I have about a million ideas for blog posts running through my head at any given time, its a slight exaggeration but you get the picture. This is the kind of choice I used to have as a youngster when I went to my local video rental store a place called Cabin Video, now they were not the biggest place but they had every possible wall filled with video cases with different sections for different kinds of films and on top of this they had this sort of rack in the centre of the shop, one side of this rack was filled with VHS horror tape covers in thin plastic cases, you took these cases to the counter and for 50pence they would retrieve the tape from behind the counter and rent it you for the night, regardless of what time you rented it your 50p would let you keep it until 6pm the following night. This led to me spending a great many Saturdays arriving at the shop at opening and then renting a whole bunch of films and dedicating my day to watching them. It was a very strange process basically you would pick a pile of films with nothing to inform you of what the film would be like or about apart from the cover and the small blurb and screen shots on the back. Sometimes I would get lucky and every film I would grab would be a hoot other times they would all be rubbish but most of the time it would be a little bit of a case of getting half and half. A lot of the time there would be friends to watch the films with and popcorn to eat but even when I was alone it was still good fun and if I happened to find a great film when I was watching on my own well this just meant I would have to go to my friends the following Monday and tell them about this new film and just how great it was and then either they would rent it or the next time I had them coming around I would rent it again and show it to them.
So what has me thinking about this? Well although Cabin closed years and years ago it didn't fully shut down in fact it moved a further down the street it was on, gained a new name moved on to hiring DVD's and had a slight change of focus. Originally it had been a film rental business which sold a few bottles of beer and wine along side the movies and the popcorn in its new premises it took on more of a half DVD rental half liquor store sort of business model with the feeling being that the booze sales were really propping up the rental side of things and carrying the business. It was never the same place though, I never saw it in the same way or felt the same way about it, it was strange it was like a friend who you used to love like a brother but who now you feel like you hardly even know, yet you could sometimes see that slight glimmer in them that little bit of who or in this case what they used to be.
Well recently this closed its doors, its not surprising really with the video rental market having died out what with various online services such as Netflix and NowTV. I had expected it to simply just become a shop that sold alchol phasing out the rentals altogether but this didn't happen possibly because the local market is over saturated with places to buy booze or possibly because the place had been robbed either way even though it wasn't really the place I had fallen in love with but it was the last remaining part of it if that makes sense. My home town used to have two very good Video Rental places and its own little one screen cinema and now it has none of these.
I am often asked why I love films so much and its because when I was young it was one of the cheapest and most accessible forms of entertainment, for simple weekends there was the prospect of renting a few films and if I had more money then I might go with a group of friends and go to see a film in our little one screen cinema. I guess that it is at this point in time that I look a bit like one of those sad old farts who is moaning about how things were better in my day and I guess to a certain degree I am but then I can also recognise some of the advantages of what we have now. With Netflix and other such services you can for a small fee have access to lots of films, you don't have to leave your house and if you find out you have made a bad film choice when picking to watch something then it doesn't matter so much. One of the issues is though that you have so much choice at your finger tips, it also means that if a film doesn't instantly grab you then you might decide its bad and move on to another one, now this is an issue because some films are slow burners, they might not seem so great to start with but if you give them time then you will find that after some build up they really get good. If I had turned off every single VHS tape I rented and didn't instantly like within 5 minutes then I would have missed out on some of what have become my favourite films.
I have started playing a sort of new game with myself its a game I call the Cabin video You Tube game, and the truth is its a nice and easy game that anyone can play and if you had a childhood like mine then you might appreciate it. Now services like the aforementioned Netflix and NowTv are full of films but they also give quiet a bit of info on them as well and for this game you need to go in as blind as possible and that's why I like YouTube plus its free which helps. As you might have noticed YouTube is absolutely full of complete films, yes sometimes films get taken down but when they are old budget B movie type horror films which haven't tended to make there way on to BlueRay or in a lot of cases even DVD in most regions then they are pretty much ignored and stay on there forever and these are the types of film you need. So what do you do, well you use YouTubes search engine my personal favourite search being full horror movies 80's then you flick through your options, basically what your looking to do is pick a film simply from its title and thumb nail. Now you need to pick a film without resorting to looking it up online or on the Internet movie database or any other site and you need to force yourself to watch it, no giving in if it seems weird or rubbish inside 5 minutes. If you want to make a real party of this then grab the popcorn and invite your best friends around. Why do I call this a game? Well basically because you will either win or loose, sometimes doing this you are going to find a new film that you absolutely love other times your going to wonder why you just wasted several hours of your life, you might love the film because its brilliant or because its so bad its good but trust me the good times far outweigh the bad and even the bad ones are not really that bad if you have a good friend or two to enjoy it with.
The past is gone for good or bad and nothing we can do is going to bring it back but you can cherish what has gone before while trying to find new ways to mix the old and the new looking to the future while also keeping the nostalgia alive.