Hi there. My name is Matt. Most people call me Dobbie. Either is fine, combine them both and you have my name anyway. Welcome, dear reader, to my first article for Upside Down Shark. I thought I’d take this opportunity to give everyone an idea of who I am and the sorts of things I’ll be writing about for UDS in the weeks, months and potential years ahead. Seeing as Pop Culture is the name of the game here, I feel the best way to show who I am is to give you a collection of my favourite albums, video games, TV shows and movies. I won’t go into too much detail here as we’ve got years ahead for proper dissection. In Part 1, we’ll cover my favourite albums and my favourite TV shows. So, let’s just jump into it, shall we?
My 5 Favourite Albums
5. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys – My Chemical Romance
Most people when talking about MCR will rave about ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge’ and ‘The Black Parade’. They are wholly justified in doing so, both are incredible works. But personally, ‘Danger Days’ is the album that resonates with me the most. I’ll definitely explain why in the not too distant future.
4. Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
In 2011, after a few albums that few can argue were only good at best, Foo Fighters released ‘Wasting Light’. It doesn’t feel fair to call it a return to form, as even on the less admired albums they were still hitting it out of the park with singles like ‘Best Of You’ and ‘The Pretender’. But here was an album of wall-to-wall killer material, which holds a special place in my heart.
3. Positive Songs for Negative People – Frank Turner
For my money, Frank Turner is one of the most consistently brilliant artists going today. Both live and on record, he is typically a force to be reckoned with, with catchy choruses, heartfelt lyrics and the soul of a bona fide showman to boot. PS4NP is exactly what it says on the tin, upbeat songs designed to bring you up from the darkest of hours. An album I revisit religiously.
2. …Like Clockwork – Queens of The Stone Age
QOTSA are a band that’s hard to pin down to one sound. All you can really say is the heavy parts can get pretty brutal, and the soft parts can be downright beautiful. In a catalogue of albums as exceptional as theirs, ‘…Like Clockwork’ sticks with me the most for several reasons, ranging from Boneface’s excellent artwork, to the sheer dark beauty of the mental disasters being sung about across the 10 tracks.
1. American Idiot – Green Day
Quite simply my favourite album, ‘American Idiot’ opened my eyes to what music could really be. It’s the first album I ever truly fell in love with, and to this day nothing has ever had quite the impact on me that the first listen to this album did. I’ll definitely talk about this in great detail at some point in the future…
My 5 Favourite TV Shows
5. Arrested Development/Community
Ok, so I’ve cheated a bit here, but trying to separate ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Community’ is a bit of an impossible task for me. Both are brilliantly written shows, with hilarious jokes that can take you several rewatches to finally pick up on, with ensemble casts who fully embody the characters they are playing. Both are shows that work on 2 levels – you can watch them casually without issue, but for those of you who really want to pay attention, you’ll find something new every time you watch!
A sitcom set in a hospital probably isn’t all that interesting an idea in 2018, but when ‘Scrubs’ first arrived there was much trepidation about whether the premise of this show would actually lead to laughs. Thankfully, it did, and in lead character J.D., I think many people found a kindred spirit to whom they could gravitate and navigate their twenties alongside. Scrubs is a show that’s very easy to watch, with a whole lot of heart contained within.
3. The Office (US)
To a good number of people in the UK, saying the US version of ‘The Office’ is better than the Ricky Gervais led UK version is a travesty. But I will forever hold firm in this belief. The characters are far more interesting, the jokes are funnier, and the show has an actual heart to it compared to the forced heart of the British version. The cast in this is arguably the best cast that’s ever existed in television, not because of big names being attached, but because the actors behind the characters could very easily just be their characters, plain and simple.
If I had my way, everyone would watch Taskmaster. The premise is simple, comedian Greg Davies is the aforementioned Taskmaster, who has set mundane tasks for a panel of 5 comedians/personalities (which changes every series) to complete however they see fit. Watching over these contestants is Alex Horne (the show’s creator), gathering stats and often helping out. It doesn’t sound that interesting when written down, but no show has had me in hysterics as regularly as Taskmaster has. Frankly, it’s essential viewing.
1. Doctor Who
There’s not a lot to say about Doctor Who that hasn’t been said before. A show with change fundamentally written into its DNA, with a cast that changes frequently, and settings that change on a story to story basis. It’s a show with its ups and downs, but it’s a show, and a character especially, that has written itself into my own DNA for life. The Doctor is a character I have effectively grown through my formative years alongside, and each individual Doctor so far has left clear marks on my own personality, even over the first 5 years of my Twenties so far. I love it.
And those are a few of my favourite Albums and TV Shows. Come back in a few days to get a taste of some my favourite video games and movies
By Matt Dobbie