VLS is just one expression of the Vanlose Stairway, a place paradoxically mythical and real. This specific manifestation, this VLS, is also a paradox. It was both cutting edge and low-tech, created on the edge of that transition between old-school tape trading of Van's music and the digital age.

Our first low bandwidth efforts began in the early 1990's with what was then a new idea - sharing Van Morrison's music via a dedicated .mp3 server. CD burners were expensive, dial-up access to the net was still the norm, but the music couldn't be held back. The VLS was born.

The Vantrades community was receptive, and VLS contacts grew. So did the scope of our ideas: if digital trading of audio could be a success, why not digital video? The technology to make that possible was nascent, but growing. The VLS began to create and distribute Video CDs from VHS tapes that previously had seen only extremely limited circulation. As with .mp3 audio, in those days compression was a compromise most were willing to make in order to experience the performances of the Man. Once again the VLS headed out, tripping along the stairway that has led us today to our world of fat pipes, .flac and DVD downloads.

But if you were around at the time, you know this may also be so much hogwash. Other groups and individual efforts of the time did as much or much more to spread Van's music. But few seemed to have as much fun doing it! VLS didn't just share the music; they fashioned a space that was both public and covert that became known as
"The Bunker." From that citadel, while invoking the buffoonery of both George Bush and Peter Sellers, VLS launched their productions and provocations. Some were amused and others offended, but it was never boring. Uncounted fans enjoyed the efforts, and best of all, a great bond of friendship was created in the unofficial VM vaults and in the garden between the unknown holy fools who just might be dwellers on the threshold.

A big hand for the tapers, a big hand for the band: God Bless Van Morrison!