Saturday, 28 April 2012


Dear Reader,

Welcome to my third attempt at writing a post about V. The first two live in a metaphorical dustbin along with my first attempt at B and some other nonsense. This metaphorical dustbin is not full to overflowing but it's getting close. I wonder if I can recycle?

When I think about video I am actually thinking about two things, the first being video cassettes. For those not old enough to remember some explanation is required. Video cassettes were ubiquitous devices which came in the pre-recorded variety and also provided the ability to record television. These abilities were completely new to lounges and living rooms across the world. It was quite simply a technological revolution.


I remember as a child coming home one Christmas Eve to find the gleaming silver machine sitting under the TV. There was much excitement in the house. We spent most of the rest of the evening trying to work out how to schedule the recording of a television program. It was hellishly difficult, almost as difficult as finding a Higgs-Boson particle. Going off topic a smidgeon, whilst searching for stuff on the Higgs-Boson, or God particle I found a Higgs-Boson joke. As it is possibly the only particle physics joke I have ever heard I have to share... 

A Higgs Boson particle walks into a church...
The preacher says, "Higgs Boson particles aren't allowed in here! You call yourself the God-particle, that's sacrilegious!" 

To which the Higgs Boson particle replies "If you don't allow Higgs Boson particles in here, how do you have mass?"

So, being Christmas Eve, suffice to say we didn't work out how to schedule a recording. We were still getting it wrong three years later. It was hard. The other thing that the video recorder did was playback video. Dear Papa had been to the video shop and hired some movies. Hiring videos at this time was the only way forward as films, when first released were prohibitively expensive, as much as £70 pounds. As a consequence there were video shops everywhere, which brings me to the second part of my ramble about video, the video shop.

The video shop was a special place, like comic shops and record shops, where the geek shall thrive. The geek may not inherit the Earth, but it will inherit a small, dusty part of high streets and malls all over the Earth. The assistant in the video shop was king or queen of all he or she surveyed. They were also the font of all knowledge regarding everything on the shelves. 

Mere mortals like you and I would browse the shelves looking for some entertainment to brighten a dark winters' evening. Once you had worked your way through the popular titles, (which may or not be available by the way) you would find yourself wandering through the budget sections hoping to find something. This is where the video shop assistant held sway. They knew everything about the less frequented part of the store. If you were lucky they might share this information, or they might not.

You wander to the checkout with your copy of "Ninja Assasins on Acid 4" or something equally ridiculous and wait to be liberated of the rental fee. The video shop attendant would look at the chosen title and, depending upon the perceived quality of your choice react in any of the following ways:
  • Catch the attention of a colleague in the near vicinity, roll eyes and nod in a negative way. Geeks work well in pairs apparently.
  • Catch the attention of a colleague in the near vicinity, run over and high-five said colleague and then return solemnly to the checkout. It was never made clear what this meant.
  • Giggle, smile, hand the video over saying "it's your funeral, dude."
  • Giggle, smile, hand the video over saying "you should try "Assasins of the Ninja on Acid 4, it's genius, but on hire at the moment."
  • Smile, hand the video over saying "Fine choice, this is Inky Marunichi at his best." This didn't happen very often.
There were many more scenes played out which basically said in a number of ways that you weren't cool enough. You suffered this though, because you had to if you wanted to watch a video. 

On that long gone Christmas Eve Dear Papa must have had to endure this for the first time. Not knowing how best to deal with new and challenging retail situation, he asked for assistance. As a consequence the video shop assistant will create a playlist. What a playlist it was. We watched three movies on the shiny box of moving dreams that Christmas Day. It was certainly a bit of a departure from the norm, when it comes to Christmas Day telly.

So, we watched Dirty HarryDeath Wish II and Dawn of the Dead in that order. 

What else would you open presents to?

Better that the Queens' Speech

It was either this or Coronation Street

I imagine the video shop assistant would have felt his work was truly done, having come up with this Christmas Day playlist. Suffice to say it was a Christmas that I would never forget. 

More soon Dear Reader,



  1. Oh man :( I miss video cassettes! I lived on those as a kid

    1. they were great until the machine chewed them.

  2. I remember videos! When you finished, you had to rewind it all the way back to the beginning, but we always forgot and so we had to do it next time we wanted to watch the movie, which was annoying because it took ages! Thank God for DVD's!

    1. I forgot about that... If you rented something form the video shop and it was not rewound you cursed the last person who hired. Then when you returned it wasn't rewound, well, that's what happened in our house anyway