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.

https://media.daysoftheyear.com/cdn-cgi/image/fit=cover,f=auto,onerror=redirect,width=866,height=434/20171223125340/thank-you-thursday.jpg

(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.)

90263335_10156669644196650_4911334505005973504_n

(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.

1476

(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.)

Whats The Name Of The Game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Soulless: these guys are monsters.

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

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

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

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

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

(…By contrast)

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

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

(…Pretty much)

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

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