When I was a kid, one thing we did a lot was watch videos. Nowadays you show a kid a video tape, they just look at you with an expression that says "wait, this does what?!" Whether it was a tape recorded off the TV (we got a lot of our favourites that way) or one brought, we would spend afternoons watching them. Some films from that time are still ones I watch now, sometimes on DVD or bluray, others old VHS tapes because there is this amazing nostalgia from watching them. I have some tapes that are over 20 years old and I found them in charity shops, but there is one cassette that I have had for nearly 20 years and nothing would ever make me part with it because it has a huge sentimental value. Even if I didn't have my video player anymore. I do have the film on DVD but there's something special about watching the tape.
Let's go back about 23-24 years when I was a child. This is after I got over my conviction that everything with a mouth needed to be fed (I bet my father cursed my name while fishing bits of jam on toast, marbles and other things I'd popped in to that slot) and when I would watch a film my dad taped off the TV. I think there must have been something so funny about a 4 year old who would often (and dad made a recording all them years ago) burst out in to a full version of Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" suddenly singing along to the film "The Little Shop of Horrors" and I think I must have watched it so many times I killed the old tape!
Of course I did watch kids films and things like "My Little Pony" or "Thomas the Tank Engine". There's actually a rather funny story about the Video Collection company's ident (a short graphic the name of the company and/or TV station the thing you're watching is distributed by) and how it used to terrify me. My parents got so sick of having to coax a scared toddler out and eventually I believe it was my dad who took the tape apart and carefully clipped it to just after the ident, so that I could watch without getting scared! Yet this child who was scared of a 3D geometric TV spinning around and lunging at the screen didn't bat an eyelid when it came to a story about a talking alien plant who ate people, a psycho dentist asphyxiating himself before getting chopped up and fed to the plant and the other rather adult themes in there. I never said that I was a normal child.
One of my earlier memories was when I was about 5, could have been younger though, when I would play a game with the video player. This game was played by me sticking a finger in to the slot, ejecting a tape and pulling my hand away. Needless to say, this went horribly wrong when I didn't move fast enough and my finger was wedged between the top of the slot and the tape. My dad got this top loading player afterwards, I think that my curious nature may have ever so slightly influenced this.
One day when I was about 7 or 8, my mum and dad went to a car-boot sale, my dad liked going and having a look around and we often went to the market place in nearby Penkridge (a small village just outside of Stafford) to snap up a bargain or two. They had something for me and I remember my dad giving me this video of "The Little Shop of Horrors" and as silly as this may sound, whenever I watch the VHS copy, even now 20 years later, it's almost like being a child again. Sure, the tape's worn (especially on some songs) and it's not HD, but to me, that's how I prefer to watch it. It reminds me of when I was a kid (the happier times obviously) and in a way I feel more grounded in myself. We all have those things that remind us of when we were young and sometimes it can be nice to look back at the past and remember those days of being a child.
Its funny really because even now, as a grown woman, I still remember being that chubby, dark haired little girl. Heck, listening to my Linkin Park CDs, I remember the rather awkward teen who had a red Mohawk hair cut and despite the less than fun times, I remember that all in all, I have a lot of good memories of my childhood. Those are the ones I keep hold of. So, every so often, I take out this old tape, pop it in the player and relive those days, when things were so much simpler, before all the "PC" rubbish took away the things we grew up with (things like "Ren and Stimpy").
To be fair, growing up with these things never did us any harm. Natt and I were talking recently and we came to a conclusion. That perhaps it was the exposure to certain things and themes, that are pretty much completely censored, that showed us more of what was acceptable in society and we learned that other walks of life existed and we could tolerantly live alongside them. We saw what human nature can be and because we were aware of it, we allowed ourselves to learn and accept it and not copy the things we were shown and taught were wrong. This is why if I have kids, because who knows, I want to raise them with and show them the things we grew up with.