Could Crush’s Coaster Be My New Favourite Ride in Disneyland Paris?

It wasn’t so long ago that I discovered the glory of Big Thunder Mountain, and after years of ranking Pirates of the Caribbean as my number one in Disneyland Paris, the Wildest Ride in Wilderness usurped it. It is my son Lucas who determines which rides we try, as I always said that I’d go on any ride that he wanted to go on. Being that I’ve always been somewhat of a thrill avoider, that’s quite a promise, but fatherhood takes you to crazy places.

Crush’s Coaster was on the list for our last family trip in December 2017, but Lucas wasn’t feeling it so we shelved it until our next trip, the one we took just a few weeks ago. I’d had quite a few people tell me that Crush’s Coaster was a pretty wild ride, with the combination of spinning, whilst travelling a fast roller coaster track. Some said it was amazing, others said it was very jerky and even quite painful. I actually didn’t think Lucas would want to do it this trip too, but come rope drop on our second day and there we were, just 45 minutes from ticking a new ride off the list.

Crush's Coaster in Disneyland Paris
Crush’s Coaster in Disneyland Paris

Whilst the queue might look long, and it is, so looks aren’t deceiving, it moved quite quickly, so there wasn’t really a great deal of time to overthink things and get nervous. That and this was my first trip to Disneyland Paris with chemical courage, to give it a daft and pretty off the mark name, but I’m a fan of alliteration, so it stays. Through the switchback queuing area and I thought we were there, only to be welcomed by some stairs a bridge and more stairs – what goes up must come down. Still, it’s a wonderfully themed area, and I never got bored of the mine mine mine seagulls standing atop the beach shack.

I’d be lying if I said wasn’t a tiny bit anxious when we were seated in the shell themed riding vessel, and being at the back I was a bit perturbed that I couldn’t see what was coming. But did I go as far as turning my neck as far round as humanly possible, in an attempt to see what was coming? You bet I did, but not so much that I wasn’t there for Lucas and looking around at the Finding Nemo characters and scenes that make up the first gentle part of the ride. Past Bruce (fish are friends not food) and to the summit of the incline and it went dark. Not so dark that you couldn’t see anything, but dark enough that each twist and turn of the track was a surprise, as we plummeted backwards, spun, and flew along at a pretty rapid speed.

Crush's Coaster in Disneyland Paris
Inside Crush’s Coaster in Disneyland Paris

The second part of the ride is maybe a minute long, and in that time you are sent in every direction, sometimes facing forward, other times backwards and even sideways. When I disembarked from that inaugural ride I wouldn’t say I came off loving it, but I was pleased that I’d coped so well and was keen to ride again. Lucas and my wife Denise loved it, and in Denise’s case, I’ve never seen her come off a ride so buoyant. Wanting to capitalise on the momentum, we queued again, this time for well over an hour. My second ride, knowing that nothing life-threatening was awaiting me, was much more enjoyable, to say the least.

Crush’s Coaster became the story of this most recent trip, and we rode it 8 times. That might not sound a lot compared to the 12 Big Thunder Mountain and 13 Pirates of the Caribbean rides on our Summer 2017 visit, but those 8 rides involved a lot of queuing. I didn’t find it at all jerky, and though the sensation of speed is considerably faster than Big Thunder Mountain in some places, I found the experience really very smooth. It’s quite telling that those 8 rides on Crush’s Coater almost tripled the 3 rides we had on Big Thunder Mountain, and whilst some of that is most definitely the novelty factor of a new ride, the excitement of another go on Crush’s Coaster had us all buzzing.

So, is Crush’s Coaster my new favourite ride in Disneyland Paris? I think that question is best answered with another question – if I could go on one ride in Disneyland Paris right now, which would it be? The answer is most definitively, Crush’s Coaster. Gnarly dude!

100 Word Book Review: Knife – Jo Nesbo

100 Word Book Review: Knife - Jo Nesbo

It’s a credit to Jo Nesbo that he manages to keep each new Harry Hole story so fresh and different. Knife took things in a very unexpected and dark direction which had me so sure I knew whodunnit on more occasions than any book I’ve ever read. Of course, I was completely wrong each and every time, and didn’t for one second think the culprit would turn out to be who it was, as much sense as it actually made. An utterly captivating and heartbreaking book, one that I couldn’t wait to finish, and am sad now I have.

***** (out of 5)

100 Word Book Reviews are a maximum of 100 words, but can be less. They are also spoiler-free reviews, mostly.

Buy from Amazon: Knife – Jo Nesbo

Going Back to Disneyland Paris as a Mere Guest – Things I’m Most Looking Forward To

This feels quite strange, being the first time I’ve written about Disneyland Paris for a decade, away from the Disneyland Paris website I used to run, but here I am. Three weeks tomorrow and we depart from London on the Eurostar, for my first time back since last October, and the first family trip since 2017. After going countless times over the past 17 years, can there really much left to get excited about? Well there’s always something to look forward to in life, but being more specific to this article, let’s see what I can come up with.

Visiting as a Mere Guest

This is something I haven’t done for a long time, most of Lucas’ life and all but one of my trips with him. Running a Disneyland Paris website (podcast/social media/YouTube) meant that even during family time, and as much as I tried to keep it to a minimum, there was always that little voice in my head, wondering if I should take a photo for an article, or some video for a tweet. I made sure it didn’t impact family holidays too much, but it was always there. This summer, my time at Disneyland Paris will be spent on purely enjoying what is on offer, with my family. Sure I’ll take the odd photo or video, but there will be no feeling of obligation to do so.

Going Back to Disneyland Paris as a Mere Guest – Things I’m Most Looking Forward To

I’ll Be Spoiler Free

Even when I first visited back in 2002 I searched the internet for information and tips, and needless to say (but I will anyway), every trip since has been with intimate knowledge of everything that will be on offer, especially during the Disneyland Paris website years. I’ve managed to completely separate myself from the Disneyland Paris community since December last year. This has meant unfollowing and muting friends and words on social media accounts, and not once visiting any website associated with Disneyland Paris in any way. As such I have no idea what to expect in the way of new entertainment, other than what I knew before my blackout, that The Jungle Book is involved and there’s a new Lion King show at the new Chaparral Theatre. Both of which could be individual items on this list, but as I am ignorant to any details, they’d be very brief.

Riding Big Thunder Mountain at Night

Having only started travelling on the wildest ride in the wilderness a few years ago, I still get excited at experiencing Big Thunder Mountain. However, more than anything, I’m so looking forward to once again ride it at night, in the dark and with the lights of Disneyland Paris all around. There is nothing quite like it, and not only because of the lights, but also the added sensation of speed, and short queue times right at the end of the night. Lucas and I were chatting last week, and our quest is to be on Big Thunder Mountain whilst Illuminations is showing, in hope that we can see the lasers and fireworks, whilst flying around that great roller coaster.

Riding Big Thunder Mountain at Night

The Reopened Phantom Manor

This has been public knowledge for some years now, and after a long closure and refurbishment, it opened again earlier this year. As to what has changed, I have absolutely no idea. I’m hoping the story has is explained a little better, as hardcore fans may be happy to read up on the many variations of this online once home, there shouldn’t really be any need for that. The last time I visited Disneyland Paris when Phantom Manor was open, I rode it just once, and it left me feeling very underwhelmed. The ride felt old, with lots of frequently broken and non-working parts. I love what they did with Pirates of the Caribbean, so changes of that vain would be very welcome, but I’d go as far as saying they need to do even more than what they did to Jack et al. There were rumours of Fastpass being added, which I still think is utterly pointless for an attraction that rarely has a queue. A character photo location would be a welcome addition, with the characters in Phantom Manor costumes of course. Pretty excited to see what Phantom Manor has to offer, which is not something I’ve felt for quite some years.

A lot is covered by everything new that I don’t know about, which I’ll have more to say about when we return, but the big ones are going without any website work on my mind, and new things to experience that I haven’t read up on, seen videos or photos of. Being there with our good friends Martin, Hayley and Jake from Holiday Hamster will be fantastic too, as will the big steins of beer we’ll have in King Ludwig’s. We have no plans to return anytime soon, with a tour of mainland Europe being talked about for next summer, so we’ll be making the most of every moment. Disneyland Paris again? Yes, but this will be a trip different to all those that came before.

Bon Jovi – This House Is Not For Sale Tour – Wembley Stadium, London – 21st June 2019

I’ve been attending Bon Jovi gigs since the early 90s, but this was to be a special one, as it’s the first concert my 11-year-old son Lucas has shown interest in, and so I booked tickets for us to go when they first went on sale. He’s not been that into music until the last few weeks, so the timing of Bon Jovi’s return to Wembley couldn’t have been better.

Now Jon’s voice is not what it used to be, Richie left some years ago, and recent albums haven’t been as good as the earlier material. However, they are still Bon Jovi, the soundtrack of my life, so any opportunity to see them is a welcome one, especially as I’ve been saying since Lucas was born that I wanted to take him. I was a little worried he might get bored, as we entered the stadium 70 minutes before the start, but he loved trying to answer the trivia questions on the screen, and seeing if our photos would come up on the fan wall. They didn’t.

Bon Jovi – This House Is Not For Sale Tour – Wembley Stadium, London – 21st June 2019

Before Bon Jovi we were treated to the Manic Street Preachers, at least that’s what I thought going in. I’ve always liked the Manics, more so back in their Generation Terrorist era than anything since, but enough to be looking forward to seeing them perform. I’m sorry to say I wasn’t very impressed. There wasn’t much in the way of stage presence and the sound was guitar heavy, so vocals were hard to make out. I know Wembley Stadium isn’t known for its amazing sound quality, but they didn’t do themselves any favours. The first song was Motorcycle Emptiness, my favourite of theirs, though the clear highlight of the set was their cover of the Guns N’ Roses classic Sweet Child O’ Mine. That was the only song that got the crowd going, and I suspect few tears were shed they finished up. It’s a shame as I was looking forward to seeing them for the first time, but it wasn’t their day to shine.

Thirty minutes later and the main event was ready to commence, as Bon Jovi took to the stage and the crowd exploded, myself included. Right from the start it was clear that the band, and especially Jon, were 100% up for it, and determined to put on a great show. Kicking off with the titular track from their latest album, and This House Is Not For Sale set a high standard which was continued throughout the night. They got the crowd really going as they followed that opener with Raise Your Hands and You Give Love a Bad Name. What I love, and respect about Bon Jovi, is that they know who has come to see them and they know what they want to hear. So tracks from the latest albums are kept to a minimum, and we were treated to a plethora of songs from the 80s and 90s, when Bon Jovi were at their artistic and peak.

Bon Jovi – This House Is Not For Sale Tour – Wembley Stadium, London – 21st June 2019

I kept an eye on Lucas, and much to my delight he was really into the concert, singing along, and even up on his feet, clapping with the odd first bump. He wasn’t dancing as much as his Jovi crazy Dad, but was having a great time, and was captivated from start to finish. He’s not familiar with a lot of their songs, so he had to put up with me excitedly telling him this is one of their best, as the likes of Keep The Faith and Bed of Roses. The outro to the former was pretty bloody epic, with Phil X playing like a demon, for this and the whole night.

Bon Jovi – This House Is Not For Sale Tour – Wembley Stadium, London – 21st June 2019

It wasn’t all positive though, as I mentioned earlier, the sound isn’t the best at Wembley Stadium, though the atmosphere certainly makes up for that. Worse though, was the screen being out of sync with the sound. Bear in mind this is a screen directly behind the band, not a video link from thousands of miles away. It boggles my mind that they can’t get this right in 2019. When many thousands of fans, ourselves included, are too far away to see the band in any detail with the naked eye, we rely on those screens, and they didn’t do the job. Especially not for the price you have to pay, even up in the nosebleed seats – a phrase Lucas questioned, wondering if we really would get a nosebleed!

The only other negative was the time we had to wait between the main set and the inevitable encore, which went on way too long. A small gap builds up the excitement, but this was so long it almost ended in boos. That said, when they came out and gave us an incredible 7-minute version of Always, I forgave them. This visibly took a lot of Jon, but it was well worth it, and as one of my favourite Bon Jovi songs, it was a very special moment for me. They then finished with the National Anthem of Bon Jovi and Lucas sang every word of Livin’ On A Prayer, as did the whole crowd. What an encore and what a way to finish a fantastic evening.

01. This House is Not For Sale
02. Raise Your Hands
03. You Give Love a Bad Name
04. Born to Be My Baby
05. Whole Lot of Leavin’
06. Lost Highway
07. Runaway
08. We Weren’t Born to Follow
09. Have a Nice Day
10. Keep the Faith
11. Amen
12. Bed of Roses
13. Blood on Blood
14. It’s My Life
15. We Don’t Run
16. Wanted Dead or Alive
17. Lay Your Hands on Me
18. Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen From Mars
19. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
20. Bad Medicine
——————————————-
21. Always
22. Livin’ on a Prayer

Were the vocals as good as in the 90s? Of course not, but were they good enough to give everyone a fantastic Bon Jovi experience for almost 2.5 hours? Absolutely yes, and then some. To still be able to see ‘my songs’ performed live some 30+ years after they changed my life, is not something I take for granted and I’ll keep going for as long as they tour. Seeing my son singing and dancing to some of the songs made it even more special. I’m over the moon the first concert he’s wanted to go to is Bon Jovi, that’s a memory I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life, and I hope he does too.

The Power of Record Stores: Saint Agnes Live at David’s Music Letchworth – 7th May 2019

I could go on a huge ramble about how I came to see Saint Agnes yesterday evening, but let’s keep it brief, for both our sakes. I am a regular at David’s Music (and David’s Books), and as such, I follow them on Facebook, and it’s there that I saw them advertise that St Agnes would be playing in-store to promote the newly released album: Welcome to Silvertown. The blurb about the album included this snippet:

Welcome To Silvertown is an album that is musically unshackled and an accurate snapshot of the band’s ferocious intensity, fusing the menacing frenzie of rock with a dark, cinematic flare

That was enough to entice me, so I listened on Spotify, a platform I don’t use very often but I find good for sampling new music. Anyway, the album very much lived up to the description above, so along I went to David’s Music. The 4 were just 3 (no Ben), and with no room for Andy and his drums, that left Kitty and Jon on vocals and guitars, as they gave us a 6 song acoustic set, not something they are accustomed to doing.

Saint Agnes Live at David's Music Letchworth - 7th May 2019

It was bloody good, and while different from the energy and ‘rawk‘ of the album, the stripped back songs sounded quite magnificent in this record store setting, with vinyl and fairy lights as a backdrop. Lucky for me, they played my two favourite songs, the titular Welcome to Silvertown and The Witching Hour (abridged version). Well, as much as one can have favourites having listened to the album just once, in the gym, but it’s my blog so I get to choose what gets said.

I bought the album, on gorgeous white vinyl, got it signed, and then grabbed a photo with the 3 members of Saint Agnes who were there. The photo is taken from such a height because my 11 year old son took it, having recovered from his encounter with a very sour gobstopper around the second song mark. My phone, unfortunately, takes a long time to fire the flash and take the photo, so much so that Jon is falling asleep and Kitty got tired of waiting and started chatting to Andy. Andy, by the way, stayed in his photo pose for the duration, undeterred by the wait or whatever Kitty’s telling him! All three were an absolute pleasure to chat to, and very grateful for our attendance. I’ll be sure to catch them on tour, and am eyeing up their Dingwalls gig in October.

Meeting Saint Agnes Live at David's Music Letchworth - 7th May 2019

Saint Agnes - Welcome to Silvertown Vinyl Record

So there you have it folks, without David’s Music I would never have heard of Saint Agnes, let alone seen them live just a couple of miles from my house, and got to meet and chat to this fine group of musically gifted individuals. Maybe that’s not strictly true, as these guys are really good, so I’m sure I’d have of them at some point, but not this early in the career and in such an intimate setting. You get the point I’m making here.

David’s Music, like many other record stores around the country (and the world if we want to be really grand), is a community, that brings together music lovers, whilst spreading the word about bands such as Saint Agnes. They are so much more than just a place to buy music, though buying records in person will always be preferable to the risk of damage in transit options. Support your local record store, and not just on Record Store Day, because music is a much better place for them.

Top 10 Gigs of 2018

I’ve been lucky enough to be present at some amazing gigs this year, and while ranking them almost seems a tad cruel and like comparing apples to oranges in some cases, I’m going to take that brave step anyway.

Top 10 Gigs of 2018

  1. Danni Nicholls – Jim Marshall Auditorium, The Stables, Milton Keynes – 10/11/18 (review)
  2. Kacey Musgraves – Wembley Arena, London – 17/10/18
  3. Margo Price – Country to Country – The O2, London – 11/03/18 (review)
  4. Danni Nicholls – Bears and Tales: Unplugged, Bedford – 26/07/18 (review)
  5. Kacey Musgraves – Country to Country – The O2, London – 10/03/18 (review)
  6. Whitney Rose – The Lexington, London – 29/04/18 (review)
  7. Ashley Campbell – The Boderline, London – 17/03/18 (review)
  8. Gretchen Peters & Kim Richey – The Apex, Bury St Edmunds – 31/05/18
  9. Ben Glover & Kim Richey – Junction 3, Cambridge – 02/11/18
  10. The Grahams – Country to Country – The O2, London – 09/03/18 (review)

There are many more gigs that I’d have liked to have gone to, but life has a habit of getting in the way. Still, I got to see some extraordinary live shows this year, some for the first time, and others for the 4th, 5th and even 6th time. The plan for 2019 is to attend more, let’s see how that goes.

Top 10 Albums of 2018

2018 has been a great year for music, and looking at the list, a really great year for female artists.

Top 10 Albums of 2018

  1. Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
  2. By The Way, I Forgive You – Brandi Carlile
  3. Venom & Faith – Larkin Poe
  4. Clean – Soccer Mommy
  5. 22:22 – Bessie Turner
  6. Sparrow – Ashley Monroe
  7. Desperate Man – Eric Church
  8. The Lonely One – Ashley Campbell
  9. May Your Kindness Remain – Courtney Marie Andrews
  10. Interstate Gospel – Pistol Annies

I haven’t listened to Ben Glover’s Shorebound or Gretchen Peters’ Dancing With The Beast nearly enough, so maybe this list will get a 2019 shuffle at some point. There is also the case of Bessie Turner’s 22:22 being an EP, but at 6 songs and 20 minutes, it has a running time only 33% less than Larkin Poe’s Venom & Faith, so it counts. That and it’s flippin’ great, and this being my list, I make the rules! 2019 will be starting off with a bang when Danni Nicholls releases her third album, The Melted Morning, my most anticipated album of next year.

Gig Review: Danni Nicholls at The Jim Marshall Auditorium, The Stables – Milton Keynes – 10th November 2018

Read a few of my previous reviews of Danni Nicholls, by clicking this convenient link, and you’ll see just how much I love her music. Thanks to being in France in June, train problems in the summer and other issues the weekend of The Long Road, I would have seen Danni live six times in 2018 before last Saturday’s gig in Milton Keynes. As it was, this was my 4th Danni Nicholls gig of the year, which isn’t so bad really. I went with my gigging buddy Johnny who had started listening to Danni after seeing and hearing me talk about her music, a lot. So after a cheeky Nando’s (is there any other kind?), it was off to at The Stables, and my first visit to a venue that lay at the end of a windy country road.

I’ve seen Danni at The Borderline in London, in a record club in Bedford, at a festival in Bedford and a cocktail bar in Bedford, but this was the first time I was going to see Danni Nicholls play with a band. Previously it had just been Danni and her guitar, which let me tell you, is more than sufficient for a top class night of music. There were a lot of instruments and mic stands on the stage, so I could see we were in for something special.

The band came out and started playing, and then 30 seconds later Danni walked out on stage, presented as the star attraction she is. She kicked off with back to back songs from her upcoming album The Melted Morning, which would be a theme for the evening. As much as I love Danni’s back catalogue, hearing her new music is always a treat, and I got to hear even more of the new songs than I had at previous gigs. The full band sound was fantastic, and the new songs are really quite wonderful. Both on stage, and in the writing of her new music, I witnessed a very comfortable Danni Nicholls, and the next step in the evolution of her songwriting. This new album is going to be absolutely brilliant, with that trademark combination of vocal range, inspiring lyrics and smouldering soul that only Danni Nicholls can offer.

As much as I was excited to hear the new material, it was equally great to hear songs I thought I knew very well, presented in this full band format. The musicians and backing singers (one of whom was support act Hannah Rose Platt, who’d done a great job opening the evening) added a lot of depth and layers to favourites such as A Little Redemption and Beautifully Broken, the latter being my favourite Danni Nicholls song and always a delight to hear. It was quite surreal seeing someone else play the signature riffs that I’m so used to seeing Danni play on guitar herself, but the band and backing singers were all top notch and complimented Danni superbly. Danni looked to be having the time of her life, and didn’t for one second look out of place on a stage she’d grown up wanting to play on. As a huge fan of Danni, there was no doubt I was always going to enjoy this gig, but I’ve rarely seen a whole crowd of people react in the way they did. People were dancing, whooping, singing and showing huge amounts of respect and appreciation with their rapturous applause and standing ovations.

Gig Review: Danni Nicholls at The Jim Marshall Auditorium, The Stables – Milton Keynes, 10th November 2018

I’m a person who is very aware of time, and I can hand on heart say that this is the first gig I can remember where I didn’t look at my watch once. Well, that is until Danni and band bowed to a huge reaction and it looked like we were done for the night. It was just a few minutes before the slated end time, so I thought that there was a chance we wouldn’t get an encore. Well, I was wrong, thankfully, and out they came again for not one but two more songs. The last was a song that we were due to hear at the Bears & Tales gig, but ran out of time, so I was thrilled to finally hear Goodnight Moon live. The final song on her debut album A Little Redemption album and the perfect bookend to a spectacular evening of music. The gig actually finished this time and everyone was on their feet. The reaction was incredible, and so well deserved. Wow, that was something else. It was the kind of gig that only comes around every now and then, and fills your heart with joy and had me smiling from the very first second to the last, and for a long time afterwards. It was a career-defining gig for Danni Nicholls and a life-defining one for me as a fan.

Back in the bar and foyer area a lot of people waited to meet Danni and get things signed, and when she walked out everyone cheered and clapped, again. I’ve not seen such a warm and honest reaction from fans of an artist anywhere else, and it was evident that as both a musician and a person, Danni has touched a lot of people. It was great to be able to let Danni know much I’d enjoyed her performance, and thank her for putting on such a great show. I still have to pinch myself that someone whose music I admire so much and means so much to me, is so accessible and welcomes me like a friend every time I see her. I know being a good person isn’t a prerequisite of being a great musician, but it’s heartwarming when they are.

I’d commented to Danni a few days before that she needed some new merchandise as I had everything already. She replied that she had some especially for that night, and she certainly came up trumps. I bought a mini guitar, poster for that night’s gig (which looks amazing and will be framed and hung on the lounge wall) and a bracelet for my wife Denise made from one of Danni’s old guitar strings and which had beads recycled from family items. The first two she kindly signed and even asked who she should make the poster signing out to, knowing the whole family are big fans. My buddy Johnny had a great time too and certainly came away an even bigger fan of Danni Nicholls, as did I.

Meeting Danni Nicholls at The Stables, Milton Keynes - November 10th 2018

Signed Danni Nicholls Mini Guitar

Signed Danni Nicholls Poster - The Stables, Milton Keynes - November 10th 2018

What an amazing night it was – a musical performance of the absolute highest quality, in a superb venue, and surrounded by a whole bunch of great people. Speaking of which, a big thank you to Danni’s manager Graham and to her family members who I met and were a delight. I’d been thinking about my favourite gigs of the year recently, and already had one from Danni Nicholls in my top 10. Well, this one is going straight into that list, and I’ll tell you right now that it’s fighting for the top spot. You’ll have to come back and read that list later in the year to see for yourself where it places, and the other 9 too. I’ll finish by saying that not only did Danni Nicholls live up to her own high standard, but she raised the bar even higher. Anyone out there who doesn’t have the music of Danni Nicholls in their life is missing out big time, take it from me.

Top 10 Country to Country 2018

1. Margo Price

Country to Country 2018 Review Day 3 - Margo Price

2. Kacey Musgraves
3. Ashley Campbell
4. Ward Thomas
5. Lukas Nelson
6. Ashley McBryde
7. The Grahams
8. Old Dominion
9. Luke Combs
10. Ryan Hurd

4 main stage performances
3 satellite stage performances
3 pop up stage performances

Full reviews and thoughts can be found here: Day 1 ¦ Day 2 ¦ Day 3

A Week Without Social Media – How I Coped After Deleting Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram Off My Phone

One week and roughly 7 hours ago I deleted all the social media apps on my phone – that means Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram. So why did I do this? We went away on holiday last Sunday, to stay with family in Poole, and I decided I wanted to be completely off the grid, at least from a social media standpoint anyway. So why couldn’t I just not check them whilst I was away, that would be less drastic, wouldn’t it? In an ideal world yes, but I’m somewhat addicted to the aforementioned social media accounts, and if they are on my phone I’d be checking them. Addiction is a serious word, and I don’t use it lightly, but I do believe it’s the right one, or at least I did when I deleted them.

So how did it go? Actually, a damn sight easier than I thought it would be. I’m not sure if it was because in holiday mode, and spent much of the day on the beach, and evenings at restaurants with family, or whether the perceived addiction was just an indication that I need to be more productive with my spare time. On a couple of occasions I did think “ooh, that would make a good tweet, or that should be something I could take a photo of and put on Instagram”, but they were very fleeting thoughts and not something that I was disappointed not to be able to do. I didn’t actually take my phone to the beach, so was without it from mid-morning until mid to late afternoon, so maybe that was cheating a bit. However, when I did have it in the evenings I didn’t have the urge to check for updates on social media. In fact, I didn’t delete the apps from my iPad which I also took with me, but not once was I tempted to open them.

I could very well have missed out on something very important, but would that really be the case? I kept abreast of the news, a bit, and all my family members have my phone number, so they could have called and texted me, as some did. Importance is relative and any happenings on social media don’t really impact the world in any productive way, not in the circles I exist anyway. One interesting observation is just how much people rely on social media to communicate with one another, as it was my birthday the day after I deleted all the apps, and only one friend texted to wish me happy birthday, and she knew I had deleted the apps. To be fair, when I log back on to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, there could well be a bunch of birthday messages there.

I do rely on Twitter and Facebook, in particular, to keep up with the activities of singers and bands I like, but that’s not something I need to check every day, or every hour if I’m being completely honest. What I don’t miss is that constant need to see if anyone has reacted to what I’ve posted. That’s a flaw in the way I think and one that needs addressing, so social media is probably not a healthy environment for me to be around in the first place.

Will I go back to them? I kind of need to as I use them to spread the word about the activities of Dedicated to DLP, and do still want gig updates for the aforementioned musicians. Can I decrease my time using them, and dependence on interactions? Time will tell, but this week of cold turkey did categorically prove that without them I didn’t suffer at all. In fact my son will tell you it was a very positive experience, as I spent more time playing with him and less time checking my phone.

At the time of publishing this article, I have not yet installed any of the social media accounts back into my phone, and I’m quite anxious about doing so. The irony is that you’ll most probably only be reading this now if I have logged back in and shared this article on them. (EDIT: 3 hours later… or I still haven’t added the apps back to my phone and share this on Facebook and Twitter using my laptop)