VHS Tracking is a fun little ‘zine published pretty irregularly by my amigo, critic and film academic Tristan Fidler. It’s pretty simple, as ‘zines should be: T-Fid picks a theme, reaches out to some interesting friends to pen a little movie essay based on that theme, and blammo! You get a half dozen film recommendations on a folded piece of A3 paper.
I like the idea that ‘zines are still around. I like the tactility and the fact that it’s an object, not a digital artifact. We’re awash on digital content, and it’s easy for things to just get lost in the static – series you would enjoy, or movies you really should see, blasted away by the sheer sandstorm force of the new stuff hitting the streams, your subscriptions, your inbox, your social feed. I still haven’t watched the final season of The Man in the High Castle, for example, and you’d think that’d be whatever the modern equivalent is of Appointment Television for me.
‘Zines are supposed to be temporary, disposable, ephemeral, but their very physicality makes them valuable – more valuable, in their way, than the digital stuff that is, ostensibly more permanent by sheer dint of their physical non-existence. It’s hard for me to walk past an interesting ‘zine. When I was in Joshua Tree back in 2019 I stumbled across an issue of Desert Oracle, a masterpiece of geographic and tonal specificity, and you better believe I snapped one up as a souvenir. How could I resist? I might order in a few more issues, even though being able to order ‘zines online strikes me as running counter to the intent of the form. Scarcity and serendipity are part of the appeal.
But I’m here to talk about VHS Tracking, not Desert Oracle. This issue’s theme is Sequels and for no good reason except I’d watched it again recently, I spilled a couple hundred words on Young Guns 2. I won;t run the text of the piece here, but have a photo:
…I sure hope your screen likes that red-on-pink printing. This issues also has ol’ mate Liam Dunn (who was there in Joshua Tree, come to think of it) on Peter Hyams’ 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Robert Livings on, of all fucking things, Cruel Intentions 2, and pieces on Grease 2, Doctor Sleep, and more.
VHS Tracking has a bit of a web presence. Find their Facebook page here, their insta here, and their blog here. And find the actual physical ‘zines around the traps in Perth, Western Australia. Happy hunting.