TV & Film
See Hear Podcast episode 49 - Desperate Man Blues and Vinyl
There are two sides to every story. We at See Hear HQ decide to look at both sides of the contentious question as to whether record collectors (and by extension, collectors of any physical item) are archivists or hoarders.
Tim, Bernard and Maurice are joined by Professor Michael Benton from Bluegrass Community College in Lexington, Kentucky for episode 49 of See Hear to talk about two films that explore record collection from two very different angles.
Australian film maker Edward Gillan’s documentary from 2003, “Desperate Man Blues” is a snapshot of the record collecting activities of Joe Bussard from Maryland. Bussard has been collecting old country, blues and jazz 78s from the 1920s through to the 1950s. At the time of filming, he had anything from 15000 to 20000 records. His knowledge of what we currently call Americana is unsurpassed. He has a genuine joy in listening to and sharing the music he has spent a lifetime collecting.
On the other side of the coin, Toronto documentarian Alan Zweig’s first feature length film, Vinyl puts himself and many other record collectors under the spotlight to ask what prompts them to “accumulate” records. Zweig’s contention is that the music takes a backseat to the gathering of records – all for the sake of the hunt. He tells many of his interview subjects that they (including himself) cannot form meaningful relationships with others, and so record collecting manifests itself as a substitute for human interaction. Far from flattering. Is this film just cheap therapy for Zweig or is he just playing devil’s advocate to get discussion going?
The crew discuss the different approach taken to the subject matter between the films, as well as how close to home these films (Vinyl in particular) may have hit. You may collect DVDs, model aeroplanes, matchboxes…….the ideals of historical preservation vs accumulation for its own sake still hold. Should we judge? Tune in for what we believe to be a fascinating and robust discussion.
The crew wants to thank Michael for joining us for his first See Hear episode – it will not be his last. He was a fantastic guest.
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If you want to follow Michael’s writings and activities, you can read his blog Dialogic Cinephilia at http://internationalfilmstudies.blogspot.com. You can also join look for the Bluegrass Film Society group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/133248476719239/
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