Friday, April 29, 2016

Blast from the Fetish Video Past

The things you rediscover while packing for a move...

Though some may not believe it, there was actually a time before easily streamable and downloadable MP4 fetish video clips. And even before those compact (and easily hidden) DVDs. In those days, fetish films came in a bulky plastic cassette filled with a near-endless ribbon of tape—which of course regularly caught in the machine that played it and then unwound into its own predicament-bondage-worthy mess you spent the next half-hour untangling.

That was if you could find them, of course. It was a happy fetish day when my local video-rental store (those were once a thing, too) installed a giant porn section, with an extensive fetish subsection, behind that curtain in the back. But I lived in a major city at the time. And even there, before then, I could only find these videos in an adult bookstore. But they were for sale, not rental. And the store itself was more than a little creepy. We weren’t talking today’s clean and bright Pleasure Chest back then.

So instead of a website, you would send away for a printed catalog, which was like a website but on paper. That could be a jam-packed, small-print, four-color extravaganza of a large newsletter for IBN, or a black-and-white booklet for Nu-West/Leda, or just a xeroxed page listing titles and prices for a certain Pro-Domme who made her own (and whose name I unfortunately no longer remember).

Videotape was the future back then. And the idea of being able to see moving images of a Domme taking it out on a sub, in my own apartment, and on my own TV, and anytime I wanted, was a Really Big ThingTM. Because sometimes you just didn’t want to haul out the Super 8 film projector, and try to remember where you’d hidden those films so that they didn’t get mixed in with the home movies, and then set up that special screen that always seemed to tip over in the process and scare the dog.

Those were the days. Sort of.

And yet those tapes had something the Internet clips today lack. It often took serious work and effort to even find them, let alone buy them. They weren’t just material for an otherwise frustrating evening home alone, with another clip (or ten) that might be an even more specific fit just a click away. They were treasures, even those that turned out to be near-misses for your kink buttons. Because in a small, hard-won library, every title has value.

So when these tapes turned up again, I felt a real thrill, and one much greater than when I now sometimes rediscover a clip on a hard drive that I’d somehow forgotten I had. Because finding these reminded me of just how good we kinksters have it today, but also how what little we once had sometimes meant so much more.

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