There are so many different aspects to VHS that I love, and none more so than any connection to a video store. My local store was called Video Vision and is now an Indian restaurant. I occasionally still go there for a meal and request that we sit next to where the horror section once stood. I know it’s childish but I can still picture the tapes on the wall, and how the shop once looked in its prime.
With the fall of Blockbuster, the final nail in the movie rental store coffin, I was thinking of when all of those outlets are empty, what would be put in their place – More fast food chains? It also got me thinking of how future generations will grow up not knowing that our favourite place to visit on a Friday or Saturday night is now where they get their hair cut, or even eat.
I purchase my tapes from all over the country, and with them being mostly ex-rental, find it quite amazing to think that they were once apart of a video store from somewhere in the UK.
Most video stores branded their stock with a sticker or stamp bearing the address of the shop, much like a library does with books. And that branding can be seen either on the reverse or spine of the cover, in some cases even on the tape itself. I became fascinated by this and wondered what these stores would look like today.
When people pick up a DVD or Blu-ray they see the artwork, extras and plot synopsis. When I pick up a videotape, I too see the artwork and plot but I also wonder about what obscure trailers will play before the movie. I also think about where this tape has been, and what store it first started out in. So when I see a video store’s address slapped on the tape, my mind starts to wonder about this box being rented over and over again, moving from its store to a different home each week. Then the store eventually closes and, with many exchanges in between, the tape winds up in my collection. There’s a wonderful traceability with ex-rental VHS. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am a little odd.
So with the help of Street View, and as part of my preservation obsession with the format, I wanted to document the old addresses that you find on tapes and show how they appear today. Be them hairdressers, chip shops, restaurants, charity shops, furniture stores and alike. Because like the format itself, we must never forget.
Of course, i’m not going to go through my entire collection doing this as that would be both very time consuming and a little pointless. Instead, i’d like to ask for your old video store addresses so that we can build up a collection of memories. And if you have any tapes with these stickers/stamps on that you would like to contribute, please send them to [email protected] and I shall update the site accordingly.