Friday, November 27, 2009

The Dawn of the Video Age: A Tale of Mirth and Woe

The Dawn of the Video Age: A Tale of Mirth and Woe

"I'd like to hire a video please"

"Yes, well, we've got a wide choice."

"What do you recommend?"

Our family had joined the video age with the purchase of a top-loading Panasonic VHS machine wth clunking great buttons on the front.

It had cost the best part of four hundred quid, and another forty was blown on two tapes to feed it. One was the good-but-not-brilliant Porridge movie from which I have gleaned my lifelong "Our ordeal is over" line, and the other was blank.

We immediately recorded Jaws on the E-180, and couldn't record anything else until a major pay rise funded some more blanks.

I was, then, ordered to join the corner shop's newly-formed video club and get in some top-drawer family entertainment.

"What do you recommend?"

"What are you after?"

Comedy. If there's one thing that brings a family together - and ours in particular - it is comedy.

"In which case, I've got the very film for you. It's a scream."

Friday night.

We all sat round. Family. Friends. A few guests who had never seen a VCR in operation. Solemnity mixed with a little bit of excitement, all thanks to the magic of Hollywood.

Lights down.

"Fuck you"

"Get the fuck out of here!"

"Fucking fucking fuckity fuck"

"Get the fuck out of here!"

And so on, for 105 fuck-filled minutes.

Lights back up.

A circle of family members, friends and guests, all doing very passable goldfish impressions.

In retrospect, Beverly Hills Cop was a fucking awful choice for a family movie.

"Well. That was pretty fucking poor, wasn't it?"

Elderly aunts, eh? Holding a grudge against Eddie Murphy all the way to the grave.

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