On the Other Hand by Mark Rushton
Like so many on Sunday night, I watched the Academy Awards presentations.
Like most who tuned in, my interest was boring at best.
Movies have never been a big part of my time allocation. In fact, the last film I watched in a theatre was The Bucket List, which was eight years ago.
A more recent movie, viewed on my home DVD player, was Avatar, had to be at least three years ago.
As a result of my disinterest in most things celluloid (or is it all digital now?), I have no idea what any of today’s movies are about, and I seriously doubt I will ever watch them.
On Sunday I did, however, reflect on a memorable movie or two in my past. The first colour film I ever watched, in the Qualicum Beach theatre, was African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
Bogie died in 1957, which dates both me and the film. His wife, Lauren Bacall, whose fame as the “Icon of Cool” was added to in the Key Largo song lyrics “like Bogie and Bacall,” survived until August of last year.
Katharine Hepburn starred in the African Queen in 1951, and 30 years later, teamed up – again on a boat – with another Hollywood icon Henry Fonda.
I can’t remember if I saw that one in the theatre or at home on the VCR. I still have one – brand new, never-used – sitting beneath a similarly dormant DVD player.
Like tape decks and movie players, all have succumbed to the online streaming of film and music.
Nowadays, you can get all the movies on Netflix (at least I’m so told, as I’ve never watched nor subscribed).
Besides, these days you don’t have much of an alternative, as nearly all the movie rental stores have long ago closed.
I recall many years ago the rage for eight-track tape decks that allowed you to listen to music in cars, other than on the radio.
It wasn’t long before those clunky and prone-to-failure tapes were replaced with much smaller cassettes.
Technology wasn’t long in replacing them with CDs which, now occasionally seen dangling from a car mirror, also lived a brief life.
Most new cars come equipped with satellite-delivered sound, commercial-free, and the selections available on voice command.
If you want your own music, plug in your iPod or mobile phone.
My Jeep has a six-CD player in it – the unit replaced a year ago because the original ate a home-recorded disc and destroyed it.
I installed a new player because the damaged one made a hell of a noise every time I started the vehicle. Still haven’t played a CD in it.
While it would be convenient to blame “the industry” for built-in obsolescence, the root cause is simply the incredible march of innovative technology that has allowed us to go from vinyl records (themselves evolutionary) played through scratchy needles, to digital sound bounced off a satellite hundreds of miles above us.
What next I wonder will be developed … glasses that downstream music, movies and the Internet (oops, already here)? Or will it be cornea implants?
Whither the future lies in distribution of entertainment, from the above it can be interpreted that I shall forever remain mostly, and pleasantly, disconnected.