Friday, July 23, 2010

VHS: The New Nostalgia

Nostalgia is something I obsess over. Be it the archives of junk I have collected from over the years or listening to vinyl, the experience is something I utterly love. It's not just the actually music or the pictures of yesteryear, it's the fact that it's all tangible. The digital age may have ushered in better quality home movies and cleaner sounding audio files, but owning an album on vinyl is just a more satisfying experience. Looking through photo albums is more enjoyable than perusing Facebook for pictures from that ridiculous party. The point of this post, however, isn't about vinyl or 35mm pictures but about another now well outdated medium of technology that I feel still has a gratifying experience attached to it: VHS.

Having worked at a video store for four years, the VHS/DVD transition was inevitable and I took advantage of that. Plucking up VHS as we sold them all off for $1 at the time seemed like a great idea. Sure, I'd have a VCR for years and probably could buy one for cheap. Now that DVD will soon see it's end to Blu Ray or even other formats, VHS is a new relic. DVD's made the cumbersome "be kind, rewind" a moot point and the quality is worlds better for sound and picture. But something about VHS is magical. Recently getting a VCR (or as I prefer to call it a VHS Player) from a friend, I opened my Rubbermaid filled with VHS tapes and it was a treasure trove of goodness. Be it out-of-print classics like Hal Hartley's Trust, which is only available on Netflix streaming, or old tapes of stuff taped from television, I really do miss the idea of VHS. The trailers, the classic commercials for Coke before 1988's Batman, having your high school prom video interrupted for 8 seconds for a brief glimpse at The John Larroquette Show... all of it made me miss VHS even more.

So I say Hooray to VHS. Keep purchasing them when you see them at the $1 bin at a yard sale. You never know what kind of hilarious trailers for forgotten movies you'll see or what commercials are packaged before the trailers. It's that kind of vintage nostalgia bomb that really makes the VHS experience something worth more than skipping the trailers before a DVD and getting straight to the movie. Maybe it's too soon after the death of VHS to call it too nostalgic, but I revel in the death of VHS and hope that someday it sees the same rebirth that Vinyl has.

Side Note: I pride myself in only owning a VHS copy of Videodrome.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I still buy VHS occasionally. Some films just never made the jump to dvd, or if they did, aren't meant for the u.s. region code. I've got some Alex Cox and Hal Hartley films on VHS, and I doubt they'll ever get converted.