An ode to the humble video shop

Thursday November 22nd 2012


I’m no technophobe when it comes to movie rental. I cherish my Netflix account and the instant access it gives me to an extensive library of HD, 5.1 surround sound films with an intensity otherwise reserved for my very closest friends and lovers. And when that avenue fails me, I’m thankful to have various other lines of enquiry open to me, not least the massive (but expensive) iTunes catalogue and the relatively cheap (but limited) LoveFilm one.

But — and this is a big but — none of these provide quite what you find at a local video shop.

None of these options allow you to roam the aisles of a small, dusty room in search of that 2001 Ryan Phillippe film you’ve been hankering for lately. None of them provide you with a friendly assistant behind a counter who actually knows what the fuck they’re talking about. None of them offer you Benny’s Video, The Butterfly Effect and indeed the 2001 Ryan Phillippe vehicle Antitrust on DVD for a cumulative sum of just £4. (In fact, the first two alone would set you back £5.98 on iTunes.) And none of them will write your name and mobile number on a post-it note and promise to call you when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 comes back into the shop.

Much to their detriment.