An old friend of mine popped into the store today. I haven't seen this guy in 15 years but we're still mates on Facebook and he keeps up to date with all of the FakeShemp.Net stuff. He now lives in Cairns (QLD) and he's flown down for a few days. We were deep into conversation about football when some bogan Chopper lookalike fuckwit came from out of nowhere and cracks some retarded joke about Collingwood's dental plan. My friend and I give him a nervous laugh in agreement, to which he took that as permission to keep going. Holy shit, you should have heard this guy. He then started talking about how he managed to convert his his daughter over to Essendon with a white chocolate Freddo Frog and how she's "easy", which according to him explains why he's got so many grandchildren. Then he switches gears and starts talking about Croydon and how ferral it is and that he wouldn't step foot into Cash Converters. Of course he's not wrong but it was a strange thing to hear coming from a man who looks like the Croydon ambassador. Then he started talking about "that fuckin' place on the Gippy Highway called CRIMEbourne" Oh he was having a great time practically talking to himself. Hilariously he didn't give himself enough breath to stop and realize that my friend and I were looking at each other in a perpetual state of WTF. This guy was clearly a lunatic. With a handlebar moustache, only a few random teeth and a haircut that Ted Bullpit would be proud of he was a true one of a kind (That's a figure of speech. Sadly his type are everywhere). And as if it wasn't hilarious enough that this guy looked like Mark Read he left us with a line that made our jaws drop... "Right. Better get back to deal with all these fucking school kids!" -- yep, turns out he is the local bus driver! ROFL.
After he left I turned to my mate and said "Right. Now you can back me up when I say that these Tales From A Clerk stories are true. You've seen it with your own eyes!".
It has been 9 days since Robin Williams died. The loss is still resonating and many of us are still dealing with it. Not a day goes by that I don't have people ringing my store and asking for DEAD POETS SOCIETY... as though it were the only film he's ever made. I have at least 45 of his films in stock and have a list printed at the counter for people wanting to explore his extensive catalogue. Sadly the only film people are interested in is bloody DEAD POETS SOCIETY. Sure, it's a good film but it's not a great one. In fact it's part of that tiresome formula-machine that churns out the same movie over and over with new faces and new angles -- To Sir With Love, Lean On Me, Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds (etc) -- They're all the same!
Every day the phone rings. "Do you have DEAD POETS SOCIETY?". Most of the time I inform them that the film is on hire and mention that we have over 40 other films of his available including The Fisher King, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Again, The Birdcage, One Hour Photo, Hook, Aladdin, What Dreams May Come and August Rush. Most people say "no thanks" and hang up but if I'm lucky a few might stay on the line to discover films they never knew he made... and even then, most of them only wanted DEAD POETS SOCIETY and never ask for other titles to be set aside.
Robin Williams has left us with so many films. Many hilarious, many dramatic and a some that are chilling. His talent extends far beyond DEAD POETS SOCIETY and if people truly want to spend some time reflecting on his brilliance then perhaps they ought to think outside of that box. After all "Carpe diem!" (damn I hate that phrase).
This topic is an ongoing theme throughout this website and I've written various similar articles
My favourite type of conversation to have in the store is about the amazing childrens & family films of the 1980s. It's always a wonderful and nostalgic point of discussion and every now and then I am able to offer some insight and trivia that people never knew or considered. I just had one of these conversations with a lovely lady who has been interested in introducing her kids to some of these classics. Naturally I am only happy to oblige. Last time she was in she had a specific film in mind and desperately wanted her kids to see THE LAST STARFIGHTER. And so it was....
She returned today to continue our discussion and she seemed a lot less enthusiastic. THE LAST STARFIGHTER had frightened her kids and she was now very hesitant to continue her quest. Her kids are aged between 7 and 12. She was a little shocked to discover that the movie was a lot more confronting than she remembered it being as a kid. So then I started talking about that being the wonderful thing about 80's kids flicks... that they challenged kids and gave them something to think about and helped build up a resilience. We talked about movies like FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR, THE DARK CRYSTAL, GREMLINS, THE NEVERENDING STORY, ET and THE GOONIES. She agreed with me that these films made her childhood wonderful and that her memories of them were fond ones. Again, she was surprised to realise how confronting they were upon reflection. She told me that as a mother she was now too scared to expose her kids to them. "What if they have nightmares?"... "It might scare them" etc.
As lovely as this lady is (very lovely) I think that she's neglecting the fact that she grew up just fine. That she remembers these films with affection. That her kids are no younger than she was when she loved these titles. That being a little bit scared during a movie isn't a bad thing.
And so I did recommend that she persevere and put her kids to the test... but I also gave her a good list of some tamer 80's family films like THE WIZARD, LITTLE SPIES and UNCLE BUCK.
Yesterday I lost my voice. With work and the Melbourne International Film Festival currently taking up a heap of my time I have probably been burning the candle at both ends. But there is also a lot of flu going around and being a video store, many of the sickies end up at my counter and no amount of hand-sanitizer is going to stop all bugs in their tracks. I can handle sick but not having a voice while behind the counter is problematic. I took yesterday off and spent it resting on the couch. I tried to do the same again today but none of my staff were able to help out at such short notice.
To compound my frustration I am having some serious computer issues and if I don't have them resolved by 5PM I will be up Shit Creek with a turd for a paddle. Right now I am waiting for help to arrive and so this blog is helping to pass the time.
But to the purpose of this post... what the fuck is wrong with people? My God there are some morons out there and sadly several of them have been through my store this morning. When customers approach me at the counter I have had to whisper (as best I can) that I have no voice. Now if I were a customer and had a clerk tell me that they couldn't speak, I would go about my business without trying to irritate them. The last thing I would do is ask questions. Unfortunately for me, several of my customers have not afforded me such consideration. The first woman to walk in came to the counter and said hi. I pointed to my throat and whispered "I'm sorry but I have no voice today". She replied "Oh that's ok. I'm wondering if you can tell me what TRACKS is about? I've heard good things" -- is she fucking serious?? I honestly CANNOT talk and so I picked up the cover from the shelf and showed her the back (you know, where the synopsis is!). The next customer was a guy who wasn't even looking to hire movies. Again, I made it clear that I am unable to speak and his response was "This will only take a minute. Can you tell me how to get to Warrandyte from here?". -- serious? And then there have been a few others who understood that I am vocally challenged but still wanted to know how my day was (at least I can respond with body language and expression).
I really shouldn't be working today. So who wants to come and fix my computers and do all of the talking?