In March 2016, I finally took delivery of the hardback edition of Adventures in VHS. It was the culmination of about five years work and an incredibly proud moment. But it feels like a long time ago now…
After all that collecting, viewing, podcasting, writing, editing, designing and marketing, I had it in my hands. Despite the setbacks, I’d done it. But as good as I felt about sharing my book with the world, more than anything else, I felt relieved.
No more blog posts. No more long evenings writing, recording and editing podcasts or trying to raise funds to get the thing printed. No more rewriting, proofing, scanning or procrastinating about second, third or fourth drafts. I was done. I didn’t have to play the ‘film Twitter’ game anymore either. I was free to live my life. Get stuck into my new job, spend time with my new family.
The thing is, I’m kind of used to having a project on the go. So it was inevitable I’d start to miss all those things after a while. I toyed with all sorts of ideas. A history of teen sex comedies (Adventures in College?), an exploration of lost superhero movies and franchise rights (Adventures in Spandex?), even just another 60-film VHS odyssey that would act as a direct sequel to the first book.
But while the latter idea was the one that kept pulling me back, it didn’t feel like enough. I wanted to evolve the project, to add to the conversation and dig into some of the wider themes, trends and pop culture touch points of my childhood. I didn’t want to just talk about VHS movies and the video store rental experience again, not when there was so much more to cover. I wanted a new project that was rooted in 80s film, but pulled in television, toys, commercials, cartoons, comics… I didn’t want to make Adventures in VHS 2, I wanted to make Adventures in VHS Too.
So that’s what I’m doing. Adventures in VHS Too will once again consider the weird and wonderful world of 80s movies, but will be expanded to include everything else about the decade that made it great. And, through that wider cultural lens, I hope to explore why it was so great. To give you an example, the first episode features The Dark Crystal (1982), The Never Ending Story (1984) and Labyrinth (1986), but rather than review one or more of them, I’ll talk about the adult themes of those movies that seemed somehow more common back then. I’ll speak to experts about the impact they may have had on children like me and consider more recent family features that have done similar. In episode 2, I’ll focus on a specific toy franchise that was particularly special to me. But again, rather than just look at the animated film, I’ll cover everything – the comics, the marketing, the toys and the long-term cultural impact.
For now, the plan is for Adventures in VHS Too to be a podcast, but with associated blog posts, social media bits and quite probably some video. As I create and curate content for it though, there’s every chance it will end up being a book. I’ll not burden myself with that as a promise just yet, but it is a possibility. In the meantime, the monthly podcast will run at around an hour, feature guest interviews, clips and more, and hopefully have a ‘documentary’ feel to it.
I’m excited about the show. I hope you dig it. The first episode will be up at the end of February (you know me, I take my time) and I’ll be reposting the original Adventures in VHS shows before then. So, if you see them pop up, please spread the love so people know ‘Too’ is on its way!