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R.I.P. VHS

A new history of video unpicks the medium's many lives

By Josephine Livingstone  
video cassette VHS tapes

Laura-from-across-the-road and I once tried to rent Titanic. When asked her age, Laura answered (truthfully) that she was only 11. I remember the cashier’s expression as a silent thunderstrike of disdain commingled with respect, rolling across Blockbusters in an invisible shock wave. Laura just didn’t have it in her to lie.

For children of the 1990s, walking to the local video-rental shop meant journeying into a…

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