My Blog – May 2020

1993 Me, Flipping off 2020 You.

May The Fourth Be With You! How many posts will begin with that today? Four billion? Make that four billion and one, punk. Once again I’m not at all prepared for what I want to write today. When I did these monthly, more personal posts last year, I had it planned out in January at a high level what I should tippidy type about each month, but this year all fucks have gone fuckidy flying out the window.

So how are you? That’s what we’re all asking these days – how are you coping? It’s all very strange to me because before nobody ever asked me these things, or if they did I was too busy not listening. It’s nice though, isn’t it? Or is it? I don’t know, social stuff is weird for me. Anyway, Northern Ireland is still in quarantine, but you wouldn’t know it in my speck of the country – idiot farmers are still idling along in their tractors, phones clapped to their ears as they drag their 10-tonne crush machines blindly up the middle of the road, vacantly oblivious to the instant carnage they would bring if they were distracted and bumped a kerb. These are the demented thoughts of a parent, pushing a pram with a 10 week old bundle of helplessness down the middle of a country road where the chavs think it is their duty to drive at 60 rather than 30 and I take great delight and pinging their windees if there’s a suitable stone laying nearby. Why am I walking in the middle of the road, you shriek? Well there’s not a lot of choice when the dickheads with driveways large enough to house four cars, whose houses dot the edge of said road, decide to park their chavy little R Plates on the pavement, leaving barely enough room for a proto-anorexic like me to sidle by, never mind a mammoth buggy. Inconsiderate twats, everywhere you go.

Don’t worry, this isn’t isolation getting to me – I love isolation. In truth, essentially nothing has changed for me since Quarantine started, beyond taking and lifting the kids from School. Sure, home-schooling is an issue but it also goes to highlight just how shitty our School is – as near as can be estimated, the teachers are off work on full pay, and have barely lifted their finger since day one. Which is awesome for the rest of us who have to keep working as normal – I’ve always been able to work from home, it just means that now I absolutely don’t need to go into work at all. There are plenty of teachers going over and above – not in my School of course, but in the towns nearby – so to supplement the work we already have, our daughters are watching a teacher from nearby Portstewart who is making daily Youtube videos. This is also beneficial because when we home school, or even in the past when we have done the girls’ homework, we have no clue how they are being taught in school and revert back to how we were taught. It’s easier for everyone if we follow the teacher’s lead.

Ha. My wife just walked into the room to say she’s just received an email from the School to say that each week the teachers will be adding some additional online work for each class. Success! Now I bet if I go for a walk, the car which was blocking the pavement will be on fire. Nothing to do with me, of course. The main positive of all of this nonsense is that I’m getting to spend a lot more time with my son than I normally would have – an almost three hour commute when I’m travelling into work has been dissolved so now there is no rush to get out of bed or get home.

That aside, last month I was messing around with some DVDs which my parents had brought up a few months ago – conversions of our old VHS and camcorder memories. Hours of footage of me messing around as a kid – playing outside, Christmases, Birthdays, assorted family outings and weirdness. My old pal, Mr Biffo – creator of the old Teletext page Digitiser which I used to read on a daily basis before the days of the Internet, had asked on Twitter if anyone happened to have old VHS footage which he could use in some upcoming Youtbe vids. A few conversions to MP4 later and I sent him a batch. If you’re interested (and you should be), you can watch his madness here  – for someone with my sense of humour, it’s the best Youtube channel in the biz. Some of my footage has been used already, so it’s nice to be a minuscule part of something I love.

That’s really all I wanted to say. Okay, fine – I know I usually do one of those silly personal questionnaires when I write these posts, but they’re always terrible, bland or quirky – but I suppose that’s their nature. Here’s a quick Music survey I found – I’ve no idea what it’s about:

  1. What is your gender: Male
  2. What is your age: 35 and older (I guess once you reach this category music stops being important)
  3. Choose the top 3 genres of music you listen to most often (the survey provides a list): Classic Rock. Metal. Heavy Metal.
  4. What genre do you listen to most: Isn’t that the same question? For the sake of brevity I just lump it all under metal.
  5. How do you listen to music: CD, MP3, iPod, Youtube.
  6. How many hours a day do you spend listening to music: 1-2 hours.
  7. Where do you listen to music most: This of course depends on where I am – I’ll listen to music more at work on the days I go in, more at home in the day’s I’m wfh.
  8. List the last three songs I chose to listen to recently: Hmm, according to my calculations those would be ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ theme, ‘Ave Satani’, and ‘Lucille’.
  9. Of the three songs listed above, what musical aspect do you enjoy most: again there are options to choose from which are highly limited, but out of those I would say ‘the instruments being used’.
  10. On a scale of 1-5, how open are you to listening to new music: Well, what do you mean by ‘new’? Music which was recorded and released within the last 12 months? Or music which I’m only hearing for the first time which may have been recorded and released decades ago? In any case, I’m open to anything. It’s just that most ‘new’ chart music is terrible, I’m mostly out of the loop when it comes to new metal and I haven’t bothered keeping up to date recently. But music I haven’t heard before – take a look at any of my musical posts and you’ll see all the crap I’m hearing for the first time. 

That’s that, I guess. Till next time, stay away from coughing strangers and look after your sanity by visiting digitiser2000 on Youtube and browsing my plethora of junk at the links below.

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!

Tell it like it is!

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