Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published June 3rd 2020
Deep diving is fun
I have a few friends who have asked why I write these columns for WeekendNotes for minimal views when I could be making videos of all this sort of thing and make some real money, and maybe even actually get to do this writing thing full time, which is my ultimate goal. Well, there are a few reasons for that: 1) I don't have the technical know-how;
2) I have a face just designed for radio; 3) I have a voice designed for writing; and 4) there are so many channels out there doing things like this so much better than I ever could. I'd write for some-one else if the money was good, but otherwise, I am not a good person for public viewing/listening.
However, there are quite a few YouTube channels that I really enjoy. In fact, I check for updates on quite a few every morning which I'll then watch while doing the "breakfast and get ready for study/writing thing" each morning. So, what I thought I'd do is give you ten (plus) of my favourites that I go to all the time, and if you're ever stuck in another lockdown pandemic situation, this might give you something to do. Deep diving is fun.
Now, these are pretty much all about pop culture. Hardly surprising, but that is it. I do not watch a lot of news stuff as it depresses and/or angers me; I want to be entertained. And these are not podcasts with people chatting (though that can appear in some). These are videos that I find worth watching. What I will do, though, is not put up in my main list any channels that are channels for specific bands or companies. These selections will be a little more encompassing, but at the en,d I will post links to my two favourite band channels.
A number of these channels are offshoots of a group called 'Channel Awesome', and the split was apparently not pleasant. I don't know the ins and outs (don't care, actually), but that is how I found a few of them. You will also notice a cheat in the What Culture entry. Sorry. I really like What Culture.
One more thing – a lot of these channels have language that is not really kid-friendly. I am not really sure if they are NSFW – depends on your workplace, I suppose, but be aware – sweary at times.
The way I'll do this is attach the link to the channel in the title, do a description and then give you an example of one video from the channel I really like.
Ready to YouTube?
Okay, I'm going to start with an honourable mention. Renee April
This is a vlog about writing featuring writer Renee April, whose work I have reviewed before. It is quite interesting and I like it, but it is relatively new and is still finding its feet. She has a great voice that is easy to listen to, but it does lack some of the graphics that makes YouTube more of a visual medium. As it is, I am a writer and Renee's is the only writing channel I visit at the moment… Yeah, she is good.
My top 10!
Todd In The Shadows
Todd is a music reviewer. A very good music reviewer. He looks at pop music on the whole. There are four distinct types of video he does – a look at one-hit wonders of the past, albums that derailed an artist's career, reviews of recent pop songs, and the occasional look at a musical movie. I love Todd's sarcastic delivery at times, and his research is pretty thorough, especially for a guy born after some of the older songs were released. He is also not afraid to like what he likes and go against popular opinion if he doesn't like something.
Luke is the presenter of this channel that looks at rock albums. He does interviews with artists, album reviews, albums artists should regret having made and the occasional top 10 list. His music is a little more in my preferred style than Todd, and I have found some great albums watching his channel (often long after it is probably best I review them). He is more into the funny skits in some of his old album reviews, and he is not afraid to say when something does not work.
And we have a third music review site! Crash does reviews of all sorts of musical styles, both pop and rock, sort of between Luke and Todd. He also does other sorts of reviews and his look at Green Day is especially very good. However, there are times when he goes into essay mode, and that is when he is at his best. His review of the song 'Bad Religion' by Godsmacked has a fantastic essay piece in the middle about using simple chords in music. It adds something different and his knowledge is imparted in a manner that does not make you feel stupid.
Dominic looks primarily at movies and how well they have been adapted from their literary sources. He also does occasional book reviews. He does some great character skits to explain some things, but it is his research and knowledge and the fact he is clearly well-read (despite the dyslexia he has mentioned) that makes what he says so intriguing. And when he does not know the full story, he is not afraid of getting in some-one to help him. I actually used a series of his videos for a university assignment recently (his 50 Shades… ones – simply awesomely stunning), and got a great mark, so I think he is, of course, fantastic.
His current partner runs Calluna Reviews which is also fine, but of her focuses, I found Game Of Thrones not to my fantasy taste and she does a lot of gaming stuff… but her stuff that has topics that interest me is also really well done.
What Culture has a bunch of sub-channels, but the main channel focuses on movies and TV with awesome lists and some great little opinion pieces. There are also other lists about slices of life and reality and weird stories and things like that. And it is English, not American, which actually makes it feel a little more akin to my own personal likes. My one criticism is that some of their fact-checking needs work. However, I should also mention two sub-channels: What Culture Music
Yes! I know! More music! What can I say? This is more lists about songs and artists, and I quite like some of the Chatty Faces things. The interviews are also interesting. What Culture Wrestling
Yes, even at almost 50, I am still a sucker for wrestling, having been in the ring myself more often than a man with a science degree, teaching degree and journalism qualification should. I go to a lot of wrestling sites, but this is by far my favourite. The lists, interviews and reviews are all really entertaining. Even the podcast-like stuff can hold the attention quite well.
The BBC's documentary channel. All their documentaries are online as they come up. I'm sorry, but it is awesome. We don't get all of these in Australia, and if we do it's often months later, so being able to watch them is great. I am currently engrossed in my weekly dose of watching about the lives of people with various occupations during World War 2. Elsewhere, the archives of other docos are pretty extensive. It is simply stunning. Very few places do such consistently good documentaries as the BBC.
A movie site, but one that is very different. Their Honest Trailers are some of the best things online (as I've mentioned before) but they also have commentaries and even sometimes the film-makers get involved. It is just a fun site that does not take movies seriously, and that's important to me. It is just really entertaining. There's not much more I can say.
Radio Dead Air
Although I don't bother with the gaming bit, the rest of this site is great… but it is also the one with the biggest language warning. Just a heads up there. My favourite videos are the WTFIWWY ones, where Nash and (usually) Tara look at dumb news stories and just riff on them. The stories show the true stupidity of humanity and the commentary from the hosts just heightens it. I laugh all the way through most weeks. Awesome.
The old TV show based on the books in YouTube format, with videos posted reasonably regularly. I'm a history nerd to a small degree, and that's possibly why I like this. But if you want to help kids get into history, then this is the place to go. Or if, like me, you want an easy to understand primer of a particular part of history (say, if you're a writer, for example…) then this is the best place to go. And there are great songs as well.
Greatest educational song ever…
This is the most niche thing here. It is news from the world of wrestling as if it was all 100% real. So, yes, it is a site not to be taken seriously… even if a mate of mine sent me a link from it to prove something! Moron… Look, you've got to really like and understand pro wrestling to get it, but I don't care. It is great and I like it.
And now, the two music channels I go to most often: alyankovic
Weird Al Yankovic's channel. Not updated regularly, it has most of his music videos and a lot of his interviews and some other comedy stuff. Pretty cool. 2CELLOS
I only discovered this channel through writing for Weekend Notes and it has become my go-to music channel when I am writing because the music is great and I don't get distracted by the lyrics. Love these guys.
So, there you have it. All up, through this, are 14 YouTube channels. Not all are going to appeal to everyone (I'm weird, I get it), but there should be enough here to keep you occupied for a while. A long while. As I said, no news (apart from stupid news and pop culture), nothing depressing, all stuff that keeps me happy and entertained.