Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last of the Indie Vid Shops

For all the justified mumbles, grumbles and moans regarding the decline of local record shops - it's easy to overlook the disappearance of another small scale independent entertainment outlet. Video rental shops. The last of the indie vid's in our area shut up shop a couple of weeks ago, and until the closed sign was finally flipped forever it maintained all the required trappings and trimmings of a generic local video shop

The 'card-full-o'-signatures' loaner system (was there ever a name for that?)

A sticker claiming '6 (or 8) copies available' on recent releases - although all 6(or 8)copies were rarely available.

Poster splattered walls and windows.

Oddbod titles with one solo signature on the rental card 'Dunstan Checks In'

Faded Copies of Donnie Brasco or Devil's Advocate for sale (£5)in the ex-rentals bin

So are there any still standing near you, and what are the names please? Or do you have any cherished memories from the eighties rental boom and beyond (£50 deposit and £1 a night hire) when video shops spread across the UK faster than swine flu.

A couple video-rewinds of mine are...

The first wave saturation of video renters and bandwagon riders. Record shops, garages even a hardware shop (yes I was a member) were lending from their extensive overnight libraries.

In the splatter-friendly pre-certification days, a film chosen as suitable viewing for a former girlfriend and myself by her parents (while they went out for an evening) was the full strength, unedited version of 'Cannibal Holocaust'!?!?


Furtheron said...

We had one virtually directly opposite us in the row of shops at the end of our street. Always stunk of cigarette smoke as all the people who served there perpectually smoked... I think it was a requirement to get the job.

It was called "The Ritzie" or something equally crap. Some of the tapes there certainly put paid to some heads in my old VCR, normally the kids ones that had been viewed and abused so much you'd come in and say to your offspring "Oh is this Postman Pat in the Snow then?" "No it's Fireman Sam's summer fete show". "Oh is it?" You'd then screw your face up to try to figure out what was the wobbly blob on the screen.

It passed on some years ago followed not long after by Apollo 11 up the shopping center.

Now the space that was The Ritzie has been a kitchen showroom (he went bust pretty quickly) an office for a dodgy looking security consultancy and now a tanning salon named... wait for it... you won't believe it.... TanTrix... brilliant. Mrs F was outraged when it opened.

Keith said...

We have like one indie video store still left around here. I can remember a time when we had so many of them. It's a shame though. I always liked going to it. I liked it better than Blockbuster.

Ishouldbeworking said...

'Video Box' are still soldiering on near us, but where once they were a local meeting point on a Friday night ("THEY had Nine and a Half Weeks out AGAIN, did you notice?"), punters are few. Soon they'll be gone, I'm sure, and where will we all be THEN on those 'duvet days' when nothing but 'Footloose' will do?

Years ago we resigned our membership with another video shop in high dudgeon, after being falsely accused of nicking an Eddie Murphy video. The very idea!!

Planet Mondo said...

Genius F-Ron you've nailed that scene perfectly who starts up those micro-kitchen fitting shops. A new kitchen isn't an impulse buy is it?

One of the last vid shops to close round here FB Entertainment - smelt entirely of damp and was loaded with stacks of pre-cert VHS's (50p for a week).The Ritzie what a name we had Super Video, Video Nights and Video Junction.

They're definitely better than Blockbuster Keith, and usually have some mad and random choices tucked away

Shame ISB, but their days must be numbered, you can buy stuff for the price of hiring now. My Duvet rents included Fargo and The Emerald Forest ? Wrongly accused - I've had that over VHS tapes borrowed but not working.

Piley said...

great subject PM!

Fond memories of senior school days hitting the video shops...

I remember one that opened at the bottom of my road, and they incredibly had loads of copies of ALL the big titles... NEVER out of stock. Amazing for such a small shop... then i rented one, and they were all 'ooky!! pirated tapes with photocopies labels.. even the 'hologram' to prevent piracy was gleefully included in the photocopy!! It was like playing Russian roulette when you hired one... 1 original and 20 pirates...

Further is spot on about the smell... they did all seem to have a musty wiff about them.

Do you remember the VERY early days of video?? when the pre-recorded cassettes were about £50 EACH??! and came in cases that were like big versions of a tape cassette case?? Toploading video players?? Ahh those were indeed the days!


Planet Mondo said...

I remember one just down the road from you P on London Road, the only place you could get Driller Killer. Did you ever hit Golden Disc loads of cult films Andy Warhol and John Waters or Adrians loads of music vids

The first VHS I ever bought was the Bowie/Ziggy show 39.99 and other titles were even more, I remember having a mad buzz for Dune £79.99.

And also how many other shops got on the rental bandwagon record shops (Fives), TV hire places and I was once a member of a DIY shop in Rayleigh that rented vids

Piley said...

insane prices wernt they?? I remember buying the Soft Cell video in about 83 for £40!!! Can you imagine paying that money for a DVD now??! and that was 25 years ago!!!

alexandra said...

good post! xo

Planet Mondo said...

Mad prices P, in 83 I was on £20 a week for a part time job working at the Co-op. Had got my first car which cost £250. which puts those crazy tape prices into perspective - even the players held at around £160 to £200 until DVD players came along..

Thanks Alex - I've just checked your latest post. Very cheeky.