I woke up thinking about films this morning. To be precise, films on DVD. This was because I spent some time on Saturday looking for a film, one I bought on DVD earlier this year. I know I bought it, as I can recall it being delivered. I also have the confirmation that it is on my list of items ordered from Amazon, and they emailed me to ask me to review it. But I couldn’t find it on the jumbled shelves in the tiny room grandly called, ‘my office’.
I also knew that I hadn’t watched it. It had gone onto one of the top shelves, the one reserved for new DVD purchases that I haven’t got around to viewing. They lie there in their plastic wrappers, waiting their turn to to be taken down and watched. But new ones arrive, placed in front or on top of them, and they manage to escape my viewing radar. Some of those film purchases date back to as long ago as 2012, but I continue to keep buying new ones, and stacking them with their unwatched companions.
I have ‘collected’ in fits and starts throughout my life. As a child, it was toy cars, and model soldiers. I never seemed to have enough of either, and used any pocket money of gift occasion to increase my hoard. In my late twenties, I had a phase of collecting part-work magazines, storing them in smart binders available from the publisher. When I finally gave them away in the 1990s, I was embarrassed to admit that at least half of them had never actually been read. And there were the books. Despite giving away hundreds of used paperbacks to charity shops, I still moved here with box after box of books, many of them never opened, let alone read. I am now reading less than two books a year, but still buying more. I bought one last week, and found that I had insufficient space to store it on the shelves. So it sits next to me on the desk, wondering if it will ever be read, I suspect.
Once I became interested in photography, in the mid-1980s, I started to buy lots of camera-related items. This reached a peak with the arrival of Ebay, and from 2004 until 2012, I bought up lots of old cameras, some ‘collectible’, many not. My intention was to show them off in some way, perhaps in a display case. But that never happened. What did happen was that I continued to buy more cameras, digital ones this time. The old ones, and my precious film cameras with them, had to be consigned to a box in the loft, where they still reside. To be honest, I would be pushed to find the actual box they are in, and have to confess that collecting them was ultimately pointless.
I have to put a stop to this compulsion, now that I am living on pensions, instead of a large salary. So I buy DVD films second hand, at a fraction of the cost. I buy used books for just 1p, plus postage. That makes it seem more responsible, but doesn’t solve the problem. I am overwhelmed by my collections, and I really do have to stop.