A Tale of Two Formats
By Mike Haworth aka magic_bobcat
Long before I learnt the joy of busting wax, I was breaking metaphorical piggy banks. You see I had an addiction. Not the kind of addiction that caused the late Amy Winehouse to sing ‘no, no, no’, but rather the medium in which she delivered her message.
Hello, my name is Mike and I have a music addiction.
Just like the perennial chaser of the dragon, I remember my initial taste. It all seemed so innocent at first; the year was 1994 and in the quaint English city of Hereford an 8-year-old boy and his parents were going about their usual Saturday trip to the shops. That was until I spotted this…
While it may seem like the biggest dangers from my persistent listening of the album was to either wear it out, after all in 1994 I couldn’t afford CDs so it had to be purchased on tape, or more likely I was to be diagnosed with lactose intolerance after the constant consumption of such cheesy lyrics. However, PJ and Duncan’s lasting damage on my life was much more severe. It became the gateway drug that would soon place me between hard rock and a rap place.
Over the next five years my addiction was still semi-recreational. I was only getting a ‘hit’ every couple of months or so. However, by the time I reached my teenage years I was falling further and further down the rabbit hole. By 14 I had two part-time jobs and for a child with no major bills I felt pretty affluent. I was attracted to the lights and endless sales the record stores that my nearest city had to offer. Virgin Megastore was my dealer of choice and their constant 3 for £20 or 5 for £30 deals meant that every week I was able to add a handful of titles to my ever-increasing collection.
In 2003 my bank gave me my very own debit card. This was the key to eBay’s ‘Pandora’s box’. It wasn’t long until simple CD albums couldn’t reclaim the high they once did. I needed more. I needed CD singles, 7” vinyl, 12” vinyl, picture discs, etched vinyl, mini 3” CDs, DJ advance promo CDs. If they made it, I needed it!
(Clockwise from top left: Funeral For A Friend – Streetcar DJ advance promo copy, signed CD, standard CD release, and signed 7″ blue vinyl)
While the Buggles might have been correct in 1979 when they prophesied that ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, my addiction needed a new fix and DVDs were to become the perfect accompaniment to my audio collection.
Of course I was no stranger to home entertainment. As a small child I could often be sat perched in front of the TV watching my Pinocchio video. There is even a family tale of how I would still sit there reciting it word for word while the sound was drowned out because of my mother vacuuming. However, DVDs were not like the obsolete technology of my childhood, they were the audiovisual cousin of CDs.
This new technology offered more to the collector than a video, and in some ways CDs, ever could. They offered special features. Admittedly in the VHS twilight years, in an effort to strive off extinction, they too tried to incorporate ‘behind the scenes’ featurettes. But who amongst us wanted to wait while we fast-forwarded through 99 minutes worth of film just to see Small Dogs: Action Figure Development Documentary on Reservoir Dogs? Not me, I’m part of the MTV generation. I want it on the tips of my fingers and I want it NOW!
The new format was able to offer more to the collector in terms of features than ever before. We could now get up to 20 or so hits on the Special Collectors Editions, all for roughly the same price. So instead of just changing the cap colour and pedaling the same old product like they did in The Wire the DVD corner boys were actually pushing better quality merchandise.
Now not only were DVDs offering us more in terms of content they were also more aesthetically appealing and ergonomically designed than their 20th Century counterparts. This also added to their allure, after all who wants to get hooked on a B grade product when there is Class A stuff available. But rather than be appreciative of the effects our suppliers were putting into the releases we, I, begged for more. Nay, I needed more. It was no use just getting ‘Special Edition’ DVDs when I knew there was no base version. My music collecting was allowing me to be drip feed highs by the same artist while a film would just be a one time standard rush. If we take 2006 for instance, Alexisonfire’s album Crisis provided me with the CD release (and its international parallel versions), picture disc 12” vinyl, and 3 supplement vinyl single releases in an array of colours. Whereas the brilliant film Jarhead was only released in the UK in a single DVD edition.
But boy how did they counter. Family Guy now comes with t-shirts; the Inception Blu Ray Special Edition comes in a steel suitcase and my Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen DVD case even transforms into Bumblebee! Not to mention the quality of Blu Ray. If they continue in this fashion even the long-term addicts like myself may overdose. That is if I don’t get trapped underneath my ever-increasing collection. Maybe I should take a tip from Tinie Tempah and ‘keep some in my aunt’s house’.
Anyway here are some of my personal favourites across both formats.
18 Visions – Vanity 7″ White /1000, Red /1000, Pink /200
The Filaments – What’s Next 12″ Splatter (You just don’t get this with CDs!)
A couple of my signed items.
City and Colour – Sometimes personalised signed CD and ticket stub
Million Dead – signed I Am The Party CD, signed Breaking The Back CD and signed Smiling At Strangers On Trains 7″
Hundred Reasons – signed How Soon Is Now? 7″
Machete Steelbook Case HMV Exclusive Blu Ray
Inception Limited Edition Briefcase outside
Inception inside with Triple Play Blu Ray/DVD/Digital Copy, Art Cards and Spinning Top
NB: As I have just moved house I couldn’t find the time to take picturesl of all my creme-de-la-creme items as they’re still at my Mum’s. There are two specific gems missing. The first being the previously mentioned transforming Transformers 2 DVD. While the second is Avenged Sevenfold – The Beast And The Harlet on CD, not because it is particularly amazing but because I am personally thanked in the linear notes. Maybe if I win the contest I can hunt them down.
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