Monday, 30 March 2009

VHS Video Nostalgia: Click, Whirr, Fizz

I must be getting old. The first signs of nostalgia for a faded medium is making its presence felt. With my parents it has always been Vinyl (and the odd 8-track), and while my mother still has issues using a video recorder, it seems to have passed her by that the humble VHS cassette is now hopelessly dated. Hell, a lot of people aren’t even using physical media any more, let alone videos. The thing is, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the humble VHS tape.

This isn’t just down to the video library I built up during my teenage years, but also the fact that as a media, videos were pretty damn reliable. Yes, they would get chewed up and spat out by angry video recorders (VCRs to the rest of you), yes you sometimes forgot to knock out the record tab and taped over something beloved, but on the whole they were great.

I still have some tapes from being 13-15 years old, which places some of them at 15 years old in my collection. They still work perfectly. The films they contain have dated, but those tapes still play as well as they did when I first got them. Gah, see? What did I tell you? I’m getting old.

While some DVDs do carry trailers, they really aren’t as cool as the ones you used to find on obscure SF and horror flicks, rented from the cheap bins at the old video shop. The trailers on those things were sublime morsels of undiluted joy and wonder. The films they were advertising were probably terrible (more than likely), but the art of the trailer editor was at a peak on those things. They could make the worst pile of mindless trash seem like the most glorious piece of film ever made. Plus, the fact that you couldn’t even get hold of half of those films made the trailers seem that little bit more exotic.

Yes, you couldn’t fit much on the things, but that satisfying Click, Whirr, Fizz sound still fills me with joy. You could get excited by the box art, the trailers, the dodgy films and TV shows held within, and appreciate them in all their fuzzy, badly copied glory.

Mind you, I don’t miss screwing around with tracking. Dear God, tracking was a nightmare to sort out.

Tell me why I loved VHS again?

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