Three years ago, I wrote with remorse about Britian’s biggest high street electronic retailer taking VHS off the shelves for good. At that time, all I could think about was all my childhood memories recorded on videocassettes piled beneath our VCR, my favorite movies tucked on the side (Snow White, Cinderella, The Sound of Music, Three Men and a Little Lady, Beauty and the Beast), and the hundreds of videocassettes tapes that managed to make it to our collection (I used to use them as building blocks for castles with on the floor). I could see myself as a little girl going to the video rental store, and going home with a dozen of quite heavy videos piled in a plastic bag that eventually gives in to their weight and rips. I could clearly remember my dad’s silhouette leaning over a table and opening a videocassette container to mend it after the boys had somehow managed to have it fly off it’s shelf with a soccerball.
At the time that I wrote that post, we still occasionally used the VCR; seldomly, but we sometimes ran down the street to the videostore (now closed) or decided to watch a movie from our older collection (now covered with dust).
Today, three years on, most videoshops in town have either long since erased cassettes from their shelves or turned into mobile phone stores. Today, three years on, the pile under the television is actually of 1-JD DVDs, courtesy of the corner video store in downtown Amman. Today, three years on, the videocassette, age 30, is officially laid to rest, as Hollywood pulls the plug on VHS releases.
Perhaps most dramatically for myself though, I realize that one day I will be talking about those heavy, boxy things that you had to manually rewind in the same tone that my parents talk about old vinyl records:
“They were so big!” Mama would say. “And then, you would put the needle on a specific location and it will actually start playing!”
“Really?” we would ask her amused. “A needle? You couldn’t just press rewind and wait for only 10 minutes for it to rewind by itself?”
Alas! RIP videocassette. There will be no more waiting.