lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

Collecting or clutter?

DVDs, books and games, post-purge

An article over on Unclutterer caught my eye - Is collecting a form of creative hoarding?

As I type this, virtually all of my worldly possessions are sitting in a storage container, waiting for me to pick them up. This includes my DVD collection. I’ve always thought of it as a ‘DVD collection’, never as ‘clutter’. H. has always thought the opposite. Now, I’m beginning to wonder - who’s right here?

For two months now, I’ve been getting by with the stuff I brought with me in my suitcases. And the only thing that I miss is my Xbox 360. I really wish I’d brought that instead of my PlayStation 2. I could be playing Forza 2 and boosting my achievement score right now instead of playing through Kingdom Hearts 2 and hanging out with Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty fucking fruity.

I tell you what I don’t miss though: my DVDs. I brought a handful in a CD folder – things like 2001, Idiocracy, Spaced – things I could watch again and again. And I’d say I would miss those if I hadn’t brought them with me, but what about the other 1,175?

Let’s pick an extreme example: The Tao of Steve. Will I ever watch it again? I seriously doubt it. It was a bad movie and I didn’t enjoy it when I watched it. I think the only reason I hold onto it is because I had myself convinced that my DVD collection was like some shiny communist state and every disc was equal. So I would no sooner get rid of ‘The Tao of Steve’ than my three-disc Criterion Collection edition of ‘Brazil’.

But they’re not equal. Not even close.

Filling in the insurance forms for the moving company was also pretty eye-opening. Averaging a value of €10 per disc, the insurance on the DVDs alone came to €12,000. And considering the final value of everything was under €15,000, it got me thinking - is this still a collection? Or did it cease to be a collection the minute I started buying things like The Tao of Steve, or Jack Frost, owning them just to own them?

Of the DVDs I own, I reckon there are about 200 that I love. Really love. And I’d be upset if I didn’t have these. That leaves, what… 1,000 DVDs I could afford to let go of?

Anyway, it’s left me with this food for thought. Would I rather: **A: ** keep convincing myself that it’s worth holding onto films like The Tao of Steve, just in case Donal Logue dies a tragic death and its value suddenly skyrockets and I can retire early. or **B: ** sell the cruft on eBay and use the proceeds to buy myself a Macbook Pro and maybe even a nice new Cinema Display.

So - any offers on 1,000 DVDs?