Sunday, September 26, 2010

Timewarp to the mid 90's VHS galore!

As another video store closes it's doors in Vancouver, I can't help but reminisce about the Mom and Pop video and record stores that use to populate neighborhoods throughout Canada. Those stores were just awesome to hang out in and browse the selections. As a matter of fact, I had such a store myself back in 1994 in Fernwood, a small community in Victoria, BC. My store was called "Front Row Video" and we had an impressive selection of obscure titles and horror movies. The store was a hang-out for the horror crowd in Victoria, which was fairly small at the time. I had a "behind the counter" binder of titles that were deemed "banned in BC"...similar to the UK Video Nasty controversy, we had the same kind of "blacklist" including such fare as "Nekromantik" and "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", as well as HG Lewis titles, etc...the video store was a place both young and old couples could walk into and pick a movie or you order it over the computer with the press of a button. The intimacy is gone and anything is available. There's no aura of mystery any longer and the days of video stores is soon to be a thing of the past. Even Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection in the USA, closing down 3000 of it's 4000 stores over the next few months! Blockbuster Canada is doing okay but with Netflix arriving here last week, Blockbuster is working overtime trying to fast track their own VOD and online streaming movie catalog to compete. I miss the days of VHS. I know the quality wasn't the greatest but at least it was a tangible item you could hold in your hand and the grainy picture only added to the movies anyhow. This hi-def insanity lets you see everything that the grain obscured. It works for porno's, but not movies where the FX budget was pocket change. I miss record stores. Being able to browse through cds and cassettes, vinyl, etc...again most music is digital downloads now with a few stores still stocking cds. I give cds another couple of years or so before they become extinct. With everything digital now, the consumer is forced to subscribe to high-speed internet access and have the best smart phones and memory on their laptops to receive the data. It seems like we're paying more now than a year ago for entertainment and there's no novelty, it's all so sterile. I never thought I'd say it but I sure do miss the 90's.