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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 hour drive away. I stuck with the computer screen too. Although plenty of my friends had video game consoles or Amigas or Vic 20s, my 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 real-life girl from Canada!) 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. Various breaks for work and travel meant it took me a long time to finish that degree, but soon afterwards I started this here blog. It began as an outlet to muse upon the things I encounter on screens, a kind of logbook to assist my terrible memory rather than anything worthwhile or substantial. Initially, foolishly, I was trying to write a little something about every single thing I watched. In the meantime, I embarked on a Masters in Film Archiving and, unsurprisingly, the blog fell by the wayside.
Now that I’m studying towards a PhD in Film Studies, and all the proper academics have websites on which they shamelessly whore out their scholarly utterances and other textual ablutions, I figure I should do the same. So here it is, a place on which to post about things I have written elsewhere, half-baked notes on films and other people’s writing, and other pieces of trash that no-one in their right mind would publish. Mostly it will be about films, some times it will not. For more of my ‘real’ writing, check out my Academia.edu profile, or my blog on Australian cinema (if you’re into that kind of thing), The Far Paradise. Alternatively, if your desire for incoherent babble knows no end, you could also follow me on Twitter.
So, now that 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. Or just, you know, write things sometimes…
The confessions of a screen addict start now!