Partially Reformed Content #3

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

(VENT! BY GOD IT’S SO HEALTHY!!!)

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

(It’s rich in mystery meat goodness…)

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

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(And I really genuinely and sincerely mean that!)

 

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

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

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

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

(Spoilers)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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(Just look at his lil face!)

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

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

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

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

(…)

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

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(Pictured: Sir Keir Starmer QC)

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

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

 

Till Next time.

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

The Decade of Change: 2010 – 2019 A Retrospective

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

(Seems about right…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Artists impression…but pretty damn close)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately the rot begins to set in here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Yeaaahhhhh I was pretty much done.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(You bet your sweet bippy she did!)

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

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

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

*House (Hasu) (1977)

*The Wicker man (1973)

*Robocop (1988)

*Bloody New Year (1987)

*Head (1968)

*Day of the Dead (1985)

*All Ladies do it (1992)

*Doctor Strangelove (1964)

*Theatre of Blood (1973)

*Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide (2010)

– Dan

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

Terminator Woman (1993)

So We have a bit of an oddity here today. Way back in Season 4 I ended up doing a collaboration with a fellow youtuber Raymond Smith. Ray was in the process of doing a month on “Terminator” Knock off movies and we decided it would be pretty cool if he ended his series of Terminator movies and I ended my 4th Season with a cross over collaboration. The first one I’d ever done non the less!

It was huge fun working with Raymond and I really hope we get the chance to work together again in the future 🙂 He’s a fun reviewer and his channels heaving with movie reviews of every possible shape and size! I highly recommend checking him out some time (You can head straight to his youtube channel by clicking Here)

Unfortunately due to copyright issues half of our collaboration was removed from youtube by a company called “Lasso Entertainment”. Naturally this was most heinous and simply would not stand. So while I’ve been backlogging my reviews over on Breach.tv  I decided it was time to dust this one off and give it a proper home on this site. Breach arnt quite as anal about upholding the whims and wishes of companies who have little or nothing to do with the movies we talk about and actually seems to understand what “Fair Use” is…so they’re an ace company in my books! anyway; before this turns into a mini rant; I hope you enjoy this not as often seen review! You can get to it by either clicking the link below the picture or by clicking the picture itself! Oh! and before I forget! you can check out the second part of this review for the other film we collaborated on 1989’s “Lady Terminator” By clicking Here

TW

This Poster…man…this bloody poster…

https://www.breach.tv/video/6268/terminator-woman-1993-raymond-reviews-ft-tytd-reviews

So You’ve Ruined Your Life: A Guide to Terrible Cinema And How You Can Avoid It (By Embracing It) – Part 1: The Silent Age

(So…since around 2013 I have had in mind a series of Lecture “Talks” charting the history of alternative, cult and “Bad” cinema. How through awareness of these often overlooked films that filmmakers and in particular student filmmakers can learn about the pitfalls of film making and in doing so can apply this knowledge to their own work. This year I have decided to publish these talks in a series of volumes with recommended viewings per session. Each of these in an academic context would pool clips for reference and would typically end with a screening of a film reflective of the talk in question. I will try to replicate these as best I can below for reference. Please also bear in mind that a lot of this would be spoken to film students within an educational environment and while not verbatim the below is going to read a lot less like an essay and much more like a script. So here is part 1 , it wont be entirely reflective of the rest of the series but that’s largely because it covers Bad and cult cinema from the 1890’s to 1939. Thank you.)

I want to open with a question just to get a feel for the room. How many people here when trying to justify a film idea to a tutor or lecturer would reference a known terrible movie as the reason why your film should get made?

… (The Assumption would be not many)

Alright…and how many people here when trying to pitch a film idea to your lecturer or tutor would include references to films currently in the cinema or films that have high critical acclaim? Say from magazines like Sight and sound or empire…y’know…good stuff?

…(The Assumption would be quite a few)

Okay. And would you say it was fair to say that if you watch good films, award winning films, that you will learn from those films how to make good movies. Great ones even?

…(The Assumption would be a mixed response as a few people would realize this is probably a trap)

But then…How do you know what exactly quantifies a bad movie?…I only ask because having been to universities and colleges multiple times to work with students on their films to help gain a better understanding of their work, I see the same thing time and time again. Students get so wrapped up in the visuals, the look, the feel of the film. the idea that they want it to be the best it can possibly be. How they strive for perfection and how they’ll sink hundreds (And in one students case who I worked with thousands) of pounds into 4 and 8k cameras, professional actors, the purest of the pure audio recording equipment, just to try and get the cleanest and best possible image. that they don’t stop to consider exactly whether the idea they’re pursuing is even a good one.

You can make a film out of anything. I firmly believe that. Any item, location, person. There’s a film there. A story something to be discovered. But how you approach that discovery can be the make or break of a films success. Modern mainstream cinema is two things. Diverse and homogenised. We are currently living in a time where there has never been more choice in what to watch and yet at the same time everything more or less looks the same. We have entered a period of cinema history where every film that comes out is polished to within an inch of it’s life. has sharp contrasting colours, is mainly shot in front of green screens and the emphasis has been levied on a “Fix it in post” culture wherein by filming things wide, flat and in the mutest of colour profiles the entire film can be both physically and emotionally constructed in the edit. It’s processed film making. And outside of the fringe film-makers. The people who are literally one man bands or who manage tiny indie productions. People who can rarely score a local cinema screening letalone a national one for there independent release. The industry seems to feel that this processed method is the best way to make movies that make money and keep costs down.

Theres a reasonable chance that the people sat here tonight are predominantly producing films based on this processed diet. That is to say, your scope of the film making landscape extends to films that have played nationally in cinemas and maybe one or two “Safe” out there films like “Baby Driver”, “Mandy” or “The Neon Demon”. That’s fine. Im not going to judge you…but you should all be ashamed of yourselves…Im joking…im not joking. it’s clearly a safer option to assemble your film in post over running the risk of trying something new and it potentially going wrong on set. I can practically hear some of you right now thinking “It’s all well and good telling us that…but it’s my degree thats on the line with these productions” and thats fine. I get that. what I do need to say though is that, making mistakes is useful. it teaches us not to do them again, it also makes us think about the processes we do in filmmaking completely differently and may even lead to a new and even better idea than we had previously.

I love bad films. I love cult films. the two arnt strictly the same thing. you can have cult movies that are absolutely astoundingly good. And you can have bad movies that even I wont touch with a ten foot pole. As a film student many years ago I found myself a bit adrift to my peers. They were obsessed with perfection and terrified of failure. Unless it was HD they didn’t want to know. If it was older than 12 months without attaining “Classic!” status they pretty much weren’t interested. Myself? Well I and my flatmate at the time who also studied film wanted schlock. We wanted awfulness. We watched some of the worst movies ever made during our time at university, purposefully and with intent to learn. At the time we saw students on the verge of bankruptcy if not a full mental breakdowns due to the stress of striving for that perfection. This wasn’t what film making should be about. Film making should be a fun experience. A beneficial experience. Something that while stressful to organize should be relaxing to shoot.

When I made my films lecturers were always curious about my references and sources as they were always typically for terrible films. I would always tell them that the best way to describe what I was doing was that while other students were desperately trying to climb an endless ladder spewing money and energy in the process in search of a film they’d probably be unlikely to obtain; I’d pulled out my shovel and I was digging down to see how deep the ladder was buried. And I had a blast doing that. Naturally when digging you tend to find odd things and some were very useful…not everything…but some things were…and one of the gateways to help me get a foothold on what I affectionately call good/bad cinema? Was Mystery Science Theatre.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 or MST3K for short was a series that ran from 1988 until 1999 in the US before being cancelled until 2015 when Netflix revived it. it’s still running to this day and if you want to dip your toe into the ocean of utter trash that’s been released over the years. This would probably be your gentlest way. The series which originally aired on public access television straight out of Minnesota has a very simple premise. A janitor for a generic company who’s pretty easy going, is kidnapped by his bosses and blasted into space aboard a ship fitted with a cinema of which he becomes an unwilling test subject in an attempt to weaponised bad movies to break the will of the people of earth over which the bosses would rule as overlords.  Stay with me…the janitor however is able to remove some of the parts from the ships projector. The ones that let him play, stop or fast forward the movie. And with those parts he builds himself several robot friends who help him keep his sanity by poking fun at the films and acting as a bit of a make shift family. Much to the annoyance of the bosses.

Still with me? it sounds ridiculous but I assure you it’s one of the best ways to get a foot hold on the world of bad movies if your new to these things. The original run covered films dating back as far as the 1930’s and as recent as the 1990’s. the current series has films as recent as 2016. The writers are fantastically sharp, the jokes are funny and the films are indeed some of the worst ever produced (As a reference point I highly recommend: “Rocket Attack U.S.A”, “Manos: The Hands of Fate”, “Hobgoblins” and “Cry Wilderness” if you want a good starting point on these) theres over 200 films covered by these guys and they’re a really great resource for learning about terrible film makers like Coleman Francis, Bill Rebane and Sam Newfield. But I digress.

Why should you care about bad movies? Well. My reasoning is that if you only watch good movies you’ll only learn how to make movies that conform to whatever the societal construct of “Good” at the time actually is. And in effect you wont actually be making a good film you’ll actually be making a bland but visually nice and appropriate for the time film. I want to help you break that mold. By watching bad and underappreaciated movies not only will you balance your film diet but it’s hoped that you’ll learn something ultimately much more important. How to avoid the pitfalls of trying to make a good film and ending up with a bad…or worse. Bland film. by seeing and understanding how a film maker can go so wrong even if it was intended as their shining masterpiece you should *In Theory* be able to recognise when you yourself are going or are about to go down a very dangerous path to mediocrity and failure. consider me your guide on this journey. My word isn’t gospel and there will be people who will disagree with me about what I will say through this series. So do bear in mind that these are my own observations and opinions and if you don’t agree with me. that’s absolutely fine. I will hang around after the screening to chat about anything you want to question or discuss.

The first distinction we need to draw here is what makes a film “Bad” and what makes a film “Cult” over this series I’ll be talking about both films interchangeably so getting the definitions from my perspective here right is pretty crucial as I don’t want to mislead any of you at any point. A Cult film isn’t necessarily a bad film. All cult really means ultimately is that it appeals to a niche audience. Typically cult films are good. They just don’t tend to follow the modern constraints of mainstream appeal and as a result a much smaller audience appreciate them. cult films can also be enjoyably bad…that is to say so bad they’re entertaining. We’ve all seen a film where an actors hammed a performance, or a cameras cut at just the wrong time or held too long on a shot and it can be funny. Good/bad movies are a cornerstone of cult cinema and as a result they often go hand in hand with just obscure but good cult movies. Bad movies by contrast are not necessarily always cult. Sometimes a bad movie can just be bad. as in. not even enjoyably bad.

Sometimes bad films can be entertainingly bad but still not be cult due simply to just how few people have actually hear or seen them. it means that just because a film is enjoyably bad doesn’t necessarily make it cult and just because a film is often viewed as a cult film doesn’t necessarily mean your automatically going to be viewing something made for 20p and shot in someones back garden. I know this sounds overly vague and not helping matters, all of what I’ve just told you is on a sliding fluid scale. That is to say a film that could be seen as bad for a number of years can ascertain cult status by building up a following over a long period of time. Equally films that were seen as cult in their time can over time just become bad movies. And to throw another curve ball into the mix if a cult film becomes popular enough it can transcend its own cult status and become a mainstream classic. But we’ll get round to examples of all of these in good time. For now it’s just safest for me to say that if I say a movie is a bad movie. Its bad. if I say it’s cult I’ll clarify what I mean by that if needed and so on.

So In order to understand what im on about and to kick all of this off we’ll need to take a trip back to 1920’s to what is widely regarded as the first “Proper” cult film. A film that at one point or another has been in all 3 catagories we’ve talked about. And that film was F.W Murnau’s “Nosforatu: The Symphony of the night”. Before Nosforatu, silent film cinema…and to be fair…cinema in general was in a period of distinct infancy. There were classics in there own right released but in what might come as a bit of a shock to some of you at least 75% of films produced between 1895 and 1936 are missing…AT LEAST. That number is very likely to be higher due simply to the fact that there wasn’t really a comprehensive list of films made around this time and that the records we do have are often riddled with inaccuracies and duplications. As a result while it’s probably fair to say their were bad films during this time. The fact that they either no longer exist or are presumed to no longer exist and that their isn’t really any records of reviews of these films to back them up kind of make them a moot point. Bad films in this period however can kind of be a bit more forgiven. The craft of film making was literally just beginning with a  lot of it’s influence carried across from theatre. The earliest films were usually quite literally just recorded stage shows or recordings of life at that time. And the actual full feature films that were produced were often just adaptations of these stage recordings utilizing actual locations instead of sets. They were still directed as theatre productions and it was rare to see films utilize shot setups, or advanced direction/cinematography.

Nosforatu in the modern day is widely regarded as a legendary classic that bought the Bram stoker novel Dracula to the big screen for the first time. However on it’s actual release it was widely regarded as an absolutely interminable boring watch. Critics at the time complained the film was way too long and soon after it’s release a lawsuit from the stoker estate effectively saw the film banned and copies of the film set by court order to be destroyed. Luckily for Nosforatu by the time of the court injunction prints of the film had already been sent to several countries worldwide and when the film hit france…while the critics of the time still disliked the film. it was tremendously well received by the French surrealist movement and members of the counter culture. Who held it up as an icon of what would develop into the German expressionist movement. As a result Nosforatu is widely regarded as being the first “Cult” film. it found it’s niche audience and because of this it was able to survive the court destruction order. With fans across the world producing dozens and dozens of copies and hiding them in the hope of preserving it’s legacy.

Today Nosforatu is held up as an example of a classic of the silent era. Widely adored by critics and still shown at screenings around the world. It’s an impressive film. the critics of the time were absolutely right, it’s a very long and quite boring film in honesty…im not a fan. But I’d be hard pressed to deny that it was highly revolutionary for it’s time and that had this film not survived the world would be a significantly poorer place for it. heres a clip:

Now; considering how badly this film was reviewed. Even in light of it’s reevaluation. You’d be hard pressed to deny the menace and atmosphere created in that sequence. The striking shadowy shots in the long hallway shot, the fear expressed by Hutter even the colour tinting sets a tone and feel within the film. it’s a beautiful set of shots in an incredibly early example of genuine tension building cinema. And had the film not had the re-evaluation, the slow building of a cult audience. It most likely wouldn’t exist today and as a result a massive amount of films would either not exist or be fundamentally different as a result. The main point im trying to make here is, even films that are considered bad may have moments within them that are actually quite brilliant. and that what makes a film bad today may make it a masterpiece tomorrow. It’s important to keep an open mind with cinema and not to rely too heavily on the promotion of a film to sell you the premise. It was important in the 1920’s and it’s absolutely critical in the 21st century.

Through the 1920’s the german expressionist movement would proceed to dominate the European markets with similarly cultish movies such as “Faust”, “Metropolis” and “The Man Who Laughs” and it’s influence would dictate the style, look and direction of cinema through the decade. While I certainly wouldn’t say “The World Adopted german expressionism” it’s fair to say that young directors and producers around that time were heavily influenced by their styles and stories. In the US in particular these films “Flare” would be adapted quite heavily within horror and science fiction and this would be Crystalised by one studio in particular.

Universal Studios was fairly in it’s infancy at this time having been created in 1912, they quickly tried to establish themselves as the “Horror Studio” in 1923 they released their first “Proper” horror film  an adaptation of “The Hunchback of Notre dame” followed up roughly 2 years later with an adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera” which was only just over a decade past it’s publication date at this time (Which is a bit weird to think about really). The success of these films would lead universal at the turn of the 1930’s to set in motion plans for a series of films which would change everything. While “The Hunchback” and “The Phantom” are considered universal horror films. it was the “Universal monster movies” series that would cement and secure universal as a major studio power. The 5 films they would release through the 1930’s and early 1940’s (Plus the dozens of sequels to these films they would release from the 1930’s to the 1950’s) set the standard for monster movies that would act as the “High bar of horror and sci-fi” right the way through to the mid 1960’s. films like Dracula, Frankenstein, the invisible man, the wolfman each bought something new and previously unseen to screens. These were at the time however considered “The Mainstream” audiences would flock to see these movies in the same way that audiences go to see the new marvel movie or the latest block busters today.

But while Universal was capitalising on the success of these new monsters, rival company MGM silently released a horror movie which in my opinion; blows all of the universal horror films clean out of the water. A film so shocking that it had to be withdrawn from it’s initial release and shortened to 65 minutes from it’s original 90 minute runtime just for how powerful it was in effecting audiences. This film is the one we will be watching in full tonight. Tod Brownings “Freaks” has been described as “existing in a subgenre of one” and it’s fair to say that you will most likely never see a film quite like this again. The big selling point of this film at the time (And…sort of today as well really) was that the cast was more or less entirely made up of heavily deformed, disabled or afflicted actors. The plot: a horrifically cruel hearted tale of a trapeze artist known as Cleopatra who seduces and marries a dwarf called Hanz who secretly owns a large fortune, with the aim of killing Hanz with the help of a strongman called Hercules. Im not going to say anymore than this until the film is over. but even in the 21st century I would consider this film fairly shocking still.

Unsurprisingly the film garnered incredibly negative reception in both its cut and uncut form from audiences and critics alike. It more or less killed the career of Tod Browning the man who bought us the Universal “Dracula” amongst other horror gems at the time and was the only MGM film ever to be pulled completely from release before completing it’s domestic engagements. We’re quite privileged really to be able to even view this film tonight. MGM effectively disowned it, selling the rights to the film in 1947 to an exploitation film director who proceeded to run the film through the 1960s, 70’s and 80’s at various midnight movie screenings. The film was banned in the UK for 30 years due to being too exploitative. And im only referring to the cut version here…the original 90 minute cut at this time is considered lost…so lord knows what wider audiences would have made of that version in contrast.

The film never received a VHS release in this country. And a DVD release was quietly shuffled out in the early 2010’s with a couple of extra features explaining why a third of the film is missing. There is no Bluray of this film available. Though it Is currently in my top 5 films I would love to see get a full remastering. It’s not a perfect movie. but I very much doubt you will ever see any kind of film from this period look and feel the way this one does. But that’s enough Hyperbole for now. lets get started:

Now; Im not expecting everyone to have loved that film. Quite a few people will be offended by that film. but that’s good. Its okay to be offended by films. its okay to think this film was rubbish. Im hoping that after this you will all go out…maybe to a pub or coffee shop, or even just on the ride home, and talk about what you’ve just seen. Explain why you thought it was offensive, why you thought it was rubbish. Or if you thought it was brilliant like I do that you talk about why you thought it was brilliant.

Theres plenty to take away from this film. the ending in and of itself at the time would have been seen as utterly horrific but by modern standards has almost a streak of black comedy running through it. the idea that Cleopatra ultimately ends up becoming the one thing that terrifies her the most. The one thing she spends most of the film ridiculing is satisfying but at the same time quite a harsh contrast to a film that does have a lot of merriment about it. it could be argued that the title “Freaks” is an offensive title given the castings. But I would argue that the film is actually an act of wordplay. With the afflicted cast in this picture actually showing more humanity about them than non afflicted members who in many ways are the “Real” Freaks of the feature. Indeed Hanz and his fellow performers have depth, character detail and actually run a spectrum of complex emotions that really is very unusual for the time in cinema of this era. it acts to shine a light on decency and humanity. It would be easy to dismiss this film as exploitation on a surface level. But even digging remotely deeper below the surface unveils a quite complex script and Brownings direction only enhances some of these elements without being overly handholdy.

If you want an example of genuine exploitation 6 years later in 1938 Sam Newfield would release “The Terror of Tiny Town” which was basically a western script that no studio wanted that was eventually picked up purely because Sam and his writing partner Fred Myton repitched the fill with the exact same plot but suggested that it be filmed with an all dwarf cast. With mini Shetland ponies standing in for full size horses and scaled down sets. That’s a real film. im not making that up and it’s one of the most genuinely offensive exploitation films ever made.

The difference seemingly here was the scripts way of relating to the cast in “Freaks” and “A terror in tiny town” with the formers script being adapted from a short which puts the disabled cast in such a light that portrays them as human. That actually gives them human qualities and doesn’t try necessarily to portray them as weird, evil or one dimensional. And the latter instead doing the opposite. Taking a generic script and turning it into a film purely through it being a spectacle to see the disabled cast members act in the film. in many ways turning it into a sideshow (Which is ironic given the former is more endearing to the cast and is LITERALLY set in a sideshow)

Freaks was a film ahead of it’s time. Had it been made 10 years later it probably would exist in full to this day and would also probably have had much less of an impact. Through the rest of the 30’s horror and science fiction would be released in the dozens year on year and would gradually become a staple of the film industry it was around this time that the idea of a “cult audience” was initially developed, As films that didn’t necessarily do as well as they could have (produced by the likes of RKO and other smaller film companies) would attain small but reliable followings. The decade would see the release of fantasy movies like “King kong” scifi movies like the “Flash Gordon” B-pictures  and towards the end of the decade horror would be firmly run into the ground with films like “The Phantom Creeps” illustrating exactly why “Just because Hollywood could, doesn’t necessarily mean is should” but in the 1940’s B-movie and cult cinema would continue even further down the rabbit hole. And in the next session we will be taking a look at the gradual collapse of some aspects of the film industry and the seeds being sowed for the rise of a new genre of film making and film makers.

All of the films I have spoken about today I would highly recommend you seek out, they’re all worth watching. Even if I haven’t been particularly favourable about them, because at best they’ll challenged your pre-existing thoughts on how cinema should behave and at worst you’ll waste 90 minutes of your time and probably laugh at least a couple of times at the absurdity of them in the process. As always im happy to answer any questions or offer additional recommendations should you wish to explore this era further. And I hope to see you all again soon. Thank you.

2019: Rummaging Through the Wreckage

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

(I quite like the look of this place)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Here’s hoping!)

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

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

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

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

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

Dan.

 

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

 

Finishing the Complete Fifth Series (2018)

Well… to say this season had been a turbulent one behind the scenes would be a bit of an understatement. effectively as of April 2019 this has been the last full season that I have been able to produce. I have mentioned quite a few times that I’ve had to step back from making reviews at this time due to personal reasons. These are predominenetly down to the health of my Partner who has unfortunately been on a decline since September 2018. As a result of that coupled with an incredibly unfortunate run in which I basically went from November to February jumping from illness to illness it effctively forced my hand in what time I was able to dedicate to actually making these.

Production pretty much completely ground to a halt in the first week of December when I spent the majority of my time either running my partners house or taking her to the hospital and because of this it led to several rushed releases that were exaserbated further by youtubes copyright strike system meaning it could be days before I had the time to actually go and fix things.

I was given a brief reprieve in early March 2019 when my partner seemed to be showing signs of recovery, this lasted for about a week and a half before it all came crashing down again but in that time I was able to have the freedom to actually get back to maintaining my site, clearing up my youtube channel and updating all my links across my social media platforms. it also gave me the time to archive all of my work properly and even start working on some new material.

Now I cant sit here and tell you that Season 6 is going to be imminantly out. The reality is that Im working in dribs and drabs as and when time can allow and it may be the case that only 1 season gets made this year. but as of April  2019 I have recorded 2 new episodes (But havent edited them) I have written 2 new scripts ready to record and ive put plans in place for another 3 reviews and a couple of themed months I’d like to get in to. I dont know when these will make it up to youtube but I just wanted to reassure anyone who cares that things are still being worked on. Though I’ll do another full update on that when im in a better place to be able to talk about timescales.

In the meantime here is season 5! a season I went into with no idea what I was letting myself in for! seriously when I sat doown to write my notes for “Kiss meet the phantom of the park” I couldnt have dreamed that I’d be sat in front of my computer on December 23rd desperately trying to edit together a copy of Jack Frost ready for a next day upload, all the while keeping in touch with various relatives and doctors. I dont tend to work like that nor did I honestly enjoy the experience.

Thats not to say I hate this season. I loved working with Alex Kay on my review of “Stingray“, I loved speaking to the team behind “Witches Night out” and “The Gift of Winter” and this season marks the end of my “Teenage mutant ninja Turtles Quadrilogy ” Something I was very proud to have achieved. It was my biggest season in terms of stepping up my game and it was also the first season to not feature the official “Fourscore 2” theme, a decision I made basically as I wanted to try and move away from relying on Copyrighted material when it was unessicary.

So here’s to season 5! Arguably one of the most stressful seasons (and I sat a degree in film production) I’ve ever produced and I think some of my best work. Please enjoy and  hopefully I’ll have more news for you soon!

(Everyday is the Best day)

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only that didn’t happen either…

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

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

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

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

(Pretty much…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Yeesh…)

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

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

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

(Photo of me literally 6 weeks apart…)

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

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

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

  • Dan

 

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…)