Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Smoke on the Water

As someone who used to own most of the movies he watched I take special pride in saying I am now of the opinion that collecting movies is a rather useless waste of money. A part of this u-turn of opinions is to do with seeing how my ultra expensive laserdisc collection turned worthless the second DVDs came out: from $70 USD a pop they became something I would sell by a box full at $10 AUD. Another part of it is to do with the abundance of cheap quality material: whereas before the only option for high quality movie reproduction at home was buying a laserdisc (or later renting one at more than $10 USD per movie), today I pay $2 AUD for a Blu-ray and I also have other venues pushing down high definition material in my direction. Some of these are conventional, like off air TV, and others not so conventional like my PlayStation 3 games.
The one exception where buying a "film" makes sense is with music videos, for the simple reason that you're much more likely to re-watch a musical performance (or, god forbid, just settle for re-listening to it) than with a proper film. But there are cracks on that wall, too: we've discovered that ABC2 features regular music broadcasts in its weekend lineup. Just a week ago, for example, their Saturday night lineup featured Deep Purple, Suzanne Vega, The Cure and Beck.
An argument could be raised about ABC2's broadcast quality. They don't do high definition, but standard definition digital can still give DVD a run for its money in the picture department (especially when upscaled). Sound is definitely inferior to DVD, with a very lossy stereo sound instead of a regular DVD's lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Still works for me, even when I can feel the compromise.

Of those four previously mentioned performances there can be no doubt which became my favorite. I used to think that I'm over Deep Purple, but there is something primeval in their better songs' rhythm that gets me hooked every time. And in that particular performance broadcast on ABC2 they also do a nice jazzy version of Smoke on the Water (in addition to the real thing), which even makes the band feel somewhat original.
And so it came to be that Dylan got to know his first proper, as in damn good, song. Play him Smoke on the Water and watch him dance while head banging; sing the title line and listen to him recite the guitar chords. Ritchie Blackmore can't do it any better!
Me, I am proud of the educational role I am playing in Dylan's life.

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