Archive for category Lists

9 Nerdy TV Events That Have Vanished Off Our Screens


TV is so bland these days. It has lost its quirkiness – like technical c**k ups where we would be treated to a screen saying “We apologise for the delay. Normal programming will resume shortly”. There is no TV clock anymore. I remember the days before breakfast television whenever there used to be start ups! There were even strikes – ITV went off the air for about three months in 1979. We will surely never see the likes of that again.

I am an unashamed TV geek, nothing pleases me more than looking at television idents on Retro TV websites. I frequently enjoy Pages From Ceefax on youtube. This list is for the geeky and nerdy TV watchers from days of yore. I wrote it in tribute to you.

9. ITV Franchising

itv carlton

ITV was set up during the 1950s to give the public a change from the BBC monopoly of TV broadcasting. It was mandated by the ITA – Independent Television Authority. The first network to broadcast was Associated Rediffusion in London.

Local ITV franchises appeared in its wake. They were known for strong regional programming and identity. Franchise reviews would take place regularly to ensure each regional company was satisfying its viewers, making plenty of regional programmes, and making money. There were franchise reviews in 1963, 1967, 1974, 1980 and 1991. These were generally exciting affairs with rival companies trying to usurp the incumbent.

Things fell to bad in 1990 with the Broadcasting Act. ITV companies could buy each other out. This led to a decline of the franchise era as Granada television and Carlton ate up all of the regional franchises and amalgamated them into ITV plc. The only independent companies left are STV and UTV.

I think that this takeover of the ITV franchises has diluted a lot of the flavour of local programming. I am so glad that UTV wasn’t gobbled up by Carlton or Granada. UTV has a very strong local brand that is respected and cherished all over Northern Ireland.

But those days of franchise television are sadly over.

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Banksy: 7 Great Artistic Achievements So Far


Some say graffiti isn’t art.

While some amateurs with spray cans are content on vandalizing public property with gibberish, street artists will carefully plan where they will set up their artwork so that they can “give back” to the public in the form of their artwork.Graffiti art can be more than just incomprehensible letters sloppily tagged on walls or train cargo. Many street artists (Shepard Fairy, Invader, etc.) have become recognized for their artistic tributes to the public, but one individual stands out for his dark comedic artwork and his infamously mysterious persona.

This man is the London based, street artist and political activist that is Banksy.

For well over a decade now Banksy has been conjuring stencils and sculptures that he publicly displays in locations ranging from London to Israel. Such contributions by the reclusive artist have become influential in the street and pop art scene. After researching Banksy’s artistic career, I’ve come up with the seven most notable works done by the secretive activist that evoke the power of satire and self awareness for the general public the most.

It’s worth mentioning that while this list is made up of the more notable works by Banksy, this does not decrease the quality of the rest of his artwork. There is so much more to Banksy than the seven works on this list, years of artwork worth checking out. Please support the official release.

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Chinese New Year: 10 Amazing Chinese Movies

crouching tiger

There is no cinema more underappreciated than that of Chinese cinema. So often, Chinese cinema, here meaning that of Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan, has been associated with cheesy B-movie icons that people like Quentin Tarantino revere. And there is no problem with revering those wu xia (martial arts) films as they are quite a lot of fun and fill the quota for violent films. But, they do not highlight some of the mastery that has been exhibited by some truly talented Chinese filmmakers.

Films from mainland China were often times censored and had to fall under the restraints of the Communist Party and the Cultural Revolution. It wasn’t until the 1980’s when films started to flourish their without much Communist propaganda. The Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers was the nickname given to this new crop of visionaries which included Tsui Hark and Zhang Yimou. Meanwhile, the more liberal and westernized Hong Kong and Taiwan were able to strive under creative freedom spurning brilliant directors such as Wong Kar-Wai and Ang Lee.

The films that are counted on this list is by no mean indicative of the vast nature of Chinese films as many great movies do not make it over to the Western markets. But, what is on here are ten films that can give a good sense of what Chinese cinema is all about with a good mixture of artful dramatic films and the classic wu xia films that have become the stereotype of Chinese films. Here are obvious films that are amazing that I left out for no real good reason than wanting to talk more about certain films. There are many more movies that can be included in the list and that are why there is a comment section.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Farewell my Concubine, Once Upon a Time in China, Chungking Express, Drunken Master 2, Raise the Red Lantern, Hard Boiled, and Enter the Dragon

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10 More Great Movie Scores


A little while back, fellow WhatCulture writer Robert Beames made a top 15 movie scores list. It’s a great list containing some old classics like Taxi Driver, but mixes in some contemporary mix-tape style soundtracks like the great 80s pop vibe of the Drive soundtrack.

This list is not meant to be a replacement for that list; in fact I was tempted to include the Jurassic Park score again just because it’s so damn good. Instead, think of this list as a supplement to the old top 15. So start your DVR and fire up Garage Band as we get into 10 more fantastic movie scores.

10. There Will Be Blood

Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead fame first collaborated with director Paul Thomas Anderson for 2007′s There Will Be Blood. This film, regarded by this writer as the best film in thirty years, depicts oil baron Daniel Plainview and his inner and outer struggles as he attempts to drill in a small town.

Greenwood’s score is orchestral, but often marked with staccato moments of dissonance. This is used with greatest effect when, after oil is struck, Daniel’s adopted son H. W. is stunned and deafened and oil-fire illuminates the countryside. The chaotic sound of Greenwood’s drums reinforce the inherent tension of the scene, and the anarchy of an insatiable fire.

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