My Blog – July 2020

We only went and did it! 30 years. 30 Years of near misses and nowhere nears. 30 Years since Liverpool Football Club was last crowned Champions Of England. Last Season of course, we were Champions Of Europe (6 times) and even after a club record of 97 points in the League, we still missed out on winning it by a single point. Most clubs would shatter after doing everything possible to win, beating records left and right, and still not winning, but the never give up mentality which has always been a part of the club and the city, and which has been rejuvenated and solidified under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp meant we simply pulled up our socks and went one better this year. With a 25 point lead at the top before the outbreak of COV-ID halted things, it was always inevitable that this was finally our year. I for one wasn’t taking anything for granted until it was mathematically impossible for anyone to catch us – which it now is, even with seven games remaining. Being 37 years old, I don’t really remember the last time we won. I remember us being Champions but none of the details. In the years between, we’ve seen some of our greatest players and managers come and go without getting their hands on the biggest price in British football, and the running joke from critics and naysayers was ‘maybe next year’. The jibes are no more. The critics and naysayers have been soundly destroyed on and off the pitch. As the clock ran down, at the poignant 96th minute in the match between rivals Man City and Chelsea, we knew that anything less than a City win would have crowned us Champions. Of course it would have been nice to have done the job ourselves – beating Everton and then Crystal Palace to have the celebrations on our own turf, but you don’t always get everything your own way. No matter – we got over the line in style – like no other club in history, and no have a claim to being the greatest football squad the Country has ever seen.

Champions Of Europe

Champions Of The World

Champions Of England

Oh yeah – here’s what I originally wrote for this blog post last week –

School’s Out! Here in Northern Ireland, we finish School in the last week of June before taking the entirety of July and August out – eight weeks to bask in the glorious lack of sunshine in whatever passes for Summer over here. Most people head to the Costa Del Booze for some unbegotten Continental flings or assorted lilo shenanigans with the family, but it’s a little different this year. Instead, all the Northern Ireland coastal resorts are being filled to bursting with chip-eaters from the rest of the Country, leaving their junk strewn over the beaches before heading back to the big smoke with sand in their cracks and resentment in their hearts. On top of that, the kids have been home schooled for the last few months, and we’re not even sure they’ll be back in September – which is a complete shambles given my eldest is going into her Primary 6 year – the most important year of School.

But that’s not what you came to read about. Last time out I told you about my current enjoyment of specific reaction channels. I love the idea behind some Reaction Channels – Americans watching British Sitcoms or trying British Snacks etc – that’s mildly interesting to me – but unfortunately most of the reactors are so obnoxious/low budget/have apparently just snorted 100 metres of coke as to make their content unwatchable. I enjoy seeing people experience things I am familiar with for the first time, whether it be food, TV, Music, Movies, but it really only works if they are people I’d like to hang out with IRL – not the self-obsessed bin lids who have cloned and spread all over YouTube.

Which is partly why I find myself drawn to different perspectives – people, who don’t seem to be dicks, who I may not usually have the opportunity to meet IRL. People from other cultures and countries, people with experiences and lives which may be truly alien to me. Plus, this also aligns neatly with the Post-Colonialist part of me which I have an inkling resides in all of us. When I was young, I wanted to be an explorer. Not because I had a desire to conquer and enslave like our forefathers, but because I wanted to visit places I hadn’t been before, or that perhaps nobody had been before. I still imagine visiting new worlds, parallel worlds, and sharing our culture and history – not with a view of showing we’re superior or trying to take over – but because what we’ve achieved as a species is pretty damn cool. So, in some way watching these Reaction videos is a harmless, vicarious way of living out these fantasies.

There are few unexplored places in our planet anymore. Places like the North Sentinel Islands – we’re unlikely to get Reaction videos from there… but places like North Korea, people who live in South American, African, or otherwise distant tribes, people who have grown up shielded or sheltered from World wide or Western Culture, people indoctrinated by Cults who have since escaped – people who have had lives so wildly outside of ‘the norm’ that they may have never heard of The Beatles, The Simpsons, Disney, Pizza, Canada – things the rest of us know by heart. I enjoy hearing stories and watching Reaction videos by people who escaped North Korea, but there are not many of them. Recently, Reactistan has been scratching this itch perfectly, as it has been publishing a series of Reaction Videos by people from Tribes in Pakistan. Videos include ‘Tribals React to Super Mario’, Tribals Try Nutella For The First Time’, ‘Tribals Try Coffee For The First Time’ – you get the idea. These wonderful, Meme-ready men and women have honest, often hilarious reactions to some of our supposed greatest exports. from the Elder who doesnt’ trust any food which is put in front of him, calling ‘Only God knows what is in this’ and claims his village has better versions of whatever he is reacting to, to ladies favourite Peer who is much more outgoing and willing to give thoughtful critiques. From dropping truth bombs to being surprised, disgusted, amused, or bemused by what is put in front of them, every episode is gold and it’s probably the most addictive thing I’ve watched in months.

When I first started watching the channel, they had under 20K subs, but at time of writing it’s over 100K – obviously I’m not the only one watching and enjoying. Plenty of people are commenting and creating their own memes in the comments so the community is growing, and fans are being asked for ideas for future episodes. Now’s the time to join in if it sounds like this is your sort of thing. If anyone reading this knows of any similar channels or wants to promote their own channels – feel free to share those here. I’m always interested to catch up with these, and it’s something I’d like to see more of online – less of the Buzzfeed type crap, more of the natural, truthful first time reactions. With that, kind of in mind, here are ten more TV shows I’d love to see individual Reactors React to.

Top Ten Shows NOBODY Is Reacting To (or probably are but just in vastly diminished numbers).

  1. Party Of Five

Party Of Five was one of my original personal obsessions. For early teen me, it had the hottest cast imaginable, with Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Lacey Chabert giving me special loin feelings, and Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf for the ladies. On top of that, it was such a wonderfully acted and written emotional show. While my brother and others were still stuck on shite like 90210, I was dining in the mire of the Salinger family’s trials and tribulations. Every episode featured some sort of MAJOR DRAMA and it’s one of those shows which made me yearn to be in the USA at the time – when Grunge was still on a high and where the beautiful people were not vacuous. It’s probably wouldn’t make for the most entertaining of Reactions – it’s not a show which relies on cliffhangers or outlandish plots or has a lot of comedy or surprises. Instead, it’s a powerful, authentic drama which will probably rip your emotions asunder. NOTE: I’m aware there has been a Latino focused remake of the series featuring an all new cast, and that it has Reactors. I’m going to assume the show has not done well as I have heard zero people talk about it, which sucks.

2. Medium

Medium is a show I only started watching after it ended, buying the boxset because I love Patricia Arquette and the plot sounded like a neat merging of Supernatural, Cop drama, and balancing family life. And that’s exactly what it is. I haven’t finished the show yet, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with these characters, thanks to excellent all round performances and the chemistry the cast has. Special mention must go to the chid actors here – they’re excellent. Again, not the most exciting show to watch others react to, but it’s a sweet show with a touch of horror, romance, humour, and mystery, and it is absolutely littered with guest stars who happen to be some of my favourite performers. No-one else is doing it, so go for those Blue Sky views.

3. Shooting Stars

This is where things get interesting; Shooting Stars was unlike anything else at the time, and while celeb based panel shows are all the rage in the UK now, they still haven’t come close to matching the majesty of Vic and Bob’s unholy spawn. I heard that panel shows aren’t really a thing in the US – I’ve no idea if that’s true or not. Basically, they are (typically) Quiz shows which feature celebrity guests. There’s no real prize on offer, beyond the honour of beating your opposing Team Captain. Typically there are Two Teams headed by an unchanging Team Captain, each week each team has one or two additional celebrity guests, and the show is hosted by an unchanging Quiz master. Sometimes the shows are based around Music, Sports, or Politics, but in the case of Shooting Stars, the subject matter was of course giant doves, True Or False questions (William Shatner’s real name is Bill Schitz?), and surreal video clips. There are a small number of, truly cringeworthy clips out there, of young US big-mouths watching the show uncomfortably and laughing at all the wrong parts, but I fell there are plenty of US viewers who would ‘get it’ and love it. The humour is both very British, and very Vic and Bob – you’ll either be a fan or you won’t, but it’s certainly their most accessible work with the bizarre tempered by the celebrity guests and the presence of Lamar, Jonsson, and Georgie Dawes. It’s one of my all time favourite shows, I used to regularly annoy people in school with my skits from it, and it’s one of those shows where you instantly have a sacred affinity and kinship with someone else who appreciates it.

4. The Outer Limits

Another seminal Anthology show, The Outer Limits is possibly seen as the little brother of The Twilight Zone. Honestly, I think the 90s version of the show may fare better with Reactors than the original. Maybe that’s because I grew up with the 90s one. A little more focused on horror, and on sci-fi, and with a touch more sex and violence, The Outer Limits is prime fodder for Reactors, mainly because not too many Reactors are watching Anthology shows (outside of Black Mirror) yet they offer provocative quick thrills and twists which the viewer will be anticipating – wondering if the Reactor will work it all out or be shocked.

5. Inside Number 9

I’ve talked about it multiple times before, it’s another Anthology show, but it is so clever, funny, scary, and offers something different with each episode while rarely dipping in quality, that I’m going to keep mentioning it until everyone has seen it. There are some Reactors doing bits and bobs of Inside Number 9, but we need some more dedicated Reactors following through and giving their Reactions to the whole thing.

6. Beavis And Butthead

Yes yes, it’s another personal favourite. Now, this is never going to happen due to licensing balls – the sort of which mean we’ll probably never get a good official Beavis And Butthead TV release on DVD/Blu Ray. Yes, I have the Mike Judge Collection, but it doesn’t have every episode, and it doesn’t have any of the music, which was 50% of what made the show appealing. Beavis And Butthead were the original Reactors, giving their beatdowns on MTv videos while slapping the bejesus out of each other, then going on anarchic adventures. In an ideal world, it would be Reactors watching every episode of the show, giving their thoughts not only on the humour, stories, and antics, but on the music. The 90s were a different time, it would be interesting to get some insight on how both people who were there, like me, and all you young cubs who weren’t born.

7. Eurotrash

What the hell was Eurotrash? If I’m honest I still don’t really know. A mixture of soft core pornography, reality, news stories with Europe’s sex oddities, and strange camp skits? Running for a marvellous 153 episodes, it was mainly helmed by the deadpan Antoine De Caunes, ably backed up on occasion by the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Melinda Messenger, Graham Norton, Lolo Ferrari, and a host of others, and each episode featured segments where the crew would visit some strange European festival or couple or group and see what sort of sex escapades they would get up to, from orgies to painting to fetishes. The segments would consist of amusing voice-over translations of what was being said and side voice-over anecdotes a la Come Dine With Me. Back in the studio, usually garishly adorned to make it look like some Deee-Lite video, De Caunes would offer up random thoughts, speak with guests, introduce regular features, and be past of surreal skits involving giraffes or nuns or French people. All of this would surely cause the average ‘I’m like, low-key, not gonna lie, but I have like, oh my god, like no frickin idea what is going on’ spouting Youtuber’s fragile ego to disintegrate. And that can only be a good thing.

8. The Fast Show

Like last time around, you may be sensing a theme here. This time, it’s the surreal – something which I have always enjoyed from as long as I remember. I don’t know why I like it or how I got hooked on it, but you know what they say? ARRRRRSSSSSSE. The Fast Show was a sketch show born out of the charred corpses of Harry Enfield And Chums and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Looking back, it is very dependent on catchphrases, with short sketches sometimes a build-up to a single one-liner that the audience has anticipated. But the key to The Fast Show was that there were hundreds of characters – some appearing only once or twice, some appearing for maybe 10 seconds, while others were given more screen time and back story. It would almost certainly be a case of your average US Youtuber being bewildered and not getting half of the humour, and waiting for that one strange soul that it would click with. Still, people reacting negatively can sometimes be as entertaining as people reacting and loving it.

9. Look Around You

Taking the bizarre to the next level was both glorious seasons of Look Around You – possibly the greatest unseen show ever made. The show took different approaches in each Season, but ostensibly was a spoof of 70s and 80s British Education TV shows for Children. The first Season was the sort of crap they used to show me in Primary school, while the Second was a longer form show which reminded me of several post-School ITV educational fare. The first season was made up of very short – less than 10 minute epsisodes focusing on a single topic, such as MATHS or GERMS, or GHOSTS. Most of the humour is dialogue based and I’ve heard several stories of people channel hopping, stumbling upon it and thinking it was a genuine educational show only to do a ‘wtf’ did he just say when one of the more bizarre turn of phrases was unleashed. The second season is more akin to something like Blue Peter or Tomorrow’s World and saw show creators Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper joining Olivia Colman and Josie D’Arby as hosts. Once again, each show centered on a a specific topic – Music, Sport, Computers, and featured a special guest with an invention hoping to be crowned Inventor Of The Year. Many cameos abound, from Simon Pegg to Edgar Wright, and the amount of detail and content puts other shows to shame – there’s so much here from visual gags to the script to the performances, that you’ll find something new each time. Primarily I want Reactors to watch this, because nobody ever talks about it and I fail to see how anyone wouldn’t laugh their nuts off at it.

10. Sliders

Sliders was one of the first non-kids shows I considered mine. In that nobody else in my family watched it, and none of my friends seemed to watch it. This was never a popular show at all in the circles I travelled in, and I kind of liked it that way. I think my brother caught on or two episodes and called it a cheap copy of Quantum Leap. That’s partly true, but equally unfair. It was a show about travelling to parallel worlds in an attempt to make it home – while Quantum Leap saw one man travelling in time in a roughly 50 year period, Sliders saw (initially) four people ‘slide’ through a wormhole to a parallel version of San Fransisco – some very similar to what they already knew, some very futuristic, some very technologically backwards. They had to stay in this place for a defined amount of time before moving on to the next randomly generated world, hoping they would make it back to their world. While it was very much an episodic show, it did have that overall Story Arc about Quinn, Wade, Arturo, and Brown getting home, and there would be smaller arcs involving double episodes or recurring threats such as the Kromaggs. It all went severely belly up after the third season, with cast changes and a loss of what made the first seasons so interesting, but it’s still the sort of show sci-fi fan Reactors should be watching while we wait for TV schedules and new shows to pick up again.

So that’s that. Oh wait, I did say there were two types of Reaction I wanted to talk about, didn’t I? Maybe I’ll save that for next month as this post is long enough already and I kind of want to make my own ‘Ten Shows Reactors NEED To React to Video’ now for Youtube. Yeah, there’s this channel called Reactistan – it has been going for a while now, but really found its niche recently when they began posting a series where ‘Tribal People’ react to common place Western shit. The link to their channel is above, but seriously go watch those – it’s gold. There are so many future memes, from ‘Only God Knows what it’s made of’ to ‘Well it’s free so I’ll take another bite’. Yeah, I guess I’ll talk about why I love those Reaction videos so much next time – by that point their channel will prob have a million subs.

Oh yeah, I actually went and made that Youtube video alluded to earlier, between the time I wrote the post and now (about an hour) – so here it is. It’s every bit as terrible as all my other videos, but it does feature some stellar original music so whack on the headset and max out the volume (seriously, DON’T).

Do you like Reaction videos? Why not – why do you hate them so? What would you like Reactors reacting to? What would you rather the youth of today spend their time doing? Let us know in the comments, and until next time, check around my site for more incoherent rambling!

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!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.