Watching HIDDEN again, I was struck by how the presence of video tapes seemed to date a film that was made relatively recently. I have just gone through a painful process of ditching many of my video tapes (admittedly they included a skip-load of FRIENDS), followed by the painstaking process of getting rid of the boxes of my DVDs, cataloguing them and digitalising some of my favourites. Space is an issue in my house, a life-laundry is needed so I can find my laundry, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for weeks!
The need for cultural hoarding on this scale will be no longer required as it seems that ‘on-damand’ and the so-called ‘cloud’ is going to create virtual cupboards for us all and everything will be available all of the time.
It wasn’t always like this. I remember an issue of STARBURST in the early 1980s where a columnist had taken delivery of a VCR and was trying to come to terms with the complexity of its controls. It is difficult to appreciate the thrill of being to freeze-frame, fast forward and backwards through a film, no wonder films like PORKIES (1982) become school-boy favourites. At school we would laugh as the careers teacher wizzed through a documentary about getting a job in plumbing. I think we were laughing at the sight of sinks being fitted in double quick time, but it may have been an the best work of fiction that we had seen in the 80s.
The early issues of STARBURST featured an advert from Leisuremail, the specialists in home entertainment, who had made a ‘fantastic scoop’ and were able to declare: STAR WARS – NOW SEE THE FILM.
I remember studying this advert trying to work out strategies for asking my dad for it for a combined Christmas/ Birthday present and no pocket money for 6 months. How else would I be able to see:
“Luke Skywalker and his companions, See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo … and their battles with Grand Moff Tarkin, the evil Governor of the Imperial Outland regions who seeks to destroy the rebellion against the Galactic empire.”
No mention of Darth Vader. Tarkin was clearly the evil genius at the centre of the film.
On reflection, I can understand how my protracted negotiations with my dad came to naught. A silent cine-projector need to see the film was £19.95 (plus £1.05 for postage and packing) if we wanted to ‘marvel at its colour, action and fantasy’ we would need to shell out £165.00 (delivered by Securicor).
Once my projector is safely delivered, I have the pleasure to decide which version of Star Wars I would like, because there is an array of choices, I’ll ignore GIANT CLAW for now. There’s a black and White Silent version at £6.25 or I could go for a full colour experience of 16.25. It still seems like a bargain, even at late seventies, early eighties prices, but just a moment … what does ‘home movie length’ mean? Home movie length?
There’s only 8 minutes of material on offer. 8 Minutes! What would feature in your 8 minutes of Star Wars?
Dad didn’t have an Access Card so I had no chance!