October 19th

My name is Peter, and I'm a videoholic.

I have an erratic work schedule at my Other Job; this week I've worked Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm now off Thursday and then I put in 12 hours again tomorrow before having the weekend off. What was the first thing I thought of this morning when I awoke? ... well, after caffeine, of course ... "Get over to Scarecrow [http://www.scarecrow.com] and see what they've got left in their annual used video sale."

Scarecrow used to be my local video store when I lived about ten blocks away. I moved across to the other side of town and only get in every month or so now. In my personal opinion Scarecrow is one of Seattle's treasures, and it is probably one of the two or three finest video shops in the nation. It's an immense structure, continually evolving, and dedicated to bringing people and film together. They put on film festivals - I was honored to meet the guest of honor at their John Woo festival several years ago. They may not have 50 copies of "Rocky XXVII", but if there's a video with only 8 copies existing in the world, they'll probably have a copy. Entire shelves of videos from many nations around the world, one room full just of anime, psychotronic, collections of old TV shows, and more. Much of the main floor of the shop is devoted to a large series of shelves for directors - 75 of them, I believe, voted on by the store staff and ranging from Kurosawa to Jarmusch, John Woo to Luc Besson, Beat Takeshi to Peter Greenaway and many others even more obscure.

They tend to hire 'true believers' to work here. In this store if you ask one of the clerks something like "..uh, it was a WWII movie that had that guy who sounds like Sinatra..." he'll point you right at Harry Connick Jr in "Memphis Belle". Of course, if you ask them about that Bridget Fonda's "Point of No Return" they may well try to stir you towards the original and much more worthy "La Femme Nikita" with Anne Parillaud.

Every year in October they have a sale of used films, often including selections from the personal collections of staff members. This year I missed the opening day [October 13th I was busy hanging from hooks at the 'Bloodbath'], and much of the good stuff goes fast, but I have obscure enough tastes that there's always something left for me to pick over. Today when I got there I counted eight head-high bookshelves filled with a little bit of everything.

I picked up just a few today. A copy of "Fantasia", which I've long wanted. An antique issue of Dustin Hoffman in Fosse's "Lenny", along with another obscure import I'd heard of. Left on the shelves behind me for the next fellow were a large selection of treasures, ranging from "Butterfly Kiss" to "Reform School Girls", "Silverado" [which I already have] to "At Play in the Fields of the Lord" [which I thought about adding to my John Lithgow collection].

Even at relatively cheap used prices, it is an expensive hobby. I recently had to build a wall full of VHS sized shelves, and I have somewhere around 250 over there right now, the last couple dozen still awaiting being added to the inventory list. At $2 to $20, averaging around $10 each, it adds up.

It just gives me pleasure. And it is the things that give me pleasure, that make life so good.


Oh, and here's my disclaimer that I am not now nor have I ever been on the payroll of Scarecrow - I'm simply a satisfied customer who is reeely glad they exist.

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