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Not Going Out

February 2011

By Quentin Clarke, London

Freelancers are time-rich and cash-poor at this time of year, so while waiting for the phone to ring I need my diversions to pay for themselves. Some entertainment is completely free: with organization, a good TV listings mag and a PVR, you’ll never pay for a box set again; even books pay for themselves if you trade second-hand on Amazon. Membership to my local cinema covers itself within three visits, and puts on free advance screenings for the dedicated on Sunday mornings.

A surprising number of friends are making entertainment from the necessity of feeding yourself, performing variations on the “Julie and Julia” idea of working your way through an entire cookbook. Child’s lobsters and fillets of beef will break the bank, but my friend Susie selected a classic 1970s vegetable cookbook by Jane Grigson and found the experience totally inspiring.

Real value comes if you dispense with going out altogether. My friend Fiona danced New Year’s Eve away under instruction of the Wii game Just Dance 2. My preferred product is the Lucky Voice Party Box. This microphone set, which links you up to the karaoke chain’s 8,000 song database on a subscription basis. It costs £50, but used just once will save you twice that on drinks and booth hire. All you need now is neighbors who won’t call the police.

Entertainment & Gaming

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