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Friday, 30 December 2011

Diary: Daily Arrivals Of Nastiness

My vintage VHS horror addiction is continuing to dominate both my movie-viewing and my hobby time right now. Searching for classic and less-than-classic titles out in various cities or snapping them up on eBay is proving to be both fun and lucrative, as I have got back into VHS dealing in a big way recently. Yup, this is down to the Facebook group I remain obsessed with, Horror VHS Collectors Unite! My passion for horror has always been strong, but I am now in a position to seek out the titles I loved as a teenager (or craved, yet never got to see) and also find titles that I know people will want to buy.

Case in point is a guy called Ian, who I have come into contact with via the group. He's very cool indeed, and as we're both in the UK we have struck up a kinship over tatty old VHS tapes of bad horror movies and other genre delights. This has come to a head over the Christmas period with us swapping gifts of rare VHS tapes that we knew the other would enjoy.

My girlfriend finds this both sweet and amusing, that two grown men who barely know each other have started sending shady looking brown parcels back and forth between themselves in the name of gathering obsolete media, and I can't say I blame her.

I feel like a big kid right now, searching out all of the films I never got around to renting in the video heyday, as well as gathering all of the titles that mean a lot to me. I see these my collection as somewhat autobiographical now, which is a weird thing to say about old video tapes, but I would liken it to people who collect vinyl – that same sense of an item evoking a period in your life.

Of course, I am not just picking these things up for nostalgia's sake and to watch a few flicks, but also to sell some on as I tend to be broke (and as we have a baby on the way, I will be broke for the rest of my life) and to get quality tapes back into circulation on the collector market. I hate to think of these items going to waste, being thrown away by their old owners or just scrapped by charity shops for being obsolete.

They belong with us, the freaks who value those beautifully trashy covers and sleazy films the most. This is probably why I spend far too much time feverishly looking for forgotten gems online and why I have to raise a sheepish grin at my girlfriend when the postman arrives and there is the tell-tale THUNK of another VHS tape hitting the mat. Thankfully, she understands my fascination even though she doesn't share it, and as long as my core collection remains largely the same size and the transient tapes are sold off and recirculated, then I can't see any problems to come.

That is, aside from hipsters collecting tapes for kitsch value alone. You weren't there, man. If you don't love the films and the era, then leave them to those of us who do. I mean, I need my fix of hearing the daily arrivals. It's almost as much fun as picking out where films were cut and bitching about it online. Almost.

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