Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Clearoutageddon Part One: The Analogue Purge

Since 2008 I've been on a bit of quest to replace my small collection of analogue media with disc-based counterparts.  Around this time last year, with my mission nearing completion, the question of what on earth I was going to do with this mounting pile of obsolete cassettes and VHS tapes finally came up.

Although it was pretty unclear if they'd even take this kind of stuff anymore, I decided to chance my arm and try dropping it off at one of the local charity shops. And while I was making the trip, I thought I might as well take a look around and round up any other old junk I could. Thus began The Clearoutageddon - a much needed purge of all the useless shit I've been holding onto for one reason or another over the last fifteen years or so.

And having recently wrapped things up on that front, I thought we'd take a a retroactive poke through a bunch of my former stuff, stating off with the pile of tapes that brought about the clutter end days in the first place.

Although I've often claimed in the past that The Masterplan by Oasis was the first album I ever bought, that's not entirely true. Actually, the first purchase I ever made in a record store, in December of 1998, consisted of that and Now 41, which I would have gotten a world of shit from my mates about if they ever found out I'd picked up such a naff pop compilation. But, to be honest, I really enjoyed it. :D

Having access to only a Walkman at the time, of course I grabbed both on cassette, something I continued to do for the next two and a half years until I finally upgraded to a portable CD player. Before then I'd picked up all but the last three tapes above, which wasn't a whole lot of material to listen to over such an long span, but unfortunately I didn't have the cash for much more. As a result of that, I played most of these albums to death, to the point where the print on the cassettes themselves had worn off almost completely from sliding them into and out of my trusty Walkman. I give you exhibit A:

Still, even after all that repeat play I can still pop one of these on today and enjoy it, which is exactly why I went about replacing them. Mostly with used CDs off eBay mind (sorry, record industry). The last couple of cassettes I bought were Driving Rain, Paul McCartney's 2001 album and Standing on the Shoulder (ugh) of Giants by Oasis, which I picked out of the last handful of tapes they had, in the last record shop around that had them in July/August 2004. Not too long before the Panasonic personal stereo I bought to replace my old Walkman also gave out on me, definitively putting an end to my cassette-listening days.

Another (double) cassette I got rid of, which, technically, I only partially owned was an audiobook version of an early Oasis biography by Paul Mathur. Me and a buddy went halves on this, picking it up on a school tour in 1996, thinking it was some kind Oasis anthology we'd never heard about. We were both fans at the time, but he was definitely the bigger one, blowing through this in no time. On the other hand, I really couldn't summon the interest get through it and spent many, many weeks doing so, much to his disbelief. After fifteen years though, I kind of doubted he'd be back for it, so into the junk box it went.

Two years after I bought my first  couple of albums, I also started picking new(ish) movie releases I really wanted to see here and there, starting off with The World is Not Enough in December 2000. As you might have guessed, a VCR was the only playback mechanism I had access to back then, so of course it had to be on VHS. Much to my surprise I also ended up with a copy of Diamonds are Forever out of this transaction. Apparently there was a buy one, get one free promotion running at the time for Bond movies and I guess anyone who didn't pick up an extra tape got a random one chucked at them at the counter. I ended up watching most of it on Christmas night in 2000, right after my N64 died a few hours into playing Perfect Dark. What a fucking depressing night that was. :D

The next tapes I got were the Fellowship of the Ring in September '02 and freakin' Attack of the Clones in December '02. Ugh! At the time I had actually just seen the pre-Clones Star Wars movies for the first time at age 18. (How crazy is that?) The verdict? I really enjoyed the original trilogy for the most part (fuck those ewoks though). And The Phantom Menace? Well, after two viewings I think I knew deep down that it was bad, but riding on the high of seeing the original movies, I'd convinced myself that, yeah, it was alright, that I probably just needed to watch it a few more times and I'd finally get it. Watching Clones initially, I thought it was a big improvement, but even after several viewings I still couldn't make sense of the plot and I never managed to get through the entirety of any of those fucking awful love scenes without reaching for the fast-forward button.

Now I think they're both bloody terrible. :D

The last two tapes I bought at full price were Die Another Day and The Two Towers, both in 2003. Man, Die Another Day I enjoyed quite a bit at the time for how over the top it was, but any clip of I see of it now just makes me cringe, so I'm kind of doubtful it holds up in any way, shape or form. The Two Towers I still love though, but it wasn't long after I bought it that we finally picked up a DVD player, at which point I immediately regretted shelling out €20 for this over the identically-priced DVD copy.

The Ali G and the Ash concert tape, on the other hand, were both cheap pick-ups from one of the local record shops ever dwindling stock of cut-price VHS tapes in 2004. And yes, I did actually replace the Ali G movie with a VHS copy. What can I say, I have terrible tastes. :D And speaking of which...

You know, there was a point in time that I was kind of into the Carry On movies. Smutty jokes and the potential to see boobs on Sunday afternoon TV - what wasn't to like? By the time I picked these up though (as part of one of those over-priced magazine series), I was already pretty tired of the series, even if I hadn't realised it yet, watching both only once before I threw them in the back of a cupboard for the next decade and forgot about them completely.

And the last VHS tape I ever bought was...The Animatrix, new and sealed for €2 in my local Heatons. I'm pretty sure this was early 2006. Having never seen it before, I fished it out of a bargain bin in the middle of the store. I can't say I really enjoyed it too much at the time, but I was still pretty butthurt about how much Revolutions back then. Maybe I should give it another go.

As for the other tapes here, as dreamy as I find Leo, I'm afraid this copy of Titanic isn't mine. Both that and the Apes Match video hail from my parent's place, which I also decided to raid for unwanted bits and bobs. And boy, if you think Titanic is bad, you should see the stuff they still have. :D

WAP phones and excitement over the Matrix sequels - this tape really is ancient. :D

And finally, a latecomer to the box of junk, the Manchester United season review from 1999. I feel bad for how much I've slacked off as a Man Utd. fan over the years, but back in the late 90's that fandom was a huge part of my life, and the 98/99 season in particular was an amazing time to be following them - so many amazing performances with such a gripping, euphoric end.

Although this really isn't the most well-produced review of that season and I don't follow the team nearly as closely now as I did then, I still felt the need to have a copy of this in my collection. It took some time, butI finally managed to track down one for a semi-reasonable price not long before I carted this stuff into the charity shop. And with that DVD copy secured, the Analogue Purge was completed.

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