-jokes. The result was a brilliant song that was a gazillion times more enjoyable than the eventual winning entry that year. #imho #sorrynotsorry
8. Our Graham with a Quick Reminder
Nearly there folks, last but not least we have this offering. I've alluded to this opinion before, but it bears repeating. Graham Norton is marvellous. He is so marvellous that I never think of him as a person in his own right but as an institution. He is always there, solid, commanding and reliable. I know it's Friday night because his TV show is on and I know it's Saturday morning because his radio show is on. My weekend involves four hours of his entertaining output and I wouldn't have it any other way. But it's easy to take him for granted. Luckily the National Television Awards have not, and in 2017 he got a special award. There are a couple of things to note about this clip - the one that was played immediately before he received the award. First of all, his career has been so much more than a chat show and a radio show. I know that on one level but forget it on another. The other point to make is that watching Graham's reaction to the celebrities singing his praises, is properly lovely. And when his Mum rocks up, it's perfect. Knock yourself out and enjoy.
So, I've either shared a bunch of links you'll never bother to click, or I've just perked your morning up no end. I hope it's the latter, and that now you're mentally rejuvenated, you can crack on with whatever your day requires.
Have a lovely week, folks.