August 5th, 2014
I'm back from holidays.
I did lots of fun things as I enjoyed the nicest stretch of weather this island has seen since I was a teenager, 60 some odd years ago.
I barely watched any movies on my time off because I was outside so much. Plus, very little has been catching my attention lately. It's a sad state of affairs.
I LOVE movies. I used to love Hollywood movies but it seems that the fare offered up over the last 10 months or so has been the least inspiring group of films I have encountered in my short life.
One pictured I did see came out the last week of July. It was called Under The Skin which stars Scarlet Johansson as an alien who appears to feed on males she's captures with the promise of sex with Scarlet Johanson. Believable.
The movie was so unusual--barely any dialogue, glacial pacing, not strictly linear storytelling--that I was sweating as I watched: "How many of these did I order??! People are not going like this."
I like it. Quite a lot.
It was different. It was adult.
I'm not saying it's the best film of the year or anything, it's just not like everything else being put out. It had vision and personality and it didn't spell out ever single plot point as if I'm a moron. Or a teenager, as the case may be.
Turns out my fears about the customers not liking it were unfounded--I've had plenty of people bringing it back with puzzled yet pleased expressions on their faces--"Have you see this?!", they'll ask.
Try it if you're feeling adventurous.
While I was away a milestone in the history of the video store business in this city occurred.
Yo! Video closed.
I was so sad.
Both for the owners and staff of the store and for the neighbourhood around the shop. Theirs is(was) a situation very similar to ours. A huge residential population surrounding a family owned store staffed by knowledgeable, hip kids who are interested and passionate about film.
That wasn't enough to keep it alive though.
We sit here and soak up the Yo! customers who can't or don't want to switch to Netflix or whatnot and we stay afloat on the back of another's decline.
This is the slowest Summer business-wise here at Pic A Flic. I don't like to talk about stuff like this because I don't like to dwell on negativity that does no good.
Yet I can't help but wonder, as I watch a store like Yo! close (a store like us!), when is our number up? And I can't help but be frustrated as more and more people drift to online solutions for their entertainment needs.
A community survives on the support and participation of it's inhabitants.
That isn't rocket science. It's frankly, an almost painfully obvious statement to make.
In today's world, however, this seems to be an oblique concept.
If you spend your money at Netflix or at Amazon Prime or at itunes, that money speeds far, far away from the streets and homes of families in Victoria.
I am a musician. A friend of mine who has a band called the Evaporators and who goes by the nom-de-stage Nardwuar The Human Serviette asked me to fill in on bass guitar recently for a few shows when their regular guy couldn't make it. I jumped at the chance--this guy is a legend and a national treasure, in my opinion.
He spoke about price as far as my fee went and I told him not to worry about it, I'd happily do it for free.
He said absolutely not--he wants the people who work with him to give him everything they've got. He then went on to give me a quote that sticks with me now; "Free is the most expensive price."
I think one could also insert the
word "cheap" in place of free (or in addition to) and the strength and meaning remain the same.
Chances are, if you are reading this, you are a loyal, regular customer here. You don't need this reminder or this nudge or whatever it is that I'm doing here. (I often can barely figure it out myself...)
But maybe that quote I referred or the reference to consumer dollars leaving the area's they live in will stick and help you remind a friend who extols the virtues of their "On-Demand" life of the cost of free. And of cheap. And the price laid at the altar of convenience.