So Farewell then, Laser Video…

Laser DVD in Dublin.

Laser DVD in Dublin.

First, some quick house­keep­ing. For the moment, I’m going to be post­ing here once a month, as opposed to every week. If things are par­tic­u­lar­ly slow in your neck of the woods, and you’d like to hear why, by all means drop me a line in the com­ment sec­tion, and I’ll make a short sto­ry bor­ing. But for the moment, onwards:

For any­one who’s lived or stud­ied in Dublin over the last 25 years, Laser Video, as it was and then Laser DVD wasn’t so much an insti­tu­tion as it was a life­line. Since it moved to Georges Street from Ranelagh 22 years ago, it fos­tered around it a com­mu­ni­ty of aspi­rant film mak­ers and musi­cians and the intel­lec­tu­al­ly curi­ous from all around the city and its environs.

Women Without Men.

Women With­out Men.

The last three films that I picked up from there, as I recall, were: A Time For Drunk­en Hors­es, a Kur­dish film from 2000 that man­ages to be incred­i­bly cul­tur­al­ly spe­cif­ic and yet time­less­ly uni­ver­sal; the sump­tu­ous Iran­ian film Women With­out Men from 2010, which I reviewed ear­li­er here; and Fassbinder’s sole for­ay into sci­ence fic­tion, World On A Wire which was orig­i­nal­ly broad­cast as a two part mini series on Ger­man tele­vi­sion in 1973.

All three were a joy to behold and are impos­si­bly hard to get your hands on. Or at least they would have been, but five years ago.

The truth is, I’ve been to Laser sig­nif­i­cant­ly few­er times over the last two years than I had in the pre­vi­ous two. And I had been far few­er times dur­ing those pre­vi­ous two years than in the two before them. I had every inten­tion of fre­quent­ing it as ardent­ly as I had in the past, it just didn’t happen.

David Byrne's True Stories.

David Byrne’s True Stories.

The very tech­nol­o­gy that made a place like Laser pos­si­ble ulti­mate­ly ren­dered it redun­dant. Or at least com­mer­cial­ly unvi­able. It was the rev­o­lu­tion in film dis­tri­b­u­tion thanks to the arrival of video that lead to the cre­ation of a place like Laser. And it’s the Inter­net and the rip­ples cre­at­ed by the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion that have lead to its trag­ic demise.

It’s des­per­ate­ly sad for every­one involved. And we’re all going to miss it ter­ri­bly. And I sup­pose, if anyone’s to blame, we all could have made a bit more of a con­scious effort of late.

But, for good or ill, the world has moved on. To quote from True Sto­ries, which is exact­ly the kind of film that you would only pre­vi­ous­ly have ever chanced upon in Laser. David Byrne, whose only work as a direc­tor this is, turns to cam­era, and says:

What time is it? No time to look back.

Farewell then, and thank you.

Sign up for a sub­scrip­tion right of below and I shall keep you post­ed every month(!) on all the very best and worst in film, tele­vi­sion and music!