The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

The mysterious Canadian parcel – musings over how we collect and connect

with 19 comments

This post begins with the arrival of a parcel in my mailbox. I had no idea of what it contained. It came from Canada. It was somehow related to movies. Apart from that it was a mystery.

I bet you want to know what was in it? You will eventually.

You’re not in a hurry, are you? I’ll get you a drink. Just sit down and relax. We’ll begin this post from a different end. If you think we’re getting lost in all those stories from my life, just hold tighter to my hand and trust me. We’ll get back on track. And the package will be opened. And now – the beginning:

Where we begin

“Do you own any movie related items that you are very proud of”?

I got this question from Nostra as he did an interview with me in the moviesite spotlight series a few weeks ago. And it was a tricky one to answer.

Until now I had thought of myself as a film fan. If you’re so much into a hobby that you blog about it, you’re probably a bit of a geek. But the thought hadn’t crossed my mind to start collecting items. What kind of items? Are we talking first edition Star War toys? Original posters from the 40s? Or the notes from Ingmar Bergman to his housekeeper?

I had nothing like that. The thing is: I’m not by any means a collector, not in any area. I’ve never been, unless you count my short career as a stamp collector at the age of seven. I’ll tell you a bit about that.

My stamp collection
Back in the days basically all kids collected stamps to some extent. I had two full albums of them. My father used to bring home envelops from his job and I tore away the corners where the stamps were and put them in water until the glue dissolved and they came up to the surface and then I dried them and put them in my album. However those stamps looked pretty boring.

For instance UK had rationalized their stamp motives so they only showed the one and same thing: Queen Elisabeth in various colors. That wasn’t exciting at all, not compared to the colorful stamps with tropical birds and fishes from countries you’d never heard of that you could buy in a 50-package in a shop. It was a little bit weird that they were stamped and yet had the glue left on the backside, as if they’d never been put on a letter. But so what, they were so beautiful!

At least that was what I thought until someone pointed out that those pretty stamps weren’t real ones. They were fake pieces of papers that were produced, not to be put on letters from far distant countries, but just to trick foolish children like me who bought them. And that realization brought my stamp collecting to an abrupt end and made me look at the art of collecting with new, suspicious eyes.

My book collection
But it wasn’t the end of my collecting. I did a little bit more of it, but in a different area.

You see, for many years I had a very romantic look on books. Perhaps it was under the influence of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, but I imagined them more or less as living creatures. This meant that someone needed to come to their rescue every time they were facing the risk of destruction. And if there was no one else around to do it, I took it on myself.

Whenever someone was moving and wanted to trim down the shelves a bit, whenever someone had died and left volumes that the relatives didn’t know what to do with, I turned up with my paper bags and brought home as much as I could carry. I had to save them from a destiny that I pictured as horrible as the destruction plant in Toy Story 3.

This “collecting” lasted for long until I slowly started to realize that in the end, it was the ideas in those books that mattered most to me, not the withering paper in the old and ugly paperback editions and that if I kept doing this, there would eventually be no space left for me in my apartment and I would choke in a cloud of dust. It was either the books or me. So I stopped. I’ve still got a lot of books, but the collection isn’t growing out of control anymore.

My favorite item
My changed approach to the necessity to own the books I read also has affected how I look on films nowadays.

It happens only rarely that I buy a film. I usually either watch them in a theatre or at my film club or I borrow them at my library or rent them in a store. I don’t feel the urge to have a huge collection of movies. I don’t re-watch a lot, and if I want to, there’s nothing that prevents me from renting or borrowing it a second time.

But here I were with Nostra’s question hanging over me. What movie related item was I most proud over?

I thought and thought and thought and finally I came up with an answer. It had to be my film card, the card I got for reaching the highest level of the loyalty program at my theatre. It represented a lot of movie going. I go to theatres on average once a week. Rather than pirating I pay for my movie watching, which means that I support film makers as well as theatres, keeping them in business. That surely could warrant a certain amount of pride, couldn’t it? If it weren’t for people like me, I suppose they couldn’t keep going.

That was my response to Nostra. But I couldn’t escape the feeling that I had cheated a bit. The question was aiming for something different. A collectable.

The parcel
And this brings us over to the mysterious parcel from Canada. Finally we’re going to open it. Finally its content is going to be revealed. This package was going to change everything. At last I got a film related item that I could keep as a souvenir.

The sender of the parcel was my fellow blogger Corey Atad at Just Atad. He wanted to surprise me with something that he knew that I would appreciate.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I have a crush on the sci-fi director Vincenzo Natali, who also happens to live in Canada. When Corey found out that he was going to appear at a convention, he went there and had the director sign a blue-ray copy of Splice especially for me.  There’s even a little drawing of the Splice creature on it.

The connection
Needless to say, I’m delighted. Believe it or not, but this is actually the first autograph of a celebrity I’ve ever owned. And I appreciate it much more than I ever could had imagined.

The signed Splice recording is a physical expression of how we’re all connected – filmmakers as well as fans.

Sometimes in midst of all the virtual communication, with all the words floating on the electronic highways, packages of 1:s and 0:s, transporting ideas between Twitter accounts and blogs, we forget that there are human beings in the other end of the line.

Corey isn’t just an internet voice. Vincenzo Natali exists for real. They’ve both hold this blue-ray in their hands, writing on its cover, putting it in an envelope, sending it all the way across the Atlantic to me.

Every time I look at this blue-ray I’m reminded of that.

I haven’t watched it yet. While it’s regionfree, I have sadly not got around to buy a blue-ray recorder yet. Hopefully I’ll get around to do it before they’ve replaced it with some new device. And if not? I’m still proud of this item.

You could call it the beginning of a collection.


Written by Jessica

April 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

19 Responses

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  1. What a nice gesture from your friend Corey. A gift that is well thought out is so much more valuable.


    April 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

  2. I know exactly what you mean Jessica. I had a similar experience late last year thanks to another Canadian (I guess they are very nice people). I just need to find the right opportunity to pay it forward I guess.

    • They’re woderful! Corey keeps complaining about how bad Canadian movies are, but I don’t believe him. All Canadian movies I’ve seen have been wonderful. I suppose they leave the bad apples for their home market, sending out the good ones over the world. Sometimes in the form of mysterious parcles.


      April 9, 2012 at 8:04 am

  3. That’s a very cool story. It’s always fun receiving surprise packages in the mail.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    April 7, 2012 at 4:05 am

    • It is. Goods that isn’t virtual is a rarity these days. Just to see the handwriting on the wrap… it was special.


      April 9, 2012 at 8:02 am

  4. 🙂

    Corey Atad

    April 7, 2012 at 4:39 am

  5. That’s wonderful!


    April 7, 2012 at 5:30 am

    • It is! Last time something like this happened was when Ixobelle sent me a package from Japan. Awww. Fond memories from my WoW days!


      April 9, 2012 at 7:53 am

  6. Ha ha! Love how you structured this post, like we were just sitting at the end of the bar and you were telling your story. Nicely done. As usual.


    April 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    • Thanks! That’s basically how I like my Friday posts to be but sometimes I forget to get into the tellers’s mode or it just doesn’t suit the post. But I do it when possible. After all this IS a café, right.


      April 9, 2012 at 7:51 am

  7. How cool! The legend of Froham continues…

    Steve Kimes

    April 9, 2012 at 1:13 am

  8. Interesting look into your collecting history and surprised to see what went through your mind when you tried answering my question! 🙂 Very nice to see you got something you love and cherish!


    April 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    • Thanks! I finally got something better than a plastic card. 🙂


      April 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

  9. What a neat blu-ray collectible! I’d be lucky if I got anything signed by any celebrity, New Zealand’s just about the most boring country in the Southern Hemisphere for celebrities!

    On the subject of stamp collecting, this is a dying art that desperately needs to be revived. My sister collected stamps almost obsessively when she was a teenager so that she could sell them. She had hundreds. My mum told her to keep them and not sell them, but she didn’t listen and sold them anyway. To this day she wishes she hadn’t done that. Ah, youth.


    April 12, 2012 at 1:48 am

    • I have the feeling stamp collecting really is a thing of the past. There used to be clubs for this, which had youth sections as well. And every year there was “the day of the stamp” with a lot of arrangements. All gone. I believe those who still do this are mostly very old.


      April 12, 2012 at 7:40 am

  10. […] hover fly collector As I’ve stated before, I’m not the collecting kind of person. But many people […]

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