It turns out there’s one decent DVD store in the Boston area after all — the Video Underground in Jamaica Plain, which is somewhere south of Brookline Village. Open 1 to 11 pm daily, and specializing in independent, cult, foreign, classic and locally made titles. Presumably staffed with knowledgable cineaste types like Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary used to be when they worked at Video Archives.
But that’s all she wrote in this area, and I’m in still grappling with the shock of realizing that if the communal DVD experience is all but obliterated in Boston, it must be pretty much finished nationwide except for the existence of those very few specialty DVD stores serving big-city elites.
What a wonderfully corporate Orwellian world we’re living in! No more going outside to stores where you can view and hold DVDs in your hands before buying them, and perhaps even discuss their merits and demerits with the guy at the counter. No more tasting or savoring life’s rough and tumble at all, really. Instead you go online and order a digital semblance of that rough and tumble, and two or three days later it arrives in your mailbox and you pop it into your DVD or X-Box or PS3 player, and you sit there on your couch, vegging out and munching out on sour cream and onion-flavored Ruffles. (My personal favorite…sorry.)
I’ve been noticing these grotesque life forms — products of an indoor, online-based, sedentary existence — walking down Newbury Street over the last couple of days. Kids with a simian aura, obviously unrefined attitudes, squealing with laughter at each other’s jokes, sounding like Sopranos extras, reeking of cigarettes or pot and carrying around massive loads of whale blubber. Give me a city and a lifestyle that keeps me away from these animals….these harbingers of cultural death. If the ghosts of Honore de Balzac or William Makepeace Thackeray were to run into these kids they’d reach for their muskets and start shooting.
I made the mistake of going to a Best Buy last night in hopes of finding the Ford at Fox collection among the new releases. Forget it. I asked a kid working there if it was at least in the Best Buy database and possibly available at some other store. “What’s this DVD again?” he asked. “Ford at Fox,” I said. “Movies made by John Ford…you know, one of the great all-time directors. An old-time guy.” He didn’t have a wisp of a clue what I was talking about. You don’t have to be a John Ford scholar but to have never heard the words “John” and “Ford” spoken in sequence ….good God.
Here’s a 7.9.06 Boston Globe piece by John Swansburg about the death of the local video store. “It’s a greater loss than you might think,” the subhead reads. No, no…I get it, I get it!