Friday, January 16, 2009

Before and Done

I'd probably acquired them from a supply closet with tacit approval from one teacher or another after promising them I'd tape a performance or rehearsal or some such. I've had a bag of around 10 increasingly venerable videotapes since 1987 or so, and finally handed them over to a friend to digitize.

"You won't want to watch them," I said, "they don't matter to anyone except me and a handful of people." They were over 20 years old, marked BASF and were still packed in the ugly stiff brown plastic cases that marked them as expensive and state-of-the-art 20 years ago. They'd been around $7.50 apiece at the time, which makes them...hell, I don't know...$28.00 in adjusted dollars. Or something. The tech is dead. Who cares.

Me, apparently. I wanted them on DVD before the tapes turned into dust or landfil out of something close to sentimental reasons, or just to try and remember why I thought it was a good idea in the first place. The short little sketches I cut together on a linear editing system (entry/set - exit/set - 10 sec runup time - record - repeat) played pretty much as I'd expected, something between an above average episode of Home Movies and the lost recordings of the Max Fischer Players. I'm still in touch with a few of the people in the video, and came across a few others on Facebook, so I posted clips for the amusement of the throng.

I'm linking to this one with the much-repeated proviso that it doesn't matter to anyone except old friends who wandered in front of my borrowed camera in the 80's (I put it to music in '87, stealing the Claire De Lune angle from the astronaut barbecue scene in The Right Stuff). If you're reading this and you're IN said video and want it off the internet for reasons of privacy (or simple good taste), let me know. For everyone else, just remember it's very very old, okay?



When this went up on Facebook and YouTube, I received a few messages along the lines of "Look at my hair," "My god, we were young!", "You'll hear from my lawyer on Monday," and the like. That wasn't unexpected. But this recent comment from a seventeen year old Claude Watson student named Iva came out of nowhere:

"it's so sad to watch, somehow. Of people that actually went there, and I go there now, soon to be graduating. One day there'll be people looking back on us"

Yeah. It happens to the best of us Iva. Try as you might, nothing goes away. At best, you can chuckle over exactly why you thought it was so important at the time without looking down at it.

So...apologies to Orit, Suzanne, Evan, Gwen, Raquel, Erin, Sean, Niki, Lisa & Lisa, Yana, Jon, Erin, Maya, Janet, Kirsty, Ken, Kim & Kim, Don (in absentia), Elyse and Laura for the digitizing. You're somebody's object lesson in looking back.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this - I would never have happened across it on YouTube. I always tiptoe around nostalgia; it so often seems a feeling that masks good judgement, and makes people attribute more importance to things than they deserve. This clip was nice to look at and remember those that have been out of my thoughts. I remember your interest in film, but I don't remember you wandering around with a camera. Interestingly, I have a pretty strong memory of the moment you captured of me playing 'cello for a group in the lobby of the theatre.

What do we call a thing (is a digital representation of a video montage a thing?) that has no meaning except to those whose image it recalls?

Jeff

Derbecker said...

No idea - ephemera, I guess. Somebody else's nostalgia is always boring, or at least distanced enough that it doesn't mean anything. But if you catch a glimpse at something that you influenced or were influenced by, it means something. Even if it just means a nod, or a cringe, or recognition.

You can't avoid something you were in. You can grow past it, ignore it, rue the day, wish you hadn't, wish it hadn't ended, make it irrelevant. You can't erase it.

Or somethin'.

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