My Blog – February 2019

Look! Look at this! I’m being all regular, and I haven’t even eaten any brown bread this week! Poo jokes aside, welcome back to my monthly post about Gawd knows what. As a heads-up, I’ll try to post more music related stuff this month – I have a bunch of posts written this time last year which I haven’t published yet, so expect more of my thoughts on Bowie, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Roxette, Chart Music from various years, and maybe a couple from the Top 1000 Series.

So, I was looking for a list of questions to introduce myself on my blog (even though I’ve been at it for nearly a decade) when I found this site about ‘the three questions who need to ask yourself’ about why your blog isn’t successful – you know, typical click-bait stuff. Not being interested in making money off this thing or worrying whether I get nineteen or nine hundred views a day (I’ve had both), I clicked on it anyway to see what angle the article took. It was about making readers subscribe rather than just visit once, and their number one key to success for this was making sure that the viewer knew what your blog was about at first glance. Makes sense – if it’s a movie blog, give it a movie related title and drown it in movie pics, right? Naturally being obtuse, my blog name doesn’t make sense and it goes out of its way to not be about anything. That says almost everything you need to know about me. Regardless – lets get on to some random questions about me!

Note – before looking, I have a feeling what these questions are going to be like, so next month I’ll probably devise some questions myself. I’m shamelessly nicking these questions from other blogs, so don’t @ me. I don’t know what that means.

Note part deux – a simple Google search uncovered a book called ‘The Complete Book Of Questions’ by Garry Poole. I might dip into that too and answer a few every month. Enough talk, question me up!

  1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

Well, truth be told, my actual name is not Carlos Nightman. Shocker, right? I don’t know of too many (any) people named Carlos from Northern Ireland. That’s where I’m from, by the way. I don’t have an Irish sounding name either, so no Paddy McSpud here. I’ve had a variety of nicknames over the years – Nightman of course, Sonic, Pandy, Appleskin, Skin, Droid, etc, but the one which sticks most is Mal. It’s Latin for evil, and I did Latin in school for seven years. What do I prefer to be called? I have no preference… names are silly.

2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

Can books beg? A brief glance at the shelf behind where I’m typing this contains an Arnold Schwarzenegger biography, a Bruce Dickinson biography, a few recent Stephen King and Anne Rice novels, some oldies by Clive Barker which I haven’t started yet, a couple of volumes from The Black Library, Joe Hill, Fever by Deon Meyer, Madness Is Better Than Defeat by Ned Beauman, From The Fatherland With Love by Ryu Murakami, and South Of The Border by Haruki Murakami. My neck is getting sore twisting to see the shelf, so that’s enough. I’ll get to them all, no preference as to what comes next. Oh yeah, there’s a tonne of Buffy books too – those semi-official tie-ins. I started buying those second hand from Belfast’s charity shops, haven’t read any yet but they’re probably terrible.

3. How often do you doodle?

Never. I’m not a child.

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I’ve always had trouble sleeping. That’s not entirely accurate. It’s getting to sleep in the first place that’s the problem, ever since I was a young child, and it’s never gone away. When I was older I used to leave the house and walk around the streets and town at night and enjoy the peace. There’s something about lying down and not being able to sleep which causes dark and troubling thoughts to well up inside and envelop you, but walking around seems to free my mind and push that crap away. My mattress is uncomfortable at the moment so I get sore if I stay away for too long. My wife is usually asleep within 1 minute of turning her lamp off, which is something I cannot fathom. I’ll be tired all day, but as soon as it hits 10pm, become startlingly awake. Nowadays I can’t really get up, because I’ll wake everyone else and the cat will want fed. I just force myself to sleep, but try to read or watch something till I can’t keep my eyes open – doesn’t always work because I want to keep reading/watching.

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?

Are you kidding. When I was younger, this was my dream. My ideal world had no-one else in it. Or maybe a handful of people I liked. Of course now I have my own family. I could happily be with them and never see anyone else. Before them, I could easily go indefinitely without speaking to or seeing another human. I go out of my way to avoid most people in person – not because I don’t like them, or I’m shy, or awkward or anything, more because I prefer it that way and I like to do my own stuff without being interrupted. So in this fantasy scenario, if I was placed in solitary confinement I would probably thrive and create a cure for, I don’t know, world hunger or Aids or reality television.

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?

I used to, but now I don’t care as much. I keep some which mean something to me. I’m 35 at the time of writing, so I left school 17 years ago. School crushes and funny shit from then… I keep a few of those cards. I used to physically write out text messages and emails from those days. Cards now, like Christmas and Birthdays etc. I’d rather people didn’t waste the paper and money. I keep the Birthday cards my kids get, some day they might want to see them again.

7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

I have absolutely no idea what this means. What is a pack rat? Is this a political thing or something about someone you don’t like?

8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?

These are very American questions. This is Northern Ireland (bitch), we don’t do parties. These questions are very much catered towards the cutesy little creative wallflower so that they can tell us all how precious and offbeat they are. Having said that, I’ve never been big on social gatherings, again because I’d rather do my own thing. I don’t have much interest in meeting new people or doing whatever people are supposed to do. I’d much rather be in the pub or house with people I already like. I’d need to go back to University for examples of me turning up at what this question refers to. I have a thing about never being late, so I’m usually there early or exactly on time. I wouldn’t be going to a party if I didn’t know someone there. There is no sneaking or looking for safe spots. I go in. I drink. I talk. I sleep on the floor. I go home the next day. Sometimes there are shrooms and scarecrows.

9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?

Assuming you’re talking about the big five, not my sense that a ninja could be about to attack at any moment? I wear glasses because I’m short-sighted, but I’m really good at seeing things which people miss. Like, I’ll be the first to find a cat in a crowded street, or I notice little things or details which others miss. I do have very good hearing though. For example, we’ll be watching TV at night with the doors closed, maybe people are talking, and I’ll know someone is coming to the door because I’ll hear a car door closing at the bottom of the drive. This is a great trick and people are frequently, genuinely amazed by it. Can’t give up hearing or sight or touch… though being able to live without physical pain would be great. Taste I could live without I guess, but it’s got to be smell. People say it’s the best sense for memory, but that’s complete balls. You know what the best sense for memories is? Remembering.

10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Almost never. I should shave every day, but I usually do it once a week. So I check then. I brush my teeth away from the bathroom, I never do anything to my hair, I don’t wear make-up, I wear whatever is lying on the floor. I have absolutely no reason to look in the mirror.

That should do for now. Feel free to answer these questions yourself and slap them in the comments. Now you know me a little more, hopefully I haven’t scared anyone off. I know I come across as a dick when answering these things, but really, you’d love me if you met me.

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 defintion 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 attentino 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!



Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I can’t imagine many calling this out as a favourite from the band or from the album, given that it could easily get lost among the more well known singles, but this has always been a personal favourite of mine, and a much stronger song than say Kevin Carter or the title track. I love the non-intro, I love the stabbing guitars, I love the shouted, stuttered melodies, I love the warmth of the guitars in the pre-chorus and through the chorus, I love the twisting little middle section, but most of all I love Bradfield’s vocal – the way he unleashes that final ‘ say what you have’ – incredible.

Misheard Lyrics:

1. Say worry ’bout tomorrow

2. A beautiful landscape of damnation

Actual Lyrics:

1. Say where is the tomorrow

2. A beautiful landscape of your nation

Interiors: 4/Great

Lost Highway

*Originally written in 2004 (and another where I inexplicably give a plot synopsis, so don’t read if you haven’t seen).


David Lynch creates another incredibly interesting, mesmerizing, beautiful, and dark experience which at times surpasses both Eraserhead and Blue Velvet, but one which will likely confuse and frustrate, at least the first time you see it. Featuring vast amounts of imagery, apparently differing and interweaving plots, and a large, excellent cast Lost Highway is a film which you are not likely to forget.

Bill Pullman stars as Fred, a saxophonist who is in an awkward relationship with his beautiful wife Renee, played by Patricia Arquette. He never seems to be able to get close to her, even though they have been together supposedly for years. When he finds a videotape at his doorstep, he watches in horror as it shows the inside of their house -someone has been coming in and watching them sleep. At a party, a mystery man (Robert Blake) seems overly interested in Fred and claims he is at Fred’s house now, even though they are standing together at this party at another house. Fred phones home, and the mystery man answers, being at both ends of the phone. Later, Fred finds another tape – this one showing him killing his wife – he is arrested shortly after as his wife actually has been killed. On death row Fred vanishes from his cell and in his place another man – Pete, appears instead. The cops let him go, but follow him. He is a mechanic who, like in Blue Velvet, becomes involved with a shady character called Mr Eddy with a violent temper and his mistress Alice, also played by Arquette. Pete is intrigued by Alice, and the two sleep together. Alice cries out to be rescued from her life, so Pete concocts a plan to save her. However, she does not appear to be all she seems, and Pete knows he is in too deep to escape. He cannot get a concrete hold of Alice. Then things get strange….

As with any real piece of art, you can come up with your own thoughts and explanations of what you see and hear while watching Lost Highway. The entire film is designed to haunt and disturb, from the slightly abnormal sets, to the look of certain characters, to the music, images and performances. At times this is incredibly quiet, and the volume must be played at full blast to hear what is being said. There are a few violent scenes, lots of sex which never seems erotic, but always necessary. Most of the actors give understated, cold performances and rarely try to explain or understand what is happening to themselves, but special mention must go to Richard Pryor. He plays the wheelchair bound Arnie who works with Pete, but it must rank as one of the most terrifying performances ever. It is deeply unsettling, his eyes seeming to see everything that no-one would ever want to see. Apparently at early showings, certain scenes were mixed up so the film played in a different order. Perhaps linear story-telling is not always needed. Unfortunately for most people, the story needs to be safe and simple, so many will be turned off by this. The film never attempts to show any sense of happiness, hope, or light in the traditional sense, is distant, yet seduces us to pay close attention and inevitably succumb to the unsavoury acts and tone which can become almost unbearable. If you want a thoroughly challenging and original film, then Lost Highway is a must.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Lost Highway!