Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

An uncannily fortunate occurrence

This evening I experienced a stroke of good luck of such inyerface obviousness that I can only take it as an omen of some kind. It's only a small thing, let me hasten to assure you. I didn't stumble upon a cancer cure while cooking up meth, or suddenly realise how to bring about world peace via an epiphany during a game of Risk ("Don't you see!? We put all the world's armies on Papua New Guinea!") No, it was the specificity of the thing rather than the thing itself which sent little shivery tingles down my spine.

About half an hour ago I was browsing amazon.co.uk and idly typed "Takeshi Kitano" into the search box. I have all of his recent films, and I've been meaning to get the first two on DVD for a while now. I saw them ages ago, and - though his films have gotten progressively better in my view - the first couple are still excellent in their own right.

So I clicked on Violent Cop and was pleased to see it marked down to £5.97. Bargain, thought I. But then I noticed that it was listed as "usually dispatched within 1 to 2 weeks". There's something inside me balks a little when I'm asked to wait a couple of weeks for something to be hand-delivered to me, when there's a good chance I'll walk past shops during that time which stock the thing. Even if it does cost a bit extra. There's a weird nexus of time, money and convenience being traded off one another in a way that makes me vaguely uncomfortable.

Anyways; bugger it, thought I. I'll try Boiling Point instead. This time I was delighted to notice that it is "usually available for dispatch within 24 hours". But at almost 20 quid? It's a film I want on DVD alright, but I could almost guarantee that Cavern Records on the High Street would be selling it for roughly the same price, if not a fiver cheaper.

Bah! I reached for the pot pipe to chill out, and ignore my disappointment at coming so close to the retail-rush but not quite achieving climax. Only to discover that I'd run out of matches. Bastid bloody things! So despite the freezing cold and the scary drug-crazed pitbulls that The Daily Mail insists are out there, I was forced to venture out and buy some matches.

Cursing my general ill-fortune (in a way that someone who's just made the decisions I'd made has no right to do) I stood in line at the cornershop. It's a typical Asian convenience store, of which there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, around London. One of the usual fixtures in such shops is a DVD or video rack containing about 2 dozen very bad films... straight-to-video Kevin Costner movies and their Asian equivalents. Above the rack in this shop was a sign that read simply: "Any 2 for a tenner".

Of the two dozen on the rack, 22 were straight-to-video Kevin Costner movies and their Asian equivalents. The other two were Boiling Point and Violent Cop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Highly unlikely.

Remind me to show you Logan Pearsall Smith's reflection on not being able to find a match.


19/1/05 04:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(today's anon is iotar)

As if God were answering the question, "Got a match?" with the waggish reply, "Yr face, my arse!"

How can one imagine the arse of God?

Please turn in yr hymn books to hymn number 76.

19/1/05 13:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(and this anon is Tango-Mango)

Uncanny. The other day I went up the road to the newsagent opposite Safeway in Stamford Hill, mainly because they've had interesting fillums in the 2 DVDs for a tenner box. Last time it was a Damned live gig disc; this time it was - you've guessed - Violent Cop (and The Dead Zone as well). Didn't see Boiling Point there though, so maybe I should go back and have a gander sometime soon.

Good film too; nice and Zen. Now to get Sonatine.

21/1/05 21:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(anon Tango-Mango once more)

Well, I went to a different shop on the same road (but further down) and guess what - there was Boiling Point...

27/1/05 14:05  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

What onearth is going on with North London convenience shops and DVDs of Takeshi Kitano films?

I tell you; it's an unlikely nexus, and one which - if fully understood - I feel certain would lead to a greater understanding of the universe as a whole.

27/1/05 14:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Given this situation of somewhat good fortune, I can only estimate that I'll continue scanning the two for a fiver bxes of every single convenience store, newsagents, post office and launderette with a heightened level of cult film awareness for a good while yet.

It's not even the fact that they're that cheap (it's possible to get a 3-disc set of Violent Cop, Boiling Point and Sonatine from Play.com for £15 - effectively the same price) but the joy of finding such things in unlikely places.

It was for this reason that I would scour the video rental shop (now long closed) on Stoke Newington Church Street every couple of weeks for the end of stock deposits of CDs which always seemed to end up there, mostly from Southern distribution. Among the pop bargain bin dreck would surface albums by Coil, The Resients, Silver Apples, The Fall and many many more: often in now-rare editions on defunct labels and usually priced ridiculously low.

Of course the local family-friendly video shop has been swallowed up by the Islingtonisation of Church Street and has been gone for at least half a decade and more; it was a place where you could guarantee the owner would be glued to Neighbours twice a day whenever I stopped by for a pleasant hour's hunting for curiosities, that the selection of films was mostly obvious and unappealing - but that was what made it all the more satisfying.

30/1/05 10:51  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

> the joy of finding such things in unlikely places.
That's precisely the reason I always take my old records, videos and books to the local charity shop instead of 2nd hand book / record shops.

I love the idea of someone stumbling across Chomsky's Rogue States or Chesterton's Man Who Was Thursday in Oxfam. Or Easter Everywhere by the 13th Floor Elevators in Age Concern.

31/1/05 17:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed - has benefits on all sides really.

I still relish finding a Drain (the band of King Coffey from the Butthole Surfers for those who don't know) 12" in the charity shop on Morning Lane in Hackney.


31/1/05 18:53  

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