SCREEN ADDICT

 

Not me, but not far off.<br>(Jean-Pierre Léaud in Les Quatre Cents Coups)

Not me, but not far off (Jean-Pierre Léaud)

My name is Stephen and I am an addict.

As far back as I can remember, I have been obsessed with screens. Don’t get me wrong, I did my fair share of outside things. I played plenty of sport, I embarked on little adventures in the hills behind our house, I built treehouses and rode skateboards, but the screen was always there.

Like any other kid, I could spend hours in front of the TV. But I was also obsessed with computers, cinemas, even illuminated billboards. I never really noticed it until I was about 12 or 13 and, having just finished watching Monkey Magic, my friend had picked up his Pigsy-style hoe and wanted to go out and re-enact all the best bits. I, however, insisted that we go to his room and see how far we could get playing Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. He got annoyed, of course. He complained that all I ever wanted to do was watch TV or play on the computer. He called me a “Screen Addict”.

Things just spiralled from there really. I watched a lot of television and took any chance to see things in the cinema. Those chances were, of course, few and far between, since the nearest cinema was a half hours drive away. I stuck with the computer screen too. Although plenty of my friends had video game consoles or Amigas or Vic 20s, we were a bit late getting a computer. Eventually, Dad bought a Commodore 64 from god knows where, probably an auction or a garage sale. Soon though, we’d upgraded to a proper PC. We were also the first people I knew who had an internet connection at home. I’d spend hours online, chatting away on LambdaMoo (I even made friends with a Canadian girl!) or surfing the early shore-breaks of the world wide web, voraciously feeding my obsession with The X-Files and semi-clad female celebrities.

To cut a long and boring story short, years later I started an Arts degree and chose film as my major. And since I’ve finished that degree, I figure I could do with an outlet to muse upon the things I encounter on screens. And that’s where Screen Addict comes in. More akin to a logbook to assist my terrible memory than anything worthwhile or substantial, Screen Addict is a play-by-play account of just about everything that I watch, whether on TV, DVD, in a gallery or on the big screen.

Basically, if I watch something, I’ll write something about it. It might be a short synopsis or a lengthy examination of a particular scene. It might end up being more about the grand old picture palace I saw it in, or the inherent crappiness of the DVD transfer. Either way, the posts probably wont be particularly fancy, or informative, or arrive in any discernible context. I’ll leave that for more respectable places, like my Suite101 page

So I’ve admitted I am powerless when it comes to screens, I’ve made a list of all the people I’ve harmed in the course of my addiction and I’ve made direct amends wherever possible. Now comes the part where I make a searching and fearless moral inventory of what I’ve seen.

The confessions of a Screen Addict start now!

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