Partially Reformed Content #3

So…It’s been a quiet year so far eh?…alright alright; it was an obvious gag but fuck me if we dont need SOMETHING a bit lighter going on around here…Jeez. between a worldwide pandemic, riots in the streets, murder hornets, waves of cicada’s, an almost super majority Tory government, the rise of white nationalism and the complete collapse of the economy. I find a lot of us are on the verge of a full blown Clark Griswold style meltdown…and at this point frankly; I dont blame anyone who does. We are quite literally the closest to the threshold of hell than almost any other generation currently alive. We’re a pressurised tank of pain and anger and at the time of writing (the 3rd of June 2020) and we’re on the verge of a full blown explosive outburst (If that hasnt happened already by the time this actually gets published.)

(VENT! BY GOD IT’S SO HEALTHY!!!)

So given that my last Blog was in February, a rosier time when the pandemic was barely on the radar (If it was on the radar at all) I thought now would be as good a time as any to flip my chair around, grab a beer and catch up with you guys via a good old fashioned “Partially reformed content” blog. To new comers (As I realise my site has had a bit of a spike in viewers of late) these blogs are a little bit of everything. Just a verbal stream of consciousness where I let you know where we’re up to with the show, whats going on in my life, a little bit of politics, a little bit of film making stuff…it’s the SPAM of blog posts, a bunch of shredded up loose threads compressed together into a solid slab of meat.

(It’s rich in mystery meat goodness…)

So! Kicking things off! Channel News! And Season 7 is almost over! Assuming this blog goes live when I intend it to then our newest review of “Sleepaway Camp” should have gone live on Friday! It was one I was particularly happy with and I think we’ve had a really solid run of Red Triangle episodes this season. In fact looking at the analytics this season has arguably been the most successful season I’ve made since I launched the channel back in 2017 and we’ve still got another 3 weeks or so to go! So thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me through the good times and the bad. I really genuinely could have done non of this without your continues support and love. It helps make every difficult edit, every multi day recording session, every stagnated upload totally worth it.

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(And I really genuinely and sincerely mean that!)

 

The season is set to end at the end of June at which point we’ll enter a 2 month hiatus while I continue to work on new material and for other reasons I’ll get into shortly. In the mean time work on Season 8 continues to pick up pace it’s looking like a 17 week run at this point (With scope for a couple of collaborative “off channel” reviews also scheduled in pending the current global crisis.) running from September to December. At the time of writing I’ve completed 15 of 17 scripts (Plus 2 collab scripts) and im hoping to write one of the final 2 scripts over the next fortnight. The 17th script is a bit of a bigger scoped project than usual…but it isnt due until the end of November so for now. That ones on hold while I work on other things.

Of the 15 scripts I have completed 14 have been recorded and of the 14 recorded 10 at the time of writing (15 by the time of publication) will have been fully audio edited and processed. Meaning I’ll be spending a good chunk of June and July video editing September and early Octobers content. Honestly? This seasons been one of the hardest to write for. It’s been quite ruthless and relentless just purely for the amounts of “Fixed” content I’ve had to work on. With the March to June run the whole things on me; I can choose what I want to watch, when I want to watch and how. September to Decembers a bit different as we have Halloween and Christmas demanding fixed content, thats 8-10 weeks worth of episodes (10 out of 17) that I had very little say over in terms of film selection or genre. Its arguably the only truely hard part of doing this channel, having to watch movies of a specific genre that you just arnt “Feeling” at that time, while also trying to maintain a level of professional critique.

(Not feeling the movies you need to review IS SO NOT A VIBE!!!)

Watching Christmas films in June or freebasing 5 Halloween themed movies one after the other can be seriously draining at times, but it’s a necessary evil, doing them now gives me time to make sure they’re super polished for release. PLUS it means I greatly appreciate the chance to talk about the genre movies I want to when the opportunity arrives. So while at times writing the newest season has been hard. I hope ultimately it was worth it as there are some absolutely KILLER titles coming up!

(Spoilers)

In terms of the Comedy Dining experience; Lockdown has been both a blessing and curse to it. On the one hand we’ve been able to record more commentaries during this lockdown than at any other point since we began working on the show (We now have commentaries lined up right the way up to December). The downside is that Ben (My cohost) is unfortunately a 70s bohemian by nature and as such doesnt really have/use a lot of technology. He has a laptop that by his own admission is over 10 years old at this point and overheats/switches off after 30 or so minutes use…he has a smart phone…thats about 5-7 years old with minimal to no features and the biggest issue? His internets shocking in terms of connectivity.

(Like this…but MUCH less Hipster-ey and MUCH more in tune with 70’s Dayglo)

 

As such while we’ve been able to record around 6 commentaries together over the last month, only 3-4 have actually been usable. Mainly because of drop out, bad mic quality and the fact that I’ve had to rig up a seperate machine on my end to record both mine and Bens conversations as He cant record any of his audio on his side. So as of the time of writing we’ve kind of put a bit of an unspoken hold on recording anymore until we can find a more solid work around. Though we’ve been talking about some new film ideas while this hold has been going on so as soon as we’re back up and running we’ll be hitting the road with wheelspin! Also; to close. Even though the latest Season of TYTD finishes at the end of this month, The Comedy dining experiences (Amongst other goodies) will continue to be published throughout July and August to help tide you guys over! So keep an eye out for them!

So thats the formalities out of the way; Dan! What have you been up to since the last time you spoke to us properly on December 31st 2019!? Well; Im glad you didnt ask! Home life’s honestly been a bit dull really; I was told by my place of employment to stay at home and to “Stay the fuck away from the office” in early March and about 2 weeks after that the country entered lockdown meaning other than shops and pharmacies everywhere is shut. As my parents and my partner are all classed as “Vulnerable persons” I’ve been spending most of the lockdown juggling work, the youtube channel and making sure they’ve got food, medicine and anything else essential they may need. That hasnt stopped my Dad (who’s arguably the most vulnerable of all my family) from regularly flouting lockdown to go to the shop himself…but I’ve warned him as much as I can and he’s chosen to take the risks. There isnt much more I can do there.

I’ve been trying to help out the wider community also while all this has been going on, helping provide shopping to the elderly and making sure that vulnerable people are not suffering in isolation. While I havent done as much as I’d have liked. I’ve done what I can. And now that the governments botched the lifting of lockdown restrictions my help is seemingly no longer needed…well not until the next wave flares up inevitably…

(He’s been warned…They’ve all been warned…ahhh…Goddamnit.)

Anyway! In terms of other events in my life, as regular readers may recall my partner is unfortunately not in the best of health. This was one of the reasons season 6 and 2019 ended up the way it did as I spent a large chunk of that year in hospital waiting rooms. Well so far this year she’s been holding relatively steady. There have definitely been ups and downs and right now we’re definitely in a down. But the extremes have definitely narrowed and she seems to be managing things at least a little bit better…which im incredibly thankful for. While we’re nowhere near getting her back to her old self at this point and the lockdown has definitely been quite detrimental to her progress in some regards. Theres a distinct feeling right now that things are moving in the right direction. Equally! We have a hamster now! His name is Newt and he joins our cat Zelda as being the joint 2nd cutest thing in our house (just behind me obvs.)

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(Just look at his lil face!)

Apart from DESPERATELY wanting a haircut (Seriously; I only have a few things that make me feel uncomfortable and during this lockdown i’ve learnt that long hair is one of them) everything else has been relatively stable. I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on my “To Watch” pile and working on the show. It’s been a bit like a mini vacation really as I havent had nearly as many people trying to drag me away from the things I love! In fact i’ve finally had such an abundance of free time I’ve finally been able to pull the trigger on a massive project that’s been at least 3-4 years in the making. My media room is getting upgraded.

(And Sweet merciful Jesus it’s about time!)

Im going to do a separate blog at some point documenting the transformation (And Im even hoping to stream some of the sorting through my films, records and books when It comes to repopulating the room) but the long and short of it is the room itself hasnt been totally ground up renovated since the 1970’s and hasnt been redecorated (Repainted) since 1998 because of the 70’s aesthetic I’ve always kind of been reluctant to do anything major with the place (As…well it’s 70’s aesthetic design…why on EARTH would I want to) but having now spent the majority of 2020 in here, It’s become clear to see that the place REALLY needs to have something done to it, faded wallpaper, holes in the wall, mould, burn marks, dust, dirt and cobwebs are just. EVERYWHERE. And the current layout and tech choices in here are dated to say the least. So from the middle of July I’ll be completely stripping the room back to the brickwork and over July and August we’ll be completely renovating the place both to modernise it and to make the place more film and media friendly. Im SUPER excited about getting started on this project as it’ll mean I’ll finally be able to pull out a good chunk of my stuff from storage and after 5 years of false starts and umming and ahhing I’ll finally have a room thats a bit more “Me”. I have no idea how long it’ll take to TOTALLY turn the room around and have it finished but the bare elements should all be in place by the end of the first week in August, Im ETA’ing that everything should be totally finished by early October. 2nd pandemic and lockdown permitting.

So thats everything personally relevant to me, what else….hmm! Well politically im starting to feel evermore homeless! Thats always a good feeling (Aside; it’s not) after nearly 5 years as leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn finally stood down as the leader of the Labour party in December 2019 after an election defeat so monumental it pretty much handed the keys to the country to a load of alt-right fascists for the next 4 years…seriously; they were just shy of a super majority based on the results and at this time there is NOTHING that anyone can do. Even if all the opposition parties united against the conservatives all it would result in is a comfortable victory to the tories…thats how fucked we are collectively right now. At the time of the defeat a majority of the reports claimed it was Corbyn himself and his radical lefty ideas of treating everyone as fairly as possible and not letting people literally die in the streets that led to the monumental defeat. Though it’s clear at this point that Xenophobia and Brexit were the main things that led to this defeat. In the interim while a new leader of the opposition was being selected a report was released into the antisemitism claims that have plagued the labour party since 2016, and while the report itself was kind of “Meh” in terms of actually saying anything we didnt already know. What WAS absolutely damning was that between 2016 and 2019 it was revealed right leaning members of UK Labour worked against the leader and the left wing of the party to purposfully throw the vote. This includes ringfencing members membership fees in order to run anti Corbyn propaganda and purposefully throwing the local and general elections in areas they had control in order to try and shake Corbyn off.

(…)

Yes. you heard me right; one side of the labour party, tried to purposefully ensure the other half lost and guaranteed a Boris Johnson victory because they didnt like the idea of a socialist government. When this document was released I was apoplectic. Blinded by rage and this hasnt been resolved even now nearly 3 months after it was initially revealed. And thats partially due to the fact that the new leader of the labour party was Keir Starmer. A member of the more right wing side of the labour party who CERTAINLY wasnt going to rock the boat over this because: A: He won and B:he needed to keep the people who got Corbyn out on side or else they’d do the same to him. As such we’ve now got a limp labour party that seems to be agreeing with the conservative party more than opposing it. Which at any other time would be horrendous. But NOW…JUMPING JESUS ON A POGOSTICK…its a wonder I havent become an alcoholic.

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(Pictured: Sir Keir Starmer QC)

At the moment theres been a lot of people banding about the idea that because of the lockdown Starmer hasnt really begun to flex his muscles…and some even bigger cretins who are actually trying to make out that he’s an effective leader of the opposition (Despite not getting his own house in order yet OR doing anything to actually oppose the current government charnel house.) I promised I’d give him a fair crack of the whip before giving up my membership. He’s got till September for me personally…so far. Im going to be saving quite a bit of money year on year if he carries on the way he has been. I certainly wont be voting for my local labour MP in the next election if he’s standing as the leader. Fuck that noise.

And that pretty much leads us back here to June 3rd 2020. The worlds on fire. Racism has been unbottled and we’re on the brink of a civil war which may or may not have gotten underway at the time of this publication. The whole situation is tragic, awful and barbaric. But ultimately not surprising. 400+ years of systemic oppression was eventually going to boil over at some point. People can only be held back, degraded and kicked for so long. And under a Trump presidency 4 years was the perfect catalyst and combination of elements to lead to these riots. To my US readers. I say support the protestors where possible. Donate money if you can, and do ANYTHING you can to take down the fash. Here in the UK I’ve resigned myself to the fact we’re a lost cause. 50k+ deaths, a know lying, philandering, racist, homophobic PM and 300+ MPs’s who are nothing but wadding to support the unsupportable have shown me over the last 12 months that the UK population is either too dense to accept change or too malicious to want it. But you guys in the US, with this act you’ve just rolled the dice. And I REALLY hope that meaningful proactive and positive change is born from the ashes of this horrible moment. Until then the world continues to burn, I continue to work…and well…im hoping that by December SOMETHING good will have come from all this.

 

Till Next time.

(The 12″ Mix of this has been stuck in my head now for the best part of 3 months…if I have to suffer; so do you…enjoy the middle 8.)

Karma Kamelion – My History with Doctor Who

So I was doing some admin in preparation for the New season of TYTD Reviews (As an aside; exact dates on the launch date is TBC at this point in time but it’s looking to either be the 28th of February or the 6th of March depending on how quickly I can pull my socks up) and it dawned on me…I’d never done a blog about Doctor who! HOW have I never done a blog about Doctor who? I did a whole month on the internationally famous timelord. I did three whole hour long retrospectives on the William Hartnell years that never got uploaded because It was starting to creep to 90 minutes per retrospective and I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain them…but I’ve never actually made a blog exclusively about the TV show (And set of movies) that were massively influential on my life. So! This entry is going to entirely be about my history with show, my thoughts on it and where things currently sit with me.

(Buckle up kids! this is a Journey into space!)

So! I watched my first episode of Doctor who in the early spring of 2003. It was *I believe* The Peter Davidson Story “The Caves of Androzani” on UKTV Gold. Back then I was suffering from a quite severe stomach illness which meant I was always, without fail, jolted awake at 7am with severe pains (This would go on for 3-4 months before culminating in the 2nd worst illness I’ve ever had that lasted 48 hours and totally knocked me out) this turned out though to have a major upside as UKTV gold showed omnibus editions of Doctor who  between 7 and 9am back then. As such; when I first saw that regeneration story it blew my mind at how weird, wonderful, quintessentially british it was and I was really rather smitten at first sight. I spent most of the spring and a good chunk of the summer burning through Peter Davidson and Colin bakers era of Doctor who. Occasionally an odd Tom Baker would materialise and incredibly rarely (I can only recall 3 times EVER) Jon Pertwee stories would show up. I still recall being absolutely enthralled at catching a Black and white broadcast of “The Ambassadors of Death” captivated at Properly old Doctor who! Black and white doctor who! (I wasn’t to know it was originally in colour) it blew my mind.

(This…was a watershed moment for me)

You have to imagine; at this point all the existing Doctor who episodes had been released on VHS but by 2003 those tapes wernt available to buy in shops…charity shops or car boot sales maybe;…but not in real shops. There were a limited number of DVD’s available (Approximately 10-15) but at the time I was unemployed and had absolutely no chance of affording them.  So these broadcasts were my gateway to the show! I never saw a full story during this time, only either edited episodes or partial stories  (I never quite got in front of the screen to catch part 1 more often than not) but over that year I ended up pretty much watching all of the 5th and 6th Doctors eras. I needed more though.

Jump forward to November 2003 and I’d managed to save up enough money for 2 Doctor who DVD’s which I bought off Amazon (One of my first online purchases…I was a bit behind the times) I really was at a loss for what to pick up but in the end I settled on “The Five Doctors” thinking it would give me a good idea of each Doctors personality and let me make a bit of a better informed decision on where to go next. And “Tomb of the Cybermen” which I chose purely based on what I saw of Patrick Troughtons 2nd Doctor in the multi Doctor story “The Two Doctors” as part of Colin Bakers era…He seemed like a personality I could really gel with and I quite liked the concept of Cybermen (I’ve always much preferred them to Daleks) It was the only Cybermen story out at the time so I thought “Why the hell not”. They arrived on the weekend of the 23rd of November 2003, on Doctor who’s 40th anniversary weekend.

(These two…Oh man…it’s probably the first time I’ve seen these covers in 10 years…memories man…ooft.)

 

That weekend was an absolute eye opener. UKTV gold decided to play Doctor who for most of the weekend. With each Doctor getting a “Top” story played out to represent them. That was the first time I was introduced to William Hartnells Doctor, and Sylvester Mccoys and Paul Mcganns. I got another Troughton story under my belt. And (If my memory serves) it was the first time I ever saw Pertwees opening story “Spearhead from Space”.  This really opened the floodgates for me. I enjoyed that weekends worth of stories so much I knew that I needed to get my hands on more. And specifically the older stuff. through the rest of 2003,2004 and 2005 I started buying up DVD’s. I have very vivid memories of picking up “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” and the “Beginnings” boxset of the first 3 Doctor who serials ever. I eventually picked up some 5th and 6th Doctor stories and finally saw the likes of “The Visitation” and “Vengence on Varos” uncut in there original format.

The announcement that the show was returning to the airwaves after a 16 year hiatus in 2004 completely passed me by. I was too busy with the classic stuff. but in 2005 with 2 weeks to go before the launch of the new series I suddenly locked in and got majorly excited for it’s return. And it didn’t disappoint! If I was an affectionate follower before I was a full blown fanatic after “Rose” aired. I was absolutely smitten with the new season. and in tandem with the classic DVD’s I’d started collecting this started a period of time where all I wanted was the next hit, the next fix of who. Didn’t care if it was new or old. Colour or black and white. I needed who and I needed it NOW.

(This thing just keeps getting better and better)

It was in late 2004 that I also learnt about the “Missing episodes” and while it didn’t particularly phase me in 2004. In 2005 when I was freebasing Hartnell and wondering why my now favourite Doctor Patrick Troughton wasn’t having a tremendous amount of DVDs released. A quick google quickly broke my heart. Missing episodes quickly became my life. I’d pour over telesnaps on the BBC website, I’d scour the net for audio of the episodes. Eventually I got in touch with Loose Canon who were able to provide me with most of there full blown reconstructions (To this day their “Web of Fear” CG recon still holds a special place in my heart) My love for information on missing Doctor who eventually branched out to all missing TV (A passion that still continues to this day. God bless Kaleidoscope)

(One day…)

Basically I was obsessed. I could tell you TX dates. I could tell you every stories writer, every director, every individual episode title for series 1-4…and I was astounded that I couldn’t get a girlfriend at this time (Genuinely). Series 1 eventually came to an end with a regeneration and a cliffhanger that blew my mind. I waited desperately impatiently till Christmas and actually locked myself away to watch “The Christmas Invasion” live and play the red button minigame that accompanied it. it was fantastic. I wasn’t a massive fan of David Tennants first series as the timelord, Series 2 was a bit too romantically charged for my taste personally but hey. its doctor who. It’s still astoundingly great at this point (Daleks V Cybermen OMGWTFBBQ) and my collection continued to grow, I loved series 3 and 2007 was my 1st, 2nd, 3rd and last ever trips to the Doctor who Exhibition in Blackpool…literally the coolest museum I’d ever been to. I genuinely couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I made the pilgrimage to Cardiff to do tours of the Torchwood locations and to see where some of “Utopia” was filmed and to visit the ORIGINAL Doctor who exhibition (Which was located in a shopping center and not in a hanger on the bay). I LOVED series 4 (Some of the best and most consistent television I’ve ever seen) it was near perfect for me and is still my favourite Tennant season.

But then 2009 happened…the specials happened. It was rough. I really didn’t like the specials. There just wasn’t anything there honestly for me. “The Next Doctor” was a cop out that had quite a weak premise that stood up while merry on a Christmas evening, but is pretty much devoid of any rewatch value. “Planet of the Dead” was incredibly flimsy storywise the “Guest stars” were underwhelming and the resolution wasn’t satisfying. “The Waters of Mars” was probably the strongest story of the season…but even that had a quite rubbish villain and tried way too hard to try and tell me how to feel…at this point I felt I was getting a bit tired of Tennant…in hindsight I still stand that had he gone out at the end of season 4 rather than doing the specials I’d have probably left him on fonder terms…The end of time was a bit of a disaster for me…the Master reveal was nice. But the rest of it was an absolute sludge of a story that made almost no sense, had poor editing and lacked any kind of depth or cohesion between parts 1 and 2.

2 things saved the 2009 run for me. One was that I managed to start making a regular income which let me buy WAY more classic Doctor who…which kept me good during the long gaps between new series episodes. And the actual Tennant regeneration and the opening 30 seconds to a minute of Matt Smiths run was FUCKING PHENOMINAL. Seriously in less than a minute Matt Smiths 11th Doctor connected with me in a way I hadn’t felt since I sat down 5 years previously to watch “Tomb of the Cybermen” Matt Smith was my kind of Doctor. And I could not WAIT. For season 5.

(SOLD!)

It. Was. BRILLIANT. Both Season 5 and 6 of the new series completely reignited my love for the show like scraping the rust off and restoring an old car. The direction and cine was fresh and lively. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were absolutely electric together and the 11th Doctors personality (A cross between the 2nd Doctor and the more “Masterplanny” elements of the 7th Doctor) captivated me. I never missed an episode. I’d rewatch these season religiously. I went on holiday during season 6’s run and ended up renting a portable TV…in Spain. Just so I wouldn’t miss the 2 episodes That would go out while I was abroad. Russell T.Davies was a master of writing emotional characters. But Moffats era would open the floodgates on full blown unapologetic sci-fi bringing some stories to the table that are now considered out and out classics. Retroactively I will concede they arnt perfect…but I still stand that they were Bloody close!

(So…frickin…good!)

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and 2012 was really the beginning of the end for my “Rabid fandom” days as a “Who” fan…by 2012 I’d caught up with the Doctor who DVD’s more or less. Both myself and my (Then flatmate) Ben had started marathoning every episode of Doctor who in order (1963 – 2013) and I’d started to go hardcore about my collecting (I managed to get bootleg copies of Ian Levines Shada, Mission to the Unknown, and bootleg DVD releases for “Dimensions in time” at this time) Season 7 (2012) started out relatively strong if not a little bit fillery…but Amy and Rory’s departure from the show half way through season 7 and the corresponding break really did mark my decline. I didn’t like Clara. I never liked Clara. I still don’t like Clara. She was good  in “Asylum of the Daleks” she was alright in “The Snowman”…her “Official” start in “The Bells of St. John” was a damp squib for me and with the exception of “The Crimson Horror” the entire second half of season 7 was just atrocious. Really poor stories, terrible dumbed down dialogue, all the fine lines and narrative points that made me love seasons 5 and 6 were reduced and “The Rings of Akhaten” to me was the absolute low of Doctor who at any point in its entire run up to that point. While I wont deny I went a bit weak in the knees for the opening “Multi Doctor” montage in “The Name of the Doctor” it was all too little too late.

(This monologue was the best part of the 2nd half of season 7…and it sits in the worst episode of Doctor who that I’ve seen since 2006)

While “Day of the Doctor” went a long way to assuring me that maybe the 2nd half of Season 7 just disagreed with me and that I shouldn’t worry too much (Day of the Doctor was bloody phenominal good fun). Time and the Doctor was not the best way the 11th Doctor could have gone…it was better by Tennant…but not much. Capaldi’s era to me is punctuated by 2 major movements in my fandom. The first was that I pretty much finished my Doctor who DVD collection (I believe by the end of 2015 I was literally just mopping up special editions) and this was the first time I genuinely thought that a Doctor was given scripts that were significantly below their acting ability. Peter Capaldi is an astounding actor. I love his performances very dearly. But in my opinion you could take seasons 8,9 and 10 and build a season’s worth of good episodes out of them. (14 episodes and since you didn’t ask):

*Deep Breath

*Mummy on the Orient Express

*Flatline

*The Magicians Apprentice

*The Witches Familiar

*The Zygon Invasion

*The Zygon Inversion

*Heaven Sent

*Hell Bent

*The Pilot

*Smile

*The World Enough and Time

*The Doctor Falls

*Twice upon a time

As a season that run would be on a par with some of Eccleston,Tennant and Smiths best seasons for me. but the fact that I had to really think hard to remember the episodes of seasons 8,9 and 10 and that the episodes above for the most part only JUST. hit those same heights is a bit of a shame…the majority of Capaldi’s episodes had moments. Had glimmers…but just…didn’t work for me for the most part. Bill was an absolute breath of fresh air over Clara (Who I disliked during capaldi’s era so much that when she left I actually threw a “Claras gone” party…with guests and cake and party poppers and everything) I cant quite put my finger on it but something in the way Moffat ran the show from that second half of season 7 onwards was fundamentally different to how it was run between seasons 5 and 6…Season 10 was the most solid season of Capaldis run but it still wasn’t perfect. He’s still the Doctor I’d most love to see get the Big finish treatment as I think he could be quite genuinely astounding with a decent companion and a good run of well written stories.

(The one that got away…)

And so we arrive In the 13th Doctors era… And before I talk about this I just want to take a moment here. grab Jodie Whittaker and Bradley Walsh and pop them in a little time pocket outside of this blog because to me they’re brilliant. I like Jodies Doctor (She’s very 5th Doctor for me) and I think Walsh’s “Graham”  has brought some much needed light relief to a series that can get quite dark at times. They’re great. I love them. I wont say anything more about them here…HOWEVER.

(She’s oreet! Seriously; I have no beef with Jodie!)

I haven’t watched Season 12 yet. And I’ve still got 3 episodes of season 11 to get through (At the time of writing) I haven’t watched an episode of Doctor who go out live since Season 11 episode 1 and I don’t want to be lumped in with all the weirdo’s who think theres a culture war going on and the new series of Doctor who is somehow trying to “Destroy white heritage!!!1!!11” But Im really struggling with this era.

I really liked “Rosa”, I really Liked “Demons of the Punjab” everything else I’ve seen of season 11 has been (From a script perspective) slow, dragged out, overly wordy, uninteresting and unchallenging. Every episode is overly long. And even episodes that I  was really warming to (“Kablam!”) throw any goodwill I had with them away with piss poor endings that left me with mixed messages and feelings. I’ve never liked Chris Chibnalls writing, I don’t know why he was chosen to be the showrunner as other than broadchurch his prior works wernt really screaming “Top Sci-fi producer”. I don’t like the newly introduced “Writers room” format. I don’t like the lower episode count. I don’t like the overreliance on big spacey bollocks CGI effects and gimmicks that are clearly gimmicks (I know, I know…but Tom Baker was already a gimmick BEFORE he became the doctor) I don’t like that they’ve moved the show to Sundays. And I REALLY don’t like that the BBC’s own social media feed now completely spoils new episodes within 30 minutes of the credits rolling thus removing any need for me to watch at all…

I fucking hate the toxic side of the fandom who’ve used this change of the guard to attack the choice of a female doctor or to claim theres an SJW agenda because the show is dealing with more diverse topics and I REALLY hate the fans who’ve stuck around who attack anyone who even remotely suggests they arnt totally happy with the latest season. the fandom has eaten itself and kacked it’s pants at the worst possible time to do so and it’s depressed me so much that for now at least I’ve kind of stepped back a bit. Im still working through episodes at a very slow pace (As and when I can fit them in) but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel lethargic about the show in it’s current iteration. It’s mainly the pacing of the scripts, the constant stream of guest stars and at a push…mayyybe a touch of “Crowded Tardis” going on…though that’s really the least of this shows troubles.

I had a friend in 2011 who I met over a mutual love of Matt Smith era Doctor who. Every Saturday we’d meet up and go through that week’s who. When the show wasn’t on we’d talk about Big Finish, rumours on Missing episodes and rumours for the new season. We fell out over Clara (He loved her) but we patched it up. We fell out over this season…not because he likes it and I don’t. we both don’t like it…but he doesn’t like it for questionable reasons…we haven’t spoken since season 11…I don’t know if we’ll ever speak again.

In 2020. I feel very apathetic about Doctor who. The fandom isn’t helping to get me enthused…but the show itself to me feels a bit like it’s just going through the motions. I know the love for the show is still there though. I keep getting twinges to go and dig out some classic doctor who. I still keep my oar in on missing episode rumours and the moment a 9th or 12th doctor Big finish series is announced im totally there. I appreciate that the show is always evolving. I get that. The joy of this show is it’s a bit like a roundabout. You can jump on and off on a whim and one era’s show can be completely different from another. I don’t know where the show goes from here. But whatever happens from here…I’ll still be there either on the sidelines or trying to get onto the pitch. I love the show. and the spark that keeps it excellent is still going…no matter how loudly certain aspects of the fandom screams otherwise.

 

(Obligatory “Doctor in Distress” music video)

The Decade of Change: 2010 – 2019 A Retrospective

Yes! It’s a new Blog! Well I couldn’t really let the end of the year, Neigh. The end of the Decade pass without posting something here. it would just seem quite out of  sorts.  In all honesty I’ve been trying to get a blog up on this site now for the best part of 6 months…I’ve tried 5 times in all and everytime I’ve done so I’ve left it for a day before publishing it and something either in my personal life or on my youtube channel has happened that’s either made it completely obsolete or (In the case of at least a couple of blogs I’ve written that have been based around a particular theme) outside forces have made the point I was arguing in said blog moot, or I’ve changed my mind completely.

(Seems about right…)

In short; I’ve had to either abandon or not publish several blogs over the last 6 months, So I’ve made myself a promise with this one. No matter what, this will be written and published all on the 31st of December. Right now it’s 2:20am on the 31st of December 2019 and Im currently watching  Something Weird Videos “That’s Sexploitation” a documentary about the early history of Sexploitation cinema. Its surprisingly insightful and it’s very unique to see so many vintage clips that previously would have been sat in the deepest darkest seediest pits and back rooms across the US.

(This to be precise…and a fine job they’ve done of it too!)

Anyway; Im getting away from myself here… We’ve had an interesting Decade the 2010’s it’s had it’s highs and it’s lows. And I’d like to take the time here to reflect on this decade personally as…well; a lots happened. So if your looking for the next segment of my history of B-movie cinema or a blog about anime or tv shows I’ve been watching…well you may want to skip to the end. I think it’s probably best to organise these into 2 distinct sectors. The pre 2016’s and the post 2016’s. in my mind at least that makes the most sense as they both are very different times tonally. To me the early 2010’s were a strangely liberating if not creaking time, and the later 2010’s have been the slow collapse of society. Now that’s not to say that 2010 to 2015 was perfect. Nor was it to say that everything after 2016 has been dreadful. But it just makes it easier to write about here.

So; 2010. As strange a time for me as it ever has been honestly. I had just gotten out of a very complicated friendship (Romantic feelings were involved and I’ll say no more about that here) I was a bit of a mess emotionally because of this (I didn’t really get over these issues until about 2014/2015) I had almost no money, no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I didn’t own a car (nor did I know how to drive) I was living with my parents and was generally flicking between being busy making films/expanding my education and figuring out what I wanted out of life (Predominantly centered around whether I wanted a partner/friends or whether I should just coast around going where I wanted and doing what I wanted.) For the most part I wasn’t unhappy. But I wasn’t exactly beaming for the most of this year. I made some good friends that year who continue to be associates to this day. I’ve never been a “Going out” type of guy. A pub nights about as far as I’ll go really. So I don’t tend to see the guys from this time as much as I’d like to. but the fact they’ve hung around with me as long as they have really does mean a lot.

(It was a stiff upper lip year if ever there was one…)

2010 was a bit of a stalled year. I was taking a lot on and I had no idea what I wanted. I was drifting aimlessly and seemingly directionless. 2011 would certainly offer direction, but would also be particularly awful. I’d decided after much thought to go to university. My love of film had led me to want to do a course on the subject to a degree level and so I chose to study media film production with a minor in experiemental film history. I had the choice of whether to do the experimental film element or not and as I thought “Well it’s another string to my bow” alongside having a love for the abnormal and bizarre of film history. I was to spend my first year in a halls of residence and it was here that one of the biggest issues of 2011 really cropped up.

Ladies and gentlemen it will not surprise you to learn that I am not a thin man, I am chonky. A plump fellow…not massive mind…but big. Equally; I am not a sportsman… In fact I’d go as far as to say for the most part I strongly dislike sports. while I’ve been told I have the profile/frame to be a great Prop/Center Forward (Whatever the hell that is) sport has just simply never interested me. while my peers were on the football/hocky/rugby fields of this great country. I was learning how VCR’s worked, making makeshift ariels out of tinfoil and coathangers and learning the joys of CB (I can assure you those skills help me now as much as they did then…make of that what you will).

The reason I raise this is because I was told that when it came to selecting who I would be sharing my halls of residence with they selected people who were all roughly studying the same thing. the problem was all the people studying my course had already been assigned a halls of residence meaning a good 10-15 people in my class (Myself included) had to be grouped into the closest thing to my course possible due to there being no room. I was therefore left on my own. In a halls of residence with no one on my course. With 14 Broadcast journalists…14 broadcast journalists who had all chosen to specialise in Sports journalism. They were all pretty much insufferable. Imagine the most “Lads,Lads,Lads” group of young men you can possibly imagine and your not far off. They did nothing but play football all day and all night, both in the halls of residence (The hallways and the kitchens) and outside the building meaning you would regularly hear the sound of a hard leather Kacey ball smacking against dorm doors all day. and all night. At all hours. They played video games…but only variations on Fifa at all times of day and night, at full volume. They didn’t clean after themselves, they drank round the clock (That was forgivable) but they wernt interested in films, tv shows…anything like that…if it wasn’t football, horseracing or rugby they just didn’t want to know…and they were relentless and insufferable.

(Artists impression…but pretty damn close)

Only complicating matters, my student loan (While approved) didn’t land for the first 6 months. meaning I spent a massive chunk of my first year raiding my parents cupboards for food and borrowing money on the promise when my loan landed I could pay them back. And as anyone who’s been in a bad situation can tell you. the only thing worse than being stuck in a bad sitatuion is to be stuck in it and not have the money to get out of it or escape. This also had the knock on effect of damaging my studies. As without any money to fund study materials, rental fees for camera kits and a total absence of a budget I wasn’t able to really make films or even afford basic printing to meet deadlines. In their infinite wisdom the university had also decided not to introduce a dedicated experimental film lecturer to the course until the 2nd year of studies. But they DID decide to segregate the experimental students, give them separate briefs but ask them to work with the main media film students for the first year as the skills were universally transferrable. This caused multiple problems; not least because the main media film lecturers dispised the experimental film lecturers and took every opportunity to belittle the course altogether. This combined with my lack of funds basically meant that anyone who worked with me, was doing it for almost nothing and would be stigmatised for doing so. And due to my lack of funds I couldn’t make the films I wanted which led to a lot of rumours circulating as to my competency.

It was bad in 2010. But now I was Poor, Emotionally unwell, stuck in building 5 days a week with 14 louts and hated by the majority of my peers and teachers. By December of that year I have vivid memories of sitting in my dorm room watching “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” while 2 lads outside smashed a ball against my door and screamed incomprehensibly that I realised I’d hit an absolute low. And that at that moment if I could have left university I would have.

(It was a low point to say the least…)

2 things however happened that year that would change my life fundamentally. About a month into the course we were sent out to the lake district to make documentaries and on the coach I had a chance encounter with a young man who would go on to be one of my best friends. You’ll know him as my co-commentator on “The Comedy Dining Experience” but had Ben not mentioned he was absolutely exhausted after a long night of listening to Bowie records I don’t think we’d have had the long friendship we have had. Ben made that multi-hour coach trip a delight and he’s never disappointed since.

2011 was also they year I met Miss TYTD. We were both part of a drama group. She’d been dragged along by a friend one night and liked me so much she decided to stay (That’s the honest truth!) from there we really hit it off and one thing led to another…the rest they say is history. She kept me sane for a massive chunk of that first year of university. When people were pouring on the hate, when things got almost unbearable she was there to calm the storm. I genuinely don’t know what I’d have done without her. I genuinely don’t know what I’d do without her.

The three of us would hit the student bar hard. Working our way through the menus of food, being very very silly and enjoying night after night of Karaoke (You should  have seen mine and Bens rendition of “Every Sperm is sacred”, or my rendition of “Pretty Woman”) it bought the house down.

(Mood. mainly because things were getting better plus friendship innit.)

2012 was great. A real change of pace and things genuinely only got better and better. My student loans finally landed (2 payments in one go!) and after I’d paid off my debts I was able to actually get on with getting on. I scraped a pass in my first year of studies (Much to everyones annoyance) and as if to put fire in my belly for the second year after finding out I’d just passed my first year by an hairs breath a lecturer cornered me in a lift on my last day and took the opportunity to tell me that he didn’t like me, that he didn’t think I was right for the course and that I should seriously consider leaving. I don’t take kindly to that kind of talk. So that made me resilient to stay (Im so glad I did) I remember the last day in halls as if it was yesterday I stripped my entire room in 45 minutes the moment my last class ended, my room was spotless and locked within the hour and I had ran to the halls office to get rid of my keys as soon as I physically could. I was done with the sports journalists, I was done with the oppression, I was free for the summer. My partner had recently applied to be a lodger at a nearby house and I spent my summers both with her at her place and her at mine. It was also over the summer that I was able to secure a student house for my 2nd and 3rd year of university. I was sharing a 3 and a bit bedroom house with Ben and 2 other housemates. And when university started back up in September it was fucking ace. I’ve never had so much fun in my life. it was nothing but drinking, watching weird art house films, staying up till the sun came up and all the debauchery and weirdness you’d expect from a student house full of weirdo’s odd balls and nerds. Yes it looked like a bombed out dive. But it was our bombed out dive and we loved it dearly.

(Artists impression…again not too far from the truth.)

Equally the experimental lecturers finally appeared on the scene and quickly set the record straight on what experiemental cinema was and why we shouldn’t be segregated against the main film students. I managed to make films! award winning films at that! and they were weird and expressionistic and passionate and I loved shooting them, I loved working with the people who helped me shoot them and slowly but surely word got out about “Dans strange shoots” more people got interested, more people wanted to work with me, more people realised that the rumours about experiemental students from the year previous was a load of bollocks. Things got good. Unfortunately things would begin rather sadly for 2013.

One of my housemates was a punk. And a damn fine chap he was. He was a socialite, he loved parties and he was loved by most of the course. He was the biggest champion of what I did and had my back whenever anyone called me out. my strongest memory of him would be Halloween night 2012 when he returned from a Halloween party in the early hours of the morning to find me just about to load in “Theatre of blood” he’d never seen it, we sat and watched the whole thing. he loved it. I felt like I’d given him a gift. Unfortunately  he also was not a well man. Both mentally and physically. In 2012 he got into a relationship which went well for a few months, before becoming rocky. And then ended quite ungraciously. And unfortunately it hit him harder than I’ll ever know as sadly he committed suicide in early 2013. It was horrifically sad to find out about his loss, and for at least a couple of weeks our course was suspended while everyone processed exactly what had happened. It bought out the best and worst in some people but after some time to reflect we had to push on. we kept making films, we kept up with the work. But for that first half of 2013 things just weren’t the same.

Late 2013 was an absolute cluster fuck in my mind honestly. We began our 3rd and final year of the course in the midst of looking for a new housemate. Alcohol was flowing seemingly endlessly and freely, and both me and Ben had decided to watch every episode of Doctor who from 1963 – 2013 in order (Including some of the missing ones) literally for the rest of 2013 and half of 2014 our days could be summed up as: Wake up for lectures, watch about 16 episodes of Doctor who a day (Sometimes more sometimes less) do a few hours of course work and if we had time, or if we wanted a change, cram in some MST3K…all the while while heavily under the influence and still getting up to the kind of things students are well known for. Everything all blended in to one big ball of memories. The only thing I remember is that we started with “An Unearthly Child” in the first week of September and by the 2nd week of December we’d hit “The Invasion of Time” it was like living in a washing machine.

(We kept a scorebook and watched everything from “An unearthly child” to “Time of the Doctor”…we called each other up on Christmas day to talk about it!)

2014 was the best year of my life to date. Honest to god. You couldn’t make this shit up. As years go it was a blinder. So; kicking the year off we were back on the Doctor who marathon. And we’d just started Tom Baker in season 16. Ace. I’d also heard in the first week of the new year that some of my films had been selected for screenings in Florida, Australia and in and around the UK. Nice. I was working on a film at the time that was inspired by “Christmas Cooking with Fanny Craddock” and that film would go on to be screened at the BFI and would receive a 2nd place award for best film of the night at said event. Brilliant. My partner was in a stable place, was happy and we’d realised this was now a long term thing. we were both very happy. Even more brilliant. I finished my time at university with a 2:1, loved by my peers, missed by my lecturers and with multiple accolades hanging up in the universities corridors. To say my fortunes had turned around would be an understatement. The hardest thing I had to do this year was to hand my student house keys back in once my time at uni had ended. Saying goodbye to Ben and my other housemates not knowing how long it would be before I’d see them again or whether we’d drift off forever genuinely bought a lump to my throat.

In the last weeks of my time in university I had applied to several film jobs and one of them came good working for a post production company. It was a hell of a commute to get in, but they all seemed really nice and the opportunity to be paid to do what I loved seemed too good to be true. So I walked out of university with a good degree and into a good job. Using the money I made from my job I took up driving lessons and passed by test in the November of that year. I bought my first car (A ’97 nissan micra…babe magent let me tell you now!) and to top the year off I won a reasonable sum of money on a scratch card meaning I could clear off the last of my university debts (Not including the student loan) AND have a nice Christmas as I continued to receive emails confirming my films had been selected for screenings across the world. On December 31st I spent the last few hours of the year at a party with my partner and some friends, loving every moment and genuinely not wanting it to end.

Unfortunately the rot begins to set in here.

2015 was a bit of a non year to my memory. It wasn’t a bad year. but it wasn’t good either…it just sort of happened to me. The job was still going well, but some of the varnish was beginning to come off. I was promised a rose garden. But I was beginning to smell manure. No jobs perfect mind. so I kept on carrying on despite my bosses increasingly strange requests and stipulations. My partner decided to start university in this year too. Which she enjoyed. Though this then put some strain on our relationship as I was working a 9-5 gig Monday to Friday and would frequently be exhausted and she was doing what I’d been doing for the previous 3 years. It was a difficult time. but we felt through it and eventually found a setup that worked after a few months. by the end of the year I was told I was to be given a pay rise for my good work. This ultimately however ended up with me making less money than before as I hit a tax bracket which led to me being 10 pounds worse off a year than before. (I was being paid just above minimum wage at the time). the year had it’s bad moments…but by the end things had more or less balanced out. it was overall still a quite good year…just not 2014 good.

On January the 9th 2016 I was sat in a pub in Manchester with Ben and we were joking about how awful it would be if David Bowie died. In amongst chatter about Kraftwerk and Lou Reed and the Bowie discography. The next day he was dead. Bowie had been a part of my life since I was 12 years old and after decades of bowies music being there for me and Blackstar having just been released. To have him suddenly die was an absolute shock to me (As it was to many others) I’ve always said there are only 3 celebrities I would ever seriously seriously mourn if they died. Bowie, Paul Heaton and Brian Wilson. It was a serious smash to the nuts. Im not going to lament too heavily on 2016. Mainly because every media outlet has done so. We lost a lot of good people that year, and a lot of very stupid and poor decisions were made. to me it was the beginning of the mess we’re in now. but on a personal level taking all the sorrow of politics and death out of the equation 2 things happened in this year. the first was that my job became increasingly unpredictable and untenable. My boss was beginning to become increasingly irratic and while I admire anyones dedication to 100% perfection. My boss at the time maybe took this a bit too far. By the end of 2016 my passion for the job had been utterly eroded by red tape. it became a job I just did. Rather than a job I loved. And as the screenings for my films slowly dried up too I found myself once again adrift.

2 things happened that were good for me in 2016. I got promoted to the most senior role in the post house. And one of my best friends for a number of years managed to get a job working under me at said post place. So I was suffering…but at least I wasn’t suffering alone.

(Sorry to assault your ears like that…but it was the first thing that came to mind…Dont know why though…again…sorry.)

2017 from a personal perspective was a bit of a non year. my relationship was steady, the year opened with my boss warning the whole company that the business could fold at any minute (It didn’t…) and my friend realised what mess he’d landed himself into as my boss had turned his attention to attacking both him and myself for anything and everything that wasn’t done 100% the way he wanted it doing (Often what he wanted would be decided on a then and there basis) by March I’d realised I hadn’t made a new film or done anything creative purely for myself in 3 years. I really wasn’t happy about that so I decided to set up a number of projects. Both me and Ben worked on a pythonesq, fast sketch inspired show called “Show Cancelled” which we pitched to several small cable TV networks to little or no success. I started writing a short horror revenge movie which got no further than half of a first draft. And, after helping my partner with some university coursework involving movie reviews for a magazine. coupled with a few other factors around finding information out. I decided to open a youtube channel where I would catalogue and talk about films that no one at all was even remotely interested in. the cult, the obscure, the weird. I did it mainly for semi-selfish reasons. I was fed up of not being able to find information about obscure films. and after being told I’d really liked a film I had no memory of watching from a friend. I decided it was probably a good idea to document my thoughts to confirm I wasn’t going crazy should that situation arise again.

It was the beginning of one of the best decisions id made in this half of the decade.

(Some time around November of 2017…so proud.)
  1. I’d had enough. A job I’d loved had been completely hollowed out by my boss who’s answer to anything not going exactly the way he wanted it to had been to just take those roles off me and give them to someone else permanently. Examples being; I missed punctuation off the end of a request email twice. As a result. I had the privilege or writing emails taken off me. I would produce edits for clients and the boss watched a couple of these, asked for changes, which I made, then when the client came back saying he didn’t like the changes the boss had suggested. The boss told me to re-edit the films and then took all the best film jobs that came in off me and gave them to someone else. By the end of my time at that place I was doing the absolute barest minimum and because they couldn’t just get rid of me they were in a situation where they couldn’t give me anything without it seeming like they were wrong to take stuff in the first place, but equally there wasn’t anything else I was skilled to do.

Things really came to a head when after 4 years of pushing to have a contract. The boss finally handed us a one size fits all form which contained a stipulation saying that if we left the business we would be unable to work in the specific field we applied for for 3 years thereafter. While that’s fine if you’re an accountant or a PR man in the job I applied for (Because It was a very niche job) it wasn’t fine for a jobbing editor. Basically it meant if I quit or left. I wouldn’t be able to be an editor for any other company for 3 years. I consulted a union about this who said it was completely unlawful. My boss found out I’d contacted a union and called a “Meeting” which amounted to him and the accountant basically screaming in my face for an hour, calling me “Scum” making out that they were a family and that they’d felt betrayed by what id done. They then basically said that if I didn’t sign the contract there and then I’d be chucked out and never work again. I should have left there and then. But I needed this experience as It was my first time working in a film related industry and the 4 years + the reference would have really helped me get on. I signed and immediately set about plans to leave.

(Yeaaahhhhh I was pretty much done.)

It took a few months but eventually my partner found somewhere that seemed pretty good,it was outside the film industry, but on substantially better pay. The hours were very reasonable, it was almost on my doorstep as opposed to the near hours drive in and hour and a halfs drive out I’d been doing. I passed the probation period and I was having a good time. not many people really “Got” me in this new place. But I was allowed to have headphones on and I was pretty much left alone. So it was great. I could be left alone, catch up on audio books AND get paid for the privilege of doing a job I didn’t hate.  By September of that year I’d had a promotion and was now on a HELL of a lot more money that I had been in the previous job AND I was now entitled to work from home if I wanted. which would come in handy for what was going to happen next.

My partner y’see had not been doing too well…in her last year of university she suffered a breakdown and had had to drop out of university to recover. Only she didn’t have a family home to go back to and we were in the process of saving for a home of our own. So she ended up sofa surfing for a while eventually winding up back at her old lodgers house where her mental health had deteriorated rapidly. By August of 2018 she was in a very bad place and needed to get her own space. This came in the form of a supported housing project in which she was given her own flat and a support worker who would make sure she was doing alright and could get back on her feet. Unfortunately she continued to deteriorate until by September she was deeply. Deeply unwell and required both myself and her support worker to support her. The working from home allowed me to do this (Something that would have been absolutely out of the question in my old job…) and on at least half a dozen occasions that ability quite literally saved my partners life. Because of how fragile she had been during this time I had to stop doing pretty much everything. I cobbled together what I could for my youtube channel to make sure I could get to the end of the year and not just stop making videos abruptly, and spent my time running between my house, her flat and the hospital. It was fucking grim to say the least. I didn’t get to spend the end of 2018 with my partner as she was in the hospital and wasn’t allowed visitors.

2019 started much the same way, my partner was still unwell, I was beginning to strain to keep up with the demand of making sure she was alright while also holding down a job AND I began to worry about what I was going to do with my youtube channel. And to make matters worse due to an error within HR. my company mistakenly made my redundant in February of that year. apparently my job title hadn’t changed on the internal systems meaning I was still listed in the job I had before I got promoted. I was manning a quite critical part of the business when this happened and at first no one listened to me when I told them there must have been a mistake, that is until my manager spoke up and then they realised something had gone wrong. They couldn’t just undo the redundancy however as all the paperwork had been arranged and things had to be processed before thay could be re-processed. So I was told that they effectively didn’t know what was going to happen to me. all they could advise was that I hold tight for 6 months while things got sorted out. then my manager got made redundant. Then the team who got me made redundant got made redundant and basically I spent from February till about September of this year without a Scooby doo as to exactly where I stood and what was happening with my position. At this point I’ve been told Im now safe, but that my contract needs completely rewriting to bring it up to date. Theres no ETA on when that’s going to happen. But that, barring major incident Im not going anywhere any time soon.

(Things picked up towards the years end and hopefully they will continue to do so.)

It’s been a turbulent time for my partner as well, she was in a bad way till about May time when there finally came a bit of a calm. She’s still up and down now mentally but for the most part at least she seems in control of her situation. If not vying towards the precarious. I don’t know whats going to happen to her. But for now she’s more stable than she’s been in months and I hope this lasts as long as possible.

Equally in February of 2019 we adopted a cat together. Her name is Zelda and she’s perfect. I wish you could meet her dear reader as im sure you would agree. 2019 would also be the year I would propose to my partner. After 7 years of us both thinking the other wasn’t interested in marriage. In 2018 we got very drunk and actually spoke about it. and when we sobered up in the morning. We were both still interested I asked her then and she said yes. So while on literally the worst holiday I’ve ever been on in my life (Seriously if you ever meet me in real life feel free to ask me about this. It was Fucking awful) 12 months on from that discussion I finally asked her with a ring. And she didn’t turn me down. So y’know what? fair play to her naturally im over the moon that she’s tolerated me for this long!.We have no plans for a wedding just yet as we’re still trying to get a house sorted out. but we’ll take things one step at a time.

(You bet your sweet bippy she did!)

And so we arrive at the present day. I’ve been working hard on season 7 of the show which is looking likely to go out in the first week of March 2020 I’ve done 10 episodes out of 16 or 17, I recently sat down with Ben to do 2 new comedy dining experiences which will be a hell of a laugh to edit I can tell you now. and for the last 3 weeks I’ve been on Annual leave from work, watching movies and running round like a headless chicken trying to please everyone in both mine and my partners families. Its been very stressful but then Christmas usually is. Personally im considering booking another holiday as soon as possible! theres a lot of possibility on the horizon over the next decade. And shits looking bleaker than it’s ever looked before in terms of politics and media. So all I can say is. If this last decades taught me anything. It’s seize the day, enjoy every minute you can get. Don’t cow tow to people who are clearly wrong. Admit your mistakes and no matter how weird, out there or fucked up you think your being.

Theres always someone out there who’ll appreciate you for who you are and what you do. Never be disheartened by dismissal. Because things DO work out. even if it isn’t the way you were expecting. I started the decade alone, emotionally damaged, poor and isolated. Im ending it with a fiancé, a cat, a best friend, a circle of close friends and acquaintances, awards and acknowledgement, a drivers license and a job I enjoy. I have goals, I have direction, and in 2 and a bit years I’ve grown a youtube channel about bad movies, art house films and the kind of stuff you find in a bargain bin from 0 to 250 subscribers (And I’ve made some damn fine friends in the process) I hope that the good things continue and the bad things are lessened. And I hope the same happens for you too… It’s now 5:35am and I have a new years eve party to attend later tonight. One of the few parties I’ve ever chosen to go to (due to the aforementioned pub man lifestyle) so Im looking forward to it. I wish you all a happy 2020 and I really hope the next decade is as kind as it will allow.

Im going to leave you below with a list of 10 films I saw this decade that either blew my mind or have personal sentimental value to me. They arnt specific to this decade…they’re just films I’ve seen this decade:

*House (Hasu) (1977)

*The Wicker man (1973)

*Robocop (1988)

*Bloody New Year (1987)

*Head (1968)

*Day of the Dead (1985)

*All Ladies do it (1992)

*Doctor Strangelove (1964)

*Theatre of Blood (1973)

*Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide (2010)

– Dan

(This is the last song I’ve fallen in love with this decade. Also; this was the decade I fell in love with Itallian Synth/Discopop. I hope you like it too.)

We’re all going to Die!!! – Part 2

With the European elections literally upon us I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a blow by blow through the political parties give my own political opinion on those parties and then finish off by telling how im most likely to vote (Given the availability of candidates in my area).

I’m in a bit of a difficult period of my life politically…not in terms of my affiliation. That’s easy. I would describe myself as a Left winger without a doubt. The difficulty arises in just how left wing I think I actually am. I first got into politics in the early 2000’s and having grown up in the north of England to a working class mother and a disabled but previously hard working father you’d think that they’d have drilled an affiliation into me from the off. And yet surprisingly they left me to find my own way for the most part. Which was kind of them though In hindsight I realize this is probably due to the fact that myself and they grew up around the arrival and departure of John major and the Rise of Blair and that, my parents having been raised to believe that the Labour party represented the people, had fallen for the Blair “Razzle Dazzle” hook line and sinker. And subsequently when the Iraq war happened they simply became disillusioned with politics on the whole and apart from the occasional Thatcher kicking never bothered to talk about it around me…

I would say I first properly became a fully active participant around  a year before the 2010 elections. Before that I’d been aware of politics…I’d followed it fleetingly and I knew the people I liked and the people I didn’t. it was the 2010 elections that set me into action because at the time the conservatives had a good chance of getting in and due to what knowledge I had at the time I knew if they did get in it would be a hell of time before they got out again (10 years and counting!) at the time I was still in latter day education but I tried my best to speak to as many people as I could about the dangers of voting conservative. There was a sweet girl I knew back then and her words rang like a death toll for me when I spoke to her about it. I asked her who she was going to vote for and she said “Im voting for the conservatives, they’re brilliant” I tried in vein to convince her otherwise…at the time I felt like I was living in a remake of “They Live” but instead of it being aliens it was bastards. Honestly I think it’s been a slow decline from there really…

I agreed with Kinnock at the time, I agreed with Blair for the most part at the time (Unaware of exactly what happened RE: Iraq until well after the fact) Brown I agreed with to a point, Milliband I considered radical. And I liked it…and then. There was Corbyn. And it was a bit like someone had pulled back the curtain to reveal a ton of options that had never been properly on the table before. It wasn’t so much that they were original ideas strictly…but they were policies that had only previously been offered by fringe groups, to hear it not only on the main political stage but that it was a viable option that had been costed and could equally actually be executed was like someone had connected directly with how I had been feeling. For years I’d voted either Labour or Green depending on who was standing or what atrocious acts were being committed. After Corbyn, I’ve been exclusively Labour.

At current I think I’d stop short of declaring myself an out and out socialist…I feel that’s a level of political affiliation that’s achieved rather proclaimed. And to that end I wouldn’t say I was a communist (Though I have been accused of that before now by a few people) I think Im quite far to the left…but I just cant quantify exactly where…I don’t know where my political identity properly sits at the minute…but honestly I don’t feel im really alone in feeling that way these days.

That leads us nicely into the European elections. For roughly 20 years we’ve utterly ignored it and now it’s come back to bite us on the arse like the crack in the side of our house we’ve been neglecting to the point that the house is on the verge of collapse. This ones quite an important one as it’s the last chance that the general public will have (Outside of a general election or a 2nd referendum) to tell the government and Europe at large exactly what we as the UK would like to happen in terms of our relationship with them both in the short and long term. So with that in mind I thought I’d pop my thoughts here both as a snapshot of my own thoughts at this time for reference (Because I cherish these so.) but also for anyone who would care what a random person on the internet thinks about the current shower of shite to grace our political spectrum. Im going to work from right to left because I feel that I have some bile I can spew right away that if I wait till the end of this blog may have dissipated by then. So!

 

(Oh yeh…this is going to be a musical journey)

UKIP: 12 months ago UKIP were dead. A party that was uninteresting until Nigel Farage got involved with them has now become the bannermen for the nastiest, vitriolic and cuntish kind to ever scar the face of this once beautiful land. This is in part due to Farage apparently being the lesser of two evils. Realising that racists, bigots and misogynists don’t often win the support of the majority, while he was never able to fully reign in the bastard force he was able to manage it better than anyone before or after him. When he left it created a power vacuum which has seemingly been filled by Ex-EDL member and all round Twunt Tommy Robinson who’s harnessed his connections within social media to pack the party full of uneducated and woefully pretentious youtube and twitter celebricunts such as Count dankula and Carl Benjamin (A.K.A: Sargon) in many ways I don’t know whats worse really that the party was dead 12 months ago and has somehow pulled itself back from the brink…or that it’s been able to pull itself back from the brink by filling itself with Xenephobes and White nationalists. Either way I sure as hell wont be voting for them. and unless I suffer an extremely severe brain injury that renders me incompetent I’ll be unlikely ever to. theres literally no incentive to vote for UKIP in these elections because…

 

The Brexit Party:  You’d think with a name like that I’d have put this on the furthest end of the right wing spectrum. But in all honesty from what experiences I’ve had with speaking from people affiliated with this party…they seem confused more than anything else. Genuinely their plans for what they want to do when they seize power seem to consist of:

Step 1: Get in power, leave with no deal ASAP.

Step 2: ???

Step 3: 1940’s Cockney Knees Up around the Johanna.

Which is funny because the EU elections will have almost 0 influence over Brexit and even less impact over the day to day legislation of this country…It mainly seems to be a protest vote party…and in much the same way that UKIP was destroyed the day the referendum result came in in their favour it’s fair to say that should this party get anything close to what it wants (Which is basically leave and nothing else)  that it too will be destroyed. Farage is once again working his magic to hide most of the more sordid elements of racism within this party (Its not really all that successful)

 

(This was arguably the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a very long time…let that sink in for a minute)

but they are (As of the time of writing) the most likely to win (Though I don’t think it’ll be quite the landslide people think it’ll be) and so theres a very real chance the message being sent to the EU from here would be a firm “We want out” which could prove quite unfortunate…

The Conservatives: They’re fucked. Right and royally fucked. As the government they’ve overseen some of the biggest falls in standards of living since wartime, they’ve killed thousands of people through cruel benefits means testing and embarrassing assessments (Both me and my partner have both been the victims of) and they’ve spent the last 3 years pissing up a wall and blaming everyone else for mistakes that they themselves are solely responsible for… and that’s only 2 of the many many many devastating things they’re personally responsible for over their 10 year rawdogging of the british public. We’re a country on the verge of collapse and it’s solely their fault. Anyone who supports them at this point is a cunt, deluded , selfish or so detached from politics that they literally don’t know it’s the tories that’ve been damaging the country beyond repair…which…if that’s the case…they probably shouldn’t be voting in the first place.

Change UK: So a few disgruntled Ex-Labour MP’s decided they wanted to try and dust of Blairism 2.0 and now we have this party…they have no policies (Other than they want to remain in the EU and they don’t like Jeremy Corbyn) they barely have a social media presence due to several issues with trying to secure their own name. and they don’t yet really stand for anything…I put them here purely because we don’t know what they stand for, they’re clearly not happy with a strong left wing ideology and they seem quite content with the center ground…it doesn’t help that the majority of their membership is made up of disgruntled tory MP’s who don’t like the conservatives current plan of just trying to leave with any deal they can muster.

The Liberal Democrats: pre their collaboration with the conservatives I almost considered voting for these shower of bastards at least once…then the coalition happened. Then the tripling of student fees happened, then the hollowness of all the things they promised for the last 2 elections happened…then Tim Farrow happened…then Vince “Mr. Burns” Cable happened…and finally then in 2017 the rampant attempt to demonise the labour party by any means necessary happened…and now I honestly have no feelings for the Lib Dems in any way shape for form. They’re nothing to me. they’ll always be nothing to me and I almost certainly will never vote for them for as long as I draw breath. In a twist similar to the Brexit party they’re seemingly running on a single platform which is to revoke article 50 and cancel Brexit. Which…I mean, is more in line with my own beliefs to a point. But then in the same breath they’ve said they’d happily form a coalition with the conservatives again over labour if they had the chance…so Fuck’em.

The SNP: I mentioned in my last blog that I Didn’t really know where the SNP stood…and that’s probably with good reason…I live in the north of England, I’ve never voted for an SNP candidate and frankly unless I move further north Im unlikely to ever vote for one. They’re a Scottish only party…so what I see and hear from them tends to be reported to me via English journalism…which more often than not describes them as “Tartan Tories”  they seem somewhat more sincere than the conservatives and do genuinely seem to be striving for things that will make Scotland a better place on the whole…though quite how convicted they are to those decisions I susppose no one will really know until they get anywhere near a wider scale of power…So honestly…I don’t know…I don’t 100% trust them, they have a lot of good ideas…but I trust them more than any of them jizz weasles that I’ve mentioned so far.

Plaid Cymru: I have literally no idea…Literally haven’t the foggiest we here in England only ever hear from these lot during election  season and quite honestly non of the representatives I’ve seen have ever been charismatic enough to leave a lasting impression…they just seem like a fairly mild mannered inoffensive party…I don’t distrust them…but I don’t know enough about them to make a call on them in any way shape or form…they’re a gray party in every sense of the word. (for similar reasons I’ll be missing out the DUP and Sinn Fein…only the DUP are a bunch of absolute fucks)

The Labour Party: Currently paralysed by the mercy of it’s leader the labour party is in a mixed place right now. the majority of labour party members want at minimum a 2nd referendum on Brexit and at most it’s revocation. The leadership however is stuck in a game to try and maintain it’s strong leave base in the north with it’s strong remain base in the south. There are elements of Brexit that would suit a socialist agenda (Predominantly centred around the idea of re-nationalisation of public utilities) As a result it’s come across as a bit half hearted…even though realistically the idea of playing the long game to find out exactly what the best port of call in dealing with this is seems like the most sensible option. Not helping matters the party is still in the midst of Soul searching as a result of years of “New Labour” changes the party is full of Center left people when the parties front bench is considerably more left wing…as a result theres a healthy back catalogue of incidents of infighting and anti-semitism aligations (Some of which I must stress are actually true) that have allowed the party to appear to many as incompetent…I will concede this party has had problems over the last couple of years. Though at the same time I do distinctly feel like it’s moving in the right direction overall…it needs a few firmer stances but ultimately I think they’re the most realistic choices out of everyone I’ve mentioned so far to be votable.

The Green Party: Probably the most left wing group that has any chance of making gains in this election and usually my fallback vote when the entire systems been fucked. the greens are a sensible and fairly rational choice. They have decent leadership  though while I agree with most of their policies that I’ve heard so far. I wouldn’t be the first person to accuse them of maybe being a bit fanciful in their requests…not that they’re wrong in what they want to do. Quite a lot of what they’ve suggested would improve the planet, peoples lives and improve our preservation rates…I just think trying to ask our current crop of people to make the adjustments needed to meet their policies just wont realistically happen. I have voted for them in past and I never say never…unfortunately in my area they very rarely field these candidates…though they’re always a safe 2nd option whenever they do field.

Independents: Fucked if I know mate. They run a full spectrum of actually quite reasonable (But largely untested) candidates who may actually do a pretty good job given the chance, through to absolute lunatics who think that radio signals can be used as a form of mind control…no seriously im not joking…below is the (Genuinely real…as if I could make this shit up…) actual manifesto of the “Abolish the magna carta” party…which ran in 2017…AD.

Our Manifesto is thus:
  • The Unsigned Illegal document, The Magna Carta, will be Abolished.
  • As good business people, our Queen or King will be head of Government and will attend Parliament as required, or as they wish.
  • Abolish Magna Carta, Reinstate Monarchy Party, fully intends to Nationalize and make profitable the Coal Industry, Electricity, Gas, Water, BT, National Lottery, Royal Mail, Post Office, BBC & Railways.
  • Abolish Magna Carta, Reinstate Monarchy will stop All Foreign Aid, and use this money to pay toward the National Debt.
  • Age discrimination will be punished with imprisonment.
  • V.A.T. Returns are time consuming and costly to business. It will be drastically altered along with Import and Export Taxation.
  • Council Tax will be abolished.
  • Unions will be outlawed.
  • Income Tax will be rearranged to make it fair to all and sundry.
  • Employment Law will be reduced to give Employers their right to choose whom they employ and how much each employee is paid.
  • Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, and Sick Pay will be abolished.
  • Employment linked Pensions will be abolished, and Employees will be encouraged to make their own Retirement Savings Plans.
  • Maternity Leave will not guarantee future employment.
  • Government Pensions will be paid only to those who work and pay National Insurance Contributions.
  • The Workhouse will be reinstated for vulnerable people.
  • Grammar Schools will return. Sex education will be abolished.
  • All Schooling and Education will be paid for by parents.
  • All Police Officers will pass tougher exams before recruitment.
  • Many Royal Mail workers will be recruited from Ex Servicemen.
  • Nuclear Power will be banned.
  • Fracking will incur imprisonment.
  • Laws, Courts, and the Prison Service will be reformed.
  • All Benefits to Asylum Seekers and Immigrants will be stopped, and All will be repatriated back to their country of origin, All other Nations will be encouraged to repatriate their English, Welsh, Irish.
  • Asylum Seekers, Immigrants, Their Ancestors & Descendants will be removed from
  • All Banks, NHS, Government & All Security positions.
  • Human Rights Laws will be abolished.
  • Churchill will be charged with Treason and causing the deaths of thousands of little German School Children when he bombed Dresden.
  • The ethnic origins of All members of Government will be checked.
  • The Israeli terrorist Karl Marx will be charged with Treason and causing the Paris Revolution and the end of the French Monarchy.
  • Blair family Assets will be confiscated & paid to Hussein’s family.
  • Compensation will be paid to Dwarves created by Thalidomide.
  • Dentists, Optitions & Hearing Specialists will be taken out of the NHS. Doctors & Surgeons will have pay reductions, & many restrictions as regards dangerous medications to patients.
  • All child Benefits will be abolished to restrict society burdens.
  • Every Nation on this planet needs Ethnic Cleansing as the terrible Israeli Karl Marx, Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud, Abu Hamza etc., proves.
  • Radio, TV, Films, Writers & Reporters will be regulated.
  • The Death Penalty for anyone using a Radio Signal to kill or control another human being or animal, except in warfare.
  • All Pornography, Homosexuals, Transvestites etc. will be removed from Films, Plays, Radio, Television etc.
  • Asylum Seekers, Immigrants & their descendents will not be allowed to own or work in any British Radio, TV, Newspaper or Magazine.
  • Asylum Seekers, Immigrants & their descendents will not be allowed to work in any food preparation, Medicine or Pills or Vaccines manufacture or preperation, to prevent sabotage.
  • Chemical Castration for Paedophiles and Murderers.
  • Asylum Seekers & Immigrants, their ancestors & descendents, must not be allowed to assess or check any school, college or university exams in the UK as this may be detrimental to Welsh or English students.
  • All Company Law will be drastically altered in favour of the Employer.
  • Unemployment Benefit claiment time will be cut to a minimum.
  • All disabled parking spaces will be banished.
  • Blue Badges will be obsolete and cancelled.
  • Housing Benefit will be discontinued.
  • All Irish Traveller sites will be closed, and All Irish Travellers, their ancestors and descendents will be repatriated back to Ireland.
  • We will Not sell Arms to other nations.
  • The British Armed Forces will be for our defence of the UK only
    British Armed Forces will Not interfere in other nations disputes.
    The British Armed Forces will Not train other nations in warfare.
  • British Armed Forces can be hired, Payment first, at their discretion, to help in natural disasters, rescues, etc, as they see fit.
  • British Armed Forces will be manned by indigenous English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Nationals only.
  • Judges will no longer be able to promote their friends, colleagues, or favourites to be judges. The vacancies will be applied for as ordinary jobs and an IQ test will be used to assess the suitability of the applicants.
  • Psychiatrists and Mental Health workers will have a higher IQ than the patients they pretend to be superior to.
  • Drug addicts will no longer receive free treatment via the NHS for their addiction.
  • The NHS will be abolished, along with all the scams that go with it.
(Fuck me…)

All I know is I very rarely if ever have ever considered them…and with an exception where one of my relatives ran at my local council I’ve never really voted for any.

So that’s a quite biased but general run through of all the parties I can be bothered to talk about, how will I be voting myself?; Well. It depends on how many candidates im allowed to vote for. Had this been any other type of election I’d have probably put a lot of thought into things and chosen people based on their merits. However; in the current climate tribalism is everything so I’ll most likely be voting Labour straight through in this election. If I can choose multiple candidates and the green party are on there, as a person who voted remain I feel like I may spare a vote for them too, But  i’d say im predominantly labour driven these days. But their stance on Brexit while reasonable does somewhat disagree with my own views which is that we should be trying to stay within Europe at all costs. And while I’ll never vote LibDem…I may be tempted to spare one for the greens because of this.

So happy voting day everyone. I hope you all go out and exercise your democracy in whatever way you see fit. If you dislike my opinions posted here…please remember that they are only my opinions and that im some twat on the internet…so don’t worry about me too much. Just get out this season and vote! And till the next election! I’ll be trying my best to keep my head down and hope this all. Just. stops.

(Yay…Democracy…I guess…)

 

 

2019: Rummaging Through the Wreckage

So I’ve managed to squirrel a couple of hours away today So I thought now would be as good a time as any to pop up a blog about whats going on in my life right now! Yes…for the 3 people who regularly read this, consider this blog me offering you a seat at the café table of life with you and only you. A steaming cup of tea gently cooling as we look out into the somewhat sunny and slightly overcast bustling street and talk life, the universe and everything…y’know…to set the scene.

(I quite like the look of this place)

It has been a little while since I’ve actually put one of these together. I had written a blog which explained literally everything that had happened in my life since October up to March but reading it back recently was not only explicitly bleak reading, but it read more like a witness statement of my last known sighting rather than an actual attempt at helping to clarify why everything has ground to a halt…

So in order to keep things a bit lighter (As I am currently working on a full update video that should go up in the next couple of weeks and will clarify a lot more of the “Going forward” stuff that im not going to get into here). Im going to briefly summarise what’s gone on and I’ll save most of the going forward stuff for the actual update video itself. So! In summary here’s why I haven’t been making videos:

  • My partner suffers from quite severe mental health issues and has recently developed extreme suicidal thoughts. Due to chronically underfunded mental health services in my area. (Thanks to what I will affectionately refer to here as a “Shower of bastards” that is the conservative party). I’ve been effectively put in charge of keeping her alive…and other than a support worker (Who has been genuinely amazing) who pops in a couple of times a week and my partners doctor, who genuinely seems intent in ending her life. That’s been about it in terms of people trying to stop her doing shit. At the peak of this phase she ended up in the hospital for overdosing 4 times in the space of 7 days.

 

  • There was a literal 3 month period during the events of the above all of the above in which I daisy chained several quite severe Throat and chest infections one after the other. to the point where I pretty much lost my voice and was bed ridden for a time.

 

  • I was given a promotion at work which rapidly increased my workload and then in February 2019 the entire department I’d been moved into was made redundant. Luckily I have been able to find some temporary work but my employment status could best be described as precarious yet weirdly stable at this time.

I don’t want to dwell on the above too much because as it stands 2 of those 3 things are better than they have been. My partner is trying her best to re-engage with services and wants to get herself into a position where she can occupy her own time and from what I can see shes making great progress in getting back on her feet. It’s a very rocky road and that unpredictability is still something that is eating up a large amount of my time…But im very proud of her to see what she’s accomplished so far. mainly because I kind of love her a lot and I’d rather her not die (Im sure you understand). equally I’d like to take the time out to mention that if anyone who watches my stuff here is feeling low or having thoughts of suicide. Im sure you know the usual places to check into but I’ll just pop them here too.

(I tried looking for pictures of people in love with depression but all I got was a load of bollocks trying to romanticize depression as a “Struggling artist” type thing rather than acknowleging it for the absolute Cunt that it is…so here’s something stocky.)

Equally I have recovered now and until the inevitable bout of hayfever I encounter every spring hits me like a truck Im feeling a lot better in myself and im using my time as best I can to move things forwards both personally and with the film reviews!

And at this time I think it’s worth broaching the subject of reviews and what I actually do. Quite recently I’ve started to write again (As if the very existence of this blog wasn’t a good indicator of that). I had a couple of episodes written for season 6 when I downed tools back in November last year (A horror film and an thriller if you must know) but obviously given circumstances I had to shelf them until I was in a place where I would be able to pick them back up and develop them into full episodes. Things had been bleak since then but oddly about 3 weeks ago I had a period of rest from ongoing situations and from there rather than waste time on a video game or go out somewhere I found myself thinking: “…Hmm it’s been a while…I think im going to tidy up my computer and get my website reorganised.” I then spent 2 days clearing out old reference footage, audio files, archiving old reviews and retagging and readjusting some of the posts on the site. I even found time to catch my website up to my very latest review…

I don’t exactly know what went on over that weekend but from that point onwards I suddenly found myself with random pockets of time all over the place, a few hours here and there and even the odd free few days. And I’ve used that time. I’ve kind of rediscovered my love of writing in that sense and I have to say I think a break has done me some good. It feels good to sit and look at all of the drafts I’ve put together over the last 3 weeks and think that they’re something that I’ve put time to that seem somewhat productive. Its something that I hope someone out their will appreciate.

(Here’s hoping!)

Ultimately I only ever really got into doing these reviews because I was fed up of the lack of resources available for more obscure direct to video releases about whether they were actually any good or not coupled with a real urge to try and help other people who have no doubt ended up in my situation in the past. It comes from a place of love for the industry ultimately and that’s something thats spanned a number of years with me. Even when I was a college student doing film studies at A-level I would regularly endorse the benefits of looking at bad films as being as important if not more important than understanding what makes a good film. Anyone can make a good film in the 21st century all you need is money and a reasonable editor. You’ll make a good film but it’ll be banal. It wont have heart (Something I feel modern cinema struggles with quite badly) but if you understand what makes something terrible and you appreciate the heart that can go into making abject failure. You’ll be more than capable of appreciating that small details can effect the big picture in ways you’d never have considered.

That’s the fire that keeps me going when im reviewing absolute rot. Its my own (in some ways demented) love of analysing car crash cinema. Picking apart what didn’t work, pondering if it could have worked with some tweaks and ultimately deciding whether a car crash is worth recommending to you the viewer or whether it truly is a “Write off”. I enjoy the debate that comes with having the opinion that bad films are as important to study as good films (So much so I developed a lecture series on the subject that I hope to have filmed someday)

(I love all bad movies…well almost all bad movies…)

So for now im still here, working behind the scenes on reviews. With a renewed vigour for the subject honestly. I think as much as I’ve had a stressful time of late a break from this was something I needed. Youtube Burnout is a bit of a hot topic these days and I may go into more detail about my own personal experiences in the near future when I get time. Before I go for now I think it’s probably best to let you know at least where im up to with writing just to keep you guys all in the loop. I’m currently trying to lock down episodes for October while I have more time on my hands than less. It’s going to be a themed month, 5 episodes that will chart a particular horror history. In total I’ve now written 7 scripts, recorded 2 of them and I have plans for another half a dozen in the fire as of the time of writing (17.04.19) though as I say…I’ll save actual plans for these till the update video comes out.

Till next time. Thanks so much again for your continued patience and support

Dan.

 

(Thought i’d end this blog on a little bit of a positive note enjoy!)

 

Ever Decreasing Circles (A New Career in a New Town: Epilogue + What the hell is happening these days!?)

Its been a little while since I wrote a blog like this and quite honestly I do feel the need to apologise for being as quiet as I have been. The honest answer is that life has gotten in the way on almost every level of my day to day happenings. And while I can only apologise for not being around more both in the youtube comments and on here, it’s not been without good reason. Nor has it been through me generally being lazy (I wish I had the time to be lazy these days!) So here’s a quick heads up as to everything that’s been going on in my life and hopefully (Assuming your one of the half a dozen people who will see this) you’ll appreciate why I have been absent recently.

(It’s been one of those years I can assure you…)

First and foremost as a bit of an epilogue to my “New Career in a new town” blogs I’ve now been in my new place of work for 5 months or so! And at this point lifes pretty good! When I first started I underwent 2 weeks of training and then I was let loose to pretty much get started in the field I’d chosen to work in. it was however only when I finished the training that I realised that the field I’d signed up for didn’t exist at the place I work at until I signed up to take it…effectively I was one of 5 people hired to create a new department and they had no training programmes in place for that department because obviously it didn’t exist to have a plan in place to train us in the first place! Because of this I was trained in a very similar though somewhat slightly irrelevant field and while I did take a lot of information that could be reworked and reapplied to my new position…there really wasn’t enough to help us just “Crack on” from the off…not helping matters we were instructed by our manager not to interact with other teams in the building for reasons that were not made entirely clear…the only reason I personally can think of is that they wanted to make our department be it’s own thing and if we’d been to talk to others it may have ended up with us picking up bad habits or falling back on existing plans they wernt entirely happy with the way the other departments were functioning.

(Me pretty much after being dumped in an office space with 5 people to do a job we had no formal training for…)

All in all I spent approximately 10 weeks with that team. They were a really good bunch and I enjoyed working with them. I say this because basically around week 9 we were all pulled into a meeting by our general manager who informed us that our solo team was being mergered with a bigger department and with it all our work was being more evenly shared out amongst the bigger team. We were all set for promotions and pay rises and with it we’d be doing more travelling and a more intense work schedule than before. Great in terms of making lots of dollar. Bad because…y’know…I like downtime.

We were told that this merger would be very slow, thered be a long transition period and that it wouldn’t be till the new year that anything meaningful would actually be happening…then a week later we were merged completely…well I say “We”… I wasn’t. I had been told that during the merger I would, at first at least, mainly be doing much of what I’d always been doing. I’d be supporting the winding down of the new department and as a result they wouldn’t be giving me any additional Job roles because they wanted me to pretty much continue to support the closing down of the department before fully merging with the existing department and finally giving me a more fuller position in the team.

Only that didn’t happen either…

Instead on the day that I was supposed to begin my “Support” period…11 weeks in mind…I was pulled aside by my manager who told me quietly that there had been a mistake…My heart sank…I didn’t know whether this meant I was about to be fired, whether I was going to be transferred somewhere or whether there was just something else that I couldn’t predit was about to occur. Mercifully it was the 2nd of those 3 options.

I was told that basically there had been a mistake made during the planning stages of the merger which had all been done in a rush, and that my managers manager had selected me to help in supporting a completely different team in a completely different venture. This new department was basically the approvals department for the central offices of the company that I worked for…in short. If someone wants to so much as cough in my workplace they have to get it approved by us to do it. With that role comes a frankly eye watering payrise, a hell of a lot more travelling and a crap ton of additional privilages. Im still stunned they even considered me for a position like this. And of course I couldn’t refuse it. the workload isn’t all that much different from what I was doing before…the only significant difference really is the diversity at which im working…but to go from the bottom of the tree to about three quarters of the way up it within 13 weeks was frankly astounding and totally unexpected to me…I genuinely thought I’d go in at the position I was hired for…stay there for a couple of years comfortably and then maybe slowly move up…this was a different pace entirely!.

(Equally relevant…I still have no idea what im doing…but im being paid more to do more stuff that I have no idea about…win?…I think?…)

But enough about that! Heres where things start to get messy. Obviously with the increase in more diverse and complex work at my ectual work it has had a bit of a knock on effect with my down time. Whereas in my previous job I’d have spent the day doing the bare minimum (Not out of choice) and then come home bounding with pent up energy not spent during the day. here im actually taxing my brain! And because of that more often than not I’ve been coming home and pretty much going straight to bed. It’s exhausting, but it’s basically helping me buy my first house about 15 years earlier than I envisioned…so I cant complain really…

(Pretty much…)

The thing is I do have down time where I can talk to you guys in the comments or make new videos or do nice extras for the channel (Or even tidy the place up a bit) but for the last 3-6 weeks in particular theres been something else eating up pretty much any other time I had. My partners been having a bit of trouble recently. We live apart at the moment and we’ve been looking to buy a place together now for a while. We’re still in the process of saving together but in the mean time until about 3 weeks ago she was living in shared accommodation with her roommate. The two didn’t really know each other before she moved in but the rent was good, she was fairly close to me and she was in a quite good location generally so we assumed there wouldn’t be any major issues…it turns out we were wrong.

Her roommate it was revealed a few weeks after she moved in was actually a massive alcoholic, ridiculously promiscuous and into any drugs that happened to be going. My partner being the kind soul that she is initially offered to help her get clean but after a number of incidents in which the police had to be called the atmosphere changed pretty quickly. And after one particular incident, the roommate in question pretty much disappeared completely (Im not kidding here we legitimately believe she ran off with a travelling circus…seriously) though her side of the rent was still being paid and it meant that the apartment was quiet for a while so my partner wasn’t all that bothered.

So one night about a month ago I took my partner out for dinner both to celebrate my recent promotion and as a dinner date (I can be romantic when I want to) it was a lovely evening and all was relaxing and well…we headed back to her apartment and as soon as we opened the front door we realised something wasn’t quite right. There was a moaning sound coming from the living room. At first we assumed that her roommate had finally come home and had maybe bought a bit of extra company with her…we jokingly shouted through to “Put some clothes on!” as we walked into the lounge…but she wasn’t with anyone…instead she had smashed the coffee table to pieces and was rolling around on the floor covered in blood and urine (She’d pissed herself) screaming, moaning and making a screeching noise that in my 25 years on this earth and ith a sizable knowledge of horror films I have never heard pained screams like this. She was completely in her own world. Her eyes were glazed over and in between the screeches she would shout “I CAN HEAR YOU! I CAN HEAR YOU!!!! IS THERE ANYONE WITH YOU!!!” after a few minutes of trying to get her to sit still my partner told me to go upstairs and call an ambulance while she basically sat on her. I went upstairs called the ambulance service and told them the situation…then I heard a thud…in the time that I had gone upstairs this girl had basically started smashing her head into the corner of a hard oak wooden door repeatedly while screaming. The result? Her face was now mashed and she was pouring with blood.

(Like this…but a bit less…and not as clearly fake…and with more screeching)

My partner got up off her to see what she’d done and in that time she stumbled to her feet, took the television cabinet out (Destroying the TV in the process) and crashing into the sofa pretty much flipping it over. In the process she’d also smeared blood all over the walls and floor of the house. Once she’d seen the damage my partner quickly restrained her again and the two of us took turns in basically holding her down and keeping her airways clear of blood till the ambulance service and the police turned up and took her away…it took 3 police officers to restrain and remove her from the apartment in which time she destroyed almost all of the furniture in the hallway and screamed so loud she stripped her throat to the point of blood pouring out of her mouth as well as her head and nose.

(Basically this…but with more blood and some ambulance staff standing in for some of those police officers)

While we will probably never know with 100% accuracy exactly how this situation arose. We have been able to assemble something of a narrative. Apparently she had been travelling with a circus as a cleaner and general helper for a few weeks before this incident happened…she’d also caused a tremendous amount of trouble with said circus due to the aforementioned alcoholism, drug use and general fuckery…So the circus basically ditched her…she spent some time thumbing rides back to my home town, she came into the apartment. Dumped her stuff in her room and went out to her parents house to basically steal the contents of their liquor cabinet…pissed out of her tiny mind she then went over to a dealer that she knows who for some reason decided that the best thing for her was some “Monkey Dust” (For those unfamiliar “Monkey dust” is a synthetic drug that seemingly has absolutely no benefits apart from making you go absolutely out of your tiny mind…go on youtube and look it up If your really interested in seeing a lot of lost souls and the total devastation it can lead in it’s wake…why it’s still legal I have absolutely no idea.) but anyway…

(Yeesh…)

She took this stuff. somehow managed to get herself home. And immediately cracked headfirst into the front door (Causing her to cut her head and start bleeding) which obscured her vision to the point that she then crashed through into the living room screaming and almost immediately smashed through the glass topped coffee table when she walked into the room. Cutting herself more and leaving her pretty much paralyzed on the floor bleeding and completely unaware of her surroundings or even what day it was…we don’t know how long she spent on the floor or when exactly she pissed herself.  But we think it wasn’t very long as we think she’d have probably caused more damage had she been sat there for a while. As of the time of writing she’s been back to the apartment once in the last 3 weeks and apart from the police who came over both to give us an update as to the situation and also to ask for a testimony from us as to what exactly happened we haven’t seen or heard from her since really. The landlord has said that she’s issuing her with an eviction notice shortly not that that’ll effect us particularly…

Why wont that effect us? Well because about 3 months before any of this happened my a partner got in touch with a charity who help people with issues involving mental health find supported lodgings for up to 18 months with the aim of getting them back on there feet and helping to get them into a state of self sufficiency and employment. Well a week after this incident happened they came back to her offering her an apartment all to herself, at a greatly reduced rent with nearly all new furnishings and full support to get her back on her feet. The location of this apartment? By chance about 5 minutes on foot from my apartment. And so for the last 2 and a half weeks I’ve basically spent all the downtime I have either boxing her stuff up…driving the 15 minutes each way between her old place and her new place or unboxing her stuff on the other side. It’s been an honestly exhausting experience (As moving house usually is) but she’s already a hell of a lot better in herself and she’s feeling a lot more comfortable knowing both that im only a stones throw away from her place and also that she isn’t going to come home to find the apartment trashed and a bleeding, urinating and semi conscious woman writhing around on the floor screeching like she’s being murdered.

Between working my ass off at work and working my ass off to try and get my partner set up I’ve literally had almost no time to even stop for breath letalone answer youtube comments, make videos or watch the kind of tat that I love.

(Photo of me literally 6 weeks apart…)

On the plus side things are on the up though. Now that works settling down into a comfortable routine and my partners moved in and set up it means I can kind of try and get back on track with keeping the channel up to date. And even more good news is that I recently found out that my partner in crime on “The Comedy Dining Experience” Ben is relocating to my home town. Whereas previously we were only able to meet up to do commentaries and hang out maybe 2-3 times a year we can now hang out pretty  much whenever! So hopefully that means there’ll be more comedy dining experiences to come in future! While I think it’ll be a good while till I end up in a situation where I had the freedom that I had in the past. Im just grateful that I have enough time to be able to keep the wheels in motion.

As of the time of writing im literally in the process of writing the last 2 scripts of 2018! I know right!? This is pretty much the 2nd part of the B-movie hall of fame review. And the last Christmas review of the year! So do keep an eye out for them in the near future! Equally I hope that you continue to bear with me during this time and if you want to help me or make my life a little bit easier please do share my reviews with anyone you think might be interested (Or better still go and watch some of my older reviews as that will greatly help in terms of maintaining my watch time) I will try and get back to any comments left as soon as I possibly can and while the schedule is set till January if you have any recommendations for movies to talk about please do let me know and I’ll try and fit them in somewhere eventually.

Once again thanks so much for your continued support. Its you guys who really help keep me going with this and I’ll leave you with a track I’ve been listening to to help keep me going over the last month or 2’s turbulence

  • Dan

 

Partially Reformed Content – #2

Its that time again where I approach the end of another week, broken and further embittered to my fellow man. I have a delicious “Red Stag” Whisky sat next to me and it’s time to wind down to the weekend with another chapter from the irregular blog series I call “Reformed content”. as was the case with the last edition, im here today with a smattering of behind the scenes info, stuff going on in my personal life and some other bits and pieces that simply wouldn’t make a full blog post in and of itself! So! Let’s get the ball rolling!.  

(LARRRRVLEY.)

First and foremost, im writing this on Friday the 3rd of August 2018 and in 24 hours the poll to decide what the Halloween theme for this year is will close. I’d say it’s been a close battle but in all fairness it’s been fairly one sided since I put the vote up. So thank you so much for taking part if you did! I cant guarantee everyone will be happy with the end result, but hey! I thought I’d try a spot of democracy and it’s been quite nice to let you guys tell me what you want to see! You’ll find out the winner in October so in the mean time Im going to start watching/writing and recording them ready for then! 

(The inevitable decline into cold and dark nights begins here…)

As it stands I’ve fallen a bit behind in my schedules currently. The last couple of months have been difficult on the writing/editing front. Not in terms of watching. Oh no! the watching sides the best part of this! Hell; it’s pretty much the reason I got started in doing this! But in terms of making notes, writing scripts, audio recording and editing. I’d be lying if I said the last month or two hadn’t been something of a drag. Im hoping it’s just a bit of a creative block at this point and that I’ll perk up once I get past the rest of this years schedules. But in the mean time I do feel a bit in a rutt over what I write and how I write it. if im being honest with you lot I think theres 2 reasons for this. The first would be purely down to logistics.  having to produce 4 – 5 scripts a month at the level of detail that I try and aim for for the last 3 months or so has been a bit of an uphill climb. some months I’ve managed 4 others i’ve barely broken 2. there are quite a few reasons for this ranging from weather, to personal issues to just frankly being completely tied up with other things! but it can be a bit morale draining to grind away at a rate that even the most optimistic youtube guru would say was “Not enough” in terms of pleasing the great algorithm.

(ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY ALGORITHM THE GIVER AND TAKER OF SOCIAL PLATFORMS!)

Secondly I think its down to the content that I’m watching as well…When I started this I knew it wasnt going to be “Lolwhut” random and brilliant films every week. I knew thered be good films and bad films and that finding those gems is often very difficult. what I wasnt prepared for was just the sheer scale of mediocrity thats out there. there are hundreds, neigh, thousands of cookie cutter super bland films out there. Covering every genre, creed and colour that a film can be. and once you’ve deconstructed half a dozen of these “Meh” films you’ve pretty much deconstructed them all (In season 4 I reviewed 3 films that were all effectively the same genre and all had the same issues back to back entirely by accident…it was a real grind to get through them purely because they all blurred together into one big grey sludge). Believe me when I say that im not going anywhere anytime soon and that there’ll be plenty more uploads to come and plenty more streams/blogs in future. But I just feel like putting it out there that being a bad film critic (Even though I enjoy it) can be a struggle sometimes. and that it’s okay to have bad times and also to know when your working to your own detriment.

(No more “Hollywood DVD” titles please…No more “Hollywood DVD” Titles)

In terms of planning I now have episodes in the schedules right up until January next year and I have completed episodes running right up to the middle of Septmber. Which apparently is a bit excessive but that’s the problem with this half of the year. October is Halloween themed, and December is Christmas themed. So that only leaves September and November to actually be able to do anything off the beat and path. And the way my schedules work it means Im going to be doing 3 episodes in September and 4 episodes in November meaning there isn’t a lot of room to be able to do recommendations and requests either. Which upsets me a bit because if you guys have taken the time to tell me of a film you’d love to see me talk about the least I can do Is try to get round to it as soon as I can. As it stands I have at least a dozen requests to get round to and the earliest I can jump on them is January!  So my sincerest apologies if you’ve sent me a request. and all I can do is assure you I will get round to them eventually!

There is some interesting stuff in the schedules mind. I’ve been slowly working through the VHS haul I got my hands on a couple of months ago and theres some real gems in there. Though Disaster of disasters my VCR finally went to silicon heaven a couple of days ago (The heads have worn down to nothing) so I’ve had to order a replacement. Effectively putting my excavation on hold. So im back on the DVD’s and Blurays in the mean time…I always worry when I drop below 8 weeks of backdated episodes and I had a few VHS titles to go through over this weekend just gone. So it’s kind of messed up my plans a little bit… I try and keep that gap to cover risks and hazards that come with being alive in general…for example if Im ill or out of the country for a couple of weeks that’s 2 uploads and 3 episodes potentially lost in the process. So im always trying to increase that gap. And as of today I have 7 scripts ready to be recorded! So hopefully I’ll be up and on top of things again in no time! 

(Im getting there I’ll tell you Whut…)

 

As I mentioned in a previous blog; Im still occasionally popping up on my channel and playing a few games every now and then. It’s been a lot of fun and more recently I’ve decided to use these gaming sessions as an opportunity to talk about films and to do a film Q&A type deal. So if your reading this and your working on a film. feel free to see if im about and drop in. the last stream was a blast and I had a great time talking to a couple of my regular viewers and I really hope to see and talk to more of you guys in future! my most recent one was a full run through of Sonic the hedgehog 2 in which I used the “Rewind” function to save myself from dying a frankly embarrassing amount of times. So do feel free to check that out. It’s been nice to do something non film related really and I think it helps break things up a bit which is always a nice feeling…

(I can play this better…but i’d had about 4 hours sleep and hey! it was just a bit of fun! 🙂 )

 

Finally on the subject of myself (Im a vein bastard) I’d just like to thank everyone who tuned into my video on “Fair use” I had a very positive response to it and im glad to hear that a lot of people took away something from my video. I’ll be adding to the list of “Copyright cards” that I use as time goes by though rather ironically after 4 worldwide blocks my last 3 videos haven’t been touched by content ID in any capacity. Which is typical really…I travel halfway up a mountain in the name of challenging copyright and immediately im not able to use it!  

(Okay I’ll stop with the blatant advertising now…)

For anyone following my employment situation you’ll be happy to know that things are going rather well. I still have a few weeks of my “Probation” period left but assuming that passes without incident I should be a fully paid up and employed member of my chosen employment by the middle of next month! I’m having a great time getting to know all the new people in the place and as if they knew I was coming I found a library within the building that actually had VHS tapes stored on the shelves! I do hope that things continue to work out as they have because Im growing ever attached to the place and I’d feel terrifically sad to have it cut short. Though for the time being im just trying to crack on with cracking on and the biggest problem in my life right at this moment is the fact that in the UK the weather cant decide whether it wants to be 40 million degrees Celsius or cool and raining. which is great fun when it comes to the 10 minute walk into the office…im usually either drowned or fried…and occasionally poached…

(The Air conditioning isnt too great at this place…)

One of the downsides of my new place of employment is that due to security concerns im unable to take my phone into the building. Meaning that while I am able to keep abreast of my youtube stuff Im unable to keep on top of all goings on in the world of politics. Though seemingly since leaving my old job on the 16th of June nothing much has changed really. Brexit is taking up most of the conservatives time. The clocks running out on that and they’ve done exactly bugger all in sorting it out (as if they ever could) Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of Antisemitism (Again) and he’s apologised (Again), Trump is still being trump and all in all as a collective race It seems as though we’re a glass sphere teetering on the brink of a table. We could go at any minute and all the signs are pointing that way. But honestly? I couldn’t tell you when we’re going to go over the edge. Nor what awaits us on the other side. The only thing that’s changed more recently is that the odds of a “No Deal” Brexit have seemingly teetered closer to us than at any other time since the negotiations began. That would arguably be the worst possible scenario and in all honesty I can only begin to imagine the hell it would unleash on the UK…of course now I’ll be accused of Project fear…so i’ll simply be quiet from now and leave it at an inaudible internal scream.

Till next time

x

(This ones for a viewer who messaged me a week or two ago about a bad film that ended up becoming a massive chat about comedy…im sure he’ll appreciate it)

Whats The Name Of The Game?

So, if you’ve been over to my channel over the last few days you may have noticed something a little bit different creep into my listings…

Yep. I’ve finally sold out…you can all feel free to laud it over me and play up that this is my channel being strangled in the crib before it ever really got going. Its understandable. I felt guilty in conceding to it. Not to attack gamers in general I hope you understand. Gaming content…Legitimate gaming content. People who’ve honed and crafted there own styles, formats and “Performances” are as much a revolutionary part of the youtube ecosystem as any “How to”, “Review” and “Comedy” channel out there.

The issue with “Gaming channels” in my opinion is a matter of Oversaturation. That’s not an original observation but it’s the truth. Its not that games channels are inherently bad, it’s more that gaming channels are simply too easy to set up and too unregulated to be consistently “Of Quality”

As a measuring stick of quality im going to show a few gaming channels that I consider to be legitimately entertaining or good. Because theres more than one way to cover gaming content and I feel by showing you the best it’ll help give you context for what I would consider some of the worst.

Videogamedunky is far from the most intellectual channel on the platform. But after the flashpoint of Jontrons “Outing” as a massively massive racist* (*I may be overstating that just a little bit) I found Dunky to be a somewhat refreshing. he’s stupid, goofy and generally silly. But that silliness feels pure. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to directly attack anyone and theres very little to no malice in his content. He’s distinctly more comedy oriented but if you haven’t seen his stuff before I can definitely recommend checking him out as a good example of “Comedy gaming” on the platform.

Jim Sterling is a somewhat obvious choice for this category as well. I started following him back in 2013 having had him skirting my “Recommended” videos on youtube for a very long time. I finally took the plunge and I haven’t yet regretted it. Jims bold, camp and while occasionally a little preachy, is more often than not a highly entertaining critic and reporter on current and developing video game trends. Im not going to sit here and say that Jim Sterling is the BBC news of youtube but I would be quite comfortable calling him the “Last Week tonight” of gaming on youtube.

 

Guru Larry would be my final choice if I had to pick 3. The guys a genuine tornado on youtube. Find a video, Check the comments, Larry has most likely commented on it. I don’t know if it’s just the fact we both move in similar circles but I can guarantee Guru Larry has seen pretty much every video I’ve seen and commented on it at some point. He’s an entertaining and informative figure for vintage UK and US gaming and his “Fact hunt” series has been a genuine highlight for me over the last few years. He breaks down gaming history and consoles in such a way that’s comedic and interesting. His delivery is pleasant and he comes across as a genuinely charming and lovely man.

Honourable mentions for me would also have to go to Yahtzee Crowshaw. A man who’s (For me personally) best years are now very sadly behind him, but in his prime was an unstoppable force of nature on the video game front (Even if his delivery and style were basically a lift from Charlie brooker) His lets plays were also dry and highly entertaining with his final let’s play ending on a surreal and bittersweet tone that deeply endeared me to the man.  Stuart Ashens, a man who isn’t often associated with gaming but in recent years has started to really get into the field (Again though I do feel somewhat like theres a bit of a brooker connection there on humour, tone and delivery with him)  he always seems to be able to make lets plays more interesting and his brief playthough of “Grange hill: the game” is a genuinely joyous experience.

But enough of this moderate filler that’s in part used to justify my slamming of bad gaming channels and also partly as a reach out to push a few youtubers who’ve done interesting and fun stuff with video games on youtube. What constitutes a bad gaming channel?

Well I think it would be mean to name names here and to specifically point to youtube channels in particular. But again, its not difficult to spot these types of channels and all im going to do here is categorize them into soundbite based groups that can act as a short hand for how to spot them, equally at the same time I also have to say that in making this list im not trying to put myself above these various types of youtube channels. I completely appreciate the effort that these people put into trying to “Make it” but at the same time while not trying to tar everyone with the same brush; 90% of these channels are made with some form of alterior motive or intent…and typically it’s the ones who genuinely enjoy there content that rise to the top…with that being said:

Brand channels: these are some of the easiest channels to find on youtube and also some of the most annoying. These channels come into existence when someone who legitimately wants to start a gaming channel (But is either unable to due to lack of gear, or just someone who doesn’t have the charisma to carry an entire channel purely on gaming) decides the best way to get sub’s and by extension popularity is to just hit the branding hard over anything else. This means highly polished channel art, logo’s, generic to the point of mediocre thumbnails. and content that just…isn’t that good. Im not saying that the content is low quality. But its usually a case that the person who runs these kind of channels will upload either 7-8 videos a day or 1 video every 6 months…and theres no inbetween on that. It’s an all or nothing deal. There intentions arnt entirely clear but you can guarantee these are the people who’s videos you find scattered all over message boards and reddit to an extreme extent. These are flashpoint channels in the sense that more often than not they wont last more than 12 months. They’ll usually accumulate a very passive subscriber base and typically “Brand channels” exist pretty much purely for personal bragging rights.

Most common quote: “Oh! I have a gaming channel…it’s pretty cool…I have 121 subscribers…eh…no biggie…”

(Pictured: Typical Brand Channel style branding…unbearable..)

 

The Soulless: these guys are monsters.

Plain and simple. In “A Christmas Carol” Jacob Marley once said “If a spirit goes not forth in life it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world and witness what it cannot share but could have shared and turned to happiness” these youtubers are a reflection of that. Social chameleons chasing the almighty dollar at all costs and sacrifices. These sorts will drop friends, will sacrifice meaningful relationships and will sell there literal souls to be once inch further ahead than they were yesterday…these are the sort who chant “Like,comment,subscribe” like it’s a mantra. The sort who have a video based on a trending topic uploaded to there channel within an hour of the viral video going viral. They’re fully integrated into the matrix and in many ways they are lost and deeply damaged individuals who will probably never have known true emotions or have somehow managed to fully supress those feelings. I personally had the mispleasure of knowing 2 “Professional” gamers in my time who had youtube channels that were relatively successful (10k subs and 7k subs respectively) and they were dead behind the eyes. In 15 seconds they could meet someone, grade them based on whether they’ll be useful or not, and then either dispose of them or kiss the ever loving crap out of them until they gave them what they wanted. They were ruthless, and ultimately lost people. What I observed was that these “soulless” often clump together in terms of there scales. Shedding friends and partners as they move up the social hierarchy never truly feeling fulfilled because they’ve realised a long time ago that a crucial part of there social development has been withered and they’re in too deep with bastards to be able to find an out. one of my “friends” (The 10k sub guy) ended up working for an even bigger gaming channel on youtube and I can confirm even to this day he’s an avatar of a man. Long since hollowed out by years of chasing stats, subs and events in the hope that one day he’ll be the king…what these sorts cant see is that they’ll ultimately be kings of nowhere.

Most common quote: “LIKE, COMMENT SUBSCRIBE GUYS! LET’S GET OUR ARMY GROWING! AND IF I GET 20 LIKES IN AN HOUR IM GONNA USE SQUIRTY CREAM ON MY DOG 2 #Squirtydog. ALSO IM ONLY 560 SUBS OFF 1K SO LETS GET #560TO1K TRENDING ON TWITTER!” *Vomits black*

(Sharks. They’re all fucking soulless dead eye’d sharks.)

The “Not Quite there’s” – The “Not Quite there’s” are similar to “The Soulless” but theres a very distinct difference. These sort have there humanity in tact. They’re just not very good at what they do…Now I should say they are different from “Casuals”. “Casuals” may not upload regularly, they may be poor at what they do, but they’re casuals. They can switch there content off and go outside, make friends, love. “Not Quite there’s” are trapped in a vicious circle of undeveloped and unwilling stagnation. “Not Quite there’s”  will upload content in bursts. They wont upload every day but when they do upload (Usually 3-6 times a week) they’ll do it in batches of 5 or more. These are the sort who wont leave there houses for days. Who’ll sink 6+ hours into streaming every day. But who have NO social skills whatsoever. Most “Not quite there’s” will either forget to talk on the stream, forget that they have a microphone on and start talking about personal details. Will rant and rave about why noones playing online games from 5+ years ago and typically these lot will have some level of Cognative dissonance about themselves and the world they inhabit. people will try to help them. but they’re happy in there own world and will often ignore advice of any kind. They’re also typically the ones who are most likely to survive out of all of these channels. They’re the cockroaches of youtube. They refuse to go anywhere, they refuse to evolve and they’re just happy churning out hours and hours of dull, uninteresting and frankly bland content. They arnt particularly good players and honestly I don’t know why anyone watches them.

Most common quote: “Hey…*30 minutes later* Awww! Could’ve got ‘im then!… *30 minutes later* “…Yeh. …”…Suscribe.

(…By contrast)

There are plenty more subsections out there but these 3 are a pretty decent range of the key offenders. In writing this blog am I saying that my gaming streams are any better? Well of course they will be. Im brilliant…

…Alright im just starting out with these and in all honesty I seriously ummed and ahh’d about doing it in the first place. Even a week after my last set of streams Im still not 100% sure whether people like them or not…they haven’t had a tremendous amount of views or interactions. But I’d been thinking of doing these streams for a while with good reason. I do play quite a few video games in my downtime. I enjoy gaming and have done for years. And it gives me the opportunity to hopefully talk to you wonderful people live about cinema and film making. I’d be omitting some truth as well if I didn’t say that im effectively trying to utilize some of my downtime as a bit of extra content for my channel. Theres usually at least 1 day a week where I come home exhausted. I don’t want to edit, I don’t want to script write, I don’t even want to sit and silently make notes. I just want to sit, game and maybe have a nice conversation with you dear faithful reader. So in going live where normally I’d be sat on my own not only am I putting new stuff up on my youtube channel, but im having more fun than I would have if I was to just sit in the dark playing alone.

(…Pretty much)

So I can only apologise if this isn’t your cup of tea. I do intend to only do these sporadically; as and when Im knackered or if I just don’t have time to do my usual routine. Im thinking at the minute of doing them maybe once a week. And Im still wondering whether to spin it off onto its own channel or not (Personally I don’t think it’s worth the mither of setting up, branding and managing a whole other youtube channel just for 1-2 videos a fortnight…) but if you see me on please do drop in and say Hi! I’d love to hear from you!

(As always; I’ve been listening to this all week…its amazingly well composed, simple and very underrated…)

Partially Reformed Content – #1

This ones going to be more of a ramble than an actual full formed blog today. The truth is that I’ve had a lot of small things on my mind recently and no one thing is fully formed enough to make a full formed post out of it. As a result this one may flit a little bit from topic to topic. But reformed blog content is a bit like reformed meat. It might not sound appetizing but damnit if it isn’t somewhat delicious as a sandwhich with a bit of tomato and salt. What im trying to say is; Im not exactly the most coherent person at the best of times. So this will actually be even more of a step down in terms of structure from my usual content.

(For anyone curious about what “Reformed Meat” is…)

I say that both as a warning and as a bit of a reassuring way for me to be open. Some people get annoyed by my chronic misuse of grammar and spelling, my flyaway structuring or my generally chirpy (If not slightly moany) attitude. So I completely appreciate it if you come here expecting even more film talk only to find me rambling about my Job or about anime or (As is the case here) a load of half thoughts that don’t really fit together. That kind of leads me into my first point really…

When I started this site There were three real motivations to do it. First and foremost I liked the idea of being able to blog about things that were off the beat and path of my regular content. While I love making the content that I do on my youtube channel I will admit that it can occasionally be a bit creatively stifling in the sense that I don’t really feel entirely comfortable making “Non film” based content on there. I’ve been umming and Ahhing about making some video game related content for a while but one of the big things stopping me is that I know that you dear reader (Along with a large chunk of the people who watch my stuff and arnt reading this) appreciate my film stuff and probably wouldn’t appreciate me badly talking over a video game play through I even considered making a separate channel just for gaming videos but when I realised that I barely have enough time to work on my other shows like “The comedy dining experience” or “Short film Spotlight” that it would be way too much trouble to try and grow an entirely separate channel (At least not until I’ve grown my main channel a little bit more).

The Second reason was that I thought by setting this site up I’d probably be able to have a better line of communication with you guys. I can talk to you through youtube comments but here it’s kind of a home turf. It means that I can engage with you all directly and hopefully be a bit more personal with you all about my life and where im going. Just watching my videos will give you one impression of me, I don’t want to be too personal in those videos because you come for the reviews not to hear about my life! That’s why I decided having a little space on the internet where I can talk to you all directly (Like this) would be a good way to give you a more well rounded idea of how things are going behind the scenes…That and I’d like to think that you lot would be equally fairly open with me because of this.

The third (And this is probably the most corporate reason) was that it gives my content a bit of a boost search wise. Im not gonna lie. Being a small channel on youtube has its highs and lows. On the one hand it means I don’t have pressure to produce content; Im not battling a tide of messages on social media and im given a lot of free room to shape my content. On the other hand though it means that the youtube system is set to work against me in terms of pushing my video out there and while my traffic is very good in relation to my sub numbers at this point; im still about 15 subscribers away from breaking 100 after 12 months on the platform and that can be a little bit draining when you spend a large amount of your downtime pushing your videos across various social media and when im not doing that im editing. So I figured that by setting up a site where I can publish my videos somewhere different from my youtube channel it gives the “Stumble upon” factor a bit of a boost while at the same time increasing the odds of people finding my content. Currently I share to 5 or 6 message boards, 2-3 facebook groups, 2-3 reddit feeds and here. that means that instead of my video just being hosted in one place (My youtube channel) it ends up being hosted on 13 places a week potentially. That gives me quite a bit of extra reach and can make the difference between someone subscribing and somebody never seeing my channel.

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 18.08.11

(While it isnt the highest figures n the world, since starting this site and pushing more on social media I’ve slowly started growing.)

I’ve only ever had 1 goal in terms of growth for my youtube channel and that was 100 subscribers. I had a couple of soft goals, I quite liked the idea of hitting 50 subscribers before I made my first year on youtube (Which I Succeeded in) and I also would have quite liked to have done better with my new channel than I did with my old channel over 10 years ago (Something I achieved last month). But they were spur of the moment goals really, Not something I aspired to from the off. The 100 sub goal was something I always wanted to achieve. Mainly because I wanted that sexy custom URL. Most youtubers moan about wanting to get monetized and wanting to be able to work full time on youtube. And while I can see an appeal in that I know that its both something im not majorly interested in currently and also that its something that’s completely off the table at this point anyway. I can take my time growing past 100 subscribers, but to hit 100 to me at least would be a sign that what I do is viable, that people DO want to see the kind of thing I put out. Not of course to diminish the wonderfulness that my current subscribers have bought me. Seriously if you’ve subscribed to my channel im tremendously grateful and I’ve made some wonderful friendships out of doing what im doing. But once I hit that goal I’ll feel somewhat legitimized I think. (It’ll also mean that I can finally start advertising my channel URL directly to people because at the minute having to share “Youtube.com/SIUFNHWIOUWijnijunbadspIOHNIUD242390” is a damn site less professional than being able to share something a bit shorter and neater looking…

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 18.10.20

(Its getting very very close now! If your reading this and want to help a guy out I’d be tremendously appreciative!)

As an epilogue to the recent blogs I made “A new career in a new town” parts 1 and 2; Tomorrow I finally start my new job. I’ve been kind of hesitant to talk about my last few days with my old company but now that I’ve left I do feel a bit more comfortable talking about it. When I told my Boss I’d got the job he was surprisingly calm about the whole thing…Maybe even a bit surprised that I’d actually decided to up and leave. In hindsight I’ve taken it as he was either caught off guard and didn’t really know what to say about it so he had to try and keep it professional by being overly polite about it. Or that he was genuinely sad that I was leaving and wanted to keep things as amicable as possible. The remaining 4 weeks I spent at the company were pretty much quiet. My Boss and the remaining senior staff said very little to me during this time and whenever I needed to talk to them (Regarding holidays, sick leave, my P45) they were overly accommodating. Again im not sure whether this was because they were genuinely being nice or whether they were maybe trying to make me feel bad by trying to demonstrate what I was walking away from (i.e killing me with kindness) They let me have additional time off, they were happy to let me leave 4 days earlier than my notice period would allow and on the day that I left they told me I’d be welcome back at any time and that I’d be getting an invitation to there next works Christmas “do”. In short they made me feel very sad to be leaving them…whether this was intentional or not though I couldn’t honestly say. On the last day they told me they’d written my reference “But they wernt sure what the definition of serial murderer was” they laughed as did I but I couldn’t help again feel there was some malice in what was being said (One of the main reasons I was leaving was because of problems I’d had with them defining parts of there contract…so I wasn’t sure if this was a jab or just them having a joke) Equally there parting gift was a book entitled “Stories for boys who dare to be different” again. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a coded jab at the contract issue or just a comment on the fact that in real life im a bit of a jittery eccentric sort. I shook everyones hands, I had a raft of facebook friend requests and then I stepped out ready to start my “New career in a new town”.

(Love this instrumental. while it’s no “Sound and vision” its one of my fave tracks off this album)

I have fond memories of working at my old place. I’ll miss it terribly in terms of my co-workers, the ease of the job and the routine. But at the same time I don’t think I’ll ever be able to separate those happy memories from those tinged bad times which is a real shame. It was inevitable that would have to leave there at some point. I just wish it had kind of been more definitive rather than several reformed arguments and stress inducing moments coagulating into a slab of not wanting to be there anymore. Im excited for the challenge that my new job will open up but at the same time Im right now dealing with some internalised issues. I wonder whether I’ll take to the job. I wonder whether I’ll make any friends or whether ill be the loner of the group. I wonder how im going to sort out the situation with Parking (my new employers have a deal with the local council to enforce a permit based system for parking in the local area and if you park anywhere within a 2 mile radius of the main office without a permit you can get into serious trouble apparently)Which is going to be fun as I don’t really have any direct means of getting in if I cant park there. I have some stress around finances at the minute because over the next 3 months my pay is going to become a bit strained (I’ll get half a pay check at the end of this month, half a paycheck in the middle of next month and then a month and a halfs paycheck at the end of August…which is going to be bitty and difficult to manage (Though I know in the long run, if the job takes, that I’ll be significantly better off) It’s the usual first day jitters but in these turbulent times I really just want things to work out as much in my favour as is possible. In short while my old job had some set in rot that slowly made the position untenable, the new jobs got a load of instant problems that’ll be resolved slowly over 3-4 months one way or another. I just hope that in 3 months time when I’ve properly settled in I’ll be able to blog on here about my wonderful situation and how I made the right choice…

(Pictured: Hopefully, me.)

On to more positive things however! Labour Live! A big festival held in London celebrating art, creativity and most importantly Jeremy Corbyn. Now. being up front and honest I think that music and politics should go together like Church and state (I.e: they shouldn’t) And I wasn’t particularly enamoured to the idea of this when they first announced it. However at the same time I realised that there are some people out there who’d really enjoy this kind of thing and im not going to stand in the way of a good afternoons entertainment. I thought £35 was a bit steep mind. And I did think the line up was a bit less than steller. But overall “Eh; it’ll do as well as it’s meant to do…” initial reports looked very sketchy about how many ticket sales there had been for this festival. Indeed as of a fortnight before the event itself papers like “The Mail” were reporting only 3000 of the 20000 tickets for the event had been sold and they were laughing it up good and proper. I kind of felt a bit embarrassed and in some ways I still do about the fact they had to slash ticket prices and offer them for free to people who were in Unions. But at the same time as I live in the north of England I was left kind of thinking “Well what did you expect!?” they held an event in a rather obscure part of London, charged a fortune to get in and hired bands that were fairly low key and then were worried it didn’t sell very well…

(If it had been closer and cheaper i’d have probably gone…Labours a northern party traditionally so holiding a festival in the south seems a bit counter productive to me…)

The reality of the day was quite a bit different. Instead of 3000 unshaven sack wearers turning up there was actually closer to 13000 people. All of whome were ramped up for some good old politicking! Which was a nice turnaround as I was expecting something closer to an absolute disaster. Everyone seemed to have a lovely time and everyone seemed to be hoping there’d be another one next year. And while that didn’t stop the right wing papers from turning up the second the doors opened, snapping an empty field and going “AHAHAHA!!! See! Empty! AHAHAHAAA!” the pictures from later on in the day definitely showed that while there may not be a market for a “Labour Live 2” there was an appetite still for the kind of politics that prompted something like Labour Live in the first place.

(What the Daily mail reported as “The Turn out for Labour Live” vs what the actual turnout was like)

I think generally at this point everyones fed up with the sniping and political conniving that has taken place over the last 3 years. We’re fed up of trump, fed up of Brexit, fed up of the left wing, fed up of the far right wing. And in these times I think it would be quite easy to think that it would be better off if we just retreated back to the homoginized lump that was center ground politics. That now mythical time between 1997 and 2005 where yes both the UK and the US were going down the toilet still. But at a significantly slower rate than we were under thatcher and an exceedingly slower rate than we currently are under May. Its easy to forget however that in the UK specifically we haven’t had a far left leaning government now for approaching 50 years. And that if you keep voting for right and center field candidates, then complaining that the countries going to the dogs. Your kind of answering your own question. Nowadays the working and middle class are fed up. They’ll vote for the option likely to cause the most damage to the country not because they believe it’ll benefit them but purely because they know that in doing so they’ll give the government a bloody nose. Maybe even make them leave…at which point the public will inevitably end up voting in another right wing government thus making the wheel spin once again ever out of there favour…its madness really…

I think the main problem we currently deal with lies in the fact that we’ve effectively polarized the population. Its either a case of you think people should be able to say and do whatever they want with no ramifications whatsoever or you think that you should sacrifice some of that freedom in order to make the world generally a much nicer place to live in, and that’s it. Theres no budging on that. Your either happy endorsing racist, mysoginistic and homophobic beliefs because you think free speech at any cost is necessary. Or your living in 1984 and you don’t think anyone should be allowed to say anything offensive because everyone should be allowed to have a safe space. Its all bollocks if you ask me (And one of the main reasons I retreated to the safety and comfort of the internet where I can hang around with people who are tonally on my level and experience both ends of the political spectrum on my own terms as and when) I don’t agree with the far right because. Well I don’t think unfiltered free speech has ever been a good idea. Equally I don’t agree with the far left because I don’t think being 100% accommodating is a practical endeavour to strive for. As for the center ground?…well I don’t agree with them because I don’t think they’re left wing enough and the right wing elements put me off…so I kind of drift in and out of the far left of the spectrum. Tentatively labelling myself a socialist though not feeling like I’ve done enough to earn the title. Its because of the last 3 years that I’ve stopped judging people on there political beliefs and started judging them by there actions. And I’ve found my life somewhat more enriched for it. I have friends now who are conservative but who do extraordinary things for charities, wouldn’t hurt a fly and are constantly out trying to help the homeless and minority groups. Equally I have a bounty of friends on the left who couldn’t be more considerate human beings. By judging a person on the contents of there heart over the contents of the ballot box I’ve been able to make more meaningful relationships in my life. and yes we don’t have to agree on everything politically, and yes there’ll be heated arguments at times. But It doesn’t matter when, after all is said and done, we can put that aside and enjoy a nice night above politics.

(These Twunts need to go away mind…I have neither the time nor the patience for them…)

Other bits of news…well I recently did my first Dumpster dive for VHS tapes. a house a few doors down from me was chucking out a load of stuff as they are in the process of moving and one day while walking down to my car I noticed a massive bag of VHS tapes sitting in there. I tried to get permission to take them but they were out so I quickly skimmed through the contents and came away with 2 tapes (Most of them were football tapes or films I’d already got). In many ways its kind of a “Right of passage” in the VHS community to dumpster dive. Charity shops don’t accept tapes these days so trying to get your hands on them outside of the trading community can be kind of difficult. I hope it wont be my last Dumpster diving experience. Though equally I hope that I find more next time than dog ear’d sell thru copies of “Resevoir Dogs” and “From Dusk Till dawn” .

(Hardly the biggest and best find in the world. But hey for a first dive to find at least 2 things I like in amongst a load of football tapes was quite a plesent feeling…)

I recently sat down with my good friend Ben to once again record some new “Comedy Dining experiences” we intended to do 3 full commentaries and while the first 2 came out fine, the last one was a mess. It was nearly 3 in the morning and we were both very tired. So I may end up supercutting that one just to get the best bits out of it. We’re hoping to do another one in July sometime though in the mean time it’s a bit more of a case of “Watch this space” than anything else.

(Heres our first episode together if anyones interested…)

After writing this blog post im pretty much going to spend the rest of tonight working on the last script of season 4, and script editing/recording 3 new episodes of my show to go out some time in August. Im currently working on a collaboration that’s proving to be a lot of fun and I cant wait to share it with you guys as and when it gets finished. Then its just a case of filling in the last of the paper work for my new job, getting my outfit ready and trying to get an early night in so I can be as bright eye’d as possible for tomorrow.

And I think that’s everything for now. im sure I’ve missed some points I really wanted to talk about but for now I think this is a good place to leave you on. I’ll probably do another one of these in a couple of weeks but in the mean time thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope you have the best week it’s possible to have in June.

(While not entirely relevent to this blog I’ve been listening to this for the last 2-3 weeks constantly…that guitar hooks waaaaay too damn catchy!)

A New Career In A New Town (Part 2)

So I’ve managed to scrape some free time to myself in the early hours of the morning and it was basically a coin flip between writing a new review for my channel or writing a blog post finishing off my frankly obscenely long thereputic purging of my most recent period of time in employment. I will be doing notes for a new review tomorrow evening. Though im still trying to decide whether to do a Red triangle episode I have outstanding or whether to focus on a collaboration I’ve had in the fire since February/March time that I really should crack on with.

(This is all the clues you’re getting for that one!)

But that’s getting away from the bigger point! If your reading this your wanting to know how the story ended (Or rather how we get to the ending of this story, because odds are I wouldn’t be writing a blog post about my experiences in the film industry if it ended with “And Im still working there and everythings great”…) So! When we last left off we’d just had the first major altercation that would set in motion my current situation. After that incident happened I was fundamentally changed in my opinion about my place of work. Before I’d led with the mindset that people do occasionally have bad days and that sometimes people will be short with you when they’re in a bad mood but they’ll typically apologise for there actions and try to move on from it. This was one of those incidents where I fully expected an apology for his outburst because not only was it totally unnecessary, it was equally very unprofessional and it hurt me to think that he had so little regard for my feelings that he thought it was okay to talk to me like that. As I mentioned in the previous blog post the disciplinary never happened. But he never made it known that it wasn’t going to happen…This meant that I spent the next 2-3 weeks expecting to be on the receiving end of a bollocking that I didn’t agree with and it almost certainly effected both my work ethic and my performance as a result.

The weeks rolled on and slowly I started to get back to normality. I thought maybe it was just a one off odd incident and that things were pretty much back to normal. That is until November when there was another slightly minor incident involving miscommunication that led to a particular filming gig being sent out later than we’d been told to send it. This again didn’t get rectified but at least it didn’t end with someone walking out screeching about Disciplinaries so I could sleep well for the time being.

December led to the next incident when I was told not by my boss but by the accountant for the company that I was being denied my Christmas holiday time because they wanted an editor in the office over Christmas in case there was an emergency and that I’d drawn the shortest straw. Some back story, the company has existed for just under 15 years  (16 this year) and in the 15 or so years that the company has run there has never. And I mean NEVER been an edit called in over the Christmas period. The post production department winds down at the end of November and typically doesn’t get a new job in till the end of January. There was nothing in the schedules that was any different last Christmas nor was there any inkling that anything was going to happen. When I raised this to my boss with a very polite “Why is this happening? Im so confused” he parroted what the accountant said and with that I worked Christmas Eve and the 26th-30th of December. How many people were in the office over the Christmas period? Two. Two  people. Me. And the accountant. And during those 6 days or so I literally spent that time organising files and doing absolutely anything I could think of to stop me decking everyone. Even the boss didn’t appear during the Christmas period and they knew I had nothing to do while I was there. The only saving grace of the entire experience was that on the 30th of December the Accountant got a phone call off the boss who apparently told him to tell me that I could go home at lunch rather than sit there for another 4 hours doing literally nothing productive. Though because of this incident I ended up missing out on the Christmas holidays effectively and I never really got time off that was in any way meaningful as a result.

(Imagine this but somehow less busy and more depressing)

Now that last point may sound like sour grapes and a bit self-indulgent. And you’d be right to an extent. But I don’t have any time off pretty much year round specifically because I like to take Christmas off. They knew that and I always stress to make it pretty clear to anyone who knows me… If I’d have gone in for a purpose I could have appreciated that. If it was a big company who were short of staff I’d have at least understood it… I’d know I wasn’t wasting my time. I offered to work from home during these days because I knew there would be nothing really going on, this was refused because they wanted someone to “Fill a seat” and as mentioned in the last blog post the only thing more of an arse than having to work over Christmas is having to work over Christmas doing absolutely nothing and having to wake up at 6:15am and commute for 50 minutes just to do nothing. In short, if they’d said I could have been on call or worked from home that would have been fine. If I’d gone in with purpose that would have been fine. But they seemingly called me in there for nothing and I think that by the last day even they’d realised that all they’d achieved in doing what they’d done is made our relationship even more fragile than it already was…Though the real tipping point and the last straws were still to come…

I believe it was the last week of February that the final straws were put into place and broke. For the past 2 years my department had been levying the boss and the senior staff members to try and get workers contracts drawn up. We had been working for 2 years without any kind of contract or job security when we first broached the subject mainly because we didn’t really like the idea that the boss, if he was in a mood, randomly firing us without notice period or pay (Something he had done to 2 ex-employees within that 2 year period) we’d badgered him and mithered him but seemingly it was all in vein until February of this year (4 years in at this point). Now. I’m 90% confident that our badgering him had no effect on whether we got contracts or not. What I do think swayed it however was that my Boss had been in touch with his insurance company who were not happy with how things were being run, nor were they happy with the idea that we as staff members could effectively walk out at any time because we weren’t under contract.

So in the last week of February apropos of nothing my boss walks in with a big wodge of papers slams them down and starts passing them out saying “Can you read this, sign it and hand it back to me within 48 hours, any issues let me know and we’ll try our best to accommodate.” These were contracts. And they were fucking awful. They were badly written, vague to the point of pointlessness and they were littered with grammar and spelling mistakes. They were also heavily weighted in favour of the employer over the employee to an almost comical level. I read through this contract and there were numerous points I disagreed with. But one point in particular stuck out to me I have the document scanned on my computer but as I’d quite like to keep my anonymity on this one for at least the foreseeable future the wording was something to the equivalent of “You cannot work for a rival media company for 3 years after your notice period” Now. I had multiple problems with this stipulation. Firstly the vagueness of the wording. “A rival media company” could be anything from a fully fledged production house right the way through to B&Q because they have a facebook page. Equally there was a further stipulation to the above point. An addendum if you will that stated that I “Was not allowed to work for, start or continue work in any media venture in any capacity for 3 years after my notice period” which again is so vaguely written it could mean anything from “Your setting up your own business? Well see you in court…” to “ You uploaded a video to your facebook profile?…well…see you in court…”it was a seriously flawed contract and the majority of it was written that way. So I went to my boss and explained my concern.

(This face isnt far off my own when I read that contract)

His response? “Ahh mate don’t worry about it, we wouldn’t do anything bad to you… it’s just to protect our business.”  When I suggested (To put my mind at ease) whether he’d mind tweaking the wording to either clarify what a “Rival business” was or whether he would tweak the wording to at least specify what kind of work he didn’t want us doing for 3 years he became a bit cagey he started off down the line of “Well we cant change it for you mate because we’d have to change it for everyone and if we tweaked any of the points in this contract it could end up making the whole thing null and void”…I protested the point by saying “Well the rival business thing is fine for say; the company electirician or the website developer. They can move to any industry and get started. But I work in the film industry and this point specifically seems to imply that if I quite here I wont be able to work in the film industry for 3 years thereafter.” … there was a silence. And then after some thought he reiterated “Look mate. We arnt trying to diddle you. We wouldn’t bother taking you to court we’re not like that. But don’t just ask me for advice on whether you should sign this or not because I helped write it so of course im going to suggest you sign it…by all means get a second opinion”

So I did. I went to a union that offered free legal advice and they informed me that first and foremost if you have a problem with a contract you should submit it in writing because if you didn’t and it ever did go to court you’d at least have a document proving you disagreed with the terms of the contract. So with a bit of help from my family I drafted up a formal letter raising all the issues I had with the contract and asking for either clarification or tweakings to the meanings because I wasn’t happy with just how vague it all was.

This email was sent on a Friday. Monday morning I get into the office to find an email waiting off the boss asking for a meeting at the end of the day, “Oh brilliant” I thought “We’re finally going to get things sorted…Im really glad I signed up to a union now!” I thought…I was wrong to think that.

This wasn’t a meeting. It was effectively bullying. Because whereas I thought I was walking into a pleasant conversation one on one with my boss about contracts and how we could reach a compromise. Instead I walked into my boss and his mate who refused to listen or acknowledge my issues for 50 minutes and instead for those 50 minutes chose to go completely batshit insane at me for DARING to talk to a union and the frankly DISGUSTING behaviour I’d shown in sending them the email that I did in which I insulted them by daring to acknowledge that I had issues with the contract. When I sat down I was expecting pleasantries…what I got right off the bat was “I GOT YOUR EMAIL MATE. WHAT ON EARTH POSSESSED YOU TO SEND THIS!? IM INSULTED. DEEPLY INSULTED AND I WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA!?” I was stunned. It was like someone had hit me with a bat. And while I was able to recover and stop babbling after about 10 minutes or so the next 40 minutes could best be described as me trying to explain that I joined a union to seek a 2nd opinion as he’d told me to do (He would rebuff that sentiment by saying “I was only joking about the 2nd opinion mate! I didn’t think you’d actually go and do it!”)  and my boss adamantly stating that I was trying to breed an “Us Vs Them” mentality in the office and that I was trying to bring back the “Worst elements of the 70’s” by involving “Spineless unions” his mate would only chip in to tell me that he too was “Utterly lost with the email I’d sent in” and the pair basically spent just short of an hour slagging off the unions, questioning my competency and refusing to answer any of my questions (There was a highlight moment for me that would give paxman a run for his money where I must have said “Define what a rival business is?” to my boss about 12 times without a solid answer) I reiterated my point that “If you could just tweak one point in this contract non of this would be happening” to which they adamantly refused because it wouldn’t be fair to the others…when I explained that the term I had problems with would only seriously effect my department and that everyone else would get off relatively easy they ignored it…at one point my boss asked why I didn’t ask the accountant for a 2nd opinion instead of going to a union. My response? “Because he wrote it and you helped write it too! You specifically told me not to take your word for it because you helped to write it! So im not going to ask your mate for a second opinion if he helped write it too!”

(Your home boy here was beyond pissed and really couldnt be arsed to take it anymore…)

Another prominent part of this “Meeting” was when I’d put a point like that across…that was clearly right. They’d take a long pause and say “…Oh we’re just going round and round in circles here” which was there codeword for “We don’t have an answer to what you’ve just said but we don’t want to seem like we don’t know what we’re talking about so we’re going to change the subject now”…The culmination of this 50 minute argument was a point where my boss literally called me “Slimy” for using a union and then after I rebuffed one of there points quite thoroughly he just snapped at me “Well mate! Im not compromising! You either sign this as soon as possible or you can go to your union and ask them for advice on severance packages!. I don’t mind paying out two to ten grand. It means nothing to me! But they wont help you find a job mate! So you have a good hard think about that. We’re done here.” and with that the meeting was over. While making minor small talk about “Thanking them for helping clear the air” (I said this ironically if you couldn’t tell) they took that point seriously and for the next 5 minutes while I found my shoes, coat and bag they just kept repeating back and forth to themselves that “This was just a sad situation and that I didn’t know what I was getting into by messing with them.”

I left the office for the night fairly silently, got in my car. Called my partner and told her everything that had happened. And then and there made the decision I wasn’t staying with this company anymore. I was done. I wouldn’t get talked to like that by my own parents. Letalone a little upstart and his mate thinking they can muscle me into submission. That night I got home and told my parents who were absolutely stunned by my bosses behaviour and about half an hour after I told them my father in law phoned me to say that my partner had told him everything and frankly it was a wonder “I hadn’t twatted the git” the irony was my boss thought the situation was sad but from my perspective I found a man much older than me having to get his mate in to help him hold an indefendable corner against a much younger man  on a point that could have been rectified and fixed in 20 mintues within a word document much much sadder.

I spent the following month applying for jobs, I had a couple of initial responses but nothing substantial. My boss seemingly didn’t think the “Meeting” we had was anything significant because after this happening he pretty much just went back to being himself. Only further adding to the strain of needing to get out was the fact that there was a growing possibility of the office being relocating somewhere even further away. There were only 2 places relocation was likely to happen in, one of them was the next town over. Making my rapidly approaching hour long commute an hour and ten minutes in and an hour and a half out. which was ludicrous. The other location was up in the hills, it would only have 2 ways in and 2 ways out and both would be inaccessible for large swathes of winter.

So now the pressure really was on because I couldn’t stand to drive any longer than I was already doing and my boss is the kind of person who’d have you drive your car off the road and in to certain death if only to ensure there was a chance you’d be in work that day.

(Self explanatory really…I wouldnt mind but the boss himself has always either lived 5 minutes away from the office or literally IN the office…)

So with mounting pressure and a serious lack of jobs going in the area, one evening in May I sent off for a raft of jobs and as a laugh I put in for a job in a non film industry position that was based about 5 minutes away from my house and was nearly double pay. I had no chance. But it was a laugh and the worst they could do was say no so I went with it. And then 2 days later I was asked to submit a video interview. “Ahh it’s probably just formalities. Everyone who applies will have to do one” I thought…it was a very weird experience having never done a video interview before but I didn’t burst into tears at any point during the interview so I see that as a positive.

I heard nothing back from any of the other jobs I applied for but about a week later the company who asked for the video interview got back in touch to say they were impressed with my video interview and wanted a “Face to face” interview to check my competency. “Ohhhhkay. I thought; well…I guess I did a bit better than I thought…I’ll go to the interview but im sure there are better qualified people for this position. I mean; I review bad and cult films on the internet Im hardly well adjusted enough for this position…” but I accepted there invitation, went along, and while I was a bit nervous, a touch rambly and for some reason my throat decided to close up during the interview. I managed to get across 80% of what I wanted to say. Though I thought I’d not been confident enough. I felt like I’d said all the wrong things and that “Joe mc’brill job” was going to cruise into proceedings with his £600 suit and slick back hair and just seal the deal in 3 smoothly crafted words. I on the other hand had verbal incontinence and a tuft of hair (What was left of it) I wasn’t feeling confident.

Shockingly though 24 hours later I got a phonecall from that new company asking me if I wanted the job…”Shit!..” I Thought “How on earth has this happened!?”  I thought. I was stunned. I really wasn’t expecting to pick up this position nor was I expecting to be able to walk out of one job into another. I fully expected to either be let go or to have to quit due to the stress involved in day to day operations. So to be told within a month of that infamous meeting that a rather large company wants you to work for them in there middle management department for significantly more pay and 10 hours a week more time to yourself. How could I refuse!?

(Pictured: Me and the family – If this new place works out)

I informed my boss about a 3-4 days after I was told. There were several hold up’s in telling him, largely centring around issues with accepting my application and processing issues on my new employers side of things. Im not going to lie I was bricking it having to tell my boss. We’d recently seen a string of losses and my leaving would mean there were only 2 people in the post production department doing the work of 4 people.  I even took some comfort in asking strangers on message boards what I should do and whether my situation was normal. Apart from the 2 dozen people who just wrote “Fuck your boss man, he sounds like a bellend.” The majority of people said that after some of the events that I’ve mentioned in this blog they’d have probably left years ago. Feeling somewhat invigorated I finally asked my boss for a quiet word and told him exactly what had happened.

I made it clear to emphasise that this wasn’t a decision I had taken lightly while at the same time making sure he knew that my new employers really wanted me to confirm I was on board with working for them so I needed to get plans mobilised as soon as possible. I was expecting another bollocking but this time I think he was genuinely surprised. Whether I’d shocked him for once (I.E : I think he thought I would stay after he turned the screws on me but It’s actually backfired to the point of me leaving) or whether he was genuinely happy for me I cant say. But his response was a very calm and upbeat “Oh! Well. Well done mate! People come and go all the time and your one of our longest serving staff members so it’s understandable” he was quite shocked  I was leaving the film industry and he wished me well before not talking to me for the next 3 days.

I told my co-workers and while they put a brave face on it I could tell they were upset. More often than not I’d acted as mediator between them and my boss and now I was leaving they wouldn’t have somebody there to help them get through the day. They all seemed terrifically sad that I was leaving and in confidence a couple of them later messaged me on facebook to ask If I could keep an eye out at my new place for any potential openings.

Since all this has happened the only major drama that’s gotten in my way has been the tight turnaround deadlines for information requests from my newest employer. Seriously all this week it’s been emails like “We need you to send us 3 unique pieces of identification that cant be anything traditionally used as I.D…we need this information within 24 hours otherwise we’ll treat it as if we’d never offered you the job in the first place” which is fine had it not been the case that all of there application forms are various shades of broken. And that they’re terrible at responding to emails. (A good omen im sure you’ll agree)

But barring one or two minor niggles here and there im now feeling pretty confident about my decisions. Its now fairly likely that the old business will be relocating to a further away location within the next 15-24 months and I’d have rather jumped ship willingly than been pushed while I desperately cling onto the plank. I’ll never forget my old job, When it was good. Which it was more often than not. It was one of the best jobs that a guy could ask for. But multiple external factors coupled with complete and total random outbursts from the boss, The man im supposed to trust, has just made this job totally untenable. Though im really hoping this new job opens up a bit more opportunity . at the moment im trying to keep positive, and while it is upsetting to me that I’ll be leaving behind some great friends, easy work and a fun environment *Most of the time* I do feel like I’ve advanced as much as I can within my current place of employment. I look forward to my new career opportunity, a fresh start with new people and a chance to challenge myself.

To me this entire thing is a lesson on how communication can be absolutely integral to a business in regards to whether your clients or your staff will stick around or not. This entire situation was avoidable. Had my boss not absolute and totally pointlessly attacked me on multiple occasions over a 12 month period I’d probably have stayed fairly docile. Its also taught me that Pride in a position Is only worth the money its earned by. Having a Job that sounds cool but pays like crap isn’t a particularly good deal no matter how you look at it. Especially if you have external negatives only making the situation worst.

And while the potential office relocation stuff would have still been a serious factor in me moving. I’d have probably waited till the week we were supposed to be moving before looking for a different job. But because he was so nasty, because he was so personal and because he seemingly just didn’t know how to handle the situation he’s lost a senior member of his business absolutely needlessly and its going to be a real legitimate pain to recover that loss. Not to blow my own horn here.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say on the matter so far. Inevitably there’ll be teething troubles with my new job (as Is the case with any business a person joins. They have different ways of handling stuff so things are more than likely to go wrong. All I can do for the time being is repetedly contact my new employers customer support in the hope that they will fix everything. And other than that try and make leaving my current employment as smooth and ninja like as possible.

If you’ve read these two parts all I can do is sincerely thank you. It’s been a very difficult situation I’ve found myself in and I’ve predominantly suffered with my own thoughts, so to be able to put it all out there has really helped me out, its really been a weight off my mind. Thank you for putting up with this is all I can say. Thank you.  Normal service will be resumed shortly.

(Optimisms on the rise so I think this is a good way to end this and also look hopefully to the future)