I’m an unrepentant dinosaur, as obsolete as back-stop on a cricket field.

I still own a VCR.  VHS remains my preferred method of recording from TV.  The Old Ball and Chain’s second son, The Ampersand, has made it his mission to drag me, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century and so has insisted his parents acquire a “smart” TV.  So I asked him “How smart is it? Does it have an act? Can it dance, sing or tell jokes?”

“Not that kind of smart, you Jackass!” was his disrespectful reply (now I know how Rodney Dangerfield felt every day). “It will eliminate your needing VHS or DVD”  “Very nice of it, I’m sure” was my sarcastic riposte “but I happen to like my tapes”. But he had a plan. Every week, he slithers into the room like Karl Blythe into leadership races and inserts a stick into the TV’s rear-end. Like magic, Old BC and I can watch plenty weird movies (the Ampersand likes weird movies) that he has somehow put on the stick.

“Where’s the tape?” I asked him the other day trying to figure out how the movie found its way onto the TV screen. “In the same cave as its pal, Fred Flintstone” was his dry reply.

The problem is we’re forced to watch movies the Ampersand wants us to watch.  He knows that, left to our own devices, I’ll watch Westerns and Marvel movies non-stop while Old BC will watch “Rom-coms” and anything with Denzel, Pierce or Harrison.  So he started us off with a movie that spent two flipping hours showing a man buried alive in a coffin with a cell phone.  I swear to God. One scene. The only action happened when the chappie tried to use the phone.

We complained.  So he gave us a movie (true story apparently) containing two hours of a chap who somehow got his hand trapped under a rock.  I’d read about this moron so, as I said to the Ampersand, it was but a low budget repeat of TITANIC where movie-goers sit through a long, drawn out fiasco knowing how the movie ends before it begins.

When he produced a movie of a man in a car driving and talking on the car phone for two hours, the fight began. Every father wants to encourage his son to find his niche in life and The Ampersand is a movie buff who has his own regular movie review podcast (with co-hosts friend @damion_whyte and the Computer Whiz @djrlosthisname) at but these quirky movies were bridges too far. He had to be made to understand Mom and Pop needed entertainment.

When I confronted him he only chuckled and sent me a report he seems to have found on Feistybook headlined Japan Will Make Its Last Ever VCR This Month. While I reeled around the room with my hand over my heart muttering “Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you” to an imaginary dead wife, he pointed me to: “….it might surprise you to learn VCRs are still being manufactured in Japan – until this month at least. The last remaining Japanese company to make the units – Funai Electric – has announced they will no longer be producing them due to declining sales and difficulty acquiring parts.

“So,” the Ampersand threatened darkly, “if you don’t behave, I won’t give you the odd romantic comedy (for Old BC) or The Hateful Eight for you (Tarantino/Sam Jackson at their best) like I’ve been doing.” He closed with what he knew would strike fear in our hearts: “You’ll have to go to Carib!”

There’s still hope. The article did also report: “Despite flagging sales of VCRs, collector sales of VHS tapes are booming, with some rare editions fetching up to £1,500 a pop, like the John Carradine-narrated Journey Into Beyond, which has [recently] seen a £1,000 sale.

Many collectors consider VHS to be the vinyl of analogue video recording and think the future could see them hoarded just as enthusiastically.

So, laugh while you may.  I’m may be as old fashioned as a mixture of bourbon whiskey, simple syrup, water, bitters, ice, sliced orange and maraschino cherry but I’ll be hanging onto my VHS tape of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s 1985 concert tour. It features the sexiest duet I’ve ever seen (with both fully dressed) as they do We Got Tonight.  “Who needs Sheena Easton?” indeed.

I guess you know you’re a dinosaur when your TV’s smarter’n you!

Peace and Love


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