Friday, 12 January 2018

Want to Be Part of the Video Tape Swap Club?

Netflix is a wonderful marvel of modern entertainment which provides hundreds of thousands of hours worth of visual delights with just a few swipes of a screen. Apparently. I've only used it a few times, so can't really comment on the stranglehold it has over our modern viewing habits.

I do, however, absolutely love the rich history of British TV. I also adore the nostalgic thrill of wading through old VHS tapes to discover the home recordings which may be lurking within. So, why don't I try to combine these two passions? Well, I already do and my Archive Tape Digging articles are testament to this hobby obsession.

However, what I'd really love to do is create something which is a little more communal, so that's why I've dreamt up the Video Tape Swap Club. And, no, it's nothing like Blockbusters. Or even LoveFilm. Instead, the Video Tape Swap Club will provide a curiously analog alternative to Netflix with all the mystery and excitement of a lucky dip down on the village green.

The concept is pretty simple: one member sends in a video tape and, in return, they receive a tape sent in by another member. All you pay for is the postage to send the tape to myself, I will then post the tapes on to the other members at my own cost. In return I'll want a little bit of feedback on the whole process and, more importantly, what you thought of the recordings on the tape, so that I can write an article for the blog.

It's a very, very loose idea at present with no end goal in place, but I'd like to trial one round of swaps with 10 people to see how it plays out. So, if you fancy taking a break from the modern age of television, please read the rules below and get in touch via Twitter or email.

Video Tape Swap Club Rules

1. No porn!

2. All tapes must be recordings from TV from the dawn of home recordings (late 70s) up until 1996 to give a nice retro sheen to the viewing experience.

2. VHS tapes are the default submission format, but if a number of members have Betamax players then Betamax tapes are more than welcome.

3. Video tapes must be at least two hours long to provide a decent evening's entertainment.

4. The tapes must be clean, free from mould and provide a watchable picture (a little fuzz and noise is fine, but no prolonged picture dropouts).

5. At least one hour of the tape must contain complete British TV e.g. two episodes of EastEnders or one episode of Casualty and an episode of Bod. The remainder of the tape can be anything, but no porn!

6. You must be happy to wave goodbye to your tape forever once it's submitted.



  1. This sounds like a brilliant idea. Sadly I threw away my last remaining videotape about three weeks ago - a red SupaSnaps VHS with the 1991 European Cup winners Cup Final on it. I'm sure there was also a seasonal repeat of the 1973 Christmas TOTPtagged on the end as well.


    1. I'd have bitten your hand off for that 1991 Cup Winner's Cup video! Big Man Utd fan!