Monday, 17 March 2014


Hey all – big news! The limited edition first run of VHS ATE MY BRAIN has now sold out! All outstanding orders will complete shipping this week. Thank you so much for checking the book out! The experience of putting it together and getting it out there has been an incredible thing to do.

I had no idea that there would be so much interest in such a niche title, so from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to every single one of you. I am humbled, a little shocked and very tired. As I funded, signed and mailed all of them myself on top of the rest of my freelancing and a full-time day job, it's been a challenging experience which I won't forget.

I genuinely appreciate your interest in my little niche interest book on trashy old video tapes. Thank you so much.

If you missed out on the limited edition, then fear not – the standard edition book is OUT NOW WORLDWIDE via your local version of Amazon and the Kindle edition will follow shortly.


Robert Emms said...

Dear Andy,
I hope you don't mind me bothering you but I just simply had to write letting you know how much your book is bringing back fond memories of 1979 when I became of age and found the music of The Stranglers and as I was always a fan of Marvel which led to me becoming a fan of horror movies and strange TV anthology shows. In those days British people could only watch horror films either on the telly (often BBC double bills at weekends) and at their local run down cinemas. These horror movies mainly consisted of Hammer, Universal and the American Vincent Price/Roger Corman. All brilliant movies and brilliant actors and actresses however we rarely saw any American or European horrors until that is... VHS and Betamax was born! Also there was V2000 which still did not produce a better picture than Beta even though the machines and tapes
were double the size! V2000 quickly died out as Beta was on the wain (actually Beta produced a much better picture and clearer sound than VHS unfortunately for some unknown reason, to me, Beta lost the battle to a less superior product than itself.. ah well!)
Before I go I have to tell you about the first and best ever video shop that suddenly appeared in one of our old shopping centres in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. It was in a very long street full of great independent shops that could survive because rents were cheap and parking free. Now when one of my friends told me about this shop I did not have a video recorder but I knew that was just a quick job of talking my " John Wayne mad" father over into re-mortgaging the house to buy one. lol !!
When I walked into the shop which was called Norman's video store my heart just about tore out of my chest.... I was seeing films that up until now I had only read about... strange comedies and foreign westerns mixed with odd war titles and of course stacks upon stacks of weird
horror films with titles such as.. The corpse grinders, I eat your skin, Flesheaters,etc. There in front of me was Iver film services cut of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre !! His shop also proudly sold loads of great 70's porn tapes which were usually rented out by the local constabulary. lol !!
It only remained open for about 3 years as the nasties/porn laws plus competition seemed to get the better of Norman and his wife. In the year 1989 they opened another shop in Shields and rented out a mix of VHS and Laser disc however the official version of him closing this shop after only one year was that most customers were not returning the rented discs/tapes and when they did return them they (the customer) were late and so it got be too much for Norman and his wife and I've never seen them since.
I did talk my Dad into buying a VHS machine and expecting him to buy a fairly mundane cheap one he returned with a £550.00 Panasonic which could record off another machine with ease and as my friends got their own we all started swapping tapes of Rambo, Blues Brothers, Likely Lads and of course horrror! Of course that's how the video nastie survived because as soon as a decent copy was taped from it was passed around from friend to friend, etc. I am now 47 and my collection is mainly on DVDs/Blu ray now but I still have a stereo JVC video player/recorder linked up to my living room telly and still an owner of a small collection of VHS video films that remain true too my heart!
Anyway, I'll be off and thank you once again for writing such a great book which
has filled my day full of good old memories.. oh and by the way, even though I have a Tivo box,
you're right... I still say "I'm taping" when I should really be saying "I'm recording" lol !
ah what the hell ! Old habits die hard! All the best to you and your lady wife....


Robert Emms said...

I'm back but that is because I'm still reading your brilliant book and I remembered the only other Video tape shop that I fell in love with and this one was in London. I bought a video mag and this shop was selling loads of video tapes (VHS only). I'm pretty sure the title of the mag was Video World and was an excellent read but as we're talking early '80s sometimes details are a bit sketchy... I need more caffeine !!
Anyway my Dad promised to come with me to visit this shop as we fancied a couple of days break in London. He was after cowboy movies and me... pretty much anything. lol!
I had dealt with this shop before by mail order as I had bought tons of their cheap Laurel and Hardy shorts on VHS. Well, stepping into this gloomly lit shop was pretty unnerving as it also seemed to be deserted. It was'nt however, there was a youngish girl sat behind the till but a little hard to see. It was amazing as every tape you could buy was encased in those oldy worldly book case covers you would only see in an old musty castle somewhere. The actual full colour covers were professionally done and that's when I realised that this little shop was selling what it licensed and the labels as well as the plastic shells were also produced by them but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of their video label or the name of the shop. It was however the last of the great Aladdins caves of wonderful VHS tapes. They sold everything... I came away with weird horrors and cheap comedies and my Dad came away with some obscure Glenn Ford movie that he had never saw before! A year later and they closed and ceased all mail order trading. I was gutted !!
Over the years of course I sold most of my VHS collection because of space, tapes simply getting tangled and realising after my divorce that I simply had no room in my new flat so I took a trip down to the local market and sold them to a good friend who gave me a fair price. Of course Dvd has now replaced my old VHS stock but I totally agree there is a magic about those old plastic brick sized slice of technology plus those classic works of art which appeared
on those cardboard covers. I also remember those wonderful paper sleeve bootleg albums but that's another story.... however, before I go, one quick word about remakes
that you mention also in your book and I totally agree with you. I hate them! My son is of a generation who is brainwashed into thinking that the remake of Evil Dead and Texas Chainsaw is as good as the original because of the stupid hype these remakes are marketed by and they tend to dismiss the original with out actually seeing the original. Barmy!
These stupid remakes do more harm than good to our treasured horror
history. I also ask why do we have no real horror stars like we used to have so many years ago....?

Andrew Hawnt said...

Hey Robert, I can't thank you enough for those brilliant comments about and inspired by my new book. It means so much to me that other people are able to connect to it in the same way I did. It's an amazing feeling to know that others understand the importance of VHS and the whole rental era. Those were magic days in many ways and we didn't even know it at the time. It's one of those beautiful rituals which has fallen by the wayside in the digital era and I mis it. Thanks again sir. You've made a normally cynical hack very happy :)

Robert Emms said...

I just had to let all you VHS lovers
know that the old but very funny black and white film What a carve up starring Sid James, Kenneth Connor and Shirley Heaton seems to have been
given a new lease of life on VHS for some reason so watch out for copies as you should only pay a fiver at most! I managed to order a new copy from Amazon.Uk. so best of luck finding your copy.

Robert Emms said...

In case anyone is interested... I found out the name of the VHS video company who supplied that Video tape shop in London that I have talked about in my second letter. They were called PORTLAND FILMS and it turns out that they released tons of titles from the mainstream to the utterly bizarre of underground movies. Also, if some of you have any releases by Portland be aware that they are now classed as very very rare and there are a lot of collector's of VHS who will pay a lot of money for certain titles !!