Its really something when you think about it - best documentary of that year was given to analysis of vinyl-collecting freaks, NOT politics or world-changing events.
Blind Chile will try to find a review B for youse wot Blind Chile did decades beefwhore.
Anyways, lookee here!!!:
Material that never made it to the final cut!
(Youse all owe Blind Chile bigtime for this.)
Me magnum opus:
Vinylebriation. Vinyloxyzm. St. Vinyl Dance.
Are you a chronic sufferer of the vinyl-collecting syndrome? Are
you in desparate need of a vinylectomy? Do you consider it an
affliction/madness at all?? Or is this all only in the minds of
documentary film makers?
Are we even allowed the slightest admission that the hobby of lp -
collecting can ACTUALLY be theraputic and fulfilling?
Some while ago the educational channel, TV Ontario aired Alan Zweig's nigh-2
hour documentary, "VINYL". About lp collectors in the Toronto ,Canada
area. This film won the documentary award for the year!
Personally, Wallace enjoyed the documentary no end -however
slanted it was. (Wallace has not enjoyed a documentary so much since
seeing the one on the comic-illustrator, Crumb.)
And slanted it definitely was! Right from the start ,the preamble-
host makes it clear we are to peer into the "sometimes dark and
always quirky subculture of record collecting". "Vinyl FREAKS " are
what they are. (Yes, freaks as in Freak Out's "hungry vinyl freaks,
I suppose you can forgive them when you consider the fact that
documentaries rarely concern themselves with the good in life. The
world of the documentary is one of human foible and tradgedy.
So then, VINYL, found itself attracted to the topic of the
perverted Obsessive, the lonely and awkward collector living with
his parents,hoarding his collection in the nether basement-deeps.
Yes, step up folks and view the unusual, the deviant, the stranger-
than-real-life! (Had they got their claws on a wheezing,muchover-
weight collector friend of mine negotiating his way between the
narrow confines of his labyrinth-stash, these unscrupulous
documentarists would have had a field-day!)
Not once did the film follow a collector into a used record store
and register his honest DELIGHT in going through a bin of previously
unexplored vinyl territory. It was always the the dark side of the -
ahem - hobby.
The film has a line which goes something like this "...part of the
picture I draw when I say this is why you are not where you want to
be, this is why you are a failure, this is why you are alone."
Back to the subject:
Vinyl-hounds. Are they level-headed, sound people? Or meshuga?
Outsiders would think otherwise. (AHHH! Now, if you have the
analytical mind of a documentary-maker, you are thinking: "Wallace
used the "O" word! We have him now! He has fecked himself right off
Well, the other "O" word is "obsession".(As in the
saying, "Documentary-makers are obsessed with over-
exaggeration,pidgeon-holing and low Hollywood-style sensationalism")
A record collector then is an obsessive - he is no sophrosyne, no
being of self-control, moderation or prudence.
Wallace wonders if the Examining Body ever attempt to truely think with
their subject's mind? Just perhaps it is possible that the average
record-collecting fanatic sees himself ,not as a person devoid of
will-power, but the exact opposite - he HAS the stamina (not to
mention the tremendous energy and drain of time) to doggedly,
indefatigably persue his chosen hobby.
This question will at some point arise in the blinkered mind of the
Examiner: "Certainly its not simply the LOVE OF MUSIC which drives
this tenacity. Its something...darker." (Oh how Examiners fantasize
over that word!)
Why then do you suppose a record collector, collects? (Note: the
problem is solely on the shoulders of RECORD collectors. Not
collectors in general. As an aside: I once saw a film about this
professor who collects only books on philosophers, their works and
lives. Now this guy IS truely out to proove something. HE is the one
out to impress.This guy IS truely fecked up. Im mean, now really! How
can you consider the fellow in the Vinyl documentary -the one who
exclusively collects EASY-LISTENING records, the one that goes into a
store, throws down $10 and says "give me a sack full of crap!" - how
can you consider this fine soul as being desperate to impress? I ask
So then a collector of vinyl collects to:
-give purpose to his otherwise empty life
-to busy himself and thus circumnavigate the necessity of facing up
to himself and problems which ought to be resolved
-to feed his ego, his hubris -the idea that he has good taste. To
put himself above others, at least on a mental plain. He delights in
playing the affectation of knowing all the trivia of his chosen genre
of music. His collection defines him, reflects good on him. His
collection is not eclectic -rather obscure and specific. And there is
a reason for this.
He deems himself beyond the mundane. His axiom:"If you always live
with those who are lame,you will yourself learn to limp."
He is smug in his presumed merits, accomplishments.(This can be
particularly pathetic - since when is amassing a collection a
reflection of a person's creativity/intelligence? Its not as if he
wrote a book or actually played any of the instruments ...which
brings us to...
-he is a failed/inept/unrecognized musician
Thats what the documentarist would have. He will not consider that:
1 -You are a natural born magpie, a packrat. Esurient and
materialistic. Its in the genes.That men dominate the hobby speaks
volumes for genetics. (Wallace himself was a collecting fiend from
the start. At age 5, even though Wallace still abhors sports, Wallace
was collecting those Sherriff pudding hockey coins (remember them?),
Pez and all that rubbish. Was a 5 year old out to impress???)
2 -like the angels in the German film Wings of Desire, you see yourself
as an archiver of the important -however mundane. An archiver of that which merits
archiving. A service to our children's children.
3 -The obvious: Can it be you collect JUST FOR THE SHEER LOVE OF MUSIC?
The documentary-maker will say that music is a vicarious thing (as
is reading adventure books or perusing porn mags) music is an outlet
for avoidance of sex. A surrogate.
D-M will say, "Vinyl-hound, dont you realize the
world revolves about sex? That procreation is the foremost "mystery"
that drives humanity? That prurience is the natural human state? As
is love of society."
Yes, the convivial person is the sound-minded ,self-possessed lucid
man of society.
Okay, so what was the actual documentary about? Well, there was a
guy whose marriage broke up (because of records??) and the wife got
back at him by gaining custody of his 98% COMPLETE (I think it was,
country music) collection.
There was the intense-staring million-lp collector whose aim is to
collect every lp made -and the true madness is he collects not only the
English-speaking world but ALL the world even though he never
listens to foreign records! This same guy was eager to show off his
trivia genius :"Do you know there are only 4 bands that start
with "Q"?" (The documentary-maker was quick to crush the collector by
mentioning Suzy Quatro. (Wallace would have much preferred to
mention Quatermass ,MICHEAL Quatro and -naturally! - many more)
Particularly sad,was when the collector wanted to show off his
impressive memory by having the film maker pick at random an lp ,to
which the collector would then ,smug-facedly, deliver all the track titles,
in accurate order.
There was the nail-biter who trims his bleeding wounds with
further nailbiting. The collector who suffers dysphoria -
There was the touchy lawyer with the messy lp/cd littered apartment. (That
segment was singularily mortifying to watch. Wallace say no more.)
The cool intellectual who when asked for a correlation between lp-buying
and addiction comes up with this: Both are compulsive. Both
escapist.There is ritual involved in both (great point!!).Both
require huge chunks of time. Both regulate the emotions. (You know
where your emotions are going -real life does not offer such
The guy living in the cramped accomodations who must resort to freeing
the toilet seat of a stack of lps each time before taking a dump.
The bulimic who purges himself of lps: "I have to eat it
then get rid of it."
The host of a fine Toronto showcase for foreign films who is forced
to admit he dumped 2000 lps in a dumpster so that they would "ever
belong only to me.".He even picks a dumpster he thought no one would
find them in.
The obsessive who, Calvino/Borgesishly, dreams of records that do not
The consumer who buys simply to have -he never listens, they are just
The romantic who keeps a small assortment of (crap) records around specifically
for his "generic fantasy girlfriend".
Yes,VINYL, the nigh 2 hour documentary that just may have you
looking at yourself in a different light.
So you may ask: "Hey Wallace, am I likely to come upon the face of the
Prince of Eagles Himself somewhere in this film?"
Sorry to disappoint. Here at Dougal's Bar (at the corner of Islington
and the Mission House), the lads are ever on the
alert for hapless ne'er-do-weel documentary producers who tempt you with questions
concerning your collection, but who are quick on the draw to, none
too gently, rudely insert up your rectum , personal and psycho-
In conclusion to this ramble, Wallace he offers up these apt
quotes from famous men:
What shadows we are? What shadows we persue?
I can resist everything except temptation.
The best way to convince a fool he is wrong is to let him have his
Conceit is incompatible with understanding.
Vanity of vanities, all is Vanity.
Water taken in moderation cannot hurt anyone.
If you want something enough you can always get it provided you are
willing to make the appropriate sacrifice.But whatever you get is
never quite what you thought and, sooner or later, the sacrifice is
Poor perverted beings! With what affectation of dramatic bustle and
contrivance you labour to diversify the misery of your hopeless
The first step to wisdom is to avoid the fallacy which considers
everything profound that is obscure.
You cannot, no matter how hard you try, make a crab walk straight.
A headstrong lady of Greeling,
Threw her 2 year old brat at the ceiling.
When asked why she did,
She replied in manner most horrid:
"To get rid
Of a strange irresistable feeling."
And finally, from VINYL itself:
"The urge sings in my head like a siren's song."
Pleasant dreams all compulsives everywhere
-Wallace, Prince of Eagles
A wee thocht whisky.
A gowpanfu o' grossets.
Fower poke o' tatties.
An' t'wale o' thaim aw,
A sack o' vinyl shite.
Is he a really big yappered annoying yankified Canuck or a normal slimey frenchified one or a nice dignified well spoken , yet retaining a hint of 'devil may care' that while subtle and understated proves irresistable to the ladeez Canuck of English origin ?
He has made 4 or 5 documentaries since. One called "Curmudgeon" about peeps wot dont get along with others ,with a celebrity or two interviewed. And another where he interviews murderers in prisons.