We’re still in the grip of Summer and I have nothing better to do than continue to support our local and tourist industries by scaring off any potential visitors with my copy pasted anecdotes. Trawling the web, I found some more of those ‘You know you’re from X when…’ sites and blogs, so I’ve nicked a few more of the better questions and bits and bobs and am commenting on them below – they’re specific to Northern Ireland and/or Belfast.
You get offended when other nationalities don’t understand our extremely complex political situation.
I would have thought the complete opposite was true. Reading the article that this first set of questions comes from… it’s a bit wanky and comes off as written by someone from the Malone Road. Or Hollywood (the posh areas where realism is a fantasy). You know, a rich person who moved to London when they turned 18 but still likes to pretend they had a normal Northern Ireland upbringing when instead they had a bland could-be-anywhere-middle-class upbringing. In other words, they have heard and seen things whispered by their parents and although they didn’t experience it for themselves, they think they’re patriotic enough to write about home with just an ounce of sardonic ‘wit’. In other other words, they haven’t a fucking clue. Still, it’s probably better than whatever the hell it is I’m trying to write. I don’t expect anyone to understand or care about our political situation. We don’t understand it ourselves. It’s nonsense, it’s beyond comprehension because it’s so absurd, and it’s not worth talking about.
You have an obsession with “flegs”.
Flegs, you may have guessed, are flags. We have a rich history of love and hate when it comes to flags, all of it completely unnecessary. We argue if they’re there, if they’re not, if they’re the wrong colour etc. I’d prefer if no country had a flag, but as I’ve said before I just don’t understand nationalism or patriotism or any of it. I don’t have any pride for my Country… it’s just an arbitrary place, like any other. People, and their achievements I can be proud of. If they happen to make a success of themselves coming from a small country versus a bigger country, then yeah I can see that possibly being a different kind of achievement, but is it bigger? Better? No, of course not. 90% of anything is luck.
You don’t understand why people are so concerned about riots.
Yes, it’s always quite funny when you see the media freak outs about riots in the US or England or wherever. Or even when they’re covering our ones. If there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s riots. Every year, usually in the spring and summer months, but why not around Halloween too, the streets are filled with flaming buses, cars are used as trampolines, sofas are dragged onto rooftops, and we all beat the shit out of everything in sight until the firemen come to hose us away. I’m only slightly exaggerating, in that it’s not usually me doing it. Sometimes I’m just taking a dander through the middle of it, having a drink and laughing sadly at the mess. It’s nothing to be scared of guys, just dive in.
You are great at sports. Or at least the ones you can play in a pub.
I was never great at sports, and I think our sporting achievements our wildly overrated. Most people from here will use the same phrases when it comes to our sports stars – we overachieve, we punch above our weight – but it’s bullshit. We’ve had a couple of decent footballers, a golfer, some boxers in divisions no-one cares about, and the rest are sports hardly anyone watches. We do have a terrific history of motorcyclists, but again no-one mentions that. I’ve never been good at sports, though I imagine I could have been had I put in any effort. I was lightening fast and was completely tireless and I am extremely perceptive. This entry seems to be just another extension of the old ‘we play darts and pool’ cliche. We do. Doesn’t mean we’re any good.
You tell a story that was never intended to be funny and people laugh hysterically.
I have never experienced or heard of this ever. Not without everyone involved being completely off their tits.
Even the slightest glimmer of sunshine is an excuse for you to get the guns out.
For once, guns doesn’t actually mean guns. Because we always have those out. No, this means arms, which of course usually means guns too. The thing is, most people here are either obese or weedy skinny types, so thin you can smell the shit through them. In recent years there has been an uptake in gym types – people obsessed with bulking up. It’s hilarious. You know most of these guys are psychopaths or mummy’s boys and they are not doing it to better themselves or get stronger or healthier. They’re doing it because that’s what magazines tell them to and because it’s fashionable. In other words, it’s false and they’re the same useless ballbegs they’ve always been, scared of actual work. Off track there, but yes, as soon as the clouds clear, it’s t-shirts and shorts time. I pretty much only wear t-shirts, all year long. It’s always funny when someone from a warm climate sees me wandering around outside in a t-shirt when they have a shirt, jumper, coat, and scarf on. I’m just… always warm. Must be in my blood. I admit I take it to extremes, like when it’s winter and everyone around me on the train is shivering and coughing, I’m stripping off to the bare minimum layer of clothing and fanning myself.
You react to compliments with suspicion.
I’d go further and say we react to anything with suspicion. We don’t trust anyone, we’re always watching everyone else, and always moaning about everything. Hence this post, I guess. Compliments are strange, especially from an outsider. What the hell are you talking about – it’s just a thing that I did? What are trying to say? Do you… do you want to sex me? Yeah, compliments don’t work when we have absolutely nothing to be proud of.
You assume that if it isn’t fried, it’s practically vegetarian.
I don’t understand this either. I don’t think we eat fried food more or less than anyone else. Our diet is mostly rubbish, and mostly spuds. We do have The Ulster Fry, but I don’t like it. Fried bread and the like is just boke to me.
You refer to everything, regardless of size, as “wee”.
Aww, look Billy at the wee lion eating the elephant. Yes, almost everything is wee. Unless we’re talking breasts. It’s an all-purpose adjective which never fails.
You’re Worried About How Long The Immersion Heater Has Been On.
Yes, this is definitely a thing. Even in my house, even today. And still, I don’t even know what the hell and Immersion Heater is. Yes, I know what it does, but why is it called that? Why is it so important? I have no idea. Oh yeah, just say Immersion – no need to add the Heater bit.
When you hate pigeons.
No, I don’t get this either. What’s wrong with pigeons?
When you’ve had a sausage roll bap for breakfast?
No, never heard of this.
When you know what 15s are.
Is this a Northern Ireland thing? I know they’re everywhere here, but I assumed they were just a simple bun and that other countries had them too. If not – it’s a bun which mooshes together biscuits and cherry and coconut etc.
When you enjoy eating soda bread.
Yes, most people here do. I don’t, it’s rank. Is ‘rank’ a thing in others places? It means mingin’. Is ‘mingin’ a thing? It means disgusting. Y’all are learning a lot.
When you complain the weather isn’t as bad as it was going to be.
I can see what this is getting at. We think the worst, we expect the worst, and then when the worst doesn’t happen we’re like ‘see, I knew you were talking ballax’. We are a very negative people. It seeps into every part of our culture, right down to the way we speak. It’s like thousands of years of being beat down or following orders for fear of being shot or eaten or whatever. The way we phrase our questions or responses is usually with some form of negative – ‘it’s not bad’ instead of good. ‘Are you not coming out tonight?’ instead of just ‘are you’. We take pleasure in defiance and in knowing someone fucked up or in knowings things could always get worse. It’s why if our national team is being beaten by six goals or something, and we score one we celebrate like we’ve won the whole thing.
When your answer to a crisis is a cup of tea.
This isn’t just a Northern Ireland thing, but it’s everywhere here and I can’t stand it. I cannot fathom why anyone chooses to drink tea. Nothing is held up on a pedestal as much as tea, and I wish the whole thing was banned. I often think every single one of our problems as a nation would be solved if we didn’t have tea because it gets in the way of everything. One more thing I can’t stand, that all these articles have in common – Norn Iron. FUCK OFF. I hate that term to the point that hearing it makes me nauseous.
When you text and email instead of talking on the phone.
This is utter lazy bullshit too. Tell me a country that doesn’t do this. A better example would be when you outright refuse to answer the phone or the door, and get unnerved when someone calls, because why the hell would someone be wanting to talk to me? Now that’s a Northern Irish thing.
We get offended when an outsider slegs the country.
Nope, by all means, sleg away. It’s a shithole.
We love Sukie.
I guess. I don’t think it was big when I was young, or at least I never had it. But it’s everywhere now. It’s a fruit juice made by a local company. No-one knows how it’s pronounced, so I just go all in and call it ‘sucky’.
Assume everyone from outside NI is from ‘the country’.
I can only assume this is a typo, and they meant outside Belfast. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense. I’ve never heard or heard of anyone referring to another country as ‘the country’ and I’d say we have a pretty good grasp of world geography, as long as you’ve been to school. Incidentally, we have the best schools in Britain, apparently.
When Crisp Sandwiches are our lunch most days.
They are for me. Or at least I always add crisps to whatever sandwich I have.
Not being the slightest bit scared when there is a bomb alert.
Similar to the riot one, we get ‘bomb scares’ all the time – that is, when someone calls the police or wherever to say they’ve placed a bomb somewhere. So the place gets shut down and the police or military check it out – either it’s a hoax, or a home-grown explosive, or an actual bomb. Either way we don’t care, unless it stops us from getting home.
When you walk past three bottles of Buckie on your way home.
Yes, Buckfast is the drink of choice for most steeks. And the pavement is their bin of choice. Also – their toilet.
Using grammar in the precise opposite of its definition.
So this one I made up myself, but you’ll hear and notice this example every day. ‘I seen him’ instead of ‘I saw him’ but ‘I’ve saw this already’ instead of ‘I’ve seen’. Same goes for did and done. Saying ‘yous’ or indeed ‘yousuns’ instead of ‘you’ as a plural. This one makes sense as there is no reason why you should be used as both singular and plural. When looking outside at the immense black cloud approaching, you may hear ‘I doubt it’s going to rain’ meaning ‘I think it’s going to rain’. Doubt, meaning the exact opposite of doubt. Other countries have their own examples – The Simpsons had Dr Nick do a bit in one episode where he talks about flammable and inflammable which is pretty funny. One of the most common US ones which pisses me off most days is ‘I could care less’, which you see on almost every online conversation every day. What they actually mean is ‘I could NOT care less’. It’s completely bizarre. Yes means No, up means down, and this post is over.
Let us know in the comments if you have any similar lists of questions based on your city or country – are there any similarities between places or unique cultural oddities?
Reminder on blog links:
A-Z Reviews: This category is a single post with links to all my movie, music, and book reviews. It’s the best place to start and you can check it via THIS LINK. I try to update it regularly.
Amazon Vine: I’m a member of Amazon Vine, a program where Amazon’s best reviewers are provided with free products for reviewing purposes in order to drum up publicity before the product is released to the general public. You can find links to the Products I have received here.
Book Reviews: Something I don’t really do anymore, even though I still read plenty. I need to get back into this, but movies are so much easier to review. Maybe I’ll come up with a different format.
Blogging: A new category! This is where I’m going to put this exact post, and the others like it to follow.
Changing The Past: This category is where I go back through every Oscars since 1960 and pick my winners from almost every category. I pick my winners from the official choices, and then I add my own personal list of who I feel should have been nominated. It’s based on personal preference, but it’s also not based on any of the usual Academy political nonsense and I bypass most of their archaic rules. It’s not quite me just picking my favourite films, but it’s close.
DVD Reviews: I should probably just change this to Movie Reviews. It’s what you would expect – reviews of the movies I’ve watched. I’m not a big fan of reviewing every new film which comes out – there are a billion other blogs out there all doing the same thing. I don’t often watch new movies as they release, unless they’re streaming, so instead you’ll be getting reviews of those films a few years later, once I get around to them. Here you will find horror, actions, classics, foreign, indie, sci-fi, comedy, drama – everything. A word of warning – I frequently post reviews that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I didn’t have a clue – they’re crap, but I add them here in all of their badly written glory.
Essential Movies: I’ve only published an intro post for this category, but I have written some other posts for the future. I’m basically questioning what actually makes a film Essential, because it cannot be a definitive statement. What’s essential for you, may not be for me, so I’ve broken down the definition into a few generic user types, then gone through some lists of the best movies of each year to see which ones are essential for each viewer. It’s pretty boring, and I already regret starting it, but that’s me.
Foreign Cinema Introduction:
This category hasn’t been published yet, but once again it exists and I’ve written a bunch of posts for the future. The idea came from my many years of hearing people I know IRL or on the internet dismissing anything not mass-produced by Hollywood. If you only watch movies made in the USA – you’re not a movie fan, it’s as simple as that. I follow a few Facebook fan pages and blogs on WordPress which completely dismiss foreign movies – it’s ridiculous as you are missing out on many of the best films ever made. More than that, you are missing out on films which I know for a fact you will adore. So, this is me breaking down all that bullshit about subtitles, about foreign stuff being boring and every other excuse you’ve ever heard, while giving some very basic thoughts and introductions of the various countries of the world from a film perspective.
Lists: Here I post lists – some with comments, some without. All sorts of lists – from monthly previews of the year’s upcoming movies, to my favourite movies by actor or director, to best horror anthologies, best Christmas songs and TV shows, best movies for Halloween, my favourite episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, my ranking of Bond movies, songs, and girls, my favourite albums by decade, my favourite songs by artist, bands I’ve seen live etc. I love lists.
Manic Street Preachers Song By Song: One of the first reasons I started this blog was to try to spread the Gospel of my favourite band, especially as they are not well known outside of Britain. Defo not in the US. Then I found out there were other blogs doing it too. Ah well. These are my thoughts on each song. Don’t know them? They are a Welsh rock band who have been around since the late 80s, early 90s. They are highly political and intelligent, on the left wing, and they are probably the finest lyricists in the world. Their main lyricist suffered from various addictions and mental health issues and disappeared in 1995 – although there have been sightings, nobody has ever confirmed they have seen him and no body has ever been found, though the band, fans, and family are still looking. After three albums with him, they suddenly became commercially successful after his disappearance. If you like rock music… if you like music in general, please give them a try.
Music Reviews: This is the same as movies, except for music. Reviews of albums I’ve always loved, as reviews of albums as I’m listening as a virgin. I take a look at the Top Ten UK Charts from a random month in each year and review each song, while giving my own alternative ten songs from the same year, I am reviewing albums that I’ve never heard by artists I am familiar with – filling the gaps in those discographies. I’m listening to spin-offs of my favourite bands, I’m reviewing the Disney soundtracks. I was a metal and grunge kid, but also had a love for the best in 80 pop when I was young, so I like to listen to anything though since around the mid-noughties chart music has gone from extremely bad to entirely worthless.
The Nightman Scoring System ©: This is something I truly love, but something which nobody really pays attention to. You’ll notice in my reviews I don’t give a score. I just talk about the thing I’m reviewing. Scores are arbitrary and when given, people jump to the score and form a conclusion and a bias. If they read the content of the review, there will be a better discussion. That made me think, in a very unprofessional, semi-scientific, ill-examined way, to come up with a fair, universal scoring system which tries to avoid personal and systematic bias as much as possible. If you look at sites like Rotten Tomatoes which are stupidly becoming reference points for quality or to convince you to watch something, or used by advertisers, it’s a completely flawed system. Anyone can post whatever they like, and drag down or push up an average. The same used to happen on IMDb. There are a lot of posts online recently about the disparity between Critical and Audience consensus on RT and it leads to more worthless arguments, because if there’s something the world needs more of these days, it’s people fighting online about pointless stuff.
I devised two scoring systems – one for movies and one for music. To use it, you have to follow the guidelines and be honest. If you’re not honest, it will be obvious, and your review won’t be valid. For both music and and movies, I break down the scoring into twenty different categories of equal weighting – out of five, for a total out of 100. Categories include acting, directing, sales; or for music – charts, influence, musical ability etc. Say you hate the Marvel movies or The Beatles. You can’t score them a 1 out of five in the Sales category because both of those were factually monster hits – they can really only be 5 out of five. In other words, some of what is opinion and bias is removed from the equation. In the same vein, the disparity between critics and audiences is reduced – typically you may think that a movie or music critic care more about how arty or original or influential something is, while the audience might care how many boobs are seen or how catchy the melody is. I’m making sweeping assumptions – but you get the idea – each category is equally weighted so that influence is only worth five points, chart performance is only worth five points, directing, advertising, whatever – each is five points. I’d love to see people use this, and I’d love to run an experiment where a group of people each use the system to score the same thing, and see how similar or different the results are. I’m positive the average would be a more true reflection than anything on RT or IMDB or anywhere else. The only issue with it is, it’s more suited to scoring once something has been out there for a while rather than a pre-release or first week review.
Nightman’s Favourite Films By Year: Self-explanatory. I list my favourite ten films from every year since 1950, with no comment. Then I give a list of my top films from each decade once I’ve done each year, but this time share some comments. There’s also some stats in there, such as how many films I picked which were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, which were top ten grossing movies etc.
Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: A journalist called Colin Larkin made several of those popular ‘Top 1000 Albums Ever’ books. I grabbed one of them, I removed the ones I had already heard, and in this series I go through the ones that I haven’t heard, give my virgin thoughts, and whether I think it deserves to be called one of the best ever. I want to sync up my Nightman Scoring System © with these. Just one word of warning – I don’t plan or put any thought into these ‘reviews’. I literally listen and type at the same time. Not the best way to give thoughts I know, but that’s the format.
The Shrine: People die. Famous people die. But they live on, in our hearts and minds and in the work they left behind. Here I offer the chance to remember and offer thanks.
The Spac Hole: Each Monday I post a random lyric from a random song. Every so often I write something which doesn’t fit in any other category. Usually it’s weird. That stuff all goes here. There are more semi-regular pieces like those posts where I use Google translate to change the lyrics of (s)hit songs or dreadful imaginings like what I would do if I owned my own Cinema.
The Spac Reviews: Carlos Nightman is my alter ego. Derek Carpet is his alter ego. He is an idiot. He likes movies. These are his reviews. They are…. different.
TV Reviews: I sometimes review TV too. I talk about my current shows and my all time favourites.
Unpublished Screenplays: Derek Carpet sometimes likes to pretend he’s a writer too. Here are some of his original works, based on other movies and TV shows.
Videogame Reviews: I do these sometimes too. Usually retro. Usually with a humourous bent.
Walk Of Fame: Hollywood has a Walk Of Fame. I have one too. Mine’s better, except I don’t update it anymore. Not only do my inductees get a star, but they get a statue too! And, in each post one lucky soul gets a special building concerning their work or life dedicated to them!