Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Catch, catch, the horror taxi...

One of the best hours of radio I have heard in the last year came not from a radio station but actually via a podcast from "Talk About the Passion", a podcasting collective who make recordings about aspects of British culture of which they are passionate.

The one that I enjoyed the most was from Tim Worthington and Ben Baker about the "Video Nasty" phenomenon. You can download it here.

Anyone coming of age in the 1980s or older will remember the furore from the media and politicians about the fact that people could get hold of in some cases fairly dubious (but in lots of cases relatively harmless) videos. A list was compiled which became known as the Video Nasty list and attempts were made to ban them from sale.

I certainly remember the coverage and I also remember watching a few somewhat dodgy vids myself around that time procured from "Dave's Video Van" that used to do the rounds in Runcorn, the town I grew up in. However I never really knew all the details but Tim's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject coupled with Ben's enthusiastic presenting style (and to be fair he seems to know a fair bit about the subject too) makes for a fascinating listen. The way Tim puts certain things into context too that totally hit the nail on the head is noteworthy too. For example he goes into detail about how jarring it was to go from the end credits to a screen of black and white snow and often by the time you had finished the film at night time there were no channels broadcasting during the '80s which made the end of the watching experience somewhat eerie.

There is also lots and lots of detail about the political machinations around the whole Nasty episode and an informative description of how one of the trials trying to prosecute a distributor spectacularly collapsed as the judge essentially accused the Attorney General of having wasted public money.

If you are interested at all in 1980s popular culture I highly recommend listening to this excellent analysis of one of the most memorable moral panics this country has ever witnessed.

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