Fear And Loathing In Toronto: “Vinyl” Documentary Is Worth A Spin

30 Dec

Vinyl. A documentary film from 2000 by Alan Zweig.

Following the recommendation of one of my closest and most trusted record/movie addicts, I watched “Vinyl”, a celebrated documentary by Canadian filmmaker Alan Zweig. Five years in the making, Vinyl is (at times) a very dark film that is impossible to look away from. It’s also far too easy to identify with some of the attributes of Zweig’s cast of LP loving characters, as well as the solitary filmmaker himself.

In Vinyl, Zweig (an avid record collector), converses with the camera through a mirror, reflecting on his day-to-day life — killing mice, making mix tapes for himself — while lamenting the fact that he’d rather be putting together a bicycle for his yet-to-be born daughter. Aged 48 at the time, Zweig had unfortunately not yet found a wife to have said daughter with. If that isn’t sad enough, during the course of the film Zweig introduces us to some of his fellow audiophiles: collectors that run the gamut  from Coltrane obsessives, chain-smoking K-tel enthusiasts, to straight-up record hoarders. He explores basements and bathrooms filled with 45’s and 12″s, tries to reason with a fellow collector who no longer has room to move in his small apartment due to his vinyl obsession, is told by a friend that the reason he can’t find a wife is because he’s “too fat”, and celebrates New Year’s Eve alone. Again. It’s not surprising that half-way through Vinyl, you start to wonder if Zweig might have decided he’d be better off record shopping with Jimi Hendrix up in heaven.

Thankfully, Zweig’s story has a happy ending. Now 60, Zweig is happily married and a father to a daughter born in 2011. He has four more documentary style films to his credit that have been well received, and is currently filming his fifth full-length feature, “When Jews Were Funny”. Zweig says that the success of Vinyl “changed his life”.

It’s pretty easy to watch Vinyl in its entirety online, but I’m not going to be the one to tell you exactly where. I will however recommend that you follow Zweig, a self-described “late bloomer” (aren’t we all?) on Twitter.


One Response to “Fear And Loathing In Toronto: “Vinyl” Documentary Is Worth A Spin”


  1. Love It Or Hate It, It’s Time To Say Happy New Year Again | Cherrybombed - December 31, 2012

    […] back to regular posts on New Years Day! Also, if you really miss me, you can catch up with me at Purple Dog Records where I’ve just posted a review on the excellent 2000 Canadian documentary, Vinyl (thanks to […]

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