I have a box of VHS tapes. I cannot throw them out. They are all full of hours of television recorded over the last 20-odd years. There are about 50 of them, all in EP. That’s around 300 hours of content. These are the mixtapes of me. The stuff on the tapes are central to the creation of who I am. I want to revisit what is on the tapes.
There were four eras of recording in the classic age.
The First Era of Recording: This starts when the family got the household VCR. It was big, heavy and had no remote. This Era runs from about 1988 until 1992.
The Second Era of Recording: This is the time when I got my first personal VCR. It was in my room and all for me. I could program it to record stuff whenever. Without regard to what other people wanted to watch. This Era was from 1992 until 1995
The Third Era of Recording: This was my second VCR, from when I moved out on my own. I was living in a new town and my tastes were changing. This Era begins after my freshman year in college. I didn’t pay for the cable for our dorm room. I had spent that year watching the tapes I did have over and over. When the Third Era dawned I had cable again and started to record new content. This was the time when I discovered MST3K. 1995-1998.
The Fourth Era of Recording closes out the Classic Age. At this time I was coming into my own, the pillars or personality were solidifying. This was when I started to record entire seasons of shows. Between the Third and Fourth Eras there was another year without cable, and another year of watching the existing tape obsessively. I had one episode of the X-Files, Sliders and Seinfeld recoded along with a handful of MSTIEs and Star Treks. In the Fourth age I was determent to not end up with a few crumbs of my favorite shows again. This is when my archiving began in earnest. Up till this point what got saved was mostly by chance. There was no plan. In the Fourth my inner prepper emerged and I started to stockpile. This was also when I discovered Newsradio. 1998-2001.
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