“What if I told you...” It’s an enticing phrase. All the best ads start with it. “What if I told you there was a way to have a nice thing and still remain solvent?” Or, “What if I told you that you could get older without looking like a sea-cliff?”
Well, what if I told you there was a form of home entertainment that was more satisfying than a Netflix series? That when you finished it, it was finished and you didn’t have to race to the laptop to stop it whispering at you, getting inside your mind to stay up for another hour?
It’s called a movie and you get it on a DVD (pronounced Dee Vee Dee). It’s quite steam-punk, actually. You get a disc and place it in a thing called a player. This is different to something like the RTÉ Player, in that it’s an actual object, as opposed to something on the internet. It also differs from the RTÉ Player in that it does what you expect.
You press ‘play’, and then, approximately two hours later, you are finished. There might be a sequel, but you won’t know about that yet. The characters behave in a similar way to a Netflix show. There are complexities, they have conversations, cars sometimes get turned over. A lizard-like thing might still crawl out from behind the skirting board. There’ll be riding.
Seriously, though, films on DVD: why didn’t someone remind me about them before? Say goodbye to the nagging workload of your Netflix to-do list. Say goodbye to the awful, crushing realisation that, before you die, you will not get to watch all the TV shows recommended to you.
Say goodbye to worrying about spoilers and whether you can even talk to someone, in case they accidentally reveal that Grunwald was actually a shapeshifter himself and The Mother had had another child, who turned out to be the killer.
We’ve watched more films in the last week than in the previous couple of years. Not all were amazing. Some were culled from cult lists. But it has been great fun. We watched Burn After Reading, from 2008, and they made us watch the trailers. How quaint to have to wait.
One of the trailers was for the first Fast and Furious film. When it was just ‘fast’ and ‘furious’ and there was no linguistic contortion to describe the sequel. Like next year’s one, ‘Fast and Furious 27: Fierce Fast and Fairly Furious.’ That’s not all. What if I told you there was a way to get DVDs for free?
Or books. It’s called a library (pronounced LIE-BERRY). Your local library has a load of them. Now, some might be a bit Dealzy, but there’ll be a few gems in there. But, get this: you can order nearly everything else. It’s not on-demand. You have to wait. But so what? Who rehabilitated the word ‘demand’, anyway? Demanding used to be a negative thing.
A demanding child or double-barrelled people demanding to speak to the manager over nothing. Now, on-demand is a selling point. Well, I’ve learned a new inner peace. I can’t have Mary Poppins when I want it. It’s on a shelf in Carlow and someone else is using it, thank you very much. But if I just put a request in, it’ll be sent to my library in due time. I’ll just have to have patience.
And then I get an email saying Phantom Thread is ready for me to pick up. What a thrill! All over the country, the-bleeding-obvious staters like me are rediscovering what a magical thing the library is. It. Has. Stuff. You. Like. For. Free. It just trusts you to take care of them and bring them back.
You never see the phrases, ‘driving delivery across a number of verticals’ ‘leveraging our greatest asset: our people’, or a million other bullshit phrases. Libraries. They should make a Netflix series about them.