This might be repairable, and I'll certainly take a look tonight, but I'm not confident of my skills in this area. Also, it has to be a couple of years since I last used it. Replacements aren't readily available, apart from hugely expensive VCR / DVD recorder combos that I don't want to buy, and a bunch of what I can best describe as crap on eBay, e.g. 25 plus postage, no remote.
Bottom line, there's maybe five or six tapes I might want to play again some time, most notably a couple of films that aren't available on DVD as far as I know - Cast a Deadly Spell and Witch Hunt. And of course I actually have about fifty tapes around the place, and they take up a LOT of space I could really use for other things.
Unless it turns out to be an easy fix tonight I think it's time to say goodbye to VCR, and look for someone who can copy a couple of tapes to disk for me.