23 October 2016

Paul Curtis - On The Move (Video 2000)



Label: Philips
Year of Release: 1979, at a guess?

"Video 2000! What were all that about then, eh?" are words which Peter Kay has almost certainly never, ever started any stand-up routine with. In the video recorder revolution, Video 2000 was the Oric Atmos to VHS's ZX Spectrum and Betamax's Commodore 64, or perhaps the Liberal Democrats to VHS's Tory and Betamax's Labour, or... oh, I don't know, why don't you think of some rubbish and poorly fitting analogies for yourselves?!

The simple fact is that I have never, ever met in my life anyone who owned a Video 2000 machine. I knew of their existence, but everyone owned either VHS or Beta machines, and rued the day they chose Beta when that format eventually bit the dust (my family, to their eternal regret, were relatively late Betamax adopters). Video 2000 machines may as well have been ghostly myths in my neck of the woods in Essex - I don't think I even saw a player for sale in the local Dixons or Currys. They were just something that didn't touch my world. Apparently they were superior to the VHS and Betamax formats in almost all ways, from sound to picture quality to tape durability, but this cut little ice with the buying public, and the format was junked in 1986 to precious few tears.

Still, this synthetic promotional single from the late seventies gives you some idea of the kind of excitement Philips wanted to generate around Video 2000. The sleeve appears to show the player arriving in a blur from outer space, like some kind of alien tech us privileged humanoids had managed to get our hands on. The single backs this image up with dramatic whooshing noises, hyperactive slapped basslines, and the kind of synthesiser melody favoured by the Channel 4 Testcard in 1982 and the opening credits of short-lived science fiction series (probably with the face of each actor freeze-framed as their name appears on screen). But above all else, it sounded like the FUTURE. Or at least, it did at that time.

"You can't beat the system, no no no!" sing some soulful ladies, before backing this up with an even more ecstatic line about the player's fantastic ability to record many more televisual hours than its boring VHS or Betamax rivals, and with a 16 day pre-record clock facility. Trouble is, Video 2000 couldn't beat the market system, no no, and indeed, no. For reasons of timing (it was launched after the other formats) and distribution, it just didn't capture the public's imagination, and it would have taken a lot more than a slightly funky promotional synth single to put that right.

Still, in a funny kind of way, I am glad this exists, just because everyone needs the space for one chirpy disco record about defunct recording technology in their lives.



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't seem to be able to listen to or download this in any of my browsers. Just me?

Arthur Nibble said...

I take it this is the Paul Curtis who monopolised A Song For Europe for a time in the 1980's, once writing or co-writing four of the eight UK finalists?

23 Daves said...

Hi Anon, you're the second person to complain about that this week. I've tried a few different PCs and even my computer at work, and the mp3s all play fine, so I'm at a loss to explain why a few people are experiencing difficulties.

I'm afraid you're going to have to do the usual checks - check your flash player is up to date, that your security settings aren't blocking certain sites, that your OS is up to date, etc. You could also click on the Box logo in the bottom right hand corner of the stream and go direct to the site and see if they play there.

And Arthur - you're very probably right!

Mark said...

Both tracks play for me, but neither download on any browser. Great rarity, thanks for sharing!

23 Daves said...

You're right, the download option appears to be messed up. I've contacted the IT people at Box to get this sorted out, because I'm not doing anything differently at all. All the options are set up correctly, and people should be able to download - but even I'm blocked from doing so.

Arthur said...

V2000 - we had one, an excellent machine, kept it for years. Also knew two other families with them; fun to hear this nifty tune.

zigzagwanderer said...

Fantastic machines - I had V2000 models from both Philips & Grundig , great looking , super quality recording / playback , noiseless ff , rw & freeze frame , double sided tape [up to 8 hours ....] VHS & Beta couldn't hold a candle to it , sadly Philips couldn't persuade the rental shops to stock them which probaly resulted in their failure . Mine finally died in 2003 .

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is sample for "Party of bounds" by B´52s........Lol....

23 Daves said...

Good call!

OK everyone, the download rights have now been restored. It looks as if I ran out of bandwidth for this month, which seems exceptionally unusual since I'm on a paid account and it's been a very weak month for blog visitors. I'll have to watch demand carefully over the next few weeks.