Happy Ending

Happy Ending: 3/Good

As the title suggests, this does sound happy, one of the very few songs in the Manics catalogue that sounds genuinely content. It’s another very simple song with simplistic, poor, repeated lyrics from the Lifeblood/There By The Grace Of God era, and at the time felt like a possible goodbye from the band. The band seemed like they wanted to go in one direction musically, but there was an uncertainty over whether they could convince themselves and fans of this direction, so possibly they would just pack it all in instead. Happily they didn’t, and we are left with this curious, piano driven pseudo-goodbye, pseudo-dedication. The melodies are amicable enough, Bradfield hits some high notes and while the song reaches for those crowd-pleasing chorus peaks the piano makes it feel more like a Coldplay song in places. It rarely goes beyond ‘yeah, this song sounds nice and nothing else’ but it’s enjoyable enough in small doses to keep it higher than average for me, with extra points because the band sound like they are content. 

The Story Of The Song: I’m not sure if the band has ever talked publicly about this one, but based on what they were going through at the time – the downgrading from Stadium chart toppers, the changes in musical and stylistic direction, the boredom Wire was always mentioning in interviews, and of course the lyrics themselves, it seems reasonable to assume they had this planned or written as a thanks and good bye song. It’s a little too soppy in one way for a band as angry and punk as they are, but it does fit. If it was meant to be a goodbye, I’m surprised they released it at all.

Let us know your thought in the comments!

My Blog – March 2019

As promised, this month I’m going to do a few of my own questions or answers. Some generic, some ZANY! Many of these probably come up in that ‘Complete Questions’ book I mentioned last month, but that’s fine. I’ve probably mentioned a lot of these before too, in other posts. Before that, March is going to be Movie month here at The Spac Hole, so fewer music posts and more movie reviews.

Yo, Nightman! What’s your favourite film?

You mean you haven’t been looking at my painstaking posts of favourite films from every year? You better handle that, son. My favourite films include Star Wars, The Terminator, T2, Robocop, The Thing, Predator, Police Academy, Dumb and Dumber, Ringu, Battle Royale, Conan The Barbarian. Basically anything with guns and gore.

Yeah, I’ve been meaning to do that Nightman, promise. But who’s your favourite band?

My favourite bands/artists include Manic Street Preachers, Guns’n’Roses, Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, The Bangles, The Gathering, The Music, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Iron Maiden…

K, cool, my dad likes some of them. Do you like reading?

Young whippersnapper. My favourite authors include Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Roald Dahl, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, Banana Yoshimoto, Haruki Murakami, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Louis MacNeice, Christina Rossetti.

Who? Are they part of the MCU? Forget that, what else do you do?

One thing I enjoy doing currently is watching various Youtubers react to my favourite stuff. This mainly falls into two categories – people watching Buffy for the first time and rap fans listening to metal for the first time. I don’t like reactors who simply watch shows and don’t give any real thoughts or commentary, and I don’t like reactors who simply listen to a song and gawp open mouthed at how good it is – it seems (is) false. I want to hear why you like or don’t like something. I don’t want to look at your face. I’d like to see more people (any people) react to Twin Peaks. The problem with these reactors is they all react to the same shows. Carve your own niche.

I like Pewdiepie. You seem like a great guy, tell me something random. 

Wha, Pewdi – I like literally low-key can’t even. Please reevaluate your life and make better decisions. Anyway, one thing I’ve noticed about myself IRL is that some people have a habit of becoming very attached to me (through no choice of my own) but then that connection gradually evaporates. I don’t mean like a regular friendship which fades over time or that gets rekindled every so often. It’s like an instant infatuation, like finding your new favourite TV show that you obsess over for a year and tell all your friends about, but then by the time the third season comes along you’ve kind of given up on it even though it hasn’t changed. I think people see something in me and suck it dry (matron). I don’t mean that to sound harsh or condescending to them or myself – it’s just the way it is. I become central and important in their lives, and then I become nothing. It doesn’t really matter how I feel about it all. I notice it now when it’s starting to happen, and sometimes I push it away or go out of my way to try to not let it happen. It sucks when someone becomes important in your life and then later you either never see them again, or when you do see them it’s like all the good stuff never happened. I didn’t quite mean that to sound so melodramatic and cliched… that’s not quite what I’m going for here.

Yeah? Dry your eyes. I’m getting bored now, and you kinda weirded me out with that. What I really want to know is wh-

One thing I used to love doing when I was younger was creating my own football tournaments with playing cards. Yes, I created entire histories and back stories for playing cards. My team was the King Of Diamonds. I would roll up tiny pieces of paper – the best was the foil from inside Soft Mints/Soft Fruits sweet wrappers, and using them as a football. I would have season long leagues and cups with these cards, recording every result and seeing who won at the end. I would set up goals in my bedroom and have a match between two playing cards. Each card would have two shots on goal, so the maximum any team could score was two. One would get two chances at scoring, while the other card acted as goalie. Then they would swap. In cup competitions if it ended in a draw, it would go to sudden death penalties. I started expanding it from playing cards to other card sets that I owned – Warhammer’s Citadel Playing Cards, Top Trumps, Nintendo character cards I got free from magazines, they all had their own leagues etc, then the best from each would qualify at the end for a World Cup type tournament. I loved it.

O…k… I think I’m going to go now

Wuh… wait. come back! Oh. Aww. Ah well. Another month, and another reason for everyone to back slowly away from me and my blog. Come on, I’m spilling the beans, so how about you? What embarrassing stuff do you do now which provides no value other than entertaining yourself. What about when you were young? I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so it doesn’t matter if we share these secrets. Maybe it’ll make you feel better – though it will almost certainly make you feel considerably worse. Toodles!

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!

Nightman’s Top Twenty Films Of 1990

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

So indeed… I’m late with this post. It has been a rough week – I was at a funeral yesterday for a mate from school and talking about movies and lists seems a bit pointless at the moment. That’s three blokes from my year in school alone who have killed themselves. My country has an absolutely awful track record of suicides and mental health awareness – too much taboo, too much stigma, too much religion, too much politics, and not enough people who give a damn. Luckily, I write these posts months in advance so all I have to do on days like this is hit publish.

Just before my list – I know I’d mentioned before that I’d only expand the list for a couple of years, namely 1987 and 1994, but there are a few other years that have personal favourites I didn’t want to leave out. Therefore, my 1990 list contains a bumper 20 movies – and one narrowly missed out being included – Miller’s Crossing. Enjoy!

20: Boiling Point (Japan) Takeshi Kitano

19: La Femme Nikita (France) Luc Besson

18: The Witches (UK/US) Nicholas Roeg

17: Dances With Wolves (US) Kevin Costner

16: Awakenings (US) Penny Marshall

15: The Godfather Part 3 (US) Francis Ford Coppolla

14: Ghost (US) Jerry Zucker

13: Another 48 Hours (US) Walter Hill

12: Misery (US) Rob Reiner

11: Arachnophobia (US) Frank Marshall

10: Kindergarten Cop (US) Ivan Reitman

9: Young Guns II (US) Geoff Murphy

8: Mermaids (US) Richard Benjamin

7: Tremors (US) Ron Underwood

6: Wild At Heart (US) David Lynch

5: Total Recall (US) Paul Verhoeven

4: Home Alone (US) Chris Columbus

3: Goodfellas (US) Martin Scorsese

2: Problem Child (US) Dennis Dugan

1: Edward Scissorhands (US) Tim Burton

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Five (Including the top grossing film)

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Five