Ranking The Manics Songs – Know Your Enemy

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If many of the band’s traditional fans jumped ship after the release of their previous album, most of their new found fans left after Know Your Enemy. The band’s sort-of return to a more abrasive punk sound alienated those expecting another If You Tolerate This while the hardcore fans were disillusioned by the lack of musical focus and new-found experimentation. I’ve typically been a supporter of the album, as I am of each, but I’m not so jaded so as to not recognise its many flaws. It’s just so damn long – its sixteen main tracks making it even longer than their debut. Many of the songs repeat the same sentiments, quite a few are interchangeable musically, while the more experimental moments often fail. Apparently it was supposed to be two different albums, something which likely would have been the better option, but the record company wasn’t playing ball. So we have sixteen songs, plus one hidden track, but thankfully a few B-Sides worthy of replacing what did make the cut. First, my ranking:

  1. Epicentre
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. The Year Of Purification
  4. Found That Soul
  5. Let Robeson Sing
  6. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  7. Baby Elian
  8. My Guernica
  9. The Convalescent
  10. Intravenous Agnostic
  11. So Why So Sad
  12. His Last Painting
  13. We Are All Bourgeois Now
  14. Dead Martyrs
  15. Miss Europa Disco Dancer
  16. Royal Correspondent
  17. Wattsville Blues

Then, a better edit of the album:

  1. Found That Soul
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. Intravenous Agnostic
  4. So Why So Sad
  5. The Year Of Purification
  6. My Guernica
  7. The Convalescent
  8. The Masses Against The Classes
  9. Epicentre
  10. Baby Elian
  11. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  12. We Are All Bourgeois Now

Finally, my ideal version of the album, restored to 17 tracks – it’s still a bit excessive and I’d probably drop Track 17 altogether, but it’ll do:

  1. Found That Soul
  2. Ocean Spray
  3. Intravenous Agnostic
  4. Locust Valley
  5. So Why So Sad
  6. The Year Of Purification
  7. Fear Of Motion
  8. My Guernica
  9. Just A Kid
  10. The Convalescent
  11. The Masses Against The Classes
  12. Epicentre
  13. Masking Tape
  14. Baby Elian
  15. Little Trolls
  16. Freedom Of Speech Won’t Feed My Children
  17. We Are All Bourgeois Now

What is your ranking of the songs on Know Your Enemy? What songs would you drop or replace? Let us know in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

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I’ve always had a strange relationship with their fifth album. I think I appreciate the songs more than I enjoy them, beyond the ones I genuinely love. I love the craftsmanship and the ideas, but the lack of energy and the fact that most of the second half just feels like dirge after dirge creates an unfair view of the whole. Few of the songs are outright bad – they’re just not songs I choose to listen to repeatedly, not over the many many better songs they have. Here’s my list:

  1. Ready For Drowning
  2. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  3. Tsunami
  4. The Everlasting
  5. Nobody Loved You
  6. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
  7. My Little Empire
  8. Black Dog On My Shoulder
  9. You’re Tender And You’re Tired
  10. Born A Girl
  11. Be Natural
  12. I’m Not Working
  13. SYMM

The bottom five songs – those I feel mostly ambivalent about and their ranking could change dependent on the weather. SYMM I’ve softened more on over the years, the other four I still like as standalones – when listening to the album as a whole though, it’s during that second half run where it drags. Like Everything Must Go – there aren’t a slew of great B-Sides to replace those with. Most of the B-Sides, while nice experiments, aren’t appealing to me. The band’s recent revisionist re-releases of their own albums has seen them replacing their own songs with B-Sides they preferred – TIMTTMY being one of the victims of this. Because of that, I’m going to nick a song from the previous album’s era and slap it in here. Here’s my take on what they album could have been:

  1. The Everlasting
  2. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  3. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
  4. Ready For Drowning
  5. Tsunami
  6. My Little Empire
  7. Prologue To History
  8. Sepia
  9. Born A Girl
  10. You’re Tender And You’re Tired
  11. Black Dog On My Shoulder
  12. Montana/Autumn 78
  13. Nobody Loved You

There you have it, my take on another great album. What’s yours? Let us know in the comments!

Ranking The Manics Songs – Everything Must Go

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Like The Holy Bible before it, the task of rearranging Everything Must Go to make it better (in your own personal opinion), is unenviable. That was never the main intent of these posts, and just something which happened along the way. More on that later. The task of ordering my favourites is still difficult, but much easier than on their previous album. Here is my list:

  1. A Design For Life
  2. No Surface All Feeling
  3. Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky
  4. Further Away
  5. Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier
  6. Interiors
  7. Removables
  8. Australia
  9. Enola Alone
  10. The Girl Who Wanted To Be God
  11. Kevin Carter
  12. Everything Must Go

It’s another case of me wanting to drop the title track, but you can’t really do that without needing to come up with a new album title. With this album there are quite a few songs which people would want to switch out for others – just in my case it’s some of the more well known tracks I would maybe replace. The main problem here is that most of the B-Sides of this era I rank as similar to the album tracks I would want to replace:

  1. Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier
  2. A Design For Life
  3. No-One Knows What Its Like To Be Me
  4. Enola Alone
  5. Hanging On
  6. Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky
  7. First Republic
  8. Removables
  9. Interiors
  10. Australia
  11. Sepia
  12. Further Away
  13. All Surface No Feeling

Let us know what, if anything, you would change about this classic album and what your personal ranking is!

Achtung! Posting Update! (?)

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Hey. This post is more of a reference for me than anything else, but it’s probably beneficial to you lovely glancers who regularly stop by to shield your eyes from whatever gobbledicrap is spewing from my maw. I try to post the same sort of features on the same sort of days each week, so for anyone who is interested, below is what I will be trying to post each week going forwards. As always, if there is anything you’d like to see me type about or comment on, let me know. I have absolutely nothing better to do.

Monday: Manic Monday posts – some choice lyrics. On the first Monday of each month, I try to post a blog update – usually some random online crap I’ve found, a ‘get to know me’ piece, or what I’ve been up to recently.

Tuesday: Either a list of some sort (favourite movies in a given year/by a director, favourite songs), or a music/movie review.

Wednesday: Oscars day – I post my personal nominations and winners for a given Oscar category in a given year. We’re up to 1976 now.

Thursday: Another movie/music review.

Friday: Typically this is another movie/music review day, but in the future I will be publishing a second Oscars post, just so I can get through the series more quickly.

Saturday-Sunday: Usually I don’t post anything as I’m not near a Computer.

Regulars may be aware that I write many months in advance of actually posting, so here are some of my upcoming posts:

Lists:

Favourite George A Romero movies (coming later today)

Favourite 96 Beatles Songs

Favourite 38 Songs By The Music

Ranking The Manic Street Preachers Songs – Everything Must Go and TIMTTMY

Oscars

Continuing the 1976 Oscars series

Movies

Nightman’s Introduction To Foreign Cinema – A, B, C

Completing the 2019 Preview Series

Reviews Written when I was a young’un: Scream 2, Scream 3, The Seven Samurai, Spiderman 2, Street Hawk, Tears Of The Sun.

Reviews Written now that I’m old: Sanctum, A Quiet Place, The Innkeepers, 11/22/63, Zombie Creeping Flesh, Captain America, The Sand

The Lowest Rated Movies I Like – IMDB Edition

Music

Continuing My Favourite Songs Posts

Nightman Listens To Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway

Nightman Listens To Madonna’s American Life and Confessions On The Dancefloor

Nightman Listens To David Bowie’s Tonight and Never Let Me Down

Nightman Listens To Roxette’s Crash Boom Bang and Have A Nice Day

Nightman Listens To The Beach Boys’ Surfin USA and Surfer Girl

Nightman Listens To The Rolling Stones’ Debut and Number Two

Nightman Listens To Iron Maiden Solo Input – Steve Harris’ British Lion, Samson’s Head-On, ASAP’s Silver And Gold, Urchin’s High Roller

Nightman Listens To Disney Soundtracks – Saludas Amigos, Make Mine Music, The Three Caballeros, Fun And Fancy Free, Melody Time

Chart Music Through The Years – 1983, 1995

Top 1000 Albums Series – Talking Heads (Speaking In Tongues), The Stone Roses (The Second Coming), Marvin Gaye (What’s Goin’ On), Steely Dan (The Royal Scam)

Continuing my posts on every Manics song

Other

My Favourite Season Six Buffy Episodes

More Unpublished Screenplays for The Walking Dead

Unpublished Magnificent Seven Screenplay

Unpublished Screenplay for John Carpenter’s Batman

There is also a lot of surprise stuff in the works – some things I’ve been working on for a couple of years on and off, others more random one-off posts. I do have a new long term movie series coming up, an expansion of both the Foreign Cinema and my Favourite Movies By Year posts if you will (but they’re a pain to write). And because I have apparently lost my mind, I have multiple new music series coming up – listening to more artists whose discographies have been a blank for me, and a couple of other series to rival the Top 1000 series. It’s a busy time, so I hope you’ll join me for the ride, or at least a few of the twists and turns along the way!

 

 

My Blog – August 2019

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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!

Ranking The Manics Songs – The Holy Bible

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Well now, what the balls am I meant to do with this. It would be like trying to rank the songs of… no, there is no comparison – this is the greatest album of all time, ranking is futile. There’s really only one song I don’t think is on par with the rest, but it has the quintessential sound and tone of the album so it’s not one I can really drop. I’m going to do that in my own version of how the album should look, but I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. Here is the album ranked in terms of my personal favourites – at least 7 of these could be my number 1 on a different day, three others aren’t far behind, and the last three are still better than anything most bands could dream up:

  1. Faster
  2. PCP
  3. 4st 7lbs
  4. This Is Yesterday
  5. Archives Of Pain
  6. Mausoleum
  7. Yes
  8. Die In The Summertime
  9. Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart
  10. The Intense Humming Of Evil
  11. Of Walking Abortion
  12. Revol
  13. She Is Suffering

As I said above replacing any of these is pointless, and no other songs from the era really fit musically. However, I think they could replace She Is Suffering with Too Cold Here – a version specifically recorded for the album (I don’t believe any such version exists) as it is a much stronger song. Judge Yrself could work better musically, though it’s not great lyrically, some might opt for Sculpture Of Man. I’d nominate Love Torn Us Under over those two, but under Too Cold Here. In any case, it’s perfect as it is.

Let us know your ranking in the comments!

Nightman’s Introduction To Foreign Cinema – My Journey

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Greetings, Glancers! I wasn’t originally going to write this post. In fact, the last time I made any changes to my first Foreign Cinema Intro post was January 2018 and that was followed up with my run through of each Country alphabetically. I haven’t posted those yet, and I haven’t finished writing them. The point is, that when I envisioned the series as a whole, this specific post wasn’t part of it. While reading the initial post back though, I felt like something was missing among all the begging and moaning – my journey. Maybe you don’t care about this, maybe you do. I thought I’d write it anyway as it may be helpful if you decide to begin watching foreign films or if you’re one of those strange people who simply wants to know more about me. I’ll keep it brief, as I did cover the basics in how I first started watching non-Hollywood fare in my first post. The other thing which is lacking is in my upcoming A-Z posts – I didn’t feel there was enough of a stepping stone between the Intro and those posts, so maybe this will help.

It was Bruce Lee. I don’t remember why or how I started watching his movies, but I was around six years old. From there I would watch any film I could get my hands on which had ‘Dragon’ or ‘Fists’ or ‘Ninja’ in the title or which featured box art with a guy wielding a sword or performing a fly kick off or onto a helicopter. What could be more simple? I don’t even think I understood the concept of ‘foreign’ back then – all I knew was that I liked these films and that I wanted to be able to kick the crap out of people too. By the time I understood that people could be actors and that actors appeared in different films, my favourite actors were foreign – Arnie and Bruce Lee. It made no difference to me that they may have spoken a different language or been dubbed or had a weird accent or were made in Hong Kong or LA. To a kid from Northern Ireland whose day usually began watching my dad checking under our car for bombs before letting us go to school, everything was foreign. This may be one of the biggest leaps for US viewers. You guys have everything you could ever want on your doorstep and centuries of breeding and culture to make you believe you are the best at everything. We’ve existed centuries longer and we’ve come to understand truths which you have avoided or not yet been faced with. But to me, everything was foreign and everything was mine no matter when or where or how it was made.

Later, once I began talking about movies with friends I would branch out to other martial arts and action stars – typically also foreign – Van Damme, Jackie Chan, Dolph, and into the older Hong Kong staples. Then I started to get into horror movies, thanks to Salem’s Lot and my love of gruesome myths and legends. Those myths and legends? Foreign. Horror was a different matter entirely and while I was generally allowed to watch movies where guys killed each other by jumping on their spines or beheading them with swords, horror movies were more off limits. While perusing the video store I would inevitably be drawn to the horror alcove to stare at the box art for Freddy movies, Fright Night, zombies, killers in masks, pictures of hands coming out of the ground, hands grabbing throats or clutching knives, houses perched ominously on hills with weird lights and shadows coming from within. While my first horror experiences were Hollywood based, I knew that the really scary stuff – the banned stuff – came from overseas. Once I began to understand what movies were and started to make lists – of things I had seen in magazines, on shelves, by recommendations, or advertised on TV or Radio by the few people who actually talked about these things, I began seeking them out. Not because they were foreign, but because they were supposed to be good. They were meant to be ‘must-sees’.

Eventually, in my teen years as your typical jaded youngster disillusioned by the populist stuff, I would fall a little more in line with the ‘seeking things out because no-one else knew about them’ cliche. I never fully embraced this as I’ve always been a single-minded person not swayed by the opinions of, well, anyone. Which makes this post ironic as I try to convince others to watch things, but we’ll ignore that. The point is that while I watched some films that I knew none of my peers had heard of, I soon saw no benefit or got no pleasure from the process. I wanted to watch movies I knew I would like and I wanted others to know about them. Cue many unwarranted one-way discussions on ‘this guy from New Zealand called Peter Jackson’ or ‘if you hate that America doesn’t make movies like Die Hard anymore, then check out Hard-Boiled’ and ‘you think that’s bloody/scary/weird, try Suspiria/Ring/Hausu’. I wasn’t bragging or trying to score points – I wanted my friends to see the movies I had seen and get the same kicks out of them that I did. I still want those kicks today, and I always will, and I want people to know that it isn’t all Marvel/DC/Disney/Blumhouse/insert favourite US studio.

So what do you like? My favourite countries for movies outside of the US have always been Hong Kong and Japan. While I appreciate that some people are simply never going to want to watch a Kurosawa movie, or a martial arts movie, both of those industries have a lot to offer. I loved J-Horror while it lasted, before it choked on its own tropes. Hong Kong action remains breathless and you can get everything from war epics to balletic gunplay to treetop sword-fights and jaw-dropping stunts. In recent years, the South Korean, Indonesian, and Thai markets have been stepping up their game when it comes to action and horror. Japan meanwhile continues to make both the weird and wonderful – experiences I guarantee you won’t get anywhere else on the planet, but also the most perfect character driven dramas of the moment.

As I’ll mention more in my A-Z posts, Australia is a great starting point. They have a rich and varied history, although the output is much smaller than the US and UK. Everyone loves Fury Road, right? Go back and watch the early Mad Max movies and the copycats. Elsewhere, France had a wave of horror movies which we are currently seeing either the tail-end of or the beginnings of what comes next. These are not for the faint of heart, but if you’re a horror fan you’ll find something to love. My history with French Cinema is more closely aligned to looking at critic’s lists of best films and best directors, although on a personal level it has been my love of certain performers or directors which has drawn me in more – I have a thing for pretty ladies so Virginie Ledoyan, Audrey Tautou, Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Eva Green have all led me down some interesting paths. I also have a thing for cool anti-heroes and action movies, which France is full of. Italy was always more distant than France for me, until I discovered Dario Argento, Mario and Lamberto Bava, and Spaghetti Westerns, and with Spain I was taken more by the sexy stuff before learning more about the whole Franco/anti-Franco influence.

What I would recommend, before embarking on your journey, is to look at your favourite movies as they stand currently. You will have something directed by someone who worked outside of the US before making it in Hollywood. If not, I guarantee there will be an actor who fits that criteria. Go watch their non-Hollywood movies. In doing so, you might find another actor or director you like, and you can go watch those too. Suddenly, your world has opened up. Read my upcoming posts in which I’ll talk about my limited experiences of each country and I’ll talk a little about what I consider to be gateway films – films which are from the particular country, but also universal enough that the majority of film fans should get something out of them. I’ll list some of the most well-known performers and directors in the hope that you say ‘oh, I’ve heard of that guy/I liked that one thing they did/maybe I should give one of their other movies a try’.

Well, that was more of a P.S post than I intended, but I am typing this on the fly. My simple hope is for anyone reading this who is skeptical about foreign cinema to watch a single foreign movie – just one. Give one a chance. If one person comments to say that they’re going to try a foreign movie, I’ll be happy. If only one person comments to say that they did take the plunge, watched, and loved one, I’ll be ecstatic.

It’s over to you – let me know in the comments if you’re willing to give it a go and how you got on.

Nightman’s Introduction To Foreign Cinema

Greetings, Glancers! A question I am often asked is ‘What the hell is wrong with your hair?’, quickly followed by ‘and what’s up with your face?’. Another more pertinent question, though asked with an equal amount of disdain and mewling voice is ‘why do you watch all those weird foreign films? Aren’t they all full of kinky sex, boring talking, and subtitles? Why can’t you just watch Fifty Shades Of Gray like the rest of us? And while I’m at it, seriously, what is up with your face? Cut your hair and get a job, you weirdo’.

You see, all of you big city fat cats who live in a more multicultural society probably have had greater access to more diverse areas of culture – cinema, music, art, and generally meet more interesting people. I, on the other hand, live here:

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It’s your typical 90% white, 90% Christian, 90% every other majority you can think of. Diversity – cultural or otherwise – isn’t exactly its strong suit. I’m being a little unfair though, as my town is one of the most absurdly friendly places you could dream of. Everyone says hello to me – for someone who could happily go for weeks without speaking to another soul, it’s quite a surreal ‘burb. Getting closer to some sort of point – for most of my life I have always been interested in stuff outside of the mainstream. I’m not saying that in some hipster way, and the movies and music I prefer are not really that far from centre because almost all of them have popular followings – it’s just that the stuff I like isn’t spoken of in my immediate social circles.

It all started, as most things do, with Bruce Lee. I’ve mentioned it before, but I have always loved martial arts movies, and when I grew up in the 80s the best movies of the genre did not come from Hollywood. I was therefore exposed to Asian cinema – Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand and more – at an early age. As time went on I branched out with different countries and genres. I’ve always loved Hollywood movies, but crucially I haven’t been afraid of looking beyond. And there is so much more. 

It’s frustrating to me that I follow multiple blogs by otherwise knowledgeable film fans who outright ignore movies outside of the US. Sure, every so often a big film will get a widespread US release and then everyone jumps on it. But then they move on to the next slice of Superhero skyscraper destructo-porn. I get that we all have limited time to watch movies and you want to spend that time either on movies you think you’ll already like or, if you’re one of these bloggers in it for the Likes and Followers, then you only watch whatever crap is in the charts – in which case I pity you. But every so often you have a blogger, or a Youtuber, or someone in a Facebook group who clearly and dearly loves Cinema and knows their John Ford from their John Hughes, yet when the subject of Foreign Film comes up they dismiss it entirely. Subtitles? Pah, if I wanted to read I’d go buy a book. You may as well say ‘if I wanted to learn I’d glue myself to the windows of the local Convent’.

I’m not saying Foreign movies are better and I don’t mean to sound condescending or superior, believe me I’m just as crap a person as you, I’m simply making a genuine plea for those people (bloggers or otherwise) who claim to love movies to widen their horizons. Don’t put yourself in a box, never limit your own experiences, and experiment as much as you possibly can to enrich your own life. Some of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, funniest, terrifying, evocative, influential, skillful, breathtaking movies ever made come from outside the US. If you love movies, why would you deprive yourself of those?

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Yes, it’s supposed to say WTF but I’m not changing it now

Basically, to get into foreign cinema you need to find your own personal niche – one movie, one performer, one genre that you can get into which acts as a gateway drug to a large and crazy cache of fantasy and wonder. Like West Coast Cooler leads to a pint of Absinthe, like a puff of pot leads to naked desert meth production, like masturbating leads to grand larceny or something, you can’t dive into the hard stuff without first wetting your beak with a treat you already enjoy, albeit with a slight twist. So for anyone asking those questions at the top of the post, or for anyone curious about foreign films, feel free to have a gander at my posts. Today I’ll give you some basic pointers, and later I’ll expand with some examples.

Lesson 1: Don’t Start With The Award Winners

An easy place to get stuck and disheartened is by Googling for Best Foreign movies and working through the list. Almost every such list will be filled with great movies, but they will likely be on the more dramatic or critically acclaimed side – not necessarily the sort of things someone new to Foreign Film will want. Better lists will give a blurb on each movie and if it sounds like you’ll like it, by all means give it a go. Another mistake people make is by checking the Best Foreign Film winners at the Oscars. Again, if you’re the sort of person who hasn’t watched Foreign Films before then there’s a chance you’re not the sort of person who even watches the Best Picture winners at the Oscars. That’s fine – I’d much rather watch a bunch of zombies get shot up than watch Emma Stone sing and dance. Oh yeah, that didn’t win. Looking at the Best Foreign Language winners of the last twenty years, there aren’t many which jump out as something which would suck in the average mainstream movie goer (and you’d be better served by looking at my Oscar Post nominations for Best Foreign Film anyway – ha).

Lesson 2: Don’t Listen To Assumptions

Boring. Slow. Cheap. Weird. Subtitles. Bad acting. A bunch of nobodies. Confusing. Artistic. Porn. These are all things I’ve heard people say, both to my face and in my years of reviewing, blogging, posting, and reading. The simple answer is both yes, no, and so what? Any movie from any country can be boring, slow, ‘weird’, and have bad acting. The assumption that this is somehow widespread throughout foreign movies is nonsense. Movies are subjective, so find what you like – see Lesson 1 and Lesson 4. Personally, I like ‘weird’ movies. If something doesn’t sound like it will be to your tastes, don’t watch it but don’t make the assumption that every other movie will be the same. Foreign films, depending on the Country, have just as many big name actors and directors as Hollywood – you just don’t know them yet. Subtitles are the best way for me to watch a non-English language movie, but if you really are that dim that you can’t read at a faster rate than 1 word every few seconds, then you probably don’t have mental capacity to watch any movie. I don’t like dubbing because I find it a more jarring experience than subtitles – taking away from the performance of the cast. Sometimes dubbing makes the movie better, though this is typically from the viewpoint of unintentional hilarity.

You will find films from a Country other than your own, on average, more confusing than films from your own Country – there’s no escaping that fact. This doesn’t mean you will be utterly dumbfounded or lost. There are just as many ‘easy’ films and mainstream films as in Hollywood – just different. Sure there will be films that you just won’t get, but again you could say the same for Hollywood. You think foreign films are more artistic – I would say that’s not a bad thing. It’s another misconception too. Foreign films make less money – less people see them, and perhaps that means there is less of a sense of Business surrounding them meaning that ‘anything goes’. Everything considered, it sounds like only toffs, hipsters, smart-asses, and weirdos watch foreign junk. You don’t have to be smart, or weird, or sophisticated, or false, or anything to enjoy a foreign movie – you just have to find the one that’s right for you. Foreign movies have sex. Non-foreign movies have sex. If you think sex is evil, don’t watch.

Lesson 3: Understand What ‘Foreign Film’ Means

For the purposes of my posts, I am calling out Foreign movies as anything not made in Britain or the US. I could even limit it to anything outside of US, but that would be weird given that I’m not American. There are a tonne of other movie markets around the world, some English speaking, some not. For any Americans looking to branch out but keeping to English Language – try UK Cinema, try Australian cinema. Foreign cinema as a whole deals with the same issues and genres as American mainstream and indie cinema. You want car chases, slasher movies, slapstick comedies, tragedies, romance, war epics, these are all things which exist around the world. You don’t need to know much, or anything, about the country of origin, but any knowledge might help your appreciation or increase enjoyment. Each country does have their quirks and very loose, very high level style based on decades of movie making and centuries of culture, and the more you watch the more you will catch these. If such things exist, a ‘generic’ French drama has inherent differences from a ‘generic’ Spanish drama, a Japanese action movie will have different trademarks than a Hong Kong one. I’ll focus more on these in my next posts.

Lesson 4: Think About What You Already Like

As alluded to above, Foreign Cinema is essentially the same as Hollywood Cinema – it just comes from a different place and culture. If you’re strictly a horror fan, then the world is your oyster. If you only like bloody and gruesome horror movies, then head straight for France, Italy, or Spain. If you like action movies, get over to Hong Kong. If you like musicals, Bollywood is waiting. You may already like a film by an actor or director who is primarily or partially known for Foreign movies – if you like their Hollywood work, chances are you’ll like their other stuff too. By far the best way to get into Foreign Cinema is by branching out from your existing preferences. All it takes is one movie, or even one moment, to make it all click. You don’t have to worry about being a connoisseur, you don’t have to worry about sounding smart or cool in a crowd, although you can do those things. Watching movies should be primarily a selfish experience – ask yourself what you want from a film and what you’ll get from it. As a secondary item, you will want to share your experience with like-minded people, and eventually even try to convert others, but that all starts with you and that first step of finding something you like.

Lesson 5: Behold Now Is The Accepted Time

It has never been easier to get into foreign movies, or movies in general. Since the mid nineties, foreign cinema saw a boom in the UK and US with a number of high profile films from around the world making a tonne of money outside of their own markets. A tonne of DVD companies popped up specifically to bring you the best in World Cinema, anime became a global monster; nerds and things nerds like became cool, encouraging others to come out of the woodwork. Streaming happened -all you have to do is stick in Netflix or Hulu or Amazon or some of the less legal alternatives, and find the foreign section. Everything is available at the touch of a button, a far cry from asking your local video store owner if he’s getting in any more Dario Argento movies and waiting 6 weeks for an answer. Scroll through a few Streaming Services after reading my posts, and you should find something to try. Just don’t come moaning to me that you lost 90 minutes of your life – what else were you going to do with that time – larceny? Masturbate? Yeah, I know all your dirty secrets.

In my next series of posts I’m going to cover some of my favourite movie making countries and why I love them, and I’m going to give some examples of gateway movies for specific genres. Maybe it will take the format of ‘If you like Hollywood’s then you’ll like Russia’s Y’. I’ll talk a little bit about the biggest stars and directors past and present from a variety of countries, and hopefully a few of you will take the plunge or use these examples and on-the-spur advice to win your own friends and detractors over. It’s a big world out there, people, and it’s all there to be enjoyed!

Let us know in the comments your struggles with watching foreign films or converting others to watching them, and point out some of your favourites!