Thursday 3 September 2009

Video: A forgotten love

I can still remember how excited I was about Gemma's birthday the year we were going to watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The video had come out that week and Gemma's party was to be a sleep over with take away pizza and Kevin Costner in tights- as a ten year old (?) this party seemed the absolute height of cool. The video had such an amazing picture and it was in those years when videos had only just started coming out so quickly after a theatrical release- prior to this I'm sure it took nearly a year for a film to be available at home.

A couple of weekends ago I was part of an eighties video fest- and the videos were watched on genuine VHS with those large boxes that seem to have gone out of fashion in the mid nighties.

We all now the bad things about videos, they wear out and develop strange snowy lines; the sound can perish over time and leave a strange whirring at integral moments; fast forwarding through trailers, messages telling us not to make pirate videos and adverts for Milk tray and Tia Maria takes an exceedingly long time and rewinding them takes forever (videos are almost almost at the end when you go to watch them).

What I think I'd forgotten is that there are some very good things about video- and what I hadn't realised is how watching videos would take me back to a certain childhood innocence and excitement. It's actually great fun watching the old trailers and adverts and the fact that you can't fast forward through anything makes you watch a film properly, from the opening credits (when did opening credits stop having music and a list of about a hundred names just accompanied by music?)to the very end. The fact that pausing is a bit of a pain and that you can't just skip back if you miss some dialogue makes you really pay attention and even the gentle hum of the video machine is quite relaxing.

The video fest has made me see that there will be a time when a certain kind of technology enthusiast will start to collect videos. It's also made me realise that I am going to treasure the videos I still have in a more loving way, rather than just looking at them as old clutter I really ought to sort out. Video's might be a bit big and clunky but they served us very well for a long time and now I look at them lined up, unloved and often unwanted in charity shops and feel a bit sad. Sorry videos I have forsaken, I hope you found a good and loving home and I did love you and in a way I do miss you.

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