It’s no secret that tapes are getting harder and harder to find out there in wild, especially good genre material in ex-rental form, but I received a lead from a good contact and as always decided to act upon it, the only problem was that this particular lead was down on the South Coast. I say problem, as you all know I will travel the length of the country for VHS, so more of an inconvenience than anything.
With my work being national, I had some meetings in the area and a few days out on the road planned, so in the late afternoon last week dropped in to see what this guy had.
You could tell immediately as you walked in that the room hadn’t been touched in years, but at its height was displayed on bespoke racking like a video store. There was around 1000 tapes, a mixture of ex-rental pre and post-cert tapes and also generic mass produced sell throughs.
2013 has probably been one of the driest years in a long time for VHS hauls. Relying on internet forums and the usual auction sites such as ebay and Amazon is not the way I like to secure tapes, but after a miserable car boot season, and very few leads to call my own, I have had little choice other than to revert to such avenues for my video pleasures.
This was until I found a guy online who was selling hundreds of rare pre-cert VHS tapes (his own personal collection). Unlike car boot discoveries, he was looking for a lot of money for them, and rightly so, as i’d seen some photos and there were treats aplenty.
I cheekily got in touch and offered him a set amount, which was way below his asking price, but acceptable if he wasn’t able to sell them and wanted to shift the entire lot as soon as possible. Luckily, he accepted my offer.
With no fresh leads in over a year, and a long winter that prevented me from getting to any car boot sales, I have been mostly restricted to bulk buying tapes online, something that I strongly dislike doing. The fun has always been in the hunt for me. So when a friend got in touch and told me that he was getting rid of his entire collection, I jumped at the chance to adopt it. I like to think of myself as Pippa from Home and Away, but with tapes instead of… ah, you get the picture.
That friend goes by the name of Tim (@Reed_my_tweet on Twitter), and fortunately only lives an hour away from my house. So after Tim had gathered together a large chunk of his collection ready for me to take, he gave me a call and I hopped in the video van (Peugeot), making the short journey north to Stoke. I honestly wasn’t prepared for the sheer volume of tapes that awaited me.
I had forgotten to cover these up when I left for home. You would not believe the looks you get with a car full of VHS on a busy motorway. Luckily, i’m no stranger to these sort of looks.
Yesterday afternoon, while at work, I received a link to a blog from a friend. The link can be found here, but it basically documents a local video store that is entering its final weeks of operation.
With no fresh leads in a while, and a constant desire to preserve the history of the British video store, I decided to get in touch to see if a visit was possible.
Unfortunately the only number I had rang out all afternoon and I feared an early closure had taken place. In a moment of frustration, and some quick thinking on my wife’s part, I did a quick Google search to see the exact location and noticed that two other small businesses were nearby – one being a hairdressers, the other an opticians. I dialled the hairdressers first but got no reply, so then contacted the opticians where a lovely woman answered. I asked if she knew whether or not the video store down the road was closed and she said yes, it had recently gone out of business. I was devastated but not deterred. I then informed the woman that a friend (my only lie) had been in only this Sunday gone and it was still open. So she placed the phone down, walked up the street and checked for me (I could hear her footsteps on the other end of the phone). She then came back and said that she was mistaken, and that the shutters are up and it is indeed open for business. I rang the store twice more but again got no reply. I then very cheekily rang the woman back and asked if she would pass my number on to the store owner and get him to call me, to which she agreed. My phone rang 30 minutes or so later. Vision Express! (It wasn’t, it was a local independent branch)
I spoke briefly with the owner about old stock and he commented that it would be easier to come down and take a look for myself. Considering the amount of years since DVD took over, I wasn’t expecting to find much but the chance to take a look around, and possibly pick up some old store signs, shelving etc was too good to turn down. Continue reading
Car Boot sales in England are a magical thing. There are days where you can walk around them and find nothing, but there are those special occasions when you strike gold. While there I occasionally speak with a few of the sellers, and upon hearing about my obsession with VHS, you’d be surprised by the amount of people who tell me they took their entire collection to the nearest landfill, believing them to be worthless. I’ve had to stop asking about certain titles they used to own, knowing their rarity and how limited they were in release. I get abdominal pains just thinking about their destruction.