04 May 2012

... renting DVDs

Confession time. I still rent DVDs. I like the reliability of the closed format. Sound doesn't suddenly leave the building halfway through the performance, 'For your consideration' doesn't pop up every five minutes to break the flow, audio tends to stay reliably in-sync with the actors lips, subtitles work every time and artifacting and sudden stops aren't part of the experience. Essentially, I know where I am; my expectations of watching a film uninterrupted are met with DVD and I feel it's worth the £2.50 I pay at my local video shop where a cat wanders round your legs as you browse the racks. However, you may have noticed it's 2012. Things have changed. Sometimes films find you.

A friend of mine (we shall call him Tim) had a copy of Drive, palmed to him on a memory stick that his mate had shoplifted from the internets. Upon telling 'Tim' how much I was dying to watch it, he told me what a good copy it was and, Here you go, take it, it's yours. Long story short, I took it, watched it and was blown away by it. Ryan. Gosling. For the pleasure it cost me nothing. However I was left feeling not the 100% fulfilled I should have been. 89% to be exact. How had I lost that crucial 11%? I had a pretty good idea how. So for my sins, I came up with a solution to a problem which I imagine probably only exists in my wretched little conscience: pay back the £2.50 I would have spent at my friendly local video shop.

Here's my guide to paying it forward:

Go to Poundland and buy some of those tiny little brown wage packet envelopes. As we've already established, it's 2012. You'll be as surprised as I was that they're still making them.

Write a brief anonymous confession on the front of the envelope. Don't tell them your name. As grey as this area already is, you have after all watched a film 'illegally'.

Under the cover of dawn, take the wage packet to the video shop. I'd avoid the cover of night, it makes the whole operation a bit creepy.

Pop the happy package through their letterbox. Don't run away or it could attract the unwanted attention of early risers such as paper boys/girls, milkmen/women, dog walkers, bakers and pensioners.

I realise £2.50 stuffed in a brown envelope won't prevent the diminishing returns on hard formats such as DVD and BluRay but for me at least - in my own selfish little way - I've strived to put right what once went wrong and hope that my next leap, will be the leap home. Take it away Al! [Cue Quantum Leap theme tune].