I’m still unboxing my moving boxes and in my process of doing so, I realised that I might very well have the entire collection of my childhood VHS tapes intact, not missing a single tape. Not quiet so surprising given that I was fiercely protective of my VHS tapes, even writing “owned by” on some of them to distinguish between mine and other family member’s therefore painting a red line and not allowing anyone to touch them.
I stroked the old tapes, now laced with a fine layer of dust. I spent so many good days buying these from around the world and Al-Neqra complex. The cartoons, the plays, the movies. The ones I bought never were recorded on, the ones my siblings bought were always recorded on by some show or another. VHS tapes used to have a plastic piece in the left corner of the tape and if that piece was broken you couldn’t record over the tapes.
That didn’t stop us however, for we filled in the plastic with some tissues and sellotape and the tape was good to go and be recorded on numerous times again, which also explains the tissue inside the Thunder Cants tape in the picture above. We also had numerous blank tapes in different recording lengths and by the 90′s VHS players were advanced enough to allow slow recording which stretched the recording time but lowered the quality of the recording. The shows we recorded on blank tapes by my father had his beautiful handwriting on them, ones I recorded on mine had my not so beautiful handwriting plus, well, stickers and sometimes ownership status and warnings to not touch or record over.
Even the stores that sold these VHS tapes no longer exist. Al-Hashash in Jabriya, Al-Wisam and Video Najib in Niqra Complex, all closed down now. The only VHS selling store from the bygone days that’s still in business is Funoon Center in Salmiya where I still go to buy old Kuwaiti plays and shows (post).
Those black tapes once held my universe. I loved them then and I love them still. I can very easily transfer all of them into digital format now but I’d never throw them away. A relic of my past that I’ve held on to for as long as 30 years and they are not going anywhere soon. Maybe one day they will become antiques that I’d donate to some museum or something, who knows? If you are wondering, yes I still have my VHS player by the way ad it’s working fine and dandy.
Do you remember the days of the VHS tapes? Do you still have any VHS tapes laying around or did you throw them out?