If you've got ten minutes to spare today, make some time to watch Multiple Sidosis. It's a short, home-made film by Sid Laverents in 1969. It opens with Sid on his birthday morning, being given an Akai M8 reel-to-reel four-track by his wife (who shows that mixture of distain, confusion and mild concern that will be familiar to any married gear-head). Sid disappears upstairs to play with his new toy, and discovers it has a sound-on-sound function. He rummages round the house for noise-making devices (a banjo, an ocarina, a jaw's harp, champagne bottles filled with water, a cymbal hanging from a mic stand) and records a fantastic multi-track opus. It will fill your heart with joy!
Although it's based on a true story, and the woman in the film is Adelaide, Sid's real wife, he wasn't really the Mr Average seen at the start of the film. Sid spent decades touring the Vaudeville circuit as a one-man-band, led orchestras on the Florida nightclub circuit and eventually got involved in rocket science. And the film itself was recognised by everyone who saw it as a little piece of genius - it won loads of awards on release in 1970, and in 2000 was the first amateur film to be placed in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. And although he's still in his 90s, Sid is still working, selling films by mail order. More on Sid here: Roctober.com, Othercinema.com, San Diego AMC or buy his autobiography 'The first 90 years are the hardest' here. (Thanks Antonio)
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