Vimeo Killed the Video Star by Emily Smart

I went down to the video shop yesterday, and had a real ‘fuck I’m old’ moment. And have now just discovered that this is a real thing – see

Anyway, video shop, videos. When was the last time you actually played a video tape? I found a video the other day: Toy Story 2 and just checked when it was released. It was 1999! So give or take a year or so to go from cinema ‘straight to video’ (you don’t hear that anymore) and that’s about 18 years ago. Flippin’ heck Tucker, how old does that make me feel?

So I was at Videon (yes, it’s called that, remember I live in New Zealand) and one of the kids and I are checking out five videos for the twenty bucks special, when the man behind the counter announced I was overdue on returning a video. Apparently I had brought back an overnight tape (which of course is now a DVD but everyone still calls it a video tape) a week late as it was in with my last special deal and I now owed them $72.00. I nearly choked on my popcorn! My response of ‘Well that’s a bugger ‘cos I didn’t even watch the bloody film’ was met with, ‘Oh that’s a shame.’ I did my best Meryl Streep – think Thatcher with dementia not that loopy woman in Mama Mia in denim dungarees – and I got the fine reduced to $8.

Sunset Boulevard

As Tim (he who can find Jaws 3D quicker than you can say ‘that’s a wrap’) had been so nice, I felt the need to engage in small talk, so we chatted about the demise of the high street video shop. I said the business must be dying on its arse due to Netflix, on demand, Sky, Vimeo, streaming and goodness knows what else you can watch anything on. He confirmed it was indeed ‘a sunset industry’ – who knew such a glorious phrase existed: a lamentation that was just so Hollywood. I left him discussing the love sub-plot in a period drama with his next customer.

Go out to stay in

When I was younger it was a massive treat to go to Blockbuster Video on a Friday or Saturday night. I remember spending ages perusing every single video cover in the store. I would then hold each video up to be greeted with ‘Nope seen it’ by a brother, my mum, my dad or a friend. Movie night was quite the family thing, and probably popular in households across the land as a way to spend time with your nearest and dearest without actually having to engage with them. My dad always loved, and still does, anything that includes ‘a bit of shooting, stabbing and choking.’ My brother Richard was banned from choosing the video after a string of disastrous movies which were totally shit. I can clearly remember the last one he selected – Eve of Destruction, some awful sci-fi thriller and guess what? The protagonist was called Eve. We left mum to watch her musicals, while I went for the latest thrillers. Poor sibling Tom didn’t get a look in when it came to having a turn at picking a title – to give some context here, Henry the village postman who had been delivering our letters for over a decade, once asked my mum who Tom was. On hearing he was her son, he wondered aloud if the boy had been kept in the shed all his life.

When did we get so old?

I can’t recall when we threw out our last video machine, quite possibly when DVD players arrived at The Warehouse for $50.00. I can’t say I miss them, although I did know how to record programmes off the telly without needing a degree in astrophysics – there I go again being old. At least I still encourage family movie nights with my own offspring. Frankly, it’s the only time I can get the little buggers to shut up. I’ll sign off with a note from sunbear81 taken from the Reddit thread I referenced at the start; it gives me some comfort to know I am not growing old alone…

When I saw some girls in next to nothing and instead of thinking ‘Hey baby,’ I thought ‘How impractical, you must be freezing.’

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