Monday, January 14, 2013


Movies and television are one of my major passions forming many of my visual memories so this weekend's clean out and sorting turned out to be a trip into the past.

I've been meaning to do this for ages. There has been an ever growing pile of DVDs sitting next to the television that have become increasingly hard to find anything easily as well as keep the pile clean and tidy. So last week, I found a case that would hold my DVDs - a very large case it was, with pockets for nearly 600 DVDs or CDs. I also purchased a DYMO label maker. If I'm going to do a craft job, I may as well enjoy it - and I've always wanted a DYMO Label Maker since I was a kid.

This weekend's job - put all my DVDs in the new case and dispose of the old DVD cases.

It's never made any sense to me why CDs are sold in these compact cases and DVDs come in these awkward boxes. A waste of plastic and space if you ask me. So much so that by the end of the weekend I'd nearly filled a wheelie bin with them. That is the extent of my film library.

The first job off the list - dismantle the Buffy Shrine.

Away from all of the other DVDs is what Glen Waverley refers to as "The Shrine". In a small television cabinet covered with candles that never get lit and old lava lamp that takes about two hours to start acting like lava was every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as a few other items.

What you don't realise when you have things tucked away is what you have hiding among the dust bunnies is how things date.

The first conundrum. In the seven seasons of Buffy, seasons one, two, four and five are in DVD mode. Seasons Three, six and seven were on a video cassette format.

I threw out my video recorder last year.

Then you realise how much money you've forked out for stuff that eventually ends up in the bin. The three seasons of Buffy in the unfriendly format went into the wheelie bin. EBay was scanned and DVD replacements were found for the offending tapes for a fraction of what I paid for the original tapes.

Also in the Buffy shrine, home recorded videos of The Young Ones, home recorded videos of other shows from back in the early nineties. This, like the Buffy tapes found their way into the wheelie bin.
The tape of my father's funeral. That sat on the couch for a bit longer. I wasn't at my father's funeral. When he died, now fifteen years ago, I was in England with no way to come back for it. I remember being sent the tape - something that happens a lot in Australia - people can't make the event due to the tyranny of distance, so a recording is made of the ceremony for posterity that can be sent to friends and family around the globe. I remember receiving this a month or so after the event. It took me a few weeks to summon up the courage to watch in. Friends offered to come and watch it with me - I thanked them for the offer, said I'd call if I needed them and watched it on my own. I only ever watched it once.

I don't think I'll ever want to watch that again.

 After a bit more consideration, that too made it down to the wheelie bins.

The other gem in Buffy shrine was a video copy of BBC's Pride and Prejudice. The version that sent Colin Firth into stardom. This too found its way into the wheelie bin, but not after remembering what this series did for me. In a very deep and dark time, Lizzie Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy helped keep me sane. Around the time my father died I fell into a deep, dark depression after a life changing event. Pride and Prejudice with its crinolines and dances and intrigues and quiet manners helped to keep my head just far enough about the water that I could function. I'd get home from work and put it on the telly. It helped to pacify and ground me. Oh, and having Mr Darcy emerge from his duck pond dripping wet helped too. Pride and Prejudice is the perfect rainy day recording. A DVD version was sourced from eBay, but I said a huge thank you to these two tapes as they too made their way downstairs for disposal.

While doing this sorting, Buffy - Season One graced the television. The great thing about Buffy (in this incarnation, chubby Buffy) although the clothing and the effects date - the scripts don't. Buffy rules.

 The next job was to start on the television series collection.

Cataloguing and checking over 500 DVDs is a bit of a chore. Seven series of The West Wing, three of Mad Men, some obscure British series (The sublime series set in a Obstetrics Ward, Bodies, and the rather surreal, The Green Wing) Downton Abbey. Season Five of Weeds - I'd like to know who has the other four of them (I think I know, just need to chase them up - only been two years)

This took the better part of the day.

Sunday had me working on the movies - still a big stack to get through.

The covers were sorted into lose piles by category. Comedy, Drama, Animated, Foreign, Classics. What do you do with something like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Classic or comedy?)
My taste comes across as considered, but mainstream. Movies like Igby Goes Down are sitting in there with some more mainsteam offerings like Bridesmaids. My slim selection of Pixar movies are near the wonderful recent Peter Pan (I do believe in fairies, I do!) and the most wonderful The Princess Bride.
I've kept the films that I watch regularly together so that they can be easily found. Gosford Park, V for Vendetta, Secretary, Donnie Darko, Sideways.... my go to films.
I'm also proud of the fact that for all of the recorded material I have about the place, there was only one disc missing - and I'd love to know where my copy of The Incredibles has gone - probably the same place my copy of The Book Thief has gone.
Late on Sunday afternoon the last trip to the wheelie bins downstairs was made. It wasn't as scary or difficult as I thought it was going to be - and I like the clutter free look of the television stand.
Now to consider doing the same thing with the CDs that are in the spare room - but I have a feeling that that is going to be a far more fraught affair - who knows what gems are sitting in the spare room?
(And yes, one day I will transfer the DVDs onto some sort of hard drive - I just need somebody to teach me how to do that.)


Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Don't ever talk to Mrs PM - she will say "See? Other people do that!!!" and use it as an excuse to dispose of my stuff.




Kath Lockett said...

Oh, I've been there. TWO NIGHTS were spent taking DVDs out of their covers and into an enormous black 'book' thing that now sits here in Geneva.

The CDs were all downloaded as well and that took days and days and days. Unlike the DVD covers and old VHS tapes, I couldn't throw the CDs away and, much to my parents' chagrin, they're stored somewhere in their biggest shed behind the caravan!

Bron said...

Yes Buffy rules.

Secondly what does the DVD holder look like?

FletcherBeaver said...

You had a Buffy Shrine?

FletcherBeaver said...

I have been transferring my CD's into iTunes on my laptop. I now have speakers that play wirelessly from my laptop. Everything else, CD players, amps, the CD's themselves, all of it, can now go into the wheelie bin.

It is easy too, just slide your CD's into your DVD drive on your laptop. Job done.

Of course, you need a hard drive to back up your laptop also, but that can be done wirelessly also.