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Video shop memories


Devon Malcolm

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Me and Mrs Small were talking about how the traditional video shop has mostly disappeared now (although there was quite a nice little old-fashioned one back in Redhill) and how we really miss it.I think from when I was a kid I remember mostly being able to rent out Predator every Saturday as a 13 year old and not get questioned for ID once. I didn't like it so much, though, when Terminator 2 came in to rent and it was 5 weeks before I actually got to see it because it was booked up for rental for that long beforehand. Every day I checked for that whole time.Our local one, Budget Video in Burnage, also had a shelf reserved just for Charles Bronson vigilante thrillers.

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I remember we had a little video shop at the top of the street called 'Kevs Videos'. All i can remember renting from there is No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando and Bad Taste. I used to love going in and just looking at all of the video covers and posters. Always wanted one of the big movie cardboard cut-outs but was never quick enough to get one.

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A topic close to my heart. I've mentioned before that I worked in an indie video shop during my student days & fucking loved every minute of it. As awesome as it is living in the future with Netflix & suchlike, the excitement of walking into the video shop & seeing one copy of the latest new release without a 'sorry out on hire' tag on display will rarely be rivaled.

 

The shop I worked at had a massive back catalogue of films. Loads of straight-to-video martial arts, horror & drama of the week flicks (released by a company called Odyssey & all seemingly starring Brian Dennehy). The walls were 6 posters deep as we'd just staple the upcoming release posters over the old ones & we had a signed picture of Michael Dudikoff in a frame above the counter. Class.

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Before too long though he'd found a new way of getting my pocket money out of me by introducing an arcade game. And not just any throw-away one, since this was the dawn of the 90s and Streetfighter II had arrived. I chugged 20p after 20p into that machine. Great fun!

 

Ours got one towards the end of its existence but I think it was just some generic vertical scrolling shooter so I wasn't interested. I think the owner bought it off the newsagents across the road. Never figured out why a newsagents had an arcade machine in the first place.

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Fond, fond memories of video shops. As a kid we did have a local one but on some weekends father would drive me to a different one at the edge of town or even ones in neighbouring towns for wider selections. There was never a failure to find something I wanted to watch, as a kid. So much I wouldnt have seen without renting, as a family there wasn't much disposable income so I was only ever bought new tapes to call my own on my birthday or at Christmas. From birth to adolescence I rented all sorts - Thomas the Tank and Postman Pat through Ewoks, Transformers, He-Man, GoBots (I loved the Planet of the Rock Lords film), Simpsons and all sorts. My mates sister ran a video shop and we used to get a lend of any film we wanted too, fond memories of rainy days in with Short Circuit, Red Sonja or BMX Bandits.

 

Later on my local started stocking WWF tapes which I would borrow and copy. I remember one tape on long play having Rumble 89, Battle of the Superstars 92 and WrestleFest 92 on. The only one I still have (and watch) that I never upgraded to a proper tape was Survivors 92, presumably because it was a good copy and the tape is in decent nick.

 

When I went to uni we all went back to renting tapes, it was a good cheap night in once we exhausted the entertainment we had all brought with us. Thursday nights when there was fuck all going on worth going out for, Global Video in Aber was a godsend. I still remember fondly nights in with whatever we rented. In particular I remember the first viewing of The Matrix, Fight Club, Identity, Adaptation and Memento. And one of my mates always seemed to have red wine and brie on the go. I stuck to Spar wedges and Red Square, personally.

 

After a few years of not renting, when I moved to Manc and moved in with the ex we suddenly started renting a DVD from Blockbuster. That didnt last long though when I realized most of the films we were renting you could actually buy a copy of from Tesco for

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Growing up we had a cracking video shop just a two minute walk away. It was originally a corner shop with a small selection of films for rental, and then they bought the shop next door and knocked a wall through, using the newly acquired space to house an enormous amount of videos. I must have rented most of Arnie's films up to True Lies from there dozens of times. I still have a few of the ex-rental videos in the over sized cases knocking about somewhere.

 

I watched loads of gratuitously violent action and horror film, but for some reason my parents always refused to get any of the Maniac Cop films. I built the films up in my head for years before I finally saw any of them. Like Gladstone, I remember T2 being a right bugger to get hold of, and for some reason Falling Down was another one it took weeks of waiting for before we eventually got it. I

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This won't be my first contribution to this thread, let me warn you. I have a love affair with this subject. Video shops were 90% of my childhood. I was just watching an episode of Roseanne the other night where they get a video player. It took me back to a time when we'd all nip round to the video shop and bring back a shit load of stuff. I love "*insert family* gets a video recorder" episodes of sitcoms. Because they were cheap and cheerful, the whole family would get one at least 6 times a week. The Real Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Popeye, Robocop, Terminator, Naked Gun, Karate Kid, WWF Silver Vision releases, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and all sorts. All cartoons were 50p.

 

We had two video shops sandwiched in between our street. When I was in the infants, my mate at school had a semi famous Dad in our area. He owned the video shop, the pizza shop and the newsagents on the same row of shops. So I was in a great position, because instead of going to his house for tea, after school we just sat in the video shop all night. He'd always give us posters to take home and stuff. When the Simpsons first hit the UK, I remember he decked the shop out in these big Simpsons life size standees. They had a competition in the window which said "Drawing competition: draw the best Bart and win a copy of Bart The General". It was a great time. Just a colourful, exciting period.

 

Then, Sunderland's own version of the Monday Night Wars started. Another video shop opened about 1 minute from this one. And this one was a beast. The owner was well known as a proper rough. He was a relation to my aunties brother in law, and everyone knew him as harmless, yet couldn't keep his hands in his pockets. So I imagine it was a surprise to the locals to see him setting up a legit business venture. Until they saw what was on his shelves. This video shop sold copies (which you could keep?!), banned shit, blueys, Nintendo games, Turtles, Ghostbusters and WWF figures that the owner had nicked from Woolies and put in plastic packets and sold for 2 quid each. This shop was shut on Sunday though, so if you bought a video on Saturday you could keep it until Monday. If it wasn't for those video shops I'd have never been into wrestling, because he'd always get the latest ones in. And anyone who owned a NES knew renting was a God send.

 

Can anyone remember that crushing disappointment of seeing the "due back in 1 day" badge on the video you were looking forward to? It would always be on Repossessed (fuck knows why) and SummerSlam 88. I like to think there were old blokes across the city wanking themselves red to Elizabeth dropping her skirt.

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I always remember being fascinated by the Maniac Cop 2 cover when I was dead little in Magic Video, remember being disappointed when they closed down even though they always put the wrong video in the box

 

It is a shame that they're not really around anymore but I suppose if I'd been able to rent films direct to my telly when I was a kid I wouldn't have bothered with going down the street and getting them

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