My Blog – May 2019

Welcome to another month and another bunch of questions. Remember, if you have any random ass or interesting questions you’d like me to answer, chime in below. In May, I’m on a positivity kick, which is usually anathema to me, but it means you’ll see a lot more posts about things I enjoy rather than rants. For now, some Q&A that you can play along with.

What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?

I don’t really view any of my pleasures as guilty, though I imagine others would. I don’t know – eating sweets? I don’t believe anyone should feel guilty about enjoying anything as long as it isn’t hurting anyone.

How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?

Never. I never really have. In school I would sometimes check out the football pages. For a while I bought The Times, but only because they kept giving away free DVDs. Where papers and Ads are concerned, my mantra is the same – I don’t need to be told what to think. And I don’t really care enough about the world to know what people highlight as happening.

 Which animals scare you most? Why?

Only spiders. But it’s not fear, it’s disgust. That’s what people without phobias don’t understand. It’s complete and utter revulsion – imagine if a tramp walked into your bedroom, took a shit on the floor and started pissing at your mouth. That’s what I feel when I see a spider. And yet, it’s only certain types – most types yes – but take the tarantula for example. I like those, I have no phobia for those. It’s the freakishly big house ones or other spindly ones, or those monstrosities in Australia. I understand there is no reason for it beyond some repressed caveman thing, but logic doesn’t come into the equation. What other animals are people scared of? Bugs? Snakes? I love them all. I’d love to swim with Great White Sharks and have a pet tiger. My wife is scared of birds…. anything that flies really.

Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?

Avoid it. Not because I’m scared (because I’m fairly positive I could destroy you with merely a look), but because I’m lazy and don’t care. I tend to never get into arguments online or IRL. I always hated debates in school, while in work discussions never become arguments because I’m either easily proven correct or not in a position to voice an opinion. There’s probably some cultural thing too. Brits, or more traditionally, the English are said to not argue and roll over in contrast to say, yanks. Generalizations of course. Coming from Northern Ireland, a backwater and ex- pseudo warzone, we have learned over many generations to keeps our mouths shut for fear of being usurped, having our villages burned, our children eaten, or kneecapped and car bombed. People seem to have this innate need to argue which I must have missed when evolution spat me out. I always laugh at atheists who spit venom at religious types (and vice versa). If it is ever conclusively proven that there is no God of any type, to the extent that even the most vehement religious zealot agrees – we’ll still find something else to argue over. Religious wars will simply shift to war of another kind. We love to fight and kill each other for absolutely no reason.

What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?

The spider thing. Oh, and I’d be a kick-ass billionaire.

Are you a creature of habit? Explain.

We all are, even if we think we are not. I will say that I don’t like routine and actively go out of my way to do things differently. Having said that, I like doing my own stuff and not having other crap get in the way, and I’m not one of those self-advertising spontaneous quirky types. I’m just weird, plain and simple.

Are you high maintenance? Explain.

Assuming this means ‘difficult to put up/live with’ or spends too much time on their appearance. I don’t think I’m the first one, though you’d have to ask other people, and I’m definitely not the second. As I’ve explained before regarding the latter – I get up in the morning, throw on whatever clothes are lying on the floor, brush teeth, and leave the house. I think I’m very easy to live with. I mean, I’m pretty lazy when it comes to actually doing things around the house, but for most people I fade into the background quite easily. I’m a scentless breeze.

 When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?

Many years. I did snap my back last year which meant I couldn’t walk for six weeks and couldn’t move well for about five months. I used to do a lot of running and swimming and I had a manual labour part time job when I was in school so I used to be very fit. I never saw any of it as a challenge, personal or otherwise – something to do rather than something to achieve. As a result of all the old exercise, my joints are like polystyrene – when I run it hurts the bottom of my spine where I injured myself, so I can’t really do that anymore. I try to cycle now instead and I’m getting back into yoga, but I don’t think I’m pushing myself. Maybe I should.

Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?

Both. But I’m crap at making the effort to keep in touch with people, so I guess my circle of close friends is much smaller than it used to be. Plus I have all you lovely online lads and ladies.

 Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others?

Empire, of course. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. Build your Empire and then use it to unleash the potential of others.

That’s enough nonsense for today. Be sure to add your answers in the comments below, and as always, feel free to ask me any additional or alternative question!

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!