Focusing on two entirely different individuals fueled by their passion for collecting, Sound It Out and Analogue Kingdom are documentaries that paint an affectionate portrait of their subjects and emphasize the independence of their unwavering expertise. The latter, a loving 24-minute depiction of Gerald Wells, takes us into the well-preserved halls of the British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum, which he has spent his life curating whilst “under the spell of the radio”. Esther Johnson’s camera gazes tenderly at the vast and lovingly preserved relics taken from a time before, as Wells surmises, broadcasters lost the freedom of the air; vestiges that helped turn his obsession into a mentally questionable livelihood.
Sound It Out, on the other hand, features Tom Butchart’s alternative fixation with vinyl and music, only he uses it to power a humble record store (the titular Sound It Out), which is one of the very last of its kind situated in the dilapidated town of Stockton-on-Tees in the North-East of England. With a 50,000 strong collection of everything from Abba to Adam and the Ants, Tom helps his numerous regular customers to find that elusive LP, offering them escape from their lives and respite from the impersonal ethics of megastores like HMV, who are seen as very much the dominant enemy. Jeanie Finlay’s touching, comical paean to this cultural rarity, its faithful clientele and a town that has lost sight of its heyday is a well balanced and seminal celebration of the independence of humanity, and comes highly recommended.