Fourscore and 4 seasons ago…

So this one may be a bit disjointed. Mainly because at the minute I’m leading quite a hectic lifestyle trying to rebalance my home/work life. It’s now July the 9th and today’s been one of the hottest days in my area for a while. At this point I’m on the cusp of finally aclimitising to it…which is a pity because I know in the next fortnight or so we’re going to go right back to the sludge fueld rain filled drudge that is british weather.

(Actual footage of me everyday for the last 2 weeks)

Yesterday was a pretty productive one in all honesty. I finally tackled some of the prep work for the Halloween specials I have planned for this year and I managed to do a bulk recording of packaging shots for upcoming episodes (I’m now pretty much up to date till early December which is nice).

(It was a satisfying if not burny experience)

 

One of the bigger things I did yesterday though involved something I’ve been meaning to do now for a very long time. And it’s one of those things that’s been playing on my mind pretty much since the 2nd season of my show started. We need to talk about “fourscore 2”. Now I dont expect very many of the people reading this to know what “Fourscore 2” is…hell even the people who should know about “Fourscore 2” sometimes dont know about “Fourscore 2”. it has a fairly long lasting history in british broadcasting though it’s often overlooking in favour of it’s Younger, Bulkier much more memorable brother.

So. The year is 1982 and Channel 4 is gearing up for it’s big launch. it had been almost 20 years since the last channel launch happened with the fractured beginnings of what would later amalgam into ITV. As a result 4 wanted to do something drastically different. they didnt want to be seen as just another stuffy, conservative whiffing, stiff upper lip of a channel. They wanted to be seen as cool, modern and hip. the original ideology for channel 4 sounds almost otherworldly by modern standards. indeed if they ran with there original plan in modern times it would probably have crashed out of the listings about a week into broadcasting. This is because Channel 4’s opening gambit was to run on a diet of Art house films, documentaries from around the world, american imports, alternative comedy and music. It was brilliant. Oh it was pretentious, it was hipster well before it’s time. but theres something about a channel where I can watch The Smiths over my morning cereal, “Dream Stuffing” during my supper and “Letters from a dead man” while in a semi drunken stupor at 3 in the morning that just makes me fall in love with the concept of a “High art” terrestrial television channel. I mean…it wasnt faultless…when it worked it worked brilliantly…but art is a fickle thing and sometimes what reads as a good idea on paper can have awful and terrifying ramifications once broadcast…

(Yes this was a show that actually went out on television…Yes. One day I will cover this…And yes im now on a register for having watched it…)

 

But I digress; To coincide with this major event Channel 4 wanted an ident theme that sounded grand, bold, fresh. Something that would drag television kicking and screaming away from the somewhat classically royal theme tunes that had come before it. And in doing so they ended up recruiting one David Dundas (Of Blue Jeans fame) in to help score the music that would define the channel. And he knocked it clean out of the park. Because in 1982 Channel 4 launched with “Fourscore” and if you dont believe me that it was a bloody impressive piece of music here’s how it went out at the time.

(BEHOLD YOUR NEW MASTERS AND QUAKE WITH FEAR!)

its a very impressive track with some serious studio work behind it. if you want some idea of how well received it was, well, it’s still being used to this day (Albeit in a slightly remixed form) but what of “Fourscore 2”?. Well. As far as im aware Dundas isnt capable of just knocking something like “Fourscore” out of the park in one take and there were several variations of Fourscore that were brought into existence before we landed on the iconic theme thats hung around on 4 now for the best part of 36 years.

One of these variations is “Fourscore 2” effectively a somewhat more Jazzy version of “Fourscore” that managed to escape the cutting room floor, it did so by ending up as the “Go to” music for whenever Channel 4 had technical difficulties or, for a brief stint in the mid 80’s, it was used to fill in air time when an industrial dispute meant that Channel 4 couldnt show adverts so instead they ran with a somewhat seething holding card slagging off the unions for daring go on strike at the detriment of the channel.

(Hey…I can live with a lack of capitalism in my adverts…jussayin)

It was also later saved by Dundas himself as “Fourscore” grew in popularity it was eventually issued as a 45 vinyl under a pseudonym “The Airwave Orchestra” and y’know what was the B-side to that 45? Yep. Fourscore 2. Now. I cant lie and say that I’d always been a fan of Fourscore 2…in fact it was only around 10 years ago that I first started actively watching channel idents and listening to test card music (It sounds better than it reads I can assure you…also for anyone who’s curious the answer is “the 90’s Central idents” and “For the good times” by Graham Preakett) but theres something about Channel 4’s idents and music and in particular “Fourscore 2” that just draws me to it. I think it’s probably because it’s so representative of the time it was made really…you’ll struggle to find a more 80’s sounding test card track than “Fourscore 2” it’s upbeat and whimsical and while I can understand why they went with the original “Fourscore” for the channel itself…I equally have to say that to me. Fourscore 2 blows fourscore out of the water.

(Ohhhhhh yesssssssss…*Covers up crotch area*)

So in 2017 when I was first planning my youtube channel and my videos I had no idea how long I’d be going for, nor did I really think about the long term layouts and styles of my videos. So when it came to assembling the first few episodes I just needed some music to open each episode that was inoffensive, upbeat and reasonably easy listening. my answer was to dust of Fourscore 2. Now as a filmmaker myself I realize that in using fourscore 2 im breaching copyright. But at the time I assumed I’d probably do my youtube channel for a couple of months, get bored and drift off…I almost certainly didnt think I’d still be here a year and a bit later with a website and various social media links. I realised pretty much halfway through season 2 of youtube videos that I really should consider moving to something a bit more copyright friendly…Channel 4 have a habit of striking videos with worldwide blocks and the last thing I needed was to have half my videos removed, so I decided to try and find someone to cover Fourscore 2 or do a soundalike (Because I Really do love it’s composition)…2 seasons later and not much has changed. Until this week. This week I finally started writing season 5, and I couldnt let fourscore 2 continue…I really couldnt. If copyright wasnt an issue it’d be seeing me well right up to season 55…but at this point I need to protect my channels content and I needed to be able to go forward with something copyright friendly and similar in tone.

So. Armed with Garage band and a midi keyboard. I set about re-recording Fourscore 2. I’ll be honest. it’s not as good as the original. I tried my very best but im an amateur musician at best and David Dundas is…well…David Dundas. It came out better than I expected but thats not saying much. Im happy with it and for me it does the job. But this season will be the last one to use fourscore 2. I’ll miss it in all honesty. but im sure you all can appreciate my position on this one and that you’ll learn to love the new theme in September in the same way I myself fell in love with Fourscore 2 the first time I heard it. it wont be wrong…just different…at least thats what I keep telling myself…

(Yeh…its far from perfect…but for a 15 second sting it’ll do the job…)

 

EDIT: As an additional; if you are interested in learning more about Channel 4 then you simply must watch Applemasks documentary on the history of the channel, he’s funny, witty and bang on the money in covering every minute detail of this channels long and winding history from Arty/hipster repository to Reality TV bin and beyond in every shade colour and hue, seriously. Check him out. he’s ace.

(One day I’ll cover Channel 4 schools in detail…one day…)

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)

FLCL and Me – A Prologue.

This ones going to be a little bit more “From the heart” to be completely honest with you. I was intending on making this a video, I wrote it literally in the early hours of this morning with the full intent to record it this afternoon and have it live before the night was out. but having edited it a little bit and re-read it a couple of times I just dont feel it fits in with my usual video stuff. As a result I’ve decided to make it a spur of the moment blog post instead, though I will properly review FLCL at some point in the future but in order to make this work the way I want it to I kind of have to rely on my memories because otherwise it would be pretty meaningless for what im About to get into into.

In 2008 I was at a relative low point in my life, I was in the midst of some of the most difficult examinations I’d have to go through to date as a knock on to that I realised that even if I finished the exams with a good grade I had no plans for what to do once I’d passed, Id also found out that a good chunk of my friends from that time were basically only being my friend because they thought they could get something from me. And I was trapped in a situation where I was forced to be in close contact with someone who I had feelings for who didn’t feel the same way with no real means of escape from that situation for at least another 18 months. In short 2008 was a pretty shitty year. I felt trapped, alone and stressed out in a way that I’ve never been before or since.

As a result I pretty much spent that year desperately trying to escape from the real world because It was all a bit too much and I didn’t want to tip myself over the edge. There are moments in your life where things will perfectly align. I don’t particularly believe in a god or an afterlife but there are some moments that are so well timed as if to suggest that the world surely cant be a random mish mash of happenings. And in 2008 two of those moments happened that saved my life and fundamentally altered the way I look at the world.

(This was the other lifechanging thing, but thats another story for another time…)

One of those moments was in the middle of summer and I was asked to do some research for a business report. And like any good student with access to the internet that meant I spent a good chunk of my time on youtube watching videos. It was while I was there at my computer on that humid summer afternoon that I first discovered FLCL, or Fooly cooly, or Furi kuri depending on your preference. I’d briefly had a fling with anime and manga a couple of years prior to this and I thought I was on the way out from it by this point. But there was something in that 140p resolution video, that animation style, that vibe that just kept me watching. Back then youtube would only let you upload 15 minute chunks and the 6 parts that made up this series were all split up into there various pieces, all with varying quality and all with varying stopping and starting times. But at the time that didn’t matter. I was captivated.

I’d never seen anything like it, the tone, the animation, the music, the philosophy. The whole thing was just totally unique. It wasn’t ashamed to be what it wanted to be and it looked damn fine doing it. I Devoured as much of it as I could get my hands on. I remember that finding a complete version of the 5th episode (Brittle bullet) was particularly difficult due to the fact it dealt predominantly with guns which at the time Youtube  didn’t really tolerate. But eventually I saw the whole thing and it was absolutely beautiful.

(I mean, Just look at it! This was made in 1999!. its astounding!)

I don’t fully understand the philosophy of the show at this point anymore. I last watched it in full nearly 7 years ago, but at the time it was this radical stand out piece of art that spoke to me directly, it told me it was okay to be different. It was fine to do your own thing, that you didn’t need to rely on what other people thought of you or saw in you because someone out there will accept you for who you are regardless of what you do or don’t do in life. That it was okay to be childish sometimes but equally that responsibility for your actions and life choices are absolutely of equal importance.

At the time I was just beginning to get into film making, I’d started about a year and a half prior to this and I was in the midst of making my first feature film. I had no idea what I was doing and it was genuinely a terrible movie. But that’s because at the time I didn’t really know what art house was, I didn’t know what experimental cinema was. I grew up in a small backwater town where we had 2 cinemas and neither of them played anything other than mainstream fodder. So here I am producing an experimental drama channeling my feelings visually into the piece with no idea what an experimental film was. And im showing these rushes and scripts to people who had no idea what experimental cinema was and they just didn’t get it…and at the time I don’t think I fully understood it either…I’d later realise that experimental cinema was really quite a niche genre and that it wasn’t about making sure as many people saw it as possible more that it was making sure the right people saw it. watching it back now I can pick apart the whole thing. Its incredibly literal and im very embarrassed by the whole thing. But I digress.

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(It was about as bad as this…and that’s pretty bad…Still you gotta start somewhere…thats what I tell myself at least…)

FLCL hit me at just the right time because while I was working on this film in my spare time I’d be marathoning the anime pretty much non stop in my down time. And everytime I would come up against someone who would attack me personally for the way I dressed, or spoke or anyone who just didn’t like my films. FLCL would be the thing I would tune into to tell me that it was alright to be me. And that the people out there who thought it was okay to try and bring me down either just wernt accepting of people like me or they were just trying to make themselves feel better.

There was just something about these 6 episodes that really connected with me. I think the varying animation was definitely a factor. It’s a very different experience to watching any other kind of anime. The plotline was bittersweet as well, its to this day one of the only series I’ve ever seen that mixed hardend robot fighting anime with slapstick comedy, Hardened experimentation with the format and also a pent up will they/wont they romance angle. They got the balance right between mixing well written and very human characters with crazy off the wall extremism. The soundtrack, almost entirely composed by the pillows and was revolutionary to my ears, the direction was near pristine, the editing and styalisation was almost unmatched. And for a year or so I was as ingrained into it as it was into the counter culture.

Over the following 18 months I’d collect as much FLCL merch as it was possible to get my hands on, I bought the manga, the novelisations, plushies, T-shirts, I managed to import 2 out of 3 of the original soundtracks from Japan, I had a beanie with Haruko’s P! symbol on it, a wall scroll that’s still on display in my house to this day, my computer was decked out with stickers from the show and both my wallpaper and my screensaver were images from the show and my most prized possession is the limited editon US DVD boxset. Which is not only the most expensive DVD boxset I’ve ever bought, but It’s now also the most expensive DVD boxset in my collection. In 2009 I spent £210 shipping that set from America to England (It cost £80 up front, followed by another £80 to release it from German customs, followed by a further £50 to release it from English customs) now if you’re a nerd for your media history then you’ll know that just over 12 months after I spent this frankly ludicrous amount of money for 3 dvds and a free t-shirt coupon. That an official UK release of the series came out for £20 and I very nearly cried…but y’know what? In 2014 I sank another £25 into rebuying the UK set on Bluray which is still sealed on my shelf to this day.

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(This is my ACTUAL boxset in all its beautifulness…I dont think I’ll ever part with it…but its painful to even touch just for the price alone…it also took nearly 3 months to get to me…)

I have incredibly fond memories of FLCL, it was a series that changed my life in ways that I really struggle to put into words.it came in at just the right time and carried me through a very dark period. But like all dark periods they’re bound to pass eventually and at some point in the late 2010’s or early 2011 I just kind of…drifted from it. I went from at the peak a 3 month period where it would be the only thing I’d watch to in the end pretty much forgetting about it. By 2011 I had bigger fish to fry really, I’d recently started a new stint in education, I’d met a beautiful woman who’d go on to become my current long suffering partner and I was mixing and mingling with a new crowd of people who were genuinely interested in me for who I was, not for who they wanted me to be.

Looking back these days I feel like FLCL is an echo to a completely different time so far removed from my current life that it might as well be alien to me. It is to me this ghost of a 6 parter that came crashing into my world, changed my life and then left without a trace…in many ways echoing one of the shows main protagonists Haruko. And life moved on really…I grew older, built a meaningful relationship and several meaningful friendships, these friends and my partner grew older with me. And I forgot about that awful year that quite literally was nearly the death of me. Things were looking up…

(For anyone interested this is the wallscroll I own as well…it cost £30 and unlike the DVD boxset it cost me nothing in customs charges to ship it in from Japan.)

Then 2016 happened. 2016 for many people would at best be described as a difficult year. What with Brexit, Trump, rising tensions towards the possibility of nuclear apocalypse, rising food prices and half of the people you loved from your childhood dying randomly it was a difficult one to get through in one piece. There were also some personal troubles in my own life. My partner was going through some very messy health issues that I wont get into here but it put a lot of stress on both of us, I’d recently started to have a few tensions build up at work and most of my friends moved away for better job opportunities or were generally out of action…2016 was a pretty shitty year. And then there was an announcement that filled me both with dread and total excitement. FLCL was coming back. At the time there wasn’t a whole lot of information available all I knew was that it would be coming soon and there’d be 12 new episodes set in the modern day split over 2 seasons. It was like an old friend had just called me up after years.. and the reason it filled me with dread and excitement? Well. Because in my mind the show was perfect just the way it was. Why run the risk of pissing on a near pefect legacy by bringing it back for 12 more episodes? Equally I was very concerned that it personally might reopen old wounds  I’d not seen the show for years at this point and the only thing that would make it worse than it not being very good was revisiting the show I loved to find that it was garbage or that id built it up in my semi adolescent mind into something that it simply wasn’t. Obviously I was excited at the idea of it. If you’d have told my teenage self that FLCL would be coming back for a full 2 seasons I think he’d have cried. But there was just something sat in my mind that didn’t feel right about this. That was concerned about it.

(I got a bad feeling about this…)

Over the incoming 2 years that would follow a trailer or 2 would see the light of day that only further worry me. Mainly because it seems like they’ve jettisoned the strange and wonderful animation style that drew me to the series initially. It also seemed really quite overly angsty. Which I seem to remember the original series having a level of Angst about it but nothing quite like what this trailer was giving off…it also seemed like they’d gone all in on the comedy elements with strange and goofy characters littered throughout…bearing in mind that in the original series there was maybe 3 or 3 goofy characters and even they were tinged with a certain level of darkness.

Then last week, they announced the official launch of the series as the 2nd of June 2018 at midnight. And as of this recording I haven’t watched it. I don’t know much about the new series. I know it has the pillows in it and I know they got the original writers back in. But I don’t necessarily feel comfortable with the way this series has been resurrected…it feels like a nostalgia grab rather than a meaningful continuation… I think I might eventually watch it but I just don’t want it to ruin a show I loved. For my own sakes. At some point I will rewatch the original series again…and I’ll share my findings on here as and when that happens. It may be awful, it may be better than I remembered it. But with the new series im not so sure… for now I feel comfortable with those vivid memories of hot summer evenings plonked infront of a laptop discovering a show that no one In my country I knew had heard of.

(The mangas pretty bloody awesome too…I should really re-read it sometime…)

As is the custom occasionally I like to end these blogs with some music and I cant really think of anything more fitting than the end credits to the show, but in a resolution that I’d have killed for about 10 years ago. Enjoy.

(Part 2 of “A new career in a new town will be coming soon…but this literally kind of forced its way out of me in the last 24 hours so I thought it best to share…)

A New Career in a New Town (Part 1)

So it’s nearly one in the morning where I am and I was supposed to go out and record a couple of new episodes of “TYTD reviews” and “The Red Triangle” tonight but after some very frustrating attempts to get my laptop to connect to the internet which failed coupled with several awkward attempts to send the scripts from my non internet connected laptop to my Ipad I decided that the world just didn’t want me to go out tonight and I’ve decided instead to put my time to something more productive and instead therapeutically blog about my “Feelings”.

This past fortnight I’ve been incredibly unproductive but that’s not without good reason. While I may have dropped the ball in producing some lovely shiny new episodes of my show for you guys Its because in my real world actual life I’ve been dealing with a quite sudden and unexpected change in my delicate and heavily structured life. Mainly focussing on my career and my current workflow; It’s been a very stressful time and I feel that if I put it out there on this blog it’ll help me process whats happening a bit better and also it’ll let you guys understand why I may have been a bit silent recently on responding to facebook/youtube/twitter/reddit comments and why I haven’t been actively producing anything new apart from my readily scheduled episodes for the last few weeks.

I love my job. I loved my job. I’ve mentioned it in a few places but my current employment is as a manager of a media company, specifically the post production department of a media company. On average I manage a team of 3-4 editors in producing content for clients (Though I have managed up to teams of 10-15 in the past.) The client base range from solo artists looking to showcase there work though to some of the biggest companies in the country (I cant go into too many details here because Im under multiple non disclousure agreements but I can assure you that some of these jobs were BIG) everyday was a new adventure, everyday was a new challenge and its very rare that you’ll be put in a position in your life where you’ll get to work with a team that consists of your best friends, with no managerial constraints and deadlines that we are able to set. Quite literally I can turn up to work in the morning and hang around with my best friends cutting together enjoyable movies and managing the workflows and schedules of my friends till its hometime with minimal reporting to higher staff and very little kick back from clients. Its been a real blast.

Now that sounds amazing, and for the longest time it really was. I left university and went straight into this job. In the interview they said they were looking for an “all rounder” and while I’ll admit to being one of the clumsiest gits on the planet (Seriously im a hazard to myself) at the same time I made it very clear that my passion was in editing and that while I could be versatile, editing was what I really wanted to do. And they accepted that in principle. So I started working there. There were a few initial hiccups. I had been led to believe that the company was based in my home town but it was actually based in the next town over…this wasn’t a problem because I could drive but it did bother me a bit that they wernt up front about it (Especially when they held the interviews in my hometown)  on my first day I found out that there was another minor deception when I realised that the “Offices” I’d be working in were actually not offices at all but rather my bosses back room of his house. Again a minor setback but the promise was of a successful projected future in which I’d have my own closed office, flexible working time and enough money to go and invest in a summer home somewhere in Europe. These things were not to come to pass.

Initially things were a bit frosty. They treated me with a quite “Hands off” attitude. While they wernt exactly hostile to me. They showed me the ropes and then expected me to just get on with it. If I made a mistake I’d be corrected, warned and if I made the mistake again at Any point in my tenure it would effectively  be an instant Disciplinary. I thought this was a bit odd but I took into account that this was effectively a small business and that accidents of any kind could mean the difference between keeping or losing a client and I soldiered on. When there were disciplinaries or incidents I usually accepted them even if I didn’t feel I was at fault. At the time I was grateful to have been given a job when, around the same time, about 80% of my fellow university graduates were on jobseekers allowance and desperately seeking employment with anyone who’d have them. I felt privileged. I was earning above the minimum wage, I was effectively more or less in control of my own workflow, the commute wasn’t awful and they were quite reasonable and understanding about being flexible with my working hours.

But as time went by things slowly started to lose there lustre a bit. For one thing working for a small business meant that I was effectively at the bosses whim on most if not all of his wishes. There was no procedures or codes of conduct because my boss simply didn’t think they were necessary because, in his own words, “Its all common sense mate” These are words that I’ve now grown to despise as a result of working for this company. My boss could best be described as having a bit of a split personality, some days he’d be your best mate. Perfectly reasonable, compassionate and willing to go the extra mile for you, Other days if you gave any less than 101% you’d be in a disciplinary and on the receiving end of a quite vicious shouting match. At first when I wasn’t in the line of fire I would consider his actions “Firm but fair” I was on the outside, so when other people would be pulled in for a disciplinary I would only hear the narrative my boss put out and I would agree with him. It was only when I was on the receiving end of a disciplinary where the narrative was spun purposefully against me that I realised he had these mental swings.

The first couple of years went by pretty soundly. There were no major incidents and what incidents did occur were remedied fairly quickly. I thought we were a pretty efficient team. And it was equally around this time that things started to go a bit wrong. One day completely at random the boss announced that we were moving to a new office and that he was looking for feedback as to what we’d need in a new space. My requests were pretty basic:

*Ideally if we move could we move somewhere I bit closer to my hometown?

*Ideally if we move could we get somewhere with a good internet connection because we’re literally currently on dial-up?

*Ideally if we move could we get somewhere that has reasonable parking?

The reason for these 3 were simple, the first was because travelling from my town to the next town over took me on average 40 minutes in the morning and 55 minutes every evening in terms of my commute, so even if he moved 10 minutes closer to me that would have been tremendously beneficial for me. The second was because where we worked at the time was out in the middle of the country side without broadband, which if your trying to run a digital media business that relies on sending multiple film projects to clients on a daily basis having a reliable and fast broadband connection really is a must. And third because, as I had to drive to get to the office, being told that I needed to park in one specific area and walk 20 minutes down a single carriage country lane with tight bends to get in every day was a situation that I thought was quite unreasonable. I could legally park closer. Much closer. Like. 30 seconds to get in closer. but when my boss had one of his mental switches he decided one day that he didn’t like me parking where I was (Even though it had no double yellow lines and wasn’t causing anyone any troubles) he demanded that I park on a nearby community center carpark and when I politely declined and told him I was happy parking where I was and that legally there were no issues with me parking there he left it for a day before giving me a disciplinary for talking back and telling me that if I didn’t park where he wanted me to I’d be fired.

But anyway I digress. I put these points to my boss who laughed at me and told me there was “Absolutely no chance” that we’d be moving closer to my hometown because he needed to be close to his house and that “Fast internet” wouldn’t be a problem because he’d happily invest in Satellite internet if we found somewhere in the countryside. Which he was seemingly hell bent on being the case.

In my bosses mind he wanted an office that was out in the middle of nowhere, preferably something along the lines of a closed pub which he could renovate into an office that would be a 5 minute commute to and from his house; mainly because he was obsessed with the idea of having an office that was surrounded by rolling countryside hills and areas he could take long walks in. But at the same time while he wanted the office to be miles away from civilisation, he equally wanted it to be very well connected with no more than 5-10 minutes travelling time to get a van onto the duel carriage way due to the nature of how some of our shoots had been organised. Basically what he was looking for was so specific it was almost impossible. and he was so obsessed with that vision that he would have been fully willing to pay an eyewatering amount to realise it. In the end however he settled on a very small office space in a nearby town center. It was bigger than our then current base of operations but at the same time it was further away than my current commute by about 10-15 minutes or so. It also had very limited parking and again he’d get weird about exactly where you were and wernt allowed to park…in a city center.

It was also around this time that I began to really look at my paycheque each month. When I started, the idea of being just above minimum wage was great, it made me feel like a big earner when compared to my peers but after 2 years; the promise in the interview that pay “Would be scaled in line with how the company grows” seemed like a distant memory. 2 years in a managerial position and I’d gone up £20 a month (Mainly due to hitting a tax bracket with my first payrise which meant I may as well have not had the first pay rise in the first place and a 2nd payrise in my second year which basically made me 20 quid a month better off) But while this was resting in the back of my mind along with the now extended 45-50 minute commute in and 55 – 75 minute commute out everyday…

It was around the time we moved that my boss decided to implement a new policy with me and my team, effectively the Ted turner approach. “Get the best people in to do the job and then get the hell out of there way”. This translated to him effectively leaving us alone to just get on with things unless he had extra work to put into the schedules or if he felt something wasn’t right. It was around this time he also abandoned appraisals and One to one meetings both of which he brushed away saying “If you have a problem just tell me.” Which at first sounds fine until you realise that there are some issues you really don’t want to broach unless asked first and while I imagine some people would bemoan appraisals and Im certainly not someone who constantly needs to be hand held or told im brilliant. Just being told “Hey you’re doing a good job” once every so often can really perk up the working experience. Likewise, Being told nothing makes you feel like your nothing.

It was around about this time that the procedure gaps started to show themselves. Because there was no policy on exactly what was and wasn’t acceptable and because we had no dealings with clients until the final post production stages, we had no idea whether we were dealing with just a bloke with a small art project or the literal Queen. It meant that sending out emails would become a veritable minefield as we adopted a standard form template explaining the services we’d offer and quite regularly my boss would come storming down to our department furious to know why we sent a standard form email to a client we’d never spoken who in fact would turn out to be a major contractor in there field, and as a result we should have been kissing there feet and calling them twice (if not thrice) a day to keep them constantly in the loop. Because of this it made sending any emails so paranoia inducing that I physically felt sick everytime I hit send because I couldn’t deal with my bosses disciplinaries.

Things came to a head one afternoon in autumn last year when I contacted my boss because a client had got in touch with me with a edit request and because I didn’t know if I was dealing with joe blogs or a far flung royal I sent an email to my boss explaining that the client had got in touch and asking how best to handle it. His response? “Has she sent instructions through, does she know what she wants”. I sent him an email back “She’s sent some through but not all the instructions we’d need to complete the edit”, his response? “Ask her”. So I emailed her back with a full set of instructions and asked her to get back to me with the bits we still needed. Half an hour later my boss runs into the office wild eyed and says “What d’yer think yer playing at mate!?” I was completely baffled. I said “What do you mean?” he says; “That email mate! That was totally inappropriate! I cant comprehend how you thought that email would be a good idea. We’ve got to offer the client now all our services and even some additional extras for free now because you’ve totally destroyed the relationship mate!”…I was stunned. Speechless almost… I said “But I only sent out the standard email we send to all the clients. I asked you what was the best thing to do you sai-“ he cuts me off, at this point shouting “IF YOU THINK THAT’S AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO SEND TO CLIENTS MATE THEN I DISPAIR I REALLY DO! ITS COMMON SENSE MATE I TOLD YOU TO CALL HER!”. I said “No you didn’t you said “Ask her” the conversation had been held on email so I thought it best to continue it on email. If you’d have said “Call her” I’d have called her. But this is the standard email we’ve sent out for years to clients.”…He looks at me like I’ve just grown another head…he (Again shouting) responds “MATE IF YOU CANT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIG CLIENT AND A SMALL CLIENT AND YOU CANT HAVE THE INITIATIVE TO CALL A CLIENT WITHOUT ME HANDHOLDING THEN ALL OF THIS IS POINTLESS YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO HOME.” Still reeling I apologise but again reiterate my point that unless he informs us who are big clients and who are small clients theres no way we’re to know who we have to treat with extra care. He turns to my co-worker and says “IM GOING MAD. I MUST BE GOING MAD. MATE! IF YOU WERE IN THIS POSITION WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?”…and to his credit god bless my co-worker he said “Well you wernt very clear with “Ask her” so I’d have probably emailed…though I could see how it could be misconstrued.” My boss looked at us both like we’d were the aliens from “They Live!” and after a bewildered pause he shouted “RIGHT! RIGHT! WELL. THATS IT THEN. THIS IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE AN INQUEST. AND MATE IF YOU CANT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CALLING AND EMAILING THEN YOURE NOT GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO SEND EMAILS ANYMORE. ITS COMMON SENSE MATE AND YOU CANT BE TRUSTED. THERE’LL BE A DISCIPLINARY AND AN INQUEST. DON’T TALK TO ME.” And then he stormed off.

Now. that disciplinary never happened. Nor was there an inquest. Whether he forgot or whether he realised he’d not so much overstepped the mark more used it as a starting line for a relay race I’ll never know. A few weeks after that incident he called me to a private meeting with my manager in which he informed me that he didn’t want me to send external emails anymore because “We don’t feel its your strength” even though 12 months earlier he cited me as “One of the best people to handle clients in the business” but by that point it didn’t matter to me. His attitude and general behaviour in recent months, the lack of pay rises and the now gratingly unpleasant commute…not to mention that incident in particular had set in motion something in my mind that would eventually lead me to where I’ve been this week.

It’s now gone 2:15am and I need to be up for work in about 5 hours so, so I’m going to cut this blogpost short here…for now. But the story is far from over. Consider this a part 1 if you will. In part 2 things get much more saltier , but I like to think this story has a happy ending of sorts, theres certainly a final resolution though I think that’s another post for another time. Till then though.

 

(No pictures really did this blog post justice so im sorry it looks like a wall of text…btw I chose to end the blog with this music track because it’s been the only thing keeping me sane these past 2 weeks. Seriously the Housemartins have saved my life this week…)

Socialist Training Wheels (Part 2) The Harvest

So this was a long time coming, and now totally irrelevant but I’ve finally been able to get some time together to sort out Part 2 of my promised look into the Local elections. The last time I wrote about politics like this I was slowly nursing an alcoholic beverage and I feel that by the time I was at the end of it, I was probably a bit too far gone to be able to meaningfully convey my feelings about the local elections.

(I probably wasnt that far off this by the end of part 1…)

I feel now however that the time to talk about the elections in an analytical way has somewhat passed me by. Obviously its no secret that Labour (While not overachieving) more than held there own and made overall gains in large swathes of the country. The conservatives made a few gains and the liberal democrats seemingly cleaned up quite nicely in the wake of  the collapse of the UKIP vote. However to read the papers the morning after the polls closed you could be led to believe that the labour party had completely disintegrated overnight. They failed to seize several major targets and as a result the night was a failure for them. Except…it wasn’t really…y’see, those “Major targets” wernt initially set up by Labour, they were set up by the newspapers. They were the ones who were right off the bat publishing that Labour would be able to seize control of local councils that hadn’t been run by the Labour party in decades. When the situation was put to the Labour party they said the equivalent of “Well we’re aiming high!” which is a bit different than saying “We’re going to smash it and we cant wait to bring in big bad Galloway to kick arse and impose renationalisation”

The newspapers whipped up such a frenzy about how well Labour were going to do that realistically they could never have achieved the levels of success that the media was predicting. Equally they played out the idea that the conservatives were going to do terribly, to the point where when they didn’t absolutely burst into flames we were told they’d had a good night!

(A similar set of front pages from 2017’s general elections…notice the flies on the front of the sun clearly illustrating where that rag of a newspaper belongs…)

This has been a recurring problem now for a couple of years at this point. The newspapers make an untrue or unrealistic statement about the labour party, its proven false or it doesn’t pan out in quite the way it should have, and then they seize on that with the force of me trying to get into my precert copy of Halloween 3.

Anti-Semitism has been the flavour of the day recently, with most of the major news outlets, the conservative party and even some of the labour party itself admitting that the party had a problem with anti-Semitic rhetoric. As a member of the Labour party and someone who’s regularly engaged in political debates both with leftwing and rightwing representatives;  I cant honestly say I’ve seen anyone from the party use Anti-Semitic sentiments on any of the social media pages I frequent nor have I seen anything while at Labour party meetings. Im almost certain there are Anti-Semites in the labour party. Statistically its almost inevitable. But at the same time I don’t think theres nearly as many as the mainstream media would have you believe and I think a major issue is that the right and even some members of the right of Labour are purposefully conflating “Anti-Semitism”  with “Anti-Zionism” and the two are completely different.

Now forgive me if im incorrect on this (and im more than happy to be proven wrong here) but I’ve been led to believe that originally there was Palestine, then the UK colonised parts of the middle east, before giving chunks of our colonised land to the Jewish people in what became Israel…and over the last 60-70 years Israeli forces have slowly but surely seized more and more of Palestine and oppressed the Palestinian people. Not that Palestine’s been entirely innocent either, they’ve given as good as they’ve got. However I feel it necessary to reiterate that it was there land originally and that they do have every right to be a bit pissed off at the fact that large chunks of there land have been taken and that the Palestinian people and government have been painted as brutal…in real terms it would be like if you owned your own house and one day you had a visitor who bought a friend over for the night, but the next day your friend had vanished and his friend was now saying that the bathroom is his and that he was eyeing up your kitchen…by the end of the week you had your bed and the skirting boards all the way to the door and your friends random associate is screeching at you for being unreasonable that you dared keep the bed.

(Its been doing the rounds on social media but its a pretty decent illustration to be fair…)

Now for having those opinions I would be considered Anti-Zionist. But to some people that would be enough of an opinion to label me Anti-Semitic. I would disagree with those people and I’d add that there really needs to be a concerted effort to make clear distinctions between the two groups because they’re very different groups.

Obviously though that something that the conservative party and the mainstream media have no interest in facilitating. As long as this Anti-Semitism thing continues to push on it continues to put the labour party on the back foot and it continues to make out that anyone who supports Jeremy Corbyns policies automatically hate Jews. Which is simply not the case. And this is before we get anywhere near the constant stream of racist, misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic bollocks that the conservative party members and even there MP’s have come out with over the last 40 years (Seriously there are too many photos of Conservative MP’s dressed up in full nazi uniforms for my taste)

To conclude I’d like to say that I think we’ve finally entered a period in our political history where we are about to see the death of the current system. Democracy used to be run on base principles. If you lied while in office, if you misled the public or damaged the country, you’d be thrown out of power and shamed out of the position never to be seen again. As of 2018 we have a government who are propped up by a group of radical right wing northern Irish MP’s , stabilised by the media who have finally decided to give up the pretence of looking like they know what they’re doing. They can say the sky is purple and when they’re shown proof its blue they’ll silently walk off, wait till something bigger than there lie crops up and then use that as an opportunity to bury it. There most common current tactic is to simply abstain. If theres a vote or an urgent question or there asked to give a statement in relation to something that they’ve said or done. They’ll either just refuse to acknowledge it or if they do they’ll send an back bencher or an underling to give a generic statement. In doing this they’re effectively saying “We do not accept the legitimacy of what your doing” there have been several votes more recently in parliament that have effectively been rendered meaningless because the entire conservative party has just abstained from turning up and voting. In doing so they can then question the legitimacy of the vote and I don’t want to invoke “Godwins law” here but im angry just thinking about it so fuck it. That’s what the actual Nazis did just before world war 2. When votes or narrative wernt going there way they’d just up and leave and then refuse to acknowledge that a vote happened or implement a bastardised version of the asked policy before the vote could happen effectively making it meaningless because “We’re already putting similar legislation in place” it’s a dick move that erodes trust in the political system and its considerably nastier and thicker than anything that Thatchers government would have considered (And they’re seen as pure evil by most people above the southern border)

(Well its good to get a futurama meme into one of these blogs somehow)

How do we fix this? Well, I don’t know. I like to think that Socialism will win out ultimately but the question becomes a matter of “Will we see this change before or after we’ve been totally and utterly broken beyond repair?” The honest answer is: I don’t know…im not going to lie things arnt quite as awful as they were in 2017 so far. But they’ve only gotten marginally better largely because the EU have decided to just ignore America and the UK in terms of there leaders. I’ll give them this. The EU arnt perfect, but at least they’ve acknowledged that for the foreseeable that they’re on there own and that the US and UK are slowly eating themselves.

Maybe things will work out…maybe they’ll get worse…honestly at this point I’ve gone from having faith in my fellow man to constantly plotting out how I’ll survive the next inevitable downward drive in living standards. I like to think things will get better soon. But till then I guess im still stuck with my socialist training wheels.

Socialist Training wheels (Part 1) The Quickening

This one’s going to be a political blog. I kind of feel like I should open with that kind of a statement whenever I talk about politics in general partly because I feel like if I didn’t mention that this was a political posting that people would immediately dive into posts like this, get violently triggered and take it out on both me and my channel. But also because I realise there are some people out there who really don’t care that much for politics and don’t want it to get in the way of a good cult movie.

So consider this a “Trigger” warning. Not because Im going to say anything particularly controversial; But rather because if you don’t want to know my political affiliation, if you don’t care or if you think it would change your opinions of me fundamentally mentioning it now will give you ample time to click away or go and do something different. As it stands it’s a boiling hot Sunday night on the 6th of May, I have a white rum and Dr Pepper on the go as I write this, and I’ve spent the day pretty much getting my house straight as the bank holidays are really the only time I have to do that kind of thing. Last night me and my partner watched “Liquid Sky” and “A nightmare on elm street” the former was very strange and about as erotic as a cold cloth to the gunnels the latter was like stepping back into a well worn pair of shoes. What im trying to say is if you don’t want to faff around with hearing me waffle on about pie charts and various other political bits and pieces I highly recommend you go and check those films out. Let me know either in the comments here or on Facebook or my Youtube channel if you do go and watch them. I’d genuinely love to hear what you thought of them…

(My comments sections after this blog post gets read by anyone who cares)

…Right; So Im assuming if your reading this your invested. Good. So, a bit about myself. I was born in the North of England, my father was disabled (blind in one eye, damaged spinal cord and he’s missing a kneecap) and my mother worked minimum wage jobs up until about 10 years ago when she finally moved into a position she currently works in that pays above minimum wage and is very happy with. I’ve never known true struggling but I realise that my parents have done there absolute damndest to both protect me from that and to build the lives they currently have, and im incredibly grateful that they’ve given me the life they have. In many ways they’re both an inspiration to me. They had no handouts, they had no help and they’ve made themselves a very comfortable existence. They never talked to me about politics and I spent a good chunk of my childhood and early teens blissfully unaware of the political landscape mainly because I had no need to know about any of that stuff.

I find myself in a bit of a political quandary these days. As a citizen of the UK we’ve had a bit of an interesting couple of years politically. I myself first got involved in politics around the fall of Tony Blair. The “Happening” of Gordon Brown and the “Awakening of the Milliband”.  At the time I just kind of described myself as just “Left wing” really. In the vaguest sense I kind of thought “Well; Labour help people, the Conservatives help businesses and the libdems…well they don’t know what they want…BUT THEY WANT IT NOW!”  and that was pretty much how my political views went until about 2014…

(Changes were very much on the way)

In 2014 around the time of Ed Millibands general election run there was a sudden sort of change in politics in the country. Newspapers were chiming on about how Millibands policies were “Radically” Left wing and that he was effectively a “Loony leftie” trying to drag the party towards Socialism. But what the papers were saying and what I saw Ed say were two very different things. I didn’t honestly see all that much difference between Ed Millibands policies and the policies that had been generated during the Blair and Brown years. But for some reason the papers and the media in general were absolutely rabid at trying to tear the man down. That I’d say was my first introduction to the ideas of Socialism, but at that point I had no idea what socialism even was nor did I really have any interest in following it up. At the time I just thought that “Socialism” just meant “Very left wing” or “Not being a total arsehole” and left it at that. Little did I know at the time that Socialism would go on to effectively punctuate the next 4 years and is set to continue to define the UK political undertones for the foreseeable.

The General election didn’t quite go to plan and as a result there was a leadership election and in that leadership election a certain “Jeremy Corbyn” was entered into the running as a Joke candidate by members of the Labour party. In short; they were trying to be cruel. They put his name on the ballot in the same way that School kids would nominate the ugly guy and girl to win Prom king and queen. They never expected him to win and they thought it would be a funny way to give the far left of the Labour party a good kicking for a laugh. Little did they know that they’re “Cruel Joke” would go on to change the political landscape in insurmountable ways.

(10 years ago if you’d told me this man would change british politics as we know it i’d have laughed you out of the building)

Corbyn won. Corbyn won by a majority that was unheard of in modern political times. And this made the center left of the Labour party who put him on the ballot in the first place collectively cack themselves. They were terrified. It had all backfired on them, and what at first was supposed to be a way to remind the far left of there place very quickly became an empowering pandoras box of left wing ideology. Over the following 3 years the center left of the party, enabled by the right wing and the newspapers would do everything short of “Jeremy Corbyn ate my hamster” to try and dethrone the man. But as of writing he’s still firmly in seat and his popularity continues to grow at a previously unheard of rate. They’ve tried to smear him, it’s failed. They’ve tried challenging his leadership by putting up a new candidate with more center ground political values. He beat him increasing his share of the vote (Meaning that he broke the record for the most votes a labour representative has ever received in a leadership contest and then broke that record again with an even larger majority) When a snap general election was called the center left couldn’t contain themselves at looking for opportunities to try and tell people to vote for MP’s and not for Corbyn as leader. Hell even Tony Blair came out of the woodwork to decree that Corbyn would destroy the country if people voted for him…And then Corbyns vision of labour increased the majority of there party in parliament. Quite substantially really. He secured more votes than Tony blair did at the height of his campaigning (Tony Blair in the UK is often seen as the benchmark of how to be a left winger and succeed in politics) and even though he didn’t become prime minister, he gave the conservatives a bloody nose, sent right wing pundits into a tail spin and but the center left on notice.

It was a great feeling. For me; I’d always assumed that the kind of policies that I wanted to see implemented into the country; Proper funding for the NHS, UBI, greater care taken for people with mental health issues, a modernisation of the economy and a greater restriction put on shady business practises and media regulation in terms of promoting false or incorrect news. We’re all just wishful thinking. I never actually thought someone would come along and say  “Yeh mate; we can do that no problem”…And yet with Corbyns vision of labour it all seems quite possible.

(Cornwall under Corbyns version of labour in 2033)

I now feel a bit of confusion really about where I lie politically. Realistically my politics align with what would be considered modern socialism. At the time of writing theres been a tremendous gulf in the political landscape, with the conservatives absorbing a good chunk of UKIP (The party that put out the idea of Brexit in the first place…Far right wing and typically racist) back into there vote share they now have a robust arsenal of people ranging from the quite reasonable and ultimately decent just straddling a line of politics that I disagree with right the way through to racist thugs who pine for a country that never existed. The left wing consist these days of people who actively detest the party in its current form but refuse to move to the conservatives out of pure red blooded hatred of there past misgrieviences. Through to the full blown Communist left wingers who wake up to the USSR national anthem every morning and go to bed to the Internationale every night. Myself? I agree with what Jeremy Corbyns Labour Party has to offer to a point. It’s mainly there stance on Brexit that I disagree with. Im a firm voter of remaining in the European union though I accept that there needed to be a much needed conversation about the direction it was heading in…an opportunity that’s very unlikely to come about now.

But my opinion is that “Well; I agree with 99 things that the Labour party are currently offering, I think I can swallow my pride over the 1 thing I don’t agree with” Brexits a really big thing admittedly, but we currently have so many home grown issues that Im not going to split hairs when I agree with a majority of what the party is putting out there. These opinions and views have been labelled “Active communism” by the modern press and are ridiculed by the right as “A load of students who don’t know any better trying to vote in a communist government”…but the thing is “A load of students” isn’t enough to make the kind of leaps that the current labour party have in the UK. This is a genuinely growing movement and the ideas that I thought were “Wishful thinking” have never actually been closer to coming true before. Both parties, left and right, have lurched to there relative extremes. And for the foreseeable future it would appear that, barring a tremendous incident, The entire countries at a stalemate.

 

(British politics in 2018 in a nutshell)

*Believe it or not; this blog post started with the intention of being about the recent local election though it appears I’ve rambled a bit. I’ve gotten quite carried away. I think im going to make this a “Part 1” if you will. Im going to broach the subject of the local elections in my next blog post all being well. But I thought I’d share my political affiliation with you lot because some people are really interested in that kind of thing. Equally I’ll end this post by saying that as a TLDR on my political affiliation. While Im aligned with modern socialism I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a socialist. Mainly because I kind of feel I haven’t “Earned” that right just yet. I’d feel like I was living a lie to start openly calling myself a socialist because I feel I’d be piggy backing on a current trend. I look at the people who weathered socialism in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s who sat there silently whilst being mocked and I think “I cant really say Im with these lot. These lot have suffered for there beliefs and I’ve just rocked up at the 11th hour” maybe someday I’ll lose my socialist training wheels. But for now I’m just a “Left winger”…and im happy to talk.

Addendum:

There’s a bit I wanted to put into this blog but I just couldn’t fit in anywhere. It’s a bit of a clarification more than anything else. I don’t care what your political affiliation is. Im not going to attack you for being left wing, right wing or center ground. What I will pick you up on is whether your a nice person in your day to day business and whether your hearts in the right place towards your fellow man. I have friends from the Far right and Far left side of the spectrum and while we may not see eye to eye politically on a number of things I realise that a persons politics does not define them anymore than the car they drive, the partner they marry or there choice of beer in a bar (Unless you drink Heineken in which case fuck you.) As a result I’ve had many interesting conversations with people, sometimes I’ll change there minds, sometimes they’ll change mine. Im a great believer in diversit of opinion and while I’ll admit this blog post is very promotional in its left wing values. The left are far from perfect and the day they make the “Perfect political party” is the day that I eat a car out of sheer surreal bafflement. What Im trying to say is; Believe whatever you want to believe Im not going to judge you whether your Labour or Democrat, republican or conservative. Its whats in your head and your heart that define you. And I realise that’s one of the hippiest things I could say. But I find it very true.

(Yeh theres going to be more of this…hopefully more coherent as well)

(In The next part! I work out my feelings a bit more and hopefully finally get round to talking about what I wanted to talk about in this part!)

 

Reelin in the years – Backdating the site and stormy weather.

So im writing this at a point in time where the websites kind of in a bit of a limbo of sorts. Its not yet publishing the newest content from my youtube channel but I am still posting some new content in the form of my Instagram pictures, Blogs and anything else that needs doing in order to make this site both interesting and useful. I wanted to make sure that before I officially announced this site to my youtube/twitter/Instagram/facebook followers that it was as up to date as it was physically possible to be (And if you are one of my followers and you’ve randomly stumbled across this site. First; Bravo! Second; let me know! I’d love to hear it!). This was mainly because no one wants to visit a half built website, But also because it’ll give people something to look at properly when I do announce this sites Launch formally. That being said it has kind of stirred a few emotions with me.

In a sense its kind of made me a little bit nostalgic for what was going on about 12 months ago. Back in April 2017 TYTD Reviews was just one of about 5 ideas that floated in and out of my head on a semi regular basis. To jump forward nearly 12 months and find that not only am I still producing content but that its taken me on a journey that’s led me to talking to some of my favourite movies directors. Inheriting a massive video tape collection and a channel that’s helped me make some really quite wonderful friends on message boards and youtube itself really makes me feel like I spent my time well this past year.

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 00.11.05

(Behold! the original first thumbnail for “The Dragon Lives again” Gaze upon its crapness in awe and wonder!)

I’ve decided in my “Video review” section (Particularly with my older videos) to add a portion of text above the video retrospectively talking about those early reviews now that I’m quite a distance away from them. And its been a lot of fun looking at my early (And frankly shocking) reviews and seeing how far I’ve come in developing my talking style, video designs and the fundamental changes that have taken place over the months. There have been some that I’ve already decided will need to be revisited at some point because I really have failed to do the film justice in these early videos. But it puts me in a somewhat nostalgic mind-set. When I wrote and recorded my first four episodes (An un-produced pilot episode, The Dragon Lives again, The Last man on Earth and The American Ninja 2) I didn’t make any notes while watching the movies, and I actually went to the trouble of driving my car over to an empty supermarket car park so that I could record in private. I remember it being vaguely cold and feeling terrified that someone was going to drunkenly wander across the car park in the middle of the night and find me with my Ipad mini illuminating my face with some chunky headphones on so I could check my levels. I’d prefer not to be mugged/stabbed…

Nowadays every film I talk about has a minimum of 5 pages of reference notes, a 4-5 page script and a day or twos total video editing time. Even having come from a film background if you really knuckle down when it comes to youtube videos you quickly learn a new style, pattern and language that’s quite alien to the professional film industry. Its been a very enlightening experience.

So Im backfilling my site with 1-2 old videos a day and as of the time of writing I’ve just written my article for “Bloody Muscle Body Builder in hell” I reckon if I keep this up I should more or less be caught up in time for the launch of Season 4. Which would be a rather nicely timed thing really.

In my real life; things are getting a bit stressful. I’ve been having a few issues at work recently that im really hoping to resolve sooner rather than later. I feel at times like I’m on the outside of my workplace looking in, rather than it being the other way around. I just feel a bit like I’m being purposefully isolated. And while I don’t mind the isolation to an extent I feel like it’s being applied somewhat maliciously by certain colleagues. Luckily Mrs TYTD, my family and her family have all been incredibly supportive of me during this time which has been very helpful in keeping my mentality and spirits high, They’ve really been amazing… and of course you guys (The people who watch my videos and actively seek out my blogs) have been a tremendous comfort to me during this time too! Every nice comment, thumbs up or share has really given me a morale boost so I really cant thank you all enough. As I say I hope this resolves itself sooner rather than later. Because frankly the issues im having have started to bore me a bit and I’d much rather just get on and keep my head down for a bit.

(Im in a weird place where this gif simultainiously perfectly sums up my current situation and yet at the same time it doesnt…and this is on an hour to hour basis at the minute…)

On top of this I’m also desperately trying to get my video Schedules back on track after an incident last month where I came down with flu for 2 weeks (Costing me approximately 3 maybe even 4 completed videos) it really knocked it out of me and realistically it was almost 3 weeks before I even sat down to watch a new movie to review. Luckily over the last few weeks I’ve been able to slowly catch myself back up and as it stands there are 3 episodes of Season 3 left to upload (Over 2 weeks) and 8 episodes of Season 4 fully completed (With 13 episodes written at the time of this publication) I probably overdo it on the pre-recording but I like the gap. Its sizable and it means I’m covered for every eventuality.  Though it does mean my recommended film reviews take a hell of a long time to get published (Which I do sincerely apologise for).

Short film Spotlight is also giving me a bit of grief at the minute so far I have 5 episodes written, 2 recorded audibly and 1 episode fully completed. I was aiming to make this one my 2nd weekly show. But its becoming very apparent that I may have to make it fortnightly just to help keep my sanity in check. (There’ll be more on Short film Spotlight in an update video I’m planning on releasing at the same time I formally launch this website) its actually surprisingly difficult to produce 2 research heavy shows a week…even if only one of them is long form…But I hope you enjoy it when it comes out.

Its not all doom and gloom though! I’ve recently reconnected with an old musician friend of mine who is currently working on a reworking of the TYTD reviews theme for me (Which should debut with Season 5) which will mean I’ll finally have a theme tune that’s  100% royalty free. I’ve also been working with my friend to produce some new music videos for him which has been fun. I’ve added a links and affiliates page to my site and I’m very happy to say that he’s agreed to affiliate with me and my channel in principle. As soon as he’s figured out what site he’d like to promote through this websites affiliate links it’ll be added to the list.

I’ve also got a cracking nights entertainment lined up this weekend as I’m going to a comedy show  to see a very British comedian whom I’ve seen at least 4 times previously and whom every time I see him I end up almost passing out laughing. So yeh; that should be a laugh (No pun intended) I’ve also finally started going through my massive Tape collection and there’s some absolute GOLD in there. So keep an eye out on the channel because I will be covering quite a few of these over the next few weeks.

I suppose to summarise; I feel like I’m somewhat losing control of some aspects of my life while simultaneously really getting my life in order in other aspects. And its weird and unusual and a little bit scary at times because for the last 5 years or so there’s been a tremendous sense of stability. Change is good though. It helps you learn to better adapt to your surroundings. Its just a shame I’m usually too sleepy or too busy to be able to actively grab the bull by the horns these days…

 

(Of course; Heatons got me through a hell of a lot in my life. I think this track is a pretty good way to end this…)

 

That Warm Fuzzy Glow (Why Medium Matters) – Opinion Piece

Largely for completionists sake; I thought it best to share this post here. This was an opinion piece I wrote a short while ago about how the format you choose to present your film in can be detrimental to how well/poorly it is recieved by an Audience. whether you choose to present it in HD, VHS, DVD hell even laser disc quality. the medium will effect the film differently each time. whether you need that pin point precise sharpness or maybe you wish to use the fuzz that VHS can offer to your advantage as a direction. I believe that choosing your format should be as important as shot compisition or the way the film is edited. (I also use this piece as a way to put across my genuine love of all things VHS so do prepare to see me wax lyrical about the joys of it)

(Ever since I optimised my editing desk to include a HD to SD to VHS converter deck I really must say that cutting stuff like this has been a breeze!)