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 started when my family got our first 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 anytime. This Era was from 1992 until 1995
The Third Era of Recording: This was when I moved out on my own and after my freshman year in college. I didn’t pay for cable in my dorm. So, I spent that first year watching the tapes I did have over and over. When I moved and had cable again I started to record again. This was the time when I discovered MST3K. 1995-1998.
The Fourth Era 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 recorded along with a handful of MSTIEs and Star Treks. In the Fourth age I was determined 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.