TTT- Top Ten Gameshows Which Need To Make A Return!

Big Break - Wikipedia

Greetings, Glancers! It’s a strange time we find ourselves in, and the natural instinct is to withdraw into simpler times – when the skies were blue, when the music was better, when our only responsibility was deciding whether to roll out of bed at 10am or 11, and for some people, when you could be a racist dick and get away with it.

All your favourite distractions have been put on hold – movies have been pushed back due to Cinemas being shut down, and filming has stopped on even the most successful TV shows. Those shows lucky enough to have finished recording pre-Lockdown are being drip-fed to us in the UK, and one of these is Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow. It’s an hour long format which sees the annoying buck-toothed imp prance around and relay famous catchphrases from days of yore. Each week, Carr and his team bring back a classic ‘British’ gameshow which has been off our screens for years for a nice bit of nostalgia. It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened, and indeed many of the gameshows included have already seen multiple reboots over the decades, but each time it happens my wife always asks ‘why don’t they show gameshows like this anymore’ – to which I always reply ‘because you and all the other chumps killed them by watching Reality TV shite’. 

It’s something I’ve probably written about here before, and it’s definitely something I’ve misspent a lot of time thinking about – having my own TV channel and bringing back all of my favourite Game Shows. Game Shows were a big part of my youth – growing up in an era of four (count em) TV Channels where choice was extremely limited. While time has clearly moved on, and most Prime Time Game Shows now are an excuse to shove already famous people into nostalgic settings, the range of channels out there now surely allows for a few of these to be brought back. Sure, the prizes might not be as awe-inspiring as before due to limited audience figures but who knows, maybe the tide will turn and people will get sick of Reality TV shite such as I’m A Celebrity (No I’m Not), I’ll Sell My Own Baby To Be Famous, and Anal Island, and people will demand a return to 30 fun packed minutes of questions and games. If not, we can always dream. Here are ten Game Shows I’d love to see make a return (and there will be a part two coming soon).

Big Break

Big Break was a show which centered on the sport of Snooker, or as they call it in the USA, The Pointy Stick Coloured Orb Game. Like many Game Shows, our host was a trained stand-up Comedian, in this case Jim ‘I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say this’ Davidson. He was the perfect man for the job, always ready with a quip, a pulled face, or a frantic grab at a contestant’s balls (snooker balls). Ably backed up by his sexy, glamourous assistant – John Virgo – sort of a less sexually threatening Paul Hollywood, Jim would invite three contestants each week to join up with a famous snooker player to compete for the top prize of… a holiday? Usually? I can’t remember.

The show was split into different rounds – the first finding the contestants answering questions so that their professional compatriot could try to pot as many balls as possible – each correct answer giving ten seconds at the table. Whoever scored lowest was booted off. Next up saw coloured ball co-ordinated questions – pink for sport, green for music etc. The player would attempt to pot as many balls as they could within a time limit (again), but if they missed a shot the contestant would have to answer a question on the missed ball’s colour and the player couldn’t continue until the contestant got the right answer. The winner would proceed to the final round where they had to answer five questions against the clock (90 seconds for the whole round) – each correct answer meant a red ball removed from the table, and once all questions are answered the player had to pot the remaining balls on the table within the remaining time. Each non-red ball corresponded to a prize, with the star prize coming only if the black was sunk.

Big Break seemed to drop at a time (it ran from 1991 to 2002) when Snooker was very popular and had a lot of famous personalities in the sport. It was always exciting to see which player the contestants would get – would you be lucky and hit a Stephen Hendry or Jimmy White, or fall on your arse and get a Willie Thorn? The show was spiced up by the humour and antics of Virgo and Davidson, with lots of prat falling and cheating if a player was struggling, and an addictive Virgo’s Trick Shot Round which saw the first contestant eliminated trying their hand at the table, and having to pot a Trick Shot – amusingly Virgo would explain the shot and sometimes miss himself, and Davidson would usually use his hands to pot the ball if it looked like the contestant was going to miss. Would the show work nowadays? Honestly, I don’t watch too much snooker anymore and don’t know a lot of the top names, but it’s a format which succeeded for over a decade and which always managed to keep me entertained. The unique format of having the contestant and player rely on each other was interesting – sometimes the professional would have an off day, or sometimes the contestant was an idiot -and I can imagine a variety of other sports which could follow the style of Big Break. I’m not sure if it would be much use now without a duo of Virgo and Davidson’s chemistry, but I’d love to see it return.

Theme Tune: ‘I’m gonna be snookering you tonight!’

Catchphrases: ‘Say Good Night JV/Good night JV’. ‘Pot as many balls as you can’.

Cyberzone

What the hell is Cyberzone you may ask. In truth, I barely remember it, and for years I wondered if it had been a dream, as no-one I explained it to ever seemed to think it existed. Once again though, I prove all you fools to be the fools you are, as Cyberzone did in fact exist outside of my barely functioning mind. Created by famed quiz creator dude Tim Child, Cyberzone was helmed by famed ‘always starring in weird futuristic shit dude’ Craig Charles and was one of the first examples of VR being used for TV entertainment. Naturally, this being the early 90s, the technology was terrible – yet still made an impact on little old me as I imagined a future of virtual exploration, adventure, and quite probably boobs.

The game featured two teams of contestants tackling virtual challenges by stamping on pads on the ground to walk, and shaking their arms to simulate shooting or completing some other challenge. Craig Charles dials it up to fifteen and brings much needed energy while he tries to explain computer speak for the ignorant masses while an all too white Colonial Cowboy Gamesmaster hybrid introduces the games, but unfortunately the games now look less early 90s Doom and more late 80s The Vindicator for Spectrum. Not heard of that one? Google it. Yes, the virtual world is blocky and barren, but again for a kid in an era of 2D sprites this was like chicken soup to a Measles sufferer, and I gobbled down every second, wishing I could take part.

VR has seen recent resurgences and it’s now sort of affordable to get much more innovative and immersive VR experiences in the comfort of your own’s momma’s basement. So why bother with a Virtual Gameshow? Well why not? A money rich studio could pump cash into this and make something which doesn’t hurt our tech-cultured 21st Century eyes, and games could be a lot more entertaining than ‘walk over there and pick that box up’. I’d recommend making this a kid centric show, upgrading the rather nifty set of the original, keeping the ludicrous hype of the original, but showcasing a technology that looks the part and doesn’t move at a single frame per second.

Theme Tune: I don’t remember the theme tune, so it must have been muck.

Catchphrases: Awooga! Cyber filth!

Fun House

Keeping things in the realm of Kids TV shows, for a moment, is there a more fondly related kids gameshow than Fun House? The show ran for ten years, was a staple of afterschool TV for multiple generations, and a source of wish fulfilment and escapism for people like me who wanted nothing more than to race down a slide into a coloured ball pit where a pair of gunge covered blonde twins waited to offer me their ‘prizes’

Pat ‘yes, this is a mullet’ Sharpe brought such much needed, barely veiled dry sarcasm to proceedings, proceedings which saw two teams (each made up of a boy and a girl) who represented a particular school tackling a variety of slimy, slippery games all for the opportunity to enter the Fun House and win some top top prizes. The games always led to people sliding on their arse and getting covered in foam, and eventually racing around in go-karts. I don’t know anyone who didn’t want to be in the show, and once similar giant indoor play parks started to pop up in Northern Ireland, we finally had the opportunity to recreate our fantasies.

There’s no good reason why Fun House wouldn’t work today – there have been several calls to bring it back and at the height of its popularity there was talk of an adult spin off. While that does sound fun, I don’t think it would work in practice – maybe the odd one-off special. One thing I didn’t like was the School representation – winning prizes for your School? Balls to that, you earn them, you keep them. A modern game would likely be watered down due to health and safety nonsense, but kids always want an opportunity to play in places like these – a new version with more entertaining games could be souped up to be more exciting than their local play park. My kids enjoy watching the original – no reason why they and others wouldn’t love a new one.

Theme Tune: ‘It’s wacky/it’s fun/it’s crazy/it’s outrageous’

Catchphrases: Lets re-run the fun.

Knightmare

Knightmare was a staple of my childhood after-school routine and, well, Nightmares. The show’s melding of mystery, puzzles, pantomime, mythology, real world contestants, and nifty special effects, all capped off by setting it in a swords’n’sandals world was perfect. I still watch any re-runs that are shown periodically. It was the show for nerds before nerdom became the all-encompassing bullshit it is now. You had to be intelligent, and lucky, to stand a chance on this gameshow, and if you weren’t the results were nasty.

This kids show featured a team of four friends entering a dungeon where they had to complete a quest, avoiding traps, monsters, giant spiders, wizards, witches, all to earn the lifelong respect of your peers and fellow humans. One poor sole donned a knapsack and helmet – blinding them – and set off into the dungeon, while the other three would sit hunched with notepads near a medieval fireplace under the watchful guidance of the Dungeon Master Treguard, and his cryptic clues.  I’ve talked about it before, you get the idea.

Kids TV, as mentioned, doesn’t have a lot of interesting gameshows like this anymore. In the Nineties there were a host of Virtual Reality themed gameshows with similar tasks, though none so atmospheric or brutal as Knightmare which could see contestants’ efforts spanning multiple episodes. With the improvements in Virtual Reality Technology, there’s no reason why something like this couldn’t be done again. The key would be to make it genuinely creepy, and difficult, and make those brave enough to step up to the challenge question their every decision.

Theme Tune: A classic

Catchphrases: Oooh, nasty.

Steal

I’m guessing none of you remember, or have heard of Steal. Like Catchphrase, Steal pits contestants against each other using a giant computerised board. Also like Catchphrase, it was hosted by a Walker – Mark Walker, son of Catchphrase legend Roy. It’s a show I loved at the time it was aired (1990-1992) and is one I spent years trying to find as I couldn’t remember its name. Thanks to various sites and the internet, I found it again. Now we should take the next step and bring it back to TV.

In truth, catching old episodes on Youtube reveals the show’s flaws. It was based on technology which didn’t really work even then, and was hampered by games which were a bit rubbish. Two teams would face off against each other to win both money and spot prizes by answering questions and then attempting to find a hidden symbol on the big TV board – Cash, Swag, or Jools (I used to think the show was called Swag). The 16 square grid would be shown to the contestants with the associated symbols, then hidden and rotated. The contestant would have to find the correct symbol by saying ‘top row, third from the left’, or ‘middle square’ etc. Its called Steal, because the other team can steal your squares/prizes if they get a Steal Square. The fun part was when they landed on the Jools square (the mascot of the show), and had to play a mini game. These were very basic computer games, played with a huge joystick, and involved digging up prizes or avoiding a dog etc. That’s where modern technology could come in, and spice the action up. Hell, you could even do some official game tie-ins and use the biggest blockbuster games challenges and make the whole format a mixture of Gamesmaster and prize-winning competition. It wasn’t the most exciting show looking back, but as a youngster into gaming at the time, it was fun tea-time viewing and made me want to play along.

Theme Tune: A fairly typical, jangly muzak type theme tune, nothing memorable.

Catchphrases: Take a bow, Jules. Our Feline Felon. Lets fill up the board. Remember what you saw and where you saw it.

Pets Win Prizes

As a kid, I spent a lot of my Summers at my a Caravan Park nestled between the sea and the mountains. Days were spent playing football, going on bike rides through country roads, evenings were spent wooing young ladies and eating gravy chips, and nights were spent camping and watching TV shows we probably wouldn’t normally watch given we were all sandwiched in the same space. Pets Win Prizes was one of these shows, always seeming to be on during those Summer Saturday Nights when I was filling my face with fart fuel (gravy chips). Obviously there’s nostalgia talking, but everyone still loves cute, furry pets, right? Look at recent Britain’s Got Talents, and look at all the rescue dog shows which are always on TV. Crufts still gets a huge audience, and it’s awful. A gameshow which sees talented pets, and their embarrassing owners being ridiculed by a quick witted host for the sake of some prizes should be simple TV gold. The series back then was hosted by Dale Winton, and before him Danny Baker, and saw pets being put through some often bizarre agility and skill based games, while their owners answered animal trivia questions. It wasn’t high art, but I’d say there’s still life in the old dog. So sorry. For anyone wondering why the hell I enjoyed this – I think I just enjoy anything with obstacle courses.

Theme Tune: Hardly a classic, but jaunty enough to be memorable. I was certain someone sang ‘Pets Win Prizes’ over the top of the music, but turns out that didn’t happen, and must have been my adding the words and singing myself.

Catchphrases: A succession of terrible animal based puns to go along with the badly behaved cats and dogs.

Takeshi’s Castle

There’s a solid argument to be made for Takeshi’s Castle being the greatest TV show of all time. The problem with it is… you have to be very careful with how it is presented and portrayed. For example – the original Japanese show is hilarious and bizarre, and the British Craig Charles presented clip type format is even better. HOWEVER, once the yanks got their hands on it and converted it to MXC or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, it became almost unbearable due to a couple of dickhead co-presenters delivering the most hatefully unfunny commentary and complaining draining the show of its natural humour. Likewise, when the UK crafted Rebooted and brought in the normally amusing Dick and Dom instead of Craig Charles, it just wasn’t the same. Sure, the best clips had already been used, but the commentary and format simply wasn’t as strong.

So what is Takeshi’s Castle? It’s a Japanese show, the brainchild of the legendary Takeshi Kitano who wanted to make a live action Super Mario level. This quickly morphed into a gameshow/sketch show which saw Kitano and pals playing a range of strange characters who defended a Castle from intruders – the contestants. To storm the castle and defeat Takeshi for a fat cash prize, roughly 100 contestants had to complete a range of physical challenges which tested their limbs and skills, with dozens being eliminated each round until only a few survived. The final round, always a bit of an anti-climax, was a bumper car type water pistol battle. The best thing of course, aside from the characters and the contestants and their costumes, were the games – and the ever present chance of people being seriously injured.

I could list all my favourite games and moments, but I’d be here all day, but there was such a variety of challenges, even before factoring in the ‘Special Episodes’ that you always had something new balanced alongside personal favourites. Given the runaway success of, the frankly rubbish, WipeOut, and the vastly inferior modern versions of Ninja Warrior there is absolutely zero excuse to not bring back Takeshi’s Castle. It was a show which focused much less on the physical skill of the individual and instead highlighted to mayhem and creativity of the games and the mixture of luck and skill, as well as being one huge insane pantomime. Crucially, in today’s overly safety conscious world, shows like Ninja Warrior or The Floor Is Lava or Beastmaster – all those shows which copied Takeshi’s Castle – contain zero life or death threat. People gently flop into water with not even a scratched knee, while in the original potential snapped necks, twisted ankles, and new ribs were expected. For any new version to truly succeed, you’d need to leave yourselves open to potential law suits, health and safety concerns, leave shin guards and helmets aside, and just get stuck in.

In truth, I see a couple of formats for a true revival of the show. Much of the sketch side of things could be dispensed with but you could still have a cast of wacky characters following the general plot of ‘try to make it to the end without dying’. An hour long show could perhaps give a quick glimpse of every contestant and highlight the more quirky, more successful ones so that audiences can follow along with their endeavours, while a follow-up thirty minute show would be more like the Craig Charles version and feature just the best bits and smashes along with hilarious commentary. Naturally, you need to have Craig Charles doing it. Now that I think about it – think about the money pumped into shitty reality shows like Big Brother, X-Factor and the ilk, and the sheer amount of TV hours they take up, from auditions to live shows to backstage shows after each main show. I say have your main Takeshi show, follow it up with panel discussion and hidden clips with contestants and Takeshi guards as guests, then have your weekly 30 minute format too. If I was boss of the world, this would be top of my list. I could write an entire blog based on bringing back Takeshi’s Castle, so I’ll stop.

Theme Tune: The Craig Charles version is a beast.

Catchphrases: Too many to mention, again from the Craig Charles version.

Bullseye

A staple of Sunday night TV since the early 1980s, Bullseye always seemed old fashioned and a bit odd to my childhood eyes, yet there was something addictive about it. In fact, it was one of those rare TV shows which managed to break the Sunday curse of my childhood – 99% of TV shows which were shown on Sundays in my youth, I associate with how much I hated Sundays and therefore almost never like those shows. Nowadays, it’s all about making fun of the either naff, or strange top prizes – like speedboats, caravans, or a Mini Micro and they ignore how much fun the game was. Hosted for decades by the late Jim Bowen, it has been brought back a couple of times – in the aforementioned Alan Carr thing, and by Dave Spikey in the Noughties, as well as various celebrity one-off specials – it’s a simple gameshow based around darts. Three pairs of contestants, three rounds, darts and questions. It sounds rubbish, but it somehow works, and I see no reason why it couldn’t slot neatly in to regular Sunday night rotation in the Autumn or Winter when there’s feck all else on worth watching.

The great thing about the format is that you don’t need to change anything – you have your contestant pairs – one a darts player, the other there to answer questions – and at the end of each round the lowest scoring team is knocked out. In round one, each player tries to hit a category requested by the other player on the dartboard – they get bonus money for hitting the correct category and getting the question right. If they get it wrong, another contestant can buzz in for money. In Round 2, it was a case of each player getting three darts and the team with the highest score got to answer a question for more money. There would then be a charity round where a pro tried to earn as much money with 9 darts as possible, before moving into the final round where the winner tackled Bully’s Prize Board with the chance to win up to 9 prizes with 9 throws – both players in the team taking turns. Once their prizes were won, they could decide to go home with what they had, or gamble on the top prize – either winning or losing it all. This was a nice twist, because often the winning team would turn down the chance at the top prize, meaning the second, and then third place teams would be offered the same choice. If one of the teams did decide to go for it, they had to score more than 101 points with six throws – three for the darts dude, and three for the quiz person. More often than not, people would fail.

With this simple format, you could easily bring the show back – prizes need not be bank breakers, and you just need an affable host to run the show. Darts as a sport I feel has rarely been more popular, and surely a show like this would increase popularity and drive revenue towards some of the Sports Channels who host Darts Championships. There are plenty of near household name Darts players out there, at least for UK audiences, and of course you can still have your fancy pants celeb specials to grab more attention. I’m sure there are plenty of famous faces out there who grew up with the show and would want a chance to play on it while earning cash for charity.

Theme Tune: A nostalgic favourite, wouldn’t need much, if any updating.

Catchphrases: One hundred and eighty! It’s a bullseye! Keep out of the black and in the red – there’s nothing in this game for two in a bed’.

Full Swing

Keeping with the Sports theme, this was another one of those Summer time Caravan TV shows of my youth. Ostensibly a cash-in on Big Break, it never had anywhere near the same level of success and didn’t last long. Maybe it’s because my Caravan Park was opposite a Pitch’n’Putt and Driving Range which we played on at least once a week, maybe it was because Golf also always seemed to be on TV during the Summer hols, but I enjoyed Full Swing at the time.

Affable Scouse golf fan Jimmy Tarbuck hosted the show, often entering in a golf cart and telling his usual brand of family friendly jokes before introducing the guests. Like Big Break, three contestants would be paired with a celebrity – though typically not a golfer. Now, golf is a little more difficult to play within an enclosed space than snooker, meaning computer technology needed to be employed. Players would have to whack a real ball, which would translate to a virtual reality shot (think Wii Golf), and then contestants would answer questions for further shots. The second round saw contestant and celeb playing on a indoor mini golf course, complete with bunkers and water hazards, aiming to get as close to the hole as possible, with the final round being a beat the clock putting game. Again, like Big Break there was a consolation game for the first contestant to be knocked out, which involved a Mouse Trap esque Crazy Golf trick shot. This was probably my favourite part, because I used to love those Rube Goldberg type contraptions. And of course, it was a type of obstacle course.

This is one of the more unlikely shows to ever see a return, given how bad its ratings were. Honestly, I don’t think it was a bad attempt at porting the Big Break formula to sport which didn’t naturally suit it. Golf is still a highly popular sport and there are zero golf gameshows out there, so with a bit of tinkering a remake of this could be a minor hit. Once more, technology has improved to as to make the virtual golf better, more realistic, or alternatively you cold film the whole thing on location at a genuine golf course. I would maybe change up the first and second rounds, or even shake the whole thing up and have the whole thing (or one round) based around an indoor Crazy Golf course rather than the miniature pitch n putt style round. There’s plenty here to work with, and the fact that you would have celeb guests in each episode would keep things interesting for people not really invested in the sport. Perhaps a co-host or lively voiceover would improve entertainment and humour value.

Theme Tune: I remembered nothing of this and had to check Youtube to remind myself. It’s not great.

Catchphrases: More a host of Tarbuck specials and golf puns.

Small Talk

I loved Small Talk. It seemed like the perfect mixture of mirth, irreverent humour, and quiz fun and Ronnie Corbett was the perfect host. I believe the US had their own version too. Once more, three contestants faced off against each other, this time contending with a giant board filled with children. Yes. There were 9 squares, each with one child inside (though sometimes there would be a pair), and the kids had pre-recorded answers to questions which the contestants would be asked – the twist being that the contestants had to correctly guess if the particular child (or the majority) knew the correct answer. The children were amusing little characters themselves, often giving hilarious incorrect answers to the questions and nonsensical asides spurred on by Corbett. The final round would see Contestants trying to reach a score of 500 by picking five kids (each kids holding a particular points card from 50 to 500), and then guessing whether the kid would get a question correct or not. If the contestant and kid were in sync, the points were theirs. Sometimes things could be ruthless, with contestants not having a lot of faith in a particular child and expecting them to get everything wrong, but it was all done with the best intentions and was always light-hearted fun. One of my school teachers featured in an episode once – he didn’t win. I wonder if any of the kids are famous now. I bet one of them is Pixie Lott or some shite.

I see no reason why this wouldn’t work today. Sure, there would be some child safety protection bullshit going on, but kids will never not be funny. Look at all the memes and internet challenges which do the rounds each year – parents will know these – things like filming your child answering 20 random questions and then sharing their results, or leaving them alone with a chocolate biscuit for 1 minute and filming them to see if they can resist eating them – that was a big one in 2020. It’s the same idea, but less perverse. Who wouldn’t want to see their own kid on a show like this, and which mums and dads would not relate to the often bizarre responses to simple general knowledge questions? It’s the perfect show for early evening mid-week TV.

Theme Tune: A classic

Catchphrases: Oooh, nasty.

There you are – some random bloke’s list of TV shows he used to like and would like to see make a return. There is literally nothing omre important happening in the world right now. If you would like to see these make a comeback – please send me money and I’ll see what I can do.

My Blog – September 2020 (With Added Fun)!

Greetings, Glancers! At the start of these My Blog posts, I usually go on about my feelings about the month I’m posting in, or what nonsense is going on in the world, but I’m not going to do that this time. Instead, I’m going to jump straight into a new fun challenge which probably thousands of people have done before, but which I’m going to do now. It’s a simple Playlist creator challenge. Make a playlist which broadly encompasses your musical tastes, but you can only choose one song per artist. Simple! Me being me, I’m doing a double album. What’s the average, or best, number of songs on an album? Twelve, right? So a double album equals twenty four songs. Me, still being me, added the caveat that it should flow like an actual album, not like a random collection of songs or greatest hits. So I grabbed my iPod, had a quick gander for 24 of my favourite artists of all time, and picked 24 songs before painstakingly putting them into a logical order – should the album fly out of the traps with a banger, or ease you in gently?

Now, these are not my favourite 24 songs of all time, or necessarily my favourite songs by the particular artist, because the idea is that you share these playlists with your friends on Spotify or whatever things people use these days. With all things, I’m doing this at a rush, and will likely miss out some people and later think ‘wtf, Nightman’ but there you go.

Feel free to add your playlists in the comments, share with your friends, have a go if you think you’re ‘ard enough. You don’t have to do a double, just give it a go. Please. Please?

  1. Basil Poledouris: Battle Of The Mounds

2. G’n’R – Nightrain

3. The Music – Getaway

4. Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven

5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

6. Tori Amos – Winter

7. Gemma Hayes – Something In The Way

8. The Gathering – Eleanor

9. Metallica – One

10. Nirvana – Territorial Pissings

11. JJ72 – Bumblebee

12: Muse – Knights Of Cydonia

13: Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin Somethin

14: Sia – Bring Night

15. Eminem – Kim

16. Radiohead – Paranoid Android

17. Alice Cooper – Halo Of Flies

18. Opeth – Marrow Of The Earth

19. Alice In Chains – Nutshell

20. Natalie Imbruglia – What’s The Good In Goodbye

21. The Bangles – I’ll Set You Free

22. Nightwish – Ghost Love Score

23. Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark

24. Manics – A Design For Life

There you have it. Turns out I went over my count by a few, and had to drop the likes of The Beatles, Koji Kondo, John Williams, and many others. But I think that looks like a decent set – there’s your banging intro section, a little acoustic interlude, a collection of more dance oriented ones, and a crowd-pleasing finale. Share your lists too – what does the 12 or 24 track Greatest Hits of your life look like?

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a sile 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!

Dead Of Night (1977)

Traumafessions :: Doomed Moviethon's Richard on Dead Of Night (1977)

This Halloween, and every Halloween, I try to watch a few portmanteau horror anthologies. Dead Of Night by Dan Curtis bares little resemblance to the Ealing film of the same name from three decades before, beyond the fact that they both offer little segments of horror and mystery for the viewer to enjoy. With only three stories and no wraparound it sets itself apart from many other anthologies, but thankfully the film still works thanks in a large part to the potency of its final piece.

It’s always interesting to me when an anthology film, ostensibly one in the horror genre, starts out with a segment which seems in no way related to horror. This is barely a Twilight Zone episode – one without an overly shocking twist or creep factor, but one which is still charming and watchable in its own right. Starring Ed Begley Jr as a car fanatic who picks up an old car to restore. The car has a bit of history, having been crashed 50 years earlier in a double death tragedy. Taking it out for its first spin, he finds himself somehow transported back to 1926 to learn the truth of the tragedy and maybe call upon some old relatives. It’s a strange, wistful tale which feels a little out of place but is still fun.

The second segment, is full blown Gothic Hammer goodness – creaking old mansions, butlers, sick busty women, and vampires. While this one does indeed have a macabre twist, you can see it a mile away if you’ve seen any horror movies of the last thirty years. It’s one of those segments which reminds me why I fell in love with Horror in the first place – even though it’s outdated and silly and not at all scary, it treats the material, and the vampire seriously – as this truly powerful and deadly threat rather than the lovelorn or easily slain anti-heroes we think of nowadays. It’s a piece which would be perfectly chilling and unforgettable for kids just dipping their toes into the genre. Plus you get Patrick McNee and Horst Bulchoz.

The final segment ‘Bobby’ is one of the most famous segments in all of anthology horror. Written by the great Richard Matheson, it’s the story of a grieving mother trying to raise her son from the dead using the dark arts. With little more than an exasperated sounding husband on the phone, it’s all about Joan Hackett and her attempts to resurrect her dead child. It’s a great performance, a chilling story, and one shot with literal thunderous aplomb – a stormy night becoming increasingly terrifying as Bobby teases his appearance, and proceeds to demand a game of hide and seek. It employs a lot of tricks to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, and it remains an effective and nasty tale.

Dead Of Night is a nifty little anthology to kick off your Halloween viewing, and a great introduction for younger viewers. Just snuggle up on the sofa and scar them for life, setting out with a gentle opener then racking up the tension until the final moments. Horror films aren’t made in this style any more – gore and swearing and sex free, but still scary enough that anyone can get a kick out of it and easily shared with younger family members who will get the thrill of the genre and hopefully want to explore further. Seasoned horror fans will enjoy the nostalgia factor even if the genre has progressed to deeper scares in the years since, but should still appreciate the dedication Curtis had for the craft.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Dead Of Night!

A Dark Song

A Dark Song - Film Hub Wales | Canolfan Ffilm Cymru

A Dark Song is a film to be nerdy about and one which embraces its nerdy ways. It would be more precise to call the film detailed, committed to being authentic. It’s something rarely seen these days, unless said detail is Product Placement. It’s also another one of those films which I was touted as being ‘the scariest of all time’ which both intrigues and worries me, because horror is subjective and because that’s usually a blurb to cover the cracks of a shitty film. Luckily, it’s not a shitty film, nor is it the scariest ever. It’s a solid, grief driven horror movie more concerned with detail, foreboding, and creating a somber tone – and it largely succeeds in delivering on each of those points.

If you weren’t aware, I always enjoy limited scope films – films with a single set or a very tiny cast or some other limitation which tends to mean filmmakers are more creative to work around those restrictions. A Dark Song is essentially a two character, or two actor movie, and for the most part is set in a single location. That location is a large Country House in the middle of nowhere, and the performers are Catherine Walker (Sophia), and Steve Oram (Joseph). Sophia is a grieving mother who has sought out the Occultist Joseph in order to perform a serious of rituals which will allow her to eventually speak to her dead son. Joseph is angry, bad-tempered, distrustful, while Sophia is guarded and defensive meaning the two clash regularly. Part of the ritual means they must live together in this house for many months, without ever leaving or making any contact with the outside world, following various increasingly difficult rites which bring forth both demons and angels to torment and test the pair. The plan is that if someone is worthy enough to complete these rites, a guardian angel will appear and grant any wish.

The film almost plays out like a Mike Leigh film – if Leigh was concerned with the Supernatural and Occult Rituals. It has that kitchen-sink realism and gritty downbeat British tone, all wrapped up in the overall theme of the lengths we go to with grief and guilt, and propelled along by depictions and discussions of the various exercises one must perform to step through the various realms of Heaven and Hell. These involve sleeping in certain places, types of mental and physical torture, drinking blood, chanting, drawing arcane symbols etc. With the fraught relationship between the pair, and the months of punishing tests, tempers fray throughout the movie and the viewer is never sure if it’s all an exploitative joke.

I’m curious to see how viewers will react to this film – horror fans and non-horror fans alike. For horror fans, you’re made to wait until closer to the end before anything overtly horror related makes an appearance while the first half of the film or so is intriguing enough to me in exploring the characters’ relationship and snippets of the history and background of what is being performed. There is a pay-off, and it mostly worked for me, but I imagine others may be frustrated by the ending. I would argue that the ending is exactly what the character needed, and for the viewer it should be the journey that matters – some questions concerning the mother and son aren’t answered, and people may feel those should have been resolved.

Oram is his usual warts and all self – he’s a physical actor who always seems to be eating or scratching or gesturing, while Walker plays the exhausted woman well. Director and writer Liam Gavin shows a genuine interest in the rituals and mythology taken from the Abramelin books and adds enough open-ended intrigue to make me want to go down the rabbit hole. It’s an assured handling of tension and of whatever scares come later, but he does seem more concerned in the build up and the lore and the emotion, than making a scary movie. It’s his movie, and that’s fine, but the marketing may suggest it’s something that it’s not. For me, it was an enjoyable and thought-provoking film of the sort which is rare these days.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of A Dark Song!

My Blog – August 2020

Dunluce Castle Medieval Irish Castle on the Antrim Coast ...

Lets start out with an apology. I realise the last couple of weeks I’ve been slacking somewhat on my blog posts. I’ve still been writing, but just not publishing as much as I normally do. Partly this is because we have our new son gobbling up all of my time, as he should, and partly because I’ve been on holiday for a week and typically I don’t do a lot of this stuff when I could be drinking and playing with the kids and watching stuff. On top of those wonderful excuses, when I have been writing it has been on silly stuff I have no intention of ever publishing. Procrastination of a sort, but I don’t spend a lot of time writing random stuff as it pops into my head, just to get it out of my head. So sorry.

As such, I don’t have any plans for today’s post so I’m typing on the fly. As I almost always do. To make up for the lack of published posts, I’ll plan to post some stuff every day over the next month – as I reminder, I do still have hundreds of movie and music reviews that I’ve written over the years for other sites, but just haven’t posted here yet. Many of them are rubbish though, so I debate whether to update them or just bin them completely. In terms of what else I’ve been working on in the background – I’m still writing my Oscar posts, though I have stepped back somewhat on those too, I’m still working on my Essential Movies and Introduction to Foreign Movies posts, I have a load of Manics Song By Song posts ready to publish at any moment, still working on my various Music series and lists, and I’m still plugging away at assorted movie and miscellaneous lists. There are a handful of other new series which I haven’t announced yet, but those are well underway. Unfortunately for you guys, this is my writing style; I get sucked into one idea like a leech for a few weeks, then I exhaust my interest in it and move onto something else. The positive is that my interests are cyclical, so invariably whatever was exhausted comes around again and I pick it up once more. That just means my publishing and completion of such things is all over the place and has zero consistency.

As it’s been a while, why don’t I do another irreverent (irrelevant?) Northern Ireland questionnaire type thing. Those are always a hit. I Googled ‘Things To Do In Northern Ireland’ and found the following Trip Advisor post: Click here to read.

First on the list is Crumlin Road Gaol – you can tell it’s important, because ‘Jail’ is spelled stupidly. I’ve been on this trip, as part of a work outing a number of years ago, because why the hell else would I ever choose to go? In truth, it was a decent way to spend a couple of hours outside of work, and given that I’m not someone who is particularly interested or invested in my Country’s history, there was plenty of interesting things to learn – outsiders or those more interested will get more out of it than I did. The Gaol no longer operates, but for many decades (centuries?) it was the premier spot to house all of Belfast’s most dangerous bad guys – from Terrorists, to thieves, murders, and most of our current sitting politicians (read-Terrorists). You’re given a full tour of the gaol, outside and in, while a knowledgeable Belfast Boyo will regale you with stories of the history of the facility, the intake process, the various escape attempts, the famous inmates, and some of the more grisly details. Notably, the prison was also used for executions up until deep into the 20th Century, and you get to visit the Gallows and see how those on death row met their end. This makes for a more interesting Halloween themed trip – the Gaol runs these special nights in October each year as they focus more on the dark side, taking visitors through the undergound tunnels which link the Gaol to the Courts on the other side of the road, where, naturally, ghosts are frequently spotted.

2nd on the list, with a whopping single review on Trip Advisor, is ‘Let The Dance Begin’. I’ve no idea what this is, but it seems to be a collection of spindly looking 20 ft statues standing in a circle playing musical instruments. It’s in Strabane – which is another way of saying ‘Don’t Come Here’.

3rd up is The City Walls in Londonderry (if you’re a dick) or ‘Derry’ (if you’re a dick) or ‘Stroke City’ (if you’re a complete knob). It’s the Walls which surround and divide the town of Londonderry (seriously, it’s not a city – Belfast is the only place worthy of that name in Northern Ireland), and you can walk on top of them, around them, through them etc. Every so often there’s a more interesting piece of brick – a church, or a cannon, or a monument – something more than ‘Paddy Woz Here, 1916 yeeoo’. Though why anyone would choose to visit Derry is beyond me.

4th is the Titanic Building in Belfast. Oh, you didn’t know? The Titanic was built in Belfast and… well, we know how that story ends. Rejoice in one of humanity’s most embarrassing tragedies by visiting the Titanic Museum. You can see it from pretty much any tall point in Belfast, though I haven’t actually been to it yet. I’m sure it’s great.

5th – Giant’s Causeway, the first true landmark on the list. I have only been here once in my life, even though I only live about 15 miles away from it currently. I didn’t go until I was almost thirty, and some friends from London wanted to see it. It’s best kept for a sunny day, or at least a day with a clear or atmospheric sky, because you can get some kick ass photographs. It’s basically a pile of rocks which stretch like steps out to the sea, but this being Ireland we have a bunch of quirky mythology surrounding it.

6th – Florence Court. I’ve never heard of this. Seems to be, some sort of garden?

7th – Dunluce Castle. You’ll have seen it in Game Of Thrones. I’ve driven past it a hundred times, never actually been in it though. It’s in a very picturesque spot, dangling off the side of a cliff.

8th – Tollymore Forest Park. Somewhere I’m much more familiar with, I’ve spent countless days and hours here in my childhood. It’s the gateway to the Mourne Mountains, our largest and tallest Mountain range. There’s miles of forest and rivers to arse about in and pretend you’re being chased by a Predator or Hitler.

9th – Bangor Castle Walled Garden. Bangor is the town beside the town I grew up in. Though I did also live there for a while. Did I know it had a Castle? I don’t think it has a Castle. This place probably doesn’t exist.

10th – Museum Of Free Derry. See, even the name is being all edgy and political. I’ve no idea if I’ve been here or not. But again, you have to go to Derry to see it, so why would you bother?

11th – Crawfordsburn Country Park. I have been here. I didn’t do much at it, or see the sights which are supposed to be here. I played football and probably got drunk.

12th – Whitehead Railway Museum. Another place I’m sure I’ll never visit.

13th – Ulster Aviation Society. Isn’t this a nerdy club, not a thing you can actually visit? Sure, if you’re into airplanes, knock yourself out.

14th – Blackhead Path. Never heard of it.

15th – Peace Wall. Belfast’s turn for a Walled Tour. This is the wall which was historically used to separate the predominantly Protestant and Catholic sides of Belfast. It’s still there, but it’s all a bit silly given that there are a bunch of other ‘sides’, cultures, races, and religions in Belfast now, and given that you can just take a stroll around any edge of the wall or part of the city without there being a physical divide. Maybe some parts are still used and cordoned off, but I’ve no interest in finding out. Knock it down, move on.

That’s genuinely a sorry list. There are much of interesting places to visit, both of historical and cultural value, and in terms of sheer fun and entertainment. Belfast Zoo, the number one spot on any list, isn’t even here, and our much more interesting musems such as The Folk And Transport Museum, Ulster Museum, American Folk Park aren’t in the Top 15. Seriously, if you’re coming here just grab a car and go wherever you want. I recommend a weekend break in Belfast, and driving yourself around the two best coasts – up Antrim Coastline towards Portrush, and down past Newcastle through the Mournes towards Newry. That’s all you need.

Oh yeah, during my week off I was making cheese and crackers for my lunch and decided to try this mindblowing concoction:

It’s a Toffee Pop (a chocolate and toffee/caramel biscuit) topped with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and three types of hard cheese. Yum.

Reminder on blog links:

A-Z Reviews: This category is a sile 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!

My Blog – July 2020

We only went and did it! 30 years. 30 Years of near misses and nowhere nears. 30 Years since Liverpool Football Club was last crowned Champions Of England. Last Season of course, we were Champions Of Europe (6 times) and even after a club record of 97 points in the League, we still missed out on winning it by a single point. Most clubs would shatter after doing everything possible to win, beating records left and right, and still not winning, but the never give up mentality which has always been a part of the club and the city, and which has been rejuvenated and solidified under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp meant we simply pulled up our socks and went one better this year. With a 25 point lead at the top before the outbreak of COV-ID halted things, it was always inevitable that this was finally our year. I for one wasn’t taking anything for granted until it was mathematically impossible for anyone to catch us – which it now is, even with seven games remaining. Being 37 years old, I don’t really remember the last time we won. I remember us being Champions but none of the details. In the years between, we’ve seen some of our greatest players and managers come and go without getting their hands on the biggest price in British football, and the running joke from critics and naysayers was ‘maybe next year’. The jibes are no more. The critics and naysayers have been soundly destroyed on and off the pitch. As the clock ran down, at the poignant 96th minute in the match between rivals Man City and Chelsea, we knew that anything less than a City win would have crowned us Champions. Of course it would have been nice to have done the job ourselves – beating Everton and then Crystal Palace to have the celebrations on our own turf, but you don’t always get everything your own way. No matter – we got over the line in style – like no other club in history, and no have a claim to being the greatest football squad the Country has ever seen.

Champions Of Europe

Champions Of The World

Champions Of England

Oh yeah – here’s what I originally wrote for this blog post last week –

School’s Out! Here in Northern Ireland, we finish School in the last week of June before taking the entirety of July and August out – eight weeks to bask in the glorious lack of sunshine in whatever passes for Summer over here. Most people head to the Costa Del Booze for some unbegotten Continental flings or assorted lilo shenanigans with the family, but it’s a little different this year. Instead, all the Northern Ireland coastal resorts are being filled to bursting with chip-eaters from the rest of the Country, leaving their junk strewn over the beaches before heading back to the big smoke with sand in their cracks and resentment in their hearts. On top of that, the kids have been home schooled for the last few months, and we’re not even sure they’ll be back in September – which is a complete shambles given my eldest is going into her Primary 6 year – the most important year of School.

But that’s not what you came to read about. Last time out I told you about my current enjoyment of specific reaction channels. I love the idea behind some Reaction Channels – Americans watching British Sitcoms or trying British Snacks etc – that’s mildly interesting to me – but unfortunately most of the reactors are so obnoxious/low budget/have apparently just snorted 100 metres of coke as to make their content unwatchable. I enjoy seeing people experience things I am familiar with for the first time, whether it be food, TV, Music, Movies, but it really only works if they are people I’d like to hang out with IRL – not the self-obsessed bin lids who have cloned and spread all over YouTube.

Which is partly why I find myself drawn to different perspectives – people, who don’t seem to be dicks, who I may not usually have the opportunity to meet IRL. People from other cultures and countries, people with experiences and lives which may be truly alien to me. Plus, this also aligns neatly with the Post-Colonialist part of me which I have an inkling resides in all of us. When I was young, I wanted to be an explorer. Not because I had a desire to conquer and enslave like our forefathers, but because I wanted to visit places I hadn’t been before, or that perhaps nobody had been before. I still imagine visiting new worlds, parallel worlds, and sharing our culture and history – not with a view of showing we’re superior or trying to take over – but because what we’ve achieved as a species is pretty damn cool. So, in some way watching these Reaction videos is a harmless, vicarious way of living out these fantasies.

There are few unexplored places in our planet anymore. Places like the North Sentinel Islands – we’re unlikely to get Reaction videos from there… but places like North Korea, people who live in South American, African, or otherwise distant tribes, people who have grown up shielded or sheltered from World wide or Western Culture, people indoctrinated by Cults who have since escaped – people who have had lives so wildly outside of ‘the norm’ that they may have never heard of The Beatles, The Simpsons, Disney, Pizza, Canada – things the rest of us know by heart. I enjoy hearing stories and watching Reaction videos by people who escaped North Korea, but there are not many of them. Recently, Reactistan has been scratching this itch perfectly, as it has been publishing a series of Reaction Videos by people from Tribes in Pakistan. Videos include ‘Tribals React to Super Mario’, Tribals Try Nutella For The First Time’, ‘Tribals Try Coffee For The First Time’ – you get the idea. These wonderful, Meme-ready men and women have honest, often hilarious reactions to some of our supposed greatest exports. from the Elder who doesnt’ trust any food which is put in front of him, calling ‘Only God knows what is in this’ and claims his village has better versions of whatever he is reacting to, to ladies favourite Peer who is much more outgoing and willing to give thoughtful critiques. From dropping truth bombs to being surprised, disgusted, amused, or bemused by what is put in front of them, every episode is gold and it’s probably the most addictive thing I’ve watched in months.

When I first started watching the channel, they had under 20K subs, but at time of writing it’s over 100K – obviously I’m not the only one watching and enjoying. Plenty of people are commenting and creating their own memes in the comments so the community is growing, and fans are being asked for ideas for future episodes. Now’s the time to join in if it sounds like this is your sort of thing. If anyone reading this knows of any similar channels or wants to promote their own channels – feel free to share those here. I’m always interested to catch up with these, and it’s something I’d like to see more of online – less of the Buzzfeed type crap, more of the natural, truthful first time reactions. With that, kind of in mind, here are ten more TV shows I’d love to see individual Reactors React to.

Top Ten Shows NOBODY Is Reacting To (or probably are but just in vastly diminished numbers).

  1. Party Of Five

Party Of Five was one of my original personal obsessions. For early teen me, it had the hottest cast imaginable, with Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Lacey Chabert giving me special loin feelings, and Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf for the ladies. On top of that, it was such a wonderfully acted and written emotional show. While my brother and others were still stuck on shite like 90210, I was dining in the mire of the Salinger family’s trials and tribulations. Every episode featured some sort of MAJOR DRAMA and it’s one of those shows which made me yearn to be in the USA at the time – when Grunge was still on a high and where the beautiful people were not vacuous. It’s probably wouldn’t make for the most entertaining of Reactions – it’s not a show which relies on cliffhangers or outlandish plots or has a lot of comedy or surprises. Instead, it’s a powerful, authentic drama which will probably rip your emotions asunder. NOTE: I’m aware there has been a Latino focused remake of the series featuring an all new cast, and that it has Reactors. I’m going to assume the show has not done well as I have heard zero people talk about it, which sucks.

2. Medium

Medium is a show I only started watching after it ended, buying the boxset because I love Patricia Arquette and the plot sounded like a neat merging of Supernatural, Cop drama, and balancing family life. And that’s exactly what it is. I haven’t finished the show yet, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with these characters, thanks to excellent all round performances and the chemistry the cast has. Special mention must go to the chid actors here – they’re excellent. Again, not the most exciting show to watch others react to, but it’s a sweet show with a touch of horror, romance, humour, and mystery, and it is absolutely littered with guest stars who happen to be some of my favourite performers. No-one else is doing it, so go for those Blue Sky views.

3. Shooting Stars

This is where things get interesting; Shooting Stars was unlike anything else at the time, and while celeb based panel shows are all the rage in the UK now, they still haven’t come close to matching the majesty of Vic and Bob’s unholy spawn. I heard that panel shows aren’t really a thing in the US – I’ve no idea if that’s true or not. Basically, they are (typically) Quiz shows which feature celebrity guests. There’s no real prize on offer, beyond the honour of beating your opposing Team Captain. Typically there are Two Teams headed by an unchanging Team Captain, each week each team has one or two additional celebrity guests, and the show is hosted by an unchanging Quiz master. Sometimes the shows are based around Music, Sports, or Politics, but in the case of Shooting Stars, the subject matter was of course giant doves, True Or False questions (William Shatner’s real name is Bill Schitz?), and surreal video clips. There are a small number of, truly cringeworthy clips out there, of young US big-mouths watching the show uncomfortably and laughing at all the wrong parts, but I fell there are plenty of US viewers who would ‘get it’ and love it. The humour is both very British, and very Vic and Bob – you’ll either be a fan or you won’t, but it’s certainly their most accessible work with the bizarre tempered by the celebrity guests and the presence of Lamar, Jonsson, and Georgie Dawes. It’s one of my all time favourite shows, I used to regularly annoy people in school with my skits from it, and it’s one of those shows where you instantly have a sacred affinity and kinship with someone else who appreciates it.

4. The Outer Limits

Another seminal Anthology show, The Outer Limits is possibly seen as the little brother of The Twilight Zone. Honestly, I think the 90s version of the show may fare better with Reactors than the original. Maybe that’s because I grew up with the 90s one. A little more focused on horror, and on sci-fi, and with a touch more sex and violence, The Outer Limits is prime fodder for Reactors, mainly because not too many Reactors are watching Anthology shows (outside of Black Mirror) yet they offer provocative quick thrills and twists which the viewer will be anticipating – wondering if the Reactor will work it all out or be shocked.

5. Inside Number 9

I’ve talked about it multiple times before, it’s another Anthology show, but it is so clever, funny, scary, and offers something different with each episode while rarely dipping in quality, that I’m going to keep mentioning it until everyone has seen it. There are some Reactors doing bits and bobs of Inside Number 9, but we need some more dedicated Reactors following through and giving their Reactions to the whole thing.

6. Beavis And Butthead

Yes yes, it’s another personal favourite. Now, this is never going to happen due to licensing balls – the sort of which mean we’ll probably never get a good official Beavis And Butthead TV release on DVD/Blu Ray. Yes, I have the Mike Judge Collection, but it doesn’t have every episode, and it doesn’t have any of the music, which was 50% of what made the show appealing. Beavis And Butthead were the original Reactors, giving their beatdowns on MTv videos while slapping the bejesus out of each other, then going on anarchic adventures. In an ideal world, it would be Reactors watching every episode of the show, giving their thoughts not only on the humour, stories, and antics, but on the music. The 90s were a different time, it would be interesting to get some insight on how both people who were there, like me, and all you young cubs who weren’t born.

7. Eurotrash

What the hell was Eurotrash? If I’m honest I still don’t really know. A mixture of soft core pornography, reality, news stories with Europe’s sex oddities, and strange camp skits? Running for a marvellous 153 episodes, it was mainly helmed by the deadpan Antoine De Caunes, ably backed up on occasion by the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Melinda Messenger, Graham Norton, Lolo Ferrari, and a host of others, and each episode featured segments where the crew would visit some strange European festival or couple or group and see what sort of sex escapades they would get up to, from orgies to painting to fetishes. The segments would consist of amusing voice-over translations of what was being said and side voice-over anecdotes a la Come Dine With Me. Back in the studio, usually garishly adorned to make it look like some Deee-Lite video, De Caunes would offer up random thoughts, speak with guests, introduce regular features, and be past of surreal skits involving giraffes or nuns or French people. All of this would surely cause the average ‘I’m like, low-key, not gonna lie, but I have like, oh my god, like no frickin idea what is going on’ spouting Youtuber’s fragile ego to disintegrate. And that can only be a good thing.

8. The Fast Show

Like last time around, you may be sensing a theme here. This time, it’s the surreal – something which I have always enjoyed from as long as I remember. I don’t know why I like it or how I got hooked on it, but you know what they say? ARRRRRSSSSSSE. The Fast Show was a sketch show born out of the charred corpses of Harry Enfield And Chums and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Looking back, it is very dependent on catchphrases, with short sketches sometimes a build-up to a single one-liner that the audience has anticipated. But the key to The Fast Show was that there were hundreds of characters – some appearing only once or twice, some appearing for maybe 10 seconds, while others were given more screen time and back story. It would almost certainly be a case of your average US Youtuber being bewildered and not getting half of the humour, and waiting for that one strange soul that it would click with. Still, people reacting negatively can sometimes be as entertaining as people reacting and loving it.

9. Look Around You

Taking the bizarre to the next level was both glorious seasons of Look Around You – possibly the greatest unseen show ever made. The show took different approaches in each Season, but ostensibly was a spoof of 70s and 80s British Education TV shows for Children. The first Season was the sort of crap they used to show me in Primary school, while the Second was a longer form show which reminded me of several post-School ITV educational fare. The first season was made up of very short – less than 10 minute epsisodes focusing on a single topic, such as MATHS or GERMS, or GHOSTS. Most of the humour is dialogue based and I’ve heard several stories of people channel hopping, stumbling upon it and thinking it was a genuine educational show only to do a ‘wtf’ did he just say when one of the more bizarre turn of phrases was unleashed. The second season is more akin to something like Blue Peter or Tomorrow’s World and saw show creators Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper joining Olivia Colman and Josie D’Arby as hosts. Once again, each show centered on a a specific topic – Music, Sport, Computers, and featured a special guest with an invention hoping to be crowned Inventor Of The Year. Many cameos abound, from Simon Pegg to Edgar Wright, and the amount of detail and content puts other shows to shame – there’s so much here from visual gags to the script to the performances, that you’ll find something new each time. Primarily I want Reactors to watch this, because nobody ever talks about it and I fail to see how anyone wouldn’t laugh their nuts off at it.

10. Sliders

Sliders was one of the first non-kids shows I considered mine. In that nobody else in my family watched it, and none of my friends seemed to watch it. This was never a popular show at all in the circles I travelled in, and I kind of liked it that way. I think my brother caught on or two episodes and called it a cheap copy of Quantum Leap. That’s partly true, but equally unfair. It was a show about travelling to parallel worlds in an attempt to make it home – while Quantum Leap saw one man travelling in time in a roughly 50 year period, Sliders saw (initially) four people ‘slide’ through a wormhole to a parallel version of San Fransisco – some very similar to what they already knew, some very futuristic, some very technologically backwards. They had to stay in this place for a defined amount of time before moving on to the next randomly generated world, hoping they would make it back to their world. While it was very much an episodic show, it did have that overall Story Arc about Quinn, Wade, Arturo, and Brown getting home, and there would be smaller arcs involving double episodes or recurring threats such as the Kromaggs. It all went severely belly up after the third season, with cast changes and a loss of what made the first seasons so interesting, but it’s still the sort of show sci-fi fan Reactors should be watching while we wait for TV schedules and new shows to pick up again.

So that’s that. Oh wait, I did say there were two types of Reaction I wanted to talk about, didn’t I? Maybe I’ll save that for next month as this post is long enough already and I kind of want to make my own ‘Ten Shows Reactors NEED To React to Video’ now for Youtube. Yeah, there’s this channel called Reactistan – it has been going for a while now, but really found its niche recently when they began posting a series where ‘Tribal People’ react to common place Western shit. The link to their channel is above, but seriously go watch those – it’s gold. There are so many future memes, from ‘Only God Knows what it’s made of’ to ‘Well it’s free so I’ll take another bite’. Yeah, I guess I’ll talk about why I love those Reaction videos so much next time – by that point their channel will prob have a million subs.

Oh yeah, I actually went and made that Youtube video alluded to earlier, between the time I wrote the post and now (about an hour) – so here it is. It’s every bit as terrible as all my other videos, but it does feature some stellar original music so whack on the headset and max out the volume (seriously, DON’T).

Do you like Reaction videos? Why not – why do you hate them so? What would you like Reactors reacting to? What would you rather the youth of today spend their time doing? Let us know in the comments, and until next time, check around my site for more incoherent rambling!

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!

My Blog – June 2020

Quick Edit – Since writing the post below, it’s all been kicking off in the US. I have a lot of friends and family in various cities and States in the US, so if you’re over there at the moment – stay safe, and hopefully this turbulence which has been building for days, weeks, years, and arguably centuries, will pass and lead to better lives for those who have been mistreated, victimized, beaten down, told to stay silent, forgotten, ignored, and tortured. I hope for a day we can all be treated with respect as equal humans, that any minority does not have to live in fear of unjust persecution and death, and that we all wise the fuck up.

Quarantine is over! Oh wait, no it isn’t. However, all over the planet (yeah, it’s not just in the USA) people are getting antsy over some deluded notion of freedom or believe that their ‘faith’ is somehow going to shield them from a disease which will soon hit half a million deaths worldwide, and are stepping out of their homes to demand that their fast food stores re-open because that’s what God stipulated in the Constitution. Or something like that – I don’t really understand how the brains of idiots work. Stupidity is, it seems, far more dangerous and widespread than Cov-ID.

Here in the UK, the list of politicians (the very same ones who crafted our ever so vague Lockdown legislation and guidelines), who have broke their own laws to go visit family and friends because they don’t need to do whatever they tell the plebs to do, continues to grow. And half the plebs make excuses for them and will surely vote them back into office. Stupidity indeed.

I assumed in Lockdown I would get a lot more games played, books read, movies watched. As is always the case, more important stuff gets in the way. Or in my case, much less important stuff – such as watching stupid Youtube videos instead. Yes, I’ve been using my extra free time to catch up on dumb reaction videos. Specifically two types of Reaction videos, neither of which I should really like, given what a contrarian I am.

I find there are three (or four at a push) camps of people with regards to Reaction videos; those who love them, those who can’t stand them or even see the point, those who will watch a few here and there, and those who don’t even know they exist. I should hate most of them given the fact that they promote a level of talentlessness not seen since the heyday of Big Brother and other such species-reducing reality shows, and because I don’t care what other people think. Except, that last part isn’t really true, is it? I think all of us care what others think – it’s just that we want to either find those people who agree with us, or find the subject matter of the Reaction videos which speak directly to us, regardless of what the Reactor may think. I think that’s why Reaction Videos are so popular nowadays – they give us that taste of what all humans love – a confirmation bias shroud. We find someone who falls in love with something we already hold dear, and experience that new found love which in turn rekindles our own, all the time nodding in mutual appreciation and understanding at the comments and posts which praise the thing or agree with the Reactor. That second piece is important too – rekindling our feelings, and perhaps vicariously re-experiencing our favourite show or song for the first time through someone else’s eyes. It can be very cool, and quite addictive.

I’ve probably spoken before here about me watching people React to Buffy for the first time. Sure, the cynic in me wonders why for so many years nobody watched it, and then all of a sudden the floodgates opened and you have new channels popping up every week dedicated to reacting to the show. In my experience of watching React Channels, this is definitely one of the problems I have in watching them, and I imagine the Creators have too – everyone is reacting to the same shit. Now, some of those people are clearly jumping on the bandwagon of whatever is popular and riding those Likes and Views all the way to Kingdom Come, but I can only assume there are also some honest souls out there who are pissed off by this and want genuinely to React to Shows they haven’t seen before AND which no-one else is reacting too. Which belatedly gets to what I really wanted to talk about today:

Top Ten Shows NOBODY Is Reacting To (or probably are but just in vastly diminished numbers).

  1. Twin Peaks

A snazzy title, don’t you agree? I have found 1 Youtuber who reacted to every episode of Twin Peaks, but unfortunately wasn’t the most exciting or engaging person to go along with. There are quite a few Twin Peaks reactors out there, but the problem is that they are all fans of the original series and were reacting to Twin Peaks The Return. That’s not what I want – I want virgins. Newbies to the world of Cooper and Co, watching and freaking out the first time just like we all did. Much of the enjoyment for existing fans watching, would be of course anticipating the classic moments of the original two seasons – the weirdness, the one-liners, the laughs, the reveals, the BOB, and in encountering those special precious few souls who would ‘get it’.

2. Farscape

Farscape was one of my favourite shows when it first aired, and one of the original ‘no-one here gets out alive’ TV shows. Seriously, Farscape is an often depressing, downbeat watch, and more often than not a show which makes you feel stupid more not catching all of the intense, complicated, interweaving arcs going on, but if there’s one thing for certain it’s that it was a wonderfully unique show with plenty of laughs, and one which will leave you emotionally drained. That’s why we need more people, or any people, reacting to it – we want to watch you suffer.

3. Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13 is just a delight – yet nobody talks about it, never mind reacts to it. It’s a flawless combination of comedy and action, monster of the week and long arcs, and has some of the best chemistry between its performers that I’ve ever seen. The cast is wonderful and the merging of myth and history always made for a fun watch. It’s the show all nerds and Reactors are sleeping on but need to watch immediately, instead of forcing their way through utter shite like Once Upon A Time. If you needed any more reasons – it was written by Buffy people and has a tonne of Buffy actors popping up.

4. SG1

If you’re sensing a theme here, you’d be correct. A lot of sci-fi… basically this is a list of some of my all time favourite shows and me wishing that other people could watch them so I can share in their enjoyment. A lot of these shows would be a hefty undertaking, but perhaps none more so that SG1. Because you’d have to watch the original Stargate movie too, and probably before the show, even though the cast is different. And then there’s 2 SG1 spin-off movies to consider. Not only 2 spin off movies, but 2 spin-off series in Atlantis and Continuum, which ran for a total of seven seasons. Of course, SG1 itself ran for 10 seasons so, yeah – it’s a whopper. There was a prequel series too recently, but i haven’t seen it yet. Rumours are that a barnd new movie/revamp is coming, so this one maybe has more likelihood than others in getting Reactors on board. But it’s a great show – and plenty of Farscape crossover too!

5. Eerie Indiana

Everyone loves Stranger Things. I like it, but there is something lacking. Maybe it’s the fact that everybody loves it so much and suddenly thinks they’re huge 80s nostalgia freaks when five minutes before the pilot aired those same chumps couldn’t have distinguished their Carpenters from their Cravens. So I like it, but why watch it when you can have the original and best horror nostalgia show – Eerie, Indiana – a show Stranger Things liberally borrows from but has so far yet to beat in terms of comedy and overall writing. It is a kids show, but it’s smarter today almost thirty years on than most adult oriented shows today. It’s only one season, so a dedicated Reactor could power through it in no time.

6. Airwolf/The A-Team/Knight Rider/Street Hawk

Basically any of those 80s crime-fighting shows involving a souped up Black-tinted vehicle. You could throw in Thunder In Paradise (girls look pretty, ooh they look nice), and Blue Thunder here too, except those were shite. Reacting might be tough, as most of the shows didn’t really have any arc or character growth or anything beyond cool action and tough as nails 80s badasses. But they all had their own flavour and would tick a lot of nostalgic boxes – Airwolf at least had more emotion, The A-Team had a variety of characters, Street Hawk was short, and Knight Rider had David Hasslehoff. I guess people could react to Baywatch too, but then they’d spend half their time trying to shield their raging boners from the camera.

7. The X Files

I assume some people out there are, or have gone through The X Files, but most of the people I subscribe too haven’t. Too bust faffing around with Agents Of Shield, or The 100, or Dexter. I don’t care about any of those, and this is all about me. I’m sure there’s a generation of young’uns now who haven’t seen a single episode, so it’s about time they leapt back in. It’s another large undertaking, with double figure seasons and two movies, but it’s one of the all time greats and people would still be sucked in by the conspiracy plots and freaked out by all the mommy freaks living under beds and bendy Tooms slithering up drainpipes.

8. The League Of Gentlemen

It’s the last great British sitcom – fuck off Miranda, Dinner Ladies, The Office, The In Betweeners, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Gavin And Stacey – fuck right off. I’d love to see some of those precious over-exaggerated faux-shock reactions to some of TLOG’s finest moments, you snowflakes wouldn’t have a chance. In all seriousness, it’s a wonder this was ever shown on TV, but it is some of the most perfect 30 minutes in comedy history. And when they’re done, they should absolutely react to Psychoville, and most definitely, perhaps even more so than TLOG react to Inside Number 9 – a few people are already doing that, badly.

9. The Twilight Zone

The original, of course. By all means if you want to move onto the various reboots, go ahead, but nothing touches the majesty of the original. A range of ages in Reactors here would be nice, not just the fresh face new to College Americans we mainly see. Sure, a lot of the twists now may be seen coming, or hackneyed, but the show was made well over 50 years ago. Still it has more ideas and better dialogue than almost any show made since, and still has the power to scare, to make you laugh, but most importantly, to make you think – and it would be cool to see the more vocal reactors share their thoughts.

10. Quantum Leap

I could easily fill another 10 spaces here (don’t worry, I won’t. Yet) but decided to end it on another all time classic. Quantum Leap had less of a season long arc, and more of a show long arc – the Odyssey of Dr Sam Beckett trying to get home – to his own body, and his own time. There hasn’t really been a show like Quantum Leap, that combination of good old fashioned – I was going to say Patriotism, but that’s not right at all – good old fashioned goodness – morality mixed with science mixed with US history, adventure, comedy, romance. Honestly, with all of the pivotal moments which have occurred in the US since the show ended it seems ripe for a reboot – preferably a sequel given the heartbreaking ending of the original series – but possibly one which branches out to other Countries would be cool. We still just want Sam to make that final leap home. But this is a show which Reactors would get a kick out off – it would entertain them while teaching them, and all us nearing middle age or beyond original fans would get a kick out of it too. Come on – all it takes is one of you to make a successful reaction series, then everyone else will jump aboard!

So that’s that. Oh wait, I did say there were two types of Reaction I wanted to talk about, didn’t I? Maybe I’ll save that for next month as this post is long enough already and I kind of want to make my own ‘Ten Shows Reactors NEED To React to Video’ now for Youtube. Yeah, there’s this channel called Reactistan – it has been going for a while now, but really found its niche recently when they began posting a series where ‘Tribal People’ react to common place Western shit. The link to their channel is above, but seriously go watch those – it’s gold. There are so many future memes, from ‘Only God Knows what it’s made of’ to ‘Well it’s free so I’ll take another bite’. Yeah, I guess I’ll talk about why I love those Reaction videos so much next time – by that point their channel will prob have a million subs.

Oh yeah, I actually went and made that Youtube video alluded to earlier, between the time I wrote the post and now (about an hour) – so here it is. It’s every bit as terrible as all my other videos, but it does feature some stellar original music so whack on the headset and max out the volume (seriously, DON’T).

Do you like Reaction videos? Why not – why do you hate them so? What would you like Reactors reacting to? What would you rather the youth of today spend their time doing? Let us know in the comments, and until next time, check around my site for more incoherent rambling!

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!

My Blog – May 2020

1993 Me, Flipping off 2020 You.

May The Fourth Be With You! How many posts will begin with that today? Four billion? Make that four billion and one, punk. Once again I’m not at all prepared for what I want to write today. When I did these monthly, more personal posts last year, I had it planned out in January at a high level what I should tippidy type about each month, but this year all fucks have gone fuckidy flying out the window.

So how are you? That’s what we’re all asking these days – how are you coping? It’s all very strange to me because before nobody ever asked me these things, or if they did I was too busy not listening. It’s nice though, isn’t it? Or is it? I don’t know, social stuff is weird for me. Anyway, Northern Ireland is still in quarantine, but you wouldn’t know it in my speck of the country – idiot farmers are still idling along in their tractors, phones clapped to their ears as they drag their 10-tonne crush machines blindly up the middle of the road, vacantly oblivious to the instant carnage they would bring if they were distracted and bumped a kerb. These are the demented thoughts of a parent, pushing a pram with a 10 week old bundle of helplessness down the middle of a country road where the chavs think it is their duty to drive at 60 rather than 30 and I take great delight and pinging their windees if there’s a suitable stone laying nearby. Why am I walking in the middle of the road, you shriek? Well there’s not a lot of choice when the dickheads with driveways large enough to house four cars, whose houses dot the edge of said road, decide to park their chavy little R Plates on the pavement, leaving barely enough room for a proto-anorexic like me to sidle by, never mind a mammoth buggy. Inconsiderate twats, everywhere you go.

Don’t worry, this isn’t isolation getting to me – I love isolation. In truth, essentially nothing has changed for me since Quarantine started, beyond taking and lifting the kids from School. Sure, home-schooling is an issue but it also goes to highlight just how shitty our School is – as near as can be estimated, the teachers are off work on full pay, and have barely lifted their finger since day one. Which is awesome for the rest of us who have to keep working as normal – I’ve always been able to work from home, it just means that now I absolutely don’t need to go into work at all. There are plenty of teachers going over and above – not in my School of course, but in the towns nearby – so to supplement the work we already have, our daughters are watching a teacher from nearby Portstewart who is making daily Youtube videos. This is also beneficial because when we home school, or even in the past when we have done the girls’ homework, we have no clue how they are being taught in school and revert back to how we were taught. It’s easier for everyone if we follow the teacher’s lead.

Ha. My wife just walked into the room to say she’s just received an email from the School to say that each week the teachers will be adding some additional online work for each class. Success! Now I bet if I go for a walk, the car which was blocking the pavement will be on fire. Nothing to do with me, of course. The main positive of all of this nonsense is that I’m getting to spend a lot more time with my son than I normally would have – an almost three hour commute when I’m travelling into work has been dissolved so now there is no rush to get out of bed or get home.

That aside, last month I was messing around with some DVDs which my parents had brought up a few months ago – conversions of our old VHS and camcorder memories. Hours of footage of me messing around as a kid – playing outside, Christmases, Birthdays, assorted family outings and weirdness. My old pal, Mr Biffo – creator of the old Teletext page Digitiser which I used to read on a daily basis before the days of the Internet, had asked on Twitter if anyone happened to have old VHS footage which he could use in some upcoming Youtbe vids. A few conversions to MP4 later and I sent him a batch. If you’re interested (and you should be), you can watch his madness here  – for someone with my sense of humour, it’s the best Youtube channel in the biz. Some of my footage has been used already, so it’s nice to be a minuscule part of something I love.

That’s really all I wanted to say. Okay, fine – I know I usually do one of those silly personal questionnaires when I write these posts, but they’re always terrible, bland or quirky – but I suppose that’s their nature. Here’s a quick Music survey I found – I’ve no idea what it’s about:

  1. What is your gender: Male
  2. What is your age: 35 and older (I guess once you reach this category music stops being important)
  3. Choose the top 3 genres of music you listen to most often (the survey provides a list): Classic Rock. Metal. Heavy Metal.
  4. What genre do you listen to most: Isn’t that the same question? For the sake of brevity I just lump it all under metal.
  5. How do you listen to music: CD, MP3, iPod, Youtube.
  6. How many hours a day do you spend listening to music: 1-2 hours.
  7. Where do you listen to music most: This of course depends on where I am – I’ll listen to music more at work on the days I go in, more at home in the day’s I’m wfh.
  8. List the last three songs I chose to listen to recently: Hmm, according to my calculations those would be ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ theme, ‘Ave Satani’, and ‘Lucille’.
  9. Of the three songs listed above, what musical aspect do you enjoy most: again there are options to choose from which are highly limited, but out of those I would say ‘the instruments being used’.
  10. On a scale of 1-5, how open are you to listening to new music: Well, what do you mean by ‘new’? Music which was recorded and released within the last 12 months? Or music which I’m only hearing for the first time which may have been recorded and released decades ago? In any case, I’m open to anything. It’s just that most ‘new’ chart music is terrible, I’m mostly out of the loop when it comes to new metal and I haven’t bothered keeping up to date recently. But music I haven’t heard before – take a look at any of my musical posts and you’ll see all the crap I’m hearing for the first time. 

That’s that, I guess. Till next time, stay away from coughing strangers and look after your sanity by visiting digitiser2000 on Youtube and browsing my plethora of junk at the links below.

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!