Ugh. It’s September again. I mean, it’s actually February when I’m writing this intro but by the time it gets to September you’re gonna be pretty pissed off. The nice weather is done – if you live in Northern Ireland or the UK like I do then May – August are generally sunny and the temperature sometimes tops 20 degrees C, and the rest of the year is cold, dark, wet, grey, dull, grim. It’s why we’re such happy people, yo!
What should we talk about to get rid of these early Autumn blues? I know – remember those hashtag lists that everyone did a while back – #thisisyourfilm. Everyone went through every year of their life and posted their favourite film or book or album or whatever. I did a bunch of them too, right here on the blog, so check those out if you haven’t. With my massive internet following and online influence, I’m going to get my own # going viral. As I sat in one of the traps in work one day, bemoaning the fact that I had to scale two flights of stairs to find a clean one, the idea of a mini musical biography came to me – the kicker being that you can only pick one entry for each year. Obviously for a lot of years either nothing, or nothing out of the ordinary happened, while in other years many monumental things occurred – but I pick the best. It can be the year you heard your favourite album, a year you bought your first single, a year you went to your first gig – anything you want as long as it is related to you and music. You don’t have to do every year – it’s a high level timeline. And with that, I present mine.
1983: Born. Cried. Crying is music.
1984: Filled nappy. Filling nappy is music.
1985: Walking, and probably dancing. Shaking my ass at the very least.
1986: Taken by my mother to her aerobics classes to hearing a lot of 80s pop
1987/1988: Start school – probably meet a lot of other people who listened to Top Of The Pops, and went to first School Disco.
1989: Already obsessed with Michael Jackson, having both Bad, Thriller, and Michael Jackson Mix (a four cassette remix collection) in my daily rotation
1990: Hear Sweet Child O’Mine for first time, opening the floodgates to a lifetime of metal
1991: Received first guitar
1992: Bought first album – Alice Cooper’s Trash and Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall.
1993: Attempt first band. I want to call it Bitter Type. No one else does. We had a keyboardist.
1994: Cobain dies. Childhood dies.
1995: Finally dedicate self to learning to play guitar
1996: Fully introduced to Manic Street Preachers, becoming my favourite band after previously being aware of them.
1997: Dedicated to writing first fully formed songs – lyrics and music.
1998: My early songwriting voice begins to take shape – slogan type lyrics a la The Manics and a sound somewhere between crappy punk and even worse ballads.
1999: Formed early ideas for future, much better songs such as ‘Powerwalk’, ‘So This Is Suicide’, ‘The Outsider’, ‘The Calming’, ‘Realationships’, ‘Epitaph’, ‘On The Piss’ etc.
2000: Dedicate self to listening to everything by bands I had always liked but had not fully invested in – The Doors, Led Zep, Pink Floyd etc.
2001: First time seeing Radiohead live
2002: Attended first Glastonbury Festival (97 notes per ticket compared to 248 last year, ya scumbags).
2003: Attended first Slane Festival
2004: Fully immersed in writing music reviews
2005: Begin DJing in rock and metal venues
2006: Recorded first demo
2007: Visit Jim Morrison’s grave
2008: Get married – Mariachi play at reception
2009: See Manics live for umpteenth time, this time in The Ulster Hall. Sister comes to, her first time seeing them.
2010: See Opeth live for first time
2011: Finally see Alice Cooper live for first time.
2012: First daughter likes dancing to Michael Jackson. And the South Park Theme Tune.
2013: Second daughter will only not scream in my arms when I sing ‘Shock To My System’ by Gemma Hayes.
2014: Begin introducing kids to music.
2015: Obsessed with Sia.
2017: Second visit to Slane Festival.
2018: Daughter gets guitar for Christmas.
2019: Sell 39 million copies of first album.
There you have it – what is #yourlifeinmusic? Or film, if that works better? I’m running out of ideas for these monthly blog posts, so here are some jaw-dropping pictures of my recent trip to Menorca:
It’s my Birthday! Not today, but yes, my Birthday is in April. Isn’t that exciting? Did you get me a present? No? Well thanks buddy, that was awful swell of you. This month, I’m going to give a shout out to some other nice blogs which I follow. These guys are some of the cream of the crop. Lots of blogs do this sort of post – promoting and sharing the blogs they love and as I’m feeling festive I thought I would join in. Try these sites out, you should like them. Anyone angry about not being covered – apologies, I just went to the Manage My Following page and went down in order, grabbing a few of the blogs which have been most recognizable to me recently.
Scruffy writes about the gigs she has been to, featuring a few of my favourite bands, namely Manic Street Preachers. Interestingly or upsettlingly I knew someone called Scruff. He was a friend from school. He’s dead now though. Sucks.
And now for something completely different. I usually don’t do these sorts of self-promotional things, if that’s what this is. I don’t go out of my way to share on Twitter or Facebook or try to advertise what I write here (though I do sometimes share links to the fan pages I’m on), mainly because it’s for me and also I like the idea of people just randomly stumbling upon the blog and liking it. I don’t want to be the centre of, or even the outskirts of attention, but I’m not some clammed up introvert either who falls to pieces when someone looks at me. I do think a lot of what I write is more interesting (and dare I say better) than many of the blogs out there who do similar stuff – in fact, I’ve unfollowed a few movie review blogs for being little more than a synopsis of the film, a couple of lines about personal feelings, a final score, and wondering how they have followers in the high hundreds or even thousands.
But that’s fine – this isn’t jealousy or a cry for attention. If you happen to come here, great. If you happen to come back, that’s fantastic and I am truly thankful for those of you who stop by regularly or comment or like whatever I post. I do believe that all art is selfish and while no blog could ever be considered art, you get what I mean. If you have your own blog – write it for yourself first. If you’re after money or likes or clicks or whatever, that stuff should be secondary, not the main goal of putting finger to keyboard, and you’re probably someone I’m not going to be interested in. Would I like more people to follow me, and comment on my posts? Of course. I’m not so far up my own ass that I’m going to turn people away and pretend that I don’t like compliments – everyone does. I’d love for this place to be more of a community and have more people waiting with baited breath for my next life-changing post… but then I’d probably have to put in more effort. That’s the thing with me – at least when it comes to this blog – I write whatever comes into my head in the moment, and post it. I rarely plan, I almost never rewrite, but I do write posts months in advance, then come back and add a screenshot or run spell-check, and then post. A lot of the blogs I follow – it’s obvious you guys but a lot more effort in to make your writing more engaging, more eloquent, and bursting to the rafters with more metaphors than a drunken Irishman. The irony being that I am a drunken Irishman and don’t care.
The point of it all. If you’re a regular visitor – one of my beloved Glancers – then you know the score. If you’re new here, then you probably stumble around the home page looking for something interesting before checking out the About page. If you’re a bot or if you stumbled here looking for big breasted Japanese women then may I hand you over to one of the internet’s many more specialized sites? For everyone, new or just passing through, I’m going to try to post something like this once a month – not as rambling and needless as this – but just a recap of what I do on the blog. Maybe I’ll give some info of what has been happening in my life or a preview of upcoming attractions. For example – I went for a promotion recently, didn’t get it, and now I have to train the person who did get it. Ain’t that a slap in the nuts?
For now I’m going to give a semi-exhaustive list of the various categories I write about. Feel free to click around the site. Feel free to share my blog. Tell your mother. Tell your dog! Everyone is welcome, and there’s bound to be something for everyone. A lot of the info below is copied and pasted from my About Page, but if I post this once a month it’ll be easy to see for whoever miraculously materializes here.
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.
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.
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!
That’s that. Congrats if you got through it. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see me write about, or if there are any ideas concerning blogging or life you’d be interested in hearing my thoughts on!